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AMGA Alpine Guide

Photo by Dale Remsberg, Mt. Joffre, B.C
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 5-day Alpine Skills Course (ASC). If you are pursuing IFMGA certification you will want to take the RGC.
  • The 9-day Alpine Guide Course (AGC)
  • The 5-day Ice Instructor Course (IIC)
  • The 9-day Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam (AAGC/AE)
  • The 9-day Alpine Guide Exam (AGE)
  • Successful completion of an AMGA approved Level III, or Pro 2
  • For details on the new avalanche education framework being introduced in the 2017/18 season, please click here.
  • Current CPR Certification
  • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR

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

mg-alpine-flow-chart

 

Program Information

  • Alpine Skills Course

    The Alpine Skills Course (ASC) can be the first step in the AMGA’s Alpine Guide training and certification process. It is a 5-day course, designed for aspiring guides and instructors who have an alpine climbing background and interest in developing their guiding skills in this setting. The ASC places strong emphasis on maximizing client rewards while effectively managing risks. The ASC can be used as a prerequisite to taking the Alpine Guide Course and as a prerequisite to taking the Ski Guide Course, starting in 2016.

    The ASC addresses guiding techniques commonly used on simple glacier routes that may include rock scrambles up to Class 4 with short steps of easy 5th class. The terrain might also require technical de­scents, management and movement of multiple clients, small team rescue and other related skills and knowledge.

    There will be considerable structured practice in the ASC. Techniques will be presented and/or demonstrated, you will practice on the ground, and then practice in venues that are representative of the terrain. Because of the short nature of the course it may not be practical to access certain terrain.

    Prerequisites:

    • Current AMGA member
    • Current CPR Certification
    • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR
    • For 2017/18: successful completion of an AMGA approved Level I, or Level I Avalanche Training and Avalanche Rescue Course
    • For 2018/19 and on: successful completion of a Level I Avalanche Training and Avalanche Rescue Course
      • For details on the new avalanche education framework being introduced in the 2017/18 season, please click here.
    • Two years personal climbing experience on a variety of terrain that includes snow, rock and alpine
    • Confidence leading 5.6 in rock shoes, at the time of the course
    • Confidence on 3rd and 4th class terrain, in mountain boots, at the time of the course
    • Competence in overnight backcountry camping
    • Experience up to 10,000' in elevation
    • Familiar with basic knots, including: figure 8, bowline, clove hitch, munter hitch, mule hitch, prusik, flat overhand, double fisherman's and klemheist
    • Confidence placing traditional rock protection
    • Familiar with multiple types of belaying techniques, including plates and assisted braking devices
    • Familiar with ascending methods
    • Familiar with mechanical advantage systems
    • Familiar with LNT practices
    • Documentation of lead or shared lead on 5 rock climbs rated 5.6 or harder
    • Documentation of lead or shared lead on 5 ascents that include snow climbing
    • Documentation of 3 overnight backcountry trips
  • Alpine Guide Course

    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:

    • Current AMGA member
    • Current CPR Certification
    • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR
    • Successful completion of an AMGA approved Level II, or Level I Avalanche Training and Avalanche Rescue Course
      • For details on the new avalanche education framework being introduced in the 2017/18 season, please click here.
    • Successful completion of the Rock Guide Course or the Alpine Skills Course (for non-IFMGA track guides)
    • Confidence leading 5.8 in rock shoes and 5.6 in mountain boots, at the time of the course
    • Confidence leading AI/WI 3, at the time of the course
    • Confidence with French Technique on firm 40 degree snow, at the time of the course
    • Familiar with basic knots, including: figure 8, bowline, clove hitch, munter hitch, mule hitch, prusik, flat overhand, double fisherman's and klemheist
    • Familiar with placing ice, snow, and rock protection and anchor construction
    • Comfortable with the hip belay method
    • Competence with map and compass
    • Familiar with LNT practices
    • Documentation of lead or shared lead on 25 different alpine routes in at least 2 different areas (e.g., Cascades and Alaska). Of these 25 routes, 10 are classic alpine routes rated 5.6 or harder and Grade III or longer, 5 include snow, ice or mixed climbing, and 5 are ice routes rated WI 3 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

    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:

    • Current AMGA member
    • Current CPR Certification
    • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR
    • Successful completion of an AMGA approved Level II, or Level I Avalanche Training and Avalanche Rescue Course
      • For details on the new avalanche education framework being introduced in the 2017/18 season, please click here.
    • Successful completion of the Rock Guide Course (Alpine Guide Course STRONGLY recommended)
    • 3 years ice climbing experience
    • Confidence leading WI 4, at the time of the course
    • Familiar with basic knots, including: figure 8, clove hitch, munter hitch, mule hitch, flat overhand, double fisherman's and klemheist
    • Competence placing ice protection, building ice threads, and placing traditional rock protection
    • Familiar with a variety of rappel devices on multi-pitch rappels
    • Familiar with LNT practices
    • Documentation of 2o lead or shared lead ice routes (10 of which are 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.

  • Ice Instructor Exam

    The Ice Instructor Exam is designed to assess and certify ice climbing guides at the AMGA and IFMGA ice guiding standards for individuals who do not guide on glacier ice.

