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is it still climbing if you use a guide?

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Postby Andinistaloco » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:59 pm

The Chief wrote:
Andinistaloco wrote:I would agree that being guided gives you experience. But going with a guide is not a substitute for experience.


BINGO!

And....thank you.


Well, you weren't around, so I figured I'd mention it. :wink:


albanberg wrote:I appreciate your concern, thank you! I don't think I was really too far out of my element....and maybe not as far out of my element as you may think. I did have some concern for myself in the event that the guide became incapacitated or died. I did have a porter with me who was competent and very strong though, so I would not have been alone. The other clients on the mountain didn't seem to be as competent or as strong as me actually.

I like to push myself, yes, but I'm also well aware of my limits and I think I was well within them on this trip. Anyway I'll be working on gaining more experience so that I'll be more prepared and more fit next time.

If you want to learn more about my trip (and maybe give me more advice, which is cool) check out my trip report.


Well, glad you didn't take offense. I just know that Huascaran's a pretty big, serious mountain - especially for a fourth climb. I can't imagine what person with very limited glacier and mountaineering experience wouldn't have been out of their element there. My fourth climb was like... shit, Twin Sisters or something comparably easy. I did check out your trip report... you got some pretty good shots up there. Safe clmibing to you!
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Postby albanberg » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:08 pm

Andinistaloco wrote:
The Chief wrote:
Andinistaloco wrote:I would agree that being guided gives you experience. But going with a guide is not a substitute for experience.


BINGO!

And....thank you.


Well, you weren't around, so I figured I'd mention it. :wink:


albanberg wrote:I appreciate your concern, thank you! I don't think I was really too far out of my element....and maybe not as far out of my element as you may think. I did have some concern for myself in the event that the guide became incapacitated or died. I did have a porter with me who was competent and very strong though, so I would not have been alone. The other clients on the mountain didn't seem to be as competent or as strong as me actually.

I like to push myself, yes, but I'm also well aware of my limits and I think I was well within them on this trip. Anyway I'll be working on gaining more experience so that I'll be more prepared and more fit next time.

If you want to learn more about my trip (and maybe give me more advice, which is cool) check out my trip report.


Well, glad you didn't take offense. I just know that Huascaran's a pretty big, serious mountain - especially for a fourth climb. I can't imagine what person with very limited glacier and mountaineering experience wouldn't have been out of their element there. My fourth climb was like... shit, Twin Sisters or something comparably easy. I did check out your trip report... you got some pretty good shots up there. Safe clmibing to you!


Cool, thanks, glad you liked them. I looked at some of your trips and photos too, cool stuff. Yes, I always want to be as safe as possible. I'm learning some rock stuff now which is fun...need to learn all the rope stuff etc...lol.

Yeah, you should do Huascaran (if you have not...I didn't see it in your list), it's a nice spot although I suppose the view is not as good from the top as Pisco and the other mountains in the middle of the range.

Anyway, good climbing to you and I look forward to your next TR! Cheers...
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Postby tom johnson » Sat Oct 10, 2009 5:43 am

To answer Guyzo:

Next? Hoping the weekend of Oct 17-18 to go with a friend to try 3-pitch Eagle Lake Buttress nr Tahoe if weather conditions permit, or going to the Valley where he would lead Munginella and I would lead After Six.

Re Lee Marvin: I'm asked that fairly regularly. Part of my goofy expression on that summit shot is because I have a false tooth right next to my two front teeth and I take it out to climb (I find in those times when I have to take a hunk of rope in my mouth for slack to get to the pro that it can come loose). So when the guy snapped the pic, I was trying to both smile and cover the gap.

Next year Tenaya Peak and Cathedral among others.
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Postby Guyzo » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:21 pm

The Chief wrote:
Andinistaloco wrote:I would agree that being guided gives you experience. But going with a guide is not a substitute for experience.


BINGO!

And....thank you.

Guyzo wrote:Well the Rangers thought there were 150 people on the MT. that day so they refused to let anymore folks go up there :evil:


Negative!

