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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 10-day Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam (AAGC/AE)
  • The 10-day Alpine Guide Exam (AGE)
  • You must be certified in an AMGA-approved Level III avalanche course (AIARE, AAI, or CAA Operations Level II)
  • 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.

AlpineGuide 2015

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
    • Successful completion of a Level I Avalanche Course
    • 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 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 a Level II Avalanche Course that is AMGA Approved
    • Successful completion of the Rock Guide Course or the Alpine Skills Course (for non-IFMGA track guides)
    • Confidence leading 5.10a 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 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 a Level II Avalanche Course that is AMGA Approved
    • Successful completion of the Rock Guide Course or the Alpine Guide Course
    • 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.

  • Advanced Alpine Guide Course & Aspirant Exam Sponsored by Eddie Bauer

    Diamond-Logo-size.Eddie-BauerThe AMGA would like to thank Eddie Bauer for sponsoring the Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam.

    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.

    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 a Level II Avalanche Course that is AMGA Approved
    • 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.

    Diamond-Logo-size.Eddie-BauerThe AMGA would like to thank Eddie Bauer for sponsoring the Advanced Alpine Guide Course and Aspirant Exam.

     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

    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.

    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 a Level III Avalanche Course that is AMGA approved
    • 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 open on August 1, 2016 for all 2017 Programs.
  • For information on how to apply to a program and how applications are reviewed, click here.
  • For the 2017 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 A11 AAGC 16 North Cascades Washington 9/7/16 - 9/16/16 $3,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE A9 AAGC 17 North Cascades Washington 8/22/17 - 8/30/17 $3,650.00 Open Apply
Advanced Alpine Guide Course/AE A11 AAGC 17 North Cascades Washington 9/6/17 - 9/14/17 $3,650.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Course A2 AGC 17 Boulder and Estes Park Colorado 6/5/17 - 6/13/17 $2,600.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Course A5 AGC 17 Jackson Wyoming 6/12/17 - 6/20/17 $2,600.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Course A6 AGC 17 Sierra California 6/13/17 - 6/21/17 $2,600.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Course A13 AGC 17 Boulder and Estes Park Colorado 5/2/17 - 5/10/17 $2,600.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Exam A12 AGE 16 North Cascades Washington 9/7/16 - 9/16/16 $3,500.00 Space Available! peter@amga.com
Alpine Guide Exam A13 AGE 16 Squamish British Columbia 9/21/16 - 9/29/16 $3,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Alpine Guide Exam A10 AGE 17 Lake Louise Alberta 9/6/17 - 9/14/17 $3,650.00 Open Apply
Alpine Guide Exam A12 AGE 17 North Cascades Washington 9/18/17 - 9/26/17 $3,650.00 Open Apply
Ice Instructor Course I1 IIC 17 Ouray Colorado 12/16/16 - 12/20/16 $2,300.00 Open Apply
Ice Instructor Course I2 IIC 17 Ouray Colorado 1/30/17 - 2/3/17 $2,300.00 Open Apply
Ice Instructor Course I3 IIC 17 N. Conway New Hampshire 2/6/17 - 2/10/17 $2,300.00 Open Apply
Ice Instructor Course I4 IIC 17 Canmore Alberta 2/27/17 - 3/3/17 $2,300.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A1 ASC 17 N. Conway New Hampshire 4/24/17 - 4/28/17 $1,300.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A3 ASC 17 Estes Park Colorado 6/12/17 - 6/16/17 $1,300.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A4 ASC 17 Mt. Erie and Mt. Baker Washington 6/12/17 - 6/16/17 $1,300.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A7 ASC 17 Estes Park Colorado 6/19/17 - 6/23/17 $1,300.00 Open Apply
Alpine Skills Course A8 ASC 17 Mt. Erie and Mt. Baker Washington 6/19/17 - 6/23/17 $1,300.00 Open Apply

Course Director: Jeff Ward

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 Jere Burrell surveys the scene from the sub summit of the First Flatiron on the 2016 AGC in Boulder and Estes Park. Photo by Lance Sullins. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unles 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. 

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

Exam Director: Geoff Unger

Please note, this exam location has changed to base out of Squamish, B.C. and the surrounding area (Joffree Lakes, Garibaldi and Tantulus Provincial Parks). Tuition includes a five day hut-based portion of the program at the Habrel Hut in the Tantulus Range, with a heli lift in and out. The program is 9 days in length. By being hut based we are able to eliminate drive time and other logistics such as meeting location and lodging for this portion of the program. Please e-mail [email protected] with any questions or for further information.

Exam Director: Dylan Taylor

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.

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.

 

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. 

Students learn how to mitigate risk on 3rd class terrain off of Trail Ridge Road during the 2016 ASC in Estes Park. Photo by student Bruce Saxman.

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

Students hike to basecamp on Mt. Baker during the 2016 ASC in the Cascades. Photo by student Kt Miller. 

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

Instructor Eric Whewell demonstates crevasse rescue off of a cornice for students during the 2016 ASC in Estes Park. Photo by student Thomas White. 

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

Instructor Matt Farmer teaches station management on Mt. Erie during the 2016 ASC in the Cascades. Photo by student Robin Schofield.