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

Kerr Adams

Kerr began instructing and guiding in 2011 and has since guided rock, ice, alpine climbing, and high altitude mountaineering. He has worked throughout the United States and internationally in Pakistan and Ecuador. Kerr is pursuing international Mountain Guide certification with the American Mountain Guide's Association (AMGA), which includes certification in rock, alpine, and ski disciplines. Kerr enjoys sharing in his guest's pursuit of challenge and adventure and living life to its fullest. When not guiding or climbing, Kerr enjoys writing, photography, painting and spending time with his fiancé Kathleen and their dog Zoey. Kerr is an Apprentice Rock Guide and an Apprentice Alpine guide with the AMGA, has received American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Level 1 and 2 certifications, and is a Wilderness First Responder. Kerr is proudly sponsored by Zamberlan USA and Buff USA.

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.

Ted 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 since 2006 has conducted research among Kyrgyz yak-raising nomads in the Pamir/Tian Shan regions of Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. A Fellow of the Explorers Club, Ted is also a published writer and his articles have appeared in numerous magazines. He speaks Chinese, Spanish, Kyrgyz and Persian. In 2016, Ted and his partner were awarded grants from the New Zealand Alpine Club and the Mount Everest Foundation to attempt a new route alpine style linking two 7000m peaks in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush.

Viviana Callahan

Viviana Callahan was born and raised in Patagonia, Chile. She has been mountaineering since age 18 and guiding professionally for over 12 years in the Chilean Andes and Aconcagua, Argentina. Viviana is a NOLS mountain instructor, level 2 (training standard UIAA) ENAM, and Wilderness First Responder. She has done multiple expeditions around the world, including the first Chilean Women's Expedition to Dhaulgiri in the Himalaya, several first ascents in the South and North Ice Field of Patagonia, Cordillera Blanca in Peru, the Alps, Pyranees, Alaska, and the Andes. Viviana leads our Aconcagua and Patagonia Adventure trips.

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.

Tim Connelly

Since 1996, Tim has helped people fulfill their dreams from Alaska to Patagonia, the Himalaya to the Alps, and Africa to Antarctica. You'll often find him in the summer climbing and paragliding throughout the Alps from his base in Chamonix, France. Tim is a fully licensed IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide and the 2006 recipient of the AMGA's Outstanding Guide of the Year award. Tim is recognized throughout the guiding world for his expertise and passion for the peoples and experiences to be had in the mountains.

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.

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.

Juliana Garcia

Juliana has been mountaineering in Ecuador since the age of 15. She is the first female Ecuadorian Mountain Guide holding ASEGUIM certification and has risen to the post of President of Ecuadorian Mountain Guide´s Association. As a climber, Juliana has reached many summits in the Andes, has first ascents in both Peru and Bolivia, and was recently a member of a Gasherbrum II expedition. She is currently in the last stages of achieving UIAGM certification, the highest internationally recognized ranking in the guiding industry.

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

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. 

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.

Steve Guthrie

International Program Director


A Northwest native, born in Eugene, Oregon, Steve started climbing at age 14 as a member of a Search and Rescue team. Mountain Rescue and guiding followed soon after.  In his 30+ years as a professional guide/instructor/expedition leader, Steve has climbed and trekked extensively on 6 continents. In addition to climbing and guiding, Steve taught well over 100 wilderness medicine courses both in the U.S. and internationally and has worked as a medical care provider on a small and remote island in the mid-Pacific. Continuing the remodel of his cabin in Oregon, reading and listening to music fill his "spare time."

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.

Arthur Herlitzka

Arthur was born and raised in in Madison, Wisconsin and has recently moved to the Seattle area to develop his practice as a mountain guide. His practice as an outdoor leader is rooted in his deep connection to the natural world, and passion for facilitating unique experiences in the alpine. Arthur has worked as a shepherd in the alps of Switzerland, a sea kayak guide in Northeastern USA, climbed glaciated alpine terrain in Chilean Patagonia, and is always pursuing a life that is whole and well rounded. He is fluent in Spanish, is a competent welder, glass blower, and photographer, and enjoys incorporating those interests into his wilderness life. Arthur has adventured all over the world: the Northwest United States, Colorado, Idaho, France, Italy, Switzerland, Patagonia, and Mexico to name a few. Arthur is always continuing to build his skill set in rock, ice, and snow and has aspirations of guiding, climbing and instructing internationally. Arthur is a Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, AAA Level 1 Avalanche Certified, is actively pursuing AMGA/IFMGA certification and a degree in Wilderness Leadership + Spanish Language from Prescott College. 

