Jeff Ward
Submitted by Jeff Ward on Mon, 11/26/2012 - 19:52
NCMG climbers enjoying a day of low ratio guiding on Mount Shuksan.

We are frequently asked why low ratio guiding is so important to us here at NCMG. There is obviously a much higher profit margin when maximizing the number of climbers to each guide. Many other companies do successfully guide larger ratios without serious safety concerns. For us, however, there are several reasons that we feel we must maintain our commitment to low ratio guiding.

Climbers are able to learn and develop skills at their own pace. We feel that in both our skills courses and private guiding, students/clients can grasp concepts, have more practice time and get more individual feedback in these small group settings. Low ratio climbing allows students to tackle more technically demanding objectives and climb in a more realistic setting. It is extremely rare to see parties larger than 3 on technical routes in the mountains,. When clients are learning in a low ratio setting we feel that exposing climbers to this realistic style of climbing will allow them to transition to the world of non guided climbing easier. Many of our clients have commented that they learned more in 2 days with a private guide than in week long courses at a higher ratio. Additionally, this type of climbing provides a better, more realistic experience for all involved, including the guide!

Next, there is an undeniable increase in safety. By definition, a guide's job is to provide a higher measure of security than would be available to his/her client unguided. That said, it is clear a guide can most effectively accomplish this with the minimum number of clients to provide care for. It also gives the guide the ability to use techniques that will allow the party to move quickly over moderate terrain while maintaining a high measure of security. Not only does this permit low ratio groups to move quickly in the face of an imminent storm, it offers them the option of climbing an additional route, if they are ahead of schedule.

Finally, climbing for us is about the experience. Everyone loves to reach a prized summit, but in the end, it's the experience that people remember. At NCMG, our clients become friends and trips are about more than just the summit. They are about camaraderie, challenge and providing the confidence and support to help you succeed and forge an experience you will never forget. So, consider this an invitation, hire a guide, make a new friend and climb a route that you have dreamed of. We can take you there..