Climbing Wall Instructor – Training

2-day CWI training course

Course Overview

The Climbing Wall Instructor (CWI) qualification trains and assesses candidates in the skills required to supervise climbers on purpose-built artificial climbing walls and boulders. There is also an optional Abseil Module which is all about supervising abseiling on artificial structures. Please ask for more details on the Abseil Module. The Climbing Wall Instructor qualification does not include the skills and techniques required to teach lead climbing. To teach lead climbing you will need the Climbing Wall Development Instructor Award.


The Climbing Wall Instructor Award is ideal for people who work at climbing walls or at venues with permanent or mobile climbing towers.

Course Details

Location: Castle and Reach climbing walls – London

Cost: £165 (2 day course)

Ratio: 1:6

Level: Instructor


Day 1

  • Introductions and background
  • Arrival, a tour of the climbing wall, identification of suitable areas to use for beginners. Informal introduction (experience, interests and reason for interest in the Award). The Climbing Wall Award in context – its aims and the structure of the Scheme, where does it fit with other MT schemes. Climbing Wall Etiquette – ‘The Unwritten Rules’. Being aware of personal responsibilities whilst using the wall, to partners, other climbers, and non-climbers. Hazard identification and reduction.
  • Climbing Equipment – A look at the contrasting equipment used by candidates, plus good maintenance of equipment and how to detect problems. Different types of harnesses, helmets, belay devices, climbing shoes.
  • Warm up for adults and traversing – Different approach when warming up children to adults. Aerobic warm up (stations for different aerobic exercise). Dynamic stretching. Climbing warm up, traversing.
  • Teaching knots workshop – A different way to teach knots depending if teaching adults or children.
  • Belaying workshop. Setting up the belay system, buddy checking, direct and indirect belays, use of different belay devices, great belay technique, partner communication, holding falls blindfolded, lowering
  • Working break. Discuss home paper. Prevention is better than cure and intro to problem-solving.
  • Fault finding (face to face).
  • Tying of the belay.
  • How to get down stuck climber. Hair and pieces of clothing getting stuck into the belay device.
  • Climber climbing with an incorrect /incomplete knot.
  • Personal lead climbing skills. Leading at least 4+. Dynamic belaying.
  • Background Knowledge. Used to acknowledge a broader understanding of rock climbing than just on indoor walls: History of climbing in the UK and where climbing walls fit in; Traditions and ethics.

Day 2

  • Bouldering briefing. No climbing under other climbers. Climbing down no jumping. Nothing in the pockets. No rings and jewelry. Don’t wear a harness when bouldering. Warm up games for children. Animals, disaster game. Colours of fruit. Spelling on the wall. Limbo. Climbing using only one hand. Bouldering and movement. Footwork (quiet, tick marks, swap not swap, kick out). Straight arms. Flow (route reading). Relaxed, breathing. Balance.  Steep ground. Smearing, rock over, bridging, palming. Different types of holds (jugs, crimps, pinches, side pulls, gastons, undercuts). Balance.
  • Working lunch. Discuss climbing grades.
  • Organising Groups. Effective pre-planning of group sessions. Assessing abilities within the group and thereby setting appropriate aims for the session.
  • Managing Groups. Welcoming groups and introducing them to the session in a positive way. Inspiring the group to want to climb. Setting shared objectives. Choice and correct fitting of equipment. Safeguarding and child protection.
  • Choice of belay devices.
  • Managing different groups birthday parties, beginners courses, NICAS, taster sessions.
  • Ground Anchors. Different types of ground anchors.
  • Recap. What to do next. How to prepare for the assessment.
  • Personal debrief. 1:1

DAtes & Booking

Tuesday 11 & Wednesday 12 October
£165 per person
Castle & The Reach Climbing Walls – London

Further Information

  • You must be at least 17 years old (18 at assessment)
  • You should have at least 6 months of experience of using a variety of climbing walls
  • You should have an interest in climbing and in supervising groups on climbing walls
  • You must be a member of a mountaineering council: BMC, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland (you can join one when you register if you’re not already a member)
  • If you can tick all of the above boxes, here’s what to do next:
  • Create an account on our Candidate Management System or log in if you already have one.
  • Register for the Climbing Wall Instructor scheme (cost on MTA website)

Before your attend the training course with Climbing Tuition, make sure you have completed the following:

  • You must be registered on the scheme.
  • You must have an understanding of the wider sport of climbing.
  • You must have an up to date logbook (preferably DLOG) with evidence of the following:
  • Visits to 3 different climbing walls on at least 15 different occasions; this must include at least one major public wall.
  • 10 led routes at Fr4 on walls.

The period between training and assessment varies in length for each person and is an opportunity to develop your skills, paying particular attention to any weaknesses identified during the training course. You can use the excuse ‘I’m preparing for assessment’ to visit the wall as much as you like!


If you have any questions or would you like to book directly then please use the form below and we’ll get right back to you as quickly as we can.


We do run bespoke training and assessment courses if there are four or more of you that would like to book together. Please contact us and we can arrange something to suit us all.

Pop up to the Dates & Booking section and click the book button for the course you want to join. The link will take you to the MTA website where you can book our MTA course. But do contact us using the enquiry form above as it’s always great to chat to you before booking to make sure the course is right for you. We will send you all you need once booked.

Make sure you come ready to climb. So wear your usual climbing clothes, a fleece, your personal climbing equipment, and food for the day. You will receive an email detailing kit list and useful reading and resources once you have booked on the course.

The qualification courses run by Climbing Tuition are non-residential. There is lots of accommodation in the area of our courses so you can choose the accommodation that suits you best if you require.

Car parking is available at most climbing venues we use for our courses, but parking tends to be limited. Please do check out the venue-specific websites for more details or contact us for information. Refunds or reschedules are available if one of our courses is cancelled as a result of Government guidance.