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Kraken

RMI Guide Try-out 2006 questions...

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Clint... Go for it. I'd heard a lot about guiding, like you have to babysit people etc, haul people up hills and get crap pay but its really what you make it. The pay thing is up to you, if you are good and work for a decent outfit, they'll pay you well, cause they want pros... and clients are willing to pay for a good leader. The real money in guiding too is in tips and other benefits. You'll meet amazing people, you'll climb with good climbers who want to get better and if you have novices then you'll train them, so they'll be good, right. Hard to beat the feeling of climbing with a great team that have their shit together and are all dialed in with the same techniques & systems. As far as babysitting, if you end up with either of the AAI's (funny how they share the same initials;) you'll have some kick-ass clients, people who often are leaders in their fields, business people, soldiers, pilots, judges, academics and just regular folks too so there's a good mix. If they are smart they'll learn very fast, if not you'll get to test your smarts teaching them... no bad students right, just bad teachers.

 

And just refuse to babysit - lead with authority and respect and your team will work hard. If you want all year around work - it's there. The only real negative for me was being away a lot... but it's OK for a few years.

 

You'll get a few jackass clients but that's life, and you'll end up having to help the NPS with work here and there. But shit... think of all the benefits. A bad day on the mountain is better than most good days in the office smile.gif

 

And that Todd guy - he's not so bad;) Just a nice guy trying his best to make a living out of climbing... and doing a real good job of it.

 

Anyhow hope there's some food for thought. It's all how you look at it right!

 

EMT-B - good way to go. WFR OK too. or get both, you'll use them that's for sure.

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Yeah John, thanks for the kind words. I'll remember them. I don't really intend on making a lifelong career out of guiding, but want to do it during college and perhaps for a few years after if time allows...we'll see where it takes me.

 

And Yes, Todd is a great guy. I've met him a few times in Talkeetna and get only positive vibes from him.

 

I am getting my EMT in the spring, currently becoming WFR certified.

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don't shit where you eat

 

confucius?

 

I agree, I worked as a lift mechanic in a ski area for a couple of seasons and you would expect that it would be a dream job, but after a while it just takes the shine off things when you have to deal with the skiing public all the time. As a result I stopped skiing for about four or five years after that job. It was fun having the ski area to yourself when we went to being open on weekends only and we had some great late seson snowfalls.

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A bad day on the mountain is better than most good days in the office smile.gif

 

 

a bad day on the mountain someone dies, numbnuts.

 

I agree with the "don't shit where you sleep" concept. I learned my lesson by doing outdoor/adventure photography professionally in the 90's. It took all the joy out of it and I barely shoot even for fun now. Give it a try,what the hell but if it starts to suck the passion away... walk away and don't look back.

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Hey Clintoris, you received a lot of advice good and bad. As someone who is a guide and manages a 2 different guide services I will tell you qualifications that matter are a WFR(EMTs are for ambulances and ski patrols), a well rounded technical resume with some geographical diversity(it shows you are familiar with different environments and climbing, and good people skills. (an AMGA Rock Instructor course is a plus)

People want to like the person who is responsible for their safety so that is where the misconception of baby sitting comes in, trying to establish a good relationship with your clients, not entirely different than other careers where a solid client base helps form a viable business.

Gene is famous and right. You can PM me as well, I work for Mountain Madness so you can contact me to get an idea of what other companies offer. Good luck.

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Working as a guide is a hard but rewarding gig. Difficult clients are not very common, but slow ones are. Rain is common and being away from home is common too. Memorable trips with cool people you would have never met otherwise are common. And a closeness to the mountains that you might not experience in any other job is common as well.

 

The idea that a guide is a babysitter is essentially a perspective from the outside. A guide is first and foremost a safety manager and this might sometimes be perceived as babysitting. If a guide is a good teacher, what's perceived as babysitting goes away with most clients.

