Do climbing guides get tips?

9:47 a.m. on September 22, 2011 (EDT)
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You tip a hunting ang fishing guide, how about a climbing guide?

 

4:30 p.m. on September 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I would say all guides get tips.  The acronym "TIPS" Comes from "To Insure Prompt Service", or so I've heard.  In the old day's one would go somewhere and tip before service to insure you got great service.  In any event I know that when I go anywhere, except resturanunts, I tip ahead of time.  I always do this when inland, or deep sea fishing when I have a guide or buy a guided tour/trip.  I have found that a tip before the trip increases my guides "fish sight" by at least 50%.  I always have a much better time and catch more fish when I learnd to due this.  They treat me extra special if I'm in a group as well.  This is especially helpful in third world countries where your small tip my eclipes their actual pay.   It's nice to be the guides buddy up front than be behind and not know what's going on and why?   On trip with a friendly guide who helps me and takes me under his/her wing is worth years of figuring out stuff myself, a very small price to pay since your going to tip at the end of the trip anyway.  A tip up front will grease the the gears that make the fun clock keep proper time.

7:43 p.m. on September 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I read on another guide page that 10% is fair.  I might do 15% though:

As it turns out they are actually paid quite poorly, even in the US; ~$120/day or $15/hour; less than a substitute teacher!  Is that fair for someone with such great responsibilities? Still though, if it cost $10K for a trip I wouldn't hire a guide at all.  Supply and demand I guess. 

All the fun jobs pay crappy darn it!

 

12:08 a.m. on September 23, 2011 (EDT)
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The few times I hired a guide we tipped half in advance, at the time of our booking, and mentioned the post trip tip is earned.  My (our group) tips were very generous, as we were going to obscure venues with distinct peril, and realized the guide had also done considerable logistic preparation in advance.  Had only one unsatisfactory experience; there was no post trip tip in that case. 

Ed

10:29 a.m. on September 23, 2011 (EDT)
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I like the idea of half in advance.

10:39 a.m. on October 8, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

 Had only one unsatisfactory experience; there was no post trip tip in that case. 

Ed

 

What happened?   "Client" fatality or preventable injury?   Got lost?  

~ r2 ~

11:10 a.m. on October 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

What happened?   "Client" fatality or preventable injury?   Got lost?  

~ r2 ~

 Lacked basic social skills, and was indiffernt about his job.

Ed

10:35 a.m. on October 24, 2011 (EDT)
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In the information from the trekking company I am using for my Evererst Base Camp trek we are told to budget 150 to 175 to tip....well their Nepalese staff at the end.....then 125-200 for our US guide. While this is helpful information, it is a bit off-putting that the company I just shelled out $3,750.00 to is telling me to have this additional amount for their people.

12:56 p.m. on October 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Guides usually make very little money, considering the demands of the work.  The tour company is telling you about prevailing etiquete, and not mandating you to do anything.  You are free to flout social conventions - we have patrons at our restarant who "dont believe in tipping."  I am just saying...

Ed

2:00 p.m. on October 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Oh Ed, I know. The company is trying to be helpful so that we will know what is the usual practice. BTW...I am typically a generous tipper. Good service deserves good compensation. If I come back alive from this adventure, these guides and staff will be happy with me. In the end, it is just money and none of us leaves the planet with it.

2:18 p.m. on October 24, 2011 (EDT)
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giftogab said:

In the information from the trekking company I am using for my Evererst Base Camp trek we are told to budget 150 to 175 to tip....well their Nepalese staff at the end.....then 125-200 for our US guide. While this is helpful information, it is a bit off-putting that the company I just shelled out $3,750.00 to is telling me to have this additional amount for their people.

 Karen,

The whole question of tipping, whether guides, waitpersons, or whoever, is a big can of worms. In part it comes down to "custom", in part it comes down to whether the "tipee" has done an extra, special service, and other considerations. I only use guide services for special situations such as local laws (in many 3rd world countries, you are required to hire local guides - Tanzania, for example) or logistics (climbing in Antarctica requires working through a logistics company for the plane flight). But I have also talked to people who regularly use guide services, and I have done some guiding myself. As Ed whome pointed out, in some cases, the guides and porters or waitpersons and hotel staff are paid a certain minimum wage (sometimes 0) in expectation that they will receive tips ("tip" is also short for "tippling money", with the recommendation that the tip should equal the price of a beer). One guide service I used had a strict policy against tipping the guides. Another had a suggested amount, noting that the guide's wage was based on basic service (described in some detail), with the recommendation that anything beyond that be supplemented according to a listed schedule. In some cases, you might not see the porters who carry your gear (common for large groups, where you have no personal contact with the porter who carried your tent, sleeping bag, and food). In those cases, there is generally a pool tip that is divided up by the lead guide or sirdar. In some 3rd world countries, the porters get only their food, shelter (shared tent), and maybe adequate boots and clothing. Anything more comes from the client tips.

In 3rd world countries, your trip fee also covers the bureaucratic expenses of the foreign guiding company (a reason that if I have to use a guide service, I use only local companies, especially when local laws require the local guides and porters - why pay for the foreign company when they have to in turn hire the same local guide service you could hire on your own or through a broker at much lower cost?)

You can talk directly to the guide service to find out exactly what your fee covers and what the going rate is for the local guides, porters, and cooks. You can ask how the pooled tip is divided (it is not unusual for the head guide to pocket most of the tip money in some countries). You might not get an answer or, according to friends who have probed for an answer, you might get "That's our business to decide which local guides and porters get how much, not yours." In Tanzania, I used a guide and porters with whom I had personal contact through most of the expedition. So I used envelopes to vary the individual tips according to the level of service each had provided - the guide got more, the cook a little less, and the porters about even except for one who did some extra service. You may not get that choice in a large group.

One other reason for the pooled tips of "suggested" amounts in 3rd world countries like Nepal - most Americans and Europeans are used to tipping based on the American and European cost of living. In most 3rd world countries, the cost of living is orders of magnitude less. So your American or European guide, who is dealing with a group of 5 or 6 clients will usually get $10-20/day/person, an amount that is a month's expenses for one of the locals. The amount given to each porter is closer to a higher than average local income, maybe $1-2 per day total (they usually get some cash payment plus the food, shelter, and gear as base pay). Unfortunately, far too many of the porters will gamble or drink the whole tip overnight the day they get their payment.

2:45 p.m. on October 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks Bill. I guess I sounded more unwilling than I intended. Kind of ...ironic? Amusing? I certainly don't begrudge the workers their earnings. I am happy to be doing this trip at all and am happy to bust loose with the moolah for it.

August 21, 2014
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