Being a mountain guide is not only a job, it is a life task. Those who choose to do so will accompany tourists safely to the highest regions of the Alps and ensure their safety. But in addition to a passion for the mountains, you need discipline, perseverance and diligence. Even the three-year training is tough and challenging. Because the trainees not only have to be fit in mountaineering, they also have to mentally adapt to different mountain tourists. The climate changes in the Alps also require a high degree of flexibility in order to adapt to the new conditions.
You can read the whole interview here:
Scarpa Stories: What's the most exciting thing you've read or seen this week?
Finn: Definitely the first winter ascent of K2. In terms of mountaineering - extreme performance. From a socio-political perspective, to me the Corona problem is really interesting. Not only because it restricts a mountain guide in his professional practice, but also because the job of a politician as a crisis manager has parallels to the job of a mountain guide. Taking responsibility for others and steering events in the supposedly right direction are the key words here.
Scarpa Stories: When and how did you start mountain sports?
Finn: When I was 15 years old, I had to give up my “career” as a ski racer due to an injury. To compensate, I went climbing every day. At first a friend took me with them very often, later I received a lot of support from the DAV expedition team.
Scarpa Stories: What drives you to want to work as a mountain guide?
Finn: One main reasons I chose this job was of course to turn my passion into a job. To give his guests, who are becoming more and more friends, an unforgettable and above all, safe mountain experience. I used to have to climb some dangerous route every weekend to get a certain feeling. The challenge has changed. Today I try to get the best out of myself and my guests. That can also give confirmation.
Scarpa Stories: What are the basic requirements for the training and how long does it take?
Finn: The basic requirement for admission to the mountain guide training is a very high level of personal ability in all types of alpinism. Climbing, skiing, mountaineering... In addition to personal skills, the work with people is a very important factor. Accepting the problems and challenges of your guests and reacting to them appropriately is at least as important as making the right choice on tour.
Scarpa Stories: In four key words - how did you feel about the time during your apprenticeship?
Finn: Challenging, exhausting, formative, amicable.
Scarpa Stories: As a mountain guide, you are also once a “risk manager” for your customers. How do you try to minimize the alpine dangers?
Finn: That is of course THE main part of the mountain guide training. This ranges from avalanche assessment and material science to the psychological factors of how best to resolve pressure situations. Our guests pay a lot of money and then logically want to go to the summit. But sometimes it just doesn't work, even the best mountain guide has to accept that in the situation. These situations involve risks. In order not to let my emotions guide me, I often imagine the "drone perspective". I wonder how a drone from above would assess the current situation. That helps me to make an objective and hopefully correct decision.
Scarpa Stories: How does your “daily outdoor life” look like?
Finn: It is very different. Without coffee in the morning I cannot go out of the house or hut. And then it is completely different depending on the season and mood. Ski tours are currently very popular. ;-)
Scarpa Stories: What is your favorite discipline?
Finn: I think classic mountaineering in early summer is really cool. Start at the hut in the dark and then climb into the sunrise. It is wonderful to start the day in the mountains at 4000 meters. Then go on a ski tour in winter. Run up quickly and cool down in the deep snow. Gentle on the joints and great fun.
Scarpa Stories: What's your next project?
Finn: Actually my goal this year was to run the high alpine ski touring race “Mezzalma” in the Aosta Valley. However, this was canceled a few days ago due to Corona. To be honest, I don't know yet.
Scarpa Stories: Top 3 for mountain tours for the summer?
Finn: From easy to difficult - hiking/ via ferrata in the lonely Pala group, Dolomites (mostly easy). In the Allgäu on the southern Fuchskarspitze (2280m) hike/ scramble (moderately difficult). Mountaineering on the south side of Mont Blanc (very difficult).
Scarpa Stories: Thank you, Finn. And good luck with your training!