Mountain Guide Training Course, Become A Professional Guide - MSAA
Whistler / Squamish

Mountain Guide Training Ice Climbing

Training for Ice Climbing


  • Cost:
  • $1599

Location: Whistler   Duration: 5 Days   Fitness: Peak   Ability: Expert   Prerequisites: See Course Info  

Becoming a professional guide is a very demanding undertaking. The Guide Training Ice program is a 7-day course aimed at training aspiring guides.

Make a Booking

To make a booking please call 604 938 9242 or email us at

Course Information

Becoming a professional guide is a very demanding undertaking. The Guide Training Ice program is a 7-day course aimed at training aspiring guides.

Modelled on the ACMG Guides Training courses, Whistler Alpine Guides’ Guide Training Ice has been specifically designed to achieve the following goals:

  • Prepare students so that they meet the necessary prerequisites needed for acceptance into International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA) certification programs
  • Provide students and aspiring guides with the necessary skills and mentorship so that they may succeed on the very demanding exam process
  • Fast track motivated students into professional guiding
  • Provide help and support for students in obtaining employment and mentorship as aspiring guides

Upon completion of the course:

  • Each student is appointed a Mountain Guide mentor in their country of training. This is facilitated through special relationships between Mountain Guides and Whistler Alpine Guides schools and instructors
  • Students receive a thorough performance evaluation which tells them their strengths and weakness and what they need to work on
  • Students receive an official letter of recommendation and reference from the course lead guide. This letter will aid students in gaining acceptance to an IFMGA Mountain Guide training program as well as to help them obtain relevant work or practicums
  • Students receive an Whistler Alpine Guides Guide Training Ice certificate

Guide Training

The training portion of course is designed to help candidates obtain a full repertoire of skills in advanced rock climbing systems, leadership, and guiding technique. Be prepared for in-depth and intensive skills training days as well as demanding technical ascent days. Daily evening lectures focus on topics such as route planning (including exploring local weather conditions, route plans and guides/leader meetings).

Our training meets or exceeds UIAA training standards. Skill sets, techniques and application methods are all based on the standards set forth by the IFMGA.

Exam and Assessment

The assessment/exam portion of the course has been designed to replicate an actual professional level guide exam, ensuring that candidates meet the standard required to independently and safely lead others in rock climbing.

Assistant Guides and Alpine Club Amateur Leaders

Those seeking Assistant Guiding or Alpine Club Amateur Leader careers will additionally receive important Whistler Alpine Guides letters of recommendation from their instructors. These are for aiding in gaining acceptance to official IFMGA Assistant Guiding training programs, acquiring employment or acquiring Amateur Trip Leader positions with Alpine Club trips. We also provide each guide candidate with guide training specific feedback, including a list of recommended objectives and tasks to be accomplished in order to either successfully be accepted to the Assistant Guide program or pass an Assistant Guide program exam.

If you wish to apply for the Guide Training Course, please submit your ice skills resume and experience/courses completed in the format of the ACMG TRU Canadian Mountain and Ski Guide Program application to our Guide Training Program Co-ordinator at We will then provide a specialized Mountain Master Plan that will map out the courses, cost and time commitment needed in order to achieve your goals of being a guide!

Evening One

  • 18:00 orientation meeting at local cafe
  • Sign waivers, safety discussion and equipment check.
  • Lessons 1 – 5
  • End of day, debrief

Day One

  • 07:00 meeting at local cafe
  • Guide Meeting: local conditions, weather, route plan evaluation, gear check
  • Lesson 6
  • Drive to local area
  • Lesson 7 – 9
  • Ice climbing warm-up
  • Lessons 10 – 15
  • End of field session. 18:00 Evening session
  • Lessons 16 – 18
  • End of day, debrief

Day Two

  • 07:00 meeting at local cafe
  • Guide Meeting: local conditions, weather, route plan evaluation, gear check
  • Drive to local areas
  • Lessons 19 – 25
  • End of day, debrief
  • Day Three
  • 07:00 meeting at local cafe
  • Guide Meeting: local conditions, weather, route plan evaluation, gear check
  • Mock client/group preparation
  • Drive to local area
  • Lessons 26 – 28
  • Q & A
  • Skills and technique review
  • Evening Session: 18:00 Guiding/leadership role
  • Homework: Next day objective, day plan and BACKUP plan
  • End of day, debrief

Day Four

  • 07:00 meeting at local cafe
  • Guide Meeting: local conditions, weather, route pan evaluation, gear check
  • Assessments 1 – 3
  • Drive to local area
  • Assessments 4 – 7
  • End of day, debrief
  • Meeting at local pub
  • Personal liability and insurance
  • Training
  • Course debrief, marking card, accreditation and Ice MASTER CERTIFICATE, letters of recommendation
  • Next step discussion and advice
  • Course Close


