Hire a Mountain Guide

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
Guiding ratio

Hiring your own private guide is the most flexible way to enjoy the guided Alpine mountaineering experience. With no fixed costs or rigid itineraries, you can stay super flexible, selecting venues and objectives to suit the weather, conditions and aspirations. Whatever your objectives, from skills training, cruising some classics, a longstanding dream route, or any combination of activities, we can team you up with a great guide to help you achieve your goals.

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It was a great weekend so thank you very much. Stu is an excellent guide and was really attentive to our goals and plans in the mountains. He used this to plan a weekend that focused on the skills that we would need to realise these summits. It covered everything that we wanted to learn and we have a real good laugh with Stu his psyche for the mountains is contagious and he came across as very genuine in his interest in helping us to learn.  I am very glad that I chose to go with Alpine guides after having deliberated for a while with which guiding service to use. I would definitely use you guys again.
Joe Badby

Al and Rich – Thanks for the great guiding in 2012! Jane and I have had 3 wonderful trips, with a particularly special summer. We hope to do something similar next year, certainly in the summer and will be in touch. Hope you both have a good autumn and see you next year.

Lewis Grundy

There is only one word to describe the trip, unbelievable. Phil was amazing, he managed to cover all the basics plus some steep ice technique training in the first day. The second we did an Alpine traverse. We climbed North Face Tour Ronde on the third and I just loved it, if that wasn’t enough we managed to climb the first 4 pitches of Chere Couloir and abseil off the route so we also covered retreating from a route, I couldn’t ask for more. To summarise, the whole of my first Alpine holidays were a real success thanks to you guys I will never forget them!

Victor Manzanares

Had a great introductory first week with Al, learning lots and ticking off some classic routes. I was made up to step it up a notch with Tim this week, he was brilliant, being very accommodating and introducing me to half of Chamonix. Highlight of the trip was definitely Dent du Geant. Next year? I’d like to do a classic mixed route over a few days. Maybe the Frendo spur if the guys think I’m able. Thanks again Rich, you’ve all been superb and I’ll definitely be recommending Alpine Guides to friends. Cheers.

Phillip Lewis

Thanks so much for fixing us up for a great 10 days – we had a fantastic time with Dave and Neil who once again masterminded some clever weather/conditions management which saw us see off another couple of hills and some excellent climbing too. As ever, we were in very good hands and had much fun along the way. Wishing you all a fun and safe remaining season.

Jane Grundy

Hi Rich, many thanks for the pictures, the Frendo Spur was ace, great memories. I loved the 4 days with you, thanks again. Catch up soon, very best Ian.

Ian Wilson-Young

Just back from the “Longest, Hardest & Finest rock ridge in the whole of the European Alps” – The West Ridge of the Salbitschijen, with Rich. Mind blowing climbing & abseils (and exposure), over 30+ pitches, 1000m climbing in just over 12 hours… Happy (but tired)!

Chris Hague

Hi Rich. Woohoo! Enjoying the sun in Chamonix and the view of Mont Blanc. The French food helps to recover very fast too. The days were amazing. Gran Paradiso was quite tough and I was a bit worried about Mont Blanc. But all worked out very well.. It was great to do it all by foot from Bionassy (Neil would say “a pure way”) all the way up the mountain. And of course, we had the summit to ourselves and in perfect weather!!!
(Late season private Mont Blanc week)

Hendrikje Werner-Saerbeck

Trip overview

Hiring your own private guide is the most flexible way to enjoy the guided Alpine mountaineering experience. With no fixed costs or rigid itineraries, you can stay super flexible, selecting venues and objectives to suit the weather, conditions and aspirations. Whatever your objectives, from skills training, cruising some classics, a longstanding dream route, or any combination of activities, we can team you up with a great guide to help you achieve your goals.

Download factsheet (PDF)

You simply pay the guides daily fee in advance, then cover the guides and your own expenses as you go during the trip. Hiring a guide is also a great option if you are on a budget and wish to select your own accommodation in resort, or if you live nearby or have your own holiday accommodation.

Please contact us to discuss your plans and by return we will provide an (obligation free) outline itinerary, guiding fee quote, and an estimate of all expenses.  When you are happy to proceed, we will then send a personalised link to make your booking.

Recent Trip Reports:


Private guiding is suitable for any fitness/technical level, from 1-5 (see Fitness and Experience guidelines). However, your group should be well matched in terms of fitness and ability, so everyone can make the most of their holiday.

