Dylan Taylor photo
Deana Zabaldo photo
Scott Fischer on Everest in 1994. Mountain Madness photo
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Our Guides

Dave Ahrens -- Jeremy Allyn -- Jaime Alvaro -- Guillermo (Willie) Benegas
Tod Bloxham -- Jason Broman -- Nick Brown -- Ted Callahan
Juan Carlos Gonzalez Camache  -- Sebastian Carrasco
Alfredo Chavez Villa-- Andy Dahlen -- Viviane DeBros -- Robin Dittrich
Sergio Echeverria -- Aili Farquhar -- Oswaldo Freire -- Ramiro Garrido
Dallas Glass -- Thomas Greene -- Tul Singh Gurung -- Angela Hawse
Casey Henley -- Joshua Jarrin -- Tanner Joyce -- James Kagambi
Zach King -- Jenny Konway -- Alejo Lazzati -- Ricardo Lugo
Nicholas Malik -- Ben Mality -- Chris Marshall -- Esteban Mena
Ben Mitchell -- Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back -- Gaspar Navarrete
Ian Nicholson -- Christopher Petry -- Lyra Pierotti -- Jaime Pollitte
Hector Ponce de Leon -- Mark Pugliese -- Marc Ripperger
Sondra Ripperger -- Shayan Rohani -- Alan Rousseau -- Robert Schiesser
Jacob Schmitz -- Pasang Sherpa -- Pasang Tendi Sherpa
Pemba Gyalje Sherpa -- Paul Smotherman -- Joe Stock -- Dylan Taylor
Mario Tribeño -- Geoff Unger -- Thai Verzone - Tino Villanueva
Pavel Vorobyev -- Andrew Wexler -- Deana Zabaldo

Other guides include: Luke Griffith, Matt Farmer, Margaret Wheeler, Alasdair Turner, Lawrence Mathew Masawe, James Kivuyo, Bonaventure A. Kivuyo


Dave Ahrens

Dave is a native of Colorado and has been climbing mountains since age 12, and has been guiding professionally for over 8 years. Dave has experience in a wide range of guiding including river rafting, kayaking, fishing, ice, rock, and big mountain expeditions. Dave currently splits his time between Alaska, Colorado, and Washington. He has the distinction of being the only known guide to climb Denali from both the north and south sides of the mountain in the same season. He is a certified AMGA Alpine Guide and is working towards his full IFMGA certification in the coming years. The past few winters have seen Dave ski guiding at Silverton Mountain in Colorado, and ice guiding in Ouray. He has Level 3 avalanche certification and is a Wilderness First Responder. A love of introducing people to mountains and rivers keeps Dave on the move, always looking for the next thrill with a smile and great style.


Jeremy Allyn

Jeremy moved to the Pacific Northwest from New England in 1987, discovering the amazing climbing and skiing of the North Cascades and British Columbia's "white wilderness." Jeremy turned his passion into a profession in 2002. Since then he has guided expeditions and climbs in Alaska, Canada, Red Rocks, the Sierra Nevada, the North Cascades, Colombia and Nepal. In his spare time Jeremy enjoys writing, photography and music, and continues to explore his home turf - Washington's Northwest.


Jaime Alvaro

Originally from Santiago, but based in Puerto Natales, Jaime has spent years guiding groups in Patagonia, integrating geography, history and cultural knowledge into his tours. He is trained in eco tourism, Leave No Trace techniques, and holds his Wilderness First Responder certification. Besides his obvious interests in trekking, mountain and ice climbing, he also enjoys mountain biking and horseback riding. With his first forays into rock climbing school in the central Chilean Andes, Jaime began to explore its mountains and interpret its geography, getting to spend more time in the outdoors in the city. He is a devoted lover of nature and mountains and enjoys using each field trip as a new opportunity and space for meditation.


Guillermo (Willie) Benegas

Willie spent his youth climbing in Northeast Patagonia with his father and twin brother, Damian. This served as a strong background for a developing climbing career, which took off when he and Damian moved to the States at age 21. They headed straight for the big walls of Yosemite, where in the years to follow they made over 40 ascents of El Capitan. Each year Willie has returned to Argentina to guide trips on Aconcagua, a mountain which he has climbed over 50 times. These ascents include the difficult South face, and a speed record which held for five years. In 1995, he made an impressive first ascent of the North face of Trango Tower in Pakistan. He has since led over 20 Himalayan expeditions, including nine Everest summits, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, an attempt on the North face of Jannu, and a new route on Nuptse, dubbed The Crystal Snake, which earned him and Damian the prestigious Golden Piton Award. Willie has also set speed records in Africa on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, with his brother has made three attempts on the highly coveted Pakistani peak Latok 1 and has done first ascents on the big walls of Baffin Island. Having also climbed dozens of Bolivian and Peruvian peaks, he has earned a place among the elite in the world of high altitude alpinism. Willie is a fully sponsored member of the North Face athlete team, and a certified AMGA Rock & Alpine Guide. He is currently pursuing alpine and ski certifications, while spending his winters as a ski patroller in the Wasatch mountains of Utah.


Tod Bloxham

Tod Bloxham was born and raised in Washington State, has been climbing and skiing the backcountry and logging hundreds of ascents of rock, ice and ski routes in North America and abroad since 1991.  Life in the outdoors and work must coexist for Tod; professionally, Tod has been guiding since 1999, is a certified AMGA Alpine Guide, AMGA Rock Guide and AMGA Rock Instructor, a Wilderness First Responder and a AIARE L3 Avalanche Forecaster.  Spending time in the wilderness suits Tod best; he is either with his wife showing the wonders of the outdoors to their two girls, sharpening his skills on alpine and trad routes, rafting big water rivers, or helping people discover that the outdoors and climbing can be a lifelong pursuit that is inspiring and invigorating.


