Author Topic: Guide Services, good or bad?  (Read 726 times)

Offline OtisHo

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Guide Services, good or bad?
« on: October 28, 2003, 12:38:53 pm »
I wonder how the community feels about guide services? Should they be limited so that others can use the cliffs classic routes more easily? Should the schools respond to the current bolting debate formally or should they be allowed to maintain there anonimity? Are all the guide services good or bad for the local community?


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Re: Guide Services, good or bad?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2003, 04:51:29 pm »
This is something I have recently dwelled upon, since I aspire to be a full-time climbing guide.  I now see that climbing schools have had some negative effect on climbing as a whole.  But the negatives are limited, and the positives are substantial.  Here are some of the negative influences I have heard on climbing schools and my counter.

1) Climbing schools introduce thousands of new climbers to the sport every year making it harder to find routes without lines.  The truth is climbing will continue to grow rapidly schools or not.  Just like any "adventure sport", more and more people will seek an escape from their 9 to 5 office jobs.

2) Schools hog popular routes.  In my experience I have seen more summer camp groups hogging crags than guided services which make an effort to disperse their profession and allow ample alternatives to recreational climbers.  This is not always the case but I have heard the major schools and better guides know where to take 10 clients on a top-roping day with out monopolizing the North End or Square Ledge.

There are some serious positives out there for schools:

1) They help people who don't have a huge amount of time to "apprentice" learn the ropes at a quicker pace.  They turn out safe climbers, who are less likely to ruin your climbing day by having an accident where your assistance is needed.

2) They dedicate time and energy to preserving the land, and are good role-models for Leave-No-Trace and other ethics.

3) They are almost all volunteer rescuers and will be there when it is below freezing and dark to help you out of a jam.

That's not to say there arn't exceptions.  I have seen "guides" being negative role-models, acting arrogant, and even not using the safest methods available.  Some are guides simply because they climb at high levels, and I wish that was a trend that would change.  Good teachers make the best Guides, and get the most return customers.  All inall, for those who can afford it, hiring a good qualified guide a few times a year could  have substituted for the years of trial and error I went through with out better peers.

As for the bolting issues... a lot of them are very active, at the personal level, maintaining, replacing, dare I say, even chopping bolts in the valley.  Since two guides in the same school may disagree on a certain route perhaps it is better that the school stays neutral.


Offline slobmonster

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Re: Guide Services, good or bad?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2003, 06:27:37 am »
Guides are great, guides are rad
Guides with girlfriends aren't as sad.

Guides wear pants, sometimes socks
Guides spend each day on the rocks

Guides are not good poets

As for your questions, responses are in order:
Limited by whom?  guides are users too, no one has priority for climbs;
Schools should not respond (if they're smart...) because doing so could construe some liability problems;
Guide services are great for the local (I assume 'climbing') community.  Many climbers live here because they can be employed as guides.  The standard of guiding in this valley is exceptionally high, in part due to the long history of there being many guides all over the place:  many eyes.  No foolin' around.
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Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Guide Services, good or bad?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2003, 06:21:17 am »
Camps are in fact guided climbing excursions so weather you like it or not the behavior of guided camp groups and the massive enviornmental impact that they invariably bring with them reflects on the overal impact of guided climbing. I have seen guided groups cause more erosion in one day than what would have occured over the course of a year of normal traffic. There are good and bad guide services no doubt but there is no denying that climbing schools rapidly influence the growth of the sport. With growth comes access issues and enviornmental issues. I have witnessed good guides lecturing their kids on enviornmental responsibility at the crags and also experienced guides that regularly take a shortcut through an erosion dammaged area despite repeted attempts by myself and others to establish  a trail arround that area. I even heard the guy tell the group of kids " we shouldn't be doing this but it's ok this time" the guy dosen't seem to realize that he is teaching a whole generation of future climbers that it is ok to make your own trail in high use area's and ignore the marked trails.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2003, 08:29:25 am by tradmanclimbz »


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Re: Guide Services, good or bad?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2003, 06:51:08 am »

I fully agree with you that there are some really bad guides out there.  Not enough to make an overall generalization of the profession though.  I think there is a big difference between the camps and schools, unless the camp has hired an actual guide service.  Many of these camps have "instructors" with limited experience and less-than-desired LNT ethics.  I have seen camp climbing "instructors" run shappy unsafe top-rope areas, have no control over there group, and in one unfortunate case fall off the North End trail and die.  I think the guide services are more sensitive to where they interfer with recreational climbers.  Camp groups are recreational climbers.

Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Guide Services, good or bad?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2003, 08:25:51 am »
Camp groups often are led by their (cheif guide) the 19 year old that passed his amga top rope course and now is in charge of a bucnh of other (instructors) with even less experience rideing heard on a bunch of roudy kids.  Unfourtunally though they are in fact guided groups and would fall under the catagory of guided climbers. recreational climber are those folks that are climbing on their own without a guide.  Guides have been arround as long as climbing has been a sport and it is great that people can make a liveing doing somthing that they love but the current trend of mass produceing climbers through heavily promoted programs at allmost every gym in the country may be good for buisness but it is bad for climbing. I feel that at heavily traveled public crags that there should be some regulation as to group size and locations of large guided parties.