ALL UNIT CLIMBING AND RAPPELLING ACTIVITIES MUST FOLLOW THE PRINCIPLES OF CLIMB ON SAFELY WHICH INCLUDES THE REQIREMNT THAT THE ACTIVITY BE SUPERVISED BY AT LEAST 2 QUALIFIED INSTRUCTORS. In addition, all climbing/rappelling activities must follow the Climbing and Rappelling Policy of the Crossroads of the West Council. Policies are available for download at the bottom of this page.

BSA Level-1 Climbing Instructor Training

The council schedules and conducts courses to qualify BSA climbing instructors. To register for a training, select the desired course on the bottom of this page.

Read the following if you're considering enrolling in the class:

Level-1 Climbing Instructor Courses and the subsequent workshop/mentoring process to become a level-2 instructor require a significant amount of time and commitment.  They are intended for persons interested in supporting Scouting unit climbing activities on an on-going basis. You must expect to spend around 60 hours in class and workshop instruction along with time assisting with at least four practical program delivery activities under the direction of a level-2 instructor before achieving level-2 yourself.  While you can qualify as an instructor with borrowed and class-provided equipment, nearly everyone who continues as an instructor eventually finds the need to acquire personal climbing gear (a helmet, harness, rope and basic hardware and cordage) that has a cost of around $500. Please seriously consider whether the requirements justify your time, effort and resources to become qualified to lead a single event.  Staying qualified requires continuing education and actively conducting several climbing activities each year.

If you have little or no experience--you must become proficient in the prerequisites shown below prior to enrolling in the course. The final practical exam tests your proficiency in conducting a climbing event. You will not graduate the course if you do not confidently demonstrate all required skills.

Class prerequisites include the following:

  • Register with the BSA: You must be a registered leader or committee member.
  • Complete the new BSA medical form: You must complete parts A, B and C and your health provider must sign part C. Because this is a high risk activity you must have all 3 parts filled out and a copy provided to the staff before you can participate.
  • Be current in American Red Cross Basic First Aid and CPR certifications (or equivalent from a nationally-recognized agency): You do not need to complete this before the course begins, but before you can receive instructor certification you must have a current First Aid/CPR certification card. You may consider Wilderness First Aid certification which satisfies the first aid requirement. Wilderness First Aid is required for instructors leading groups in remote areas.
  • Complete BSA online training: Complete the BSA Climb On Safely  and Youth Protection  on-line training. Bring the printed certificates with you. If you don’t already have a account, you’ll need to create one in order to complete the above training courses.
  • Get a working knowledge of the following knots: Bowline, Bowline on a Bight, Figure 8 on Bight, Figure 8 Follow-Through, Double Loop Figure 8, Safety Knot, Clove Hitch, Munter Mule, Prussic Knot, Double Fisherman's Knot, Water Knot, Girth Hitch, and Basket Hitch. 
  • Click here for animated instructions for tying these knots.
  • Click here  for a review of the P-BUS belay method. This is the standard belay method that is taught and practiced in all council climbing activities and on which you will be evaluated.
  • Click here  for a review of the contingency anchor with a figure eight.

Course materials will be provided in class at check-in. Gear will be provided for you if you do not have a harness, helmet, rappel or belay device; however, it is helpful and necessary for you to have your own gear as you continue in the program after class.

Successful completion of this course will result in your being qualified as a BSA Level-1 Climbing Instructor.  Level-1 instructors may assist a Level-2 instructor in climbing and rappelling activities.  Progression from Level-1 to Level-2, and the resulting authorization to supervise climbing and rappelling activities requires a subsequent track that includes further instruction and program delivery (assisting level-2 instructors during climbing activities).  As long as you maintain your level-1 or level-2 qualification, the $65 fee for the level-1 course is a one-time fee that covers all instruction through Level-2 and the tri-annual recertification necessary to maintain your climbing instructor qualification. 

The BSA recognizes instructor training provided by other national organizations.  A list of these organizations is contained in the “Climb on Safely” guidelines.  To access BSA Climb on Safely, click here.