Jason Broman

Jason grew up in western New York where he developed a passion for climbing in the Adirondack Mountains. He attended school at SUNY Plattsburgh where he received a bachelor's degree in Expeditionary Studies with a focus on rock climbing, ice climbing, and backcountry skiing. Jason has climbed and skied in the Chic Chocs, Cascades, Adirondacks, New River Gorge, Seneca Rocks, and in North Carolina. He holds a Wilderness First Responder Certification, Avalanche Level I, and has taken the AMGA top-rope site manager course.


Nick Brown

Nick grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and spent most of his youth backpacking, camping, canoeing and climbing. He has climbed sport and traditional routes throughout the US/Canada as well as Japan.  His introduction to mountaineering was among Colorado’s 14,000’ peaks and the Sierra Nevada. He has guided on Mount Rainier, the North Cascades, the Andes and Mexico. Nick studied Environmental Science and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in college and splits his time between making maps, climbing rocks/mountains and skiing. He has a healthy appreciation for good food, books, drinks and has never met a dog he didn't like. Nick is a Wilderness EMT and holds certifications from AIARE and LNT.  


Mountain Madness Guide Ted CallahanTed Callahan

Ted Callahan has been with Mountain Madness since 2000, leading expeditions in the Cascades, the Caucasus, the Andes, the Nepalese Himalaya, and the Pamir Mountains of China. In addition to guiding, Ted is an anthropologist and for five years has conducted research in the Pamir regions of China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, where he has lived among Kyrgyz yak-raising nomads. Ted is also a published writer and his articles have appeared in numerous magazines. He speaks Chinese, Spanish, Kyrgyz and Persian. When not abroad, he can be found in Vermont, working on a never-ending series of writing projects and hanging out with his Afghan dog, Joldosh.


Juan Carlos Gonzalez Camacho

Juan Carlos was born in Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia. For more than thirty years, Juan Carlos has traveled around the world guiding and climbing in Nepal, Russia, Africa, the Alps, the Spanish Pyrenees, Tibet, India, China and the Andes. But, all roads lead him back to his home country, Colombia, where you will enjoy his expertise. Juan Carlos speaks Spanish, English, Danish, and Brazilian-Portuguese. 


Sebastian Carrasco

Sebastian is an Ecuadorian Mountain Guide with guiding experience mainly in the Andes. He has been trained in Canada, where he completed the Adventure Guide Program and the Assistant Rock Guide Certification by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He is currently one step away from full IFMGA certification. Always looking for new climbing destinations, Sebastian has traveled around the world to Peru, Bolivia, Patagonia, the Canadian Rockies, USA, New Zealand, and Australia. 


Alfredo Chavez Villa

Alfredo was born in Mexico City but moved to Pachuca, Hidalgo State, known as one of the most important cities for the Mexican rock climbing scene. He has been working for Hector Ponce de Leon and Mountain Madness for almost seven years on the Mexico Volcanoes trip. When travelling abroad, Peru and Argentina are among his favorite climbing destinations. When Alfredo is not guiding, he also works as instructor leader for Outward Bound México, mostly with youth-at-risk courses in Mexico City. He is also an MTB biking guide and spends his free time developing new routes throughout Mexico. Alfredo always attends to the smalls details on any trip and enjoys sharing the mountains of his home country with clients.


Andy Dahlen

Born and raised in Olympia, Andy became interested in climbing at 18 and hasn’t looked back since. After moving to Seattle, he graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Geography with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems. Since starting work with Mountain Madness in 2010 as the Gear Guy and graduating to guiding, he has continued to expand his climbing resume and knowledge by branching out into different disciplines of climbing but still loving it all. He has completed his AMGA Rock Instructor Course and is gearing up to complete his Rock Guide Certification. He is a Wilderness First Responder and a Leave No Trace trainer.   


Viviane DeBros

As a New England native, Viviane’s love for mountains germinated during her youthful summers exploring the Swiss Alps near her grandparents' homes. A couple of years after completing her BS in Equine Sciences she left the horse world, learned to climb, and moved west.  She has been climbing and guiding her way around the Cascades since 2008. Her personal climbing has taken her all over the West Coast, as well as to Patagonia and the Alps.  Seeing clients reach that ‘Aha‘ moment when that newly learned skill clicks or the joy of reaching a goal is what drives her as a guide. She is an AMGA SPI, AAA Level I, Wilderness First Responder, and LNT Trainer; to compliment her outdoor skill set she obtained her MBA.  She is a native French speaker and can stumble through German and Spanish as well. 


Robin Dittrich

Born on the edge of the Cascades in the town of Leavenworth, Robin's love for the mountains originated at a young age. After climbing extensively in Washington he ventured through South America trekking and climbing in the Andes and taking part in a successful ascent of Aconcagua at the age of 18. Since then he has become certified with the AIARE Level I, WFR, and LNT certifications. Currently, he attends Western Washington University in Bellingham and spends most of his summers in the backcountry working as an Assistant Guide and Wildland Firefighter.


