Employment with Alpine Ascents International

Mountain Guides

gottlieb todd

We are currently accepting applications for the 2023 summer guiding season.

We actively recruit mountain guides who are dedicated to pursuing excellence in guiding and teaching on the world’s most beautiful and challenging mountains. Alpine Ascents is a world leader in guiding great mountains around the globe for over 30 years. We guide on seven continents and operate climbing programs on Mt. Rainier, in the North Cascades, and in Denali National Park. Alpine Ascents has offices in Seattle, Washington and Talkeetna, Alaska.

Mountain guiding is a highly demanding field which requires great physical and emotional stamina, patience, solid technical skills, strong decision-making abilities, and a passion for imparting knowledge to others. In turn, guides are rewarded with a life in the outdoors, professional growth and development opportunities and very competitive wages. Successful mountain guides applicants will possess the following skills and certifications:

  • Strong understanding and mastery of alpine climbing skills
  • Ability to assess the needs of the individual and group for safety and success
  • Teaching techniques appropriate for adult learners with various climbing abilities
  • Experience climbing (and preferably guiding) in the areas where Alpine Ascents offers programs
  • Ability to perform and teach self-arrest and crevasse rescue skills
  • Minimum of three years alpine climbing and preferably guiding experience
  • Excellent ability to lead, communicate effectively and efficiently, be congenial to co-workers, clients, and the general public when guiding, and teach in a kind and friendly manner under stressful conditions.
  • Maintain current WFR, CPR, Leave No Trace Trainer and avalanche certifications. Lead guides on Mt. Rainier must hold an Avalanche II certification.
  • Hold a valid U.S. driver’s license

We are actively recruiting female, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ guides.

Most guides begin on our domestic programs in Washington guiding on Mt. Rainier and in the North Cascades. Those who successfully complete 1-2 seasons in Washington are often asked to guide on expeditions such as Denali, Aconcagua, or the Mexico Volcanoes. A select few guides will be offered the opportunity to join us as guides in the Himalayas, on Kilimanjaro, and in Antarctica.

Qualified applicants will be invited to attend a training/assessment in the spring of 2023. This training is designed to familiarize guides with the teaching methods and philosophy of Alpine Ascents guiding. Those who successfully complete this training will be scheduled for the summer season and are expected to be available from May-September. Housing is provided for guides between most trips.

Experienced Guides

Guides with 5+ years of professional mountain guiding experience are welcome to send an employment resume, completed climbing resume, and letter of interest to [email protected]. Guides will be interviewed and hired based on need and availability.

Alaska Guides

We are accepting applications for the 2023 Denali season.  Guides with significant Alaska guiding experience who meet the above criteria and are interested in working in our Alaska program should send an employment resume, completed climbing resume, and letter of interest to [email protected]. Preference will be given to guides with successful Denali guiding experience. Qualified guides will be interviewed and hired based on need and availability.

Gear Staff

We are currently accepting applications for 2023 Summer Gear Staff positions. Please take a look at the full position description and other hiring information on the following tab. To apply, email a resume and cover letter to [email protected] with the subject: Gear Staff Position. Please communicate clearly regarding your availability in your cover letter. Interviews and hiring will take place on a rolling basis until available positions are filled.

To Apply

Please submit the following to the Guide Manager, Mary Brown at [email protected]:

  1. Completed Pre-Employment Application
  2. Professional Outdoor Employment Resume
  3. Completed Climbing Resume– we are most interested in your experience climbing and/or guiding in glaciated terrain (but include all climbing you consider relevant)
  4. Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or equivalent; CPR certifications. Indicate your intention to obtain or recertify if not current.
  5. Copy of Avalanche Level 1 course completion
  6. Copy of Leave No Trace Trainer certification
  7. Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination
  8. AMGA certificates are not required, but carry additional weight in the hiring process
  9. If you are not a US citizen, please submit employment eligibility documentation such as a current work visa or green card.

Once we receive these items, our guide management team will review your qualifications and certifications. Applicants will be invited to interview in person or over the phone with at least one member of our guide management team. We will make hiring decisions within a month of the interview.

All newly hired guides are required to participate in a 10-day pre-employment training on Mount Baker and Mount Rainier in April 2022. This training is designed to familiarize guides with the teaching methods and philosophy of Alpine Ascents guiding. The training is paid and on-mountain breakfasts and dinners are provided.