They (the USFS) knew I was coming and shut it all down for me and my great client...Tom!



Man you got some pull with those ranger dudes.
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Postby Guyzo » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:29 pm

tom johnson wrote:To answer Guyzo:

Next? Hoping the weekend of Oct 17-18 to go with a friend to try 3-pitch Eagle Lake Buttress nr Tahoe if weather conditions permit, or going to the Valley where he would lead Munginella and I would lead After Six.

Re Lee Marvin: I'm asked that fairly regularly. Part of my goofy expression on that summit shot is because I have a false tooth right next to my two front teeth and I take it out to climb (I find in those times when I have to take a hunk of rope in my mouth for slack to get to the pro that it can come loose). So when the guy snapped the pic, I was trying to both smile and cover the gap.

Next year Tenaya Peak and Cathedral among others.


Good on you Tom, After 6 is fun.

I bet you had some fun when Lee was alive.

Ever use it to your advantage?

Help get the chicks?

:wink:
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Postby Buz Groshong » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:30 pm

If you don't want to use a guide, don't use one. If you have a problem with me using one, blow it out your ass. Any other questions? :roll:
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Postby John Duffield » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:19 am

Andinistaloco wrote:
Huascaran was your fourth climb?

No offense intended, but did you consider that the reason you need a guide is because you're doing stuff that's too hard for you right now?



.


An insightful observation. Leading to a conclusion. An excellent guide enables one to climb far beyond ones ability without said guide.
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Postby Andinistaloco » Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:00 am

MikeTX wrote:
Andinistaloco wrote:They climbed Shasta, then Hood


ohhhh...no wonder. i was supposed to climb shasta first. :lol:


You punk.


I should've said,

1) St. Helens/Lassen/Middle Sister kind of stuff for a while

2) Shasta/Hood Standard/Adams kind of stuff for a while

3) Hood Cooper Spur/Rainier/Orizaba/Cotopaxi (it's easy, sure, but you want to get used to altitude) kind of climbs for a while

4) Chimborazo/ Huascaran/ Illimani kind of climbs for a while

...next time, follow my steps, okay? :wink:



John Duffield wrote: An insightful observation. Leading to a conclusion. An excellent guide enables one to climb far beyond ones ability without said guide.


I agree completely with that, John... just saying that folks shouldn't get too far in over their heads. If something happens to the guide, they ought to be self-sufficient.

Cheers -
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Summit Post = Aid

Postby howiemtnguide » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:17 pm

Hey just joined Summit Post on this stormy Eastern Sierra October day and gravitated to this discussion. Super interesting for me as a certified, full-time mountain guide. This is my first post!

First, I will just put forth that if guide = aid, then I would say guidebook also = aid. If guidebook = aid, then unfortunately for many of you, SP = aid. Note that the term "aid" in this context seems to connote "poor style." How embarrassing...

When you look at it that way, it appears that anything that makes it easier to achieve success on a mountain endeavor could be considered "aid." Everything from beta, to hydration bladders, to chalk, to porters, to skinny ropes, to altimeter watches, to map software, to lightweight compression stuff sacs, etc. could all be considered a form of aid, available only to those with the personal resources to procure them and use them. It used to be considered unethical by some to use sticky rubber and cams, but the only people complaining were the ones still using klettershoes and hexes.

That all said, the thing I most agree with in this thread is that everyone climbs for different reasons. As a guide I have had many partners in the mountains and I can testify to this first-hand. Give yourself the freedom to choose to go to the mountains in the way that best suits you (as long as you follow the basic principles of respect for the mountains and your fellow mountain lovers of course).

