Hiking/Backpacking Guide in Glacier NP

No longer available without guide.

I was recently up in Sapa in January with meagre hopes (since it's typically misty, low visibility) to conquer Fansipan in a day. I was blessed with two of the best possible days for this time of year: low 50s F, partly cloudy, incredible visibility of surrounding mountains. Game on Fansipan! The day before hiking, I went up to the top of the pass to find the trailhead (easiest to just rent your own motorbike for day). Near the trailhead, I was able to chat with a very nice park ranger. He informed me that due to unprepared tourists getting lost over the past several years, it is no longer allowed to hike up to Fansipan without a guide. I did read online some people getting up early and skipping through before rangers get there and then hoping no one checks for tickets on way up and saying the guide is hiking behind. But that doesn't seem right to me. Just really sad that the highest peak in Vietnam can now only (legally) be reached via tour or tram. There's other good treks in the area, just not the same as conquering Fansipan.