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A mountain guide is a specially trained and experienced professional mountaineer who is certified by local authorities or mountain guide associations. They are considered to be high-level experts in mountaineering, and are hired to instruct or lead individuals or small groups who require this advanced expertise. This professional class of guides arose in the middle of the 19th century when Alpine climbing became recognized as a sport.
A mountain guide's skills include:
Supporting these are the theory and practice of:
The title of IFMGA Mountain Guide is (in most countries) reserved for individuals who have received full certification through their country's national mountain guides association of which the curriculum and training are approved by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA). Certification is earned through a rigorous examination process encompassing rock climbing, alpine climbing and ski mountaineering. Typically lasting between 3 and 7 years, mountain guide certification requires a high level of commitment, dedication and technical skill to achieve.
In addition to assuring safety, professional mountain guides frequently offer other desirable services to their clients. These services can significantly improve the alpine experience, especially when the client climber has limited time or equipment, lacks a qualified partner or is visiting an unfamiliar area. These additional mountain guide services may include:
Mountain guides are commonly organized in national and international associations. The world's oldest guides association was formed in the Silesian Sudetes in 1817.Also in Sudetes Franz Pabel received probably the first ever state confirmed guide licence. First alpine guide association was Compagnie des guides de Chamonix , established in Chamonix in 1821, which banned women until the 1980s. It remains today the largest association with nearly 250 mountain guides. The biggest international organization is the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations located in Gstaad, Switzerland.
Several armed forces train mountain guides, who serve with specialist military alpine units. These include Gebirgs forces in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with qualified guides in the German Bundeswehr wearing a special mountain guide badge.
During the First World War there were mountain guide companies in the Austro-Hungarian army. Its members were used for special tasks and particularly dangerous operations in the mountains with great success. K.u.K. Army mountain guides were, for example, Angelo Dibona, Luis Trenker and it:Sepp Innerkofler.
The birth of the training to become an Austrian army mountain guide began in 1906 when the first organization of mountain guide courses for the military came about. In 1915, experienced and enthusiastic volunteers from the Kaiserjäger regiments were put together in high mountain companies who were deployed in high alpine terrain. In December 1916, with the help of Georg Bilgeri and Mathias Zdarsky, the establishment of mountain guide companies began. Among the alpine instructors on the individual front sections were mountaineers such as Julius Kugy in the Julian Alps and Leo Handl in the Marmolada. The mountain guide companies had many tasks to perform in the mountains. They carried out the fight in extreme terrain, they were responsible for advising the troops in difficult terrain, they carried out the high-alpine reconnaissance service; organized the rescue service in the high mountains and were responsible for high-alpine pathways and protective structures. In contrast to the high mountain companies, the mountain guide companies were only exceptionally intended for a closed tactical combat mission. Georg Bilgeri's notes show that by January 22, 1918, 146 officers and 2,302 men were trained as military mountain guides. During this time, of course, many regulations and training documents were created that found international recognition and were adopted by other armies. A badge for military mountain guides was also introduced in June 1918, but was only available in small numbers.
Mountaineering, or alpinism, is the set of activities that involves ascending mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing, and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are also considered mountaineering by some.
The Haute Route, is the name given to a route undertaken on foot or by ski touring between the Mont Blanc Chamonix in France, and the Matterhorn Zermatt in Switzerland.
Ski touring is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas. Touring is typically done off-piste and outside of ski resorts, and may extend over a period of more than one day. It is similar to backcountry skiing but excludes the use of a ski lift or transport.
Gaston Rébuffat was a French alpinist, mountain guide, and author. He is well known as a member of the first expedition to summit Annapurna 1 in 1950 and the first man to climb all six of the great north faces of the Alps. In 1984, he was made an officer in the French Legion of Honour for his service as a mountaineering instructor for the French military. At the age of 64, Gaston Rébuffat died of cancer in Paris, France. The climbing technique Gaston was named after him. A photo of Rébuffat atop the Aiguille du Roc in the French Alps can be found on the Voyager Golden Records.
Les Houches is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Eastern France. In 2017, it had a population of 2,943.
Backcountry skiing (US), also called off-piste (Europe), alpine touring, or out-of-area, is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside a ski resort's boundaries. This contrasts with alpine skiing which is typically done on groomed trails benefiting from a ski patrol. Unlike ski touring, backcountry skiing can include the use of ski lifts including snowcats and helicopters. Recent improvements in equipment have increased the popularity of the sport.
Gebirgsjäger are the light infantry part of the alpine or mountain troops (Gebirgstruppe) of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The word Jäger is a characteristic term used for light infantry in German speaking countries.
Steve House is an American professional climber and mountain guide.
The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) is the United States' "sole representative to the 21-member International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA), the international governing body responsible for guiding standards and education around the world". AMGA is a non-profit organization that seeks to represent the interests of American mountain guides by providing support, education, and standards. The Association offers training courses and certification exams in rock, alpine and ski mountaineering.
The Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC) is a United States Marine Corps installation located in Pickel Meadows on California State Route 108 at 6,800 feet (2,100 m) above sea level in the Toiyabe National Forest, 21 miles (34 km) northwest of Bridgeport, California. The training center exists to train units in complex compartmented terrain.
The Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA) was founded in November 2004. It was decided at the meeting that all IMLs would be awarded the same carnet and badge giving an internationally recognised identity. It also paves the way for other countries from around the world to join UIMLA setting a world standard for mountain leaders. The principal aims of UIMLA are:
Charles Bozon Jr. was an alpine ski racer and world champion from France.
Kenton Edward Cool is an English mountaineer, and mountain guide. He is one of Britain's leading alpine and high altitude climbers and has summited Mount Everest fourteen times, including leading Sir Ranulph Fiennes' 2008 and 2009 Expeditions.
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures is a mountaineering school and mountain adventure company located in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. The company was founded in 1975.
Adrian Ballinger is a British-American certified IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, certified through the American Mountain Guides Association and a sponsored climber and skier. Ballinger is the founder and CEO of Alpenglow Expeditions, and has been guiding full-time for 25 years. He has led over 150 international climbing expeditions on six continents, and made 17 successful summits of 8,000m peaks. He is known for pioneering the use of pre-acclimatization for commercial expeditions as early as 2012, which can cut the amount of time typically spent on an expedition in half. Adrian is the only American to have made three successful ski descents of 8,000m peaks, including the first ski descent of Manaslu from its summit. He is also the fourth American to have summited both Mount Everest and K2 without the use of supplemental oxygen.
Roger Payne was a British mountaineer. He was formerly general secretary of the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and a qualified mountain guide from 1983, taking part in over 20 expeditions to the Karakoram and Himalayan ranges, including K2 and the north face of Changabang. He was an avalanche instructor and climbed in the Alps every year from 1977.
The Alpine companies were specialized mountain infantry troops that were part of the Austro-Hungarian land forces during the First World War.
A mountain sport or Alpine sport is one of several types of sport that take place in hilly or mountainous terrain.
Mountain Madness is a Seattle-based mountaineering and trekking company. The company specializes in mountain adventure travel and has a training school for mountain and rock climbing.
The École militaire de haute montagne (ÉMHM) is a training establishment of the French Army, that trains French and allied service personnel in mountain warfare, skiing, mountain leadership, and arctic warfare.