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Guide/Instructor Tipping


Original Post
Fernando Cal · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 5

I'm not one to hire guides but I have had two sessions with instructors in the past when I was starting out. Question is, what is the common tipping percentage YOU have paid to guides or instructors?

Once I felt like I was being too generous and the other I felt like I didn't give enough. Just trying to see what is the MP consensus.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Here's a recent thread that discussed guide tipping in depth:

mountainproject.com/v/quest…

Daniel H. Bryant · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 275

I hired a guide a couple of years ago, the day rate was $325, and I tipped $50.
I tipped what I tipped, because this guide answered all my questions and helped fill in gaps with my climbing knowledge.

Br3tt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

I think it depends on the cost of the course. If I'm doing private guiding I usually tip 15%, as the underlying expense is greater since I'm going alone. If I'm with a group I usually tip 20% as my underlying expense is cheaper.

This all depends on getting a good guide, but I've never gotten a bad one.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

15-20% depending on the daily rate.

Ben Stabley · · Portland, OR · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 171

10-20% sounds reasonable depending on the quality of the experience, etc. I've only hired a guide once for a 2 day 2:1 private, but he was good and we were able to get through pretty much everything I wanted to do, so 20%.

Ted.kemble · · tower city PA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 5

good thread, i did not know tipping was to be considered with guides. i actually feel bad now i hired 3 guides this year. 1 last week for a 3 day private trad leading course.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I don't want to derail this thread, but I'm curious what you guys are hiring guides for. I've never hired a guide and I can't think of a reason why I would so I'm curious, maybe I'm missing out on a useful resource.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

I have never hired a guide but have been tempted before. on the road alone and desperate to get up a tower or mountain that is too technicle for me to solo.. No shame in hireing a guide when on a vacation to exotic places if that is your income bracket. If not rich then try to find a partner through MP etc. Hire A guide to learn to climb various styles if you can not find a mentor...

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Ryan Hamilton wrote:I don't want to derail this thread, but I'm curious what you guys are hiring guides for. I've never hired a guide and I can't think of a reason why I would so I'm curious, maybe I'm missing out on a useful resource.
A guide is available whenever I want to climb out of town and don't have a partner. A guide will climb what I want (within reason) and when I want. A guide will lead climbs that I wouldn't lead. A guide will provide instruction and tips you may have never seen. Hope this helps.
Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585

Speaking as a guide, I'll echo the sentiments of FrankPS above and more. As a guide, I am psyched to climb what you are psyched to climb--your goals are mine. I'm also more than happy to teach any skills you'd like to learn through a cogent and well-considered curriculum adapted to the needs of you or your group and your learning style.

In addition to the reliable partner/good instruction benefits, a good guide is also an expert risk manager, a professional, and up-to-date on the relevant techniques and tools to climb as effectively, efficiently, and safely as possible. In other words, you get access to the wealth of knowledge that is someone who has dedicated their professional career to being in the mountains, logging hundreds of days and thousands of hours.

Particularly when choosing a guide who is certified by the AMGA, if that guide has been staying current, he or she has access to the best practices around the country and around the globe. This means that whatever skill you'd like to develop, your guide will know multiple ways to accomplish the task as well as the pros/cons and specification application of each tool or technique. If you simply need a solid partner, you can also rest assured that they have met a minimum climbing movement standard and should be fit and efficient on the terrain.

As for tips, they are always appreciated. Having been on the employee and owner end of a guide service, tips are always welcome and respected. For me, a tip isn't just money for beer or dinner out (though such offers are appreciated). That money goes to support me, my wife, and our son, it gets reinvested into our business, it pays rent, it replaces equipment, it puts food on the table. For a committed professional, a tip is the ultimate gesture of a job well done and accepted graciously.

Pete Spri · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 170

Hmm, wonder where all of this tipping for everything is coming from. Strange.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 983

Tipping for guides (fishing, climbing, whatevs) has been occurring for decades.

Fernando Cal · · Long Beach, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 5
Ryan Hamilton wrote:I don't want to derail this thread, but I'm curious what you guys are hiring guides for. I've never hired a guide and I can't think of a reason why I would so I'm curious, maybe I'm missing out on a useful resource.
IMHO if you need a guide to move up a mountain, because you DONT have the skills to get up there, then you shouldn't be up there in the first place. Learn the needed skills first in a controlled environment, instead of having someone carry you up a hill.

There are cases when a guide is needed for climbs, because like others have posted, you can't find someone to climb with, partner bails on you, you're not friendly enough, etc. Guides can serve as mentors as well and usually know the area pretty well where you are climbing, if you're an outsider or new to the area. I have never considered getting a guide, but I am in the path of becoming a guide. I know a few guides and I love the work they do and their impact they have on the climbing community.

Now I have taken technical courses and tipped the facilitator/mentor/teacher/guide/whatever you want to call it - 10 and 20%. They were both knowledgeable and the course was more of a skills-check for me. On one occasion I did learn more stuff than what I had anticipated and the other it was just bland and nothing new, but nonetheless informative.
Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 855

Okay, so we know what to tip a guide now.

