Each year the AMGA is proud to honor those who exemplify excellence and dedication to the profession of mountain guiding.


  • AMGA Guide of the Year – The Guide of the Year Award is awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution or achievement of significant value to the mountain guiding profession. The Guide of the Year recipient is someone who has exhibited qualities of loyalty, integrity, and moral courage worthy of emulation. The Guide of the Year is someone who has offered their services to the greater good, maintained positive relationships within the guiding community, and has participated in activities that represent the AMGA or the guiding profession at large.
  • AMGA Lifetime Achievement Award – The Lifetime Achievement in Mountain Guiding Award is to honor outstanding Americans, who by their efforts over a period of years, have made contributions of significant value to the profession of mountain guiding, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves. To receive the Lifetime Achievement Award one must be or have been actively identified with mountain guiding and has made contributions of significant value to the mountain guiding profession in their life. These contributions must have had a lasting impact on the mountain guiding profession as a whole.
  • AMGA President’s Award – Each year, the AMGA recognizes and honors an individual for an outstanding achievement or a lifetime of work. Recipients of the President’s Award have demonstrated a commitment to maintaining AMGA’s standards of excellence and professionalism for the mountain guiding profession through singular acts or a lifetime of work. Recipients of the President’s Award are held in high esteem by their peers, are engaged beyond the boundaries of a single institution when considering and shaping the mountain guiding profession, and have demonstrated breadth and depth of leadership skills.
  • AMGA Educator Award (first awarded in 2019) – This award is to honor an AMGA educator (Instructor Team, SPI Provider, CWI Provider) who has made great contributions to their students’ professional development and improving educational effectiveness at the AMGA. The recipient is a highly effective instructor, knowledgeable about their chosen craft, is a role model for their peers, contributes to the community of educators and takes the initiative to mentor members outside of course time.

Guide of the Year Award Past Recipients:

  • 2022: Matt Shove
  • 2021: Patrick Ormond
  • 2020: Alan Oram
  • 2019: Erica Engle
  • 2018: Geoff Unger
  • 2017: Marc Chauvin
  • 2016: Emilie Drinkwater
  • 2015: Pete Keane
  • 2014: Art Mooney
  • 2013: Joey Thompson
  • 2012: Marc Chauvin
  • 2011: Angela Hawse
  • 2010: Willie Benegas
  • 2009: Alain Comeau
  • 2008: Keith Garvey
  • 2007: Rob Hess
  • 2006: Tim Connelly
  • 2005: Mark Houston & Kathy Cosley
  • 2004: Miles Smart

Lifetime Achievement in Mountain Guiding Award Past Recipients

  • 2022: Angela Hawse
  • 2021: John Bicknell
  • 2020: Michael Powers
  • 2019: Art Mooney
  • 2018: Rob Hess
  • 2017: Alain Comeau
  • 2016: Martin Volken
  • 2015: Tom Hargis
  • 2014: Mark Houston
  • 2013: Kathy Cosley
  • 2012: Matt Brooks
  • 2011: Dick Jackson
  • 2010: John Fischer
  • 2009: Craig Luebben
  • 2008: Bela Vadasz
  • 2007: George Hurley
  • 2006: Rod Newcomb
  • 2005: Jim Ratz
  • 2004: Tom Hargis

The President’s Award Past Recipients:

  • 2022: Mark Allen
  • 2021: Silas Rossi
  • 2020: Alex Kosseff
  • 2019: Matt Wade
  • 2018: Ed Crothers
  • 2017: Betsy Winter
  • 2016: Jeff Ward
  • 2015: Bela Vadez
  • 2014: Eitan Green & Matthew Hegeman
  • 2013: Majka Burnhardt
  • 2012: Joe Vitti
  • 2011: Emilie Drinkwater
  • 2010: Heidi Kloos
  • 2009: Craig Luebben
  • 2008: Matt Farmer, Dawn Glanc, Kevin Mahoney & Bayard Russell
  • 2007: Pete Abolson
  • 2006: Doug Coombs & Chad Vanderham
  • 2005: Vince Anderson & Steve House
  • 2004: Doug Combs
  • 2003: Bruce Andrews

Educator Award past Recipients:

  • 2022: Cody Bradford
  • 2021: Azissa Singh
  • 2020: Karen Bockel
  • 2019: Elaina Arenz

The Presidential Gold Medal Award
The Presidential Gold Medal honors people who have contributed significantly to the mountain guiding profession, whether directly to the AMGA or indirectly by supporting a cultural or environmental project that furthers the profession. Awardees may be recognized for an important single endeavor, but more often it recognizes a person’s lifetime of service or a conclusion his/her distinguished career. The Presidents Council of the American Mountain Guides Association choose recipients either on the Council’s initiative or based on recommendations. The medal may be awarded to an individual more than once, and may also be awarded posthumously.

All past recipients received awards in 2010:

    • 1979-1985: Doug Robinson
    • 1986: Allan Pietrasanta
    • 1986-1990: Ian Wade
    • 1990-1994: Dunham Gooding
    • 1994-1995: Matt Culberson
    • 1995-1997: John Cleary
    • 1997-1999: Mark Houston
    • 1999-2000: Ramsay Thomas
    • 2000-2001: Phil Powers
    • 2001-2006: Dick Jackson
    • 2006-2008: John Bicknell