Sergio Echeverria

After extensive experience in mountains around the world, Sergio has settled in Puerto Natales, Chile, where he helps lead our Patagonia expeditions. His diverse background includes everything from ice climbing to birdwatching, and his wide range of interests lets him bring a much-appreciated diversity to our expeditions. Sergio speaks English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, and is a Wilderness First Responder, a member of the Chilean Search and Rescue team, trained in the principals of Leave No Trace, and working toward a UIAGM certification.


Aili Farquhar

From the maple woods and granite hills of New England to the rainforests and glaciers of the West Coast, Aili has cultivated a lifelong love of wild places. After interning as a ranger in Olympic National Park she said goodbye to Mount Holyoke College and moved to Jackson, Wyoming. Here she began alpine climbing and ski mountaineering. She has climbed ice, rock and snow from Mexico to Alaska while working as an expedition assistant, National Park and Forest Ranger and commercial fishing deckhand. She has a BA in Wilderness Philosophy and Environmental Science from the Evergreen State College. She is a published author, Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, and holds a Level 2 certification with the American Avalanche Institute.


Oswaldo Freire

Oswaldo provides our Ecuador trips a local's perspective. Ossy was born and raised in Ecuador and knows his country's peaks intimately. He provides outstanding service to his groups. His university degree is hotel management and he has professional guide training, including Associacion Ecuatoriana de Guias de Montana (ASEGUIM). He has climbed Lenin peak, the difficult west face of Huayna Potosi, Pumori, Aconcagua's south face, in the Dolomites, and throughout South America. Recently he has succeeded in reaching the summit of Manaslu and Everest, both without oxygen. Ossy has guided five of the Seven Summits and welcome you to join him on his last two, Kilimanjaro and Carstensz Pyramid.


Ramiro Garrido

He has been mountaineering in Ecuador since the age of 11, and ever since he has intensively climbed almost all of the mountains in Ecuador. During the summer months, he often spends his time climbing in the southern Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Among his notable ascents, he has successfully climbed Aconcagua by the Polish Glacier Route, a variety of climbs in the Alps, and the Pumori Peak in the Himalayas. Whilst, as a journalist, he particularly enjoys sharing with friends, family and acquaintances, his two main passions in life: mountaineering and outdoor photography. He is a current holder of a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) Certificate and is an active member of ASEGUIM


Dallas Glass

Dallas began his love for climbing mountains by pulling on steep southern sandstone in the hills surrounding his home in Alabama. After graduating from Clemson University with a B.S. in Forest Resource Management, he moved west to pursue a master’s in Hydrology and Soil Physics at the University of Nevada. Conveniently, Lake Tahoe and the snowy Sierra Nevada were only minutes away. Whenever, he could get out of the lab, he’d head to backcountry for some skiing. After completing his master’s degree he began to split his time working in Alaska as a wilderness ecologist and at Mt Rose Ski Tahoe as the avalanche forecaster. Recently, Dallas moved to the Seattle area where he works year-round as a mountain guide. His love for climbing and skiing has taken him to many remote places in Alaska, The Yukon, and throughout the western US. Dallas holds a NREMT-B which he has used for 6 years as a professional ski patroller. He also is an AAA AVPro graduate, has completed the AIARE Level 3 course, and is a certified AIARE Level 1 and 2 Instructor. 


Thomas Greene

Originally from Maine, Thomas has recently been splitting his time guiding in the mountains of California, Washington, and Alaska. Living in the Eastern Sierra, and a tiny town outside Mt. Rainier National Park, has provided plenty of opportunity to read a ton of books, watch some bad movies, run and maintain an awesome sunburn. Thomas has had the good fortune to guide in New Zealand,  South America, Mexico, California, Washington, and Alaska. He has received training and certifications from NZMGA, AMGA, MSC, and AIARE.


Tul Singh "Tulsi" Gurung

Tulsi lives in Gorkha and Kathmandu, Nepal, and began working as a guide in 2003. He has completed courses in advanced mountaineering, first aid and high mountain rescue. In 2012 he became a certified IFMGA Mountain Guide and received his Mountain Guide diploma with the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association. Tulsi has summitted Everest twice and climbed Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu and Mera Peak. Tulsi has also climbed peaks in France and Italy, including Mont Blanc. He has traveled in China, Tibet, France and Italy. 


Angela Hawse

Angela has guided for 25 years throughout North and South America, Asia, Indonesia, Antarctica and Europe.  She is one of only 8 fully certified women IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guides in the United States. She has guided ski mountaineering trips on the Antarctic Peninsular and well over 20 high altitude expeditions to the Himalaya, Karakoram, Andes and Denali.  She’s ski traversed across Lapland, reached the south summit of Mt. Everest and guided 5 of the 7 summits.  Angela has a Master of Arts degree in International Mountain Conservation and many of her endeavors involve service work or raising funds for non-profits who are doing good things for small mountain communities.  She is on the AMGA Instructor Team and works for Telluride Helitrax in the winter season.  Angela is proudly sponsored by Marmot, Sterling Ropes, Metolius Climbing and Julbo.  In 2011 she was the recipient of the AMGA “Guide of the Year Award”.


Casey Henley

Casey Henley grew up and learned to climb and ski in the Canadian Rockies. He is the Head Instructor for the Climbing & Skiing Programs for Plattsburgh State University's Expeditionary Studies Degree Program. He has guided on 6 of the 7 summits, as well as Mt. Logan (with ski descent), Ama Dablam, Imja Tse, Cho Oyu, the Mexican Volcanoes, in Pakistan's K2 area, Patagonia, the St. Elias Range's peaks, and many others. He is known for his mellow, friendly, teaching style, and loves to share his passion for remote and wild mountain areas.



