Best places to live


Original Post
Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

So I'm just going to apologize up front for posting so many forums on the right places to live. I know exactly what I want, getting there is confusing as hell.. So basically I want to become a mountain guide and get certified in Alpine trough AMGA but I lack the skills and knowledge to begin. I have the utmost respect and love for the mountains and know this is the route for me. Gaining experience and making connectings is the most important thing for me now and I was having visions of moving to Anchorage, Ak but I think that is too drastic a move for me at this point (currently living in Ne) I have always dreamed of moving to Colorado, but would like some advice on cities. I have little outdoor climbing experience and only a couple 14ers under my belt. Ideally, a place that has a low cost of living (I will be spending most my time in the mts when I'm not working) and also a place to meet people that would be willing to go on expeditions with and learn from. I would also love to join a Rescue Team doing anything I can initially to get my foot in the door. Any advice is greatly appreciated. 


grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

First things first, dream big man! Second thing, baby steps - one thing at a time. Your goal is to be a mountain guide. Therefore you need lots of hiking, camping, climbing, etc experiences. All these things take time and money.

So tell us, what do you plan to do in Colorado in the mean time? What jobs will you do in Colorado while you work on mountain guiding on the side? That will help us tell you where is a good place.

What mountain craft is your favorite? Mine is rock climbing and hiking. 

Many people have similar visions as you do. It is not easy to walk on to a fire crew or a search and rescue team because everyone wants those jobs. 

I say make your move to Colorado this winter. Sign up to work at a ski resort as a lifty. Apply to a bunch of them. This will allow you access to a mountain sport, cheaper lodging, lots of friends, and be a good foot in the door. Breck, copper, winter park etc. It will also give you enough time to prepare and leave Ne. 


Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:

First things first, dream big man! Second thing, baby steps - one thing at a time. Your goal is to be a mountain guide. Therefore you need lots of hiking, camping, climbing, etc experiences. All these things take time and money.

So tell us, what do you plan to do in Colorado in the mean time? What jobs will you do in Colorado while you work on mountain guiding on the side? That will help us tell you where is a good place.

What mountain craft is your favorite? Mine is rock climbing and hiking. 

Many people have similar visions as you do. It is not easy to walk on to a fire crew or a search and rescue team because everyone wants those jobs. 

I say make your move to Colorado this winter. Sign up to work at a ski resort as a lifty. Apply to a bunch of them. This will allow you access to a mountain sport, cheaper lodging, lots of friends, and be a good foot in the door. Breck, copper, winter park etc. It will also give you enough time to prepare and leave Ne. 

This is great! As far as work, I'm going to begin remodeling houses when I get back to the states (currently in Europe learning outdoor climbing, rappelling, and some rope management.) so I would have some trade skills to bring with. My favorite craft, I would have to agree, rock climbing and hiking for sure. I am really up to anything job wise, as long as I can afford a place to live and be able to climb all the time. After looking extensively, Longmont doesn't seem too bad, or do you think I need to be deeper in the mountains? I was planning on moving with a friend or 2 in March 2018, they don't have dreams to guide, but love the outdoors like I do. 


Eric Carlos · · GJ · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 30

Longmont is not affordable by "Nebraska" standards.  Expect high rents (less than Boulder but not by much) and a decent commute to rock.  You're new to the sport, so let the honeymoon phase wear off before you fully commit to being a mountain guide.  


cjohns716 · · Boulder, CO · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

CO is expensive, hands down. Depending on what your guiding goals are, I think Grogs idea is a good one. Find a shack to share with some other ski bums and ski as much as you can. If you arent focused on getting the ski portion of the AMGA cert, then maybe spending as much time on the mountains skiing isnt a huge priority. 

Longmont isn't a terrible choice, RMNP is somewhat close by. However, I think somewhere deeper in the mountains would be a better choice, and could be a bit cheaper. 

I'd recommend reaching out to user Tico. He has some great insight and advice on becoming a guide. He really helped me understand what the process would look like when I was considering it.

Best of luck and rooting for you. Do what makes you happy. 


C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 458
Eric Carlos wrote:  You're new to the sport, so let the honeymoon phase wear off before you fully commit to being a mountain guide.  

This guy makes a good point. You don't need to be a guide to enjoy climbing and the mountains. The most bad-ass alpinist I have ever met is a heart surgeon, he actually is a far more accomplished than most of the guides I have met. And he makes so much money, he only works 4 months of the year, and climbs the other 8!

Some other rad places for mountains/climbing to put on your radar

-Bishop and Mammoth (CA). 

