Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

is it still climbing if you use a guide?

Minimally moderated forum for climbing related hearsay, misinformation, and lies.
 

Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:24 pm

cp0915 wrote:Am I the only one who smells 'over-reaction' in the air?


If you only knew the entire story.

Howie has in fact touched on this.

"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."



Some local guide dudes that participate in one of the NON AMGA programs and have an AMGA Cert, have already been notified by the AMGA, threatening to be decertified/disqualified if they do not cease their non AMGA approved program affiliations.

Now that's what I call "Over Reaction" on the AMGA's part.
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post

Re: Summit Post = Aid

Postby albanberg » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:44 pm

howiemtnguide wrote: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.


Indeed, thanks Howie!

Because I know my limits and I do my research, I can push myself and learn at a much faster rate. Also, the altitude was really a very mild issue for me. I have been super athletic for most of my life (former cat 2 bicycle racer) and I'm also doing yoga, which has expanded my lung capacity a great deal.

I'll continue to hire guides until I feel that I can do it myself. Why would I want to restrict myself to Shasta etc? Not that Shasta can't get wild...I'll probably avoid it when it's wild for a while...lol.
User Avatar
albanberg

 
Posts: 162
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:34 am
Location: Mill Valley, California, United States
Thanked: 8 times in 8 posts

Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:52 pm

To blatantly state that AMGA Cert'd guides are the sole and only source of Professional Guides in the U.S., is truly prejudice and totally uncalled for.

Totally WRONG and so very UNAMERICAN, IMO!!!
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post

Postby howiemtnguide » Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:04 am

The Chief,

Do we know each other? I'll pretend we don't. These are really good, FAQ's so I'll respond:

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

Awesome. Why do you need certification then?

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"?

Sounds like you don't. None of those mountain areas require certification to guide, although increasingly, some guide services are requiring it of their employees.

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?

Sounds like you don't. The US has 3 disciplines: rock, alpine, and ski. If you don't want to guide on glaciated mountain terrain, and you don't need the alpine cert to conduct your business, then clearly the price tag is going to seem very high. Courses and exams rotate venues and skills should be transferrable to similar environments. They are not all in the N Cascades.

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

Honestly, I don't know, but they keep coming. Maybe they are the same dirtbag high school graduates that eat Ramen and can somehow afford a college education?

So you equate the modern expensive AMGA course with quality????
A bit biased aren't we?

I think I fully admitted to my own bias. Sometimes you get what you pay for. It seems that more often than not I have seen that students feel they got full value. Occasionally, they are dissatisfied. We have learned a lot from those times. I see dissatisfaction more often on exams than on courses, generally from failing candidates.

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 more simpler and area specific Certs. Something that the AMGA originally did BITD.

In most professions there is one certifying body. This gives increased credibility. The AMGA does have lower level (and cheaper) certs as well and the Rock program is currently under a major restructure that will create courses and certs that you might find more interesting for your situation. I personally think regional courses and certs would split hairs unnecessarily, and it would be very difficult for an organization to develop and oversee. The risk there is that standards become inconsistent and diluted. This does not help promote a meaningful credential. That's just my opinion.

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 don't know if the AMGA is worried so much about the alternative products as much as the marketing challenge. Marketing the AMGA brand is important for making progress toward certification-based access. Achieving such access should be the ultimate goal of the AMGA in my opinion, and not everyone within the AMGA may agree with me on that. I say Kudos to other quality programs, especially if they can do it cheaper. I have not seen the others, but I have doubts that these other organizations have the same level of history, support, and infrastructure to pull of courses of the same caliber as the AMGA. I can definitively say that the educational development arms of both alternative organizations (especially the PCGI) are microscopic in comparison to that of the AMGA with respect to guiding experience, guiding credentials, and guide training experience. Hands down, no comparison.

I still say, if the others are innovating, why not join with the AMGA to create a unified effort? I say the Certification Industry / free market discussion is just a smoke screen to protect egos and personal opportunities. When the AMGA slowly starts addressing all of the criticisms against it, what then will be your excuse for not joining?
User Avatar
howiemtnguide

 
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:02 pm
Location: Big Pine, California, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby myles » Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:07 am

I've tried to keep up with this thread, and it's had some interesting reading.

I haven't climbed with a guide in many years, but I feel very fortunate to have met the one with whom I did. After decades of camping and hiking, I decided to try climbing, which was something I'd literally dreamed about since I was a child--it never seemed to be dreaming about summits, always being on big, airy ridges, go figure.

