We are no longer accepting applications for new hire guides for the 2024 climbing 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. You can read more about the recruitment process in this blog post. Successful mountain guide 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 risk mitigation 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. An ideal candidate has successfully summited five glaciated peaks.
- 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 Level 1 Instructor, 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 10-day New Guide Training/Assessment in the spring. 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.
Attributes of a Successful New Guide Candidate
What makes our ideal candidate? A comprehensive list of skills, certifications, and recommended ascents can be downloaded here.
Applications for the 2024 season are OPEN. 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.
Applications for the 2024 Denali season are OPEN. 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.
Applications for 2024 Summer Gear Staff positions are OPEN. 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.
Please submit the following to the Guide Manager, Mary Brown at [email protected]:
- Completed Pre-Employment Application
- Professional Outdoor Employment Resume
- Completed Climbing Resume– we are most interested in your experience climbing and/or guiding in glaciated terrain (but include all climbing you consider relevant)
- Current Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or equivalent; CPR certifications. Indicate your intention to obtain or recertify if not current.
- Copy of avalanche certifications. Successful completion of a Level I Avalanche Training and Avalanche Rescue Course, or AAA (American Avalanche Association) approved Level II avalanche course is required. Pro 1 training is preferred.
- Copy of Leave No Trace Trainer certification
- Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination
- AMGA certificates are not required, but carry additional weight in the hiring process
- 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 2024. 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
Yes. We maintain a guide house in Eatonville, WA and Sedro-Wooley, WA.
Guides can generally expect 60+ days of work in the summer season depending on performance and availability.
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?
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.
Alpine Ascents Guide
Working for Alpine Ascents over the past few seasons has really opened my eyes to what’s possible in a guiding career. The company does a fantastic job at retaining highly experienced guides which translates to great networking, mentorship, and a high degree of risk management. After working for another guide service in the PNW, I came to Alpine Ascents to learn from the best and have gotten exactly that. For how big of a company AAI is, I find it remarkable how they cultivate a culture of learning, inclusion, and a shared mission. It’s a great feeling to get the schedule for each season and get excited to work with all of the great people here. Looking forward to many trips to come!
Alpine Ascents Guide
As a guide, it is super important to me to work for a guide service that is responsive to the needs of their guide staff, first and foremost–and in turn, trusts their guides, as professionals, to deliver a high quality climbing or skiing trip. I’ve been in work environments where the office skipped over the guides and responded to the clients’ needs first, which feels isolating and “othering” and is distinctly unsustainable. Managing and supporting guides in the structures of employment in the U.S. is not an easy task, but it is clearly a priority for Mary, guide manager, and Jonathon, director of field operations. For example, they have structured feedback sessions with guides every year. And every year they implement new and creative programs in response to this feedback. I try to remember to express my gratitude to them directly, whenever I can, and perhaps that is where their intentions become most clear. The last time I started to say, “the reason I like working for you…” Jonathon corrected me: “You don’t work for us, you work with us.”
Summer Gear Staff
Are you trying to break into the outdoor industry and don’t know where to start? Look no further!
Applications for 2024 Summer Gear Staff positions are OPEN.
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!
- 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 risk aversion 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
- Drive groups to climbing destinations (Mount Rainier, Mount Baker) in a 15 passenger van with trailer
- Other duties as assigned
- 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
- Must be willing and able to drive a 15 passenger van with trailer
- Squeaky clean driving record
- Willing to work a variable schedule including early mornings, evenings, weekends, and longer days
- Strong customer service skills
- WA State Food Handlers Permit (easily obtained online)
- 23 years of age or older
- Climbing and mountaineering knowledge/experience
- April 15, 2024 – September 2, 2024. 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 starting mid-January through the end of March or until available positions are filled.
BIPOC Guide Development Program
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. For experienced recreational climbers and outdoor educators, the Guide Development Program can be the next step to refine and build your skill set as well as develop connections within the industry to help you secure a position guiding professionally. While this program does have a rock module, our primary focus will be building glaciated climbing and guiding skills. Our goal is that cohort participants leave the program with the skills and knowledge needed to confidently apply for a guiding position at Alpine Ascents International or elsewhere and be set up for a successful first season of guiding. View our detailed program info packet here.
