If you’ve ever hired a guide or have seen a stalwart professional leading a group through technical mountain terrain, they’re probably an American Mountain Guide Association guide. AMGA is the only U.S. contingent in the 21-member International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, the international governing body responsible for guiding standards and education around the world. AMGA offers guiding education and certifications for guides in a host of mountain-based activities, including rock climbing and skiing.
In addition to training mountain guides and instructors, AMGA works hard to produce content for everyone to hone basic and foundational skills — including navigating with Gaia GPS. In this series of short videos, AMGA/IFMGA guide and founder of Alpine Logic Silas Rossi runs through how to use Gaia GPS to plan a route, better use your phone as a GPS unit in the field, and record a track. While the videos use hiking as an example, these principles apply to any backcountry activity.
Part 1: How to Plan a Route
Rossi demonstrates how to create a route on the computer using the Gaia Topo map. He explains why planning your route ahead of time proves useful — such as when he encounters a network of intersecting trails in Rossi’s hometown of New Paltz, NY, home to the famous Gunks.
Part 2: How to Download Gaia GPS Maps
Rossi shows how you can better use your phone as a GPS unit in the field. Since your phone GPS uses satellites, the GPS function will work if you don’t have cell phone service or wifi. But you won’t be able to see your maps. By downloading your maps ahead of time, you can use your maps regardless of whether you have cell service. Plus, you save precious battery life.
Part 3: How to Record a Track
Rossi explains the distinction between a route (planned on a computer) and a track (recorded on the trail). He goes into the field to show how to record a track of an activity.
While COVID-19 continues to alter the guiding landscape, the AMGA has not stopped providing educational resources for individuals seeking to get outside safely. Check out the AMGA website for more instructional videos, AMGA course schedules, and the Coronavirus Industry Response Center.