When hiring mountain guide in Kyrgyzstan one should be very careful not to be guided by an unqualified person. Nowadays everyone in Kyrgyzstan can call himself a guide and offer guiding service. There are no law regulations to control work of a mountain guide. How to find information about mountain guides? First of all, the main source is the Kyrgyz Mountain Guides Association (KMGA). This organization also trains and certifies mountain guides. The list of certified mountain guides with contacts is attached. Also this information can be found on the Association web site mentioned in attachment as well. The Association trains mountain guides in accordance with UIAGM-IFMGA standard though it’s not the member yet (KMGA has been a probationary member of UIAGM-IFMGA since 2010) and also Association developed its own standards. Only trainers who hold UIAGM-IFMGA carnet are training guides according to the proper standard. And the local guides who took UIAGM-IFMGA standard training are qualified to train in accordance with Association standard. The latter standard is a bit lower than UIAGM-IFMGA but it’s the most qualified training available in Kyrgyzstan. If the guide you are planning to work with does not hold KMGA certificate it is worth to request for the references from other clients or from KMGA first.
Liaison officers, expedition and base camp managers.
It’s better to prepare expedition with the specialized tour operators as they have necessary experience, take responsibility and value their good name. Usually expedition manager is very important stuff member for solving different organizational issues during expedition. As a rule the issues include supplying, cooperation with authorities and military (at the border posts), providing communication, guarding campsite and stuff management. Often a manager position is combined with other stuff – mountain guide, driver, porter or cook. If there is a local mountain guide in expedition then frequently he performs the duties of the manager. However if there is no guide then the most experienced stuff member can manage the expedition.
Not every good chef can cook in field / mountain conditions. Special experience is required. It’s more reliable to hire cook for expedition through the specialized tour operator.
Porters can be hired only in Bishkek or Karakol. Also during the season number of porters is based in the area of Lenin peak. If you are going to any region other than Lenin peak you have to transport porters from Bishkek or Karakol. You can hire porters only through specialized tour operators or through the Karakol Association of porters. In addition, hiring directly at Lenin peak base camp can be more expensive than doing such through the agency. The same is with horses for transporting loads from BC to ABC and return. As learned from previous experience it’s frequently more reliable and cheaper to hire porters and horses through the agency.