Anyway, I was almost 37 the first time I roped up, and, yes, it was with a guide. I'd gotten in almost over my head a couple of times dinking around on my own, and after asking around at a local gear store, got referred to Frank, who's a little over 10 years younger than me. I knew no one who climbed, no one with any interest in trying it with me, and my intentions freaked out my wife--she was adamant that I not just go out and find someone else who wanted to climb (that's what I get for starting after I got married!), so I decided to try Frank.

The man was a real teacher and mentor, was willing to swing leads after he'd gotten comfortable enough with me, and I met my first true partner through him. I read all the books, but I think I picked up a lot of the technical aspects a lot quicker than I would have otherwise, and I could afford a lesson/climb every few months.

He was respectful enough not to coddle my ass, and a couple of times gave me a well placed metaphorical kick there when my head wasn't on right. He ended up being a damn good friend, and I've missed his company since he and his wife moved to the Northeast in 1997, where he's still guiding and climbing, and raising a family.

To answer the OP question, for myself, when I was learning with Frank I considered myself a client under a guide's leadership not a climber, but I was lucky enough to be with a guide who wanted me to be a climber. Turned out pretty well for me.

People like Frank, and it looks like the Chief as well, are into helping people open some doors. My hat's off to those who do it well.
User Avatar
myles

 
Posts: 598
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2001 8:23 am
Location: Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
Thanked: 100 times in 67 posts

Postby howiemtnguide » Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:36 am

Hi Myles,
Are you referring to Frank Carus by any chance? Awesome guy. I saw him in the Eastern Sierra for a Ski Guide Course last year. He is an AMGA Certified guide actively on track to becoming Internationally certified.
User Avatar
howiemtnguide

 
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:02 pm
Location: Big Pine, California, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby myles » Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:44 am

howiemtnguide wrote:Hi Myles,
Are you referring to Frank Carus by any chance? Awesome guy. I saw him in the Eastern Sierra for a Ski Guide Course last year. He is an AMGA Certified guide actively on track to becoming Internationally certified.

The very one. I met him back in his pre-cert days. A fine fella indeed!
User Avatar
myles

 
Posts: 598
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2001 8:23 am
Location: Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
Thanked: 100 times in 67 posts

Postby The Chief » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:25 am

"Marketing the AMGA brand is important for making progress toward certification-based access.."

I thought the entire premise of the "AMGA" was to standardize protocols within the U.S.?

Now it's a "brand" which is "Marketed"?

Howie, that is my point.

The premise has lost it's course and the sails shifted to a "Marketed Brand".

In other words, it appears that it, The AMGA, has gone from a worthy standardization cause to making a buck.

Word is flying around the guiding community how the AMGA has and is continuously lobbying/approaching the NPS and USFS and insisting that they ONLY allow and issue Permits to AMGA Accredited Guide Services to Operate within their boundaries.

That literally sucks my friend and is WRONG!


"I can definitively say that the educational development arms of both alternative organizations (especially the PCGI) are microscopic in comparison to that of the AMGA with respect to guiding experience, guiding credentials, and guide training experience. Hands down, no comparison."

Let's not forget that the AMGA was once in the same exact position. I can also tell ya that when they were young, they were way more personable, utilized a philosophy of unity and depended solely on the experience of the few masters out there that just loved the art of Guiding and wanted to share their experience with the few of us that were aspiring to follow in their footsteps.

As far as your original thought on the term "Professional", well, aren't Guides suppose to be "Professional".... they are paid for the service they are giving. Thus, a perfect example of Webster's definition of a "Professional":

Function: adjective
Date: 1606

1 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b : engaged in one of the learned professions c (1) : characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2) : exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
2 a : participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs ...a professional golfer> b : having a particular profession as a permanent career .. a professional soldier c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return professional
Last edited by The Chief on Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post

Postby ksolem » Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:46 am

What the hell is "certification based access?"
User Avatar
ksolem

 
Posts: 5719
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 4:25 pm
Location: Monrovia, California, United States
Thanked: 12 times in 9 posts

Postby howiemtnguide » Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:13 am

ksolem,
Certification-based access just means that guides who are certified can obtain permits to guide on public land. At this time, only a few venues offer access to certified guides.