Once this training session is completed, the applicant is in position to begin employment. The exact starting dates will depend on our staffing needs.

All application materials are held in confidence. Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Alpine Ascents is an equal opportunity employer actively encouraging applicants of age, race, religion, color, handicap, sex, physical condition, developmental disability, sexual orientation or national origin.

It is the policy of Alpine Ascents International not to discriminate against any employee or any applicant for employment because of age, race, religion, color, handicap, sex, physical condition, developmental disability, sexual orientation or national origin. This policy shall include, but not be limited to, the following: recruitment and employment, promotion, demotion, transfer, compensation, selection for training including apprenticeship, layoff and termination. Except with respect to sexual orientation, this company further agrees to take affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunities.

Frequently asked questions

Do you provide guide housing?

Yes. We maintain a guide house in Ashford, WA and Sedro-Wooley, WA.

How many days can a guide expect to work in the summer season?

Guides can generally expect 60+ days of work in the summer season depending on performance and availability.

Does Alpine Ascents offer internship opportunities?

At this time we do not offer internship opportunities. We do hire summer gear and logistics staff each spring for the summer season, which offers a great deal of learning about working for a guiding company, but does not include field time. If you are interested in opportunities as a summer staff employee, positions will be posted in early January.  You can e-mail [email protected] at that time.

Why do you like guiding at Alpine Ascents?

Hannah McGowan

hannah mcgowan

Alpine Ascents Guide
Alpine Ascents cultivates strong mentorship and friendship between guides by promoting a culture of growth and support. I believe that people do their best work when they feel empowered, and Alpine Ascents does a remarkable job of making that happen. It seems easy to feel home here, between the inspiring caliber of my co-guides, the hilarious asides in company-wide emails, and Alpine Ascents’ commitment to diversity. When I came to Alpine Ascents from another PNW guide service and was asked if I’d rather participate in the all female returning guide training or the co-ed one at the beginning of the season, I was blown away! I immediately felt that I was in the right place, and as time went on I realized I have never felt more valued by an employer than I do here.

 

Patrick Chu

patrick chu

Alpine Ascents Guide
Working at AAI for the last six seasons has provided me with extensive opportunities for professional growth and development in the mountain guiding craft. I feel that the company sets a high standard for employee satisfaction through flexible scheduling, competitive wages, guide housing, and quality in-house trainings. The logistical support provided by our world-class operations staff ensures that our programs run smoothly and that clients are properly equipped for the field. Last and most importantly, the phenomenal guide staff at AAI keep my stoke high for coming back year after year.

 

Paul Koubek

paul koubek

Alpine Ascents Guide
There are a number of things that I like about working for Alpine Ascents, including: quality supervision, great coworkers, and cool diversity of work. I’ve worked for Alpine Ascents in the Alps, the Alaska Range, the Cascades, Aconcagua, Southern Patagonia, on Kilimanjaro, and in Indonesia (Carstensz Pyramid) – the list goes on. That, plus real reliability as an employer is why I have chosen Alpine to be my primary employer since 2007.

Summer Gear Staff

Are you trying to break into the outdoor industry and don’t know where to start?  Look no further!

We are currently accepting applications for 2023 Summer Gear Staff.

Position Overview

We are recruiting Summer Gear Staff to serve as key members of our peak-season operational support team. The Summer Gear Staff team is responsible for the inventory, maintenance, packing, and logistics for all mountaineering courses, climbs, and expeditions. This position serves a critical function in the success of all Alpine Ascents programming and though it can be demanding during the summer months, individuals with a love for the mountains, attention to detail, and a strong work ethic will find it incredibly rewarding.  We have found that this role is an excellent segue into guiding and many of our most talented new guides got their start through this role.

You’ll love this job if

  • You are interested in guiding, but you have limited climbing experience.
  • You enjoy problem solving and working with your hands.
  • You enjoy learning new skills. Never repaired a tent? Now is your chance to learn! 
  • You want to meet new climbing partners, build community with mountain minded folks, and break into the outdoor industry. 
  • You have a furry companion. We are a dog friendly office and welcome well behaved canine associates with open arms and dog treats!
  • You love a dynamic and fast-paced work environment – no two days are the same!

