/ Walking with a Guide
If I didn't feel like I was being guided, I wouldnt pay the guide. If the guy is perpetually in the distance having a natter, then I may as well follow someone else on the trail.
My experience with guides in other occasions has always been to slow down, even if it is painful to the quickest. And rightly so I think.
Occasionally(and with tact) I commented about this sort of thing. His comments were along the line "The path is clear, just follow it".
For info, we were a group of four walking as clients of a trekking company.
There were no other guides available to act as a tail end charlie.
No, of course not.
But also some people like to be alone, I do for bits, sometimes like chat, as long as they know the times they need to keep to be done safely then they can go as slow as they like, but if sense they are happy on their own I'll leave them for a while.
Well said. I also think it depends, and be aware that he might have actually had more of an eye on you than you thought and/or might have been engaged with other stuff that needed doing at the front.
> he might have actually had more of an eye on you than you thought
On numerous occasions he and I were out of sight of each other.
You see the negative more often than is healthy I'd say.
I've guided on many things and sometimes been out of sight of clients. Doesn't in itself mean he's doing anything 'wrong'. Was the terrain dangerous or was there something that meant he should have been wary about leaving you to be alone for a bit?
> I've guided on many things and sometimes been out of sight of clients. Doesn't in itself mean he's doing anything 'wrong'. Was the terrain dangerous or was there something that meant he should have been wary about leaving you to be alone for a bit?
Would could have happened to you then? What was the terrain like? Were you just walking on a path?
> I've guided on many things and sometimes been out of sight of clients. Doesn't in itself mean he's doing anything 'wrong'.
I think there can be a difference between being out of sight(for a short period) and being so far apart that communication becomes either difficult or impossible. I had the distinct feeling that he was not fully aware of what was going on "at the back".
> Would could have happened to you then? What was the terrain like? Were you just walking on a path?
A path - yes, but narrow enough in places that a missed footing could have resulted in an accident; or a person may be overtaken by sudden illness
Overtaken by sudden illness?! Come on, unless someone had a serious ongoing condition that's not really a concern is it?
When you say a missed footing, was there a fall potential, or do you mean just a twisted ankle? If the guide was concerned with your competence to walk without falling off something then you might have needed to be on a rope as walking next to you's not going to help if you trip and plummet to your death. Maybe he thought there was no risk and you were competent enough to follow a path without falling over. And if you did then he realize it pretty soon.
Some questions to clarify things
1 Did he have actual guiding qualifications (UIAGM/ BAIML)? or was it just someone who was sent out from the office to 'guide' your trip?
2 Was he a local guide?(Morrocan)
3 Were there Muleteers behind carrying your gear ? or were there other groups descending behind (ie could they phone the 'guide' at the front if necessary)
7 hours? That's a quick day's work on the Ben...
To the OP: wasn't there, can't judge, but on the above-mentioned Ben Nevis Track it is not unusual for a leader to be well ahead of the back-markers, at least in benign summer conditions where losing the track is frankly impossible. But we do tend to halt the group regularly to let the slowies catch up.
The guide needs to do more than show the way. He/she needs to be in touch with the group too and especially if weaker members need encouragement. I was once leading a winter walk in Scotland when a party member warned me I was going too fast for the back-markers. It was a salutary reminder of my responsibilities.
> There were no other guides available to act as a tail end charlie.
Assuming your group of 4 was just a subgroup of a much bigger party, I'd have said your main complaint should be against the trekking company for not providing sufficient guides.
> The guide needs to do more than show the way. He/she needs to be in touch with the group too and especially if weaker members need encouragement. I was once leading a winter walk in Scotland when a party member warned me I was going too fast for the back-markers. It was a salutary reminder of my responsibilities.
it depends.. a guide is a huge term.. you work with the client how they want you to. But in a group you have to work with them all.
Sometimes I take people out purely for company I think. They just want someone along, have a nice day out. You aren't really guiding at all, tbh on days like that I always feel guilty taking the payment. Others expect to be hand fed the route all day, some just like to be on their own for a while. Especially on say a 20 hour out. Sometimes they just want to be left, othertimes a chat can take their mind off things.
I don't think there is a one rule fits all.
In the first instance look for a company using qualified guides ( big plug for IML etc here) or local guides with experience of groups.
Before you start out explain that you like to walk and take it all in and will stop to take pictures, drink, apply sun-cream etc etc and agree a protocol for stops / junctions / getting temporarily off route etc.
A good leader should give a briefing each morning which should include any areas of danger, route, weather etc
A bit late now but if you felt frustrated , annoyed and cajoled along at the wrong speed you should have said something there and then.
Email the company and tell them, name them if you feel you do not get a satisfactory response.
It usually helps if the guide knows what you want, it is made clear and at the end of the trek everyone is happy and you tip your guide and thank them for as job well done
I think the last poster hit the nail on the head- what the term 'guide' means varies around the world. I've worked alongside local guides in a few far away places, and it can mean anything from someone who knows the way (ish) to someone with all of the attributes that would expect in a well trained and competent guide in terms of professionalism and client care.
My personal experience of working alongside a Moroccan 'guide' was somewhat similar to your own- having to manage the pace of my group and the guide occasionally wandering off for some distance ahead, apparently not too concerned about interacting with the group.
