The American Mountain Guides Association would like to extend a huge thank you to Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley for use of their photo images. Mark and Kathy were instrumental in the successful evolution of the AMGA.
Kathy and Mark both got involved with the AMGA at the pivotal 1986 meeting in the Tetons where revived interests in a mountain guide organization led to the founding of the American Professional Mountain Guides Association. Not only were Kathy and Mark dedicated professional guides who started guiding in the early 80’s but they were committed to helping build the only organization in the country that would one day represent the interests of the guiding community. Mark became Chairman of the Technical Committee sometime in the early 90’s and then served on the AMGA Board of Directors for six years, from 1994 to 1999. He was President of the Board in 1997 and 1998. Kathy served on the AMGA Board from 1996 to 2001.
Both were instrumental in the early development of the AMGA and its acceptance into the IFMGA in 1997. Mark and Kathy, along with a handful of other American pioneer guides, witnessed the AMGA receive admittance into the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations in Salzburg, Austria. It was only one year later when Kathy became the first woman in the United States to receive IFMGA certification after passing her lat ski exam in Alaska. Not only that but Kathy was the first guide of any sex to be both Alpine and Rock Certified. Mark became a Certified Rock Guide in 1993, Alpine Guide in 1991 and Ski Mountaineering Guide in 1997.
Kathy and Mark started Cosley and Houston Mountain Guides in 1994 and have been busy growing their guide service ever since. Some of their favorite places to guide are: the Alps, Peru and Nepal. For personal trips, Patagonia and New Zealand rank high on their favorite list, while Kyrgyzstan convinced Kathy that it has to be one of the more promising, seldom-visited (dreadfully inconvenient!) countries for climbing.
The Cosley/Houston team wrote Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher published by the Mountaineers Books.