drManhattan wrote:What I don't understand though is transitioning from guided to unguided. How is this done while still remaining safe?quote]
I think, with respect, that the answer for you is 'through instruction'. You've been guided up some peaks, and while this has (I assume) involved roping up, walking in crampons, using an ice a few different ways, etc., the priority has been the summit, rather than skills acquisition. A good instruction course will give you the skills you need (and some of the confidence required) to head out there safely with climbing partners (who, ideally, have as much or more experience). It sounds like you could bypass the 'introductory' courses, assuming you remember all the above things taught on your guided trips. For example, Adventure Consultants run an 'Alpine Expedition Course' - 12 days focussed on making you an independent climber. I won't go into the details, check out their website. There are other, similar courses around, I name this one 'cause I did it. Only once you have the skills (and equipment) to do these things independently (don't confuse that with soloing, I mean without paid guides) do they become affordable. Or, affordable in comparison to guided climbing.
Happy to contribute to tips on planning climbing trips, with the disclaimer that my style of 'dirtbagging' nowadays isn't the same as it was when I was a student.