Joshua Jarrin

Born and raised in Ecuador, Joshua began climbing at age of ten in the Andes. He took his first lessons of mountaineering from Ossy Freire (MM Senior Guide) learning the importance of enjoying the mountains with safety and acquiring the passion of guiding. As a climber, he has summited peaks in the Andes, Patagonia, the Alps, the Dolomites, the Himalayas and Tien Shan mountains; most notably: Mount Everest, Pumori Peak in Nepal, the South face of Aconcagua in Argentina, and Khan Tengri in Kyrgyzstan. He was trained as a guide in Ecuador and Bolivia, holding the ASEGUIM certification and UIAGM/IFMGA. He is currently directing a branch of the Ecuadorian Mountain Guides Association ASEGUIM. At the same time, he has a B.A. in Culinary Arts.


Tanner Joyce

Tanner feels fortunate to have been raised both a California surfer and New England mountain man, therefore giving him the ability to appreciate the best of both worlds.  Having discovered his true love for the mountains and rock climbing while attending school in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, it didn’t take long for climbing to transition from a recreational activity to his way of life.  Tanner’s lifestyle of climbing has taken him all over the U.S. and Canada, from Wyoming’s beautiful Teton Range to hiding from the rain in Squamish to scrambling around in the sun in Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park. Tanner holds a strong passion for guiding in the alpine as well as pursuing wilderness medicine and being a part of search and rescue teams. He is a trained Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Rock Instructor Course Graduate, and has taken the AIARE Level 1 avalanche course.


James "KG" Kagambi

In 1987 KG (James Kagambi) began his guiding career in Kenya as a NOLS filed instructor. His patience and teaching ability grew from his experience as a grade school teacher, coaching sports, and teaching traditional Africa music. Since his first trips as a guide he reached the ranks of a senior mountaineering instructor at NOLS. In addition to his work at NOLS, he leads Mountain Madness trips to Mount Kenya and the Rwenzoris in Uganda. He has also completed three of the Seven Summits and in 1992 represented Africa in the U.N Peace Climb for the World on the Eiger. KG has summited the Eiger three times, was the first black African to summit Denali in 1989, and was the first black African to summit Aconcagua in 1994. He is actively involved in training Kenya’s mountain rescue teams. Most recently he had the pleasure of meeting Kenya’s president after carrying the 50th Anniversary flag celebrating the country’s independence to the summit of Mount Kenya.


Zach King

Endlessly curious, passionate, and inspired by the world, Zach spent his childhood exploring the forests, mountains, and rivers of New Hampshire. Upon graduating highschool, Zach headed west for bigger mountains, rivers, and trees. Currently enrolled at Prescott College in Arizona, Zach is studying Deep ecology, Education, and Holistic Health. His guiding philosophy: "We are all imperfect, as a society, as individuals and as families. I like to pretend however that at times we are like lifeless soil. Building good soil is done by adding organic matter. In a natural ecosystem the nutrients from organic matter are recycled, transported, processed, and used in a variety of different ways with common goals, to promote growth, sustain the life that exists, and provide the necessities for new life. The way I see it, being a good guide is kind of like building good soil, always absorbing, recycling, and perfecting the knowledge and wisdom that has been given to us by mentors, teachers, friends, family, and strangers to better ourselves and the people around us."


Jenny Konway

A native of Washington State, Jenny grew up surrounded by the beauty of the Cascade Mountains. At the age of 13 she climbed her first volcano and from then on knew she belonged in the mountains. Jenny has climbed all over the Western United States, Europe and South America, but her favorite climbing is right here at home in Washington. When she's not out climbing you can usually find her shredding trails on her mountain bike or riding around bareback on her horse. 


Alejo Lazzati

Alejo fell in love with the mountains in his early years as a boy scout, and became a proficient rock climber in his youth. Through these activities, he met the friends that helped him summit Ecuador's famed peak Cotopaxi at age 14. Since then, Alejo has spent countless days in the mountains and has shared this love with many aspiring climbers. He has climbed in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and recently did some serious alpine climbing in the Alps as part of his training to obtain his UIAGM certification. Alejo is the second Ecuadorian guide to achieve full UIAGM certification, one of very few US-certified Wilderness Emergency Medical Technicians (WEMT), and a certified member of the ASEGUIM. He also works as a climbing, rescue, and outdoor medicine instructor. He enjoys traveling, hiking, scuba diving, running and is a pretty darned good cook.


Ricardo Lugo

Ricardo first began climbing mountains at the age of 18, and so discovered his passion for the mountains, caving and the outdoors. Born in Mexico City, he has worked for Hector Ponce de Leon, since 2009, guiding in the Volcanoes of Mexico, the Cordillera Blanca in Peru, as well as on Kilimanjaro in Africa. When climbing season is over, you can find Ricardo, also a professional caver, exploring, prospecting and developing new projects all around Mexico. Ricardo likes to spend his free time travelling around the country, mountain biking, canyoneering and diving. A certified Wilderness First Responder, Ricardo enjoys mountain guiding and sharing the wonders of his beautiful home country of Mexico.