I respect the attitude of the DIY'ers. I too enjoy figuring things out on my own and feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes from that. On the other hand, when I want something important done right that I am not extremely competent doing - like home construction, accounting, or surgery, I have always done it quicker, safer, more effectively, in better style, and sometimes even at lower ultimate cost than when I have done it myself. Take it from the dozens of lifelong repeat clients we go to the mountains with again and again, who are generally extraordinary people themselves in their own fields of expertise. They recognize the benefits of hiring a professional to help them make the most of their experience. These people have often quickly become friends and excellent mountain companions over time. I have seen most of my guests learn the necessary skills to be mountain savvy in far less time than I obtained them myself. Many of them take these skills and use them to go out on their own on a regular basis. I think it is hard to argue that as an unethical, or un-stylish way to go to the mountains.

Keep up the great discussions!
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Postby Guyzo » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Howie, Welcome to SP. :)

I liked what you had to say.

Late :wink:
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Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:31 pm

So Howie...

Please fill us all in on the evolution of the AMGA, it's course prereq's and it's course prices since '88 when I first got involved with them.

Please do also tell us all on why the AMGA no longer Grandfather's any of it's prereq's.

Oh yeah, and why the AMGA is seriously considering disqualifying any AMGA Qualed Guide/Instructor/Member that participates/affiliates themselves with any PCGI Courses.
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Postby howiemtnguide » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:31 pm

The Chief wrote:So Howie...

Please fill us all in on the evolution of the AMGA, it's course prereq's and it's course prices since '88 when I first got involved with them.

Please do also tell us all on why the AMGA no longer Grandfather's any of it's prereq's.

Oh yeah, and why the AMGA is seriously considering disqualifying any AMGA Qualed Guide/Instructor/Member that participates/affiliates themselves with any PCGI Courses.


Hi The Chief,

It appears that you might know more on these subjects than I do. Way back in '88 I believe the organization was called the APMGA, where "P" stood for Professional. For some reason they took the P out, so therein may lie the problem... Although a Swiss guide friend of mine in WA owns an operation called "Pro Guiding Service." A mutual friend once told him, "Don't you know that anything called 'Pro' really isn't?" Maybe that is why the AMGA removed it. Ironically, the PCGI now carries that torch.

I am no absolute authority on the AMGA, only involved as an instructor and Technical Committee member for several years now. But since you asked of behalf of all of the SP'ers that I hope to befriend...

The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) that we are talking about is a professional trade organization of Rock, Alpine, and Ski Guides. The AMGA has spent the last couple of decades developing minimum guide competency standards and certifying guides to that standard. Under direct supervision of the ACMG (Canada), the AMGA's programs were recognized by the international guiding community (UIAGM/IFMGA/IVBV) in 1997. This was a milestone for the organization as it signified the development of American guide training and certification standards to an international level. More importantly, American guides were given the opportunity to become international guides, with license to operate in over 20 member countries worldwide. This was the AMGA's first link between certification and guiding access. When I was internationally certified through the AMGA there were less than 20 of us. There are currently over 60 American IFMGA Mountain Guides.

Regarding course prices and prerequisites, once the AMGA was accepted into the IFMGA it was shouldered with a responsibility to keep guide certification standards high. As with any newly formed professional credential, the AMGA grandfathered (certification by resume) a number of veteran American guides. Many of these guides were figureheads and icons such as Yvon Chouinard, John Fischer, George Dunn, Doug Robinson, etc. Some were active guides, some not. It is unknown how many of them were in any condition to pass a modern guides exam, but the reason for grandfathering was to allow these important professionals to be involved with the new program. Full disclosure is that the AMGA went through 3 rounds of this grandfathering process before they finally put a final end to it around 1999.

Anyway, to answer your question, course prices and prerequisites have since increased substantially since the beginning. This is because it was evident that the courses were insufficient for teaching guides to achieve international performance standards. By comparison the French guide college is a 4 year program costing around 20,000 Euros. On the Technical Committee, we realized that unless we compromised the certification exam standards, which would be unfavorable to the industry and the international community, we were going to see continued high failure rates. This caused the Tech Comm to re-evaluate the course structure which was completely revamped in 2007 to better meet student needs, IFMGA regulations, and also added an Aspirant qualification program that allows for paid mentorship and on-the-job training for aspiring international guides. There has been a lot of collaborative work done by some of the best and brightest guides in the country to make this all happen. The evolution continues as we blog.