Key Responsibilities

  • Prepare equipment for multi-day climbs and courses
  • Provide support for and assist with daily client equipment checks and trip orientations
  • Handle basic gear-related customer inquiries with a focus on quality customer service
  • Issue and de-issue climber rentals and group gear
  • Thoroughly inspect, clean, and maintain equipment for safety and functionality (rock racks, avalanche transceivers, down parkas, ropes, etc.)
  • Assorted retail and administrative tasks as needed (organization, inventory counts, re-stocking)
  • Process credit card payments for rental fees and retail store purchases
  • Other duties as assigned

Requirements

  • Adapt to varied tasks with a flexible, patient, and go-getter attitude
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently with a high degree of accuracy and efficiency

Desired Qualifications

  • Climbing and mountaineering knowledge/experience
  • 23 years of age or older for driving positions

Work Environment

  • Mid-April 2023 – September 4, 2023.  Opportunities for further work in September may be available based on performance.
  • 35-40 hrs/week with occasional overtime. P/T opportunities may also be available.
  • This role is based in Seattle at Alpine Ascents International headquarters in Lower Queen Anne. 

Compensation & Benefits

  • Competitive wage
  • Pro-Deal discounts for outdoor gear
  • Discount at Alpine Ascents retail store (30%)
  • Opportunities to join summit climbs or courses
  • Mentorship opportunities from world-class mountain guides  
  • Discounts to local climbing gyms 
  • Be part of a tight-knit community of passionate mountain adventurers
  • Team building work events like cragging sessions, mini golf, and cocktail hour! 
  • Stylin’ Alpine Ascents swag

How to Apply

Interested candidates should email a resume and a cover letter explaining 1) What experience, skills, and personal characteristics qualify you for this position and 2) Why the work of Alpine Ascents International appeals to you. Please send your application to [email protected]. Interviews and hiring will take place on a rolling basis through the end of April or until available positions are filled.

BIPOC Guide Development Program

employment with alpine ascents international

Program Goal

Why: Mountaineering should be a source of adventure and empowerment for all. Alpine Ascents International in partnership with Edgeworks Climbing created the Guide Development Program to increase the representation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals in the mountain guiding industry as well as the mountaineering world more broadly. By providing this program, we wish to help bridge the disconnect experienced by these communities from the wild spaces that surround us. We want our guide staff to be representative of the climbers we want to welcome into the outdoor space. In addition to members of the BIPOC community as a whole, we particularly wish to recruit indigenous peoples upon whose stolen native lands our business now operates. As part of our commitment to foster a culture of inclusion and acceptance, we continue to work to lift the voices of native history and lived experiences as it pertains to these beloved landscapes.  You can read about our other Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives here.

How: We will select 6 aspiring guides to join our guide development cohort to receive a series of free Washington-based field trainings, on-going mentorship, and financial support for required guide certifications.

Goal: We hope that all cohort participants will join the Alpine Ascents guide team in 2024.

Program Outline

April 1, 2023 – November 1, 2023

  • Free Alpine Ascents field trainings throughout the 2023 summer season
  • Free AMGA SPI Course provided by Edgeworks Climbing on October 11 – 13, 2023.
  • Opportunities to shadow Alpine Ascents courses / summit climbs throughout the summer
  • Opportunities to shadow Edgeworks Climbing programs throughout the summer
  • One Edgeworks Climbing course (Sport Leading, Trad Leading, Rock Rescue, or Multi-pitch) of their choice
  • Monthly check-ins with Alpine Ascents Guide Department, including climbing homework
  • Direct mentorship from current Alpine Ascents and Edgeworks guides
  • Free climbing gym membership at Edgeworks Climbing

Field Training Schedule

April 1: Physical Conditioning for Mountaineering, Zoom Webinar
April 14 – 16: 3-day Glacier Focused Training, Lower Nisqually Glacier
May 20: 1-day Navigation & Tour Planning Seminar, Snoqualmie Pass
June 24: Technical Rope Skills, Exit 38
August 6: Efficiency in 4th and Low 5th Class Terrain, Mount Erie
September 22 – 24: 3-day Alpine Rock Training, Washington Pass
October 11 – 13: SPI Course provided by Edgeworks (participants must meet SPI pre-reqs)
October – November: Applying for a Guiding Job + Individual Check-Ins – Virtual / Seattle

Application Instructions

Please send a cover letter, outdoor resume, and the answers to the following three questions to [email protected].

  • How have your identities shaped your relationship with the outdoors?
  • What are your career goals and how will this program positively impact your
    career path?
  • How will this opportunity enrich your life outside of the mountains?

Help us improve our outreach and recruiting efforts by filling out an anonymous demographic questionnaire when you submit your application.