Joshua Jarrin

Born and raised in Ecuador, Joshua began climbing at the age of ten. As a climber, he has summited peaks in the Andes, the Alps, the Dolomites, the Himalayas and Tien Shan mountains; most notably: Pumori Peak in Nepal, the South face of Aconcagua in Argentina, Khan Tengri in Kyrgyzstan, among others. At the same time, he has established first ascents in Nepal, Ecuador and Peru. As a guide he was trained initially in Ecuador obtaining the ASEGUIM certification and later he completed his UIAGM/IFMGA certification through the international program of the ENSA (National School of Ski and Alpinism of France). Also he is a Wilderness First Responder. Joshua travels around the world helping climbers to achieve high altitude summits like Everest or Aconcagua but he also enjoys technical guiding in the Alps. He is currently the Technical Director of the Ecuadorian Mountain Guides Association ASEGUIM where he trains and mentors new aspiring guides. Outside of the mountains he has a B.A. in Culinary Arts and he is a salsa dancer. 

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 Keskinen

Zach grew up climbing in Fairbanks, Alaska. He graduated from Colorado College with a double major in Chemistry and Geology. Zach now follows the seasons, spending his summers ranging in his van from Alaska to Washington and his winters in Colorado. He has established first ascents ranging from ice routes in Alaska to rock routes in the Waddington Range. Zach is currently an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor and working towards certifications as an AMGA rock and alpine guide. Zach also enjoys romping with his dog Lucy and doing crosswords.

Josh Kling

Josh is a mountain and ski guide from Durango, CO.  He guides all types of rock climbing, alpine climbing and backcountry skiing.  Josh is an American Mountain Guides Association Certified Rock Guide, Assistant Alpine Guide, Assistant Ski Guide and has IFMGA Aspirant Status.  In addition to guiding, Josh is an AIARE Level 1 & 2 course leader, AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Program Provider, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program Provider, and he instructs medical courses for Wilderness Medical Associates.  He has taught for numerous nationally recognized organizations and worked as a guide on four of the seven summits.  He helps coordinate the Flight For Life Avalanche Deployment team in the San Juan Mountains of CO and is a Technical Team Member, Training Instructor, and Winter Response Team Coordinator with La Plata County Search and Rescue in Colorado.

Mara Larson

Mara’s world lies in the remote and high peaks of the world. She started out researching the brain at high altitude for NASA, based at Everest base camp. This led to her managing climbing logistics on the mountain for over a decade. She’s assisted with Discovery Channel, the North Face, and on some of the highest rescues on the mountain, often aiding from above the icefall. In her down time, she organizes trail races and running trips across the Himalaya and the Alps, and works at developing local running talent across Nepal. She’s climbed on Manaslu, Ama Dablam, run speed ascents on Aconcagua, and stood on the podium in the Everest and Kathmandu Marathons. She holds the Mountain Leader certification through the British system as well as the American WFR. And she’s most passionate about sharing her Himalayan paradise with those venturing in for the first time!

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.

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 was born in a village on Kilimanjaro and went to primary and secondary school and eventually attended Seminary in Arusha before becoming a safari guide and then a mountain guide. He is fluent in English, Chagga, Swahili, Maasai and French. Additionally, he knows countless riddles and is a bit of a card-shark.  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.

Niels Meyer

Niels was raised in Chicago and at a young age found his love for the mountains in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. With a need to explore new places, he lived and worked all across the U.S. and France. He graduated from Prescott College in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies and Adventure Education, and went on to be a guide and Hut Meister for Sun Valley Trekking in Idaho. Niels has his Avalanche Level 3 certification through The American Avalanche Institute, and is a Wilderness First Responder. He is an AMGA apprentice ski guide and an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor.