The Chief,
Sounds like you live in the Eastern Sierra? Come by our office on main street in Bishop sometime and I would be happy to join you for a cup of coffee to talk about this. It seems that it has been a while since you have had direct contact with the AMGA and a lot has happened since the '80's. I wouldn't believe all of the rumors you hear through the grapevine. I would take the AMGA of today over the one from 10 years ago for sure. From 20 years ago, I have only heard the now legendary stories of the egos and tempers that flared through conflict after conflict. I have trouble believing that it was more personable then than it is now. It was no doubt less professional (which was my original point). Hope to see you around sometime. Might you attend the AMGA annual meeting in Moab in a couple weeks?
User Avatar
howiemtnguide

 
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:02 pm
Location: Big Pine, California, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Postby The Chief » Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:55 pm

howiemtnguide wrote:ksolem,
Certification-based access just means that guides who are certified can obtain permits to guide on public land.

The Chief,
It seems that it has been a while since you have had direct contact with the AMGA and a lot has happened since the '80's. I wouldn't believe all of the rumors you hear through the grapevine. I would take the AMGA of today over the one from 10 years ago for sure. From 20 years ago, I have only heard the now legendary stories of the egos and tempers that flared through conflict after conflict. I have trouble believing that it was more personable then than it is now.


- Certification Based Access sounds like a form of Totalitarianism. And in the AMGA's case, would be Monopolized by their Marketed Trademark Corporation. I consider that complete nonsense, totally undemocratic and bullshit!

- Actually, I enjoyed the folks that were running the show back in the late 80's early 90's. They weren't so full of themselves to even begin to consider being the only entity that could run an instructional/certification program in this country. They actually insisted on a complete form of technical professionalism based on ones experience and talents. Not how much that they paid for a course. I am guessing that was because the courses were so inexpensive then that anyone could take one that was technically savvy and had some time/climbs under their belts.

Guys like Alain Comeau, Jon Tierney, Randy Grandstaff, Doug Robinson etc.

But all of this really doesn't matter at all does it. Here in America, the Org/Corporation that fends off any competition and has the most pull with the Representatives in D.C., wins.

Any Organization or Corporation that publicly deems itself as the sole entity capable of achieving a training/certification program, that helps any community, is a dangerous one IMO.

Individuals the likes of Norman Clyde would be told to pack their pack and go home. His attitude and mannerisms towards guiding most surely would not be acceptable in today's AMGA scheme of things.
Last edited by The Chief on Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post

Postby cp0915 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:58 pm

How's it go,

'You people are taking this shit wayyyyyyyyy too seriously!'

:)

Please go on. Debate can be healthy.
User Avatar
cp0915

 
Posts: 1307
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:40 am
Location: The Most Irresponsible City on Earth, Nevada
Thanked: 2 times in 2 posts

Postby The Chief » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:06 pm

Yeah... I am taking this very seriously.

Monopolization that controls the entire guiding access within our National Parks and Forests, is a very dangerous thing.

Especially when it affects the existence and livelihood of many guides and the guiding orgs they pertain to that have been around longer than the self imposed "controlling" corporation that tells them to play along with them, or go away.

Mike, it has absolutely nothing to do with the guiding services themselves. Rather the entity that certifies their guides, accredits them and seeks to oversee them.

I firmly believe that there should be more than one entity out there that instructs and certifies guides within the Untied States. As long as they are playing from the same sheet of music there should be absolutely no issue. Allowing competition amongst that community would certainly foster some serious thought to the exploitation of course prices and encourage different ideas in the manner of which courses are taught and people are certified.
The Chief

 
Thanked: time in post

Postby howiemtnguide » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:32 pm

The Chief,

There's a point I can agree with! The #1 obstacle to access for certified guides is the current system of permitting supported by land agencies and concessionaires. You are right that these are not free markets for running businesses. They are just like monopolies that anti-trust laws were created to address.

So we have identified the problem. How do you intend to be a part of the solution? Spraying on this forum might not be quite enough (although it's a good start).

Regarding competing guide certifications, I'm not seeing how they would be singing from the same sheet of music. Competing agencies do not help solve the problem. They detract from the mission that we all take seriously. I don't think American guides will make significant progress on access until there is a unified approach, instead of internal bickering. Some people (guides especially) just thrive on conflict and adversity.

Maybe we better make that a beer instead of a coffee. Seems like we are both slightly overcaffeinated. Thanks for this banter, I haven't had a good dialog on the subject in a while.
Last edited by howiemtnguide on Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User Avatar
howiemtnguide

 
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:02 pm
Location: Big Pine, California, United States
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

PreviousNext

Return to Ethics, Spray, and Slander

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.