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JGowans

Being a Guide

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So, I got a good link regarding the Canadian version of the AMGA who in partnership with the University College of the Cariboo offer a pretty comprehensive course.

 

I also heard some tidbits from friends of guides and climbers who think that guiding would prevent them from doing what they want to do and hence detract from the pleasure they currently derive from climbing. All good stuff. Thanks.

 

Anybody actually done any guiding? Have ideas on logical next steps?...

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as for the kid education thing, remember we expect our kids these days to have a firm grasp of calculus exiting high school to excel in college, where it took Newton quite a bit of mental lifting to develop the concept back in the day. It's not like our brains our any more evolved since then. Maybe we ask too much of ourselves these days and that's why everyone's so stressed out. wave.gif

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iain said:

as for the kid education thing, remember we expect our kids these days to have a firm grasp of calculus exiting high school to excel in college, where it took Newton quite a bit of mental lifting to develop the concept back in the day. It's not like our brains our any more evolved since then. Maybe we ask too much of ourselves these days and that's why everyone's so stressed out. wave.gif

 

bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif I SO AGREE

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JGowans said:

Have ideas on logical next steps?...

 

Mountaineers dude! You're already qualified to be a rope leader I think.

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chucK said:

JGowans said:

Funny smile.gif

Serious! You just need to pass the basic class.

Yeah, but that's a volunteer position with a volunteer organization. Not exactly something I can put on my resume really although it would be a way to figure out if I enjoy teaching I suppose.

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Yeah, but that's a volunteer position with a volunteer organization. Not exactly something I can put on my resume really although it would be a way to figure out if I enjoy teaching I suppose.
Think again. That is exactly the sort of thing you want to put on your resume if you want to be hired as a guide. If you are willing to teach for free, then you would be willing to teach for pay.

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Seems like it would be especially hard to make any kind of living as a climbing guide or instructor around here because there are so many people willing to do it for free.

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There is a huge distinction between guiding for a company and guiding as a company.

 

When you guide for a company you are basically a seasonal employee. Sure many guides shift to different areas, both geographic and type of climbing, with each season. This can help keep you stay fully employed as a guide. But those are usually experienced guides that are strong in many types of climbing and are good with clients.

 

Many guides do it for a few years and burn out. Pay is low, work is usually seasonal, you should be guiding at a level much lower than your abilities, you repeat easy routes over and over, some clients need baby sitting, etc.

 

If you are independently wealthy and can afford to guide when you want and still life a good life (i.e. house, car, no need for food stamps) then go for it.

 

As far as running your own company goes, this is not easy. First it takes years, usually 5-10 before you'll actually get your company's name out there. This of course assumes that you had a name as a guide, or at least as a good climber for many years prior.

 

You need insurance, will have to pay employment taxes, hire employees, advertise, etc. Then comes the hard part. In order to operate on federal land you need to have a permit, or what is often called as concessionaire’s license. Theses are few and far between and are not cheap. You will pay large dollars for every “user day” that you use on the mountain. You also have to use them, or you loose them. Every year your license is reviewed. Because the mountain has a limited number of user days allowed, if they are all being used by present concessionaires, you have to wait until a company goes out of business. Then maybe, maybe, the land manager will get around to doling out those user days to someone. Since it is easier to dole them out to existing companies, they just do that. They justify that based on your company being too new and not having experience on the mountain, and on the fact that the existing companies getting those user days are proven and safe (Whether true or not). So your application just sits there. In fact many land managers require that you resubmit it every year. So if you don’t do it one year, you loose out. Or you might do it forever and never get any user days. The national park are more public in their system, but the competition is so entrenched, good luck. The Forest Service is less public and receives less public scrutiny, so the system just keeps on churning.

 

Good luck

 

 

bigdrink.gif

Edited by Rodchester

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JGowens,

 

Last time I posted anything on this site about guiding I got hammered with spray. But oh well...

 

I've been guiding a few years now. This is my first year working full time as a guide... Which is not a great way to get rich as others have said. However, if you really do find teaching people and guiding people rewarding then you will probably continue to do so.

 

I've had days where I've been pretty down on guiding. But those days are fewer than the days that I love it. For the most part you are taking people out who want to have fun, who are on vacation.

 

I've also taught high school. It was a great time in my life, but I don't think I'll go back to it. I'm not a disciplinarian. I like to have fun. As a guide, most of the time you get to have fun. I can't do this forever...but for now its really great. No matter what I do with my future career, I'll probably always do a bit of guiding somewhere.

 

You should enjoy climbing easy routes if you want to be a guide. And you should enjoy going back to the same places... If you don't enjoy these two aspects then it's probably not for you.

 

Many guides get to a point where they really enjoy the challenge of guiding routes... I happen to be one of these. Where a route such as the South Arete on SEWS has little climbing challenge, it actually has significant guide challenges. It's not uncommon for guides to try and get "first guided ascents" or to try and guide routes with interesting problems.

 

There has been a significant amount of talk about permits and such. It's not a good idea to start guiding without working for someone else for awhile, then you'll learn the ropes and what it takes to start your own business. Guiding without a permit or formal training is reffered to as "pirate guiding." If you get caught the fines are significant. If someone gets hurt while you're pirate guiding you're going to be pretty much screwed.

 

Going through the AMGA or the ACMG is a good way to learn the ropes. Generally if you take a course with one of these organizations you will become somewhat marketable as the company you apply for will have to spend less money training you.

 

In the future AMGA certification will probably help people attain permits for certain areas. Full certification allows guides to work in Europe and Canada. Partial certification currently opens doors to Joshua Tree and Ouray. As such, some certified guides work for themselves. American guides who work in Europe make better than a decent living...

 

I wrote a little thing for my own website on how to be a guide, you can read it here: Web Page

 

Lastly, there was a remark somewhere in this thread about guides doing some kind of work on the land wherein they guide. I work primarily in Red Rock Canyon and in the Cascades. In the Cascades I've carried out other peoples WAG bags and in Red Rock I've replaced old bolts and carried out a significant amount of garbage. Most guides I know do this kind of thing all the time.

 

Let the spraying commence.

 

Jason

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Thanks Jason, for the only worthwhile comments on the subject. I guess that is why it is called "spray".

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dave said:

Thanks Jason, for the only worthwhile comments on the subject. I guess that is why it is called "spray".

 

Hey dave:

 

the_finger.gif

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Jason_Martin said:

Let the spraying commence.

i thought thats what all that crap you wrote was

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