Hiring a Backcountry Guide
By Ty Mills
Well let’s back up a bit and explore the guiding concept.
A guide is defined a person who leads travellers, sportsmen, or tourists through unknown or unfamiliar locations. The term can also be applied to a person who leads others to more abstract goals such as knowledge or wisdom.
Hunting Guide etc.
In a sense, yes this is true. Anyone can call themselves a guide and many people around the world offer guiding with no Certification or formal guide training.
Certification comes from dedication, training, acquiring the prerequisite experience, applying for and being excepted into the guide programs, then passing rigorous guide exams and evaluation to ensure you meet the highest standards set by your countries Association.
IFMGA, International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations
In 1965 in Zermatt (Switzerland) representatives of the mountain guides associations from Italy, France, Austria and Switzerland decided to lay the foundations for an international federation of all mountain guides associations.
The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) is Canada's only internationally recognized mountain guide association. The ACMG was formed in 1963 with the encouragement of Parks Canada. In 1972, the ACMG became the first non European member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA), the international body that sets professional standards for mountain guides worldwide.
The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) is the United States' "sole representative to the 21-member International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA), the international governing body responsible for guiding standards and education around the world”. In 1979, 12 guides came together to form what was to become the American Mountain Guides Association as we know it today. AMGA aims to support "the guiding profession by providing representation for land use access, education, training, and examination based on international standards for guiding". As a result of this commitment, AMGA became a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations in 1997.
Full Ski Guide Cert
CAA Operations Level 2 Cert
Current 80 First Aid Course Cert
Continued Professional Development Training every year.
- Its your first time in the backcountry.
- You have never been to this area before.
- You are taking your family and don’t want to be the leader. You want to pay a professional to keep you safe.
- You want someone to teach you about process and decision making. You’re looking to take your skills to the next level and formal courses don’t teach these skills.
- You want to join a trip to somewhere remote or international.
Years of experience.
Certification from a Guide Association
Certification From an Avalanche Association.
Current and Practiced First Aid Skills and Cert
A formalized approach to planning and executing a safe day in the mountains utilizing all the available resources
Hundreds to Thousands of hours of practical experience, countless day trips, adventures and working days.
Certifications via Professional Associations
Continued annual Professional Development and training courses
A guides Expertise can be imparted on you through formal Avalanche Courses, Ski Mountaineering or Intro to Touring Courses or just a day out in the mountains teaching as we go about safe travel and decision making.
Guides often spend the majority of there working time each winter in one or several areas ( mountain ranges or zones ) developing intimate knowledge of the terrain and snowpack allowing them to travel and ski with more confidence elevating safety margins and over all enjoyment.
Leading a group is a big responsibility. Many recreational groups have leaders that don’t formally acknowledge their role and this can lead to poor communications and potential problems. Hiring a guide to lead your group can make it funner and less stressful for everyone.
Hire a guide to help you achieve some goals, push your limits and take you beyond. Climb a peak, shred that steep line, tour across a broken glacier or join a base camp expedition. Guides can also take you to new places and help you get familiarized so you can return under your own steam.
One of the best reasons to hire a guide is to relax and have fun! Let someone else organize the day for you and your crew, figure out the details, be the leader, pick the appropriate tour and terrain, elevate everyones skills and find the untracked pow we all dream of.