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By Craig Plescia
From Rivervale, NJ
Apr 7, 2014
<a href='http://www.climbonsight.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.climbonsight.com</a>

Long time lurker, first time poster...

Anyway, I figured I'd post on here that I've recently financed a guide company primarily operating out the Gunks/Peterskill for now. Currently my business partner has the ability to guide up to 4 people on the Mohonk Preserve, and we collectively have the staffing to run up to 16-20 people a day in Peterskill.

We're obviously looking at staffing up as the summer goes on, and I think our mantra is to make guiding more of a stable profession with higher pay/benefits/job security. So please, if anyone is interested, feel free to forward your resumes to: hr@climbonsight.com
(We have PCGI instructor classes as well for people looking to get into the guiding profession.)

We're set up with a new van, TONS of new gear from top to bottom, boxes of swag are getting delivered daily, an awesome staff thus far of just fun & pleasant people to be around, and are looking to do our best to grow in the community/helping the community grow.

I'd love if you guys could visit my site, and without completely beating us up, providing some feedback.

www.climbonsight.com

-Craig Plescia
Craig@climbonsight.com

  • I'd also be curious to hear some suggestions on overall business and what could be improved on both the client side and guide side.


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By cjdrover
From Somerville, MA
Apr 7, 2014
Taken at MWV Icefest 2014.

While I am personally frequently guilty of climbing sans helmet, I find it notable that every photo on your landing page shows climbers without a lid. Seems quite odd for a guide service to advertise as such.


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By Craig Plescia
From Rivervale, NJ
Apr 7, 2014
<a href='http://www.climbonsight.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.climbonsight.com</a>

Try telling that to the photographer. :)

All of our students however are required to throw cans on their melons.


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By Ed Bustamante
From accord
Apr 7, 2014
a1

Good luck with you business endeavor . Just my opinion but bringing 16 to twenty people into an area that only issues 65 permits daily .seems unjust to the community that you are looking to serve.


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
Apr 7, 2014

Do you have the permits required to professionally guide at the Gunks? I know Mohonk Preserve reguires guide services to be registered with them, not sure what the deal is with Peterskill.

Website looks good - clear navigation and information.


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By Craig Plescia
From Rivervale, NJ
Apr 7, 2014
<a href='http://www.climbonsight.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.climbonsight.com</a>

Good point with overwhelming peterskill. I'd be thrilled to have that problem in the first year, but it's definitely something we will take into account.

As for the guiding on mohonk... We are cleared for up to four people. The preserve allows four schools, four individual guides (which my co-owner will operate under), and four visiting guides. The preserve is actually quite welcoming after having spoken to them a few times, and we are very grateful to be allowed to operate in their backyard.

Oh and if anyone wants some free stickers... Shoot me an email with a name and address to mail them to and I'll send them out. Craig@climbonsight.com


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By Nick Goldsmith
Apr 7, 2014

If you had a professional photographer you would not have that problem. one of the responsibilitys of the photographer to communicate with the client that everyone in the photo must be OSHA compliant. Pretty basic stuff. I may not know jack about whatever buisness I am shooting for but as a standard procedure I tell the client to make certain that everyone in the shoot is OSHA compliant.


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By Andrew Yasso
Apr 7, 2014
Top of Rainbow Buttress

Craig Plescia wrote:
I think our mantra is to make guiding more of a stable profession with higher pay/benefits/job security.... (We have PCGI instructor classes as well for people looking to get into the guiding profession.)...


From my perspective, I would say that the above two comments are contradictory. The PCGI is nowhere near the national/official/professional organization that represents guides and the guiding industry. Having your participants or employees participate in the PCGI process is encouraging them towards a dead end. I am saying this with no comment whatsoever on their training, but more on what they have done for professionalizing or improving the guiding profession as a whole (ie. nothing).

If you really want to make this guide service and profession more sustainable, I encourage you to participate in the American Mountain Guides Association.

My $0.02. There is always room for disagreement and I hope you take my comments as constructive and not abrasive.

[edit] messed up the quoting.


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By Derek Doucet
Apr 8, 2014

Perhaps I missed it, but I couldn't find any bios or lists of qualifications and certifications for your guides. I'd recommend posting that information prominently. Personally I'd never even consider a guide service for any activity that didn't publish this sort of thing.


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By David Stowe
Apr 8, 2014

Did you get all of your images from Chris? Looks like most of his work. I'm even in the ones of High Plains Drifter and Square Meal.


