AMGA Announces Terrain and Supervision Guidelines

AMGA Announces Terrain and Supervision Guidelines

Boulder, Colo. May 14, 2015 – The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Review Team announces updates to the Terrain and Supervision Guidelines.

The Review Team, comprised of 11 voting AMGA members, met outside of Jackson Hole, Wyo., earlier this month in a landmark meeting to review and update the AMGA’s Terrain and Supervision Guidelines.

Assigned to cover the full range of geography, terrain and operational scope that makes up American mountain guiding, the Review Team worked to accomplish the goal of developing a framework that supported the goal of assuring that guides work in terrain for which they are trained.

A parallel goal for the Review Team was to establish a product that works for all AMGA members and guide services.

“The guiding community has grown increasingly more divided, especially in the last year. We desperately needed to come together to develop a plan to foster an approach to our organization to bring all the entities involved with the AMGA together as one unified front, said Rob Hess, Board President and owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.

“In order to allow the mountain guiding industry in the U.S. to realize its full potential and gain the access we need to operate, we must all work together. This meeting represented a strong step in this direction and I am very hopeful for the future of guiding in the United States.”

The outcome of the early May AMGA Terrain and Supervision Guidelines Review Team meeting will be the basis of a preliminary report to the AMGA board at its next meeting June 6th in Boulder, Colo.

Assuming the full board supports the recommendations the next step will be to work with a recreational use legal specialist to draft language that is legally sound and avoids potential liability pitfalls. Once this is complete it is anticipated the final language will be voted on by the board at its Annual meeting in October.

Among the highlights of the agreed upon updates are:

The Terrain and Supervision Guidelines have been streamlined and simplified, including eliminating documentation requirements, and the title changed to Scope of Practice to better capture their intent.

Agreed to create interim training certifications that would support guides focused on moderate glacier travel or ice cragging terrain.

Agreed to hold accredited companies and individuals to the scope of practice standards as a condition of membership.

Agreed to stay on track for 2017 implementation of Scope of Practice requirements but with a scaled phasing to give companies the opportunity to work with their employees to move forward in their training as needed.

A number of the Review Team participants followed up with these comments as the session was completed:

Geoff Unger: “The implementation of scope of practice for the AMGA community will be the most important milestone for our organization since I have been a member.  I was impressed with the ability of the team to reach consensus on all the key topics up for review.  We still have work to do, but the initial discussion is moving in the right direction and I have confidence we will meet our goals by the annual meeting in October.”

Elaina Arenz: “A diverse group of representatives from across the guiding industry sat down together to share our varying points of view. Together we collaborated and proposed solutions that we feel address the needs of American guides across all disciplines.”

Paul Maier: “I was pleased by the frank and articulate manner in which everyone advocated for their positions during the meeting. Issues of fairness, regional needs, big guides services vs. independent guides, and the practical realities of U.S. guiding were all debated. In the end I believe we arrived at a Scope of Practice document that serves both the public and AMGA membership well.”

Mark Allen: “This was desperately needed full spectrum collaborative reprogramming that targeted inclusion for the future. We are offering real solutions to answer the feedback from operators, certified guides, and guides outside the organization. The success of these groups was carefully factored when constructing new options for current and potential AMGA members while protecting the standard. I’m more than stoked to execute and we will need everyone’s support.”

 Marty Molitoris: “It was great to see independent guides and guide service owners gather together the last two days to listen to each others needs and work together to reach a solution to the Scope of Practice that best suits everyone in the AMGA. The outcome of all their hard work will surely become another memorable moment for the organization under the shadow of the Grand Teton.”

Bill Allen: “I really appreciated the opportunity to sit down with guides from different backgrounds, from different regions, and representing different parts of the mountain guiding industry in the US and find common ground on some challenging issues.  The meeting has laid the groundwork for moving forward in a way that can be inclusive and continue to raise the standards of training and professionalism for US guides.  There will be more work to do, but it can be done and we can come out of this with a stronger AMGA.  Thanks to the AMGA staff and board for putting this meeting together, and to everyone who made the time and put the energy into attending and making this happen.”

Nat Patridge: “I feel very good about the two days and think our recommendations have the potential to have a very positive and long lasting effect on American guiding. I was very impressed with all the participants’ capacity for inclusion and forward thinking openness and I believe that will have many unforeseen positive benefits.

Silas Rossi: The AMGA is making huge efforts to better represent all those working as mountain guides and instructors in the U.S. It is, of course, critical that we not compromise the core values and high level of professionalism that is the foundation of the AMGA and its guide training curriculum in doing so.  This meeting was a crucial step to that end and I look forward to the resulting ideas becoming reality.”

About American Mountain Guides Association:

The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit that inspires and supports a culture of American mountain craft. The AMGA is the premier source for training, credentials and resource stewardship for professional mountain guides and climbing instructors in the United States. For additional information, please visit