Rich in mountain history, the UK is home to the biggest variety of traditional rock climbing anywhere in Europe. There are few places in the world where you can climb on such a broad range of different rock types in such diverse landscapes, all within a relatively small area – as a rock climber, it’s an amazing place to live! Hiring your own private guide is a flexible way to go – whether you’re an individual or a small group we can offer skills for general mountaineering, coaching in trad climbing techniques, or guiding on any of the UK’s great classic routes.
Just get in touch with your group size and requirements and we will create an itinerary for you.
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 choose your own accommodation/camp, or if you live nearby or have your own holiday accommodation.
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/skills – 1:3 max
- Training courses/trips involving multipitch climbing – 1:2 max
- Serious/technical/time consuming objectives – 1:1
For trips of 1 or more days in length.
Our season runs from April to November, with best conditions/chance of good weather between May and September.
Guide fees (price per day)
- 1 person – £260
- 2 people – £280
- 3 people – £300
- 4 people – £320
The following expenses are payable during your trip:
- Accommodation half board (no guides accom payable if climbing in Yorkshire)
- Local travel – fuel and tolls, for use of guides vehicle
- Your travel to resort
- Your insurance
- Your equipment hire
You are responsible for organising your accommodation at the venue – we are happy to make some recommendations to suit your budget.
Please get in touch to discuss your aims and objectives and we will be happy to create an outline itinerary for you.
We will provide help with your travel arrangements once final plans are in place.
If you need to top up your fitness for this trip, please see our training guidelines.
Please make a self assessment against these levels, and refer to the trip suitability requirements.
Tech Level 1
Hillwalker/scrambler. You have UK hillwalking and perhaps summer UK scrambling, or European via ferrata experience – but no rock climbing experience.
Tech Level 2
Novice climber. You have indoor or outdoor bolt protected sport climbing experience, or have seconded traditional naturally protected outdoor climbs up to V Diff/Severe standard. You haven’t done any outdoor trad leading.
Tech Level 3
Intermediate climber. You have led single or multi pitch traditionally protected rock climbs up to Severe/VS. You are familiar with multipitch abseil descents.
Tech Level 4
Experienced climber. You lead multi pitch traditionally protected rock climbs at HVS standard. Alternatively, if you mainly climb with guides or seldom lead climb, you have extensive experience seconding at this standard.
Tech Level 5
Very experienced climber. You regularly lead multipitch E1+ trad rock routes. If you mainly climb with guides or seldom lead climb, you have very extensive experience seconding at this level.
Please make a self assessment against these levels, and refer to the trip requirements. These are cardiovascular (CV) fitness and activity levels eg. running, cycling, hillwalking or competitive sports that get your heart and lungs working for extended periods of time (not strength training in the gym!).
Fitness Level 1
You do 1-2 hours of training/cardiovascular sport per week. Eg: you should be able to climb Snowdon from Pen y Pas in around 2 hrs carrying a day sack, or Bow Fell starting from Langdale in the Lake District in about 2 1/2 hrs.
Fitness Level 2
You do 2-3 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you should be happy doing either a 3-4 hour hillwalk, cycling 30-40 miles or mountain biking 2-3 hours without being exhausted. Eg: you should be able to walk from Ogwen Cottage in North Wales up Glyder Fach – Glyder Fawr – Y Garn – Ogwen in ~5hrs. Or in the Lake District Langdale – Bowfell – Esk Pike – Angle Tarn – Langdale in ~ 6hrs.
Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hour hillwalk, 50 mile cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. Eg: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted.
Fitness Level 4
You do 4+ hours CV training/sport per week. A 70+ mile cycle ride, or 20+ mile hillwalk on a weekend would hold no fears. If so inclined, you might be the kind of person who has done longer road sportives/challenge rides, a ~3.30hr marathon or other similar endurance events. Keen hillwalkers who happily knock off 3-4+ munros in a day also have this kind of fitness and endurance.
Fitness Level 5
You do 5-6+ hours training for competitive sport per week, have a background in the same, or you are annoyingly talented! Either way, doing a 100 ml bike ride or about a 3hr marathon wouldn’t be unreasonable.
Rock Climbing Kit List
Above all, your kit needs to do the job but be as light as possible. Lightweight breathable fabrics are ideal for waterproofs, which are carried as often as worn (hopefully!).
