American Mountain Guides Association
eNewsletterMarch, 2012
Greetings from Boulder,
What have we been up-to, lately? A lot...Betsy headed to Washington DC to attend a White House Conference on Conservation, Programs are running, all over the country, and we're hiring. There is space available on a few spring Rock Guide programs and that new AMGA merchandise. Just scroll down to read about all that and more.
AMGA Attends White House Conference on Conservation

AMGA ED, Betsy Winter & Access Fund ED, Brady Robinson

What do you get when you put hunters, fisherman, farmers, bikers, ranchers, paddlers, climbers, conservationists, tribal leaders, small business owners, local government leaders, federal representatives, mountain guides and the President of the United States all in a room together to discuss the link between conservation and strong economies? You get the White House Conference on Conservation.


The conference, Growing America's Outdoor Heritage and Economy, held at the Department of Interior on Friday, March 2, explored the link between protecting public lands and strong local economies through tourism, outdoor recreation, and healthy environment.


As the U.S representative for professional mountain guides and climbing instructors, it was a huge honor for the American Mountain Guides Association to have been invited to participate in this monumental event.

It seems everywhere I have been going lately, from Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, to Outdoor Alliance Partnership Summit, to Stanford's Conference on Commercial Services and the Wilderness Act, everyone is talking about partnerships, and the White House Conference on Conservation was no exception.


The aim of the conference was to bring together key stakeholders from around the nation to strengthen coalitions, explore successful partnerships, and to think collectively about what the future holds for our public lands, waterways and local economies.


With input from Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Ken Salazar, Secretary of Interior; Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture; Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), a select panel of grassroot advocates and President Barack Obama himself, it was clear that connecting people with America's Great Outdoors, while also preserving our cultural heritage and wilderness legacy, and growing local economies, is something our current administration genuinely cares about and is working hard to address.


What this means for the guiding community is that our government seems to be concerned with many of the same issues that historically have had significant impacts on our profession- access, work visas, job security, and preservation of the land we all love and rely on to make our livings.

As the "uncommon dialogue" becomes more common, the AMGA will continue to advocate for, not only keeping our public lands and vertical wildernesses open to facilitated recreational experiences, but for a streamlined, systematic, and well-founded way to grant access for professional guides, educators and their clients.


To learn more about the White House Conference on Conservation view the summary found on the White House Blog. For a transcript and video of President Obama's closing remarks click here.

Steve House - Alpine Mentors Program

Alpine Mentors  

Alpine Mentors a young venture I've started with a group of friends and advisors, our mission is to: Promote alpinism by encouraging, coaching and climbing with technically proficient you alpinists who aspire to climb the world's greatest mountains in a lightweight, low-impact style. In form, it is modeled on existing programs found in most European alpine clubs that match young, motivated climbers with seasoned alpinists so they can train, climb, and carry out an expedition together.


Our Alpine Mentors will be structured in two-year cycles. During those two years various mentors (myself and others) paired with mentees will ascend routes in different mountain areas from Colorado to the Canadian Rockies to the Himalaya.


The current application period closes on April 1, 2012. Once the applications are reviewed we will notify the ten best to journey to southwest Colorado for a week of training, a safety review of climbing systems and self-rescue techniques, and of course, climbing. From those ten we'll select between two and four candidates. (I hope to grow this number in the future.) Those who are selected must be solid climbers, but also must be the sort of folks who we can travel, train, and climb with for months at a time. The culmination of the two years will be a climbing expedition to a 7,000 meter peak planned and executed by the entire team from concept to summit and home again.


I would like to invite you, or your friends, or your friend's friends who fit the bill: 21-30 years old, technically proficient in rock, ice, mixed, and mountaineering. Young. Strong. Motivated. We are open to men and women from any nation.