 

Somebody indicated earlier that it appeared that guides were trying to inflate themselves by talking about Denali. Among northwest guides this is a common mountain to have worked, so I don't believe that the guides quoted were trying to make themselves out as something more than they are.

 

The guiding lifestyle is a great lifestyle for those who consider themselves to be patient teachers. If you are not patient and you are not a teacher then you probably won't be a very good guide. If you are guiding for ego reasons, then you probably won't be a very good guide. If you truly love climbing AND imparting knowledge, then things might work out...for awhile.

 

I guide over 200 days a year. The wages are not high and there are no benefits. Most guides only last about five years as guides...I'm in my sixth. Though it is a hard way to make a living, guiding has become such an integral part of my life that I don't believe I will ever truly give it up. There may be a point when I only guide part of the year, but I currently don't see myself ever leaving it completely. Though there are a lot of problems with the lifestyle, (note that I say lifestyle and not career)I do think that for the person with the right attitude it is worth pursuing...

 

...and of course Gene's famous...!

 

Jason

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Heh

1) what's the difference between a guide and bonds?

2) What's the difference between a guide and a large pizza?

3) How can you tell that there's a guide at a party?

 

 

1) Bonds eventually mature and make money

2) A large pizza can feed a family of four

3) Don't worry, he'll tell you.

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Clint, I'd say go get more experience. If I knew my guide (if I ever used one) had only climbed Rainier via the dog routes a couple times and that was the extent of his experience, I'd be a little leery on going with that company. I thought most guides had to be able to lead 5.10 trad solid, climb WI4+ on lead, know high angle rescue situations, be AMGA cert., and have considerable experience in the Cascades, AK, Andes, and/or Eurpoe and the Himalayas.

 

I have climbed all over the cascades, AK, and the Andes, plus countless road trips for rock and ice climbing, but would not consider myself to be guide material. I think Clint is a little premature, or am I wrong? If so, then I will look at guide companies in a whole new light taking on someone as inexperienced as Clint unless they have some mentor program for several years that you work up to and are a grunt for a while shadowing senior guides in different environments than trenched out dog routes on the Emmons of DC.

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Ryland,

 

You should be aware that in the United States there are three types of guiding, each with its own skill level requirements. Indeed, there are also subsets to these three guide environments. Following is a quick breakdown as to what is required to work in each of the environments in the United States. Be aware that special conditions in different environments may cause some guide services to hire people who are not at the "industry standard" level.

 

Two other items should also be noted. First, nearly all guides have their Wilderness First Responder or its equivalent. And second, rescue skills are often taught in guide training courses which are either done in house or through the AMGA.

 

Rock Guiding:

 

The general requirement is that a person is able to lead 5.10c trad routes with style. But here's the rub, most of the guiding that one does will be between 5.5 and 5.9. It is seldom that one will actually guide at a 10c level or beyond. In addition to this, there is also a tremendous amount of top-roped guiding that one does.

 

Alpine Guiding:

 

A perspective guide should be able to lead 5.10a in the mountains wearing rock shoes. He or she should be able to lead 5.8 in boots. And he or she should be able to lead WI4.

 

The irony in these requirements is that there is very little call for this skillset. The vast majority of the alpine clients out there want to walk up a glacier. As such, many companies will employ guides who are very good at this. A guide who has some avy skills, good map and compass skills, good winter camping skills, and good crevasse rescue skills will do fine for a company looking for guides to work this terrain.

 

Ski Guiding:

 

Ski guides should have excellent avy skills (usually Avalanche Level III training) and should be able to ski fifty degree slopes in variable conditions with a pack on.

 

Each of the preceding skill sets are a guideline. In other words, it's what the AMGA expects to see in a certification exam. An individual company will often employ people who exceed the standard. That same individual company may employ people who are not at the standard, they will just assign them easier gigs.

 

Perhaps the part of guiding that is not often mentioned is personality. A guide must be a good teacher, a friendly person, and should have interests that they can discuss beyond climbing. Ego and arrogance should be left at the door. They're what give guides a bad name.

