Hello everyone! First off thanks for checking us out! My name is Thomas Gilmore and I am an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Rock Guide with Golden Mountain Guides here in Colorado.
There are many reasons people seek out guides in the mountains.
Some examples include: being new to the sport of climbing, not wanting to worry about managing risk, or learning and refining new technical skills.
Today I want to share some personal insight with you on why you should want to hire a guide and by the end of this post, I hope you'll see the enormous value of hiring a trained mountain professional. I will start off by outlining ten reasons/qualities as given by the AMGA (https://amga.com/ten-reasons-to-hire-amga/) and then I will dive into some specific scenarios which make perfect sense to hire a guide.
Top Ten Reasons to Hire an AMGA Guide:
1. Training: AMGA Certified Guides undergo intense training and examination. Certification by the AMGA indicates that an individual has been assessed to the standard of an internationally recognized, professional body.
2. Professionalism: Our guides and accredited businesses lead the climbing and guiding industry, and are dedicated to excellence and conducting their business in the most professional manner.
3. Experience: Most of our guides and accredited businesses have been in business for more than a decade, and so have an intimate knowledge of the areas they guide in.
4. Quality: Our guides undergo their training with two key factors in mind: becoming the best mountain guides possible and delivering the greatest reward for their clients.
5. Risk Management: Our guides and accredited businesses make risk management one of their highest priorities. They are trained to recognize objective hazards, such as avalanche danger, rock fall potential, and bad weather, and they are drilled in self-rescue skills.
6. Personal Attention: The highest priority of our guides and accredited businesses is understanding and delivering the skills and summits you—our clients—desire.
7. Comprehensive Guiding: The AMGA certifies guides in alpine climbing, rock climbing, and ski mountaineering. Whatever the terrain or however difficult, there is an AMGA Certified Guide or an Accredited Business that can lead the trip.
8. Teaching: AMGA Certified Guides are some of the best educators in the field. They work to understand a client’s learning style and then adapt instruction to provide a personal experience that allows clients to excel at any endeavor.
9. Value: Our guides and accredited businesses appreciate how important mountain experiences are for their clients and so strive to build personal relationships and provide great adventures that create positive memories to last a lifetime.
10. Environmental Awareness: Our guides and accredited businesses understand how fragile the mountain ecosystem truly is. Exploring the high country with an AMGA guide will instill an appreciation of the travel skills required to leave the mountains in good condition for future generations.
Our Guests (You!) come from all walks of life.
We work with all ages and ability levels from never climbed before to seasoned climber with many years under their harness.
So what are our guests hiring us for specifically?
The one common theme of every trip is that our guests have a goal they want to achieve in which hiring a guide is the most direct path to accomplishing that goal.
Let me explain what that looks like from the never climbed before guest all the way to the advanced climber. Never climbed before and beginner climber:
The goal here is to experience real outdoor rock climbing for the first time.
Maybe you have a fear of heights that you are trying to overcome? Maybe you saw the Free Solo movie and you want to experience that same thrill Alex Honnold gets being high up on the side of a cliff (with a rope of course!).
Maybe you are on vacation in Colorado and, well, when in Rome right?
You do not have the skills or equipment necessary to achieve this goal so that is where we come in.
We have taken thousands of you out to enjoy the great outdoors in a new and exciting way via scaling the side of a cliff using only your hands and feet.
I swear it is not as scary as it sounds!
We are professional educators who will work with you in a “crawl, walk, run” style to get you well on your way to becoming a climber without “throwing you in the fire”.
We custom tailor your trip to you; maybe you just want to “dip your toes in” or maybe you are immediately hooked and the summits the limit!
You will always feel comfortable and confident climbing with us which translates to a wonderful first time climbing experience.
Have you been climbing in the gym for a few months and want to learn how to climb outside on your own?
Learning from friends is great and all, but their knowledge is limited to personal experience. Hire a guide and you'll learn from the last couple hundred years of collective climbing experience!
Maybe you want to perfect your belay skills or learn how to fall properly. Have you only climbed in a gym and you want to find out what crack climbing is all about? Maybe it just struck you that climbing is inherently dangerous and you are wondering how to get you and your partner out of a sticky situation?
The common theme and goal here is SKILLS.
A lot of our guests who fall in this category are interested in learning all the skills necessary to be a self-sufficient, solid climber and climbing partner.
Let us use our years of experience, training, and teaching skills to fast track you to becoming a more solid climber.
We are experts at quickly figuring out your learning style and how to most appropriately teach you the skills you need to know in a controlled environment under the watchful eye of a certified professional.
Intermediate to Advanced climber:
Are you a solid sport climber and wondering what “Trad” and “Multipitch” are all about?
Do you have a particular climb on your tick list that is maybe a bit above your pay grade to lead and you want the best chances possible to summit? Are you visiting from out of town and don’t have a partner to climb with?
Maybe you were an avid climber “back in the day” and life got in the way of keeping up with current practices and you want someone else to worry about the risk management (and carry the extra gear)?
You might fall into this category.
Personally, my favorite type of climbing is multipitch traditional climbing and it is my passion to teach the skills necessary to get you to your goal of placing solid cams and stoppers in your quest for the summit.
Lastly, wouldn’t you know that a guide is the most patient and solid climbing partner you’ve ever had! Some of us can even tell some pretty horrible dad jokes too if you are into that sort of thing.
Of course, we love climbing and have no problem being your personal rope gun on whatever your heart desires. We have an intimate knowledge of the local area so let us navigate the well-trodden classics as well as the off the beaten path unknown classic adventures.
To conclude, a guide is the perfect option to help you progress through every step of your climbing career.
A common compliment I get from many guests that I work with is that they often find that they learn more with a guide in one session than they have over months or sometimes even years of reading books, watching YouTube and trying to figure things out on their own.
Our job is to show you why we love this sport so passionately as well as helping you to achieve your goals.
I hope I have the honor of climbing with you soon!
AMGA Certified Rock Guide
GMG Senior Rock Guide