Level 1 Guide Training

Level 1 Guide Training

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Level 1 Guide Training and Assessment

The UKCG Single Pitch guide assessment is aimed at people who want to guide in non technical canyons up-to grade 3A. It is also aimed to allow Pro guides to use SP guides as competent seconds.


This Guide assessment is taken over 3 days.

Day 1 would be spent doing personal skills on a crag and lectures on day 2 the guide would be expected to guide a group through a canyon within this remit and show personal skills for the other half in this environment.

who is this course for?

Instructors wishing to guide in non technical canyons up to grade 3As.


Required: A Canyon log book with at least 10 personal canyons, 2 of which should be rated grade 3/4 and 20 guide days. First Aid certification Swift Water Rescue certification.

Highly advisable: Technical Canyon course.

course outcome

Single Pitch Canyon Guide Award on successful completion.

course duration

3 Days.

Core Syllabus

Rope and Equipment Care

  • Understand and apply good rope care practices
  • Coil rope; alpine coil, canyon coil
  • Stuff and use rope bag
  • Understand and apply good equipment care practices


  • Figure eight knot; on a bight, rethreaded
  • Tape Knot in webbing
  • Create prusik loop with cord using double fisherman
  • Connect two load-bearing ropes for rappelling (e.g. double fisherman bend, rethreaded figure eight, square fisherman bend, overhand knot)
  • Bowline knot; double bowline, bowline on a coil
  • Clove hitch
  • Larks foot
  • Münter hitch; improvised lower, belay or rappel
  • Mule hitch; load releasing
  • Safety back-up knot (e.g. overhand, fisherman)
  • In-line loop (e.g. butterfly knot, directional figure eight)
  • Friction hitches (e.g. prusik, klemheist, bachman, hedden)


  • Understand and apply good principles of anchor location
  • DEAR (Dry, Efficient, Accessible, Rope Retrieval)
  • Understand and apply good principles of anchor construction
  • EARNEST (Equalized, Angle, Redundant, No Extension, Solid, Timely)
  • Evaluate and rig single-point natural anchors
  • Evaluate and rig multi-point natural anchors
  • Evaluate and rig existing fixed artificial anchors
  • Sequence marginal anchor


  • Set up and use blocked rope system (e.g. carabiner block)
  • Set up and use releasable rope system (aka contingency anchor)
  • Lower a person
  • Set up and use top-rope belay system
  • Set up and use system to extend tie-in point for top-rope belay system (e.g. Australian system with alpine butterfly)
  • Set up and use edge protection
  • Set up and use system to change rope abrasion point (e.g. double-rope münter/mule, Shunt, Gri-Gri)
  • Rig system to isolate rope strands (e.g. stone knot)

Climbing, Belaying, Hand Lines

  • Spot a climber, down-climber
  • Belay a climber, down-climber
  • Set up and use retrievable hand lines


  • Rappel; control speed, brake
  • Rig rappelling device for correct friction on 8mm to 11 mm ropes, single and double strand
  • Add friction while rappelling
  • Lock off while rappelling using leg wrap
  • Lock off rappel device while rappelling
  • Provide bottom belay for rappeller
  • Understand pros and cons of using self-belay (e.g. auto-block); rig and use

Self Rescue

  • Use rope grab (friction hitch or mechanical ascender) and foot loop to free stuck gear

Swimming, Jumping, Sliding

  • Swim with gear (minimum 20 yards)
  • Jumping; identify hazards, outside boil line, body position
  • Water slides; body position


  • Read contour lines on topographic map
  • identify terrain features (hills, saddles, ridges, drainages)
  • determine relative steepness of grade
  • Identify potential high ground and escape routes
  • Identifying relative size of watershed using topo map
  • Orient map with compass and terrain
  • Evaluate weather forecast; temperature, relative humidity, high/low pressure systems, warm front vs cold front
  • Differentiate between cloud types; cumulus, stratus
  • Describe variables that contribute to flash flood risk
  • Describe flash flood warning signs
  • Describe appropriate responses to an impending flash flood
  • Understand UKCG Canyon Rating System
  • Possess suitable gear for canyons rated up to 3B