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Alpine

  • Overview#1

    discipline_alpine_colorThe Alpine Guide Certification is designed for people who guide glaciated and non-glaciated peaks, approaches and climbs, with no limitation with respect to season and elevation. It includes rock climbs, peak ascents, waterfall ice climbs, and expeditionary climbing. The alpine program progression will help you fine-tune your skills in alpine snow, mixed, waterfall ice, and glaciated terrain.

    To enter the program you must first successfully complete the Rock Guide Course or the Alpine Skills Course, depending on if you are pursuing IFMGA certification or Alpine Guide certification only, and meet all the prerequisites for the Alpine Guide Course. As well, you must have a solid experience base and knowledge of technical mountain travel.

    To get your Alpine Guide Certification, you must complete:

    • The 10-day Rock Guide Course (RGC) or The six-day Alpine Skills Course(ASC). If you are pursuing IFMGA certification you will want to take the RGC. If you are only pursuing Alpine Guide certification you will want to take the ASC.
    • The nine-day Alpine Guide Course (AGC)
    • The five-day Ice Instructor Course (IIC)
    • The 11-day Advanced Alpine Guide Course (AAGC)
    • The 10-day Alpine Guide Exam (AGE)
    • You must be certified in an AMGA-approved level III avalanche course
    • You must be certified in CPR and have a minimum 60 hours in WFR (or equivalent)

    Although this is a demanding program, it opens up tremendous opportunities for you as a professional guide.

  • Flowchart#2

    AlpineGuide-2015

  • Alpine Guide Course#3

    The Alpine Guide Course (AGC) is designed to take a competent alpine climber and develop the fundamental skills she/he needs to guide in a non-glaciated alpine environment. It provides training for aspiring guides and experienced guides who work in a wide range of alpine environments including alpine rock, mixed terrain, alpine ice, and waterfall ice. The AGC emphasizes a hands-on approach to the mechanics of guiding on alpine terrain.

    Prerequisites:

    • To take the AGC you must have successfully completed the Rock Guide Course or the Alpine Skills Course for non-IFMGA track guides;
    • At the time of the course, you must be able to safely and comfortably lead climb:
      1. Crack and face climbs rated 5.10a or harder in rock shoes;
      2. Crack and face climbs rated 5.6 in stiff mountaineering boots;
      3. Waterfall climbs rated WI 4 fluidly.
    • You have led or shared lead on at least 40 different alpine climbs in at least two different areas (e.g., Cascades and Alaska):
      1. 10 of which should be on alpine rock routes rated 5.8 or harder and Grade III or longer after the approach.
      2. Five of which should be on different alpine technical snow, ice, or mixed climbs.
      3. Five of which should be on different ice climbs rated WI4 or harder.

    Format:
    The AGC includes indoor and outdoor classroom time, practice sessions, and climbing on a variety of rock, snow, and mixed routes. Recreational climbing skills and judgment are screened as part of the daily activities. The course is designed to introduce some of the recommended methods common to alpine guiding through sessions and practical application.

  • Ice Instructor Course#4

    The Ice Instructor Course (IIC) is a fundamental component of the alpine guide education and certification process and is designed for skilled rock and ice climbers. This course addresses the skills and techniques used while instructing and guiding in single- and multi-pitch ice terrain. This course can also be taken as continuing education by AMGA guides who have already passed through the Alpine discipline.

    Prerequisites:

    • The IIC must be taken prior to the AAGC/AE;
    • To take the IIC you must have successfully completed the Rock Instructor Course;
    • At the time of the course:
      1. You must be able to safely and comfortably lead climb WI 4;
      2. You have led or shared lead on at least 20 different water ice routes, of which 10 should be rated WI 4 or harder.

    Format:
    The IIC includes indoors and outdoors classroom time, practice sessions, and climbing on a variety of water ice climbs. Recreational climbing skills and judgment are screened as part of the daily activities. The course focuses on practical experience where the students are guiding the terrain. Climbing routes are from one to five pitches. Students are expected to place solid gear and have a good working knowledge of multi-pitch ice guiding. The routes will be up to WI 4+ in difficulty. The course introduces some of the recommended methods common to water ice guiding through sessions and practical application.

  • Advanced Alpine Guide Course Sponsored by Eddie Bauer#5

    Diamond-Logo-size.Eddie-BauerThe AMGA would like to thank Eddie Bauer for sponsoring the Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam. Not only does Eddie Bauer’s financial support keep tuition costs low, but the company also provides graduates with the technical clothing they need.

    The Advanced Alpine Guide Course (AAGC) helps accomplished climbers develop the skills and techniques they use while instructing and guiding in a glaciated alpine setting. It covers the tools used when guiding and instructing multiple clients on longer routes up to Grade V—management of 3rd and 4th class terrain, technical descents, simultaneous multi-client belaying, technical descents, management and movement of multiple clients, and small team rescue skills. It emphasizes effective risk management while maximizing client rewards.