Nicholas Malik

Ask Nick what he’s thinking about and you’ll get an answer somewhere between bacon, skiing, and climbing. What might be lacking in his range of thoughts, he surely makes up for with his deep and loving admiration for the outdoors. Going for weekend camping trips with the family growing up, Nick caught the bug for the mountains in California’s Sierra Nevada range (and occasionally a few fish). Later, he attended the Colorado Rocky Mountain School where he furthered his knowledge of the mountains and learned to climb and telemark ski. College brought him to the rugged San Juan Mountains and blazing desert of the Southwest where he completed a BS in Cellular & Molecular Biology.  Nick has climbed extensively in Southeast Utah and the Teton Range developing a soft spot for Wingate sandstone.  He now calls the PNW home, and with his AIARE Level 2, Wilderness First Responder, and LNT Master certificate, he’s ready to give you the experience of a lifetime!


Ben Mality

Ben has more than 100 ascents of Kilimanjaro. Ben has become our expert guide on the mountain and safari, and one of Tanzania’s premier guides. He enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge and passion of the area’s natural history, and providing his guests with a local’s perspective on Tanzanian culture and history. Ben’s professionalism, knowledge, and warm personality make him a favorite.



Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall has been guiding and instructing in the mountains since 2006. He earned a BA in Wilderness Leadership and Geography from Prescott College in 2005, and an MA in Experiential Education from Prescott College in 2011.  He has worked as an Associate Faculty member for Prescott College in the Adventure Education department since 2007, instructing such classes as Wilderness Leadership, Avalanche Forecasting, Rock Climbing, Alpine Mountaineering, and Ski Mountaineering. He has experience teaching and guiding in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, California, Washington, and Alaska. At home on rock, snow, and ice, Chris is actively pursuing IFMGA certification.  He is an AMGA Aspirant Ski Guide, and has been trained in the rock and alpine disciplines.  He obtained his professional Level 3 Avalanche Certification from the American Avalanche Institute in 2011.  Highlights of Chris' personal experience include an expedition funded by the American Alpine Club to the Neacola Mountains in the western Alaska Range.  He works as a ski guide and avalanche educator for Sun Valley Trekking during the winters.


Esteban "Topo" Mena

Topo, as Esteban is known among his friends, started climbing in Ecuador when he was 14, three years after he made his first climbing trip to Peru.  This trip was followed by many expeditions to Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, Alaska, Kirguisztan, Europe and Nepal. Despite his youth he has done some of the hardest climbs in these places, such as the South Face on Aconcagua, Peak Pobeda in the Tien Shan Mountains, and his latest success on Manaslu, a 26781ft peak.  He holds a WFR certification given by WMI of NOLS, is a Mountain Guide Aspirant on the Ecuadorian Mountain Guides Association, and has done a Rock Instructor Course with the American Mountain Guides Association.  He is a true lover of the outdoors.  His patience and willingness to share his knowledge and experiences makes him a great partner no matter if the day is sunny at the crag or in a whiteout high on the mountains.


Ben Mitchell

Ben grew up hiking and skiing around Washington State. Nowadays his hobby has become a full-time profession, and he can be found splitting his time between Washington and Montana. During the spring and summer months he guides throughout the Cascades, the Alaska Range, and in Red Rock, NV. In the winter, he is a professional ski patroller at Big Sky Resort in Montana, and also heli-ski guides out of Cordova, AK. Ben is a fully certified UIAGM/IFMGA Guide. He is an EMT-B, Wilderness First Responder, and holds an Avalanche Level 3 certification. His new passion - base jumping, parapanting, and wing-suit flying - makes him just as likely to be flying off the cliff versus climbing it!


Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back

Yoshiko grew up in rural Kyoto. While studying in the UK she discovered rock climbing and stomped around the Peak District, N. Wales, Lake District and Scotland. Since then her passion expanded to alpine climbing and ski mountaineering, spending a few years based between France, U.S. Canada and Japan. Yoshiko is a CAA AST1 Instructor, AAI Level 3 and WFR certified.  She is currently an Assistant Rock Guide working on obtaining her Aspirant Mountain Guide status to ultimately become an IFMGA certified guide.  In the summer season she spends her time in Alaska guiding Denali and in the North Cascades.


Gaspar Navarrete

Born and raised in Ecuador, Gaspar offers expert insight into the culture and mountains of his home country. He has climbed in the Alps, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and the U.S. He has first ascents in both Bolivia and Ecuador. He was trained as a mountain guide in Bolivia and Chamonix, France and holds ASEGUIM certification. He is the director of the Mountain Guides School from Ecuador when not guiding in South America.


Ian Nicholson

Ian's experience ranges from having established over a half dozen first ascents in his home range of the Cascades as well as opening new routes in farther off regions such as The Waddington Range, Patagonia and The Alaska Range.  His other experience comes from having climbed extensively in Yosemite as well as Zion, the Tetons, the Alps, Canadian Rockies, New England, the Sierras and Colorado. Ian has been twice the recipient of the ACC Fellowship Grant. Ian is also a Wilderness First Responder, AIARE Level III certified, AIARE Level I Course leader and an AIARE level 2 Instructor as well as being a Leave no Trace Trainer. Ian is a AMGA certified Alpine and Rock guide and is working through the ski discipline and actively pursuing IFMGA certification. His passion to be out in the mountains has been known to spur people to greater heights. Ian has recently been working with the American Safe Climbing Association after replacing nearly 100 bolts in the last 2 1/2 years.


