Do you love mountain climbing and the beautiful outdoors? What if you could
do what you loved -- and get paid to do it? Mountain guides are experienced
professionals who safely lead climbers through challenging terrain.
Mountain guides lead clients on climbing treks that can last hours or days.
Guides do much more than lead people up a mountain. Experienced guides must
plan climbing trips, secure necessary gear, be extremely knowledgeable about
the terrain and equipment, and teach clients how to climb.
"Most of my time is spent outside. Inside work occurs mostly when dealing
with my own clients and answering e-mail requests for a guide. When working
as a contractor or employee, very minimal time is spent outdoors," explains
Alison Andrews, a mountain guide.
Imagine guiding a client hundreds of feet from the ground when a violent
summer storm hits. Mountain guides are dedicated to keeping their clients
and themselves safe and secure. Guides are trained to minimize climbing risks
while maximizing client enjoyment. Climbing can be treacherous, so experienced
guides must ensure clients have fun -- safely.
"Hiring an untrained guide can be simply dangerous," warns Doug Skiba,
program manager for a mountain guide association.
Guides can choose to work for a mountaineering company or for themselves.
Self-employed guides work some "office" time during their non-climbing days.
Outside of leading climbs, self-employed guides must obtain necessary permits
and insurance, train other guides and successfully market their business.
For most people, guiding is not a full-time job. The summer months are
usually the busiest, and climbing trips may last anywhere from a few days
to a couple of weeks. Because internationally certified guides are proficient
in many areas, these special guides can work year-round as ski, alpine and
Although technically dangerous climbs may be popular one year, another
type of climb may be "in" the next. Savvy mountain guides keep up with recreational
"Currently, there is a move towards adventure-based activities, such as
trips which include hiking and river rafting," says Karl Klassen, president
of a mountain guide association.
Couch potatoes need not apply! Mountain guides need to be in excellent
physical condition. Guides will be leading clients through treacherous mountain
terrain, so superior physical fitness and stamina are essential.
Special climbing tools are necessary for this profession. Mountain guides
typically use special all-season camping gear, glacier glasses, ice axes and