Speedy AMGA Exam Prep Trip

This fall I am registered for the American Mountain Guides Association Alpine Guide Exam.  This exam will take place in September in the North Cascades of WA. The exam is the final step in the Alpine Guide discipline track with the AMGA.  It is arguably the most difficult track with the most amount of course work required. This will be my second of three exams in the AMGA/ IFMGA Mountain Guide program.

In an effort to get some training in before the summer season gets super busy, I headed to WA for a few training climbs and a few weeks of work with the American Alpine Institute. It was a busy three weeks!  By the time I left on  I completed three programs on Mt. Baker including two ski descents of the peak, a day of rock rescue training, and a Mt. Shuksan climb.

An AAI crack rescue student doing some SERIOUS hauling to get the victim out of the crevasse.

The trip began with an AAI Glacier Skills and Crevasse Rescue course on the flanks of Mt. Baker.  This was a basic intro to glacier travel skills and crack rescue for newbie glacier travelers.  A great three day program with some great folks.

The guides that want to succeed in this business train.  So after getting off Mt. Baker, I spent a day with John Minier (KMG guide once removed) of Mt. Baker Mountain Guides on the AMGA Rock Rescue drill.  John is enrolled in his Advanced Alpine Guide Course/ Aspirant Exam this September.  There are details on my Advanced Alpine Course, including details on the AMGA Rock Rescue Drill, from several years back in a previous blog post.  He will have to perform the Rock Rescue Drill as part of his exam, so we worked through it a few times.  I have completed the drill in two aspirant exams, the Rock Aspirant and the Alpine Aspirant, but the best always train and refresh so it was great to work through it again.

I can’t do to many days in flip flops, so back to the glacier it was.  This time it was an AAI Summit and Ski program.  I had the chance to work with a Kun ( a skier) and Bing (a split boarder).  It was a great trip!  Both Bing and Kun had done a custom two day backcountry ski course earlier in the winter with AAI Guide Ben Gardner.  Ben is an other KMG Guide once removed.  We absolutely scored on weather!  For three days we enjoy wonderfully mild temps, clear skies, and perfect skiing conditions.  The trip culminated with skiing off the summit of Mt. Baker in absolutely perfect conditions.

Our camp on Mt. Baker under the stars.


A day in flip flops allowed the boots to dry out and then it was back to the hill.  This time I headed to the North Side and significantly less crowded side of Mt. Baker with AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide and Certified Rock Guide Jayson Simons-Jones for a training climb of the North Ridge of Mt. Baker.  While conditions in September are typically significantly different ( read – harder) than the conditions we found, it was still a great training day in the alpine.

SO excited about the awesome ski!

One more trip up Mt. Shuksan with the American Alpine Institute and my time in the North West ends, at least for now.  The rest of the summer’s training will be taking place on the jagged and loose peaks of CO.

It's all selfie smiles when you are skiing in June.

Josh Kling

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

AMGA Assistant Ski and Alpine Guide

AMGA Aspirant Mountain Guide

AIARE Level 1 and 2 Course Leader

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