$146,000 and 4.5 Years Training to Become a Guide?


Original Post
20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

I've been doing a bit of research and I came across an interesting website. They appear to teach people how to become multi-modality guides (e.g. ski, mountaineering and/ or rock climbing). In their defense, the classes appear to be quite complete in terms of experience on the rock. However, the cost of the program is nearly $150k and apparently it takes 4.5 years to complete. By contrast, you can take every one of AMGA's certification classes for a small fraction of the cost in both money and time. Thoughts?

https://mountainguideschool.com/paying-for-the-program-professionals/

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

And what do you get for all your work? I don't see anything listed that will help you get a job... honestly kinda sounds like all those tech school scams people spend tons of money on and than are later told keep that off a resume if you ever want to try to get a real job.

From the sound of it they say they are accredited but when you finish you have nothing much to provide to an employer other than saying you attended. Not really sure how much the people hiring think of them but you may want to figure that out before dropping that much cash to get trained for a job that doesn't make that much money.

FoamFinger _______ · · Rad Town, Not set (USA) · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 0
ViperScale wrote:kinda sounds like all those tech school scams people spend tons of money
That's exactly what this organization is doing. You do get some Cert's out of it though; Avy 2, WFR, and I think they actually do the AMGA SPI as well.

Not even close to being worth it though!
BGardner · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

I've always thought poorly of this organization but after following your link and actually reading through the website I'm actually horrified.
To be fair my opinion is extremely biased since I've work full-time as a guide and Outward Bound Instructor for over 15 years. I've also gone very deep down the AMGA rabbit hole.
There is no way this program is worth it. I also highly doubt a single one of their graduates stepped right into a $200/day X 200 day/year guiding job. There are a lot of great guides that have been working for years that don't make that kind of money. But that's OK because they have a "super simple student Loan" program that only charges 10.5% APR!
For that kind of money you could get an adventure ed degree from an actual college and actually get a piece of paper that is worth something.

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
FoamFinger wrote: I think they actually do the AMGA SPI as well.
Damn, 4.5 years and you get a certification that you can complete on your own in five days for under $1k? For the amount of money they are asking and the experience they claim you should come out no less than IFMGA certified.
FoamFinger _______ · · Rad Town, Not set (USA) · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 0
20 kN wrote: Damn, 4.5 years and you get a certification that you can complete on your own in five days for under $1k? For the amount of money they are asking the experience they claim, you should come out no less than IFMGA certified.
Damn Right!
JulianG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 5

You guys are looking at it the wrong way. You are not their target market. Think of Boulder trustafarians that are able to climb and sky all year long on every continent. I bet their daddy and mommy would be very proud of their little certified guide. They might get a bigger allowance as a graduation gift. The days when climbers collecting empty beer cans to buy climbing gear before they feed themself are long gone.

sherb · · Loveland, Ohio & Wheat Ridg... · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 0

This reminds me of Remote Year where you think it's a job listing for a job that takes you around the world (and pays you like a normal job does). Wrong! Actually, you not only have to pay them, you also have to find your own job that will allow you to work remotely from around the world. They don't even have a job set up for you! I'll travel around the world on my own terms, without the crazy high expense ($27,000) or rigid structure, thankyouverymuch. Not that they are selling the same thing, just that they frame it in a beautiful way, but it's too costly for the provided services.

As for the website in question, I think this lady had good intentions, but costs got out of control and soon she came up with this insane cost, justifying it with the cost of actual universities. I'd attend if I won the lottery as a lady of leisure. And if I ever produced such a "certified little guide" I'd slap him or her silly for stupidity, then establish a trust for him or her, knowing they will never survive in the world on their own.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

If I can get a Universal Belay Certificate out of it, then it's worth it.

