By Jaime Pollitte, Director of Outdoor Education
Every year The White Mountain School (WMS) provides rock climbing instruction to over one hundred students through our afternoon sports programs, weekend and evening activity offerings and Field Courses. Our programs work with students of all levels, from the first time climber to the aspiring alpinist. In addition to our on-campus, indoor climbing wall and local, outdoor destinations our students can climb in numerous locations around the country. We regularly offer trips to some of the most renowned climbing destinations in the United States. Locations like Joshua Tree National Park, CA, Smith Rocks State Park, OR, Cochise Stronghold, AZ and Red Rocks, NV have all been utilized as venues for our program. Because of the breadth and depth of our climbing instructional program, we sought and received accreditation with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) in 1998. I am proud to announce that on December 12, 2011 The White Mountain School was reaccredited until December 31, 2015.
Often reserved for high-end climbing guide services, the American Mountain Guides accreditation provides an internationally recognized set of standards to ensure safe climbing programs.
AMGA accreditation ensures that our climbing instructors are professionally trained, that we utilize current principles and practices, and that other professionals externally evaluate us. AMGA accredited organizations are recognized as operating at the highest standard. Accreditation has also allowed us access and permits to places such as Joshua Tree National Park, which only allows accredited climbing programs to operate within the National Park. Even more then the logistical benefits of accreditation, it is simply a great feeling to know that at WMS we strive not only to offer rock climbing but to offer an example of what a high school climbing program can be.
Accredited Since 1998: The White Mountain School was the first secondary school, public or private, to be accredited by AMGA.
Accreditation Date: December 12, 2011 – December 31, 2015
For over 30 years, the AMGA has been dedicated to supporting the guiding community through excellence in education, standards and certification to enhance the quality of services provided to the public, while serving as a resource for accessing and protecting the natural environment. As a group the AMGA presents a strong, unified voice for high standards of the professionalism of guiding and climbing instruction in the United States. The AMGA is an organization grounded in powerful tradition that continues to evolve with the ever changing arena of mountain guiding and climbing instruction. We offer a series of training courses and exams designed to certify guides and climbing instructors to the highly respected, internationally recognized, standards of the AMGA.
The Accreditation program is a voluntary means of quality assurance and peer evaluation focusing on international standards for guided climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Accreditation examines such things as operating guidelines, access, permits, insurance, employment and business practices and guide training. AMGA accreditation is not an in-depth evaluation of a company’s guides or their individual skills. It constitutes a general business review. Accreditation provides a consistent and meaningful standard by which to judge the reliability and professionalism of a climbing service. It informs the general public and land managers that a program utilizes guides who are certified and that all guides in the program have received formal training appropriate to the terrain they guide.