Why hire a guide?
Why Hire an ACMG Guide?
This question is regularly brought up, “Why do we need a guide?” Hiring a guide makes total sense for some, and others not so much. This blog is meant to shed some light on reasons why hiring a certified ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) might make sense for you.
The number one concern of any guide is safety. The guests safety, their own safety, the safety of other user groups and even the safety of the critters. Guides are trained to assess, manage and mitigate any risk. There are so many components that go into this assessment and for a recreational hiker on a trip without a guide, it is easy to miss them. Guides are trained to manage terrain, the group, identify hazards both environmental and human, and deal with wildlife. Guides have spent years learning and have developed the skills to manage incidents before they happen and in the unfortunate circumstances, when they do.
More often than not when recreating in the Canadian Rockies bears are the number one concern for visitors. With years of training, ACMG guides have developed strategies to minimize encounters with bears and other wildlife. They have the experience to recognize the signs and make changes to avoid an unwanted encounter. In the unfortunate event that a guided group has an encounter with an animal, your guide will do everything they can to ensure that everyone (including the bear) remains safe.
When it comes to adventuring, your guide is there to help build some comfort when it comes to “uncertainty”. Like safety, there are a lot of things that you may be uncertain about: Where’s the trailhead? Are we on the right trail? What are the trail conditions? Did we bring enough snacks? What do we do in an emergency? Where is the bathroom? Nothing is certain, but your guide is prepared for any situation and will make sure you are too. They handle everything from route finding, Emergency Planning, to making sure you have the right gear, and they will likely entertain you too.
Your ACMG guide has spent years mastering their craft. Not only are they highly trained in the “hard” skills, they are full of information. They know local stories and history, legends, myths and more. In many cases they have spent years in the region you are adventuring in and have a wealth of information about the natural history, the geography, the ecology and its importance. Not only are they knowledgeable, generally, they are fun characters with incredible tales of adventures and they like to tell jokes, not always good jokes, but they try!
We often hear stories of people adventuring and having a miserable time. Either the trip they planned was out of reach for their abilities or someone in the group was pushing hard to get the objective finished while neglecting the other members. Stories of “bonking” and “epics” because of poor planning and movement are plenty. The guide is there to help and they want you to get the most out of your day.
Your guide is skilled at the art of pacing…yes, that is a thing. Setting the right pace will help you move through the terrain efficiently without “racing” to the top of the summit. They will make sure you take breaks, hydrate, refuel and stop to see the small things. They are always paying attention to their surroundings and the group. Ensuring that the guest gets as much value as possible, while having the most fun and doing it all safely on an adventure is the number one goal of any ACMG guide!
So, whether you are a hardened adventurer with years of experience or someone who is just starting to get out in our beautiful backyards, hiring a certified ACMG guide can create huge value for all. See you on the trails!