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Does guiding suck?

Post general questions and discuss issues related to climbing.
 

Postby The Chief » Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:37 pm

My opinion on all this, if the AMGA really wanted to standardize guiding protocols across the board for the U.S. Guiding Industry, get more young potential guides cert'd, they should return their prices back to their original days.

Far too many good kids out there that would be incredible guides, will never be able to pay for the entire curriculum.

And lets not even get into the IFMGA cert process price through the AMGA.

I was lucky as the Navy paid for my interim Rock and Alpine certs for my job at SERE back in '93. It is not valid today according to the folks at the AMGA. Oh well.
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Postby cbcbd » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:31 am

The Chief wrote: It has amazed me for the past 15 or so years how some of the best Guides on this planet, have absolutely ZERO Certifications, NADA! And they do not live out of their trucks. As a matter of fact, I know more Cert'd guides that do live out of their trucks now because of all the thousands of $$ they had to spend to get Cert'd!

Here's a very short list of those that never had a cert in their lives...

Alex Lowe
Jeff Lowe
Peter Croft
Jim Bridwell
Mark Twight
Will Gadd
Craig Luebben
Jared Ogden
Lou Whittaker
Dave Hahn
Tomaz Humar
Willie Benegas is just now in the process of getting his Alpine Cert


Chief, I agree with what you are saying - many great climbers who also guide do not hold the highest certs. But I also think it's unfair to post an A list of climbers who have made a name for themselves from climbing hard and expect that all who want to go into guiding should be just ok monetarily without certs.
Whether you like the AMGA and it's certs or not, it is a fact that a guide who reaches their IFMGA can charge more and will have an easier time finding work year-round with different guiding outfits - or just start a business of their own. Yes, the cost is high, and that does suck for a guide who wants to make a living out of it.
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Postby cbcbd » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:40 am

The Chief wrote:My opinion on all this, if the AMGA really wanted to standardize guiding protocols across the board for the U.S. Guiding Industry, get more young potential guides cert'd, they should return their prices back to their original days.

Far too many good kids out there that would be incredible guides, will never be able to pay for the entire curriculum.

I believe the AMGA does offer some "scolarships" to guides, which helps with some of the costs. No, it's probably not enough.

And I do know that some guiding outfits do sponsor some training once in a while - at least the basic, like SPI. Again, helps but probably not enough.
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Postby Charles » Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:57 pm

Either you can do it or you can´t, I have the impression it´s a sort of calling. I´ve the greatest respect for that international badge because the wearer not only has to be an exceptionaly good mountaineer but also has to have the soft skills of life too - plus it can damn risky!!!
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Postby John Duffield » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:13 pm

Last month in the Canadian Rockies, I met a porter who takes 100 pound (44 kg) backpacks up to the huts. He's taking two loads of expensive food, that's high up the food chain per day, and my impression was he was getting around C$ 3 -400 a day. It struck me, you'd be getting paid to be in the mountains without having the people issues of being a guide.

This guy was in kick-ass shape also. So it's an option.
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Postby The Chief » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:22 pm

John Duffield wrote:Last month in the Canadian Rockies, I met a porter who takes 100 pound (44 kg) backpacks up to the huts. He's taking two loads of expensive food, that's high up the food chain per day, and my impression was he was getting around C$ 3 -400 a day. It struck me, you'd be getting paid to be in the mountains without having the people issues of being a guide.

This guy was in kick-ass shape also. So it's an option.


Great point John.

I have been called on to perform these duties this past season and is pretty much easy money.

Good workout and keeps ya in shape.
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Postby The Chief » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:50 pm

ArtVandelay wrote:...The certification at least assures you that this person knows what he is doing.


It does?

They may know how to do it, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they can actually perform their duties when the shit hits the fan. Actual performance of ones guiding duties comes from years of experience and having to actually perform them in real world setting.

There are folks out there that are fully cert'd that have completely failed the test when confronted with a real scenario. I know of several individuals out there that have no cert and have stood tall when called upon to perform when things went south.

There is no CERT process out there that replaces the true test of real world experience...none.

I believe that one of the things that the AMGA should consider implementing into their process, is to have a probation period in a real world setting. Maybe one year. Unless of course one can show/prove significant experience to fulfill this req.

In the Navy, our Qualification Standards were composed of 25% formal instruction and 75% OJT in the actual situ. This OJT period is a lengthy time of observation of ones abilities in the performance of the actual job. The Navy's system truly puts the individual to the test. It believes that just cuz one can pass a test in a controlled environment, doesn't make them "Qualified" to perform their duties when shit hits the fan.