    Format:

    During the 6 day exam you will be guiding your peers and examiners on routes up to 3 pitches in length that fall within the Scope of Practice for Certified Ice Instructors. Routes will be chosen based on their unique challenges and will be up to WI 4+ with minimal approach and descent challenges.

    Expectations:

    While on the IIE you will be guiding 2-3 pitch routes focusing on the client experience and maximizing movement and teaching opportunities. Minimal focus will be on moving quickly and managing 3rd and 4th class terrain where short-roping is required.

    Assessment Areas:

    Candidates will be assessed on their movement at the WI 4+ climbing standard, ice specific rescue skills (these will be taught and practiced during the exam), and guided days assessment with evaluation in the following areas: Risk Management, Client Care, Technical Systems, Application, Terrain Assessment, Movement Skills, Mountain Sense, Professionalism, and Instructional Technique.

    Prerequisites:

    • Current AMGA member
    • Current CPR Certification
    • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification  or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR
    • Successful completion of an AMGA approved Level II, or Level I Avalanche Training and Avalanche Rescue Course
      • For details on the new avalanche education framework being introduced in the 2017/18 season, please click here.
    • Successful completion of the Rock Guide Course and Ice Instructor Course
    • Confidence leading ice and mixed routes up to WI 4+ M5 at the time of the exam
    • Since completing the IIC you have led or shared lead on 10 ice climbs WI 4+ or harder
    • Since completing the IIC you have guided 20 days on multi-pitch ice routes; 10 of these days can be mock guided

     

  • Advanced Alpine Guide Course & Aspirant Exam

    The 9-day 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:

    • Current AMGA member
    • Current CPR Certification
    • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR
    • Successful completion of an AMGA approved Level II, or Pro 1
      • For details on the new avalanche education framework being introduced in the 2017/18 season, please click here.
    • Successful completion of the Alpine Guide Course
    • Successful completion of the Ice Instructor Course
    • Confidence leading 5.10a in rock shoes and 5.7 in mountain boots, at the time of the course
    • Confidence leading WI 4, at the time of the course
    • Confidence with French Technique on firm 40 degree snow, at the time of the course
    • Familiar with short roping, short pitching, lowering, rappelling, and the associated transitions
    • Familiar guiding multiple clients, including managing two clients simultaneously on two ropes
    • Comfortable leading in complex glaciated terrain
    • Familiar with LNT practices
    • Since completing the Alpine Guide Course, documentation of lead or shared on 10 different glacier routes with significant crevasse difficulty
    • Since completing the Alpine Guide Course, documentation of lead or shared lead on 5 different alpine routes Grade IV or longer
    • Since completing the Alpine Guide Course, documentation of lead or shared lead on 5 different ice climbs rated WI 4 or harder
    • Since completing the Alpine Guide Course, documentation of 10 guided/mock-guided days in diverse alpine terrain

    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:

    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

    The goals of the 9-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.

    Prerequisites:

    • Current AMGA member
    • Current CPR Certification
    • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR
    • Successful completion of an AMGA approved Level III, or Pro 2
      • For details on the new avalanche education framework being introduced in the 2017/18 season, please click here.
    • Successful completion of the Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam
    • Confidence leading 5.10a in rock shoes, at the time of the exam
    • Confidence leading 5.7 in mountain boots, at the time of the exam
    • Confidence leading WI 4, at the time of the exam
    • Confidence with French Technique on firm 40 degree snow, at the time of the exam
    • Familiar with LNT practices
    • Since completing the AAGC/AE, you have led or shared lead on 5 different alpine routes grade IV or longer
    • Since completing the AAGC/AE, you have led or shared lead on 10 different traditional style rock climbs rated 5.10a or harder
    • Since completing the AAGC/AE, you have guided 10 days in diverse alpine terrain

