Why go mountaineering with a guide?

Heading off into the mountains with a guide is a good idea for many reasons - not just safety, but also for the great company, and how much you'll learn!

Why go with a guide?

Taking off into the hills with a guide costs money, so there has to be some good reasons why increasing numbers of outdoor enthusiasts are choosing to go with a guide. 

Safety

Obviously going with a guide who has a lot more experience in the outdoors than you, and who is able to recognise dangers you may not even be aware of, is going to increase the safety of your trip.

Failure to recognise early warning signs with the weather is one of the key factors in outdoor accidents.

While a guide is no guarantee that you won’t encounter bad weather, he/she will have made sure that you are properly equipped in case the weather does turn bad; and in the rare case that it gets so bad you can’t reach your destination, he/she will be able to cater for an emergency bivouac.

Normally an experienced guide would make his own interpretation of the weather signs and avoid being out in extreme conditions that might require a bivouac. 

Many accidents have happened when trampers above the snowline have attempted to cross a harmless-looking snow slope.

If they had been taught simple techniques of how to place their feet, how to use crampons, how to self-arrest, even without an ice-axe, they could have avoided a fatal slip.

Also, harmless-looking snow slopes can hide crevasses. A professional mountain guide can teach you safe route selection, how to rope up and travel across a glacier safely.

He/she will also belay you if the slope is steep and there’s any chance of a dangerous fall.

In any situation where there has been an accumulation of snow, whether tramping, climbing or backcountry skiing, you can rely on your mountain guide to identify potential avalanche hazard.

The New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, puts experienced climbers through a rigorous training and assessment scheme over a period of five years.

When fully qualified these professionals have international accreditation.

Service and Facilities

These days of instant communication everything moves faster, with so much more being crammed into the “normal” working day.

Business professionals especially have minimal time for planning and organising a holiday, so why not have a quick look on the internet and send an e-mail to some guiding companies to see what they come up with.

The response is fast with everything organised at a glance: equipment, food, transport, accommodation all provided, and the guide of course.

At the click of a button you’ll also be provided with info on public transport to the venue and pre- and post-tour accommodation. Your jaunt into the hills can actually be a holiday!

Guided Walks also have their own private hut facilities, which means you don’t have to compete with the general public for bunk/cooking/living space,  you can be assured of nice clean facilities, and you’ll have a gourmet meal cooked for you. The hut will be heated too, with drying facilities.

Social

Find it hard to coordinate with busy friends to get away? Then if you go on a   guided trip you’re guaranteed of good company, interesting and stimulating company too.

On a recent trip over Ball Pass with Alpine Recreation, the 8-member party consisted of a Norwegian, an Israeli, a Belgian, a Dutchman, two New Zealanders, a Briton and a Canadian, not to mention the equally interesting mix of professions from an osteopath/acupuncturist to farmers.

The company of the guide(s) is not to be underestimated either. Mountain guides have a wide background of outdoor adventures, not always restricted to climbing, both in New Zealand and overseas.

Their anecdotes can entertain clients all evening.

Educational

Guides will not only share with you some of the exciting things that have happened in their lives, they’ll also impart worthwhile knowledge that goes beyond the safety-related essentials. For example, if you’re interested in flora and fauna they’ll identify and draw your attention to species you may not have noticed. The story of how the top fell off Aoraki/Mt. Cook never fails to arouse interest, and the reasons behind it. These guides are attuned to their environment, live and work in it daily. Their enthusiasm for their surroundings is infectious.

 

Alpine Recreation runs Introductory and Intermediate Climbing  Courses for those keen on improving their mountain skills.

For more information visit Alipine Recreatiion

 

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