What is the difference between guide and path finder?

Guide is person who directs or leads in any sort of activity. The guide in the Himalayan region is often a local person who is familiar with the terrain and routes and is thus able to lead the group along known routes. He also acts as the local liaison man who helps in organizing porters, provisioning of rations, finding suitable accommodation etc. Thus, he is a guide and an escort both.

Path finder is a term that was made popular by the early settlers in America. In those days a person who was skilled in negotiating the wilderness and thus could find a path in unfamiliar terrain through which groups of early settlers could be taken to greener pastures was called a path finder. In the Himalayan region, it denotes a person well versed in climbing skills who is required to open a route in such a way that climbers or trekkers under his care can safely negotiate the route with his help and guidance.

The main difference between a guide and the path finder is of the skills possessed by them. Traditionally a path finder is also more of an adventurer who has taken the role of path finder for the sheer joy of it and accepts financial remuneration to sustain his sense of adventure. On the other hand a guide takes on his role mainly as a means of earning a livelihood and utilities his familiarity with terrain along with his natural skills towards attaining this goal. However, the romantic image of path finder no longer holds true in the context of the Himalayas.

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