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ClimbingTechTips.com videos feature professional guides with extensive AMGA, IFMGA, and/or PCGI training.
The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) certifies guides in three different disciplines: Rock, Alpine, and Ski. An individual can be certified at a variety of levels within each discipline. Once certified, that individual has been deemed qualified by the AMGA to guide within that discipline and within certain terrain guidelines. They have taken several courses and passed a rigorous 7-10 day exam, where they were demonstrated high proficiency levels while safely guiding on challenging terrain. Additionally, they are required to have specific medical and avalanche training.
If an individual reaches the highest certification level in each discipline, they become an IFMGA member and are an IFMGA licensed guide. IFMGA means "International Federated Mountain Guides Associations", and is the english translation of "Union Internationale des Associations de Guide de Montagne (UIAGM)". The process of obtaining IFMGA credentials can cost upwards of $30,000 and takes almost 5 years.
AMGA certification in a particular discipline means a guide has reached the highest level of training available in that discipline, and IFMGA certification means they have done this in all three disciplines. One must be IFMGA certified to guide in Europe. There are approximately 100 IFMGA guides working in the U.S.
Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) is one of the primary, U.S. rock climbing guide training specialists. PCGI develops and governs nationally recognized training, assessment, and certification programs for rock climbing instruction and guiding. They offer the following guide certifications: Top Rope Guide, Single-Pitch Guide, Lead Guide, and Multi-Pitch Guide. Their goal is to build climbing guides that make sound decisions based on thoughtful analysis and technical expertise. PCGI mentors are highly skilled and successful climbing guides, as well as gifted educators.