How to Hire a Guide

On every trip I guide, my clients ask about the small badge I wear that says "Certified Alpine Guide".  I've been trying to write a short, precise piece for Climb.Ski.Run., but I just came across a great quarter-page description in Rock and Ice magazine, a supporting partner of the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA).  Here's what they say in issue 181 / October 2009 / page 71:

First, determine the type of trip you wish to take.  Aguide can be useful for anything from a day of rock climbing to an extended alpine expedition.  Next, select an appropriately tranined andcertified guide or accredited program.  Make sure you inquire about their safety record, ongoing training, appropriate land use permits and liability insurance, as well as the validity of their certifications or accreditation.  In the United States professional guides can hold a number of certifications specific to the terrain for which they work.  For more information on guide credentials in the US please visit amga.com.

Certification is a credential granted to individuals.  AMGA Certified Guides have attended courses and passed rigorous, multi-day exams in one or more disciplines; Rock, Alpine, Ski.

Accreditation is a credential granted to businesses or organizations.  AMGA Accreditation is a review of a program's business practices and is granted only if a program meets the standards established by the AMGA Accreditation Committee.