  • Insulating top and bottom under layers and socks
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Down or synthetic insulating “puffy” jacket
  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Gaiters
  • Warm hat and balaklava
  • 2 pairs of gloves (preferably light and waterproof)
  • Warm mittens
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen


  • Backpack 25-35L
  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Mountaineering boots
  • 2 technical ice axes
  • Crampons
  • 2 locking carabiners
  • 3 x 120cm sling
  • Belay device (Petzl Reverso or Black Diamond ATC Guide)
  • 1 Abalacov Hooker
  • 1 small knife
  • 1 x 1m 7mm prussik
  • 5 medium ice screws
  • 4 long ice screws
  • 6 quickdraws or 60cm slings or screamers with non-locking carabiners

*Food and water are not included

Our Ice Guide Training represents the pinnacle of the Whistler Alpine Guides ice climbing curriculum.

At this level you should own, or be in the process of acquiring, all of your own equipment.

Evening One

  • Lesson 1 Evaluate Weather & CAA Avalanche Forecast
  • Lesson 2 Choose an appropriate venue – use of Parks Canada ATES Scale & MCR
  • Lesson 3 Introduction to a guides meeting & trip planning
  • Lesson 4 Guides ice climbing pack
  • Lesson 5 Environment : Leave no trace and wildlife discussion

Day One

  • Lesson 6 Review latest weather, current conditions and environmental concerns
  • Lesson 7 Safety: Risk & hazard management and safety protocols for ice and mixed climbing.
  • Lesson 8 Client care
  • Lesson 9 Area preparation and safety – group management
  • Lesson 10 Top rope scenarios, acceptable anchors, belay techniques, directionals
  • Lesson 11 Climb off: ice climbing evaluation & feedback
  • Lesson 12 Teaching techniques: Ice axe and crampon school
  • Lesson 13 Teaching techniques: Basic ice climbing/mixed climbing school – safety considerations
  • Lesson 14 Rappelling and lowering – normal & problematic
  • Lesson 15 Rope ascension with crampons
  • Lesson 16 18:00 Evening session – emergency response
  • Lesson 17 Troubleshooting
  • Lesson 18 Record keeping

Day Two

  • Lesson 19 Ice Anchors: testing & trouble shooting, rappelling with J-loop
  • Lesson 20 Introduction to short roping
  • Lesson 21 Low angle ice safety
  • Lesson 22 Improvised ice rescue scenario: escape the system, rappel, stabilize, ascend, raise, lower.
  • Lesson 23 Improvised ice rescue discussion scenario: Lead climber over 40 meters out must rescue second.
  • Rappel down past ice screws, establish new anchor, rappel, stabilize, paired rappel or lower.
  • Lesson 24 Introduction to multi-pitch guiding technique
  • Lesson 25 Evening session 18:00: Multi-pitch pre- planning for weather, avalanche forecasts and equipment preparation

Day Three

  • Lesson 26 Client care, pace setting, safety reminder: Current hazards and safety protocols for multi-pitch ice climbing.
  • Lesson 27 Multi-pitch guiding technique
  • Lesson 28 Mutli-pitch descent guiding technique

Day Four

  • Assessment 1: Review weather, avalanche and current conditions
  • Assessment 2: Review day plan/ guides meeting
  • Assessment 3: Client Care and preparation
  • Assessment 4: Managing a group at an ice crag, set up top ropes
  • Assessment 5: Improvised ice rescue scenario
  • Assessment 6: Multi-Pitch ice guiding technique
  • Assessment 7: Problem solving scenarios

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase insurance for Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation and Adventure Sports Coverage (some backcountry adventures are excluded from coverage).

Emergency Evacuation and Medical Insurance

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by your provincial health plan (except ambulance/air ambulance transport). We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance.

Emergency evacuation insurance is compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:

All prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and are exclusive of a 5% tax (GST). Prices are subject to change. Guide gratuities are not included in fees.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept credit card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

Applicable to all tours and courses*: If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability.  *Does not apply to First Aid and Wilderness First Aid courses.

Late Arrival Policy

Guests arriving more than 15 minutes late for an activity forfeit 100% of the tour price. Tours leave promptly; it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to sort out gear and sign waivers.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 48 hours of start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • More than 48 hours:  $25 rescheduling & refunding fee (per booking).
Multi Day Programs
  • 2 Day Programs: Within 10 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 10 days: $25 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.
  • 3+ Day Programs: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule or full refund.
  • Customized Trips: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**On all multi day trips pre arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).

Courses Cancellation Policy

1-2 Day Courses

  • Within 10 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 10 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

3+ Day Courses

  • Within 30 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.


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