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How viable is a career in guiding, actually?

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,931
mpech wrote: Also, it is depressing to interact with the 40 year old guides in Chamonix whose hips and knees are giving out-- guess what, they still need to haul their hurting bodies up some silly route if they want to get paid...

Not to mention their prospects for a financially-adequate retirement, which are basically ZERO.

(Actually, I know next to nothing about retirement in France. But in much of the US we're talking about health insurance of $10K/yr and housing costs of at least that much. Oh, and I suppose one needs to eat.)
Brother Numsie · · AnCapistan · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 880
Gunkiemike wrote:

Not to mention their prospects for a financially-adequate retirement, which are basically ZERO.

(Actually, I know next to nothing about retirement in France. But in much of the US we're talking about health insurance of $10K/yr and housing costs of at least that much. Oh, and I suppose one needs to eat.)

I would bet 90% of us are in that boat anyway. Depends on how many government employees are here.

Insert name · · Conway, New Hampster · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 60

Get a job that does federal loan forgiveness.

You can Claim bankruptcy on your student loans if you truly are beat. You have to prove actual hardship and that you would pay in good faith if it were possible

If they are private loans, you can negotiate aLump sum settlement. It really isn’t that hard, but it will require you give about 2 years of your life to working and spending no money. (You can try statue of limitations to get themDischarged.
But ignoring them won’t get anything done because once they order a settlement and you get a court order, you will pay them eventually. 

Porter M · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 65

I got a job guiding on Rainier with just a WFR and a few other even cheaper certs(LNT, food handlers etc.) and I make $225 a day plus tips which are ~$100 a day. There’s tons of work May-September and one can make a decent amount of money for just 5 months working (~20k). I live in a van and am still in college but a lot of others work ski patrol jobs as resorts in the winter which pays worse. Everyone gets buy, no one is rich and no one is saving much money. Maybe I’ll go the rock guide route in the next few years. It certainly opens doors in terms of diversity of work, day guiding, more seasons to work, etc... it seems like in the US very relatively people guide for more than ~10yrs or so. Eventually we all want more money and maybe a house...

Andy Eiter · · Madison, WI · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 126
Insert name wrote: Get a job that does federal loan forgiveness.

You can Claim bankruptcy on your student loans if you truly are beat. You have to prove actual hardship and that you would pay in good faith if it were possible

If they are private loans, you can negotiate aLump sum settlement. It really isn’t that hard, but it will require you give about 2 years of your life to working and spending no money. (You can try statue of limitations to get themDischarged.
But ignoring them won’t get anything done because once they order a settlement and you get a court order, you will pay them eventually. 

Read the fine print of federal loan forgiveness programs. I have access to one that requires 10 years of on-time payments; by that time, there will hardly be anything left. 

Justin Meyer · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2012 · Points: 47
Insert name wrote: Get a job that does federal loan forgiveness.

Based on some of the news reports it doesn't seem like people are having much success getting their loans forgiven. Here's an example:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/06/problems-continue-for-the-public-service-loan-forgiveness-program.html

From the article: "The Education Department recently released data on how many borrowers’ loans it has forgiven under the program — just 206. More than 41,000 people have applied."

That's not to say it can't work, just that it might be good to really do some research on where other people are going wrong before counting on the program.
Paul Morrison · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 10
Justin Meyer wrote:

Based on some of the news reports it doesn't seem like people are having much success getting their loans forgiven. Here's an example:

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/06/problems-continue-for-the-public-service-loan-forgiveness-program.html

From the article: "The Education Department recently released data on how many borrowers’ loans it has forgiven under the program — just 206. More than 41,000 people have applied."

That's not to say it can't work, just that it might be good to really do some research on where other people are going wrong before counting on the program.

The low success rate has nothing to do with the borrowers "going wrong"--unless they voted for Trump.

Justin Meyer · · Madison, WI · Joined May 2012 · Points: 47
Paul Morrison wrote:

The low success rate has nothing to do with the borrowers "going wrong"--unless they voted for Trump.


I'm also inclined to think that at least some of the applications should be accepted but aren't because the administration doesn't like the program. The last time I got near politics on MP I got stomped so I was trying to avoid that minefield. I guess it didn't work. :) Regardless of the reason why the rate of acceptance is so low, I think the data indicate that student loan forgiveness is a long shot.


Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 290

Become a nurse or a fireman.  Flexible schedule and great pay and you get to continue loving climbing instead of having your soul sucked out by clients and turning your true love into just another job. 

Grant Kleeves · · Ridgway, CO · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 55

so I'm not a guide, but is do live where a lot of them spend a bunch of time, I climb with a bunch of them and I talk to a bunch of them, about things other than climbing...
some things are universally true:
the people killing it in guiding would be high achievers in whatever they did, they do just fine financially, but they have the drive that would put them at the top of whatever profession they chose.
the people barely scraping by and unhappy about it would be unhappy with any job they had. most do it for a couple of years and leave for greener pastures, which they usually never find...

there are guides of all ages and all paths around, by and large, the ones who are happiest about their work are the ones who had a real career for long enough to have a house, money in the bank, and enough life experience to actually have  an idea of what they wanted out of life...  there are some who started in their early 20's and just kept doing it but they are the exception for sure.

David West · · VA · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 15

Guiding sounds terrifying.

You're never on belay
The client is trying to kill you
The client is trying to kill themselves. 

Bill Schick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 13 days ago · Points: 0
Grant Kleeves wrote: the people killing it in guiding would be high achievers in whatever they did, they do just fine financially

lol - name one.  

