The 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:
Although this is a demanding program, it opens up tremendous opportunities for you as a professional guide.
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 be not be practical to access certain terrain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 10-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2016 Application and Notification Deadlines
|Program Dates||Course or Exam Code||Application Deadline||Notification Deadline|
|All programs with start dates between December 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016||S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, S10, S11, S12, I1, I2, I3, I4, R1, R2, R3, R5||September 15, 2015||October 15, 2015|
|All programs with start dates between May 1, 2016 and August 31, 2016||A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, A9, A10, R4, R6, R7, R8, R9, R10, R11, R12||December 15, 2015||January 15, 2016|
|All programs with start dates between September 1, 2016 and November 30, 2016||A11, A12, A13, R13, R14, R15, R16, R17, R18, R19, R20||March 15, 2016||April 15, 2016|
Alpine Programs Schedule
|Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE||A10 - 15||Cascades||Washington||9/9/15 - 9/18/15||$3,500.00||Full|
|Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE||A11 - 15||Cascades||Washington||9/22/15 - 10/1/15||$3,500.00||Full|
|Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE||A8 AAGC 16||Cascades||Washington||7/12/16 - 7/21/16||$3,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE||A9 AAGC 16||Cascades||Washington||8/12/16 - 8/21/16||$3,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE||A11 AAGC 16||Cascades||Washington||9/7/16 - 9/16/16||$3,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Guide Course||A1 AGC 16||Boulder||Colorado||6/1/16 - 6/9/16||$2,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Guide Course||A4 AGC 16||Sierra||California||6/14/16 - 6/22/16||$2,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Guide Course||A5 AGC 16||Jackson||Wyoming||6/14/16 - 6/22/16||$2,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Guide Course||A10 AGC 16||Cascades||Washington||8/24/16 - 9/1/16||$2,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Guide Exam||A9 - 15||Squamish||9/9/15 - 9/18/15||$3,500.00||Waitlist||Waitlist|
|Alpine Guide Exam||A12 - 15||Cascades||Washington||9/9/15 - 9/18/15||$3,500.00||Waitlist||Waitlist|
|Alpine Guide Exam||A12 AGE 16||Cascades||Washington||9/7/16 - 9/16/16||$3,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Guide Exam||A13 AGE 16||Cascades||Washington||9/20/16 - 9/29/16||$3,500.00||Open||Apply|
|Ice Instructor Course||I1 IIC 16||Ouray||Colorado||12/14/15 - 12/18/15||$2,200.00||Open||Apply|
|Ice Instructor Course||I2 IIC 16||Ouray||Colorado||1/4/16 - 1/8/16||$2,200.00||Open||Apply|
|Ice Instructor Course||I3 IIC 16||North Conway||New Hampshire||2/1/16 - 2/5/16||$2,200.00||Open||Apply|
|Ice Instructor Course||I4 IIC 16||Canmore||3/14/16 - 3/18/16||$2,200.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Skills Course||A2 ASC 16||Estes Park||Colorado||6/13/16 - 6/17/16||$1,200.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Skills Course||A3 ASC 16||Cascades||Washington||6/13/16 - 6/17/16||$1,200.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Skills Course||A6 ASC 16||Estes Park||Colorado||6/20/16 - 6/24/16||$1,200.00||Open||Apply|
|Alpine Skills Course||A7 ASC 16||Cascades||Washington||6/20/16 - 6/24/16||$1,200.00||Open||Apply|
Course Director: Jeff Ward.
Course Director: Dylan Taylor.
This program will split time between Boulder, CO and Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO.
Exam Director: Evan Stevens.
Exam Director: Vince Anderson.