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.

Brian Muller

Brian is originally from New Jersey but now splits his time between Salt Lake City, UT and Seattle. Brian works as a Ski Patroller for Snowbird in the winters, and is an AMGA Certified Ski Guide. Brian started guiding in 2009, instructing 24-day Ski Mountaineering Courses and day rock climbing trips in Southeast Alaska. Brian guides for us on Aconcagua, as well as many trips for us throughout the Northwest. When Brian is not guiding, he can be found looking for every patch of snow he can find to ski, and planning trips to new destinations.

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.

Gary Newmeyer

Gary started his climbing career while enlisted in the US Navy in Washington State, swapping shoes with his roommate and doing a little bouldering. Before taking his climbing to the next level, he first had to do a 7-month deployment in the Middle East. Bitten by the climbing bug, he learned as much as possible without being able to touch rocks. Knots and hitches during down-time at work, self-rescue and anchor systems from the bunk beds in his room, and reading climbing books before bed. This turned out to be a great way to get a solid foundation with which to expand on. After serving, Gary moved to the land of sunshine in beautiful Durango, Colorado. He has since then became an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor, AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide, and an AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide. Gary has also completed an AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course and is a Wilderness First Responder. Gary loves climbing the sandstone cracks of the desert. Get in touch to climb in the Southwest region with Gary today!

Ian Nicholson

The first thing you will quickly realize about Ian is his never-ending stoke to be out sharing the mountains with people, whether on rock, on glaciers or on skis; and his passion to be out in the mountains has been known to spur people to greater heights. Ian is an internationally licensed IFMGA/UIAGM mountain guide, meaning he is certified as an Alpine, Rock and Ski guide through the AMGA.  Some of 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.  Ian has also authored a local climbing guidebook entitled SuperTopo: Washington Pass Climbing and is a writer for OutdoorGearLab and Climbing Magazine.  Ian is AIARE Level III certified, a Wilderness First Responder and is an AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 Course Leader and a LNT Trainer.

Zack Novak

Born in the US and raised in Israel, Zack's love for the mountains began Rock climbing and Canyoneering around Jerusalem and the Judean desert. He quickly discovered Trad climbing before an early trip to Wadi Rum in Jordan sparked his continuing journey to develop a diverse set of mountain skills. Today, he spends winters in the Colorado Rockies and summers in the North West Cascades while actively perusing certification as an IFMGA certified American Mountain Guide. Zack is AMGA trained in Rock, Alpine and Ski disciplines, a AIARE Level 1 Avalanche instructor and Wilderness First Responder.

Jacob Oram

Born and raised in Edmonds, WA, Jacob's father gave him his first ice axe at age nine. He's been climbing in the Cascades ever since, getting to know the character of the range in all seasons. Jacob's pursuit of climbing has taken him all across the western United States, and to Canada and Mexico. Jacob is certified in AIARE 1 and is a Wilderness First Responder.  Always willing to share the outdoors with newcomers, he is excited to be a part of the Mountain Madness team.

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

North America Program Director


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 started climbing on the east coast in northern New York's Adirondack Mountains, while attending SUNY Plattsburgh's Expeditionary Studies program. After moving west, Mark began his guiding career in Washington State's Cascade Range, and still guides there on a regular basis. These days Mark is constantly on the move, traveling all over the world for work and his personal climbing objectives. Mark's big mountain expedition guiding experience includes peaks such as Denali, Aconcagua, Elbrus, and Orizaba to name a few. When not at work Mark is often seen enjoying expensive food and drinking good beer with his incredible group of friends. Mark is consistently involved in the American Mountain Guides Association and moving towards certification while he continues guiding year round. Mark currently holds a Wilderness First Responder, Avalanche Level II, and AMGA Assistant Rock Guide certification.

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.

Sondra 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

Shy 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 IFMGA certified.  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. Additional certifications/education include  LNT Master Educator, Wilderness First Responder & M.S. Outdoor Education.

