RMI Braces for Guide Layoffs With New Rainier Quotas and Competing Guide Services in 2006

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports RMI is bracing for guide layoffs as the National Park Service plans to divide guided services among three mountaineering companies in 2006 and climber quota go into effect.

The Park Service plan had been delayed after the park received 1,900 comments. Peter Whittaker who owns RMI which has guided 65,000 up Rainier since 1968 said the decision shows the public wants a choice in guides. Whittaker said he was certain they would have to lay off some of its 70 guides.

Eric Simonson, a former guide for RMI and owner of International Mountain Guides, notes different guides will different philosophies, styles of operation, programs and prices.

The 6,000 climber quota has not been matched in the past. In 2001, more than 4,590 guides and clients attempted the summit. That number fell to 3,714 last year.

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