The Equipment Shop at American Alpine Institute

The Guides Choice Testing Program

Equipment and clothing that have been awarded the Guides Choice designation by the American Alpine Institute have proven to be of the highest quality in their product category. The awards are made on the basis of excellence in design, performance, and durability demonstrated in rigorous international field tests carried out by the professional guides of the Institute.

The American Alpine Institute makes comparative and individual evaluations of equipment and clothing used in mountaineering, rock, and expedition climbing through field tests that the Institute conducts in a wide range of environments throughout the world. Evaluations are made throughout the year in desert, cold weather, rain, snow, high wind, and high altitude environments. The constant and demanding use to which the gear is put by our guides corresponds to many years of use that a recreational climber would give it.

The data and conclusions drawn from the field tests provide manufacturers with critical, independent, and detailed feedback on the durability and effectiveness of their products. The information also assists the Institute in its selection of the world's best gear for its guiding, instructional programs, and expeditions. And the Guides Choice designation awarded by the Institute for the top gear in each product category helps draw the attention of our clients and customers to the most outstanding clothing, camping gear, and technical equipment to be found in the marketplace.

 Read about our field testing guidelines.


Guides Choice Testing Program

For more than 20 years the prestigious Guides Choice program has identified the best and most cutting-edge equipment for alpinists, rock climbers, skiers, and many other backcountry travelers.

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