This is my way of giving back. Creating something that contributes to a growing communal passion for wild summits, those least attainable points across our globe, places where we learn so much about ourselves, our relationships and our environment. A passion that has given me so much in my lifetime. Please visit our website and help us to spread the word: 


Mountain Guide Program Update

This is your LAST CHANCE to get a spot on the Rock Guide Exam or the Rock Guide Course & Aspirant Exam currently scheduled for April in Red Rocks. The dates for these programs are:
R3:Rock Guide Exam:12 -- 4/3-8/12, Red Rocks, Nevada
R4:Rock Guide Course & Aspirant Exam:12 -- 4/10-19/12, Red Rocks, Nevada  
Enrollment for these courses is currently open. You may apply via your membership page at

Your application will not be considered for enrollment, until we have all of the following:

Complete climbing resume
Copies of current CPR and WFR certifications
AMGA Health Statement

The remaining spots on these programs will go fast, so all interested members should apply as soon as possible.
Climbing Instructor Program Update

It has been a busy couple of weeks in the Climbing Instructor Program with Provider trainings running on opposite sides of the country. In Boston, on February 28 and 29, a Climbing Wall Instructor Provider Training was conducted at the Boston Rock Gym. Joe Lentini, CWI Discipline Coordinator, directed the training. In attendance were Sean Cahill, Rob Baumgartner, Jonathan Crefeld, Gary Dunn, Jeremy Devine, and Holly Libert. This strong group represents a cross-section of people working in academia and the private sector. According to Joe, all these candidates demonstrated the requisite skills and understanding of the AMGA CWI Program and should be able to make the transition to licensed Provider in the not too distant future. A special shout out goes out to Chris O'Connell at the Boston Rock Gym for hosting this training at his facility.


Last weekend in J-Tree, Adam Fox, Single Pitch Instructor Discipline Coordinator, conducted a SPI Provider Training. This was attended by Steve Schneider, Mark Vermeal, and Nate Emerson. All three of those guys performed very well on the training and have become the newest SPI Assistant Providers. If all goes according to plan, after a couple of co-teaches they will bump up to licensed Providers.


Congratulations go out to all these folks for a job well done. It is rewarding to see the caliber of climbers and educators that continue to join the ranks of course providers in the Climbing Instructor Program; they are the backbone of the Program.

Access Update

In response to the National Park Service's recent draft proposal to prohibit guided climbing in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), and Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO) recently urged the National Park Service to reconsider the proposal.


In a joint letter written by Udall, Bennet and Baucus the Senators wrote, "While most climbers in the park choose not to climb with a guide, many do utilize guides, and we believe that given the extremely challenging nature of climbing in the Black Canyon, the option to climb with a guide should be available." This sentiment was reinforced by Rep. Tipton, who wrote in his letter, "...if adopted, the Proposal will reduce opportunities for safe, facilitated wilderness recreation and education not only at the Black Canyon but also in other areas of our country's great National Park System."  Betsy Winter, Executive Director for the AMGA, applauded the congressional intervention and renewed the organization's request for a suitable Wilderness management plan.


"The AMGA is grateful for the support of Senators Udall, Bennet, Baucus and Rep. Tipton, and shares their goal to protect the unique wilderness character of the Black Canyon.  Like our partners in Congress, the AMGA believes that sound wilderness management policy for the Black Canyon does not require elimination of a service that enhances safety, enjoyment, and personal growth for the countless visitors that choose to partner with a licensed guide when enjoying the legendary vertical challenges found only in the Black Canyon.  Consequently, the AMGA looks forward to working with our partners in Congress and in the National Park Service to ensure that visitors to the Black Canyon continue to have access to guided climbing in 2012 and beyond.


While the proposal to eliminate guided climbing access in the Black Canyon is still on the table, I am very encouraged by the support and attention our Senators and Congressmen have given to this very important issue. By far, this is one of the most consequential proposals our profession has faced, due to the potential negative impacts it could have on AMGA membership and the mountain guiding community at large. The AMGA and our constituents, therefore thank the members of Congress for taking notice of the concerns expressed by the climbing and guiding profession, and look forward to working with the National Park Service to reverse their draft proposal."


To access the full text from the congressional letters as well as video of Representative Tipton questioning NPS Director, Jon Jarvis on the proposal, please click here.

Level 2 Avalanche Course Schedules

Level 2 Avalanche Courses
We would also like to list any Level 2 Avalanche Courses being offered by AMGA Accredited Programs and Certified Guides. If you would like your course(s) to be listed in the February eNewsletter, please submit course information to, by February 5.