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By Craig Plescia
From Rivervale, NJ
Apr 9, 2014
<a href='http://www.climbonsight.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.climbonsight.com</a>

Listing Guides is a tough thing cost-wise because of the high costs costs associated with constant Web revisions. Guides are like nomads by shear nature of the culture. ... I get what you're saying though. What I am thinking is after 1 year of solid work they get tenure and go up. Still mentally debating it though.

And yes they are Christians photos. The man is like the Yoda of gunks photography. I can't sing his praises enough.


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By ixf729
From Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2014

I guess you do not have much faith in your Mantra "I think our mantra is to make guiding more of a stable profession with higher pay/benefits/job security." If you are not willing to post guides on the website!


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By Josh Brown
Apr 9, 2014

Derek Doucet wrote:
Perhaps I missed it, but I couldn't find any bios or lists of qualifications and certifications for your guides. I'd recommend posting that information prominently. Personally I'd never even consider a guide service for any activity that didn't publish this sort of thing.


I'll second Derek. Most of the reputable guide services I've interacted with have bios of guides and their certs/experience. It demonstrates a certain stability with the company and also helps reduce the unknown jitters about who a potential client is going to be paired up with. I would also be disinclined to shell out my hard earned cash for an unknown variable like the quality of a guide


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By Derek Doucet
Apr 9, 2014

Craig Plescia wrote:
Listing Guides is a tough thing cost-wise because of the high costs costs associated with constant Web revisions. Guides are like nomads by shear nature of the culture. ... I get what you're saying though. What I am thinking is after 1 year of solid work they get tenure and go up.


Sorry, but that argument just doesn't hold water. Take a look at reputable guide services around the country, including in the Gunks. They all post guide credentials and bios. If a guide service's staff is flakey enough to make posting their information an unacceptable expense, I don't want to do business with them anyway. Besides, your OP specifically mentions wanting to make guiding a sustainable profession for your staff!

Additionally, it sounds as though your business partner is registered as an individual guide with the preserve. You're advertising to guide in the Gunks. That means only s/he will be working on preserve land. Surely at least s/he is reliable enough to warrant posting? I understand other employees might work at Peterskill, but the Gunks are the marquis venue in which you're hoping to work. Only one of your guides can work there. This is a no brainer.

I'm not trying to be harsh, but you asked for feedback. This issue is a HUGE red flag. I would never, ever do business with a guide service not willing to post this information.


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By JSH
Administrator
Apr 9, 2014
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

I think photo credit, even if Chris sold or gave you photos or permission, would be the ethical thing to do. I don't see his name listed anywhere.

I find it odd to have pictures (and a name) so focused on leading, when in reality a guide service is about TRing and maybe following. Does your insurance allow for clients to even lead, at say Skytop? If not, this advertises something that is not available. Your only reference is in your FAQ, which says 'it takes a while'. So, aspirational, of course, but: not available from you on your trips. Basically, you need more pictures of people TRing in helmets, for honesty's sake.

Your front page should specify that you specialize in guiding at the Gunks, because I don't get a specific, anchored idea of what I'm looking at when I'm there.

And I absolutely agree that bios of guides should be there. Especially if you're trying to build a sustainable career for them (and yes, AMGA). Clients should be able to identify personally with someone they're choosing to spend their day with and trust their life to, not just "guide service".


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By Craig Plescia
From Rivervale, NJ
Apr 9, 2014
<a href='http://www.climbonsight.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.climbonsight.com</a>

Point taken on the guides. I'll get them added when I complete our print campaign with graphic designers.


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By Craig Plescia
From Rivervale, NJ
May 24, 2014
<a href='http://www.climbonsight.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.climbonsight.com</a>

Guides are up as per everyone's suggestions - I've also added a bunch of items to the online store if people want to check it out.

-Craig


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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
May 27, 2014
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater

I like the site but you need web advertising. I did a google search and didn't see your site on the first page. I would think most of your business the first year will be beginners looking to get out for their first time or two. Once you build a client base then the haters can worry about whether you'll allow leading.

Good luck!! A new guide service in Gunks... I hear the claws coming out and the hissing all the way down here.


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By SethG
May 27, 2014

Much as I love Chris' photos you should replace them with photos of your clients being guided. Whenever you acquire enough such photos, I mean. When you visit a guide service's page you should see happy, smiling customers in helmets, on top rope, having a good time, not bad-ass images of people without helmets leading death routes.

Most of Chris' photos are not of routes that your clients will be climbing with you-- or at least I hope not. I think if you started guiding clients up Persistent you might find some pretty peeved locals waiting for you in the parking lot with pitchforks.


