Being a mountain guide is a pretty cool job, with a lot of benefits. Great ambiance. Good company. And the nice side effect of staying in top physical condition.
There are also huge responsibilities. Mountains are full of inherent risks and hazards. There’s no getting around that. But the risks can be managed. That’s where the guide comes in, using his or her knowledge and experience in rockfall, icefall, soft snow avalanches, route finding and weather to make the decisions that minimize the risks, maximize the enjoyment, and ensure the safety of our clients.
In one sense, mountain guiding is like any other profession or pursuit: In order to stay on top of your game and then raise the level of that game, you’ve got to work at it. Constantly. That’s why at Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI), we’ve always been committed to providing our guides with the best education available. Wilderness medical courses. Avalanche safety classes. Technical training and rescue courses. Great environmental programs such as Leave No Trace.
And that’s why I’m particularly excited by the Eddie Bauer First Ascent-RMI Guide Grant. The grant was established in 2000 by RMI and Whittaker Mountaineering to promote and enhance the continuing education of RMI guides. But while coursework is essential, there’s no more valuable training program than firsthand experience. And even the most dedicated students need to periodically reconnect personally with what gets their juices flowing. The folks at Eddie Bauer understand that, and so they stepped up to help fund this unique grant that promotes guide excellence by funding education, as well as, enabling the guides to pursue their own self-initiated alpine challenges.
The guide grant is a natural extension of our work with Eddie Bauer on First Ascent gear. The whole philosophy behind that new line was guide-centric: literally “Guide built, Guide trusted.” We got to build the line seam by seam, feature by feature from the ground up. And now we get to work with Eddie Bauer again through the grant that helps keep our guides among the best in the world.
Like I said, it’s a pretty cool job.
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