Frequently Asked Questions about KMAC Guides

Q. What is your cancellation policy?

A. For all single day adventures we will give a full refund if you can cancel with 7 or more days before the adventure date. For multiday adventures such as our youth camps we have much more logistically invested and need at least 3 weeks notice to give a full refund. Inside of those times we cannot offer a refund.

Q. Do I need experience to participate?

A. Previous climbing and outdoor experience is not required for participation. However, it’s important that all students have a genuine interest in the outdoors and a capacity for strenuous activity.

Q. Can I use my own gear?

A. You bet. KMAC Guides encourages students to use their own equipment. Our only stipulation is that we inspect it for suitability when you arrive.

Q. Where do Youth Program campers stay?

All KMAC Guides Students stay/camp on a private 10 acre camp site adjoining Rocky Mountain National Park. It sits about 3 miles outside the town of Estes Park, Colorado with splendid views of the high mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park and lower valley.

Q. How strenuous are the Youth Program courses?

A. This varies depending on the course in which you enroll and the age groupings. It is important that participants have a capacity for strenuous activity. Pack weights can range from 20 to 45 pounds. Daily hiking mileage ranges anywhere from 1 to 8 miles. Elevations range from 6,000 to 14,000 feet above sea level. Temperatures can range from well below freezing to up into the 90’s. Wind can be strong and continuous. It can rain, snow, hail, or sleet at any time.

Q. When on the KMAC Guides site, do we get showers?

A.  Where and when depends on the course in which you enroll. Some courses even include soaking in hot sulfur springs. During backcountry phases of your selected course you’ll learn how to bathe using “Leave No Trace” techniques.

Q. What time do we go to bed?

A. Student watches are not necessary on most KMAC Guides courses. (We’ll even ask you to leave them in the van). You sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, and drink when you’re thirsty.

Q. Where do participants come from? 

A. All over the country. We’ve had students enroll from as far away as France and as close as just over the ridge from our headquarters here in Estes Park.

Q. What are staff qualifications?

A. The minimum age for a KMAC Guides lead guide is 23. They possess current certifications in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, and all have a keen interest in climbing.  Youth Program guides are hired for their ability to relate to young people. Every staff member has demonstrated proficiency in hiking, climbing, route finding, camping, and group management. They also must possess a strict safety constitution and adhere personally to the KMAC Guides approach and philosophy in climbing and working with young people.

Q. What kind of training do your guides and instructors have?

A. All KMAC Guides guides participate in multi-day staff training clinics at the start of every season. These clinics address specific sites and terrain that KMAC Guides operates on. For rock climbing we simulate classes and set up “top rope” anchors and systems for peer critique and evaluation. We often work off of handouts and discuss all aspects of KMAC risk management from the emotional safety of students, to “escaping the belay” at the top of a rappel. Our guides have received training and/or certifications form the American Mountain Guides Association appropriate to the AMGA’s Scope of Practice.

Q. How long have you been in business?

A. Since 1987.  At last count we’ve had over 10,000 students experience the KMAC Guides curriculum.

Q. Can I talk to a student or a parent of a student who has participated?

A. Yes. You’re also welcome to talk to teachers, administrators, and other educators. We’ll be happy to send you a complete reference list. Click Contact Us and ask for a reference list in the comments section.

Q. How safe is this?

A. Outdoor wilderness activities and rock climbing have inherent risks that are different from normal day to day living. KMAC Guides works to minimize these risks through safety conscious staff, experience, proper equipment management, and regular meetings and staff training.

Q. Do you use radios and cell phones?

A. Use of emergency communication equipment depends on the course. Many of the locations where KMAC Guides conducts its programming are not serviced by cell phone towers. In addition, many of the course locations are unable to make use of two-way radios due to the immediate terrain. However, there is always a cell phone packed for courses especially for ones that involve transportation. KMAC Guides does utilize satellite communication where cell phones do not work.

Q. What do you use for transportation?

A. KMAC Guides uses 15 passenger vans to transport participants and equipment. Some of our vans have been converted adding a stabilizing bar on the rear axle to enhance their stability. KMAC Guides instructors take seriously their driving responsibilities and participate in driver training clinics and training.

Q. What’s the food like?

A. Wholesome and nutritious foods are used on KMAC Guides courses. “Freeze dried” foods are not used. A brief sample meal might include: Breakfast – hot chocolate, tea, porridge, granola, pancakes. Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to bake cinnamon rolls! Lunch – bagels, tortillas, peanut butter, cheeses and cream cheese, gorp, raisins, carrots and something sweet. Dinner – pasta, beans, rice, canned meat, soup, chili, potatoes, cheesecakes and pudding.