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A perilous vocation: high mountain guide

A perilous vocation: high mountain guide

Each guide worked independently and without their being any imposed professional framework. A meeting of the Chamonix municipal council in 1821 was to remedy this situation and from that time onwards each guide worthy of the title had to obtain a certificate and a medal. Each guide would also pay a yearly subscription to finance an emergency fund to help out colleagues in difficulty. From this time onwards, the Chamonix Guides’ Company has gone on to forge an impressive reputation. Each year, on the 15th of August, the mountain guides’ celebration brings many friends and enthusiasts together in Chamonix to participate in a mass for lost companions and in festivities such as mountaineering demonstrations.

The mountain guides’ company in 2015

Nowadays the Mountain Guides’ Company counts 130 local members from the Chamonix area and 1500 guides from across France. With these professional adventurers an endless variety of mountain escapades is possible :

  • Middle-mountain and high mountain hiking
  • Rock climbing
  • Mountaineering

To find out more about this fascinating profession, Lional Terray’s book about his career as a mountaineering guide« the Futile Conquerors » (Les Conquérants de l’inutile) is well worth a read.