At a very different point in my life, I thought I would enhance my love of the mountains with my necessity to make money and I attempted to build a small mountain guiding operation. I wanted to appeal to foreigners and so I bought this domain: climb.mx.
There was not much intent in the structure of this attempt, however, in retrospect I see I had some of the basics right:
The URL, content and copy of climb.mx were good at targetting English speakers. In essence, climb.mx served as an inbound channel.
At that point in my life, I considered myself an aspiring writer and as such, I was feeding the blog quite regularly and sharing actively, I was also travelling quite a bit and sharing with everyone on the road. So I did have a built in distribution strategy.
Not many fixed costs, as I was using a one click install server squatting on a server that was already being paid for by a friend. I easily broke even with my first guided ascent. Another close friend was managing the largest mountain related CMS in LaTam and we bartered some clients that he referred for a couple of crampons and ice axes I could continue to use for my clients, and since I was already climbing quite actively I didn’t need to purchase any gear for myself.
The variable costs were essentially expenses and mostly transferred to the customer. As for pricing, at some point I was told by some experienced guides that I should charge at least 100USD / day, and never less to protect those who were living off this, so that’s what I did.
I bundled some packages (Izta from DF, Ajusco, Pico and of course Custom trip) which made it easy for foreigners to convert to a sale.
The big and tangible problem was with the goods that I was selling. I was selling my time, hence I was in the consulting business. In retrospect though, I can really say that mountain guiding is the most work intensive consultancy I have personally experienced. Not only do you need knowledge, experience and very good equipment, but you need to constantly train in order to be significantly stronger than your clients. On top of that, the services that you are rendering are performed under very unfavourable conditions: at altitude, in inhospitable places with unpredictable weather and with the constant knowledge that if you mess up someone might die.
I quickly found out that although 100USD / day seemed like a decent tariff for a 25yr old aspiring mountaineer, it didn’t really compensate for the stress that each of these ascents was generating. If consultancy makes money with your time, guided ascents make money with your risk, sweat and life.
I quit guiding after roughly 2014 - at that point I was subrogating the actual ascent to local guides and taking care of logistics- but I kept this domain and used it is a creative outlet of sorts.
Some months ago I decided Wordpress was slow + boring and switched to using Jekyll as a labour of love and learning. I hadn’t worked on a Ruby based framework for a while and was using (and enjoying) Docusaurus for a professional project, my decision had the intrinsic objective of getting me to write better and more with less distractions and such, (we’ll see about that).
I made the switch and here it is, a newer, more basic, less is more version of the climb.mx that you (whoever you are) know and love.