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BSA Climbing Instructor

Climbing Instructor training is currenty suspended.
Please check back for news about resuming events.


Two courses are offered:
  • BSA Climbing Instructor Certification (good for 2 years upon successful completion)
  • BSA Climbing Instructor-in-Training (same course as above with, 2-year certification)

A word of Caution:
No climbing/rappelling instruction is given during the course.
The course is designed for experienced climbers with a desire to become BSA Instructors.

National BSA standards ("Climb on Safely") require councils, districts, merit badge counselors and units participating in climbing/rappelling activities to have qualified Instructor at the activity site beginning 1/01/01. BSA standards recognize qualified instructors from nationally recognized climbing schools, colleges, or a certified BSA climbing instructor.

Experienced climbers can help keep climbing/rappelling as part of BSA activities by becoming a trained BSA instructor for your unit, district, or council. BSA Climbing Directors from the San Diego - Imperial Council's High Adventure Team will be conducting BSA climbing instructor certification courses beginning 2001.

Please see scroll down for more details.


Fee: $40 per person
Course size is limited to 12 candidates.
Preregistration required,
$20 pre-registration fee (no refund).
  • Applicants must be experienced climbers with their own gear. (This is not a course in how to climb.)
  • At the first session applicants must submit current First Aid, CPR, YPT cards, and a standard BSA medical form.
  • Duration: 24+ hours total in three sessions:
  • 8 hours classroom on National standards,
  • 8+ hours technical skill evalution,
  • 8+ hours instructor skill evaluation.
  • Location: Northminster Presbyterian Church, 4324 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. (map)
    Field work at Mission Gorge in Mission Trails Regional Park.
    Contact: To register for class, or for more information, contact:
  • Robert Parks: 760-473-4161, <rparks(at)ucsd.edu>
  • Schedule

    Each class consists of three sessions. Session I will be classroom instruction. Sessions II & III will be outdoors on the rocks. We will meet at Northminster Presbyterian Church (map) for the first session from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Mission Trails Regional Park (or an alternate site) is where we meet for the other two sessions, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

    Year Session 1 Session 2 Session 3
    2023 T.B.A. T.B.A. T.B.A.
    NOTE: Please contact Instructor
    for additional training dates.
    Courses may be added or cancelled based upon interest within the council

    More Details . . .

    A word of Caution (again):
    No climbing/rappelling instruction is given during the course.
    The course is designed for experienced climbers with a desire to become BSA Instructors.

    BSA Climbing Instructor Certification is offered at three levels:
    1. Lead Instructor (a minimum of 21 years old)
    2. Instructor (a minimum of 18 years old)
    3. Instructor-In-Training (a minimum of 16 years old)

    Lead Instructor and Instructor

    Instructors of BSA climbing/rappelling activities are capable, safety conscious teachers. They are the onsite personnel (either camp staff or volunteer leaders) who instruct and manage the climbing/rappelling activities of a district, council, pack, troop or team. They must exercise good judgement and dependability, and relate well to youth and to adults. A BSA climbing instructor must obtain a certificate of completion of training every two years from a currently trained climbing director. The qualities expected of a BSA climbing instructor include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Minimum age 18 (But a lead instructor must be at least age 21.)
    • Currently registered member of the Boy Scouts of America
    • First-aid certification that, at a minimum, includes American Red Cross Standard First Aid certification, or completion of a course of at least equivalent length and content from the Red Cross or another nationally recognized organization. The 2-hour module, First Aid: "When Help Is Delayed" is recommended.
    • Current BSA Personal Health and Medical Record - Class 2 or Class 3 medical record.
    • Good judgment
    • Ability to work with youth.
    • Experienced and able to demonstrate a proficiency in the techniques of climbing, rappelling, belaying, and spotting.
    • Working knowledge of Topping Out: A BSA Clirnbing/Rappelling Manual.
    • Understanding of BSA Climbing merit badge requirements.
    • Completion of three-day climbing/rappelling staff training.

    Instructor-in-Training (IIT)

    BSA recognizes the need for depth and development of instructors in the climbing/rappelling program, therefore offers the Instructor-in-Training program. If you lack experience or you are under age for the climbing instructor certification BSA climbing instructors-in-training gain valuable knowledge and hands on experience as they assist instructors in the many responsibilities of running climbing and rappelling activities. Whenever they assist participants engaged in any events at a climbing/rappelling area, instructors-in-training must be under the direct supervision of a trained BSA climbing director or lead instructor. The qualifications expected of a BSA climbing instructor-in-training include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Minimum age 16
    • Currently registered member of the Boy Scouts of America
    • Current BSA Personal Health and Medical Record - Class 2 or Class 3 medical record
    • Good judgment
    • High maturity level
    • Ability to work with youth
    • Trained and experienced in climbing, rappelling, belaying, and spotting

    What to Bring

    Each candidate must have and bring the following personal items:
    Required: Each participant is required to supply their own:
  • Harness, which fits properly and and is in good condition, less than four years old.
  • Climbing helmet in good condition.
  • 12 ft. 1" tubular webbing, less than four years old.
  • 2 Ea. Large locking carabiners.
  • Rescue figure eight.
  • Leather palm gloves.
  • Rack of medium size pro, carabiners, and software to demonstrate ability to build anchors.
  • a 21 foot Cordelette
  • 1" three ring binder with eight dividers, needed in the first session.
  • Optional: Optional gear you may use for this course:
  • Climbing shoes.
  • Chalk bag.
  • ATC, or other belay device.
  • Documents: Copies of the following documentation (required for completion):
  • Current First aid and CPR.
  • Current YPG.
  • Current class three medical form.
  • BSA registration card.
  • Links to more information:

    Climb on Safely, BSA National standards for all Cubs, Webelos, Scouts, and Venture units.

    Age-Appropriate Guidelines Climbing and Rappelling.

    Climbing Instructors who have been certified to teach in the San Diego - Imperial Council BSA. They are available to conduct training in your unit.

     Last updated: 29 January 2024
     E-mail comments, questions to HighAdventure@sdicbsa.org
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