- Community: We go farther when we go together. Join a community of climbers with similar goals and climbing aspirations.
- Training: Learn industry standard guiding practices in field training sessions led by experienced mountain guides.
- Mentorship: Access a community of accomplished mountain guides and climbers. Whether you have questions about a climbing route or are looking to get out and practice skills, we’ll link you up with mentors who can show you the ropes. Pun intended.
- Access: Access the guide management team at Alpine Ascents and Edgeworks Climbing who are available to offer career and climbing advice. Join guided climbs and courses at Alpine Ascents and Edgeworks – an unparalleled opportunity to observe guides working and managing risk in the field.
2024 Field Training Schedule
- May 31: Program Onboarding + Ancestral Lands Training
- June 1 – 2: Technical Skills, Edgeworks Bellevue
- June 22 – 25: Glacier Training 1, North Cascades
- July 20 – 23: Glacier Training 2, North Cascades
- September 21 – 23: Rock Training, Leavenworth
- September 24: Graduation Dinner & Celebration
Additional Program Inclusions
- Alpine Ascents AIARE Level 1 Course + AIARE Rescue Course
(If you have already taken the AIARE Level 1, we will cover an AIARE Level 2 instead.)
- Direct mentorship from guides at Alpine Ascents and Edgeworks Climbing.
Each cohort member will be matched with a guide mentor.
- Ability to join Alpine Ascents climbs and programs free of charge as space is available.
- Edgeworks Gym Membership (April – October)
- Uphill Athlete Training for Mountaineering Program
APPLICATIONS FOR 2024 ARE CLOSED
Please send the following to [email protected] by Monday, December 11, 2023.
- Cover letter
- Guide Development Program Application
- Having issues filling out the PDF application above? Never fear. Here’s the exact same application as a Google form.
- Professional Outdoor Employment Resume
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 Pacific Crest Trail, but we do! Here’s a sample resume.
This program is designed to be a bridge between recreational climbing and professional guiding. The following attributes will set candidates up for success.
- Two years personal climbing experience on a variety of terrain
- 2 – 3 personal glaciated climbs completed
- If you have 5 or more glaciated climbs, consider applying to guide.
- Competence in overnight backcountry camping
- Commitment to attend all field training sessions
- Strong interest in entering the guiding industry
- Desire to build your climbing resume, refine your skills, and push yourself in the mountains.
- Able to legally work in the United States
As we are unable to assist with transportation and costs associated with travel, this program may be best suited for climbers local to the Pacific Northwest. Alpine Ascents International and Edgeworks Climbing are both based in Seattle, Washington and field training sessions will be within a 3 hour drive of Seattle.
- Application period is November 1, 2023 – December 11, 2023
- Interviews for finalists will occur between December 18 – 22, 2023
- Cohort participants will be selected by January 3, 2024
The guide department will review all applications and will choose cohort members based on the following criteria:
- Identification as part of the BIPOC community or a HUG (historically underrepresented group)
- Desire to purse personal climbing goals
- Commitment to entering the field of guiding
- Outdoor / climbing resume
- Ability to attend all field trainings (mandatory)
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.
The AAI BIPOC Guide Development Program has created an everlasting impact on my life. The space and community that was created through this program allowed me to feel like I could fully show up as myself within the world of mountaineering. I have never been in a space such as this one and I am unbelievably grateful that it was created with me in mind. I was wanted and I was welcomed and I had sudden access to the information and knowledge that I didn’t even know I needed access to.
– 2023 Cohort Member
Frequently Asked Questions
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 a 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.
Check out this awesome blog post from Sof Petros (she/they) about the experience of going through the program as a member of our inaugural cohort during the summer of 2023.
Yes. The program is open to all who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).
For the multiday field trainings, you will be sleeping in the backcountry and tents will be provided.
Yes. Due to liability reasons, we cannot accept climbers younger than 20 into the program.
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.
Never fear! Here’s a Google Form version of the same application. It looks a little less stylish, but works just as well. 🙂
If you want a first rate unparalleled experience, you will go with Alpine Ascents. I am biased of course, but I have had friends go to the same mountain with different services only to find themselves going back with Alpine Ascents because it just can’t be done any better