The Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI) seeks Lead Guides for the 2023 Summer season. Lead Guides are skilled, experienced and enthusiastic leaders who guide groups of diverse international participants and support staff on safe, exciting and informative hikes and non-technical climbs on Mount St. Helens. A Lead Guide may be supported by an Assistant Guide and/or certified Volunteer Mountain Stewards and scientists, depending on the program. This guide team will actively collaborate to highlight the natural and historical wonders of the American Pacific Northwest, the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument throughout each adventure.

We seek qualified mountaineers with demonstrated personal experience who can safely lead 6 to 10 mile guided adventures around an active volcano and a vibrant National Forest in all weather conditions at elevations ranging from 2,600ft (792m) to 8,365ft (2,550m). Lead Guides will be trained in MSHI policies, scientific and historical interpretation, route navigation, emergency response, risk management, radio communication, equity, diversity and inclusion. Through the team’s training and technical expertise, MSHI compassionately encourages participants to gain confidence in the outdoors while also providing natural history and scientific interpretation of the landscape. Routes and programs include: Mount St. Helens Rim (summit), Glacier Overlook Hike, Into the Crater Hike and various other outdoor seminars and hikes throughout the Monument. Guides can expect remote and in-person training in June and programs that run from June through Sept. Guides can expect to work Saturday and/or Sunday (with some Fridays and other weekdays) throughout the Summer with additional work possible as private trips are requested. The Lead Guide will work under the supervision of the Outdoor Programs Manager, and will work collaboratively with other MSHI guide staff and volunteers throughout the season. See guided adventure descriptions at https://www.mshinstitute.org/explore/guided-adventures/.

>Provide strong outdoor leadership for the guide team including Assistant Guides and Volunteers.
>Actively build team dynamics and encourage healthy and safe decisions among guide team and participants during climbs/hikes
>Respond to emergency situations, major or minor injury, and concerns in a thoughtful and safe manner
>Provide quality and compassionate participant care on each trip
>Follow and enforce MSHI’s risk management, health and safety protocols
>Mentor Assistant Guides as they develop their guiding skills
>Coordinate and support Assistant Guides and volunteer guides (Mountain Stewards) during trips
>Deliver educational lessons on basic mountaineering and hiking, natural and human history
>Prepare required paperwork and supplies before each adventure
>Complete required reporting and record keeping following each adventure.

Tagged as: Backcountry Skills, Climbing Skills, Instruction and Guiding, Mountaineering Skills


Demonstrated lead experience in mountain climbing and backpacking, to include proficiency in the use of traction devices, ice axes and trekking poles.
1+ year safely leading participants in variable conditions
Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR (must be current through September 2023)
Demonstrated experience providing medical care during an emergency
Ability to manage, work with, and help develop assistants and volunteers
Excellent group management, communication

Required Skills:

Guides must be in excellent physical condition and be able to lead groups up the steep, rugged terrain of Mount St. Helens (elevation 8,365ft, or 2,550m, over 10 miles round trip) in all weather conditions while carrying a 30lb to 40lb (14kg to 18kg) backpack. Adventures typically range 6 - 12 hours or more in duration. Regular driving for up to 4 hours is common between the guide's origin, MSHI headquarters (in Amboy, WA) and the trailhead.

Preferred Skills:

Lead Guide must be comfortable outdoors, in nature, for extended periods of time in various weather conditions; and willing to camp (sleep) at MSHI’s remote and rustic field camp on the south and east side of Mount St. Helens when scheduled for multi-day assignments. Non-flush toilet facilities and handwashing stations are available. Shower facilities are not available. Cell phone service is very limited. MSHI shall provide radio communications.

About Mount St Helens Institute

The Mount St. Helens Institute is a 501(c) (3) private, nonprofit organization established in 1996 and devoted to advancing the understanding and stewardship of the Earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes.

Application Instructions

Email the following items to [email protected] before April 1, 2023, 11:59PM Pacific. Subject Line: “Last Name, First Name - Lead Guide” If you would like to apply for multiple positions: “Last Name, First Name – Multiple” and indicate the positions of interest in your cover letter. Cover Letter (name the file as follows “Last Name, First Name - Cover Letter”) Resume (name the file as follows “Last Name, First Name – Resume”)