Life is an adventure and we never know where it will take us.
I was afraid of heights when I was a teenager, but by the time I finished college, all I wanted to do was to learn more about alpine climbing in ranges throughout the world. I knew that I could only afford to do so by becoming a guide or a sponsored climber. I never dreamed I could become a sponsored climber so I chose to become a guide and worked for the American Alpine Institute in Alaska, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Nepal. Along the way, I did some personal climbs that attracted attention and eventually I did become a sponsored climber. As Chicks Co-Owner Karen Bockel states in her story of becoming a Certified IFMGA Guide, we all reach a fork in our path. When I was offered sponsorship opportunities, I chose that path over becoming a certified guide. I was doing what I loved, getting paid to travel the world and climb.
Why is it important to hire a certified guide?
I think Chicks Co-Owner Angela Hawse sums it up best. In this excerpt from her blog she explains why you should seek out certified guides:
AMGA Certified Guides come from many different backgrounds and have a variety of talents and ambitions but one thing unites them all: the desire to rise to their full potential, excel at what they do, and become the best mountain guide they can be. AMGA training allows mountain guides to realize these desires. As a U.S. member of the IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association), our certified guides have undergone rigorous training and examination that meets and exceeds international standards.
Building a relationship and getting involved with an AMGA Certified Guide or Accredited Program is a great way to gain mastery of climbing and skiing technical skills or reach the summit of your heart’s desire. AMGA guides bring a unique set of characteristics to the mountains. With a combination of great personality, a focus on maximizing client reward, excellent teaching ability, and emphasis on safety, our guides are sure to improve your mountain experiences.
At Chicks, we believe that certified guides represent the best guide training there is – and that is why we only hire certified guides. Amongst our ownership team, Angela Hawse and Karen Bockel are both IFMGA Certified, meaning they have passed rigorous exams in Rock, Alpine, and Ski disciplines… they pretty much have a Ph.D. in guiding. Dawn Glanc is Certified in both Rock and Alpine disciplines, and Elaina Arenz is a Certified Rock Guide and Apprentice Alpine Guide. Besides certification, we value education and improving oneself. Personally, I am looking forward to taking pro level avalanche courses this winter.
So here’s to those who dare to follow their dreams.
Here’s to education, training, and experience to enable those dreams. As Albert Schweitzer said, “The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives”. Carry on, Sisters and never stop learning.