Mountain Guides in Chamonix are almost as famous as the legendary mountains themselves. As the undisputed home of mountaineering and steep skiing worldwide, every year thousands of adventure-lovers make their way to Chamonix to fulfill a variety of outdoor dreams such as climbing Mont Blanc, skiing the Vallee Blanche, ski touring the Haute Route, and rock climbing in the Aiguilles Rouges. More often that not, they are able to achieve these life goals thanks to the services of a professional mountain guide who helps them manage the associated risks, guides them to the summit, and delivers them safely to the bar in the evening!
To find out more about the high altitude heroes of Chamonix, we decided to have a chat with Fred Brehe - an Chamonix based IFMGA Mountain Guide who works for local outdoor specialists Evolution 2.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for Evo 2…
I was born in Brittany, near Remes and went to study Geology in 1995 in Grenoble situated in the Southern Alps. This is when I developed a love for the mountains and decided to pursue a career where I could spend time in them as much as possible. I am now the Guide Manager of all the High Mountain Guides for Evolution 2 aswell as being a guide myself.
How long have you been a mountain guide and how long have you been working with Evo 2?
I have been a guide for 11 years and I have been working with Evolution 2 for 10 of those.
What makes Chamonix so special a place to be for someone in your profession?
There is a possibility to guide all year round in Chamonix and the mountains are magical here. They offer so many opportunites for a vast array of outdoor activities and for a guide it’s simply a playground! In just 30 minutes you can be up in the high mountains, climbing a huge route and then within half an hour, you're back down in the village for an afternoon beer - you can't do that anywhere else!
What are the best bits about your job?
I am doing a job that is also my passion and that is a fantastic gift. My favourite activities are skiing and rock climbing and I get to do them both, a lot! My job is great as I get to meet so many people from all over the world and share my passion with them.
And the worst bits?
I cant think of any!
You operate in a dangerous environment on a daily basis – is this very difficult for your family?
Yes – not so much for my wife anymore as she is used to it but my eldest daughter definitely gets stressed. My children will worry about me but as I have responsibility to both my family and the clients, I never take unnecessary risks.
You spend most of your professional time in the mountains – how do you like to spend your time when you are not at work?
I love to go to the mountains when I am not working – for a guide it is our passion. I love to go to other countries and visit other mountains in the world and not necessarily just the highest mountains.
What is your favourite trip to take that Evo 2 offer?
I love it when people give me the opportunity to take them to a place that is not too ‘classic’! Chamonix offers so many popular routes such as the Vallee Blanche and Argentiere glacier which are both amazing experiences but Chamonix has so much more to offer than just these well trodden routes. When a guest is of a good level in the mountains and gives me the opportunity to take them anywhere, I can get them to experience amazing routes and see things they would never normally see. That is the beauty of hiring a mountain guide. There’s a world of amazing opportunity out there and we can show you!
Do you get to travel to the high mountains in other parts of the world?
With my clients, I normally stay in Europe most of the time but in my free time I have travelled to the mountains in Peru, Argentina and Chile. I do this much less now that I have a family..
What are you personal and professional goals for the future?
To try to develop the guide activities within Evolution2 and expand the team. We offer so much as guides including rock climbing, glacier hikes, canyoning etc.....
Oh and a trip to South America would be amazing - with my wife of course!!
Thanks to Fred and Evolution 2 for taking the time to answer our questions.
If you'd like to get in touch with Fred or any of the other guides at Evolution 2, you can contact them here.