American Mountain Guides Association
March 2011
In This Issue
2011 Scholarships
2011 Program Schedule
Accreditation & CIP Update
Doug Nidever News
Access Update
Raptor Closure
Instructor Pool Opportunities
Job Postings
Greetings from Boulder.
It's 70║ and sunny outside the office today. That can mean only one thing - we're due for a spring snowstorm. Lots to update you on, in this edition of the AMGA eNewsletter. We've selected the recipients of the 2011 Scholarships, our list of Accredited Programs is growing and things are happening in the world of Access, to name a few. Read on...
2011 Scholarship Recipients
We continued the trend of a record number of applications. Due to the high-quality of the submissions, the decision making process was quite difficult. We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2011 AMGA Scholarships:

Arc'teryx - Jed Porter
Backcountry Access - Patrick Ormond
Black Diamond - Ben Gardner
Chad VanderHam Niice Fund - Silas Rossi
First Ascent - Gary Falk
GORE-TEX« - Joey Thompson
Jim Ratz Memorial - Peter Doucette
Jeep - Tracy Martin
Julie Cheney Culberson Educational Fund - Sheldon Kerr
Mammut - Kel Rossiter
Marmot - Liz Smart
Mike Hattrup - Don Carpenter
Mountain Hardwear - Andrew Councell
Outdoor Research - Tim Brown
Osprey - Don Roth
Patagonia - Lindsay Fixmer
Doug Parker & Roger Baxter-Jones Memorial - Jesse Williams
Petzl - Ryan Stefiuk
The North Face - Mike Soucy
Walker Family Foundation - Jayson Simons-Jones

Thanks to all that applied.
2011 Program Schedule
Accreditation and Climbing Instructor Program News

Accreditation Update 


Congratulations to Irwin Backcountry Guides for having successfully completed the accreditation review process.  Irwin Backcountry Guides is a cat skiing operation based outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.  Alan Bernholtz, AMGA Certified Ski Guide, and crew run this unique operation in conjunction with the CS Irwin Lodge.  Irwin BC Guides is only the second ski guiding program, and first cat skiing program, to attain AMGA Accreditation. 


Climbing Instructor Program News


This past weekend the first Single Pitch Instructor Provider training took place under sunny skies in Joshua Tree National Park.  In 2011there are limited opportunities to begin the process of becoming a SPI Provider.  If this is something you are interested in pursuing, it is strongly suggested you apply sooner than later.  The only other SPI Provider trainings that are being offered this year take place in Boulder, Colorado, May 25-26 and in the Gunks, October 24-25.  Cover letters and resumes must be submitted at least one month prior to the start of the training.


Climbing Wall Instructor Provider trainings are being held at Baylor University (TX) on May 5-6, Boulder, CO May 10-11, Boston, MA October 3-4 and San Antonio, TX November 6-7.  Other training dates and locations are in the works and will be announced as the planning is finalized.  Again, application materials need to arrive in the AMGA office no later than 1 month prior to the start of the training.


For more information, contact Ed Crothers by email at:

Doug Nidever Update
We generally think of guides as being strong, fit and more likely to encounter life threatening situation in the mountains rather than being struck by heart disease. But on January 28th AMGA/IFMGA guide and Instructor pool member Doug Nidever was found unconscious at his home in June Lake.

Doug suffered a heart attack and a stroke and was was Life Flighted out of the Eastern Sierra to Renown Medical Center in Reno where he remains in critical but stable condition. There doctors are working to diminish extensive blood clots throughout his body that pose obvious risk to further complications and he has the prospect of heart surgery in his future.

Doug is a partner in Sierra Mountain Guides, has guided for decades for Yosemite Mountaineering School and has lived in the June Lake area for 25 years. An AMGA member since the mid-90's and a member of the AMGA Instructor Pool since 2002, Doug has wowed participants on courses and at the AMGA meetings with his prowess on ice and also in tackling the nastiest looking cracks and offwidths in a calm style with aplomb.

Recently Doug spearheaded an effort to create a fine skating ice rink on Gull Lake in memory of his son, Layton who died several years ago.

Doug recently was able to return home where he continues the recovery process. A fund has been set up to help Doug with the medical bills he is facing. You can learn more about the fund and check in on Doug's progress at this Facebook group created by a few of his friends.

Remember that no one is immune to medical problems so get those physical checkups - especially as you get older.

Thanks to SP Parker for providing the update on Doug.

Access Update

Is Guiding Necessary in National Parks' Wilderness?


The National Park Service recently released an updated draft of its wilderness management policies. The update covers a wide range of climbing management topics including provisions specific to commercial services. Iconic climbing areas in the U.S.-including Yosemite, Zion, Black Canyon, and Rocky Mountain national parks-will be governed by this new policy. The AMGA worked hard to get our comments submitted in time in support of continued allowance of guided climbing and skiing in Rock and Alpine terrain in Wilderness. Outward Bound endorsed our comments. The American Alpine Club submitted a letter of support, as well. Click here to view the AMGA's letter to the NPS.


