Mountaineering 101: When to Hire a Guide

Expert opinion on the mountain can make for a much safer and enjoyable adventure. Find out when it’s a good idea to hire a mountain guide with these helpful tips.

Reserved for more extreme adventurists, the sport of mountaineering involves rigorous climbing and trekking through the mountains.

With such an advanced activity, however, it can be safe to say that mountaineering is not for everyone. Even individuals who have trekked various mountains need a hand once in a while to ensure ultimate safety. Thankfully, there are plenty of professional mountaineers out there who are willing to guide athletes through their adventures, and knowing when it is reasonable to hire a guide can help keep everyone in your group safe, entertained and on the right path.

Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, you should always conduct the proper research before heading out to the base. Check with local authorities and consult weather forecasts so that you can efficiently plan your route and pack the necessities. Marina Fitzpatrick, an alpine guide with Mountain Madness, says it’s always a good idea to hire a guide when you’re exploring a new environment, somewhere you haven’t been before, or when you’re not too familiar with the area or terrain.

Fitzpatrick adds that you should also consider hiring a guide when the weather conditions aren’t ideal, or if you plan on mountaineering later in the season.

“Later in the season is always a great time to hire a guide because the route becomes more complex,” says Fitzpatrick, “Meaning the route finding becomes complex.”

Fitzpatrick also puts emphasis on hiring a guide when weather conditions warrant expert opinion. “A white-out could roll in, meaning we cannot see where we came from, making it really hard to find our tracks.”

Don’t hesitate to contact a mountain guide — they can ultimately make your trek more fun and enjoyable. You can learn a lot from them and can feel more confident knowing that you’re with someone who’s experienced with the terrain.

For your next mountaineering excursion, consider these tips so you can pack more fun into your adventure with professional help from a mountain guide.

Once you’ve hired a guide, learn what to bring on your mountaineering trip.