What % should we tip Wow Dilliams?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Br3tt wrote: Derek, this ties into my message above, but is there a way to work with a guide outside of a typical guiding company? I would assume it's a win-win for guide and client, as the former can keep all the money and the latter wouldn't have to pay as much (due to the lack of company overhead). I know the AMGA has a "hire a guide" page, but are most guides contracted with a company (which presumably doesn't allow them to take their own, independent clients) or are there some that guide on their own?
Although I'm not Derek and not a guide, I've been guided many times before.

Guide companies are issued permits by the land managers allowing them to run their business (guiding) in specific areas. A guide can work outside of his normal permitted area by working as an employee for a company that has the permits for that specific area. As an employee, he won't keep all the money, but will be paid a percentage of what the client is charged.

Some areas, such as Red Rock, issue a "guest permit," which allows a guide service 10-14 days (with specified dates) of unlimited guiding, so they don't have to work under another company.

I believe there are some places, internationally, where an IFMGA guide can work without being an employee of anyone.

Derek?
grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

Paging WOW DILLIAMS

How much booty do you accept for guiding gumbos?

Br3tt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
FrankPS wrote: Although I'm not Derek and not a guide, I've been guided many times before. Guide companies are issued permits by the land managers allowing them to run their business (guiding) in specific areas. A guide can work outside of his normal permitted area by working as an employee for a company that has the permits for that specific area. As an employee, he won't keep all the money, but will be paid a percentage of what the client is charged. Some areas, such as Red Rock, issue a "guest permit," which allows a guide service 10-14 days (with specified dates) of unlimited guiding, so they don't have to work under another company. I believe there are some places, internationally, where an IFMGA guide can work without being an employee of anyone. Derek?
FrankPS, thank you for the detailed response. My question may not have been as clear as it should have been.

Can I find a guide on the AMGA website and see if they'll guide me independently (i.e., as not a part of their company)? Obviously this would necessitate obtaining the permits ourselves, but at this point (assuming the guide isn't employed by a guiding company) isn't it just two people going climbing (one of whom happens to be a guide)?

In this way the independent guide gets to keep more of his/her $, and I pay less (because he/she keeps everything I give them).

Might be easier to put it like this. Say FrankPS is an AMGA licensed guide. In scenario 1 he's working for Exum Guides, but we're friends so he decided to guide me on his own. In this case I'd presume he's breaking his employment agreement and wouldn't be allowed.

In scenario #2, FrankPS is not employed by a guiding company, but is AMGA licensed guide. Can I contact FrankPS privately via the AMGA website and have him guide (once again, a win-win)?
Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 983
Br3tt wrote: Can I find a guide on the AMGA website and see if they'll guide me independently (i.e., as not a part of their company)? Obviously this would necessitate obtaining the permits ourselves, but at this point (assuming the guide isn't employed by a guiding company) isn't it just two people going climbing (one of whom happens to be a guide)?
It isn't just two people going climbing if money is exchanging hands.
I can't imagine an employed guide wanting to save some stranger a couple of bucks so they can keep a bit more. Not only would it likely put their job at risk with the company, but they would have to assume the liability.
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Br3tt wrote: FrankPS, thank you for the detailed response. My question may not have been as clear as it should have been. Can I find a guide on the AMGA website and see if they'll guide me independently (i.e., as not a part of their company)? Obviously this would necessitate obtaining the permits ourselves, but at this point (assuming the guide isn't employed by a guiding company) isn't it just two people going climbing (one of whom happens to be a guide)? In this way the independent guide gets to keep more of his/her $, and I pay less (because he/she keeps everything I give them). Might be easier to put it like this. Say FrankPS is an AMGA licensed guide. In scenario 1 he's working for Exum Guides, but we're friends so he decided to guide me on his own. In this case I'd presume he's breaking his employment agreement and wouldn't be allowed. In scenario #2, FrankPS is not employed by a guiding company, but is AMGA licensed guide. Can I contact FrankPS privately via the AMGA website and have him guide (once again, a win-win)?
Neither scenario works.

The guide is not going to get a permit just for one trip. It costs money, he has to submit documentation showing his certs and liability insurance, and it's just not worth it. It's much more involved than just walking up to the ranger station to get a wilderness permit for backpacking.

It's not so much about his "employment agreement," but the overall risk to his future in the guiding business.

If the guide is willing to risk being banned from any future permits, he might guide you "privately." (aka illegally) If an accident were to occur, and the investigation revealed your guide was unpermitted, he would be in deep doo-doo.

If you two were truly friends and he didn't charge you, you can climb together. Just like you can climb with anyone else.

Edit: Regarding permits, my limited knowledge says they are issued for a one-year period, not specific trips.
ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

Types of climbers guides deal with.

1) Someone never done anything and want to try but can't do much of anything and go home.

2) Someone who things they can climb but really can't and end up going home in an hour or 2.

3) Someone who can climb and guides love to climb as long as they can all day.

I was on vacation with my parents at vegas onetime (road trip from san fran to forget where somewhere in texas) and I don't like vegas so figured while they did what they wanted I would go climb at red rock. My parents started to get worried when it was starting to get dark and I was not back yet so they called the people I had set it up through and that is what they told them.

I think I tipped like 40-50$ or something, also went night climbing with a guide while I was somewhere for work and couldn't get off during the day. The people I set it up through were like look we will charge you 30$ to set it up since it isn't exactly illegal but not exactly sanctioned. They told me just tip him whatever you planed on paying us so I think I tipped like 250$ or so.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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