0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

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0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby TradMike » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:06 pm

I have now tried twice to hire a guide for a climb and both have been disasters. The last two times I have tried, both chickened out.

One guide started on the descent down to the base of a popular CA alpine climb and said no way. The descent scared him too much. I think it was the un-roped vertigo that did him in. Granted, it was going to be an exciting descent but nothing a climber, of that level, should have been scared of. The conditions were perfect and it was the standard descent that everyone takes. Or maybe it was the well protected 5.10c crux that was in the back of his mind. This company gave me a full refund.

The most recent was in Montana. We hiked 4 miles into the climb just to hear the conditions were not right. It was 45 degrees and cloudy without any rain in the forcast. Perfect friction weather. This guy took my deposit.

Does anyone else hire a guide from time to time? How do you pick em?
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby dustonian » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:08 pm

Damn that sucks. Were you going for Third Pillar of Dana? I know a couple of good guides in the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite area if you're out that way again, drop a line.
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby Saxman » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:59 pm

Maybe guides have been burned too many times by clients who overstate their abilities and they have to lowball everything to make sure there is a huge safety window?
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby TradMike » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:18 pm

I did talk the CA guide into lowering me down 200ft for the money pitch on the Third Pillar. It wasn't all bad. One heck of a toprope with the wicked exposure all the way down to Mono Lake.
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby dustonian » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:23 pm

Well, that's the best pitch on the route anyway. Who was the guide?? Slander away! Funny looking up at that bluebird Sierra sky and the guy refused to do the route...
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby kneebar » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:08 am

As a guide you are responsible for a reasonable amount of safety for the client. Protecting you during the down climb is part of that. My partner and I did the third pillar in August, it is a dangerous decent and would be tough to do it roped up (as he would need to do) without dislodging boulders. That puts the client, himself and anyone below in danger. I thought it was the most dangerous part of the climb. Most of the decent was comprised of rock fall setting on scree ready to rip. That said, IMO the guide should not have offered guiding on the third pillar because of the approach decent. Not unless he had climbed with you a bunch, assessed your abilities and discussed the hazards of the decent. He was likely "afraid" he could not provide a reasonable amount of safety. But certainly not your fault.

Bummer you didnt get to climb the whole thing. The last pitch is the best part of the route and the cleanest last pitch of any route I've done in the sierras at the grade!
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby matthewcroberts » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:50 pm

I've only hired guides in Estes Park, and the first time (our first time out climbing) we just totally lucked out. But since then, I've only hired one guide, and he's someone who is a frequent poster on Mountain Project, which is how I knew of him.

If I were going to the Sierras, or Smith Rock, etc., I'd post up on MP, here, maybe RC, and ask for recommendations. That way you are getting (at least some) beta from actual climbers.

HTH

Edit to add: And we've loved the guide that we've hired in EP...Eli Helmuth can be reached at guide.climbinglife.com.
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby clif » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:27 pm

interesting. i'm too cheap, and poor, to hire a guide, but i feel better about that now. it's a small sample but even so i'm pretty baffled by this. i've just always assumed guides would be the cream de la creme: gung-ho, competent, and safe with experienced judgement with regards to conditions and team members abilities. or at least in foresight, planning and discussing these issues upfront rather than ad hoc pretext.

the trip ideas sound solid at least, wish i'd been there.
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby ynp1 » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:21 pm

I have never hired a guide, but I know there are some good ones in Yosemite! These guys are some of the best climbers in the valley. I know that is saying a lot, but look at who they are...
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby robert birchell » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:46 pm

in ca. hire peter croft
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Re: 0 for 2 with Climbing Guides

Postby kdelap » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:52 am

The lack for need of certification in the US has really lowered the standard of what people hire as a "guide".

The Third Pillar of Dana is manageable for an AMGA Certified Rock Guide and very manageable for an Alpine certified guide. Realize these should be minimum qualifications for the guide you are hiring. After this I would look for a good resume from what they have done as well as continuing education.

Eli is an IFMGA, American Mountain Guide, (certified in rock, ski and alpine) and a guide I would recommend.

If you have any questions about who to hire anywhere in the US, feel free to PM me and I can give you some recommendations.

Cheers,

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