How to be an Alpine guide

Posted on 27/02/2017

ViewRanger meets Lorenzo Iachelini, an Alpine guide based on the edge of Italy’s legendary Dolomite mountains, to discover what it takes to do one of the world’s coolest jobs.

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You have a very exciting job, Lorenzo! Why did you become a mountain guide?
The mountains, and in particular the Alps, have always been my homeland and my passion, so becoming an Alpine Guide just seemed to be the natural consequence. I'm deeply rooted in Trentino and I'm very attached to Saent, where the Refuge Dorigoni is situated (at 2436m in the Stelvio National Park).

 

What skills are needed for a career like yours?
Being an Alpine guide requires lots of skills and adaptability. During the winter-spring season the core business is skiing, mountaineering and ice-climbing; but in summer more activities are involved such as climbing and trekking.

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It sounds amazing! So do you work all year-round?
I usually work as a guide full-time during the winter-spring season (except this year due to the lack of snow). I accompany customers in ski-touring and I'm also responsible for the winter training of mountain guides – covering things like off-piste skiing, ski-touring, high mountain climbing, and studying snow cover and the dynamics of avalanches. In summer I work as mountain guide for just 3-4 days a week, because I have to manage the Dorigoni Hut in Val di Rabbi with my sister. During the summer I prefer climbing on the walls of the Dolomites, which have a good quality of rock and are well exposed to the sun.

 

"Mountains don't accept any excuses."


What is a normal working day for an Alpine guide?
My working days are different every day! Sometimes I spend time organising activities in the mountains, studying and learning new routes, and learning more about materials and techniques; while on other days I ‘work in the field’ by accompanying guests in the mountains. But physical training is always present.

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Why is an app like ViewRanger useful for mountain guides?
Thanks to my job I have the opportunity to always discover new places. That's the reason why I've always been interested in GPS software, and I’ve been using Viewranger since the first version. Although during the years a lot of things have changed, I’ve always appreciated the clarity of the software on the smartphone and the fact you can use it in offline mode. I also enjoy the possibility to access my maps and tracks on my desktop computer.

 

What is your favourite thing about the ViewRanger app?
BuddyBeacon (a feature that allows you to share your real-time position with friends) is an ingenious way to manage teams during mountain guide training courses. I have officially adopted Viewranger in the professional training of mountain guides and during all of my activities, with very positive responses.

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Which route would you recommend to people visiting the Trentino mountains for the first time?
If someone would like to visit Trentino, I would recommend a trip in the western part of the region. Trentino offers a variety of environments, from the Dolomites to the glaciers. I would suggest the tour of the glaciers of Ortles Cevedale, and the tour of the Via delle Bocchette in the Brenta Dolomites. These tours last six days each, but it's also possible to combine both in one week.

 

And finally, what advice do you give to people to help them enjoy mountains safely?
To the hikers who come to our refuge I point out just one thing – mountains don't accept any excuses, and we always have to think before acting. It means be conscious of your personal physical and technical ability, always check the weather forecast, plan all outdoor activities carefully, and most of all be conservative.

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Learn more about Lorenzo here.

Learn more about Guide Alpine Trentino

Learn more about Rifugio Dorigoni.

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