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PCIA Base Managed Climbing Instructor Course at DLSP in June
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By EB
From Winona
Apr 28, 2012

Hey all, If you teach climbing for a university outdoor program, guiding company, etc at DLSP or in the midwest there is a sweet course taught by the Professional Climbing Instructors Association at DLSP June 13-15 with an optional exam June 16th. Its a fast paced course with a ton of information ranging from climbing systems to teaching progression and delivery of information.
The PCIA has seen huge growth in the last few years presenting at major outdoor education conferences such as AORE. In addition to offering instructor courses, the PCIA is looking for experienced climbing instructors to enter the Provider pool for both the indoor and outdoor programs.
If you work in a setting where you teach climbing to others rather than guiding in ratios of 1:1-1:4 the PCIA is a great choice.
For more info go to: pcia.us/newpro/


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By Woodchuck ATC
Apr 28, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Aware of the course this June at DL. Is it a separate taught 'style' or certification different from what the AMGA wants? Similar to the NTRLC courses of 20+ years ago? (also taught at Devils Lake). And why is there an 'optional' test on the last day? No matter what, seems that well qualifed, life experienced climbers will continue to lead and guide in the future without any of the assorted 'certs that are now available, and certain to grow in numbers in years ahead. Nothing against the many courses out there, but someone had to start these 'certification' arrangements and whoever did wasn't taught by a 'certified' instructor. Right?


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By EB
From Winona
Apr 28, 2012

Woodchuck, those are good questions and points. In regards to the optional exam , we advocate for students to take time to practice the skills before taking the test especially if this is their first exposure to these systems(instructor belayed rappels, releasable systems, belay escapes, pre-equalized vs self- equalizing anchors, etc). In addition some folks choose to take just the course for personal knowledge( much the same as with AMGA courses). The individuals who started PCIA were the same who developed the AMGA Top rope site manager program. After the AMGA decided to end that program we found there was a need to fill that focus area for the many who aren't guiding but operating in base managed environments(DLSP, J-Tree, etc) leading climbing outings and teaching others to be self sufficient.
The certification question is a great discussion point.
-Does a climber of 15 years have less knowledge than someone who has climbed for 5 but has been "certified"?
-What does a certification prove?
-That they new something at one time?
- that they have been through an assessment of skills and performed at a certain level?
- Does one organization have a monopoly on climbing knowledge?

As a director of a University Outdoor education program I can state that I want my staff assessed by a set of standards that others in the industry have accepted and proven proficiency at those standards.
Its a slippery slope and a good debate.
The difference between AMGA and PCIA is the focus. I advocate to all of our students that if they are looking to work as a guide to go with the AMGA they are the best at training professional climbing guides, where we fit in is more with outdoor educators who are teaching climbing to others. We focus on developing lesson plans, teaching progression and pedagogical aspects of teaching climbing in addition to the technical aspects of anchoring and site management. Most of our course providers have master's degree in outdoor education and many are directors of university outdoor programs.
this is a good link from our most recent newsletter to give an idea of our focus:pcia.us/newpro/node/1133


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