The AMGA also submitted comments in support of the Access Fund's position on fixed anchors in the Wilderness. Along with other identified climbing stakeholders in the US, the AMGA participated in the development of this position. Click here to view the Access Fund's letter to the NPS.



Rock Guiding on the Table in Arches National Park


Arches National Park is currently developing a Climbing and Canyoneering Management Plan. For the first time, guided rock climbing is being considered. The AMGA submitted comments in support of this new possibility. Click here to view the AMGA's letter to Arches NP.


If you have any input on guiding in Arches NP, please contact the AMGA office or email Leigh Goldberg at


Click here to read more about Arches' proposed alternatives. 



Mount Rainier National Park Seeks Volunteer Climbing Rangers


Mount Rainier National Park is hiring three volunteer climbing rangers. The park is seeking solid climbers in excellent physical condition who have EMT skills who want to work at the park from April 17th to Sept 30th. Housing and per diem expenses are provided. See the full job description here. Send resumes and letters of interest to

Mount Rainier Increases Annual Climbing Permit Fee


On March 14th, the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park contacted the AMGA informing us of the approved decision to increase the Annual Climbing Permit fee to $43. Along with the Access Fund and American Alpine Club, we conditionally supported this lower range fee increase. Read the Superintendent's letter to the three national climbing organizations.

Raptor Closure in J-Tree 

Due to recent raptor activity we find it necessary to implement the following closure:  

Under authority of 36 CFR 1.5 (a) (2), I hereby close all public activities 400 meters from the base of the formation described as "Tower of Uncertainty"   for the protection of natural resources. Specifically, Kestrels (Falco sparverius) and Red-Tailed Hawks are reported to be nesting in very close proximity to these rock formations. These rock formations require closure to ensure the protection of the species for the duration of nesting activities by limiting disturbance to the birds as a result of human activity in close proximity to their nest activities.   This action is described as an emergency situation closure as the Kestrels and Red-Tailed Hawk have shown reoccurring activity.   This closure does not affect the use of the California Riding and Hiking Trail.


The closure will be effect from 12:00 pm March 12, 2011 to 12:00 pm June 15, 2011.   Park resources staff will confirm nesting activity and monitor the nest.   When nesting activity and fledgling has been completed, park staff will be notified and the site will be reopened.


Special Use Office


The AMGA is Searching for Qualified Certified Guides for Our Instructor Pool

Unique Opportunity for the Right Applicant 

The AMGA is excited to announce a unique opportunity for all IFMGA Certified Mountain Guides and AMGA Certified Rock, Alpine, and Ski Mountaineering Guides to apply for a position with the AMGA Instructor Pool (IP).  


To apply, please review the enclosed job description and submit a resume and cover letter to Henry Beyer, Program Director, at In your cover letter please specify in which discipline(s) (rock, alpine, or ski) you are most interested in working and where you have the most experience.


Resume and cover letter must be received by 11:59 pm MDST, Friday April 15th, 2011.


Position Purpose:  

To instruct, as qualified, AMGA rock, alpine, and ski programs.


Essential Position Functions:  

The primary function of all AMGA IP members is to educate and train aspiring mountain guides in the areas of risk management, client care, technical systems, application, terrain assessment, movement skills, mountain sense, professionalism and instructional technique.



On an as needed basis.



Discipline dependent. Travel is expected. 



Based on experience.  


Job Qualifications:  

The AMGA is looking for certified guides with diverse guiding experience. It is not enough to simply be certified. The successful applicant will not only have high level guide skills, they will also possess a strong teaching background, be seen as a leader and mentor to less experienced guides, and can show, since earning certification, a commitment to personal growth and continued development as an educator and guide. 


Furthermore, the successful applicant must provide a personal and guiding resume detailing his or her experience since starting the AMGA's training and certification program. Certification is a minimum requirement and must be supported with a robust and diverse resume.

  • Certification 
    • IFMGA certification is preferred.
    • At a minimum, applicants must hold an AMGA Rock, Alpine, or Ski Mountaineering Guide certification.
  • Preference given to applicants with a strong background in instruction, teaching, and/or outdoor education.
  • Guiding experience
    • Applicants must provide a detailed guiding resume. 
    • Applicants must currently be guiding in at least one of the three primary disciplines--Alpine, Rock, or Ski.
  • Have been employed and/or viewed as a leader and mentor for younger guides.
  • Possess high-level movement skills.
  • Leadership Skills
    • Demeanor sets an example for others
    • Fair, assertive and firm 
    • Willing to make tough decisions
  • Communication Skills (Verbal and Written)
    • Speaks in a clear, understandable voice
    • Is an articulate and well-organized speaker
    • Answers questions directly
    • Can express him/herself clearly in written communication
    • Makes few grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors
  • Listening Skills
    • Can use active/reflective listening
    • Asks questions when unsure of understanding
    • Solicits feedback and incorporates feedback into daily work 
    • Honestly interested in the viewpoints of students, colleagues and superiors. 
  • Management Skills
    • Attends to details when needed
    • Regularly looks for ways to improve the work place
    • Models desired behavior
    • Regularly informs superiors of progress/problems
    • Plans Well
  • Organizational Skills 
    • Can move from one task to another competently
    • Multi-tasks effectively 
    • Stays organized under high stress
  • Interpersonal Skills
    • Assertive but does not offend
    • Seeks first to understand
    • Manages own anger well
  • Ability to work as a team member
    • Communicates well with others
    • Gets along well with fellow team members
  • Initiative
    • Comfortable making decisions to solve problems
    • Takes initiative when appropriate
  • In good physical condition
    • Due to the unique nature of this job instructors are expected to meet or exceed the following standards while carrying a "guides pack" as a condition of employment:
      • Must be able to take over a lead at any time as a Risk Management tool.
      • Must exceed the minimum skill and fitness prerequisites that apply to the participants/candidates.
  • Understanding of the guiding and outdoor industry preferred
  • Dedication to the value of guide education and training
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel, and e-mail software (other word and spreadsheet applications acceptable)
  • Provide one letter of recommendation from past or present instructor pool member discussing suitability of applicant for the instructor pool.

