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AMGA Rock Guide

discipline_rock_colorRockGuideThe foundation of technical guiding, The Rock Guide Program prepares and trains you for a professional level of technical instruction and guiding in rock terrain. You will learn or refine your skills in risk-management, industry standards, route finding, technical skills, terrain assessment, rescue scenarios, and client care.

To 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) was 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 50 multi-pitch routes (10 of which are Grade III or longer)

    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 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 Sponsored By Black Diamond

    Diamond-Logo-size.BD_

    The AMGA would like to thank Black Diamond for sponsoring the 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 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

Important Notes

  • 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 Rock Guide Course/AE R14 ARGC 16 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/4/16 - 10/13/16 $2,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R16 ARGC 16 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/12/16 - 10/21/16 $2,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R2 ARGC 17 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 4/10/17 - 4/19/17 $2,650.00 Applications Under Review*
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R12 ARGC 17 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/2/17 - 10/11/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Advanced Rock Guide Course/AE R16 ARGC 17 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/10/17 - 10/19/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R13 RGC 16 Brevard North Carolina 10/4/16 - 10/13/16 $2,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R18 RGC 16 Joshua Tree California 11/2/16 - 11/11/16 $2,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R20 RGC 16 Joshua Tree California 11/10/16 - 11/19/16 $2,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Course R1 RGC 17 Joshua Tree California 3/14/17 - 3/23/17 $2,650.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R4 RGC 17 Gunks New York 4/25/17 - 5/4/17 $2,650.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Course R5 RGC 17 Smith Rock Oregon 5/2/17 - 5/11/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R6 RGC 17 Boulder Colorado 5/16/17 - 5/25/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R7 RGC 17 Boulder Colorado 6/13/17 - 6/23/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R9 RGC 17 N. Conway New Hampshire 8/22/17 - 8/31/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R13 RGC 17 Boulder Colorado 10/3/17 - 10/12/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R14 RGC 17 Seneca Rocks West Virginia 10/3/17 - 10/12/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R15 RGC 17 Smith Rock Oregon 10/10/17 - 10/19/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R18 RGC 17 Joshua Tree California 11/2/17 - 11/11/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Course R19 RGC 17 Joshua Tree California 11/10/17 - 11/19/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Exam R15 RGE 16 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/4/16 - 10/9/16 $2,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R17 RGE 16 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/16/16 - 10/21/16 $2,500.00 Waitlist Waitlist
Rock Guide Exam R3 RGE 17 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 4/24/17 - 4/29/17 $2,650.00 Applications Under Review*
Rock Guide Exam R11 RGE 17 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/2/17 - 10/7/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply
Rock Guide Exam R17 RGE 17 Red Rock Canyon Nevada 10/14/17 - 10/19/17 $2,650.00 Open Apply

Course Director: Jeff Ward

Course Director: Mike Poborsky

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

Instructor Eric Whewell following the student's lead on the 2016 ARGC in Red Rock Canyon. Photo by Instructor Christian Santelices.

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. 

Course Director: Angela Hawse

The R13 RGC is limited to 6 participants, 3:1 ratio

Course Director: Erik Leidecker

Course Director: Jeff Ward

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

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

This is a small program that is limited to 6 students. Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Instructor Geoff Unger coaches a student on belay management from below during the 2016 RGC in the Gunks. Photo by Instructor Silas Rossi. 

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

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

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

Looking over towards the Bastille in Eldorado Canyon State Park during the 2016 RGC in Boulder. Photo by student Devin Farkas.

Student Karen Hilton works her way up the Bastille Crack in Eldorado Canyon during the 2016 RGC in Boulder. Photo by student Brandon Phillips.

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

Students Jason and Mark lowering off of the East Ledge in Eldorado Canyon during the 2016 RGC in Boulder. Photo by student Brandon Phillips.

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.

Instructor Mark Hammond teaches the knot pass during the 2016 RGC in Boulder. Photo by student Devin Farkas. 

This is a small program that is limited to 6 students. Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

Students Arthur and Diane leading with Instructor Angela Hawse below. Photo by Instructor Alain Comeau.

This is a small program that is limited to 6 students. Program tuition does not include food, lodging, transportation, or other course expenses unless otherwise noted.

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

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.

Exam Director: Larry Goldie

Exam Director: TBA

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.