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Aspen Alpine Guides is a professional guide service that has provided quality mountain guiding adventures year-round in Aspen Colorado since 1987. AAG is an equal opportunity service provider and employer and operates under a special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest.
Our adventures include guided summer and winter trips including hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, snow-shoeing, cross country ski instruction and tours, backcountry skiing, out of bounds lift assisted skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, hut trips on the 10th Mountain Hut System, and High Altitude Training for runners and Cyclists. We specialize in creating custom backcountry adventures for individuals and groups of all abilities and sizes.
The Guide and Knowing Who You Are With: There are several important factors that can contribute to how a trip is put together. Aspen Alpine Guides is a partner based guiding firm where the three partners work directly with guests on the initial trip planning, and continue through the completion of the trip itself. We often have several trips, hikes or half day climbs out at once and we will assign one of our many qualified guides to those trips.
Our priority remains with our guest and their positive experience. In order to maintain this, we match our clients needs directly with a guide that is not only qualified in the necessary field, but also whom we believe is a good match for the guest. Aside from safety and qualifications, a good Guest to Guide relationship is a critical criteria for AAG when trying to attain the best possible alpine experience. It is imperative that our guests feel comfortable and confident with our assessment and understanding of their goals and ambitions.
Client Safety and Risk Management: One of the most important questions to ask your guide and the guiding service is their safety record. Ask them their injury rate, accident history, and what procedures they have in place should an emergent situation arise. A reputable guide service should be able to answer those questions without hesitation and have the ability to show a good risk management plan. If those questions are answered in a vague manner, do you still want to consider that trip, or would it make sense to find another option?
Recently this question was posed to famed ski mountaineer and guide Lou Dawson.
Question: "What is the single most important factor in hiring a guide?"
Answer: "They need to have a good safety record along with a solid risk management plan for any emergencies."
In any outdoor program there are risks, and it is impossible for a guide service to promise absolute safety. Aspen Alpine Guides minimizes inherent risk through continuous training and knowledge of new systems and procedures, experience and , evaluating possible contingency plans, as well as safety and medical protocols. Again, our priority remains with our guest and their positive experience, and we have and will continue to establish protocols that address concerns in the wilderness environment.
All AAG guides are required to have a minimum of a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) 80 hour medical certification, and many guides are Nationally and State Registered Emergency Medical Responders (EMT).
Permits and Wilderness Responsibility: If you are considering hiring a guide for Everest or just a half-day snowshoe tour of the Hunter Creek valley in Aspen, please confirm that your Guide Service is in good standing and within their permit area from the US Forest Service. Aspen Alpine Guides has a ten year priority permit with the USFS and is in good standing. A portion of our guiding fees go directly to the USFS and those fees ultimately assist in the preservation of public land.
On December 8, 2008, Paragon Guides posted an important point on their web blog and AAG would like to support their effort. The following is included courtesy of Karen at Paragon Guides:
"Over-use and abuse of National Forest Service areas have taken their toll on many trails and backcountry routes. The USFS strives to protect these areas and manage their use in such a way that still leaves these public lands of ours beautiful and accessible for all of us…Making sure that your Guide Service holds a USFS permit ensures that the company that you have booked your backcountry adventure with has environmentally responsible policies and oversight in their travels, safety and procedures."
At Aspen Alpine Guides we will continue our ongoing efforts to provide the best possible guest experience in all of our activities. We hope that our guests appreciate our guiding and training services and year-round educational programs. Please let us know how we can continue to provide services that work for you.