Guide Rock Training: Banff & Canmore Alberta
Banff / Canmore

Guide Training Rock

Rock Climbing Courses and Skill Development for Aspiring Guides


  • Cost:
  • $749

Location: Banff and Canmore   Duration: 3 Days   Fitness: Good   Ability: Intermediate   Prerequisites: Outdoor Lead Course  

This is our most advanced and fast paced rock course, and is modelled on ACMG Rock Guiding training/exam courses. It is designed to train aspiring assistant alpine guides at an IFMGA standard and to meet the training standards as required by the UIAA for Alpine Club Amateur Rock leaders. It is also suitable for advanced recreational rock climbers.

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Course Information

This is our most advanced and fast paced rock course, and is modelled on ACMG Rock Guiding training/exam courses. It is designed to train aspiring assistant alpine guides at an IFMGA standard and to meet the training standards as required by the UIAA for Alpine Club Amateur Rock leaders. It is also suitable for advanced recreational rock climbers.

Instructor to participant ratios are low to allow for individual attention; two candidates to one rock guide for any technical ascents, other days are 1:4. Upon course completion, successful candidates receive an Mountain Skills Academy Rock Master Certificate.

See the itinerary for a detailed description of the lesson plans and assessment categories that make up the course.

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 (International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations).


Assistant Guides and Alpine Club Amateur Rock Leaders

Those seeking Assistant Rock Guiding or Alpine Club Amateur Rock Leader careers will additionally receive important letters of recommendation from their instructors. These are for aiding in gaining acceptance to official IFMGA Assistant Rock Guiding training programs, acquiring employment or acquiring Amateur Rock 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 Rock Guide program or pass an Assistant Rock Guide program exam.

*Aspiring Guides: Those seeking acceptance and certification into an IFMGA member countries Assistant Rock Guide training program to pursue a career in professional rock guiding such as Rock Guide or Alpine/Mountain Guide.

*Alpine Club Amateur Rock Leaders: Those seeking to become alpine club leaders in order to lead alpine club recreational rock climbing trips in safety and confidence.

*Advanced Recreational Rock Climber: Those seeking the highest competency in rock climbing systems and application.

If you wish to apply for the Guide Training Course, please submit your climbing 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!

Important Definitions:

Teaching technique: Teaching technique is the method expected of professionals when teaching a particular skill.

Demonstration standard: This is the standard protocol laid out by professional guiding associations which has the guide demonstrate to students the appropriate technique when teaching a specific skill.

Guide technique: These are prescribed techniques and guidelines established by professional guiding associations.

Professional standard or Guide standard: This is the level of performance expected for a certain skill or aptitude by professional guiding associations based on different factors such as time, method, difficulty, etc.

At this level participants should already own their own equipment.


  • Climbing pants
  • Base layer shirt
  • Mid layer fleece top
  • Weatherproof shell jacket
  • Down or synthetic insulating “puffy” jacket
  • Warm hat and ballcap
  • Thin gloves for belaying
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Sturdy hiking / approach shoes or boots


  • Rite in the Rain notebook and mechanical pencil
  • Day pack – 35 – 40L
  • Small leader pack (optional)
  • Rock shoes
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • 1 x 60 metre UIAA approved single rope 2 x 60 metre UIAA approved half ropes (optional)
  • Auto Bloc Belay device (Petzl Reverso or Black Diamond ATC Guide)
  • 4 locking carabiners (2 x munter/pearshaped)
  • 4 non-locking carabiners
  • 2 x 5m 7mm prussik
  • 1 x 1.5m 7mm prussik
  • 2 x 120cm slings
  • 8 x 60cm slings
  • 12 quick draws
  • 1 set of cams
  • 1 set of stoppers
  • 1 nut tool
  • 1 light weight piton hammer
  • 2 long & 2 medium bugaboo knife blades
  • 4 rappel rings/quick links
  • Webbing or sling material for making rappel anchors
  • Chalk bag
  • Hiking pole
  • First aid kit (including splint)
  • Cell phone
  • Tarp (large enough to shelter 2 people)
  • Headlamp
  • Programmable Radio


