AMGA Rock Guide

 

guide_rockTo enter the program you must have a strong technical rock climbing background in a variety of rock types and climbing disciplines.

To get your Rock Guide Certification, you must complete:

  • The 10-day Rock Guide Course (RGC)
  • The 10-day Advanced Rock Guide Course & Aspirant Exam (ARGC/AE)
  • The 6-day Rock Guide Exam (RGE)
  • Current CPR Certification
  • Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification or higher that meets the Minimum Guidelines and Scope of Practice for a WFR

Program Information

  • Rock Guide Course

    This is the entry-level course for the Rock Guide and Alpine Guide programs and the Rock Instructor Certification. The Rock Guide Course (RGC) is designed for aspiring guides who have a strong rock climbing background and for instructors who are interested in improving their skills and increasing knowledge. The RGC trains aspiring guides on routes up to Grade III and 5.9 while emphasizing risk management and client rewards. You are expected to arrive with a strong recreational climbing background with an acquired knowledge of knots, belaying, anchors, protection strategies, and climbing systems. It is assumed that you can lead the climbs listed on the submitted resume and that you are physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for a week of outdoor activity.

    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
    • Five years personal rock climbing experience
    • Confidence leading traditional and sport routes up to 5.9, 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 multiple types of mechanical and non-mechanical belay devices
    • Familiar with a variety of rappel devices on multi-pitch rappels
    • Familiar with LNT Practices
    • You have led 10 traditional climbs rated 5.10a or harder on various rock types (single or multi-pitch)
    • You have led or shared lead on 10 grade III trad rock routes
    • You have led or shared lead  50 multi-pitch rock routes

    Format:
    The RGC includes indoor and outdoor classroom time, practice sessions, and climbing on a variety of rock 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 rock guiding through sessions and practical application.

  • Advanced Rock Guide Course & Aspirant Exam

    The Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE (ARGC/AE) 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, lowering and rappelling, management of transitions, and short roping and short pitching techniques. 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 the Rock Guide Course
    • You are confident leading traditional and sport routes up to 5.10+/A2, at the time of the course
    • Since completing the Rock Guide Course, you have led 10 different traditional routes rated 5.10+ or harder
    • You have led or shared lead on at least 10 Grade IV or longer traditional rock routes (5 of these have been completed since your Rock Guide Course)
    • Since completing the Rock Guide Course, you have guided or mock guided a minimum of 20 rock routes Grade III or longer

    Format:

    The ARGC/AE is a course and includes instruction, coaching, debriefing, and assessment. The assessment phase is 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. Your 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 terrain;
    • A technical skills assessment that includes a 45-minute rock rescue drill and a 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.
  • Rock Guide Exam

    The goals of the six-day Rock Guide Exam (RGE) are to assess and certify rock-climbing guides at the AMGA and IFMGA international standards and to further the general education of students.

    Format:

    During the exam you are expected to carry out guiding assignments given by the examiners. You serve as guides to the examiners and to the other participants on routes chosen for their complex guiding challenges. While acting as the guide, you are responsible for route planning, client orientation, risk management, and normal guiding practices. 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 longer routes (Grade IV and V) undertaken on the RGE require proficiency with multi-client belaying techniques, strong application skills, efficient climbing and protective systems skills and quick and accurate transitions. A strong emphasis is placed on expertise in short roping clients.

    Assessment Areas:

    • Screening of movement skills in rock terrain;
    • 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 the Advanced Rock Guide Course and Aspirant Exam
    • Confidence leading traditional and sport routes up to 5.10+/A2, at the time of the exam
    • Since completing the ARGC/AE, you have led or shared lead on 10 climbs that are rated 5.11a or harder (sport or traditional)
    • Since completing the ARGC/AE, you have guided 20 days on multi-pitch traditional routes. Of these 20 days, 15 can be mock-guided, 7 are Grade III or longer, and 3 are Grade IV or longer