Christopher Petry

Chris Petry, an upstate NY native, gained his appreciation for geographical beauty cliff jumping around the Finger Lakes. After competing as a Decathlete and studying Outdoor Adventure at Penn State, he ended up in sunny Seattle to work for Mountain Madness.  He made the switch from sprinting and hurling metal objects to a life in the mountains with style and grace. Over the years Chris has made steep descents in remote Alaskan ranges, climbed the Mexican Volcanoes, lived on the big walls of Yosemite, and climbed long Cascadian alpine routes. Chris enjoys ascending and descending regardless of the venue and will be sure to bring his enthusiasm and culinary mastery to every mountain adventure. He is a Wilderness First Responder, holds a AIARE Level 2 Avalanche certification, and is a Leave No Trace Master Educator.  He currently lives in a trailer down by the river in the granitic town of Index, WA. Feel free to ask for gardening advice because Chris is also a local sustainable farmer! 


Lyra Pierotti

Lyra had her first view of the mountains on hikes atop the shoulders of the Tahoe Summer Music Festival's tuba player, back when she weighed less than a tuba. This exposure led her to study ecology and pursue rock climbing.  While studying at UC San Diego, she worked as a guide for her university’s outdoor program. She led rock climbing, backpacking, and sea kayaking trips, and also taught field ecology for several San Diego-based outdoor education programs.  Lyra spent a year living in the French Alps, studying geology, climbing, and skiing. Shortly after her return, pining for more mountain adventures, she relocated to the Eastern Sierra. Dropping plans of going back for a masters degree in ecology, she started guiding on Mount Shasta in the summers – and was thus hopelessly hooked. She has since guided rock, ice, and alpine climbs in Yosemite and all over the Sierra, and teaches avalanche courses. Lyra’s international guiding trips include successful trips on Aconcagua and Mexico’s volcanoes, as well as obscure mountaineering adventures in Baja, and trekking in Italy’s Dolomites. Lyra is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide, an AIARE Level 1 avalanche instructor, and holds a Wilderness First Responder.


Jaime Pollitte

Having spent much of his upbringing living overseas and traveling as an adult it seems that Jaime has lived almost everywhere. With a degree in Outdoor Education/Leadership from Prescott College, Jaime has spent nearly 20 years as an outdoor professional. He has spent time working/climbing/skiing/kayaking throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, South America, and Europe. As much as he loves all aspects of the mountains he feels that fresh powder and splitter cracks are true gifts of nature. Jaime is an AMGA Certified Rock Instructor, AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Instructor & Level 3, Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.


Hector Ponce de Leon

Hector has successfully guided climbers to the summits of Cho Oyu, Aconcagua, Alpamayo, Huascaran, Illimani, Illampu, Huayna Potosi, and the Mexican Volcanoes, to name a few. Hector has a long list of accomplishments such as ascents of the south face of Shishapangma and Aconcagua. Hector has been successful with climbing Everest, and Gasherbrum II in the Karakorum. He has a special quality of helping other people reach their goals in the mountains. His free time is spent climbing in Yosemite and biking in Mexico.


Mark Pugliese

Mark is a native of New York where he started climbing while attending SUNY Plattsburgh’s Expeditionary Studies program. The Adirondack Mountains were home for four years until he decided to move west to pursue his guiding career. Mark has a background in everything from backcountry skiing in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, to climbing the high granite walls of Yosemite Valley. Mark has climbed all over the lower 48 as well as Alaska’s Chilkat Range and Ecuador’s volcanoes. He holds an Avalanche 2 Certification as well as Wilderness First Responder.  


Marc Ripperger

A native to the plains of Iowa, Marc relocated to the West in order to pursue his outdoor passions. Marc has guided from the towers of the desert southwest to the peaks of South America. His love for rock, ice and alpine climbing has taken him to the big walls of Yosemite, Rocky Mountains, High Sierras, North Cascades, Ruth Gorge Alaska, Cordillera Blanca Peru, Mexico, and Ecuador. Marc is passionate about instructing and educating climbers on all levels and is a AMGA Certified Rock Guide. During his off days, Marc enjoys spending time with his wife Sondra, painting, and establishing new alpine rock climbs in the Sandia Mountains just outside of home in Albuquerque, NM. Marc is currently pursuing full certification with UIAGM/IFMGA.


Guide Sondra RippergerSondra Ripperger

Sondra thrives on guiding people outside because she sees the enrichment it adds to their lives. Because of this passion, she splits her time between teaching outdoor education to youth at a private school in Albuquerque, NM, and guiding adults in the backcountry in various locations. Both clients and students value the qualities that she brings to a trip because of her ability to teach, care for, and challenge. For 11 years she has been climbing around the western United States, pursuing multi-pitch climbing, alpine climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering. Sondra grew up in Iowa and now resides in Albuquerque, NM. She earned a BA in outdoor recreation from the University of Northern Iowa. Her certifications include: wilderness first responder, LNT trainer, AIARE level 1 avalanche and an AMGA rock instructor course.


Shayan Rohani

Shay developed an early interest in climbing from growing up in Washington. When not climbing in the Cascades, Yosemite or Zion, Shy guides in the Northwest, South America, Asia, and Mexico. Shy has a strong background in technical climbing, is an excellent teacher, and exudes a cheerful spirit in the mountain environment. His culinary background gives new meaning to the concept of “mountain food!”


Alan Rousseau

Alan has been guiding since 2008, and is on his way to full IFMGA certification.  Climbing has taken Alan to the Alaska Range, Andes, Caucasus, Canadian Rockies, Sierra, and the Himalaya.  Visiting new places, and opening up new routes is what keeps Alan excited to climb.  He has completed over 15 first ascents in various styles of climbing including a first peak ascent in the Himalaya.   When Alan is not on an expedition or guiding in the North Cascades, he can probably be found ice or rock climbing with his Wife in Salt Lake. In 2013 Alan was awarded the Lyman Spitzer Cutting-Edge Climbing Award for his climbing achievements in Nepal. Certifications/Education include AMGA Certified Rock Guide, AMGA Alpine Aspirant, AIARE level III, LNT Master Educator, Wilderness First Responder & M.S. Outdoor Education.


