John Ruskin (1819 – 1900)
“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it’s well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough money to pay for something better”
Most professional people employ the services of other professionals to provide skills they are not familiar with. Hiring a Mountain Guide is no exception to this and in terms of the overall cost of your holiday, in relation to what you are likely to achieve in the mountains, hiring a Guide can be a very sound investment.
The actual cost of a Guide generally works out cheaper than many other professionals you will be used to hiring. If you are in any doubt about the level of training, time, commitment and investment required to become an IFMGA Guide check out the website of the British Mountain Guides.
Considering the nature of the activities you will be undertaking with a Guide you want someone who is trained and assessed to a very high level and has a wealth of experience to base crucial safety judgements on. Make sure you are familiar with the different mountain qualifications available because many people call themselves ‘guides’ but are far from being actual IFMGA Mountain Guides. They may be cheaper but is this something you really want to economise on?
If you are mountaineering in certain European Alpine countries, notably France, Italy and Switzerland it is the law of the country that professional Guides must have the IFMGA carnet.
The majority of Guides will be self-employed and need to pay for a variety of insurance requirements; membership of their national guiding association; provide and maintain a range of mountaineering equipment and run a serviceable car. Guides work long hours doing a physically and mentally demanding and relatively dangerous job.
It is however the best job in the world!
Guides can provide you with a day in the mountains that could be the experience of a lifetime. They are very good value!