How much money do hill guides make, just how many types of hill guides are there, exactly how to call one form from another, and why execute they have so much in common with whiskey?






1. Pseudo hill Guides

One of the lowest-paid categories of so-called mountain and also outdoor adventure guides is porters and mountain companions, who room hired top top site. “Mountain companions” have actually been around since Adam to be a boy yet in the countries with a highly developed mountain facilities they room now couple of and far between — thanks to the breakthrough of technology, in a number of regions this profession merely ceased to exist.

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However, porters can still be found in Nepal, south America, India, Pakistan, Tibet, Tanzania and other popular tourist destinations. As a rule, what such hill companions perform is simply carry roughly the things of outdoor enthusiasm on basic trekking routes, making from $3 come $15 a day. Occasionally, lock do execute the attributes of a guide, talking about the bordering nature and the weather, and also sharing an easy tips on just how to act in the mountains. Girlfriend shouldn’t expect, however, the such a guide will be able to carry out you v qualified assistance in terms of picking the route strategy, tactics, an initial aid or rescue.

In Africa’s Kilimanjaro, the solutions of simple guides price an mean of $50-70 per working week. A senior guide is, that course, paid far better than the rest. A porter deserve to make native $3 come $5 a day for accompanying a traveler along the course — and also often this quantity comes only from the tips.

However, the presence of a neighborhood climbing overview is, an initial of all, the mandatory problem for ascending the mountain (for example, at Kilimanjaro). Second, it is a serious revenue item for the country and personally for the local guides functioning in the arising regions.


Photo by Alisa Ivanitskaya (during Kilimanjaro ascent).

What is remarkable is the reality that sometimes the task of the guides is excellent not just by porters yet even by… the regional chefs! there is a known case when an expedition to rise Mount Everest to be headed through a local chef (still an ext experienced than the thrifty mountaineers that were ~ above the mountain for the first time, having bought a minimum organization package for around $15,000).

In such instances it periodically turns the end that the clients themselves are prepared to trust the chief or the porter v the features of a overview — due to the absence of their very own climbing experience on this details mountain and also greater experience of the local guides. On the one hand, yes, this is not the first time about that such a chief is taking part in the ascent, and he does have actually certain skills and competences. But we will have to remind you however again that such a human being will not be able to administer you with qualified assistance throughout the climbing. And also if the case becomes crucial you have to not count on his help.

A tragic instance confirming this preeminence is the fatal incident of the solo-climber David Sharp, who passed away near the summit of mountain Everest in 2006. Nobody to be able to offer him any help at the vital moment, and also the brother climber froze to fatality at an altitude of 8500 meters.

More ~ above the situation of David Sharpe is easily accessible here; the accident is commented on by the founder that Sergey Kofanov (twice ascender and also participant that rescue work on Everest).

In any case, as soon as making the decision to usage the services of a surrogate overview who miraculously transformed right into one native a simple porter, you need to bear in mind that you space working through an amateur (although the latter may indeed have actually some an abilities and experience). As much as the right method of acclimatizing or finding out the technique of rise in crampons is concerned, he will certainly hardly it is in of any kind of help. Therefore think twice about your health and safety.

If we are to attract a parallel v whisky, the pseudo guides are favor malt wort the is only yet to come to be whiskey. Just like a to wash (which is basically beer do by fermenting grain grains) has yet to it is in distilled in bespeak to end up being a noble drink, a porter (or the local chef, for the matter), may hone his or her skills and turn right into a real mountain guide. Or he might not.

2. Personal Mountain Guides


Valery Babanov,a double winner that the most prestigious mountaineering compensation “The golden Ice Axe”

Personal travel guide are former athletes or world-renowned rockclimbing who completed outstanding success in the mountains and also boast wealth of assorted awards, documents and accomplishments (including the legendary “Golden ice cream Axe”).

As a rule, throughout his lengthy (15-20 years) career, such a guide has conquered all the 7 summits of the world, and also a number other equally famous mountains.

Such world are few and far between, and, if you want to come to be their client, you require to arrangement your pilgrimage at the very least a year in breakthrough and be prepared to pay really well for such guide’s services. The upside come it is the reality that together a guide will take it you wherever you want to go — mountain Everest, Kilimanjaro, or also the active volcano Cotopaxi in Ecuador. And, as a bonus, he will pass on to you his invaluable climbing knowledge and experience.

On the other hand, the price the hiring together a guide can differ from 350 Euros a day (friendship price) come a few thousands or even tens of countless dollars for a pilgrimage — depending on the guide’s call capital, the client’s solvency and also the favored route.

