Apart from being a hobby, climbing (or rock climbing) can also be a highly rewarding career. You can get paid for doing something that you like and would like to continue doing for the rest of your life. 

If you become a certified rock climber, you may get not only a lucrative job but also access to a network and connections into the exciting world of climbers and their communities. 

If you want an answer to how to become a climbing guide, read the article below to get all the information you need.

Climbing Guide

The Climbing Jobs

The climbing jobs will be readily available at the established climbing venues or the destination climbing spots. You may want to have a job close to your location. However, if there is no location nearby, you may have to relocate.

The rock climbing and the couple guide companies may also provide the guide jobs. Many of these businesses and companies also have an online and web presence. You can go through these websites and the customer reviews posted there to get an idea about the company and its reputation. 

The research may also help you know the number of earnings you can make or the kind of business you can get by partnering with these companies. 

However, because different companies may require different certifications, it is good to talk to them before joining a certification program and course. The companies will be more than willing to guide you in the right direction.

Developing the Leadership and Wilderness Skills

Skills including leadership and wilderness skills may be especially important when you want to take up the job of climbing guide and expert. NOLS (National Open Leadership School) offers courses that may help you develop these skills and make you an expert at dealing with wilderness. 

NOLS offers medical as well as expedition courses with varying activities, purposes, and locations. When you are new to the sport and the activity, you may want to learn more about the benefits of rock climbing outdoor. NOLS also has certain scholarships on offer.

Become a Climbing Guide

Get Trained by an Expert and Guide

When you want to be a rock climbing guide and expert, it is good to hire one at the start of your journey. You may come face to face with the real challenges, tricks, and skills that the guides have this way. 

You may also like to embark on certain trips and journeys that the climbing companies (that you wish to join) may be offering.

If you are still speculative about the decision to work as a climbing guide, you may work in some other area until you are more committed to the decision. 

The best jobs that can introduce you to the climbing and outdoor industry and world may be the jobs at the climbing gyms, the sales and other positions at the climbing guide companies, and the gear shops (selling mountaineering and climbing gear).

The Climbing Certifications

The climbing guide companies may require that an expert and guide have a certification in the relevant stream and area of climbing and from a certain organization. The certification aspect is important for them due to the insurance coverage. 

Different certification courses for outdoor and rock climbing may have different fees, and you should research these when you want to become a climbing guide. The different companies may also require different certifications and may be specific about that. 

Therefore, you need to know which certification you should see and gain for prompt and lucrative employment. Below are some of the important and relevant certifications you may need when you want to be a climbing guide.

How to Become Climbing Guide

The Wilderness First-Aid Certification by NOLS

The certification given by NOLS may be a prerequisite for the other certifications. However, the course may also be available at other places (for instance, the community colleges).

First-Responder Course 

If you want to be a guide and serve at the backcountry regions and locations, you may choose the wilderness first responder course.

However, it is important to consult the guide company or service first. Some may also be willing to pay for these courses.

AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association)

When it comes to guiding in the USA, the AMGA may be the best option available to you as it is the gold standard. The association has international recognition and is well known.

 A certification here can be costly but may also equip you to guide learners internationally.

Becoming Climbing Guide

IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association)

The Association may provide the guiding courses and certifications in around 20 countries. 

The certification may be enough for you to train and guide the learners in many different countries. Remember that not all certification companies are recognized by IFMGA.

PCGI (Professional Climbing Guides Institute)

If you don’t have enough money to pay for a certification course at AMGA, you may also go for PCGI certification. However, since PCGI is lesser-known and is a smaller organization, its certification may not be accepted widely. 

The certification may still make you an expert and help you gain employment at the local guide services. One thing to keep in mind is that you may have to look for different locations for employment when you have the PCGI guiding certification.

The Cost of Basic Certification

The basic guiding courses offered by AGA and PCGI may have a duration of three days, and the assessment duration of the courses may vary between one to two days (depending on the certification agency). 

The cost involved in the course may vary between $ 450 and $ 550. There is a separate cost for assessment, and it may range between $ 200 and $ 350. The basic PCGI certification will prove to be less costly when compared to the AMGA certification.

Becoming a Climbing Guide

Depending on the organization you choose for certification, you may be awarded the certification called Single Pitch Instructor or Single Pitch Guide.

These courses may cover basic climbing techniques, anchor switching, application of hitches and knots, rescue techniques, and other climbing skills.

Final Thoughts on How to Become a Climbing Guide

Rock climbing and being a certified and expert guide may not always be involved with climbing. You may be in control of the life of other people who will be your clients. 

During these periods, a rock climber and guide may have a 100% liability of ensuring the safety of the client. Sometimes guides and rock climbers may also be responsible for arranging the food and water of the clients. 

The client and the learners will come up to you for instructions and guidance, and you should ensure that you can provide them with the best training and advice.

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