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Guided climbs, RMI and other spew

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Just to clarify... Both the 2-day Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course and the WFR course are offered by NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute. The WFR is a longer course and it covers a shitpot more scenarios, is more intense, and is generally considered appropriate (or required?) for aspiring guides. The 2-day course is great for the weekend warrior, but like i said, if i had the time and money...

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Actually i got rambling, in part, my post was directed towards the thread creep that was discussing the idea of being self-taught. I do understand where you are at and trying to go with it. It sounds like you have a good vision. Take care and good luck!

ps-I highly recommend the Andy Selters book "Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue". I learned a lot just by reading that and practicing the systems, and practicing holding falls, on snowbanks at Paradise and near the Alpental ski area. Cheers!

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Mr. Beefcider,

I am not entirely aware of the exact curriculum of the RMI 6 day, but I can’t imagine it being all that different that the 6 day at American Alpine Institute (AAI) or Mountain Madness (MM).

With that said I do not know the exact hiring and training process that RMI uses, beyond the rumors that I have herd I will not repeat any of those as I can’t confirm them. I am however intimately aware of the hiring and training process for others, as I work for one and know a bunch of people how work for the other. I can’t imagine that the actual RMI processes are too different?

1. All potential candidates will not even be considered unless they have an extensive climbing resume that includes rock, ice, glacier, alpine, etc experience.2. All potential guides will only be considered if they have Wilderness First Responder training, and CPR certification (all must be kept current)3. All potential guides must prove that they posses excellent communication skills, and are able to teach the curriculum in several different ways so that they can be sure that everyone in the group understands and gets the most out of the course.4. While not all guides in the US have AMGA or UIAGM certification (as it is not required by law), all guides at AAI and MM, and I would presume at RMI are trained by fully certified senior guides according to the exact material that the AMGA/UIAGM requires. In-fact many of the senior guides who conduct the 2-4 week annual guide training courses are the same people who teach and administer examinations for the AMGA (e.g., Mike Powers, Mike Silitch, Steve House, etc…)

AAI and MM (and presumably RMI) all emphasize that guides listen to what their clients goals are and shape the trip accordingly. The 6 day courses are typically geared as introductory courses to basic snow/glacier mountaineering, with snow travel, cramponing, basic ice (i.e., French Technique), roping up, glacier travel, self and team crevasse rescue, navigation, mountain weather, ecology, glaciology, etc. being the focus. The typical outcome is that you have the skills to be part of a mountaineering team on basic to intermediate climbs.

Both AAI and MM offer 12-13 day courses that are designed specifically to teach the skills, judgment, and knowledge to safely plan, prepare, and execute climbs on your own at a basic to intermediate level, or be part of an experienced team in a more advanced situation. These types of courses actually let the client(s) guide the guide for the last 2-3 days of the course up a peak of their choice (within permit boundaries). The guides basically sit back and let the clients plan the climb, call all the shots, pick the route, etc… while of course providing feedback as needed or requested for safety reasons.

The long and the short of it is that, you will get what you ask for from your guide. If you want to learn to become a climber your guide should be willing to put the extra effort in to teach you more aggressively and challenge you a bit more. If you want to just summit for the picture and the bragging rights you will get that.

One other misconception raised in this thread that I would seek to clarify is the statement that “There are some real bad asses in here that do more climbing than most guides”. I am sure there are some “real bad asses in here” as the poster likes to put it, but most of the guides I work with are lifestyle climbers. Meaning they live on the road most or all of the year and climb. I would say that most of them are getting between 150-250 days a year climbing (including ~ 30-40% of that number being guided climbs).

Take care, and have a great time on your 6-day trip. If you have further specific questions feel free to email me.


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