Jacob Schmitz

Jacob Schmitz started climbing more than 25 years ago. Living in Yosemite for 7 years is where he mastered the big walls. He has lead over 70 expeditions on peaks over 6,000 meters. Some of his more notable guided trips include Everest, Cho Oyu, Spantik in Pakistan, Bogda Feng in China, Kilimanjaro, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, more than 25 expeditions to Aconcagua, 18 to Denali, and multiple trips to Bolivia and Ecuador. His passion and dedication are evident on every trip he leads.

Dawa Geljen Sherpa

Dawa has enjoyed a prolific career in the outdoor world and as a mountain guide. Since 1981, he has dedicated himself to serving the outdoor community and participating in a variety of social causes. During his 30+ years as a guide he has led successful summits on Everest, Broad Peak, Kilimanjaro and Cordillera Blanca, among others. Dawa is the founder of  Classrooms in the Clouds, an organization dedicated to supporting education in the rural communities of Nepal. He has worked with renowned figures in the mountaineering world such as Scott Fischer, and continues to promote excellence as a guide and humanitarian endeavors.

Lama Babu Sherpa

Hailing from the Khumbu Valley, Lama is a certified IFMGA Mountain Guide and has received his Mountain Guide diploma from the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association. He has extensive expedition experience in the Himalaya and abroad with multiple summits of Everest, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, and other big peaks. In the off season Lama teaches mountaineering training courses to local aspirants in Nepal. 

Naga Dorjee Sherpa

Naga was born in the Khumbu Valley of Nepal where he lives with his wife and two young daughters. He has acquired a vast knowledge within the Everest region as well as many other trekking regions of Nepal. Naga’s resume also includes climbs of many trekking peaks in Nepal such as Island Peak, Mera Peak and Lobuche as well as Camp 2 on Mount Everest. Naga has traveled extensively in the United States and has a genuine understanding of western culture. His warm smile, sense of humor and confidence have made him valuable member of the Mountain Madness community and allows our trekkers to relax and enjoy the experience

Pasang Tendi Sherpa

Pasang Tendi Sherpa was born in 1983 in Khembalung, a remote village in the hidden valley of Makalu Barun National Park. Following the footsteps of his father, he started trekking and mountaineering at an early age of 13. His experience comes not just from growing up in the mountains, though it's an advantage for any mountaineer. He is one of the few Nepalis who has accomplished a Diploma in Mountain Guide (2011), certified by the IFMGA/UIAGM. He has also completed Longline Helicopter Rescue Training in Switzerland. He has scaled many renowned summits in the Andes, Europe, Nepal, Tibet & USA. So far, he has led 11 successful expeditions to the Mt. Everest Summit from both the North and South side. He worked for the Mountain Madness Everest Expeditions in 2007 and 2008, and in 2007 he summitted Everest twice in one week. Mountain Madness is very important to Tendi since his father Khamsu Sherpa worked with Madness founder Scott Fischer in the Khumbu. He is very keen on sharing his expertise of the Himalayan culture, magnificent mountaineering, unique experiences and some untold stories of the Himalayas to those who are fascinated by adventure, wilderness and of course the mountains!

Tendi Sherpa

Tendi Sherpa is a veteran IFMGA/UIAGM certified Mountain Guide and Climbing Instructor. So far, he has climbed mountains more than 100 times, including Mt. Everest and other Himalayan giants, plus French and Italian peaks. He works as Chief Instructor for the Nepal Mountaineering Association. In addition to mountaineering, he is also a Mountain Biking Guide. He has traveled extensively in different countries including Tibet, China, Germany, Italy, Austria, USA, France, Swiss, Thailand, and more in the course of climbing, instructing and biking. In addition, his significant involvement in important search and rescue missions like Ghunsa Helicopter Tragedy (2006), Everest Rescue (2007), Korean Expedition Manaslu (2009), French Expedition Manaslu (2013), etc., have added value to his professional as well as humanitarian experience. For Mr. Sherpa, mountains are not only his professional space but also his respected home. His extensive mountaineering experience can be summed up in some of his light-hearted words, “I have slept more under tents than at home!”



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.

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 a heli-ski guide, snow safety expert, professional ski patroller and is 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. 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.

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.