Professional Training for Mountain Guides
Aims of the training
A mountain guide is a professional whose competence has been certified. He is capable of taking and instructing any person in a secure, responsible and autonomous manner for activities specific to the profession (in particular alpinism, climbing, athletic climbing, ski touring, off-piste, ice climbing, high-altitude mountaineering). The minimum technical requirements are defined below:
- A rock climbing test of level 5a minimum, in mountaineering boots
- A rock climbing test of level 6b minimum, in climbing shoes
- An ice climbing test with ice axe, using the classic technique
- An ice climbing test with one or two ice axes, using the front point technique
- A skiing test, mastering all types of snow on all terrains. This test is not required for countries where no professional skiing activity takes place
Beside the technical disciplines, following skills are required:
- Nature and environment (environmental protection, fauna, flora, geology, culture, ecology)
- Risk management, communication, social skills
- Guiding techniques and tactical approach
- Methodology and didactics
- Different techniques of orientation
- Knowledge of meteorology
- Knowledge of avalanches
- Rescue and first aid
- High-altitude mountaineering
Requirements for entrance exams
The candidate needs to be over 18 years of, in a very good physical shape and possess high moral standards.
The candidate needs a very good level of: mountaineering experience (rock, snow, ice and mixed terrain); athletic rock climbing skills; skiing ability in all types of snow and on all types of terrain. This experience is certified by their list of courses.
Access to the aspirant guide course is subject to passing the entrance exam. After passing the aspirant guide course, the candidate gets experience for one year. After that, the candidate is authorized to the mountain guide exam. The whole training has to be finalized within three to five years.
Duration of aspirant guide course
The title of aspirant guide authorizes a structured group training course of a minimum duration of 50 days, during which the following themes should be taught for these minimum numbers of days:
- Snow and avalanches, 5 days
- Self-rescue, 4 days
- Mountain medicine, 2 days
- Practical winter training,10 days
- Practical summer training, 20 days - spread out as: 10 days of high altitude rock training/10 days of snow, ice and mixed terrain training.
The nine days which remain are left for each structure to choose the training necessary, depending on the particular specificities of the terrain of practice.
Duration of the mountain guide training
The training, including all exams, should number a minimum of 80 effective days .The group section of the training cannot be inferior to 60 days. The practical sections are of a minimum of 60 days spread out over the entire training program:
- At least 20 days of “rock” training (alpinism/athletic climbing)
- At least 20 days of snow, ice and mixed terrain training
- At least 20 days of winter training (for example: ski mountaineering, off-piste, ski touring, snowshoeing, etc)
This takes place in the high mountain zones for a minimum of 40 days.