 

Jason

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Thanks for the clarification, Jason. I guess it makes sense regarding above and below standards, but I would look at Clint's climbing resume and say it is WAAAAY below standard. He may have the personal skills, and even his WFR and Avi I, but it is hard to teach experience like weather patterns, snow conditions, subtle signs that clients might be giving you, that you've never experienced in the mountains becasue you haven't been there that long. Someone who has been climbing a lot for several years and been out in all types of conditions with different partners on rock, alpine, glaciers, and ice would have a much deeper perspective than someone like Clint who has been on Rainier 3 times in summer conditions. If the guide services are willing to train people like that, then more power to them, becasue they can be assured the newbie guid was trained by one of their own whom they trust, if not and you need these skills prior to coming on, then that is what I was referring to. Not to dis you Clint, becasue I think it is wonderful that you are setting this goal and want to achieve it, but from what I've read, don't go in there expecting to be hired, when from the outside, you may need a few more seasons. I'd say if you make it, awesome. I am sure it will be years you will remember forever. If you don't, then keep trying as you seem to have the drive and desire to teach.

bigdrink.gif

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If the guide services are willing to train people like that, then more power to them, becasue they can be assured the newbie guid was trained by one of their own whom they trust, if not and you need these skills prior to coming on, then that is what I was referring to. bigdrink.gif

Lou Whittaker told me that he did not care if his prospective guides could climb or not, those were easy skills to learn. He was looking for specific personality types. And short hair for men. And no earrings for men.

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that's how he likes his MEN. sorry girls, guiding raineer isn't like baking cookies at home for the boys.

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I think this is a great discussion and I see both side's perspectives. First of all, I am taking this very seriously and it's a goal I"m working towards on a daily basis.

 

I've been working to get in the best shape, and I hope to climb Rainier another three times before May, as well as Denali, if I'm able to get the time off.

 

Even if I do get hired at RMI, I won't be a lead guide any time soon. I'll be hauling shit down from Muir, digging out snow, and keeping my mouth shut. Basically I'll grunt around and learn.

 

I appriciate all the input though. Thanks

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Climbing Denali before May is doable (the WB was guided in April last year, for example)...but...it depends on a number of factors, not to mention your school schedule and when you're planning on coming to WA to do Rainier.

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A bad day on the mountain is better than most good days in the office smile.gif

 

 

a bad day on the mountain someone dies, numbnuts.

 

I agree with the "don't shit where you sleep" concept. I learned my lesson by doing outdoor/adventure photography professionally in the 90's. It took all the joy out of it and I barely shoot even for fun now. Give it a try,what the hell but if it starts to suck the passion away... walk away and don't look back.

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a bad day equals...? Losing perspective.

 

There's a lot of fun to be had out there.

Life is short, mountains are fun, getting paid to climb them - not so bad.

 

Go shoot some pictures, numbnuts, its still beautiful out there.

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I would climb while you still have the chance. It seems that most of the guides that I know are too busy guiding during the summer to get alot of climbing done. I have had a stint at guiding and quit before I grew to loath it and the mnts. So if you dont get the job dont worry you will have more time to spend in the mountains climbing the routes YOU WANT to climb with the people YOU WANT to be with!!! Good luck, it seems that you have the desire it takes to be a successful guide! bigdrink.gif

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Yeah, it's a delicate balance. I met a guy up in the Bugaboos this summer who was the perfect example of a guide who shouldn't be. He was all grumpy taking some folks up the W Ridge of Pidgeon (I believe they're a little stricter up north, so he was probably fully certified). I said that at least he would have the winter to take off and play, but no, turns out he ski guides in the winter.

 

If you want to do the guiding lifestyle for a while after you graduate, don't forget to live on the cheap and take some time off to do your own thing - otherwise you're no use to anyone, on or off the mountain. You can live and climb really cheap in between gigs... cool.gif

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