Getting Bored Guiding Clients Up Mountains

We are asked the question many times, “Don’t you get tired of guiding the same climbs day in and day out?”

Lindsay had this question arise during an AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor course and explained the difference between guiding and climbing.  A participant followed up,  sending her an email with this quote from Gaston Rebuffat:

“With the inevitable repetition of the same ascents, the work of the guide could become tedious, but the guide is not just a machine to climb slopes of ice and walls of rock, to know the weather and the route. He does not climb for himself: he opens the gates of his mountains for his companion. He knows that such-and-such a climb is interesting, that this particular arête is as delicate as a piece of lacework, he knows at w

hich turn there is, suddenly, a wonderful view. He says nothing but his reward comes with the smile of his companion when he sees it. If the guide could take pleasure only in his own climbing, he would quickly lose his appetite for the mountains; that has been the case with some who have failed to understand their calling and who no longer follow it. The guide gladly climbs the same crack or the same slab five or ten times in the summer, but his happiness comes from a deeper feelin

g, his feeling of kinship with the mountain and the elements, his feeling of responsibility towards a man who has complete confidence in him.”

This pretty much sums it up! Gaston was a well-known mountain guide and pushed to have climbers be one with the mountains instead of fighting to get to the tops of them. While probably not invented by him, the “Gaston” was named after this strong fellow.

I tell folks all the time that climbing is merely one of the tools I use to do my job, which is guiding.  It is no different than navigating, cooking, planning…..this list could go on.  Steve House once made a comment to a friend of his when asked if he was having fun climbing in France. Steve replied, “Not climbing, guiding. Still fun!”

So in the end, it is really about the people you meet, the places you see, and the times you have…

Hope to see you on the opposite end of my rope soon!

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