The real reasons you should hire a guide

April 14, 2016 | Posted in: JHMG

Reason #1 – Time is a valuable commodity, spend your time climbing, not walking around with your head in a guidebook. 

When I was younger, stronger and better looking, one of my great pleasures in life was going on climbing trips.  I would take off in my truck with a buddy and head off on an adventure, which was usually some remote crag I had never been to in hopes that I could either find a guide book or some local beta.  It was great.  But truth be told, it was pretty inefficient.  It should probably have been called a “hike around the crag, until you found something that looked like the route that some random guy scribbled down on the back of a napkin, then get on it only to reveal that you were sandbagged and had to retreat trip.”   Back then, I had all the time in the world, so the fact that more time was spent exploring the area and getting familiar with it than actually climbing, was OK.

However, times change, now my kids and work occupy the majority of my bandwidth, so if I get some time to go on a climbing adventure, I want to spend my time climbing.  This is why I hire a guide.  They know the area, know your climbing level, and you are going to be maximizing your time, doing what you love.

Reason #2 – Risk management is a skill set that requires attention and practice.

Let’s be honest, climbing involves risk.  Being a  safe, responsible climber, involves understanding the risks and knowing how to manage them.  It is important to know skills like building safe, redundant anchors, proper rappelling practices, escaping a belay or just knowledge of local weather.  Being proficient requires time, experience and practice.  Most recreational climbers have been introduced to these skills, but when was the last time you practiced escaping a belay?

This is where climbing with a certified guide makes a lot of sense.  Our guides have spent countless hours perfecing these skills and techniques, have practiced them, and are proficient at applying them.  So while a guide can’t eliminate the risk, you can feel confident that they are experts at managing the risks associated with climbing.

Reason #3 – Learn good habits

One of the reasons I love to climb is that the education truly never ends.  Every time I go climbing I learn something new.  Undoubtedly, in my quest to become a better climber, I have learned some bad habits. Many of these bad habits I have corrected under the tutelage of experienced guides.  Climbing with guides has made me a better climber.

Reason #4 – Guides are awesome people.

By and large I have found that climbing guides are some of the most kind, selfless and humble people I have ever met.  They have dedicated their professional lives to sharing beauty and adventure with people.  I can say without exception that the guides that I have climbed with have become some of my dearest friends.  We correspond on holidays, they call me when they are in town, and we seek out adventures together.

I could go on, but I hope the picture that is being painted is that hiring a guide is not only a good investment, but one that that delivers benefits both on and off the rock.

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