Picos runs selected alpine trips and courses throughout the Alps. Our portfolio covers the entire range of winter and summer alpine activities as well as alpine skills courses.
Picos is derived from a rugged and beautiful mountain range in Cantabria, Spain. The guide agency was founded back in 1995 and has been dedicated to delivering exceptional and genuine mountain adventures ever since. Today Picos is operated by IFMGA certified guides Alois, Arne and Florian, who are at the same time lead-guides, trip coordinators, marketing experts and webmasters. Everything in our company is hand-crafted.
Naturally, we have a great many years of guiding experience in between us. We have climbed and skied extensively and at a high level in the alps and beyond. That's the prerequisite for becoming a guide.
Blending into our work our backgrounds in geo- and Earth sciences, professional rope access training, work-safety and the outdoor industry enables us a slightly wider and more differentiated view on certain aspects of our work.
We are happy to be a small and free thinking, laid-back, slightly nonconformist company. Because this provides us with the freedom and opportunity to practice our guiding profession according to our ideals: with a direct and close relationship with our guest. With a lot of scope beyond the pure selling of trips and for aspects of mountain life that are important to us. Unbureaucratic and flexible. Designing trips that we are convinced of.
Being a guide is one of the most rewarding professions on earth. But if you have to do things in the mountains that you don't enjoy doing, you will lose your credibility and motivation.
We are convinced that our clients feel and appreciate our commitment!
Florian: Flo has always been going to the mountains. Lately, also with a mountain unicycle, which brings a grin to some people's faces. After a brief foray into science, aptly enough as a glaciologist at the Norwegian Polar Institute, he now fully lives from climbing. Preferably with trad- and mixed climbing and well away from any bolts. Some say he has a certain affinity for technical things and will not rest until even the last member of his group mastered even the most complicated pulley systems. It's somewhat fitting, that he can also concern himself with the subject outside the alpine realm, as an instructor for commercial fall protection and rope access.
Alois: Was the one who founded Picos 20 years ago. As a freerider of the first hour, he knows virtually all the best powder spots in the alps. On ever widening planks, he developed a phenomenal nose for the white matter during the last 25 years. He is our master to discover cozy and culinary appealing accommodation for Picos trips. As a trained chef he is, one could say, an insider and knows what he's talking about.
Arne: has travelled the United States and many different destinations worldwide in the search for perfect splitters, pocketed limestone and steep snow and ice routes. Fascinated by mountain environments not only from a climber's but also from a scientific perspective, he earned a graduate degree in geosciences. After a couple of years working in the field as a researcher, he decided to turn his true passion into his profession and earned his IFMGA credentials. Guiding, for him, is one of the most satisfying and rewarding professions he can think of. He is always keen to share his extensive knowledge on snow and avalanche formation and to find an untracked slope on his ski trips. In summer, he likes to take his clients to remote mountains and bivies.
As members of the German Guides Association we are licensed IFMGA Mountain- and Skiguides. The IFMGA credentials constitute the highest and only level of alpine training authorizing a mountain professional to lead groups in alpine high mountain environments.
Even more important to us than titles and badges is the fact, that we have been dealing with and contemplating about activities in hazardous environments for years. Risk competence evolves through experience, scrutinizing and skeptical analysis, and the implicit knowledge (commonly referred to as intuition) acquired in the process. In addition, it involves the knowledge and safe application of modern strategies and instruments for dealing with risk and uncertainty. As guides, we know how to professionally apply these techniques and incooperate them in our daily work.
Even with the greatest care on our side there is no absolute safety in the mountains. But our mission is to keep you as safe as possible through deliberate, rational, restrained and well communicated decision-making.
This is the foundation for guiding with a clear conscience and by the way you can also have a lot of fun with us in the mountains!
As mountain professionals we use our equipment intensively. We have to rely on it and quickly notice if gear is not well-thought-out, durable or doesn't work. We cooperate with a bunch of leading gear manufactures in the outdoor business. We test their products, give feedbacks and (we don't want to deny this) represent their brands. Today there are many established manufactures making good quality gear. We are, however, glad to work with companies who make products that we are convinced of and that we can recommend with a clear conscience. Some of these cooperations have existed for over 15 years.
Experiencing nature is a major part of Alpinism. Let's face it, as alpinists we are significantly contributing to the global consumption of resources and Climate Change by travelling and buying tons of gear. The consequences of a warming climate are becoming increasingly evident in the Alps. Rockfall, opening bergschrunds and crevasses, retreating glaciers and t-shirt weather on Mont Blanc have become familiar situations. In order to preserve the alpine ecosystem in its present state, we have to question some of our habits and take some effort. That's the inconvenient truth!
Greenwashing is trendy and part of modern marketing and image cultivation. This is not want we want. We take our environmental responsibility serious and try to make our actions a little less harmful within the bounds of our possibilities. This means, bitter as it is, making sacrifices.
We encourage our clients to travel by train. Given a sufficient group size we contribute up to 50% of the train ticket. If possible, we try to give you a lift, pick you up from the station and lighten your luggage by providing free rental equipment.
We do not offer heliskiing. Of course this is fun (also for us the guides) and sells well. But we believe that the ratio of fun to ecological impact of heliskiing is not justifiable in the densely populated Alps. We have reduced trips involving extensive plane travel to a minimum. We believe there are enough adventures waiting around the corner.
The total travelled distance by car to and from the venue of both, our clients and the guide, are compensated via ATMOSFAIR - on the trip, while you can look over our shoulders. The costs for this are on us and do not lead to higher trip prices. This does not undo the emissions but it's a start.
We respect the decision of every individual on her or his personal lifestyle and priorities. But we believe we are responsible for what we are doing and try to lessen the impact without denial that what we do, as guides, does do harm