Something to think about.
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Postby MichaelJ » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:41 pm

I've never had any interest in guiding but have lots of friends who do.

I'll mention what this year has been like for my friend Seth since it might give you some insight into how some guides lives.

He started the year in Thailand before visiting me in Canmore in February where he spent several weeks; then he headed off to climb in the desert and live out of his car.

In May we met up in Alaska, where his company flew him to guide Denali. We got in two weeks of personal climbing in the Ruth before he moved onto Denali, where he spent three weeks with his clients. I saw him a fair bit on the hill (his clients after all were carrying a lot of my food--that's how the pros go light and fast!). His clients were really slow and he was pretty scared that if things went bad weather-wise they'd be hosed. Nonetheless he got them to the summit.

This summer he guided Rainier full time. I saw him this month when we did the north ridge of Stuart in a push. He was in great hiking shape but had only been rock climbing about a week over the last three months.

"On my days off all I want to do is sit indoors and watch TV," he said.

This week his Cascades guiding is finished and he's coming to the valley before heading to the desert for the rest of the fall. In December his company is flying him to South America and he's arriving a few weeks early to do some personal climbing with me in Patagonia.

Btw, he has no certs and no desire to do this for the rest of his life, but I think he's enjoying the experience for the time being. Guiding certainly gets in the way of personal climbing but it also takes you places where you can squeeze in your own projects. Personally, I don't see the appeal of slogging up the yak route on Rainier weekly or climbing Cat in the Hat every three days, but it still sounds better than the average office job.
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Postby Charles » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:30 pm

Borut Kantušer wrote:
charles wrote:... the wearer not only has to be an exceptionaly good mountaineer...


Not really. I mean you don't have to be exceptionally good.

OK how about a fucking good all round mountaineer? Splitting hairs or not - not everyone can earn one (IFMGA)
Last edited by Charles on Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Charles » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:42 pm

Borut Kantušer wrote:
charles wrote:
Borut Kantušer wrote:
charles wrote:... the wearer not only has to be an exceptionaly good mountaineer...


Not really. I mean you don't have to be exceptionally good.

OK how about a fucking good all round mountaineer? Splitting hairs or not - not everyone can earn one


Yes, that's better.

IFMGA I mean too! :D
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Postby Guyzo » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:02 pm

I did it some, a long time ago. It was hard to do. Taking a bunch of folks rockclimbing can be fun, but I would rather climb myself than run a top-rope belay all day.

It's a lot different today because of all the "climbers" who use/need guides pay $$$$ and guides I know do OK.

I have a question.

Is the AMGA the only certifying body?

Do you buy the insurance from the AMGA?

Just wondering.

I am involved with Go-Kart Racing. I put on events.

10 years ago everyone(in karting) used IKF (International Karting Foundation) insurance.
All the tracks, clubs, and promoters used em and the fees would go up and up every year, the IKF did whatever it wished.
We started looking at the problem (costs, mostly) of insuring and holding races.
We found out we could go and purchase insurance elsewere for a lot less.
We started holding non IKF races and any one who needed medical help recieved the same or better service.
The IKF quickley lowered thier fees and changed some of the procedures that made working with them difficult.
Competition is good.

So does the AMGA have any?
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Postby divnamite » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:28 pm

Guyzo wrote:So does the AMGA have any?

I think in the USA, only other agency is the PCGI "Professional Climbing Guides Institude". I think it's rock only, so it's not a real competition against AMGA.
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Postby jasonburton » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:12 pm

on a non certification note...

i have never had a problem separating my guiding from my climbing... what i mean is that i don't think of guiding as climbing and thus i never got burned out from guiding so much that i didn't want to go climbing.

canyoneering was a different story... but then, I don't love canyoneering like i do climbing.
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Postby CClaude » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:58 pm

Did it a season. There were some clients that were great and made it fun and some clients which made everything suck. In doing it, remember, you aree not doing the routes you want to do, but the routes that are in the best interests of the client. Being a guide is not about you, but about making sure your client has a good experience and they walk away with skills that are useful.

And in both the US and from some European guides I've met, there are some guides who are amazing climbers and who can guide, and then there are some guides who are mediocre climbers who can guide. Come'on, in the US you only need to be able to climb 5.10c on rock, which to some people may seem like climbing at a high grade, but if you've climbed long enough you'll understand that its actually quite moderate (please don't take offense).
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Postby The Chief » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:44 am

ArtVandelay wrote:... but that still doesnt change the fact that you are completely in the dark if you don't go with a certified guide(or a well known climber/personal reference).


That isn't a "fact", rather an opinion...
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