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

  • Applications open at 5 p.m on Friday, August 4th. (Applications are not first come first serve – reference the links below for more information. )
  • For information on how to apply to a program and how applications are reviewed, click here
  • For the complete AMGA Course Schedule, click here
  • Tuition prices are still being finalized. The exact price will be listed before applications open.
Program Type Code Location State Dates Tuition Status Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R12 *ARGC 24 Boulder / Estes Colorado 6/20/24 - 6/27/24 $4525.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R18 *ARGC 24 Red Rock NCA Nevada 9/16/24 - 9/23/24 $4525.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R21 ARGC 24 Red Rock NCA Nevada 9/26/24 - 10/5/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R23 *ARGC 24 Unaweep / Black Canyon Colorado 10/3/24 - 10/10/24 $4525.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R25 ARGC 24 Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/8/24 - 10/17/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R31 *ARGC 24 Boulder / Estes Colorado 10/30/24 - 11/6/24 $4525.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R14 RGC 24 Boulder Colorado 7/22/24 - 7/31/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R15 *BIPOC RGC 24 Boulder Colorado 9/4/24 - 9/11/24 $4525.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R16 *Veterans* RGC 24 Leavenworth Washington 9/5/24 - 9/14/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R17 RGC 24 North Conway New Hampshire 9/10/24 - 9/19/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R19 *RGC 24 Boulder Colorado 9/16/24 - 9/23/24 $4525.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R22 RGC 24 Brevard North Carolina 10/1/24 - 10/10/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R27 RGC 24 Smith Rock Oregon 10/15/24 - 10/24/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R28 RGC 24 Boulder Colorado 10/18/24 - 10/27/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R32 RGC 24 Joshua Tree California 10/29/24 - 11/7/24 $3675.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R26 *WMNS RGC 24 Boulder Colorado 10/8/24 - 10/15/24 $4525.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R34 *WMNS* RGC 24 Boulder Colorado 9/17/24 - 9/24/24 $4525.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R20 RGE 24 Boulder / Estes Colorado 9/26/24 - 10/1/24 $3475.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R29 RGE 24 Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/20/24 - 10/25/24 $3475.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R33 RGE 24 Red Rock NCA Nevada 11/5/24 - 11/10/24 $3475.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R30 RGE 24 Red Rock NCA Nevada 10/28/24 - 11/2/24 $3475.00 Waitlist Waitlist

Instructor Team: Dale Remsberg, Matt Hartman *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

This is a 2:1 program.

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

Instructor Team: Matt Farmer, Ian Nicolson, Lindsay Fixmer *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability* 

This is a 2:1 program.

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

Photo by Jason Antin

Instructor Team: Andrew Councell, Lindsay Fixmer, Buster Jesik *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

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

Photo by Jason Antin

Instructor Team: Vince Anderson, Patrick Ormond, Mike Soucy *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

This is a 2:1 program.

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

Daniel Sundqvist finishes traversing on 4th pitch of Comic 2.0 by Matthew Pinheiro.

Instructor Team: Geoff Unger, Rob Hess, Buster Jesik, Howie Schwartz

*Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

This is a 3:1 program.

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

Photo by Jason Antin

Instructor Team: Eric Whewell, Dylan Taylor, Buster Jesik *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

This is a 2:1 program.

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

Course Director: Vince Anderson

Instructor: Keith Garvey

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.

Course Director: Joshua Jarrin

Instructors: Kristin Arnold, Sheldon Kerr

Through our reflection on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) has identified affinity-based access as a key area of growth. Affinity programs are designed to create space for AMGA members from underrepresented groups within guiding, instructing, climbing, and skiing/snowboarding.
Although this program has historically received tuition assistance, this year, the program does not include any financial assistance. We are continuing to offer this program as we recognize the value of these affinity spaces to support members within the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community.
This course is designed for anyone who identifies as BIPOC and would like to continue their education as a rock guide.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 3, 2024

Course Director: Mick Pearson

Instructors: Mike Abbey

*Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability

This program is only open to VETERANS of the US Military who wish to use their GI Bill funds to pay for the course. This course is run through the American Alpine Institute (an AMGA accredited business), who are accredited and approved to accept GI Bill funding.