I think that perhaps we should be prepared for the local variations in service. If you are booking your trip through a UK company then perhaps there would be some value in checking to see that their expectations of how a guide should act matches your own. If they are selling a guided trek and the impression given is that you will be provided with a guide who will offer a good level of service, and this turns out to not be the case, then I can see that you would have grounds for complaint.
All a tricky area, but perhaps the issue really is that the UK company did not manage your expectations, or did not ensure that the local guide acted in a way that would meet the expectations of it's clients. We could argue all day from our armchairs about whether the guide was 'safe' or not, but really it comes down to whether you felt looked after or not- and if not then the company has failed to meet your (not unreasonable) expectations.
Not sure how he (your guide friend) can say that without hearing both sides of the story or knowing the detail; as as someone has rightly pointed out, it just depends on the context/terrain/clients/etc..
I'm still not exactly sure what you're moaning about. You didn't seem to be at risk from anything (apart from a mystery sudden illness...) and the guide explained to you that the path was simple and to just follow it. If you didn't want to be left alone maybe you should have stated that clearly, but then that might have meant he had to slow the faster members of the groups down.
Well there obviously seems to be a difference of opinion between you and the guide, but as none of us were there it's hard to say what was best. Seems a bit odd to come on here and ask questions/moan about something we can't judge, so why don't you just write to the company and see what they say.
You're an instructor/leader and you need to ask the question?
Yes, it's a bit odd. And also a leader that hires a leader on a simple trek and then is worried when he gets left at the back of the group incase he gets a sudden illness or trips over?!
Is this for real?
> so why don't you just write to the company and see what they say.
If you'd taken the trouble to read an earlier comment you would have seen that I've done precisely that.
> You're an instructor/leader and you need to ask the question?
"...who has in the past..."
There are also all sorts of reasons as to why somebody might wish to undertake a trek through a company and accompanied by a guide.
> There are also all sorts of reasons as to why somebody might wish to undertake a trek through a company and accompanied by a guide.
This is true, but the point being made is that a guide or instructor (former or active) wouldn't need to ask the question you did...
> "...who has in the past..."
> There are also all sorts of reasons as to why somebody might wish to undertake a trek through a company and accompanied by a guide.
I agree with the others.. sorry. But you were just at the back, thats only an issue for you. You also assume he wasn't keeping an eye on you.. he just has to glance back every few minutes, you could have missed that. If an ML yourself you should be fine on your own. I'm seriously doubting you've taught ML's though, you don't come across as overly experienced. Scouts?
If its a mixed group I always have a chat at the start about pace, I'm fine with people spreading out but like the group to regroup every hour or so, so normally explain the route and where we will be stopping so people can just set their own pace. There are no hard and fast rules to guiding though, a few on here seem to think there is, you just tailor your style to the client. So some days you are a very different guide, sometimes more of a companion, sometimes an instructor.
Yes, and what did they say then?
when guiding i have dozens of things to do, observing the progress of the team being only of them. i keep an unobtrusive eye out, assist where needed, and attend to all the other stuff, some of which requires me being well ahead of the rest.
i also respect that the client didnt come to walk next to me, so i give them the space to make their own choices so long as it fits into the objective.
true, some guides are just shit. but not all. their job is to get you where you paid to go, which it seems they did.
Yes I also need to get a life !
I'm not a mountain guide, but I am a tour guide and an ML. I've lead quite a few walking groups on things like the coast to coast (I live at one end!)
There isn't one prescriptive 'do it this way' sort of guide. I always make sure that I talk to everyone and find out what their interests are so I can point out things they may be interested in on the way. Others are just interested in going as quick as possible to the next check point, B& B whatever. Some are obviously just happy walking with their partner, others like going off ahead regardless of the pace of the rest of the group, others tend to go a bit slower for various reasons. (loo breaks being one).
So if someone is going too far ahead I'll ask them to wait at some obvious point ahead, although sometimes you feel like banging their heads together when you've asked them to slow down yet again, other times you've got to encourage the slower ones to be a bit quicker if you;ve got a pick up or B& B to reach by a certain tim,e and so on.
Obviously its up to you as the person in charge to make sure people are safe, but if you've got to know the group you've got to make judgements along the way. So sometimes the group does get spread out and folk are out of sight.
As long as I can answer the "What if this happens" question then I am doing my job even if that means sometimes I'm walking on my own at the back, middle, front or simply on my own letting people chat amongst themselves whilst I concentrate on admin, map reading, looking out for hazards, what the weather is doing and so on.
It is also all the members who basically agree to conform to the group average.
So anyone going too quickly or too slowly for the groupís average pace and does not or cannot or will not change should not be part of that group but instead should find a quicker or slower group.
With Treks in countries where labour is cheap, companies can provide back markers for anyone who is particularly slow. But elsewhere if you want this service then you will need to arrange for it and pay for it with the trek company.
It is a bit unclear whether or not you were significantly and consistently slow, always at the back, and therefore needing the whole group to slow down. If so then it is unfair to expect a leader to have to keep dropping back to check on you when the rest of the group is ahead. You should have speeded up to match the group, after all you joined it on the holiday, they didnít join you on your holiday and your pace.
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