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These 6 Professional outdoor Guides will help you practice outdoor sports in the best (and safest) way possible

Outdoor sports are often perceived as risk-demanding and stressful. Most need to learn that you can enjoy the outdoors supported by highly-skilled professional guides depending on the activity you want to practice.

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A professional mountain guide is a must-have when exploring the mountains. Not only can they provide safety and security, but they can also make the experience much more enjoyable. Professional guides are knowledgeable in the terrain, trails, and weather conditions, so they can help you plan the best route and ensure you don’t get lost. 

Outdoor Guides are also experienced in setting up camp and know the best places to stay, as well as the best activities and places to explore. Here are five benefits of hiring a professional mountain guide: 

  • Experienced guidance to help you navigate the terrain
  • Increased safety and security
  • A wealth of knowledge about the region
  • Professional advice on the best activities and places to explore
  • Assistance in setting up camp and finding the best places to stay


To support Mapo Tapo's brand-new tool, Find My Guide, we wanted to give every outdoor passionate - or wanna-be -  an overview of some of the most popular certifications for Professional outdoor guides in Europe. Mapo Tapo checks and guarantees the certification of all the guides the company works with. This article aims to inform outdoor adventurers about the various guides' certifications they can find and remind them constantly to check what activities the guides can safely lead. By doing this, we hope to show an easy way to explore the natural world through sports to whoever is willing to step out of their comfort zone.


The list will be updated whenever a new certification guide joins the team.


1. Mountaineering: IFMGA Mountain Guides


IFMGA, or UIAGM, stands for "Union Internationale des Associations de Guides de Montagne," the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations. A UIAGM guide is a certified mountain guide who has met the standards set by the UIAGM and is trained to lead clients in mountaineering and climbing activities. UIAGM guides are considered highly skilled and experienced professionals in the field.

UIAGM guides are trained to guide clients in a variety of mountain-related activities, including:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Alpine Climbing
  • Ski Touring
  • Glacier Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Hiking
  • Snowshoeing
  • Canyoning (this requires an extra training module for the guide)

They are trained to lead clients in these activities safely and responsibly, taking into account the various factors that can affect the safety of the climb, such as weather conditions, snow stability, and rock quality. UIAGM guides are also trained in emergency procedures and equipped with the necessary gear and knowledge to handle any mountain situation.

UIAGM guides can operate in many countries worldwide as long as local authorities authorize them. However, the specific locations where UIAGM guides can operate depend on various factors, including the regulations of the country and the individual guide's qualifications and experience.

In general, UIAGM guides can lead clients in alpine terrain, including high mountain peaks and remote backcountry areas, as well as in climbing gyms and indoor climbing walls. They may also work in ski resorts, leading clients on backcountry ski tours or guiding them through challenging ski descents.

It's important to note that UIAGM guides may be subject to different regulations and restrictions in different countries. They should always follow the laws and regulations in their operating locations.



2. UIMLA Mountain Leaders



UIMLA is an international organization and stands for "Union of International Mountain Leader Associations." UIMLA mountain guides can guide clients in activities such as:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Snowshoeing

They are qualified to ensure the safety and well-being of their clients while also providing an interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage of the areas they visit. An International Mountain Leader (IML) is a person that has been trained and assessed against the challenging requirements of UIMLA. The IML qualification lets the holder lead groups in different mountains worldwide, where the skills and equipment of alpinism are not required. IMLs cannot provide tours on glaciers and permanent snow and where the planned use of a rope is necessary. However, IMLs can work with groups on high-altitude treks (no altitude limit) and lead groups on snowshoes (not skiing)

It's important to note that while UIMLA-certified guides may have specific local regulations and requirements, they must comply with them, such as obtaining local permits and licenses, following specific safety guidelines, and adhering to local environmental and cultural protocols. 



3. AEGM Mountain Guides

The "Asociación Española de Guías de Montaña" (AEGM) is the Spanish Association of Mountain Guides. The organization sets standards for training and certification and provides a platform for its members to network and share information and best practices. The different AEGM guide certifications are:

  • Mountain Guide (can also be certified as IFMGA Guide)
  • Aspirant Mountain Guide
  • Mountain Leader (can also be certified as UIMLA Guide)
  • Canyoning Guide
  • Rock Climbing Guide
  • Senior Rock Climbing Guide
  • Ski Tour Guide

Please have a look at this link for more information on each certification.

A mountain guide can be certified by both the Asociación Española de Guías de Montaña (AEGM) and the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA). To become an IFMGA-certified mountain guide, a guide must first be certified by a national mountain guide association member of the IFMGA, such as the AEGM.

