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PCGI Climbing Guide Training Course

Quick Details

Start time: 9 a.m.

Duration: 7 hours on each of the three consecutive days.

Location: The course will take place near Whitefish, MT at the Stryker and Kila climbing areas.

Directions: For directions click HERE

Climber Ages 18+

About the Top Rope Guide Course

PCGI (Professional Climbing Guides Institute) Top Rope Guide Course
PCGI Instructor – Rick Krause

The Top Rope Guide Course (TRG) is designed as a introductory level Top Rope rock climbing guide training program. No lead climbing is conducted during the TRG. This course provides the essential foundational guide skills needed to become a rock climbing guide while presenting rigorous practical top rope guiding and instructing skill paradigms. It is designed for experienced climbers looking to become climbing guides, for guides and instructors working primarily in Top Rope terrain, as well as for college rock climbing program leaders, rock climbing club leaders, youth rock climbing program leaders, or recreational rock climbers wishing to improve safety and efficiency in top rope terrain. All PCGI courses are designed for rock climbing in non-glacier terrain and do not address snow or ice travel.

The course teaches a variety of skills, strategies, and methods for both the technical top rope environment as well as creating a strong base for technical instruction, teaching techniques, group management, and other important concerns. The top rope course addresses both top and bottom-managed top rope guiding without leading in areas where clifftops can be accessed via 4th class or lower approaches. The training encompasses key techniques that are commonly used such as belayed rappels and top-managed belays for areas such as lake and sea cliffs, relevant rescue techniques, and technical instruction.

The course focuses on technical climbing and guiding skills, common guide and instruction techniques, managing clients, teaching, and pertinent rescue techniques. Classes are very hands on and practical with active discussions and student practice of all skills.

Note: Completing a PCGI training course does not constitute certification. In order to obtain PCGI certification individuals must pass a separate assessment for certification.

Top Rope Guide Course prerequisites:

Significant prior top rope climbing experience of at least 1 year/12 months
Comfortable with top roping routes up to 5.7
Capable of using traditional climbing gear (camming devices and stoppers) to build standard 3-piece traditional anchors as well as bolted anchors
Provide your own climbing gear and rack for building top rope anchors and setting up top ropes, including cams, stoppers, static anchor ropes (30-50 ft), 7mm cordalettes, and climbing ropes for use on course
Working knowledge of the following knots and hitches including

  • Figure-eight follow through
  • Figure-eight on a bight
  • Overhand on a bight
  • Bowline
  • Double Fisherman
  • Clove hitch
  • Friction hitches

These skills may be learned in our private lessons or other specialty classes including “Anchor Building”.

Suggested gear list:

  • Climbing harness with belay loop
  • Climbing helmet
  • Standard free climbing rack, which should include a set of wired nuts, camming units, and other optional trad gear such as tri-cams, hexes, etc.
  • 10-12 shoulder-length runners with carabiners
  • 50-60-meter climbing rope
  • Sticky rubber approach shoes
  • Climbing shoes comfortable enough to wear all day in hot conditions
  • Five Pear shaped large locking carabiners
  • Two 18-21 foot long 7mm nylon cords (cordalette)
  • Belay device (Gri-Gri, Reverso, ATC Guide)
  • 100 ft. of 9 – 10 mm static line for extending anchors


Meet at Stryker location on day one, subsequent classes may take place at Stryker at Kila Crags