Guide Qualifications and Training


Unlike most of the world, in the United States climbing guides don’t need any type of training or certification to work in the profession.

Most guide services require first aid training but only a very few (and they are not any of the big ones) require that their guides be certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA).

In the US, the AMGA is the only guides association whose training and certification programs are recognized internationally by the UIAGM/IFMGA, (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations).

The AMGA can certify an individual or accredit a company, but these have two very different meanings.

Clients should be mostly  interested in certification as accreditation only means that a guide service has insurance, permits, and an employee manual- but not trained and certified guides.

Of most interest to potential clients are
their  guide’s certifications in the arts  of Alpine, Rock and Ski guiding as only those guides who are certified at the highest level in all three disciplines are awarded the internationally recognized license of UIAGM / IFMGA Mountain Guide.

Surprisingly, many large guide services have only a few certified guides but many who have failed their certification exams and are still being trusted to guide safely.

Our advice is to seek a guide who you know to have received specific and formal training in being a guide, preferably through an internationally recognized IFMGA-member mountain guides association.

Look for a guide who has passed that association’s certification exam(s), because this is the only competent test of a guide’s abilities and safety.

Be sure as well that your guide has been trained and assessed specifically in the discipline that you are engaging.  You don’t want a ski-only certified guide for your rock climbing or vice-versa.

All of the ClimbingLife Guides are AMGA certified in the arena in which they guiding so there are no exceptions and no compromises to your safety.

Hiring an IFMGA Licensed Guide is required by law in countries such as Peru, France, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, and New Zealand.   CLG founder Eli Helmuth was the 18th guide to achieve IFMGA/UIAGM Licensing in the United States and he has been certified by the AMGA as a rock guide since 1991. All ClimbingLife Guides work within the boundaries of their AMGA certifications and meet high company standards for customer service, risk management, and they are expert climbers who enjoy sharing their love of the mountains.

glacier travel on the quien Sabe glacier in the North Cascades

Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Certified Guide 
(from the AMGA website)1. AMGA certified guides have received the highest international standard of training and certification for professional mountain guides. 2. AMGA certified guides are dedicated to excellence in their profession. 3. Most certified guides are career guides who work 200 or more days a year, nationally and internationally, in an array of disciplines. Mountain guiding is their lifelong profession. 4. AMGA certified guides represent the highest echelon of US guides. 5. Professionalism is unrivaled. AMGA guides are familiar with a wide array of techniques and are some of the most experienced guides in the country.

6. AMGA guides have a diversity of experience and have incredible backgrounds of personal climbing endeavors.

7. AMGA guides are trained thoroughly and have a continually updated knowledge of guiding skills.

8. AMGA guides have a keen awareness of minimal impact climbing, camping, and traveling  techniques.

9. You are in the best possible hands with an AMGA ertified guide who knows that getting up is just as important as getting down and that inspiring confidence will help get the best performance out of their partners.

10. They are the best at what they do.

ice climbing in colorado

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ClimbingLife Guides owner Eli Helmuth is an AMGA Certified Rock, Alpine, and Ski Mountaineering Guide and IFMGA Licensed Guide.This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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ClimbingLife Guides is an authorized permittee of Rocky Mountain National Park, Eldorado Canyon State Park, the Boulder Mountain Open Space.

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