So, it would appear that gone are the old days of cheap, and low-value guide training and certification... enter the PCGI and PCIA. Admittedly, as an AMGA supporter, I find the AMGA a far from perfect professional organization. Sometimes it's actions/inactions have even upset me to the point that I have seriously contemplated starting and joining an alternate organization. A small group of us actually started to do just that back in 2000 when I was dissatisfied with AMGA policies regarding access in the US. The founders of both the PCGI and PCIA have followed through where we did not - they have created alternative organizations and credentials out of dissatisfaction with the AMGA.

These organizations publicly attack the AMGA in their marketing materials to promote their interests. They undercut the AMGA on cost, add confusion to the marketplace, and increase conflict at a time where American guides should be showing solidarity in order to promote certification to the public, the industry, and the land managers who control commercial guiding permits. The efforts of these two organizations threaten the success of the AMGA for American guides, so although I do not support the AMGA alienating its members, I can see why they would be considering severe measures to neutralize these threats.

What is very sad about the PCGI and PCIA is that they are both comprised of some very talented and bright people. They are guides, friends, and colleagues. They share our passion for the profession and for taking people to the mountains. Most of the people involved are even AMGA trained or certified in at least one guiding discipline. I am not sure why they do not come to the table and share their feedback and innovations with the rest of us to make a better collective organization. I can only assume that there is too much ego or personal opportunity at stake.

Ultimately, the AMGA will prevail as long as it maintains the support of the IFMGA. The opportunity that international access, and possibly future access domestically, presents is exciting for American guides. This is shown in the increasing numbers of aspiring guides now in the program. In a recent Rock Guides Course, the first in the training progression, a poll I took showed 100% interest in pursuing international level certification in all 3 guiding disciplines. That does not surprise me.

Hope this helps answer questions for anybody interested enough to actually read this!
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Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:41 pm

So Howie,

What if I only want to Guide in the Sierra, Tetons or the Whites in the North East and not Internationally?

Why do I need to go through the entire prolonged Alpine Guide program schedule (up to 3 years) and spend over $15K to get my AMGA "Alpine Cert"?

Why do I need to get cert'd in an environment that I never intend to practice/climb/guide in i.e. The Glacier filled Cascades?

What young dirtbag climber on a strict budget eating PBJs and driving a 20 year old rig w/250k miles, can afford that??

"The efforts of these two organizations threaten the success of the AMGA for American guides, so although I do not support the AMGA alienating its members, I can see why they would be considering severe measures to neutralize these threats.

"So, it would appear that gone are the old days of cheap, and low-value guide training and certification... enter the PCGI and PCIA....I am not sure why they do not come to the table and share their feedback and innovations with the rest of us to make a better collective organization. I can only assume that there is too much ego or personal opportunity at stake. "


So you equate the modern expensive AMGA course with quality????

A bit biased aren't we?

Sounds like an attempt to monopolize the Cert Industry in the U.S. to me.

I believe that we need some new Org's here in the U.S. to compete with the astronomical and inflated prices of the AMGA.

I also believe that some competition in the Industry would promote simpler and area specific Certs. Something that the AMGA originally did BITD.

Remember, as long as "Standardization" across the board is the goal, the AMGA should not be worrying about these up & coming Programs that afford QUALITY Instruction/Certing to those of us that are on a very limited budget and wish to guide in certain locales.

I personally never intended to nor ever will want to get a IFMGA cert.

I remember the words of then AMGA President, Doug Robinson in a Newsletter...

"Let's keep this a simple and affordable program with quality standardized instruction and certification."
*paraphrased*

Kind of interesting how he, DR, is on the BOD of one of the Guiding Services that is promoting one of these (PCGI) Instructional/Certing Services...Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides.
Last edited by The Chief on Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cp0915 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:14 pm

Am I the only one who smells 'over-reaction' in the air?
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