17th September 2019

What is a Rock Climbing Development Instructor?

Written by Jack Nicholl

The 'Rock Climbing Development Instructor' award doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but could be worth looking into - if you want to take your next step as a Rock Climbing Instructor.


1. What is a ‘Rock Climbing Development Instructor’?

A Rock Climbing Development Instructor can teach all aspects of rock climbing on single pitch crags around the UK. It’s a big step up from the Rock Climbing Instructor award that will give you the skills to get to grips with coaching more advanced climbing practices. This could be; climbing movement and technique, helping newbies understand the nuts and bolts of climbing gear, developing their judgement and management of risk and more. All this should ultimately get your student to the point where you can supervise them on their first lead climbs, a gift that could give them a lifetime of climbing joy!


2. Why do the Rock Climbing Development Instructor?

This award is the perfect next step for any experienced Rock Climbing Instructor who is keen to develop their students’ climbing beyond the basics.  Our team of instructors live and breathe rock climbing, but more so, have years of focused personal development on how to instruct new climbers effectively.  The PYB team approach to knowledge sharing means that hundreds of world-class instructors over the past 60 years have channeled their experience into the content of our courses. On this training course we know it’s important to be thorough and for you to have the best environment to learn, so, we’ll visit lots of different crags around North Wales, to give the clearest picture of the scope of venues available to you to teach at.  Plas y Brenin’s unique positioning offers lots of differing rock types nearby to add valuable variety to the course, with the massive benefit of being able to find somewhere pleasant to learn if the weather is mixed. We’ll do all the driving to and from venues, and provide you with tasty food, a comfy bed, and a relaxed place to kick-back and take notes from the day.  Our extensive equipment store means that we have all the up-to-date equipment available for you to experiment with and help you decide what you’ll want to use in the future.  Over the 4 days on your course we’ll cover how to instruct the diverse spectrum of rock climbing skills.

For those of you aspiring to become MCI’s in the future this is a great stepping-stone that will provide plenty of teaching climbing experience in preparation for teaching on multi-pitch routes.

How do I prepare for the RCDI training course?

Mountain Training have a set of pre-requisites to register for this qualification. Gaining experience from a variety of venues and on a variety of rock types is useful in helping you to develop a wide knowledge-base and good judgement. There is always a little more you can do to make sure you are ready to make the most of the training course.

On the course, we will look at all the fundamental skills required to improve your students’ climbing and start developing them towards lead climbing. Get your head in gear by thinking about how you might plan and progress clients to lead climbing on both sport and trad routes. We will help you to develop the skills and judgement to do this, but it is beneficial if you can start thinking about it before you start the course and means you will have plenty of questions to support your learning.

  • What skills will the climber need to be able to lead safely?
  • How will you assess whether they understand the risks involved in lead climbing?
  • What are the motivations for lead climbing?
  • How would you manage a client who desperately wants to lead but isn’t ready yet?
  • How will you look after yourself when teaching leading?
  • How do you help to improve people’s climbing when you work in the wall? Will the same work outside?

Consider a Foundation Coach Training course or BMC Fundamentals course as these opportunities will help you develop your coaching. If you are unable to fit these in before training, it would be beneficial to do before your assessment.


Take a look at our upcoming Rock Climbing Development Instructor Training courses