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Guide Employment

Guide Employment

Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) is one of the oldest and most active guide services in the United States, operating within Mt. Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, Denali National Park and Preserve, and on all seven continents.

RMI is extremely proud of the accomplishments of both our present and our past guides. Our guides have made significant impacts toward advancing the sport of mountaineering.

Professional mountain guiding is an exciting and rewarding job. The people we meet, the climbers we work with, the mountains we work in, and the challenges of the environment all contribute in making guiding an exceptional profession.

Guiding requires a passion for our clients, for the mountains, and for sharing our mountaineering knowledge and skills in a safe and professional manner.

As a guide for RMI, you must be exceptionally patient, possess solid mountaineering skills, and be in top physical condition. We have been an Equal Opportunity Employer since 1969. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment.

Guiding For RMI: Notes From Some Of Our Top Guides

  • RMI Guide Casey Grom
  • Casey: "After a long awaited dream come true, I started my guiding career in the spring of 2000. I only knew then a fraction of the benefits that I would eventually gain. The last decade has been incredible, from working under the leadership of some of the best guides in the country, to getting to travel the world as a professional mountain guide for the most famous guide service in America. I started with guiding different routes on Mt. Rainier, and after a short period of hard work, read more...

  • RMI Guide Lindsay Mann
  • Lindsay: "I started guiding for RMI in 2009. I've now spent four full seasons guiding for RMI and working hard to learn from the other guides. Through this mentorship I have had the opportunity explore mountains around in the world, including in Alaska guiding on Mt. McKinley and in South America on Aconcagua. Through the mentoring and commitment to professional development and advancement opportunities, RMI has helped me achieve my goal of becoming a year round mountaineering and ski guide. Read more...

  • RMI Guide Seth Waterfall
  • Seth: "Working at RMI for the last eight years has given me opportunities that at one time I didn't think possible. After starting on Rainier, RMI has given me the opportunity to guide in Alaska, Mexico and Africa. In spring 2009 I headed to the Himalaya, which had been a goal of mine for a long time. I managed to stand on the summit of Mt. Everest! If you're willing to work hard and give it your all, RMI can help you achieve your personal and professional goals."

  • RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall
  • Solveig: "I came to RMI with 6 years of previous experience guiding throughout the Cascades, Alaska, and the Central and South Americas. After working for a number of other organizations, I am consistently impressed with RMI’s organization, commitment to, and support of their guiding staff. We have a number of strong female guides on our roster, and being a part of a company and community that respects and promotes the growth of women in this industry has been instrumental to my success. Read more...

  • RMI Guide Pepper Dee
  • Pepper: "I started working at RMI in 2014, after a year behind the counter at the rental shop. Since my first day on the job, I've been very appreciative of the tremendous effort put in to developing guides at RMI. There is a strong sense of mentorship within the company; that is, if you come in with a willingness to work hard and commit yourself to learning the finer points of the craft from some of the most accomplished guides in the world, you will succeed." Read more...

  • RMI Guide Christina Von Mertens
  • Christina: "I started guiding with RMI in 2014 after working for numerous other types of guiding companies on rivers and abroad. With a knowledge of how other companies run, I can say hands-down RMI is the most professional and progressive company I have worked with. The guides and managers here set the industry standard for what high altitude and glacier guiding should be. I am constantly learning and advancing my guiding career by working with numerous senior guides and having the opportunity to travel through RMI. This keeps me fresh and excited about the next climb. Read more...

Current Opportunities

We will begin accepting applications for the 2016 summer season in October 2015.
RMI does not offer college internships or unpaid apprenticeships.

Guide hiring application process is as follows:

All applicants are required to submit the following information electronically at the time of application. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

  1. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Demonstrate employment eligibility documentation (i.e., submit any of the following 3 options: (1) Social Security card and Driver's License, or (2) Passport, or (3) current work visas).
  3. Complete the Employment Application.
  4. Complete the Outdoor/Climbing Resume.
  5. Submit a Work Availability Calendar (Excel, pdf) indicating your availability for the summer guiding season.
  6. Submit current Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and Leave No Trace (LNT) certificates or documentation of your intent to complete (e.g., receipts, course syllabus, advertised dates, etc). Certificates above and beyond these minimums will carry additional weight in the hiring process. Examples of additional certifications include: Avalanche Levels I, II or III, and various American Mountain Guide Association certificates.
  7. Submit application to Guide Supervisor, Paul Maier at paul@rmiguides.com.

Once we receive these items, we will review your qualifications and certifications, and notify you if we would like you to attend a one-day group interview (2016 dates filled on first-come, first-served basis: March 5, 6, 11, or 12).

Experienced guide applicants:

  • Experienced guide applicants are IFMGA and AMGA Certified Alpine Guides or guides who have more than 5 years of alpine / mountaineering guiding experience. In addition to the requirements mentioned for entry level applicants, experienced guide applicants must present a strong climbing or guiding resume, and must have a U.S. Level II (or equivalent) Avalanche certificate.
  • Are required to participate in a personal interview (dates determined on an individual basis).

New hire expectations:

  • All newly hired guides, whether entry-level or experienced, are required to participate in mandatory pre-employment training which will include a thorough orientation to our company and to our teaching / guiding techniques.
  • Once this training session is completed, the applicant is in position to begin employment. The exact starting dates will depend on our staffing needs.
  • Starting pay ranges from $125 (entry level) / $175 (experienced guide) / $200 (AMGA Alpine certified) to $250 (IFMGA certified) per day, depending on experience and certifications. In addition to wages, there is an employee housing option available. Most meals while working overnight programs on the mountain are also provided. Advancement opportunities, with subsequent pay raises, are available as responsibilities and performance increase.
  • It is expected that entry level guides commit to a full season (May/June through September) of employment.


The following information represents part of our expectation for entry level guide applicants. We are looking for confidence and competence on the following mountaineering topics:

Avalanche Forecasting
Mountain Weather
Ice Axe Arrest
Crampon Use
Wilderness Medicine
Leave No Trace Ethics
Client Care
Snow and Ice Anchors
Cold Weather Injuries
Outdoor Equipment
Rest Stepping
Pressure Breathing
Crevasse Rescue
High Altitude Illness
Glacier Travel
Navigation/Route Finding
Fixed Line Use
Setting a Pace
Transceiver Searches
Step Kicking

Getting safely up and down mountains is just the beginning of the story at Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI). Founded by legendary Northwest mountaineers and staffed by the most experienced and talented guides in America, RMI has built a four-decade long legacy of safe, successful, and enjoyable mountaineering adventures.

Experience matters in the mountains, and that is exactly what we have gained over the last 40+ years. There is no substitute for the years of expedition guiding around the world, 300 Denali Expeditions, over 80,000 climbers on Mt. Rainier and some of America's first ventures into the far reaches of the Himalaya.

Thank you. We very much look forward to hearing from you.


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