Instructor Responsibilities:

In addition to those listed here, Instructors may have other responsibilities established by the Program Director and/or Technical Director. Furthermore, depending on the particular job assignment, an instructor may have additional responsibilities.

  • Respond to inquiries about AMGA programs
  • Assist Program Director with preparation of Participant Information packets for corresponding discipline.
  • Assist with development and revision of program material
  • Assist Program Director with logistics for AMGA programs
  • Submit expenses for courses and exams to AMGA Program Director within three (3) weeks of course completion date
  • Maintain current copies of CPR and WFR certifications with Program Director
  • Respond to inquiries and requests by PD and others in a timely manner
  • Fill out and turn in all paperwork in a timely manner
  • Maintain comprehensive field notes, with particular attention made to justifying Marginal or Not Pass marks.
  • Confirm commitment to attend and direct course 8 weeks prior to Day 1, assuming the AMGA has confirmed sign-ups for the course.
  • Arrange personal travel to course location within approved budget guidelines.
  • Review participant applications (online at
  • Attend Instructor Pool training
  • Maintain appropriate level of fitness and conditioning. Notify Program Director of any issues that may negatively impact the instructors ability to perform at the appropriate level.
  • Notify Program Director of any issues that may cause instructor to have a conflict with a staffing assignment
  • Present a professional attitude to the public, candidates and other instructors at all times. 

To apply, please review the enclosed job description and submit a resume and cover letter to Henry Beyer, Program Director, at your cover letter please specify in which discipline(s) (rock, alpine, or ski) you are most interested in working and where you have the most experience.


Resume and cover letter must be received by 11:59 pm MDST, Friday April 15th, 2011.

Job Postings

helpwantedIn an attempt to better serve our Accredited Programs, Certified Guides and Corporate Partners, we will be offering space in the monthly e-Newsletter
to share job opportunities.  This benefit is available to any current AMGA Accredited Program, Certified Guide or Corporate Partner.  Postings must be submitted to between the 1st and the 5th of every month in order to make the monthly e-Newsletter.  Any postings submitted outside this time-frame will be deleted.  Postings must be 150 words or less and will be reviewed and accepted or denied by the AMGA office staff.  Please email with any questions.


Eastern Mountain Sports is Hiring
Eastern Mountain Sports is looking for an AMGA-certified Rock Instructor for a full-time, year-round Manager of Schools position at its Lake Placid NY location. This person will carry an active guiding and instructing load as well as oversee many of the administrative duties associated with this sort of operation. Ideally, this candidate would also be ACA-certified to Level 4 in kayak instruction, PSIA-certified in Telemark Ski instruction, and have taken an AIARE Level 2 avalanche course. You should be a current Wilderness First Responder, and the relevant New York State Guides licenses will also be required ultimately. For a more detailed job description or any other information, please email Charlie Townsend at or call (800) 310-4504.

Seneca Rocks Climbing School is Hiring 

Seneca Rocks Climbing School is hiring a new full-time guide to work and live at Seneca Rocks, WV for the 2011 rock climbing season.  The working season runs from April through Oct. Guides will be working in a traditional, multi-pitch environment and must have the Rock Instructor skill-set. Applicant should have good interpersonal skills with people of all ages and the ability to work one-on-one with single clients as well as small groups. Previous guiding experience is preferred but not necessary.  If interested please contact us at 304-567-2006, or email us at

Sylvan Rocks Climbing School is Hiring   
Sylvan Rocks Climbing School is looking for climbing guides. Within a 2 hour drive we have face, cracks, and pocket climbing. Our work is mostly at the Needles of Custer State Park and Devils Tower. The work is like most guide services.  We are very busy from mid June through late Aug. Before and after that, things taper off. Our courses are generally filled with folks who have never climbed before. They range from 3 hour top rope classes to 2-3 day blitz trips training and summiting Devils Tower. Check us out at and if interested, please email your work/climbing resume, references and a cover letter letting me know when you'd like to be here working. Email your info to Daryl at

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Josh Harrod
American Mountain Guides Association