AMGA advanced ski guide courses and exams are wrapping up winter programs while summer programs such as rock guide courses, advanced rock and guide exams start to swing. Many of us are making our annual migration north towards the arctic circle to chase deep cold snow at the same time a long cold wet winter drives others to escape to drier climates like the Colorado Plateau. In the coming weeks we will strengthen our fingers on sandstone varnish plates and granite chicken heads, pump our guns on run out pitches up fountain sandstone, and remind ourselves that 5.9 was a hard rating in the 60’s and sure feels hard this early in the spring. After the first day of rock work for the season I am reminded of the skills we as a result of the American Mountain Guide Association Rock Guide Course.
“I impressed a group of Seattle Mountaineers on the top of Concord Tower on WA Pass when I converted a munter hitch into a clove hitch after belaying my client to the summit. I learned that skill in the RGC.”
Since the course last year I have progressed through other baseline guide track courses and along the way I gained professional and personal climbing experience. These experiences have developed a foundation in the fine art of mountain guiding. The AMGA instructor team members deliver their art in a professional structured manner that enhance professional guides. Often times we learn something that wasn’t in the course description or handbook. Bozeman and Jackson Hole based guide Cat Coe says the best thing she learned on course was,
“That you can make a living out of guiding! Inspiring to see instructors with different approaches make it”
Year after year the world of american mountain guiding continues it's upward progression with a commitment to professionalism. Employers play an important role in this upward progression by encouraging guides to train and certify through the American Mountain Guide Association. For many, applying for and participating in a course for the first time can seem intimidating.
When RGC participants were asked "Did this course help and would you recommend it to others?," the irrefutable response was “definitely.”
Whether or not you believe in the AMGA or plan to certify as a rock guide, the rock guide course will develop technical, personal, or instructional skills. If nothing else you get to climb with exceptional people at some of the best climbing venues in the country. Who knows you may even get to ride in a new friends hot boxed Subaru on your way to a stare down with an overprotective turf defending goose.