Robert Schiesser

Rob began his climbing career on the low laying but prominent lichen covered faces of the Eastern U.S. but quickly solidified his commitment to Alpine climbing and the higher, bigger ranges of the Cascades and soon after the Himalaya. Having received a degree in Environmental Science, his tour style often involves the mentality of literally, ”stopping to smell the roses”. His pursuits as a mountain guide take him through all facets of the mountaineering circuit of rock, ice, and snow. While not shwacking through the underbrush seeking out the next big alpine face, he can be seen drinking espresso studying law.


Jacob Schmitz

Jacob Schmitz started climbing 20 years ago, living in Yosemite for 7 years where he mastered the big walls. With the more than ten years Jacob has worked as a guide he has lead over 70 expeditions, with 45 on peaks over 6,000 meters. Some of his more notable guided trips include Everest, Cho Oyu, Spantik in Pakistan, Bogda feng in China, more than 25 expeditions to Aconcagua, 14 to Denali, 8 to Kilimanjaro, 4 Vinson Massif in Antarctica,  and multiple trips to Bolivia and Ecuador. His passion and dedication to his group to have an enjoyable expedition shows on every trip he's leads. When not out on an expedition he lives in Bend, Oregon.


Mountain Madness Guide Pasang Sherpa
Pasang Sherpa

Pasang lives in Solukhumbu and Kathmandu and speaks English, Nepali and Hindi. He has taken courses in rock climbing, advanced mountaineering, first aid and high mountain rescue. Pasang has also taken an aspirant mountain guide course under supervision of the IFMGA. Pasang has been to the summit of Everest twice and has climbed Island Peak 15 times and Mera Peak five times. Pasang has also climbed Nirukha, Labuche, Phapchermu and Yela Peaks.  


Mountain Madness Guide Tendi Sherpa
Pasang Tendi Sherpa

Originally from the village of Sankhuwasabha, Nepal, Tendi now lives in Kathmandu and works as a full time mountain guide. Tendi began his career as a professional mountain guide in 2003 and completed courses in guiding skills, first aid and high mountain rescue. Tendi is currently studying for his IFMGA standard level. Tendi has summited Everest eight times in the last seven years, including two summit climbs in 2007. In addition to his impressive Everest record, Tendi climbed Ama Dablam from base camp to the summit in 2009 in a single push.


Pemba Gyalje Sherpa

Pemba has been guiding on the world’s tallest mountains for over fifteen years, and has seen of the summits of Ama Dablam, Everest, Cho Oyu, and K2. In addition to his extensive high-altitude climbing experience, Pemba has participated in many successful search and rescue missions around the world. He was the recipient of the American Alpine Club’s David A. Sowles Memorial Award in 2009, and was recently named the Best Adventurer of the Year 2008 by the National Geographic Adventure Society for his heroism as part of rescue mission on K2. Read more about his brave rescue on K2 - The Savior and the Storm on K2.


Paul Smotherman

Originally from the South, Paul cut his teeth climbing on the granite domes of North Carolina and has had the climbing bug ever since. Graduating from University of Georgia with a BS in Zoology and pursuing a Masters in Science Education, Paul has worked in the outdoor industry for over 20 years. His work has taken him all over the world: an adjunct faculty at Prescott College in the Adventure Education Dept; a NOLS instructor in Wyoming; Science Logistics Specialist in Greenland and Antarctica; a Wildlife Biologist in Alaska; and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea. He has climbed in New Zealand, Peru, Ecuador, Australia, Thailand, Greenland as well as throughout the US and Alaska. His passion for climbing is infectious and can think of nothing better than a day at the crag sharing what he loves. He is Wilderness Responder, Leave No Trace Master Educator and co-owns the North Cascades Mountain Hostel with his wife Audrey Jo in Winthrop Washington. 


Joe Stock

Joe has been climbing and skiing around the world for 24 years. His highlights have been long alpine climbs in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, limestone rock climbing in Thailand, mixed climbs in Colorado and spring ski mountaineering in Alaska. At the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Joe began his undergraduate degree in geology then finished in physical geography. Later he received a graduate degree in watershed science (snow science focus) from CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado. He became a certified alpine guide in 2003, ski mountaineering certified in 2008 and rock certified in 2009 - thereby receiving his UIAGM/IFMGA full certification. Joe is widely known for his prolific ski traverses in Alaska's Neocola, Chugach and Tordrillo Mountains. In addition to guiding, Joe works as a writer, photographer and hydrologist. He lives in Anchorage with his wife Cathy.


Dylan Taylor

Dylan joins our team from Bellingham, Washington. Dylan guides in Washington, Alaska, Nevada, the Alps, and in the South American Andes. Dylan holds an AIARE Level 3 Avalanche certification, and he is a fully certified UIAGM/IFMGA Guide. Originally from Colorado, Dylan grew up with an obsession for rock and alpine climbing and skiing. His love for the mountains led not only to exploring, but also a Masters Degree in geology. Between guiding adventures, Dylan finds time for his own personal climbing and skiing expeditions to places like India, Patagonia (establishing several first ascents), and Alaska (completing several first ski traverses). Dylan is also an avid photographer, and enjoys documenting his adventures – both guided and personal. You can occasionally spot his images in the outdoor media and in catalogs. While resting in camp after a long day in the mountains, Dylan may talk your ear off about photography, geology, or the current state of world politics.