- Waterproof jacket – lightweight breathable model
- Overtrousers – with long side zips
- Socks – warm ‘Smartwool’ type, plus thin liner socks and spares
- Wicking thermal tops/t-shirts
- Fleece mid layer – or equivalent light insulating layer
- Mountain trousers – light/mid-weight windproof softshell model
- Thin gloves – windproof ‘hardfleece’ model is good
- Warm hat – must fit under a helmet
- Spare warm layer – fleece or lightweight synthetic belay jacket
- 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
- Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
- Sun hat
- Shorts and t-shirt
- Wallet and passport
- Rucsac 35/45l is perfect for general use
- Rucsac – superlight 15/20l model, for taking on long multi-pitch rock routes
- *Semi rigid B2 mountaineering boots – Axe, Boot and Crampon advice
- Rock boots – must be comfortable enough to wear for several hours
- Approach shoes or trainers – sticky rubber models are excellent
- Trekking poles
- Harness, locking karabiner and belay device
- 2 prussik loops and karabiner – if in doubt, bring 3m of 6mm climbing cord!
- 120cm sling and locking karabiner
- Climbing helmet
- Camping gear if you choose to camp in the valley
Your guide will have ropes, climbing rack, first aid and survival equipment.
*Boots must be reasonably stiff 3/4 season mountaineering models. These will be needed if we decide to go ‘big boots’ climbing on easy rock climbs or scrambling terrain. Very soft bendy boots are no good for technical scrambling/climbing. See below for advice.
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 Ilkley offer an excellent mountain boot fitting service and general equipment advice.
It’s best to have your own rock climbing shoes so you can get a proper fit, but if you need to hire some please get in touch. Other safety equipment can be hired from us (subject to availability) – please see our Equipment Hire page for details.
We 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.
Insurance for UK residents
If you use another insurance provider, then please check terms and conditions very carefully to make sure your activity is covered.
Insurance for non UK residents
Search and rescue is currently free in the UK, but you may be charged by the NHS for certain treatments, and you should also consider the need for emergency repatriation in the event of a serious illness/accident.
Austrian Alpine Club. Available to all European residents. AAC insurance is cheap and works ok for minor accidents and rescues, but is not as comprehensive as many other insurance providers. The medical cover included would not be enough for complex treatment or a prolonged stay in hospital. It also doesn’t include cancellation cover. If you choose to use AAC we recommend you take out extra medical cover with another provider, to ‘top up’ the AAC medical limit, as well as a separate cancellation policy.
Travelex. For US citizens – a range of policies with comprehensive cover.
Global Rescue. Cover offered to all nationalities.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This gives you reciprocal health care in European countries. You can apply for an EHIC card online here or from most Post Offices. You need an EHIC in addition to your travel insurance.
Details of your insurance must be sent to us before the course starts, and brought to the course briefing at the start of your trip.
What happens to my deposit if I book a trip, but it isn’t confirmed to run due to insufficient bookings?
You may transfer your booking to different dates, a different course, or choose a full refund.
Does Alpine Guides climb with customers from overseas, including the USA and Canada?
How do I book a climbing trip?
For scheduled climbing trips it’s easy to book online, directly from your course page. For hire a guide/bespoke courses please get in touch for a quote.
How do I rent mountaineering equipment?
You can rent certain items of specialist equipment from us, and the rest can usually be hired in resort.
What happens to our plans if the weather is bad, or climbing conditions are poor?
We will make every effort to stick to the itinerary, but sometimes its necessary to change plans and select different objectives more suited to the prevailing conditions, or travel to a neighbouring area or sometimes even further afield.
Who goes on our trips?
We climb and ski with a broad range of ages and experience levels, and a large number of our customers come back year after year. We’ve guided 10 year old Ollie up the Old Man of Hoy in Scotland – now the youngest person to climb it. And 70 year old David has climbed the Matterhorn with us, as well as out-skiing people half his age!
What happens if I need to cancel my course?
If you wish to cancel you must notify us in writing, where upon the following charges will be applied from the date we receive your notice of cancellation:
- More than 8 weeks (56 days) before start date – loss of deposit.
- Between 4 and 8 weeks (28-56 days) before start date – 50% of course fee or loss of deposit, whichever amount is greater.
- Less than 4 weeks (28 days) before start date – full course fee.