    Prerequisites:

    • You must have an AMGA-approved level II avalanche certification;
    • At the time of the course, you must be able to safely and comfortably lead climb:
      1. Crack and face climbs rated 5.10a or harder in rock shoes;
      2. Crack and face climbs rated 5.6 in stiff mountaineering boots;
      3. Waterfall climbs rate WI 4 fluidly.
    • Since the Alpine Guide Course you have:
      1. Mock guided/guided 10 days in diverse alpine terrain;
      2. Led or shared lead on at least 10 different glacier routes with significant crevasse difficulties;
      3. Led or shared lead on at least five different alpine routes rated Grade IV or longer;
      4. Led or shared lead on at least five ice climbs rated WI4 or harder.

    Format:
    The AAGC includes instruction, coaching, debriefing, and assessment. The assessment phase in known as the Aspirant Exam. The focus of the course is on principle-based learning, giving you the strategies for problem solving through coaching and practical application in simulated guide/client scenarios. Guiding and instructional skills will be assessed during the Aspirant Exam portion(s) of the course. A final assessment will be based on your overall performance.

  • Aspirant Exam Sponsored by Eddie Bauer#6

    Diamond-Logo-size.Eddie-BauerThe AMGA would like to thank Eddie Bauer for sponsoring the Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam. Not only does Eddie Bauer’s financial support keep tuition costs low, but the company also provides graduates with the technical clothing they need.

     AAGC includes instruction, coaching, debriefing, and assessment. The assessment phase in known as the Aspirant Exam. The focus of the course is on principle-based learning, giving you the strategies for problem solving through coaching and practical application in simulated guide/client scenarios. Guiding and instructional skills will be assessed during the Aspirant Exam portion(s) of the course. A final assessment will be based on your overall performance.

    Aspirant Exam:
    The Aspirant Exam is intended to help determine whether or not your personal skills meet the minimum standards appropriate for guiding. In addition, it serves as preparation for the final certification exam. The standard for the Aspirant Exam is at a level appropriate for guiding clients professionally with only indirect supervision. Finally, your essential skills and abilities as an Aspirant Guide must be comparable to those of a full guide.

    Assessment Areas:

    • Screening of movement skills in rock and alpine terrain;
    • Technical skills assessment including 45-minute rock rescue drill and five-minute knot-pass drill;
    • Guided days assessment, which includes evaluation in the following nine areas: risk management, client care, technical systems, application, terrain assessment, movement skills, mountain sense, professionalism, and instructional technique.

  • Alpine Guide Exam Sponsored by Brooks Range Mountaineering#7

    The goals of the 10-day Alpine Guide Exam (AGE) are to assess and certify alpine climbing guides at the AMGA and IFMGA international standards and to further the general education of students.

     

    Format:
    You are expected to carry out guiding assignments given by the examiners during the exam. You serve as guides to the examiners and to the other participants on routes chosen for their complex guiding challenges. You are responsible for route planning, client orientation, risk management, and normal guiding practices while acting as the guide. Route assignments and client profiles are usually given the night before. You are responsible for obtaining information about the assigned route as well as alternative routes if the original objective proves infeasible.

    Expectations:
    The exam is conducted on routes in alpine terrain and may include glaciated and non-glaciated peaks, approaches, and climbs, with no limitation. It includes rock climbs, peak ascents, and waterfall climbs. A strong emphasis is placed on expertise in short roping clients.

    Assessment Areas:
    Screening of movement skills in rock, alpine, snow, ice, and mixed terrain; Crevasse Rescue Drill; Guided days assessment, which includes evaluation in the following nine areas: risk management, client care, technical systems, application, terrain assessment, movement skills, mountain sense, professionalism and instructional technique.

    Alpine Guide Exam Video

  • Alpine Exam Prerequisites#8

    Prerequisites:

    • You must have successfully completed an AMGA approved level III avalanche certification course or equivalent;
    • At the time of the course, you must be able to safely and comfortably lead climb:
      1. Crack and face climbs rated 5.10a or harder in rock shoes;
      2. Crack and face climbs rated 5.6 in stiff mountaineering boots;
      3. Waterfall climbs rate WI 4 fluidly.
    • Since completing the Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam you must have:
      1. Guided ten days in diverse alpine terrain. Of these ten days five are allowed to be mock guiding;
      2. Led or shared lead on at least five different alpine routes rated Grade IV or longer;
      3. Led or shared lead on at least 10 traditional style rock climbs rated 5.10 or harder.

  • Alpine Course Areas and Lengths#9

    Course Area(s) & Length:

    • The AGC is nine days. It is typically held in the spring in Boulder, Colo., Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo., and Jackson, Wyo.
    • The IIC is five days. It is typically held in Ouray, Colo., North Conway, NH, and Canmore, Alberta.
    • The AAGC is 11 days. It is typically held in the North Cascades, Wash.
    • The AGE is 10 days. It is typically held in the North Cascades, Washington.