Alpine Climbing, Rock Climbing

Featured Philanthropy : American Mountain Guides Association

Master_color The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) is a 501(c)(3) educational non‐profit that is dedicated to supporting the American mountain guiding and climbing instructor community. As the leading organization of America’s most vibrant, inspiring community of climbers and skiers, the AMGA offers you cutting edge knowledge and hundreds of years of collective experience that you won’t get from any other climbing organization. The North Face is a proud sponsor of AMGA, to learn more visit:

Buster Jesik is a climber and guide based in Estes Park, Colorado, and a participant in the Alpine Mentors program.

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In Spring of 2012 I participated in an AMGA Alpine Guides Course hosted in Boulder and Estes Park, Colorado. I was fortunate enough to receive the 2012 North Face Alpine scholarship, which covered the tuition of the course. Before the course I had 6 years of experience as a guide, 15 years experience rock climbing and mountaineering, and had earned certification as an AMGA Rock Guide. This Alpine Guides course was my first step towards certification in the alpine discipline, and having been through the rock program I had a good idea what to expect out of the course.
Mountain guiding is still an underground and mysterious profession in the U.S., even among climbers. Its much more then just leading the pitches and building good anchors. Its a highly complicated art that like climbing, takes a life time to master. During my Spring 2012 course,  myself and 9 other students we’re joined by 4 world class guides and instructors for a 10 day course in the art of mountain guiding. While there is a curriculum, the plan is flexible, and the students walk away with a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, how and where to improve to take their guiding art to the next level.
After a few days of covering and refining basic skills in the crags around Boulder, we headed into Rocky Mountain National Park. Besides just learning the nuts and bolts of guiding, I always walk away from these courses with a different perspective on what guiding and climbing could be, and renewed excitement for the mountains.
Meeting and learning from the AMGA’s top notch instructors is an awesome, inspiring experience that always leaves a mark. I felt honored to receive the North Face scholarship, which goes a long way in helping support aspiring guides make their goals and dreams come true. Personally, I see guiding as an opportunity to pass along an appreciation for nature, push people past their perceived limits, and promote a healthy lifestyle that guests can take back to their every day lives. As one of my mentors told me, “its the mountains that teach us”. The AMGA, along with generous support from the North Face, has given me that same opportunity to learn from the mountains, and make a living passing that on to others.
Buster Jesik is a climber and guide based in Estes Park, Colorado, and a participant in the Alpine Mentors program.

To learn more about how The North Face is enabling the next generation of explorers visit:

Published on August 15, 2013

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