Photo Courtesy of Jediah Porter, Certified AMGA Rock and Alpine Guide

American Mountain Guides Association
2013 April eNewsletter 
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In This Issue
AMGA goes to DC
Snow Cat Ski Day
Tech Corner
Outreach and Advocacy
Avi Pro Survey
Greetings from the snowy front range of the Rockies!
AMGA LOGO '09Winter has returned to the Front Range.  Where some folks welcome the fluffy white stuff, others moan and groan as they feel their climbing season is being cut short.  We hope that wherever you are, you're having fun and being safe!

This eNews contains news announcements from the AMGA staff, member insights, job postings, and more!

A HUGE thanks to everyone who filled out the AMGA State of the Guiding Industry Survey - your answers are invaluable.  We will be releasing the findings once they have been analyzed by a third party.

AMGA President and Outreach and Advocacy Director Travel to Washington D.C.
By Scott Massey, AMGA Outreach and Advocacy Director

AMGA President Margaret Wheeler and I spent several days in Washington, DC, in the middle of March. It was a productive trip, meeting with both land managers and folks on Capitol Hill. We spent our time promoting the value of AMGA credentialed guides, and discussing some of the issues that affect guides and guide services around the country. It was great to meet with some of our lawmakers, and explain the challenges and concerns of the guiding industry. It is quite refreshing to have an open ear in Washington, and we look forward to continuing to work with the great folks we met.
2013 AMGA Snowcat Ski Day Fundraiser
Photo by: Amos Whiting

Early February and nobody would've put money on skiing the goods on the seventh annual AMGA Cat Day on Vail Pass. Made possible by AMGA lifetime member Kyle Lefkoff and his wife, Cindy, as well as the pow-mad posse at Vail Powder Guides, the stars aligned and the weather gods delivered: blower!


A little business was done, too, as the Cat Day is one of the AMGA's best fundraisers of the year--this edition netted the organization 8K towards furthering guiding as a profession in the US.

John Winsor slaying the pow.  Photo by: Amos Whiting 







Click here to read on about the Snow Cat Ski Day! 

AMGA Technical Department
By:  Dale Remsberg, AMGA Technical Director and IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide

Greetings from Canmore Alberta, my favorite ice climbing area in the world. I've been guiding some amazing clients on some big ice terrain and have spent a fair bit of time during long drives and cold belays thinking about our training programs. I'm always amazed at how guiding paying clients is so different than being out with your friends on the same terrain. As a professional, there are many more things to consider other than just getting the rope up or enjoying the best snow on a classic decent. What if your client trips on the "easy" log crossing? Did you make that platform the best it could be for a kick turn? Some of these lessons don't make sense until you are out with paying clients who rely on you to make good decisions and look out for their safety.



AMGA Outreach and Advocacy Department
By Scott Massey, AMGA Outreach and Advocacy Director

Here are some advocacy updates from the past month. As a bit of follow-up to the effects of the sequester, at least Red Rock Canyon NCA has managed to implement their budget cuts in a manner that should not affect guiding, or climbing in general. They're cutting costs in their seasonal hiring, as well as postponing some of their long-term planning. However, for those that are concerned about such things, the fixed anchor amendment is continuing as planned. This seems to be a similar story to many popular areas. Again, if anyone hears any updates about budget cuts affecting guiding in their area, I would love to hear about it.  


As some follow-up to an earlier mention of Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plan, here is a link to the Access Fund Action Alert. The plan does not really address guiding in a significant manner, but has other aspects related to the climbing experience, including camping and access through the river corridor. I encourage you all to check it out, and provide your input to the Park Service. The comment period has been extended to April 30th, and comments can be submitted online.


It has been a snowy spring on the Front Range. Despite that, there have been some successful trail work projects, with more scheduled for the spring and summer, mostly in Eldorado Canyon. If anyone is in the area, and would like to join in some stewardship work, please contact me for information or see the Boulder Climbing Community website. Also, if anyone has projects going on in their area that they would like to advertise to the AMGA community, please let me know at


Enjoy the rest of your spring!

AMGA Climbing Instructor Program

Fun facts from AMGA Climbing Instructor Program Director, Ed Crothers!


How well is the single pitch instructor program serving as a feeder for the Mountain Guide Program?


