There is no easy path to becoming an IPGA Polar Expedition Guide. All of our current guides are professionals and have dedicated many years to becoming world-class expeditioners, guides and mentors. We are a growing community dedicated to the profession of guiding in polar ice environments and our guides actively contribute to our database of skills and practices.
An applicant must demonstrate knowledge, experience and professionalism in polar sled-hauling expeditions and associated planning, provisioning and management. Experience must be obtained on polar ice surfaces such as icecap, ice sheet, glacier, shelf ice, sea ice, lake ice, typically adjoined by snow, and in quintessential polar regions such as greater Antarctica, Greenland, Svalbard, Nunavut and the Arctic Ocean.
While multinational experience is optimal, experience in a single region is acceptable if an applicant demonstrates that their skills are transferable to other polar regions. This requires an applicant to have outstanding sled-hauling experience across various terrains and seasons within that single region.
Experience in sub-polar, severe cold or ice-field areas is assessable provided it is secondary to classic polar regions. Such areas include, but are not restricted to:
IPGA guides possess a range of outstanding qualities and are able to perform a host of skills in a professional manner, including:
Broadly, an applicant is expected to contribute to the collective knowledge and reputation of IPGA.
An application is expected to be completed with all relevant experience and certifications. The endorsement criteria within the application constitute a minimum requirement and applicants who do not exceed this minimum, or appear to overly identify with areas of guiding outside the typical IPGA Polar Expedition Guide characterisation, may be asked to submit further material including an appraisal (with supporting images) of why they consider their skills and experience to be outstanding and in the interests of IPGA.
Some guides also have specialist skills such as sea ice expeditions, mountaineering, polar snowkiting and dogsledding, as indicated on their profile.
We welcome your interest in becoming a member and look forward to your contribution to the world of polar guiding.