Colorado Mountain School AIARE Level 2 Course Schedule
April 5-8 - Estes Park, Colorado
More information can be found HERE.
AMGA Merchandise

In addition to the Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Caps and Zip Hoodies we have now added a selection of Mountain Hardwear Wicked Lite T's to the list of AMGA merchandise.

The new t-shirts are available in men's (Small - Xlarge) and women's (Small - Large) sizing and the following colors:
Men - Palm, Titanium
Women - Greenery
All have a version of the AMGA t-shirt image on the front.

The Caps are available in Orange, Olive, or Khaki and have the AMGA "text" logo embroidered across the front. The Zip Hoodies are available in black or green for the men and light blue or pink for the ladies. They have the AMGA "text" logo on the chest and the current t-shirt design on the back.


Caps - $25 + shipping
Hoodies - $45 + shipping 
Wicked Lite T's - $35 + shipping


We also have some older items on our shelves that we need to clear out - quantities are limited and the sizes listed below are all we have. These items will be sold on a first-come first-served basis, so don't delay. Call 303.271.0984 x2 to place your order.

Marmot Women's DriClime Windshirt - Black w/AMGA logo embroidered on right chest area
Size Medium (3)
$35 + Shipping

AMGA T-shirt - Black/White Ringer or Green
Size X-large Black (15)
Size X-Large Green (15)
$10 + Shipping

AMGA Embroidered Sweatshirts - Black, Blue or Green w/AMGA logo embroidered on left chest area
Size Small Blue Hoodie (1)
Size Small Green Hoodie (1)
Size Small Blue Crew (3)
Size Medium Black Crew (1)
Size Medium Green Crew (1)
Hoodie $20 + Shipping
Crew $15 + Shipping  
Help Wanted

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 200 words or less and will be reviewed and accepted or denied by the AMGA office staff. Please email with any questions.


AMGA Now Hiring - Membership Director 

The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) is looking to fill the position of, Membership Director. This is a full-time position, based out of the AMGA Headquarters, in Boulder, Colorado.



Monday, March 26, 2012

Details can be found HERE.

Jackson Hole Mountain Guides Expands Guest Guide Opportunities 

CONTACT:       Rob Hess, Chief Guide
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides 


In early September, 2011, I notified AMGA certified rock guides of the opportunity to guest guide under JHMG's permits in Moab/ Indian Creek, the Red Rock and Boulder, Colorado. I am pleased to announce a further expansion of our guest guide program to include the world class ice climbing found in the South Fork Canyon and surrounding areas near Cody, Wyoming. 


This opportunity is available only to AMGA certified alpine guides and IFMGA-level guides. Guides wishing to climb South Fork ice under JHMG's guest guide program should submit a letter of interest along with a climbing resume, copy of current first aid and CPR cards, and a copy of the guide's AMGA certification card to Rob Hess at the email address shown above. Guides whose applications have been approved will receive a written acknowledgement and additional information about the program. 


Details can be found HERE


Exum Mountain Guides - Guest Guide Opportunities  

The AMGA is excited to announce that we will be working with Exum Mountain Guides this summer to offer you the opportunity to work as a guest guide in Grand Teton National Park!


The Tetons provide some of the most accessible and diverse climbing in the North America. One of its premier climbs is, naturally, the Grand Teton (13,770 ft), a remarkable ascent via many outstanding routes that all providing an exhilarating day in the mountains. While the Grand Teton is the most famous peak in the region, the range also offers dozens of other climbs that are both famous and challenging, all in a beautiful and dramatic landscape. 


The AMGA is proud to work with Exum Mountain Guides in this capacity, and Exum is proud to offer AMGA guides this opportunity. To apply to be a guest guide at Exum you must be an AMGA Certified Alpine Guide.  Click Here to find out how to apply. 

 American Mountain Guides Association
In This Issue
White House Conference on Conservation
Alpine Mentors Program
Mountain Guide Program
Climbing Instructor Program
Access Update
Avalanche Training
Help Wanted
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