Southwest Climbing and Adventures offers a full range of climbing instruction courses for those who are looking to gain valuable experience on the rock. Courses are offered in either a 1 to 3 day format, and run with a minimum of 2 participants. Your instructor, Ben Traxler, is an experienced guide and teacher and is certified by the American Mountain Guides Association.


American Mountain Guides Association Single Pitch Instructor Program.

AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program

Course ($475) | Assessment ($325)

The Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) program teaches climbing instructors to proficiently facilitate and instruct the sport of rock climbing in a single pitch setting. The SPI is the only internationally recognized single pitch climbing instructor certification program in the United States.

The program requires a course and an assessment. The course is a 27-hour training class that typically runs as three consecutive nine-hour days. The assessment is a minimum of 16 hours run over a two-day period. Read more about the program on the AMGA's website.

Upcoming Courses:

  • September 20 - 22 in Prescott, Arizona. Register and pay for the 3-day course here!
  • October 17 - 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Register through the American Alpine Institute, contact Ben for details. 

Upcoming Assessments:

  • September 18 - 19 in Prescott, Arizona. Register and pay for the 2-day assessment here!
  • October 22 - 23 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Register through the American Alpine Institute, contact Ben for details. 

Top rope climbing in Prescott, Arizona

Intro to Rock Climbing, Part 1

Foundation skills for beginners

2 days | $345

The intro course is great for students that want to start rock climbing outside, and the desert Southwest offers a great venue to learn to climb on a variety of rock types and formations. At Southwest Climbing we pride ourselves on quality teaching and a logical curriculum development.  This course will focus on climbing movement, belaying, and knot tying skills. You'll also learn basic anchor setup, rappelling, gear selection and care, risk assessment, Leave No Trace ethics, and much more. This course is a primer to our intermediate and advanced level courses in lead climbing and rescue skills.


A couple enjoying a Part 2 course together in Red Rocks, Nevada.

Intro to Rock Climbing, Part 2

Take your climbing to the next level

2 days | $345

This course is the next step for climbers who have taken our Part 1 course, or who have the equivalent climbing experience. Learn more advanced level skills and become competent following pitches of rock, building anchors, and setting traditional protection. This course also introduces students to some basic self-rescue components, and problem avoidance in single pitch rock climbing terrain. We will work with you on advanced climbing movements, such as crack climbing technique and friction slab climbing. Other possible learning outcomes include equipment use and care, anchor building with natural and artificial gear (cams, hexes, stoppers, etc.), lead belaying, following, racking, and gear removal, climbing communication, and belay station management.


Climber on lead on a traditional route in Prescott, Arizona.

Lead Climbing

Learn to lead sport and traditional routes

2 days | $345

Single Pitch Lead Climbing: Let us introduce you to the world of lead climbing! Beginning to lead bolted and traditional type rock climbs can be a daunting task, and without careful instruction and coaching, leading can be intimidating and sometimes dangerous to aspiring climbers. However, if you can top-rope 5.6 routes, and understand how to build top-rope anchors, you are a candidate for this course. During the course we will review gear placement and use mock lead climbing scenarios, where the instructor will set fixed lines to climb alongside each student. Each student on this course should progress only as far as they feel comfortable each day, without any pressure to move forward on lead until they are ready to take that next step. Add a third day to this course to practice skills and swap leads on an appropriate climb with your instructor!

Multi-Pitch Lead Climbing: Multi-pitch terrain requires a new set of skills, emphasizing efficiency and safe completion of a route. We begin the course with a review of belay anchors and methods, and roping techniques that are used in multi-pitch climbing. During the course we also cover protection systems and common obstacles in the multi-pitch setting. Some of those common challenges include protecting the follower, station management, traverses, rope drag, and learning to quickly swap leads with a partner. This course is a must-do for those wanting to climb bigger routes with a more efficient style. We also recommend this course as an update or refresher for those who need a review of previously learned material.


Learning advanced anchor building techniques.

Self Rescue for Climbers

Be prepared for the unexpected and learn to respond to real life scenarios

1 day | $180

This comprehensive course gives students the ability to respond effectively and efficiently to problems encountered when rock climbing. These skills are used to prevent and mitigate hazards before an accident or injury occurs. Our course will focus on problem avoidance, simple solutions to common issues, and the foundation to technical systems involved in most rescues. We use hands on scenarios to practice our skills so that students will leave our course knowing what an actual rescue might require. Courses include recommended readings and handouts to compliment the technical lessons. Specific learning outcomes include releasing an ATC guide / reverso, load transfers, lowering, counterbalance and tandem rappel, raising systems, rope ascension, and applicable knots and hitches.