The IFMGA has developed the credential of Aspirant Guide to help younger guides gain practical experience and to encourage more experienced IMFGA guides to serve as mentors. The credential is not designed to simply permit guiding without IFMGA certification or to shortcut the complete training process, but rather to supplement it.
The AMGA has defined an Aspirant Guide status for those guide wishing to guide in foreign countries where the local guides associations permit such guiding. Different countries, both IFMGA members and otherwise, have varying laws and guide association policies covering aspirant guiding. It is the responsibility of the Aspirant Guide to comply with local laws, and when guiding in an IFMGA country, to accurately represent him or herself and to comply with the policies of the IFMGA and AMGA and the local guides association.
When working as an Aspirant Guide the guide must:
When working as an Aspirant, guides must work under supervision of an IFMGA Mountain Guide. This supervision requires that Aspirant and supervisor be in reasonably close proximity for the majority of the climb or tour. Normally this means on the same peak and route. On a typical alpine climb it is possible that the aspirant and supervisor will become occasionally separated, but there must be the expectation that, where practical, the two will be within communicating distance. On ski tours, Aspirant and supervisor must be on the same tour, and almost always on the same itinerary. Occasionally, the party may split—for example where different routes are taken to the same hut—but it must plan to regroup later in the tour. Aspirant guides may accompany clients leaving a trip, or aborting a climb. Likewise they may continue the tour or climb if the supervisor decides to accompany a client during exit or descent.
At the conclusion of each guiding day, the aspirant and supervisor must debrief the guiding. Aspirant guides must keep a personal log of the days guiding and list the name of the supervising guide. The supervising guide should sign the logbook and confirm the guiding days and their role as the supervisor. The aspirant may use their own format for the logbook and should list the following items: date, route, range or area, rating/grade, very short description and/or special circumstances, and the supervising guides' name with contact info and signature.
The intent of these requirements is to facilitate coaching, training, and feedback to help the aspirant develop skills. It is not to simply allow guiding business to be conducted by aspirant guides.
In most other IMFGA countries, there is an exam at an "Aspirant" standard. IFMGA policy requires guide examination prior to receiving Aspirant status. AMGA Aspirant status requires the passing of the Alpine, Rock and Ski Mountaineering Aspirant Exams. AMGA members who abuse the privilege of Aspirant status may lose their credential or be subject to other penalties.
The Aspirant Guide Credential defined here is for use primarily in the European Alpine countries where local associations permit guiding by foreign Aspirant Guides. In IMFGA countries outside of Europe, laws and policies may prohibit such guiding.
In some countries there is a legal relationship between Aspirant and supervisor, and the supervising guide may be legally responsible for the actions of the Aspirant.
Aspirant guide status is valid for one year and may be renewed if additional AMGA Certification Exams are taken within a one-year period.
Aspirant guides should contact the AMGA office to obtain their Aspirant ID Cards.