Why Hire a Mountain Guide?
Mountain guides are specially trained and experienced mountaineers and professionals who are certified by a mountain guide association, affiliated to the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA in English). They are considered to be high-level experts in mountaineering, and are hired to instruct or lead individuals or small groups who require this advanced expertise.
Their skills usually include climbing, skiing and hiking. Their knowledge includes furthermore the topics rocks, snowcraft, weather, navigation, avalanches and health, each practically and theoretically.
Mountain guides, or more formally high mountain guides, are employed by groups or individuals assuring the safety of the climbing or skiing party. This professional class of guides arose in the middle of the 19th century when Alpine climbing became recognized as a sport.
The title of Mountain Guide is (in most countries) reserved for individuals who have received full certification through their countries mountain guide's association of whose curriculum and training are approved by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). Certification is earned through a rigorous examination process encompassing rock climbing, alpine climbing and ski mountaineering. Typically lasting between 3 and 7 years, mountain guide certification required a high level of commitment, dedication and technical skill to achieve.
In addition to assuring safety, professional mountain guides frequently offer other desirable services to their clients. These services can significantly improve the alpine experience, especially when the client climber has limited time or equipment, lacks a qualified partner or is visiting an unfamiliar area. These additional mountain guide services may include:
- Precise local knowledge of mountain routes, weather, snow & glacier conditions;
- Specific training in alpine skills like off-piste skiing, avalanche awareness, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain navigation & the proper use of mountain tools like ice ax, crampons, rope, climbing anchor systems, avalanche beacons, etc.;
- The ability to contact helicopters for remote ski mountaineering access or heli-skiing;
- Preferential access to various ski lifts and trams;
- Sometimes, more immediate access to use-limited features in areas like U.S. National Parks
Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_guide