Never written an outdoor resume?  It’s okay!    You can weave your personal trips, technical skills, and volunteer experience into your professional resume.   Some employers might not care that you hiked the Appalachian Trail, but we do!   Alternatively, you can send us your work resume and then a separate page with your outdoor experience such as climbs you’ve done, backcountry trips, courses, and certifications.

Here’s an article from NOLS about incorporating wilderness experience into a resume.  While the article references how to talk about a NOLS course, we found the concepts helpful.   If you’re still stumped, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)
  • Competence in overnight backcountry camping
  • One year of personal climbing experience
  • Familiarity with basic knots, belaying, and rappelling
  • Able to legally work in the United States

Application Timeline

  • Application period is November 1, 2022 – January 1, 2023
  • Arranging interviews for finalists by mid-January, 2023
  • Cohort participants will be selected by February 1, 2023
  • For those interested, seasonal logistic positions will be announced by February 1, 2023 as well

Review Process

The guide department will review all applications and will choose cohort members based on the following criteria:

  • Commitment to entering the field of guiding
  • Outdoor resume
  • Identification as BIPOC
  • Ability to attend all field trainings

Optional Seasonal Logistics Position

For cohort members who would like a paid summer job in addition to the free, unpaid training sessions of the development program, Alpine Ascents has seasonal positions in our gear and logistics department.  This is an optional component of the program and recommended for those want to fully immerse themselves in the climbing and guiding culture of Alpine Ascents and the Pacific Northwest climbing community in general. Please see our Summer Gear Staff tab for more information on the position.   If you’d like to be considered for this position, please let us know in your cover letter.

Upon Successful Completion of the Program, we will provide:

  • Alpine Ascents AIARE Level 1 Course
  • Alpine Ascents AIARE Rescue Course
  • Edgeworks AMGA SPI Exam
  • Gear and equipment support from brand partnerships

Have additional questions?

If you have any questions about the program, application process, or would like additional information please email [email protected] or call the Alpine Ascents office at 206-378-1927.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the BIPOC Guide Development Program paid?

No, the BIPOC Guide Development program is a series of free trainings and mentorship opportunities. For those who want to gain income during the program, there is an optional seasonal logistics position at our Seattle HQ which is 32 – 40 hours a week paid employment. We have found that this role is an excellent segue into guiding and many of our most talented new guides got their start through this role. 

You can read more about the position on the Summer Staff tab of our website.

I am mixed race. Can I still apply?

Yes. The program is open to all who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).

Is housing provided during the field trainings?

For the multiday field trainings, you will be sleeping in the backcountry and tents will be provided. For single day trainings, lodging is not provided but course venues are typically adjacent to campgrounds.

Is there a minimum age requirement for the program?

Yes. Due to liability reasons, we cannot accept climbers younger than 20 into the program.

What if I don't have all the gear needed for field sessions?

Program participants are able to borrow Alpine Ascents International rental gear for field sessions if needed. We have a comprehensive rental fleet of everything from crampons to puffy jackets.

“Climbing Mt. McKinley with Alpine Ascents transformed a cold, logistically complicated climb into a rewarding, simple, and even socially rewarding experience. The food was plentiful and nourishing and the climbing schedule was demanding but sensible. These guys have been up the mountain long enough to dial in what works. Overall, if you want a good […]

About Us BLOG

  • Revealed: Alpine Ascents New Guide Training

    by Kate Keith-Simms After building up your climbing resume, assembling the required certifications, and submitting your application materials to the Alpine Ascents Guide Manager, you finally receive that long awaited email… Congratulations! After making a very favorable impression during the interview process in addition to excellent references and an impressive climbing resume, we are happy […]

  • Dear Alpine: Internships?

    Hey Alpine, My heart is in the mountains. Ever since I watched the sun rise over the Easton Glacier on my 6-day course this summer, I’ve dreamed of kicking my REI vest and nametag to the curb and picking up a rope and crampons. It’s time for an outdoor office. Other than my guided climb […]

  • Find your people. Find your community.

    by Liane Lau Arriving to the Alpine Ascents Seattle Office at 0630 for gear check – made me question my life choices. To be an effective mountaineer, you should be a combination of a marathon runner, a weight-lifter, and a climber. I am none of those things. I don’t even particularly like those things. The […]

Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
© Copyright 2022 All Rights Reserved. Alpine Ascents International