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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
May 27, 2014

Andrew Yasso wrote:
From my perspective, I would say that the above two comments are contradictory. The PCGI is nowhere near the national/official/professional organization that represents guides and the guiding industry. Having your participants or employees participate in the PCGI process is encouraging them towards a dead end. I am saying this with no comment whatsoever on their training, but more on what they have done for professionalizing or improving the guiding profession as a whole (ie. nothing). If you really want to make this guide service and profession more sustainable, I encourage you to participate in the American Mountain Guides Association. My $0.02. There is always room for disagreement and I hope you take my comments as constructive and not abrasive. [edit] messed up the quoting.


As an AMGI certified instructor you obviously have an understandable bias toward the AMGA. It is good to have some competing guide certification companies. This will create competition and keep the costs down. It is the American way. Otherwise you have a monopoly and AMGA can charge anything they want for certification and re-certification which has become an industry in itself.


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By Craig Plescia
From Rivervale, NJ
May 28, 2014
<a href='http://www.climbonsight.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >www.climbonsight.com</a>

RE: Advertising - definitely. I'm currently shelling out 250/mo to google adwords and have 1 company editing my site code to boost search engine results, and another one spidering links for me to also help try and get us on the first page. It's a new site though, and spidering takes time... so hopefully in the next month or two I have a somewhat decent ranking.

RE: Photos - Swapping out photos with good student photos is the plan.

RE: the warm welcome on the preserve... that's the understatement of the year. Between the lovely self-righteous people that feel like coming up to our van and giving me a piece of their mind, or the 2 guide services that complained to the preserve within 8 hours of my site going live, we've been having an excellent time. ...Kill them with kindness I guess.


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
May 28, 2014

The van and guides have been a consistent presence on the weekends,I assume waiting for client's arrival. All members from Onsight have been pleasant and friendly in interactions I have had with them, and I even got gifted a t-shirt, apparently just for recognizing their logo-hahah.

People are resistant to change,and a new service coming causes some to worry about having their experience further changed. We like things "the way they were" and sometimes that refers to years long gone and never to return. I can tell you I hear people lament almost DAILY at how they miss "the days at Smitties, parking along Hwy 44/55,and such." Those days were more than twenty year ago, for anyone wondering.....

The way guides for Onsight conduct themselves with clients at the cliffs will be the thing that helps define their presence on a practical basis. No doubt they will piss off somebody or another who is upset they can't get their run on Such and Such climb which they came specifically to do, but that would be nothing new. Not a guide at the Gunks hasn't been flogged for that! And just like every other guide I have met, I have no doubt that when the shit hits the fan for someone in an epic, these guys will pitch in with their expertise and help that climber out of the fix they've gotten into.


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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
May 29, 2014

Craig Plescia wrote:
RE: Advertising - definitely. I'm currently shelling out 250/mo to google adwords and have 1 company editing my site code to boost search engine results, and another one spidering links for me to also help try and get us on the first page. It's a new site though, and spidering takes time... so hopefully in the next month or two I have a somewhat decent ranking. RE: Photos - Swapping out photos with good student photos is the plan. RE: the warm welcome on the preserve... that's the understatement of the year. Between the lovely self-righteous people that feel like coming up to our van and giving me a piece of their mind, or the 2 guide services that complained to the preserve within 8 hours of my site going live, we've been having an excellent time. ...Kill them with kindness I guess.



This makes a ton of sense. Anytime you only have one legit certification, it creates a monopoly and barrier for entry. Good for those established in the profession, bad for those entering. Competetion is good. That said, if I were using a guide service, I'd look for an AMGA certified one. But most people looking to top rope with a guide a Peterskill probably don't know enough to even care.

Guiding is an interesting profession. I've met tons of really nice, friendly and helpful ones. And I've met tons of A holes that treat public land as their own. But I think we need a reality TV show of guides vs guides, I bet that gets nasty.

Good luck!


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 29, 2014

Even the nicest guides are still turning our public lands into a commercial enterprise......


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By Rob Davis
From Brooklyn, NY
May 30, 2014

Nick Goldsmith wrote:
Even the nicest guides are still turning our public lands into a commercial enterprise......


wait, the gunks are on public land now?


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By Derek Doucet
May 30, 2014

Nick Goldsmith wrote:
Even the nicest guides are still turning our public lands into a commercial enterprise......


Says the guy who used to guide...

This idea that somehow one user is more entitled to access our public lands than another is bunk. Guides have as much right as anyone else to make use of public lands. No more and no less than anyone else.

With the fact that they gain commercial benefit from that access does come extra responsibility to be good stewards of those lands and to be contributing, positive members of the climbing community.

Just callin' like I see it, Nick! Hope to see you out on the crags this summer.

Cheers and sorry for the thread hijack.

PS: Full disclosure- Yes, I earn a substantial portion of my living guiding.


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