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.
Please visit our Covid-19 Climb Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.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:
- Rock and Ice Private Guiding
- Dolomites Rock Climbing
- Eiger and Monch Ascent
- Ice and Mixed Guiding
- Senja Winter Climbing
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.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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 boots – Axe, 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!
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent walking boot fitting service and general equipment advice.
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.