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2022, Katherine Whyte, Climbing, Climbing Wall Instructor Award

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Katherine Whyte – Climbing Wall Instructor Assessment, June 2022, Leeds, England.

In June 2022 I attended my Climbing Wall Instructor (CWI) assessment, following a two day training earlier this year. Achieving the CWI qualification personally feels very fulfilling, the qualification represents my many years of teaching friends, and then coaching within my role on the Leeds University club committee. I am very grateful to the support from the Jack Bloor Fund, which enabled me to become certified.

The assessment day started very chilled, discussing the outcomes of the home paper, before we moved on to the assessment of the coaching and skills based section. Having had multiple years of coaching myself I felt comfortable leading a warm-up, game and technique drill. With hold colour twister followed by a drill on β€˜twisting’. Twisting is a tactic that utilises the movement of bringing your left or right hip into the wall by twisting your knees, hence bringing your hips into the wall to improve stability as well as increasing reach. Each taking turns to run our sessions we next moved onto scenarios for teaching top rope climbing and belaying. I was slightly thrown off by the fact my scenario was 8 young offenders, I quickly planned a session that was climbing volume focussed, that kept all parties engaged and involved. We were then assessed on our ability to structure teaching over a longer period of time, coming up with an 8 week plan for some GCSE PE students, who wanted to finish being independent climbers. Having looked online at resources relating to taught curriculums like that for GCSE students as well as NICAS/NIBAS, I was able to come up with a weekly structure that featured a technique development, regular checkpoints and enabled progression within the students. As we approached the end of the day, it was time for rescues and emergent scenarios, to test how well we could ensure the safety of all parties in a changing environment. I was given a collapsed belayer, and someone who’s figure-of-8 knot had come undone on the wall. Having gone over a plethora of scenarios in our training, I aimed to keep a calm demeanour and reassure the parties and deal with the situation quickly and effectively.

I am very happy to say that I, along with two of the other LUUMC committee members passed the assessment and are looking forward to utilising these qualifications, not only to improve the quality of teaching within the climbing club. But, also to continue to foster a love of climbing as I hope to gain some additional coaching specific training in the future, as I aim to add a development team to the competition team I set up this past year within the university club.

Thanks again for all your support, it really is so very appreciated.

Katherine Whyte


1 – Running a weekly coaching session with LUUMC

2 – Myself (second left) with the competition team at the third round of the Northern University Bouldering Series, of which one of our girls achieved 3rd overall.

3 – Training day of the CWI at The Big Depot, Leeds