Luke R 84 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 328
JulianG wrote:You guys are looking at it the wrong way. You are not their target market. Think of Boulder trustafarians that are able to climb and sky all year long on every continent. I bet their daddy and mommy would be very proud of their little certified guide. They might get a bigger allowance as a graduation gift. The days when climbers collecting empty beer cans to buy climbing gear before they feed themself are long gone.
It's only worth it if it helps build an #authenitc #personalbrand on instagram, comlete with brand ambassadorships and lots of life advice to everyone else (live the life you deserve, "she thought she could do it, so she did it")
jspitzer · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 80

Sounds really expense with no job security at the end of it. At least with AMGA you can achieve an IFMGA certification allowing you to guide in certain countries: Canada, NZ, Europe, Peru, etc...

My favorite part of the website is the tips at the bottom:.

8) Bonus tip: Don’t have unprotected sex.

I’m not joking. I’ve lost more than a few students over the years due to getting pregnant or getting their girlfriend pregnant.

There’s plenty of time in life for kids, if that’s something that floats your boat. The middle of a 4 year program, while you’re planning to be away for months at a time, is not ideal. So wear a condom. Take the pill. Whatever.

Matt Stroebel · · Lakewood, OH · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 40

Subsidiary of Trump University?

climbing coastie · · Wasilla, AK · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 10

They prey on veterans too. They talk about how your GI Bill will cover all costs, then go into how you have to give them your housing stipend to make it work. It's a huge lie because they say you'll get 36 months of your stipend, but the way the VA works the stipend for non-college programs you'd actually get less than 20 months worth of stipend. Which comes out to a $36,000 difference.

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 0
BGardner wrote:I also highly doubt a single one of their graduates stepped right into a $200/day X 200 day/year guiding job. There are a lot of great guides that have been working for years that don't make that kind of money.
Lets say that you actually can make that much money. It's still crap. That's $25 an hour if your day only takes 8 hours. For that kind of student debt, it's not unreasonable to become a lawyer, engineer, PA, etc. A climbing guide will never ever make that money back.
Peter T · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 10

I love the Letter to Parents. It's hard to believe that anyone would sign up for this.

Brandon S · · Weehawken, NJ · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 3
Matt Stroebel wrote:Subsidiary of Trump University?
Its an impressive feet but this actually seems worse than either Trump University or those tech schools mentioned above. Worst I heard about Trump "students" was they max out a couple credit cards after a few worthless conferences and you've got 25k in debt. Live and learn.

This Mountain Guides thing would cost you 4 years of your life, at least 50k upfront and likely 50k at 10.5% interest, and you are no more marketable as a guide than before. Absurd.
Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 40
Peter T wrote:I love the Letter to Parents. It's hard to believe that anyone would sign up for this.
To give some basis of comparison, my brother, a PhD statistician who works for a large pharmaceutical company, is able to save roughly that same amount per year.

This guy could sell shit to a pig farm. I think this guy worked on Wall Street at one time.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VZhPiYA9PNk
Rhett Burroughs · · Rock Springs, WY · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 155

Its for rich trust fund kids, who never really have to have a real job.

doligo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 212
Rhett Burroughs wrote:Its for rich trust fund kids, who never really have to have a real job.
One could say the same about considerable amount of US guides who go through AMGA cert process...
Patrick Shyvers · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0
Ana Tine wrote:As for the website in question, I think this lady had good intentions, but costs got out of control and soon she came up with this insane cost, justifying it with the cost of actual universities.
I do wonder if it could actually be a halfway reasonable price tag to teach, every single step of the way, a total outdoor greenhorn to the level of presumably hireable professional guide, with other professionals guiding you every step of the way.

Like, what would NOLS charge if they offered such a course?

Yes, the cert might never pay for itself, and yes, it costs as much as actual college, but how much would it cost to hire a private guide to teach you, from zero to hero, for four years?

AIERE 1 is $500 for three days, at that rate $146,000 only gets you 2.4 years of instruction :)
Caz Drach · · Sugarhouse, UT · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 0

This is the same as getting a degree from a private university... why not just do that?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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