Alpine Programs Schedule

  • Applications will open on August 1st, 2017 for all 2018 Mountain Guide programs.
  • For information on how to apply to a program and how applications are reviewed, click here.
  • For the 2018 application and notification deadlines, click here.
  • For the complete AMGA Course Schedule, click here.
Program Type Code Location State Dates Tuition Status Apply
Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE A12 AAGC 18 Squamish British Columbia 8/21/18 - 8/29/18 $3,900.00 Open Apply
Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE A14 AAGC 18 North Cascades Washington 9/6/18 - 9/14/18 $3,700.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Course A2 AGC 18 Boulder and Estes Park Colorado 4/10/18 - 4/18/18 $2,700.00 Applications Under Review*
Alpine Guide Course A5 AGC 18 Boulder and Estes Park Colorado 6/4/18 - 6/12/18 $2,700.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Course A8 AGC 18 Jackson Wyoming 6/12/18 - 6/20/18 $2,700.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Course A9 AGC 18 Sierra California 6/12/18 - 6/20/18 $2,700.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Exam A13 AGE 18 North Cascades Washington 8/21/18 - 8/29/18 $3,700.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Exam A15 AGE 18 North Cascades Washington 9/18/18 - 9/26/18 $3,700.00 Open Apply
Ice Instructor Course I1 IIC 18 Ouray Colorado 12/17/17 - 12/21/17 $2,350.00 Applications Under Review*
Ice Instructor Course I2 IIC 18 Ouray Colorado 1/8/18 - 1/12/18 $2,350.00 Applications Under Review*
Ice Instructor Course I3 IIC 18 Ouray Colorado 1/29/18 - 2/2/18 $2,350.00 Applications Under Review*
Ice Instructor Course I4 IIC 18 North Conway New Hampshire 1/29/18 - 2/2/18 $2,350.00 Applications Under Review*
Ice Instructor Course I6 IIC 18 Canmore Alberta 3/5/18 - 3/9/18 $2,350.00 Applications Under Review*
Alpine Skills Course A1 ASC 18 Alpine North Conway New Hampshire 4/9/18 - 4/13/18 $1,500.00 Applications Under Review*
Alpine Skills Course A3 ASC 18 Ski Bend Oregon 5/21/18 - 5/25/18 $1,500.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A4 ASC 18 Ski SLC Utah 5/14/18 - 5/18/18 $1,500.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A10 ASC 18 Alpine Estes Park Colorado 6/18/18 - 6/22/18 $1,500.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A6 ASC 18 Ski Estes Park Colorado 6/11/18 - 6/15/18 $1,500.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A7 ASC 18 Ski Mt. Erie and Mt. Baker Washington 6/11/18 - 6/15/18 $1,500.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A11 ASC 18 Alpine Mt. Erie and Mt. Baker Washington 6/18/18 - 6/22/18 $1,500.00 Open Apply
Ice Instructor Exam I5 IIE 18 North Conway New Hampshire 2/5/18 - 2/10/18 $2,750.00 Applications Under Review*

This AAGC will be based out of Squamish and will utilize the Haberl Hut in the Tantulus Range for five nights of the program. Tuition includes the hut stay and a heli lift in and out. Program tuition does not include food, lodging (outside of the hut nights), transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

The Boulder AGC splits its time between Boulder and Estes Park, CO depending on weather and conditions. Conditions at this time of year can vary greatly, but we are offering this course to meet the needs of guides that are booked during the later AGC course dates. Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

 

Instructor Dylan Tayler coaching one of his students below in the 2016 AGC in Boulder and Estes Park. Photo by Eric Whewell. 

The Boulder AGC splits its time between Boulder and Estes Park, CO depending on weather and conditions. Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

 

Instructor Rob Hess looking across at Symmetry Spire from Ice Point on the 2016 AGC in Jackson. Photo by student Jeff Dobronyi.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other expenses unless otherwise noted.

 

Instructor SP Parker with student Jesse Ray on the West Ridge of Leonard Minaret during the 2016 AGC in the Sierras. Photo by student Ted Teegarden.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Student Japhy Dhungana hooking ice during the 2017 IIC in Ouray. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted. This course may also include day trips to Lake Willoughby, VT depending on conditions and weather.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

A note on Canadian programs: Due to stipulations within NAFTA, Canadian programs are only open to US citizens who have the abilty to enter Canada legally. 

Course Director: Dale Remsberg

Instructors: Art Mooney and Patrick Ormond

Instructor Patrick Ormond teaches ice instructor techniques with the use of a tool ladder during the 2017 IIC in Canmore. Photo by student James Pierson.

This program serves as a prerequisite for both the Ski Guide Course and Alpine Guide Course, but has an alpine focus and is tailored for those individuals who plan to take programs in the Alpine discipline. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

This program serves as a prerequisite for both the Ski Guide Course and Alpine Guide Course, but has a ski focus and is tailored for those individuals who plan to take programs in the Ski discipline. Participants on this course need to be comfortable and prepared to spend time on skis and/or splitboards throughout the course.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

This program serves as a prerequisite for both the Ski Guide Course and Alpine Guide Course, but has a ski focus and is tailored for those individuals who plan to take programs in the Ski discipline. Participants on this course need to be comfortable and prepared to spend time on skis and/or splitboards throughout the course.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

This program serves as a prerequisite for both the Ski Guide Course and Alpine Guide Course, but has an alpine focus and is tailored for those individuals who plan to take programs in the Alpine discipline. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

This program serves as a prerequisite for both the Ski Guide Course and Alpine Guide Course, but has a ski focus and is tailored for those individuals who plan to take programs in the Ski discipline. Participants on this course need to be comfortable and prepared to spend time on skis and/or splitboards throughout the course.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

This program serves as a prerequisite for both the Ski Guide Course and Alpine Guide Course, but has a ski focus and is tailored for those individuals who plan to take programs in the Ski discipline. Participants on this course need to be comfortable and prepared to spend time on skis and/or splitboards throughout the course.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

This program serves as a prerequisite for both the Ski Guide Course and Alpine Guide Course, but has an alpine focus and is tailored for those individuals who plan to take programs in the Alpine discipline.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

New for 2018, this certification was created to provide a credential for guides who guide ice, but not in alpine terrain.

This exam may also include day trips to Lake Willoughby, VT depending on conditions and weather.