  • Lesson 1 Rock Leadership/Guiding Seminar & the Guides Meeting
  • Lesson 2 Transition from recreational to leadership/guiding mode
  • Lesson 3 Guides rock climbing pack
  • Lesson 4 Evaluate Weather & Local conditions Environment
  • Lesson 5 Safety Protocols for guided rock climbing
  • Lesson 6 Review latest weather, current conditions and environmental concerns
  • Lesson 7 Safety: Risk & Hazard management and safety protocols- Rock Climbing.
  • Lesson 8 Client care
  • Lesson 9 Area prep and safety- group management
  • Lesson 10 Sport route top rope scenarios, professional anchor standards and set up
  • Lesson 11 Climb off- rock climbing evaluation & feedback- Guide standard
  • Lesson 12 Teaching techniques: Rope Handling for rock climbing
  • Lesson 13 Teaching techniques: Teaching belaying- demonstration standard
  • Lesson 14 Guide technique: Professional belaying standards with various devices and systems
  • Lesson 15 Teaching technique: Threading the anchor- Demonstration standard
  • Lesson 16 Guide technique: Professional Rappelling and Lowering standards with various devices and systems
  • Lesson 17 Rappelling and Lowering guiding/leadership specialized techniques
  • Lesson 18 Rope ascension with prussic and auto-bloc- professional level Nutrition, physiology, and injury prevention
  • Lesson 19 Planning a guided objective, route plan and preparation
  • Lesson 20 Weather observations and in field recording
  • Lesson 21 Field weather and conditions recording and situational awareness
  • Lesson 22 Teaching techniques: Managing a basic rock climbing school
  • Lesson 23 Guide technique: Client Care
  • Lesson 24 Movement Skills
  • Lesson 25 Teaching technique: Traditional gear placement- demonstration standard
  • Lesson 26 Teaching technique: Traditional gear anchors- demonstration standard
  • Lesson 27 Guide technique: Professional standard anchors
  • Lesson 28 Trad climb off- Guide standard
  • Lesson 29 Guide technique: Multi-pitch multi-directional gear anchor- professional standard
  • Lesson 30 Guide technique: Multi-pitch belaying and lower professional standard
  • Lesson 31 trad and multi-pitch guiding demo and mock set-ups
  • Lesson 32 Multi-pitch hazard recognitions and management
  • Lesson 33 The multi-pitch backpack- Guide standard
  • Lesson 34 Protecting the second tools (trams, pendulum, back belay)
  • Lesson 35 Emergency Response
    Lesson 36 Guest coaching and communication
  • Lesson 37 Client care, pace setting, Safety reminder: Current hazards and safety protocols- Multi-pitch rock climbing.
  • Lesson 38 Multi-pitch guiding technique- Professional standard
  • Lesson 39 Multi-pitch rope management- ascent- guide standard
  • Lesson 40 Multi-pitch descent guiding technique- Professional standard
  • Lesson 41 Multi-pitch rope management- descent- guide standard
  • Lesson 42: Guiding/Leadership responsibility
  • Assessment 1: Review weather and current conditions
  • Assessment 2: Review multi-pitch day plan/ guides meeting
  • Assessment 3: Client Care and prep
  • Assessment 4: Managing multi-pitch hazards- Guide standard
  • Assessment 5: Leading a multi-pitch ascent- Guide standard
  • Assessment 6: Leading a multi-pitch descent- Guide standard
  • Assessment 7: General mountain sense – Guide standard
  • Assessment 8: Route finding skills – Guide standard
  • Assessment 9: Guide technique application – Guide standard
  • Assessment 10: Technical systems – Guide standard
  • Assessment 11: Review weather and current conditions
  • Assessment 12: Review day plan/ guides meeting
  • Assessment 13: Client Care and prep
  • Assessment 14: Managing a group at a sport and trad climbing crag- set up top ropes
  • Assessment 15: Rope Rescue Scenario
  • Assessment 16: Clarification and make up of any sub standard marks

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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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