In order to participate on this Alpine Guide Course, you must:

1) Be a veteran of the US Military

2) Apply to the program, pay the non-refundable application fee, and submit all of the required application materials (resume, WFR/CPR, and AMGA approved avalanche training certs) to show that you meet the prerequisites for the AGC

3) Email Jesse Littleton ([email protected]) proof of veteran status

4) Once your materials have been reviewed, you will be eligible to become enrolled in the course if space is available (like all AMGA programs, entrance is competitive and we may receive more applications than we have spaces available - meeting the prerequisites is not a guarantee of enrollment, please review the process for application review here.

5) If accepted into the program, you will be sent a document describing how to complete the enrollment process and use your VA benefits to pay for the program. You cannot be officially enrolled until you have completed the VA Benefits Survey and Enrollment Agreement through the American Alpine Institute.

If you have any questions about this course, the application review/enrollment process, how to use your VA benefits, or anything else related to this program, please contact Jesse Littleton ([email protected]).

Course Director: Paul Rachele

Instructor: Amos Whiting

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

Course Director: Mike Soucy

Instructors: Micah Lewkowitz, Vince Anderson, Matt Hartman

This is a 2:1 ratio. Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Course Director: Christian Santelices

Instructor: Paul Rachele

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

Instructor Team: Jeff Ward, Josh Cole, Ian Nicholson, Evan Stevens *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

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

AMGA Student following on Skyridge. Photo by Steve Schwortz

Instructor Team: Karen Bockel, Dylan Taylor, Micah Lewkowotiz, Eric Larson *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

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

Instructor Team: Emilie Drinkwater, Sheldon Kerr, Kristin Arnold, Christian Santelices *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

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

Instructor team member Tim Brown going over descending technique with Joe Fratianni and Andrew Bogaard on top of Intersection Rock in Joshua Tree NP.

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.

At this time, this is not a tuition-assisted program, but we are hoping to secure partner funding similar to previous years. We will keep applicants udpated on the status of this. The program will run as a women's RGC regardless. 

This program is for anyone who identifies as a woman and would like to continue their education as a rock guide. 

Please note there are two parts to the application process. You must complete the Rock Guide Course Resume template and the Essay Application. More information will be provided when this application opens. 

Instructor Team:: Karen Bockel, Sheldon Kerr, Margaret Wheeler, Kristin Arnold. *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

Instructor Team: Kristin Arnold, Sheldon Kerr *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

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.

At this time, this is not a tuition-assisted program, but we are hoping to secure partner funding similar to previous years. We will keep applicants udpated on the status of this. The program will run as a women's RGC regardless. 

This program is for anyone who identifies as a woman and would like to continue their education as a rock guide. 

Please note there are two parts to the application process. You must complete the Rock Guide Course Resume template and the Essay Application. More information will be provided when this application opens. 

Instructor Team: Dale Remsberg, Joshua Jarrin 

 *Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability* 

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

Instructor Team: Geoff Unger, Rob Hess, Keith Garvey, Andrew Councell

*Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability*

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

Photo by Jason Antin

Instructor Team: Ian Nicholson, Mike Soucy, Matt Farmer, Erik Leidecker

*Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability* 

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

Photo by Jason Antin

Instructor Team: Mike Soucy, Andrew Councell, Paul Kobek, Keith Garvey

*Staffing is subject to change throughout the year based on AMGA programming needs and instructor availability* 

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

Photo by Jason Antin

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
    Programs with start dates of November 25 - December 31, 2023
    (S1 SGC 24 & I11 IIC 23)
    August 25, 2023September 1, 2023
    Programs with start dates of January 1 - May 31, 2024September 10, 2023October 12, 2023
    Programs with start dates of June 1 - August 31, 2024December 1, 2023December 15, 2023
    Programs with start dates of September 1 - November 15, 2024March 3, 2024March 28, 2024