Mario Tribeno

Mario was born and raised in Cusco, Peru. Mario guides our Inca Trail and Ausangate treks and brings a wealth of local knowledge to your trip. His enthusiasm for Inca culture is infectious. In his free time he is working on an orchid guidebook for the area near Machu Picchu and busy raising a family.




Geoff Unger

Geoff has climbed rock all over the western U.S., from the big walls of Zion and Red Rocks to Yosemite. His broad alpine experience and enthusiasm for teaching stems from a love of the mountains, especially the Cascades where we spends summers on the high peaks and glaciers. Geoff is an avid backcountry skier. His favorite haunts include the glades of Idaho and the diverse terrain in the Alps. Geoff is a fully certified UIAGM/IFMGA Guide. He holds a Wilderness First Responder certification and American Level 3 Avalanche training.


Thai Verzone

After several years working as a Physician’s Assistant in Native Alaskan villages and volunteering medical services around the world for African Zulu tribes, Haitian villages, and Amazonian natives, Thai has returned to the world of guiding. In 2007 he was the winter with the U.S. Antarctic program guiding various science groups around the frozen continent. He has guiding experience in Nepal, the Andes, Denali, New Zealand, and the Cascades. Fluent in Spanish and with a degree in Latin American studies, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about the Andean communities.


Tino Villanueva

Tino is a northwest native and calls the Cascade Mountain Range his home. These days he embraces his status as a citizen of the world, regularly splitting time between South America, Asia, Europe, Alaska and Washington, climbing and skiing his way the world round. Tino enjoys all facets of climbing and is equally proficient on rock, snow, ice or skis, having accomplished first climbing ascents and ski descents in the Cascades, Alaska and the Himalaya. Aside from working as a Mountain Guide for the better part of a decade, Tino has worked as an avalanche forecaster, snow safety expert and professional ski patroller. He is also a heli-ski guide and an Athlete/Ambassador for Helly Hansen. Depending on the season, given a free moment you will find him cruising splitter cracks in the mountains or on the hunt for pockets of fresh powder in the most unlikely places. Tino truly enjoys sharing his time in the mountains, and his knowledge of them, with others. Tino holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon. In 2013 Tino was awarded the Lyman Spitzer Cutting-Edge Climbing Award for his climbing achievements in Nepal. He is a Wilderness First Responder, Outdoor Emergency Care provider, AIARE Level 3 Avalanche certified, AIARE Certified Level 1 and 2 Course Leader, a Leave No Trace Trainer and is pursuing IFMGA/UIAGM certification as an active member of the AMGA.


Pavel Vorobyev

Pavel holds the coveted "Snow Leopard" award, which is earned from completing ascents of all five of the former Soviet Union's 7,000 meter peaks. When not guiding or skiing, he is busy working as the Technical Director of the Kyrgyz Association of Mountain Guides. In addition to many trips up Mount Elbrus and in the Pamirs, he has climbed on Nanga Parbat in the Karakoram and can be found heli-ski guiding.


Andrew Wexler

Andrew grew up the son of a textile salesman, far, far away from the nearest mountain. As fate would have it, he now finds himself living in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, guiding, climbing and skiing year round. When not climbing or skiing, Andrew can usually be found skiing or climbing. This monotony of character may have a myriad of drawbacks, but it has also seen him to the top of classic routes and peaks including Fitzroy, Ama Dablam, El Cap, Denali’s Cassin Ridge and Huayna Potosi’s West Face. Along with Mountain Madness co-workers Dylan Taylor and Joe Stock, Andrew has also spent what may be considered a ridiculous amount of time skiing across various ranges in Alaska. It is a rare occurrence to catch Andrew outside without his camera, and his photos and words have appeared in numerous national and international publications. He is a fully certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide.


Deana Zabaldo

Deana has lived and worked in Nepal for over six years and has traveled in more than 25 countries. With a journal and a pair of boots, she has explored Asia from its rice paddies to its mountaintop temples, including Tibet, Bhutan and Mongolia. More important than adding stamps to her passport are the friendships she builds with landless farmers, wealthy factory owners, sari-clad women, and hermit monks. She has an experienced eye for Buddhist art, a taste for local cuisine, and a keen interest in ancient traditions. Deana's first encounter with the Himalayas was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a remote mountain village three days walk from the nearest road. Far from hot showers and internet connections, she used her hands both to eat rice and build classrooms. Later in San Francisco, she went on to direct cultural exchange programs and run a marathon. Charmed by Nepal (despite the lack of amenities), Deana returned to advise businesses and non-profits, teach yoga, and guide treks. Currently when she's not guiding, she is creating a sustainable artisan business in San Francisco and starting an orphanage outside Kathmandu. Deana is fluent in Nepali, holds a Wilderness First Responder certification, and will brew you the best coffee in the Himalayas! Moved by the spiritual and cultural vibrancy of the region, she's full of stories about Tantric goddesses, the Maoist insurgency, royal massacres, arranged marriages, secret explorations, and the realities of Shangri-La.

 “What would a guide be without someone to lead? Good weather, bad weather, easy, difficult, I need to sing the same tune. That was the gift of our mountains. Climbing to the summit one does his job, another is on vacation and the luxury of their efforts is friendship.” – Gaston Rebuffat, famous French guide