In 2010 of the 68 people who took the Rock Instructor course, 23 (33.4%) were either certified SPI or had taken an SPI course. In 2011 it was 27 of 65 (41.5%) and in 2012 29 of 63 (46.0%).

International Survey on Workplace Safety for Avalanche Professionals
Researchers at Montana State University and the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Centre, in collaboration with Pascal Haegeli and the Geotechnical Institute of Norway, invite avalanche professionals across North America and Europe to participate in a survey on organizational culture. The aim of the project is to assess the spectrum of professional decision-making processes and gain an understanding about why accidents happen to field-based avalanche professionals.
The survey takes about 15 minutes and participation is voluntary. The survey responses are confidential and will not contain any personal information. The results of the study will be used for scholarly and educational purposes only. To access the survey, click here:
If you have any questions about this research, please contact Jerry Johnson at
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Job Opportunities in the Guiding Industry
Please email Caroline McNally, Membership Director, if you are an AMGA Accredited Company, AMGA Certified Guide, or AMGA Corporate Parnter, and would like to submit a job posting.
In an attempt to better serve our membership, we will be offering space in the monthly e-Newsletter to share job opportunities. Please see listings below.

REI Outdoor School Instructor (Denver/Boulder)
Position: Part Time employment for year round guiding 
Contact: Paul Haraf  //  email  //  215.300.7750

  • Minimum AMGA SPI certified with experience teaching lead climbing, anchor building, rock rescue, etc..
  • AIARE Level 1 certified or higher a plus
  • Experience teaching a minimum of  3  additional competencies: land navigation, GPS, SUP, snowshoeing, basic mountaineering, AIARE  Level 1 instructor, survival skills, mountain biking, yoga, personal trainer, trail running or photography.
  • Experience in guiding in the Boulder Denver Area
  • 3 plus years of paid guiding experience
  • Current WFR or higher and current CPR
  • Valid driver's license with no negative incidents which includes medical screen and the ability to pass drug screen
The perks:

At REI, we understand that benefits matter - we have a competitive offering which includes:
  • Comprehensive health and well-being programs
  • A competitive bonus/incentive program
  • Generous gear and merchandise discount
  • Professional growth and development opportunities 
A work environment where RESPECT, INTEGRITY, and BALANCE are just a few of our fundamental values!  For more information and to submit a resume contact Paul Haraf at or by cell at 215-300-7750.





Colorado Mountain Club (Boulder Group) 

Position: Director of Rock Leading School 

Contact: Martina Sorek  //  email 


The Boulder Group of the Colorado Mountain Club is seeking a qualified volunteer to be our Director of Rock Leading School (RLS) for the summer 2013 season and beyond. A full description of the course can be viewed at our website, The course consists of one evening lecture and three field trips, around early June. The Director has the responsibility of reviewing the curriculum and helping to organize the instructors, lecturers and assistants for the course. The RLS Director may be one of the lecturers and may fill in at the field trips as needed. As such, the Director needs to be an experienced rock climber and conversant with the latest climbing equipment and leading techniques. The Director reports to the BMS (Boulder Mountain Schools) Committee. The past RLS Director for the past several years, Clint Locks, was also an AMGA guide, and the CMC would be grateful if we are so lucky as to have another AMGA volunteer help us in this position. Although unpaid, the position offers excellent networking opportunities, as the CMC is the oldest and most established local hiking and climbing organization in the state (see The CMC is prepared to offer a one year free membership if the volunteer is not already a CMC member. If interested, please contact Martina Sorek via email, the current BMS Co-Chair.


Jackson Hole Mountain Guides Expands Guest Guide Opportunities  

CONTACT:  Rob Hess, Chief Guide  //  email 


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, Cody and Boulder, Colorado. I am pleased to announce a further expansion of our guest guide program to include the world class City of Rocks outside of Almo, Idaho.


This opportunity is available only to AMGA certified guides and IFMGA-level guides. Guides wishing to climb 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.
An Idaho guide's license is required and JHMG is now in position to expedite the process of acquiring a license for AMGA certified guides through Idaho Outfitter and Guides Association. Guides whose applications have been approved will receive a written acknowledgement and additional information about the program





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. 

gore ad sept 2012

Happy guiding!
The Staff of the American Mountain Guides Association