2. Qualified Instructors

There must be a minimum of two instructors for all climbing and rappelling activities (up to 12 participants) and one additional instructor for each additional six participants, maintaining a 6-to-1 ratio.

The qualified instructor managing the climbing/rappelling activity must be at least 21 years of age, and be current in his/her training from one or more of the sources listed below or equivalent:

  • BSA Level II climbing instructor or climbing director
  • BSA Level II COPE instructor or COPE director (artificial structures only)
  • Instructors trained by professional organizations or their accredited providers:  

        —American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)

    • Rock instructor
    • Single pitch instructor
    • Climbing wall instructor (artificial structures only)   

       —Professional Climbing Instructors Association (PCIA)

    • Base-managed climbing instructor
    • Top-managed climbing instructor
    • Single pitch instructor
    • Climbing wall instructor (artificial structures only)   

       —Professional Climbing Guide Institute (PCGI)

    • Top rope guide
    • Single pitch guide
    • Lead guide
    • Multipitch guide 

         —Climbing Wall Association (CWA)

    • Climbing wall instructor (artificial structures only)
  • Professional climbing guide/instructors who are licensed by the state or accredited according to:

          —AMGA, PCIA, or PCGI for natural rock climbing
          —AMGA, PCIA, CWA, PRCA, or ACCT for artificial structures

  • University or college climbing/rappelling instructors who are current in their training (assessment within three years) as rock climbing instructors (or climbing wall instructors for artificial structures only)

Additional instructors required to meet the 6-to-1 ratio requirement must be competent as determined by the qualified instructor and be at least 18 years of age.

There are many institutions and/or businesses who offer training for climbing and rappelling. However, most do not prepare instructors to lead groups of people on climbing and rappelling outings. Your local council COPE and climbing committee, area COPE and climbing advocates, and region COPE and climbing chairs are good sources to determine if an alternative training experience is equivalent to one of the sources listed above. For guidance or additional information, contact the BSA's Outdoor Programs/Properties Department through your local council office.