- The Rock Guide Certificate program is designed to develop the guiding and instructional skills needed to work in technical rock terrain. This includes long, multi-pitch routes; sport-climbs; and top-rope climbs on terrain where no glaciation and no permanent or seasonal snow or ice exists.
- The Apprentice Rock Guide course is also a prerequisite for the Alpine Guide Certificate.
- This program requires a strong technical rock climbing background in a variety of rock types and climbing disciplines.
Requirements For Entry
- Climbing Prerequisite: The candidate's personal "flash" climbing standard is at a minimum of 5.10d, and their minimum "redpoint" climbing standard is at 5.11a or better, either when placing gear on traditionally protected leads or while climbing bolt protected "sport" climbs. The candidate is current with modern climbing trends and familiar with the language and pedagogy of training for rock climbing.
- Experience: Candidates are expected to arrive with a strong recreational climbing background with an acquired knowledge of knots, belaying, anchors, protection strategies and climbing systems. It is assumed that the candidates can lead the climbs listed on the submitted resume. Candidates are expected to be physically prepared for a week of outdoor activity.
- Advanced First Aid:
An Advanced Wilderness First Aid course with a minimum 80 hours is required. Courses from this partial list of providers have proven adequate in the past. Contact the ACMG if you are uncertain about other programs.
The above is an absolute minimum. To demonstrate these skills in an exam setting requires a great deal of confidence, ability, and fitness. Most candidates enter the program with a much higher personal standard than the minimum required.
Guide Training Rock
This is the baseline course for both the Rock Guide and Alpine Guide programs.
1) To demonstrate and model the preferred methods and technical skills used by ACMG professional guides in rock terrain.
2) To assist the candidate in developing guiding and instructional skills through practice, coaching and feedback.
3) To prepare the candidate for the assessment courses and to provide direction and recommendation with regard to future ACMG training and certification courses.
4) To screen the candidate's movement skills and knowledge of recreational level climbing systems and to ensure the candidate is at the level of the course prerequisites.
Format: Full field day sessions combine with evening lectures and group learning sessions. Recreational climbing skills and judgement are screened as part of the daily activities. The course is designed to help prepare the candidate and introduce some of the recommended methods common to rock guiding through indoor and outdoor training sessions and practical application. Self-directed learning, and practiced application of guide skills on your own time is required prior to the exams.
Field Sessions: Anchors and protection placement/Belaying/ Rappelling, lowering systems/Multi-pitch managementl/Rock rescue/Client care/Short roping /Hazard evaluation
Lecture Sessions: Climbing systems/Guide Meeting Format/Use of Options/Planning a Guided Week
- Screening of movement skills in rock terrain.
- Knowledge of: belaying, protection, hazard evaluation.
Location and Length: 8 days, run in June. Location varies but is most often held in the Canmore AB or Squamish BC areas.
See Dates and Fees
Apprentice Rock Guide Exam
Goal: To train and assess candidates in instruction and guiding of rock climbs in non-glaciated and non-"alpine" terrain and provide counselling toward further apprenticed work and future courses.
Format: This is an exam with coaching and debriefing components. The focus is on principle based learning giving the candidates the strategies for problem solving through coaching and practical application in simulated guide/client scenarios. Guiding and instructional skills will be marked on a daily basis and a final assessment made based on the candidates overall performance.
Expectations: On the exam, each candidate will be examined on crag routes (without a pack) on both crack and face climbs up to 10d. Each candidate will also be evaluated on multipitch routes using bolts and or gear for protection and anchors. The multipitch exam routes may be up to 5.10d and may have short sections of aid climbing, and will have the additional complications of route finding, endurance, natural hazards, and climbing with a pack. The technical expectation when evaluating a candidate on multipitch routes may be lowered accordingly, and the occasional move of aid (a hang, or pulling on a bolt for efficiency) may be seen as appropriate. However, candidates should be climbing at a higher personal standard to feel comfortable at the expected grade, and comfortable with the changing route conditions. Above all else, an awareness of personal safety and an appropriate managing of personal risks must be demonstrated and good technical skills.
Exam Subjects: Guide candidates will be evaluated on climbs (sport and multipitch) on a variety of rock types, and under variable weather conditions. Rock rescue, lowering and rappelling, client care, guiding and teaching skills will also be examined.
Location and Length: These courses are usually conducted in Canmore AB and/or Squamish BC near the beginning of September over 8 days.
See Dates and Fees.
Rock Guide Exam
Goal: The goal of the Rock Guide program is to certify rock climbing guides capable of working without supervision within their terrain limitations.
Expectations: The candidate's personal standard should be at a higher general standard in terms of experience, fitness, and expertise than the Apprentice Rock Guide exam level (which see). The candidate should demonstrate a professional knowledge of the rock climbing industry including current equipment and trends and a familiarity with the language and pedagogy of training for rock climbing. The diverse climbing background on different rock types, multipitch routes, and aid climbs should include an increase in recent climbing activity to ensure adequate fitness and technical competence.
Examination Routes: Candidates may be examined on crag routes (without a pack) on both crack and face climbs up to 5.11. Multipitch exam routes may be up to 5.11 and may have short sections of aid climbing, and will have the additional complications of route finding, endurance, natural hazards, and climbing with a pack. Candidates should be climbing at a higher personal standard to feel comfortable at the expected grade, and comfortable with the changing route conditions.
Exam Subjects: Technical ropework systems will be evaluated through out the entire course. Be prepared to demonstrate the standard improvised raising and lowering rescue systems as though teaching a class of aspirant guides or students. The demonstration should be smooth and polished. There will be a "rescue scenario" exam at some point during the week. Practice prior to the week by giving yourself "scenarios" and try to use the tools you have learned to this point to develop creative solutions to non-routine problems.
Location and Length: These courses are usually conducted in Canmore AB and/or Squamish BC near the beginning of September over 7 days.
See Dates and Fees
For more information on TRU/ACMG courses contact:
Canadian Mountain & Ski Guide Program
Thompson Rivers University
900 McGill Road
Kamloops, BC V2C 5N3