As AEGM is a Spanish organization, its certified mountain guides are primarily authorized to lead people in Spain. However, AEGM guides holding the IFMGA or UIMLA certifications can lead clients in many countries worldwide, depending on local regulations and restrictions.



4. AMM Mountain Leaders

AMM is an Italian certification for "Accompagnatore di Media Montagna" (i.e., Mountain Leader). AMM guides are part of the professional register of the Italian alpine guides CONAGAI. Mountain leaders can guide clients in activities such as:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Snowshoeing

They are qualified to ensure the safety and well-being of their clients while also providing an interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage of the areas they visit. The AMM qualification lets the holder lead groups on hikes and treks, where the skills and equipment of alpinism are optional. AMMs cannot provide tours on glaciers and permanent snow and where the planned use of a rope is necessary. However, AMMs can work with groups on high-altitude treks (no altitude limit) and lead groups on snowshoes (not skiing)

AMM Italian guides can also be certified by UIMLA if they complete the "snow" course module (extra module with respect to the standard path) and request to be registered with UIMLA. 

The main differences between AMM and AIGAE (see the section below) guides are:

  • AMM guides are part of a professional register
  • AMM guides can lead groups on hikes and treks of any difficulty. This is because these guides are trained to manage mountain risk.
  • AIGAE guides can only lead hikes on easy terrain where no risks are present
  • AIGAE guides are specialized in environmental education and interpretation


5. AIGAE Hiking and Environmental Guides

AIGAE (Associazione Italiana Guide Ambientali Escursionistiche) is an Italian organization that certifies environmental and hiking guides. AIGAE-certified guides are trained professionals who are qualified to lead a variety of outdoor activities, including:

  • Hiking and trekking
  • Environmental education and interpretation
  • Nature observation and wildlife watching
  • Cultural heritage tours
  • Geology and botany tours
  • Eco-tourism activities

With specific extra training and courses, they can also guide clients on activities such as:

  • Biking and Mountain Biking
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Snorkeling
  • Donkey riding (see reference)

AIGAE-certified guides have the knowledge, skills, and experience to lead these activities safely and responsibly, considering environmental, cultural, and social factors. They are also trained to provide interpretation and education about the natural and cultural heritage of the areas where they guide, making them an excellent resource for those interested in learning more about the environment and culture of Italy.

AIGAE-certified guides are recognized at the European level. Although they primarily work in Italy, some may also work in other countries, but this would depend on their circumstances and qualifications. 

The main differences between AMM and AIGAE (see the section below) guides are:

  • AMM guides are part of a professional register
  • AMM guides can lead groups on hikes and treks of any difficulty and altitude. This is because these guides are trained to manage mountain risk.
  • AIGAE guides can only lead hikes on easy terrain where no risks are present
  • AIGAE guides are specialized in environmental education and interpretation



6. CSI - Mountain Bike Guides

A certified CSI mountain bike guide is a professional who leads groups of people on mountain bike tours and excursions. The guide ensures participants' safety and well-being while providing a fun and enjoyable experience. Some of the specific duties and responsibilities of a CSI mountain bike guide may include the following:

  • Planning and leading mountain bike tours and excursions, including route planning, equipment preparation, and risk assessment.
  • Providing instruction and guidance on mountain biking techniques, trail etiquette, and safety procedures.
  • Ensuring the well-being of participants, including providing first aid if necessary and responding to emergencies.
  • Providing a knowledgeable and engaging tour experience, including sharing information about the local environment, culture, and history.
  • Maintaining and repairing equipment as needed and ensuring all equipment is in good working condition.

CSI is an Italian organization, so its mountain bike guides are primarily active within Italy. However, a certified CSI mountain bike guide can lead groups in other countries, subject to the laws and regulations of those countries and any relevant agreements between the CSI and other organizations. It is best to check with the CSI directly to confirm their guidelines and regulations regarding leading tours and excursions outside Italy.



Let's sum this up: hiring a professional hiking guide can be a great way to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience. A guide can provide helpful advice on the terrain, trails, and weather conditions and assist in setting up camp and finding the best places to stay. They can also help you find the best activities and places to explore. However, the most crucial benefit of hiring a professional guide is the security they provide. In a worst-case scenario, they can help you escape the danger zone and return to safety. They can also provide valuable first-aid knowledge and assistance in an emergency. 

That's why Find my Guide was born: to offer an easy-to-use, intuitive, and effective way to find the best outdoor guides worldwide. Whether you want to plan a biking tour around Tuscany, make a 4-day hiking trip, or climb that 4000-meter peak, you need to find the best guiding partner.


Thanks for reading! The article has been produced by Mapo Tapo, which researches and verifies the certifications of the guides the company works with. Every time a guide with a new certification joins the team, this article will be updated.