Rock Programs Schedule

  • 2022 Application and Notification Deadlines are below
  • For information on how to apply to a program and how applications are reviewed, click here
  • For the complete AMGA Course Schedule, click here
Program Type Code Location State Dates Tuition Status Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R22 ARGC 22 (A) Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/6/22 - 10/15/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R19 *ARGC 22 Black Canyon and Unaweep Canyon Colorado 10/1/22 - 10/8/22 $3900.00 Open Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R22 ARGC 22 (B) Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/6/22 - 10/15/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R3* ARGC 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 3/24/23 - 3/31/23 $4250.00 Applications Under Review*
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R5 ARGC 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 4/11/23 - 4/20/23 $3400.00 Applications Under Review*
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R12 ARGC 23 Boulder Colorado 9/5/23 - 9/14/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R13* ARGC 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 9/19/23 - 9/26/23 $4250.00 Open Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R17* ARGC 23 Black and Unaweep Canyons Colorado 9/30/23 - 10/7/23 $4250.00 Open Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R20 ARGC 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/3/23 - 10/12/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R26 ARGC 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 11/6/23 - 11/15/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R29 *RGC 22 (A) Red Rock NCA Nevada 11/7/22 - 11/14/22 $3900.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R28 RGC 22 (A) Joshua Tree California 11/2/22 - 11/11/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R25 RGC 22 (A) Boulder Colorado 10/13/22 - 10/22/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R24 RGC 22 (A) Smith Rock Oregon 10/13/22 - 10/22/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R21 RGC 22 Brevard North Carolina 10/4/22 - 10/13/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R23 *WMNS* RGC 22 Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/12/22 - 10/21/22 $3100.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R24 RGC 22 (B) Smith Rock Oregon 10/13/22 - 10/22/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R25 RGC 22 (B) Boulder Colorado 10/13/22 - 10/22/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R28 RGC 22 (B) Joshua Tree California 11/2/22 - 11/11/22 $3100.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R29 *RGC 22 (B) Red Rock NCA Nevada 11/7/22 - 11/14/22 $3900.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R1 RGC 23 Joshua Tree California 3/7/23 - 3/16/23 $3400.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R2 *RGC 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 3/15/23 - 3/22/23 $4250.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R4 RGC 23 Gunks New York 4/4/23 - 4/13/23 $3400.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R7 RGC 23 Smith Rock Oregon 5/2/23 - 5/11/23 $3400.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R8* RGC 23 Smith Rock Oregon 5/16/23 - 5/23/23 $4250.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R9 RGC 23 Boulder Colorado 5/30/23 - 6/8/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R10* RGC 23 Boulder Colorado 6/13/23 - 6/20/23 $4250.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R11 RGC 23 North Conway New Hampshire 9/5/23 - 9/14/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R14* RGC 23 Boulder Colorado 9/19/23 - 9/26/23 $4250.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R19 RGC 23 Seneca Rocks West Virginia 10/3/23 - 10/12/23 $3400.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R21 RGC 23 Smith Rock Oregon 10/10/23 - 10/19/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R22 RGC 23 Boulder Colorado 10/10/23 - 10/19/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R25* RGC 23 Red Rock NCA Colorado 11/1/23 - 11/8/23 $4250.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R27 RGC 23 Joshua Tree Colorado 11/7/23 - 11/16/23 $3400.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Exam R27 RGE 22 (A) Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/31/22 - 11/5/22 $2950.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R26 RGE 22 (A) Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/17/22 - 10/22/22 $2950.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R26 RGE 22 (B) Red Rock NCA Colorado 10/17/22 - 10/22/22 $2950.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R27 RGE 22 (B) Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/31/22 - 11/5/22 $2950.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R20 RGE 22 Boulder Colorado 10/3/22 - 10/8/22 $2950.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R6 RGE 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 4/24/23 - 4/29/23 $3200.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Exam R16 RGE 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 9/27/23 - 10/2/23 $3200.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Exam R18 RGE 23 Boulder Colorado 10/2/23 - 10/7/23 $3200.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Exam R23 RGE 23 Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/16/23 - 10/21/23 $3200.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Exam R24 RGE 23 Red Rock NCA Colorado 10/30/23 - 11/4/23 $3200.00 Open Apply

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. 