-Canmore, Alberta (Canada) -- or Jasper, Banff. -- Good rock in the summer, ice climbing/skiing in the winter. It easy to work in the hotel industry there for the summer, at the ski resorts in the winter.  A life time of magnificent climbing, and spectacular mountain. Fas less crowded than CO or CA. You could work in the hotels on a VISA for a few months, see if you dig the climbing lifestyle. Plus lots of nice Quebec ladies work at the hotel in the summer as well ;)

-Seattle and area -- The Cascades are a great place for alpinism, also some pretty good rock. Just lots of rain

-Salt Lake City 

Just pointing out its good to expand your horizon beyond CO, there are so many wannabe pro climbers and guides there I suspect its hard to stand out. 


Big B · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0
Eric Carlos wrote:

.....You're new to the sport, so let the honeymoon phase wear off before you fully commit to being a mountain guide.  

Lol....quoted for truth 


Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 120

For Search and Rescue, very few places have paid SAR. Here, it is entirely a volunteer organization. The plus with that, though, is SAR is all they do, so some volunteer units get more training in then those who are paid, who usually are also firefighters or something else as their primary mission.

Here, they meet every week for the general membership, the special units also meet separately weekly, and, they have bigger trainings often. The last includes winter operations and cross training with the Blackhawk guard unit.

SAR here is dispatched through the county sheriff's office, and is as serious and structured as any other first responders. You might not have many missions, but, depending on the particular unit, you could get a huge amount of training, plus the ability to keep it up. And friends!

Or, in my case, the partner who sucked me into rock climbing. And knows to ask Mom what climbing gear she wants for mother's day and her birthday. :-)

And yes, we love Idaho. But don't tell anyone.

Best, Helen (in Boise)


Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for the advice guys. I see your point on the "honeymoon" phase but my love for the outdoors and helping others, it just seems like a good fit. I've also thought about just buying a van and traveling the western half of the country to build my climbing experience and see where things go from there. I figure the money id be saving in rent could be put to other adventures. I'm going along with a friend who is a guide to the Sierras to do a 10 day excursion of the traverse of the Palisades, figure I could learn some cool stuff. When would be the appropriate time to get the WFR and SP1 Cert?


plantmandan · · Brighton, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 0
Ian Ritterbush wrote:

 I've also thought about just buying a van and traveling the western half of the country to build my climbing experience and see where things go from there. 

If you are young and unattached, now is the best time to get out and explore. 

 


grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

I also recommend reading other guide forum threads on this site. There are some long, good ones.

Longmont is tame and lame in my opinion. Live in Fort Collins or Boulder over Longmont. But if you have lodging there so be it. You need to be in the action with other dreamers. The van route could be a great option. 


Tomily ma · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 290

Guide or otherwise go for the Van 100%. Life happens quickly; get after if while the getting is best. Worst come to worst you sell the van and buy a greyhound ticket home. You've got the rest of your life to be an adult. 


Ian Ritterbush · · Lincoln, Ne · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
Tomily ma wrote:

Guide or otherwise go for the Van 100%. Life happens quickly; get after if while the getting is best. Worst come to worst you sell the van and buy a greyhound ticket home. You've got the rest of your life to be an adult. 

This is great, I appreciate your advice. I absolutely love the idea of van life but I've never stepped out of my comfort zone that far. I have a 2 yr old yellow lab, I would love to bring with, do you think this would be a good idea or to leave him with my parents. I would love to start the van transformation this summer. I have been reading a ton of material on van life. But was curious where I should start the journey. Probably Colorado.. but what are good places to be during the different seasons?


Tyler Metheney · · O'fallon · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Ian Ritterbush wrote:

This is great, I appreciate your advice. I absolutely love the idea of van life but I've never stepped out of my comfort zone that far. I have a 2 yr old yellow lab, I would love to bring with, do you think this would be a good idea or to leave him with my parents. I would love to start the van transformation this summer. I have been reading a ton of material on van life. But was curious where I should start the journey. Probably Colorado.. but what are good places to be during the different seasons?


Tyler Metheney · · O'fallon · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

If you have a shred of doubt leave the hound behind. You can always get him or her  out to you later on. 


Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 53

Suggest looking into the guiding program at Thompson River University in British Columbia.  A good place to start especially if the ultimate goal is full mountain guide.  Another option is to look into Yamnuska Mountain in Canmore, Alberta.  Many courses, taught by pros.  My instructors there were Barry Blanchard and James Blench.  And at least now, C$100 only costs US$75.


Terminal Rookie · · Salida, Colorado · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 10

I would check out Las Cruces New Mexico, coat of living is cheap, climbing is ample, but skiing is a drive. Colorado although I love it and call it home is blown out and everyone has experience - I think your best off getting experience elsewhere. The Organ mountains out of Las Cruces are one of a kind. The search and rescue team is easy to get on right away (although volunteer) you can take that experience elsewhere. It's also the only rope certified rescue crew in the area so you get dispatched all over. 


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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