Guiding ratio

As a rough guideline, these guiding ratios apply:

  • Introductory level/skills based trips – 1:4 max ratio
  • Intermediate level mountaineering/skills – 1:3 max
  • Training courses/trips involving pitched climbing – 1:2 max
  • Serious/technical/time consuming objectives – 1:1


The main summer season runs from mid June to mid September, when most of the huts and cablecars are open and weather/conditions are usually best for a wide range of climbing styles. We also operate outside the main summer season in May and October, but conditions are sometimes not ideal for summer alpinism and a lot of the mountain huts and cablecars are closed (Chamonix still has a couple of lifts running outside summer season however). Early/late season is a great time to climb… but be prepared to do some walking, and maybe use bivouac huts rather than guarded huts!

Guide Fees and Expenses

The size of your team, and nature of your intended trip will determine the guides fee. In addition to the guides fee, the following expenses are payable during your trip (guides receive a discounted rate on cablecars and in mountain huts):

  • Hotels (no guide hotels payable if climbing in Chamonix, our seasonal base)
  • Mountain huts
  • Uplift
  • Local travel – fuel and tolls, for use of guides vehicle
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Your travel to resort
  • Your insurance
  • Your equipment hire

As a rough estimate, budget £30-40/day for guides expenses in Chamonix, and £80-100/day for guides expenses in other resorts.

Premium Guiding Routes

On these trips it’s also possible to climb longer more involved routes, for which premium guiding rates apply. These are paid as a supplement on a per route basis, based on local guides office rates in resort – please contact us for a quote.

As a guideline, supplements apply to routes that involve one of the following: more than a 10-12hr day, bivouacs, over 500m long, grade TD or above. Examples would include:

  • Complex ridges: West Ridge of Salbitschen, Peutery, Inominata..
  • Hard faces: N Face Piz Badile, N/W Faces Le Dru, Gd/Petit Jorrasses..
  • Committing traverses: Grand Jorrasses, Dom-Taschorn, Les Drus..


You are responsible for organising your accommodation in resort – we are happy to make some recommendations to suit your budget. We will book any mountain huts necessary for your trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Please get in touch to discuss your aims and objectives, and we will be happy to create an outline itinerary for you.

Location and Travel

We will provide help with your travel arrangements once final plans are in place.

Fitness and Experience

To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.


Summer Alpine Kit List

Above all, alpine climbing kit needs to do the job, but be as light as possible. We work with various manufacturers including Arc’teryx, whose products we can thoroughly recommend.

Technical Clothing

  • Wicking thermal top – long sleeved and light colour is ideal!
  • Softshell Jacket – mid weight, wind resistant, light insulating layer (or a mid weight fleece jacket)
  • Spare warm layer – lightweight synthetic/down jacket or other warm layer
  • Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
  • Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight windproof softshell model
  • Overtrousers – with long side zips
  • Socks – warm ‘Smartwool’ type, plus thin liner socks and spares
  • Gaiters – made from breathable material (or trim fitting trousers with ankle volume adjuster)
  • Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
  • Warm insulated gloves – wind and waterproof
  • Warm hat – must fit under a helmet

Personal Items

  • Water Container – at least 1 litre
  • Headtorch and batteries
  • Map, compass and whistle (optional, but a good idea)
  • Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, painkillers etc
  • Sun Glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
  • Goggles – for windy/snowy conditions
  • Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
  • Sun hat
  • Shorts
  • Wallet and passport
  • Alpine Club/BMC card (if you are a member) and insurance docs

Hut Overnight Items

  • Small wash kit
  • Spare lightweight t-shirt/socks/pants
  • Silk sheet sleeping bag liner
  • Ear plugs
  • (Hut slippers for indoor use, and blankets/duvets and pillows are provided by the huts)

Technical Equipment

  • Rucsac – 35/45l is perfect for general use
  • Rucsac – superlight 15/20l model, for taking on long multi-pitch rock routes (for technical courses/private guiding)
  • *Rigid mountaineering bootsAxe, Boot and Crampon advice
  • Rock climbing shoes – must be comfortable enough to wear for several hours (can be hired in resort if nec)
  • Approach shoes or trainers
  • Trekking poles
  • Harness, locking karabiner and belay device
  • 2 prussik loops + karabiner – if in doubt, bring 3m of 6mm climbing cord!
  • 120cm sling + locking karabiner
  • Climbing helmet
  • Crampons with antiball plates
  • Ice Axe classic type for intro and general mountaineering courses
  • Technical Ice Axe and Hammer – required for parts of the Tech Alpine/Cham Alpinist/Ice and Mixed/North Faces courses

Your guide will have ropes, climbing rack, first aid and survival equipment.

*Boots: These are VERY important to the success of your trip! Its best to have your own boots and break them in well before the start of the trip – see advice below.

Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!

Purchasing Equipment
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent walking boot fitting service and general equipment advice.

Hiring Equipment
Please see our Equipment Hire page for more details.


For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for climbing and mountaineering activities as outlined in the course itinerary. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury. Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.

Please find further details on our insurance info page.

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