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students.

Application deadline is April 4, 2022

This is a 2:1 student to instructor ratio program. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted.

The application deadline for this program is April, 4th, 2022. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. 

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students.

The application deadline is April 4, 2022

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program.

 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

This is a 2:1 student to instructor ratio program and 8 days rather than 10; max 4 students.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. 

It is strongly recommended that you purchase Trip Insurance to protect your tuition investment and other associated costs with your program.

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

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students

Student Kate McHugh leading Western Saga during the 2016 RGC in Joshua Tree. Photo by Azissa Singh.

Application deadline is April 4, 2022.

Weather and condition dependent, this program may also utilize Lumpy Ridge in Estes Park, Colorado.

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

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students

Application deadline is April 4, 2022. 

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

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students.

A student leads the way during the 2016 RGC at Smith Rock. Photo by Instructor Pete Keane.

Application deadline is April 4, 2022. 

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

3:1 student to instructor ratio; max 6 students.

The application deadline for this program is April 4th, 2022.

Over the last few years, the American Mountain Guides Association has reflected on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within our association, recognizing areas of growth and creating an action plan. One of our key focuses is creating accessibility to our courses through various initiatives like the women’s Single Pitch Instructor Course and women’s Rock Guide Course. We recognize the need to serve larger communities and have worked to secure partners that share this vision. With the support of The North Face, we have launched the next steps to the Rock Guide track, with a Rock Guide Course that will serve historically underrepresented communities within the American Mountain Guides Association.

This course is designed for anyone who identifies as a woman and would like to continue their education as a rock guide. Tuition assistance is given in the form of a scholarship to all those accepted into the program. We would like to support underrepresented communities to pursue guide training and education at the AMGA. Please note there are two parts to the application process. For more information, go to: https://amga.com/programs/affinity-programs/

Completed applications are due by April 11, 2022

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

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students.

A student leads the way during the 2016 RGC at Smith Rock. Photo by Instructor Pete Keane.

Application deadline is April 4, 2022. 

Weather and condition dependent, this program may also utilize Lumpy Ridge in Estes Park, Colorado.

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

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students

Application deadline is April 4, 2022. 

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

3:1 student to Instructor ratio; max 6 students

Student Kate McHugh leading Western Saga during the 2016 RGC in Joshua Tree. Photo by Azissa Singh.

Application deadline is April 4, 2022.

This is a 2:1 student to instructor ratio program and 8 days rather than 10; max 4 students.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. 

It is strongly recommended that you purchase Trip Insurance to protect your tuition investment and other associated costs with your program.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 7, 2022

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program.

 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: January 9, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 3:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

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

2:1 candidate to Instructor ratio; max 4 candidates

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

2:1 candidate to Instructor ratio; max 4 candidates

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

2:1 candidate to Instructor ratio; max 4 candidates

Application deadline for this program is April 4, 2022. 

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

2:1 candidate to Instructor ratio; max 4 candidates

Weather and condition-dependent, this program may also utilize Lumpy Ridge in Estes Park, Colorado.

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

2:1 candidate to Instructor ratio; max 4 candidates

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. 

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, equipment, or any other associated program costs unless otherwise noted. This is a 2:1 student to Instructor ratio program. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 3, 2023.

Application and Notification Deadlines

  • The application deadline is when your complete application is due.
  • The notification deadline is the latest date you will be contacted in regard to your enrollment.
  • Applications received after the application deadline will be reviewed on a rolling admission.
    Program DatesApplication DeadlineNotification Deadline
    SOL Mountain Lodge SGC 2022June 22, 2022July 14, 2022
    Programs with start dates of January 1 - May 29, 2023September 7, 2022October 5, 2022
    Programs with start dates of May 30 - June 30, 2023January 9, 2023February 8, 2023
    Programs with start dates of July 1 - November 30, 2023April 3, 2023May 3, 2023