I generally think about someone who is "killing it" as someone in an extremely high paying position few will ever qualify for.

Let's keep it real, though.  

Name one with - I dunno - a family a 4, a $1M newly renovated house, a couple late model vehicles and no worries about health care and retirement - or maybe close to that - who is paying for it with guiding - not their own and/or their spouse's family money.  Love to hear how that scenario breaks down.

EDIT due to my new user one post count quota.  

vvvv - lol - I'm citing an actual claimed example from upthread!

However - go ahead and give us your best example that supports your statement.
Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 290
Bill Schick wrote:

lol - name one.  

I generally think about someone who is "killing it" as someone in an extremely high paying position few will ever qualify for.

Let's keep it real, though.  

Name one with - I dunno - a family a 4, a $1M newly renovated house, a couple late model vehicles and no worries about health care and retirement - or maybe close to that - who is paying for it with guiding - not their own and/or their spouse's family money.  Love to hear how that scenario breaks down.  

Depends what your definition of fine financially is. A million dollar home is a pretty lame benchmark. 

Noah R · · Burlington, VT · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0
Bill Schick wrote:

lol - name one.  

I generally think about someone who is "killing it" as someone in an extremely high paying position few will ever qualify for.

Let's keep it real, though.  

Name one with - I dunno - a family a 4, a $1M newly renovated house, a couple late model vehicles and no worries about health care and retirement - or maybe close to that - who is paying for it with guiding - not their own and/or their spouse's family money.  Love to hear how that scenario breaks down.  

That is well beyond "killing it" in the eyes of most average americans, particularly those who work as guides. 

Insert name · · Conway, New Hampster · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 60
Andy Eiter wrote:

Read the fine print of federal loan forgiveness programs. I have access to one that requires 10 years of on-time payments; by that time, there will hardly be anything left. 

All depends on the job.

There are companies that will pay off your loans.for you. 
My buddy just signed on with the Army and got $45k toward his loans.
Going belly up and pretending you won’t have toPay them is a joke. If you are really hard up you can claim Bankruptcy or settlement.
 I settled my loan debt (originally $68k that went to over $120k after penalties for losing a co-signer). Everyone who never settled told me it was impossible and that there was no way they were taking what I offered. Fast forward a few not so glorious years and I handed over $45k in cash and have my Life back. Government backedLoans don’t have statue of limitations and even if they forgive them, being in negligence won’t help
Bill Kirby · · San Francisco CA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480
Bill Schick wrote:

lol - name one.  

I generally think about someone who is "killing it" as someone in an extremely high paying position few will ever qualify for.

Let's keep it real, though.  

Name one with - I dunno - a family a 4, a $1M newly renovated house, a couple late model vehicles and no worries about health care and retirement - or maybe close to that - who is paying for it with guiding - not their own and/or their spouse's family money.  Love to hear how that scenario breaks down.

EDIT due to my new user one post count quota.  

vvvv - lol - I'm citing an actual claimed example from upthread!

However - go ahead and give us your best example that supports your statement.

 I'm not about to name names on MP. The guide who took me ice climbing for the first time is financially stable and plans to retire. He now charges $500/day and is booked solid except for the shoulder seasons. Yes he lives frugally and doesn't have the material things you list. 

 The next guide I know taught me technique. He gave a good bit of his life to the Marine Corps. He's got a few bucks coming to him from that plus.. you guessed it lives a simple life and saves his money.

 No matter what field you're in the guys living within their means are the guys who will create wealth for their families many generations to come. The guys buying a late model car every four years, probably not. Most guys with a million dollar house aren't going to retire either. Like a good friend says "big hat no cattle"

Ron O · · middle of nowhere, southern… · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Started guiding in the '70s.

Bandit guided the FA of Monkeyfinger Wall in '78!

Took a course on investing in '81 and came up with my own strategy (which is still working).

Took AMGA courses later in the '80s.

NPS denied me a permit to guide in Zion saying they didn't think there was enough demand (isn't that a problem that solves itself?)

I watched others, like Bridwell (who got $500/ day) bandit guide in Zion.

Became one of the first ten fully AMGA certified rock guides.

But by the '90s was making 6 figures off of my investments, and I decided that guiding is like free soloing with rope drag.

Bottom line; getting certified was educational and has paid for itself in gear discounts and freebies.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Ron O wrote: Started guiding in the '70s.

Bandit guided the FA of Monkeyfinger Wall in '78!

Took a course on investing in '81 and came up with my own strategy (which is still working).

Took AMGA courses later in the '80s.

NPS denied me a permit to guide in Zion saying they didn't think there was enough demand (isn't that a problem that solves itself?)

I watched others, like Bridwell (who got $500/ day) bandit guide in Zion.

Became one of the first ten fully AMGA certified rock guides.

But by the '90s was making 6 figures off of my investments, and I decided that guiding is like free soloing with rope drag.

Bottom line; getting certified was educational and has paid for itself in gear discounts and freebies.

Are you sharing or selling that strategy?   

Ron O · · middle of nowhere, southern… · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Remember that Mexican bandit in The Professionals?

"Do I gotta keel you to prove I like you?'

EDIT I should have added that of the 50-60 guides I have known four died on the job.

Artem Vasilyev · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 80
Ron O wrote: Remember that Mexican bandit in The Professionals?

"Do I gotta keel you to prove I like you?'

EDIT I should have added that of the 50-60 guides I have known four died on the job.

How many of these were alpine guides? I feel like I've read every accident report between now and 1934 and only seem to see avvies and crevasse falls as a culprit in killing guides.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

General Climbing
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