Personal guides space the to exclude, segment in the category of this profession, as with a 10 year-old Talisker matured in oak casks at the Isle of Skye and also bottled at 45 abv. A noble drink boasting a exceptional taste but coming in ~ an equally impressive price… yet you have to pay for the quality, have you not?

Valery Babanov

Climber and also a mountain guide, i graduated from the ENSA school. A dual winner that the most prestigious mountaineering award “The gold Ice Axe” (for rise the peaks that Meru and also Nuptse)

The guide’s orders need to be obeyed without a word. The guide must be firm in his decisions, and also he must develop himself with his client: from currently on, i am your boss, and you room my subordinate. Although ns did have situations when I stated to my client, who could have thousands of human being under his command ago on the ground: it’s time to rotate back! and he simply stares back at me, like “I don’t want to!” and also you have to say: “We have to turn earlier and descend!”

There were various other incidents, and even injuries, once I had actually to speak to in a helicopter, because that example, when one of mine clients fell down basically for no reason and also broke her leg… In together situations, the overview must action in a expert manner: there is nobody else approximately to give you a hand! You need to know simply what come do, and also have all the necessary phone numbers. Therefore, it is very important because that the guide to be professionally qualified, and to be aware of every the duty that that assumes.

Unfortunately, many people trying to discover a “less expensive” overview seem to it is in oblivious the this. Castle think, hey, what’s so dangerous about those mountains? No hill too high! who cares? I’m walking to conserve up paying fifty percent the price, and also we’ll make a quick tour of a peak or two! yet there are situations when what you require is a qualified guide.

Oliver Stutz

The founder of web-project, works through guides top top a everyday basis in Alaska, Canada and also Russia

A high price of personal guide solutions alone is not a guarantee of high quality business or your absolute safety. But it makes it much easier to organize a great and safe tour.

Concerning hill guides education: there are very great guides out there who do not have any type of special education and there space certificated guides, ~ above the various other hand, that may lack the compelled skills.

However, certification is much more in need in Europe and North America. In Canada, for example, people trust in experience much more than in education. Girlfriend just need to know your mountain!

3. Adventure agency Guides


Photo through

An accompanying overview who functions for the travel company, through which girlfriend arrived because that ascending the hill or trekking in a different country, is in most situations a experienced climber (in the past and also in the present) who has made quite a couple of exploits in this area. Because that him, that is a not only chance to visit his favorite mountains yet again, but likewise an opportunity to raise some extra money for his very own expedition.

Such a mountain guide can do from $3,000 to $5,000 per trip but sometimes this number soars dramatically. Because that example, the famous Soviet mountaineer Anatoly Bukreev, who saved three people during the 1996 occurrence on mount Everest (well-known through the film of the very same name the was released in 2015) asked the organizer of the expedition, Scott Fisher, because that a whopping price of $25,000. The latter did salary the price yet we cannot say even if it is he regretted the or not: Fisher died next come the peak, never ever learning about Bukreev’s heroic deed. Bukreev perished a year and also a fifty percent later — additionally in the Himalayas, top top Annapurna.

Speaking the guides, we cannot omit mentioning the legend Sherpa civilization living in Nepal. Together with experienced guides, the climb Sherpas take part in difficult ascents the eight-thousanders, risking their resides to certain the client’s safety.

On average, they do from $30 a day, or around $5,000 every season (usually making one climb a year to mount Everest or one more eight-thousander). Their tough labor is additionally rewarded with a $500 come $1,000 extra tip, the so-called Summit Bonus i beg your pardon they are paid ~ above the effective completion that the ascent.

The mountain overview who manages all the other Sherpas in a climbing exploration or trekking group — Sirdar — it s okay $5,000 or an ext for one expedition. The Sirdar’s commitments incorporate assigning responsibilities to the various other guides, hiring and also paying regional porters, and also making the final decisions regarding route choices together with the head the the expedition. This is a an extremely respected and also rare profession; over there are just a couple of dozens of together practicing specialists in the world.


Real rise Sherpas ~ above "Everest" movie set. Photo by

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The job-related of Sherpas is rewarded specifically well at the Khumbu Icefall — one of the many dangerous locations on the route of ascending mount Everest despite the south Col. The glacier is in constant motion: sometimes it is fatally danger (on 18 April 2014, an ice avalanche eliminated sixteen climbing Sherpas). For this reason, Sherpas charge the expedition extra money for going through the Khumbu Icefall and also carrying tons through the (on average, $2,500 native a team or $500 from a climber). The Sherpas who work-related in this region are referred to as Ice medical professionals or Khumbu doctors which method respect because that the complexity of the task that they execute on the glacier.