I grew up here in Utah, which has given me a strong love of the mountains and adventure. I learned to ski at a young age, which quickly became a passion that has grown throughout my life. Growing up I learned to hunt and fish and hike in the mountains, these activities gave me a strong sense of the joy in the challenges that can be found in the outdoors.
In high school my favorite things were mountain biking and skiing. I would work all summer to save up for a ski pass and new skis. I liked to ski the bumps (mogul’s) and even competed on the Bud Pro Mogul Tour. Once the snow melted and the trails dried I loved to ride the single track in Millcreek canyon above my house.
During college I learned to rock climb, and began to dabble in mountaineering which led to a trip with friends to ski the great glaciated volcanoes of the Northwest. My desire to learn the skills it takes to climb and ski mountains grew, as did the friendships that formed around these activities. Adventure began to become a major guiding force my life.
My first Outdoor job was working with troubled youth in wilderness therapy programs.
The years I spent working for these wildness therapy programs were formative times. My work schedule was perfect for taking lot’s of climbing and skiing trips. My Schedule was 8 days working in the field and 6 days off. I lived in my truck, so every week was a different adventure.
Because of my work schedule I was able to take off only one shift and get three weeks of vacation. My wife Winslow and I were alway taking trips to the Cascades, Sierra’s, and really all over the West. We took some bigger trips too. Alaska was a favorite, where we did things like the Whiteout Glacier Traverse in the Chugach and a 100+ mile crossing of the Alaska Range.
We chose to do one of these longer trips to the European Alps. Our main objective on this trip was the Haute Route. We had more than a month long trip planned, and while over there we met Ramsay Thomas. Ramsay was one of the first Americans to achieve IFMGA certification, and he became my most impactful mountain mentor.
During our time in the Alps, Ramsay had organized a Haute Route trip with some friends. The trip quickly grew as friends invited friends. Ramsay was the only guide on the trip and he knew it was not safe to travel in one big group. He proposed a solution; He would do a sort of guide training with us in the weeks leading up to the trip, then we could be leaders of a sub group under his direction. We did daily “guide” meetings while on the route, made route plans and debriefed our days. Ramsay gave feedback and suggestions and was very encouraging.
My experiences with Ramsay inspired me to explore guiding as a career. After the Alps I moved to Washington state to be closer to glaciated peaks and American guiding. I applied for jobs and was hired by Alpine Ascents. Guiding for Alpine, I gained a lot of experience and made many connections. I was a Senior Guide and guided in the Cascades, Antarctica, Tibet, Alaska and South America.
During my time at AAI, I also pursued continuing education. The AMGA was a lot smaller and less recognized then, but largely because of Ramsay’s encouragement I embarked on my pursuit of IFMGA certification. Achieving IFMGA certification is a rigorous process involving courses and exams in the three disciplines of guiding: Skiing, Alpine Climbing and Rock Climbing. Between working to pay for the education and training and finding time for courses and exams, the entire process took me nearly 8 years to complete. In 2009 I became only the 62nd American to achieve full IFMGA certification.
My entire adult life, I have had jobs with very little direct supervision. I even started and ran a successful business, manufacturing and selling log furniture. An independent person in nature, starting my own guiding company seemed a perfect next step. Leaving a company that gave me interesting challenging trips and a steady stream of clients was not an easy decision. I had my fears, but taking more control of my own destiny was what I wanted and needed to do. So in 2009 I started In The Company of Guides LLC.
Over the years I have been lucky to have some active and loyal clients. Really these people are much more than just clients. They have become friends, In many cases, close personal friends. Without their support and their desires for summits and adventure I don’t know where I would be today. I have had the pleasure of introducing people to backcountry skiing, that now do big ski trips with me every year. I have been honored to have guided many people on their last of the Seven Summits. A handful of these same people I have guided on multiple summits of their seven summits quest. I have been given the trust and opportunity to guide these friends to places I had not previously climbed. I have even done first ascents and climbed virgin mountains with my guests.
Custom personalized trips have become a mainstay of my business, and something I love to do. The research, planning and organization that goes into these trips keeps me inspired and on my toes. Guiding all over the world to the most iconic mountains and storied parts of the climbing world, has kept me steeped in the international guiding and climbing culture. I have made contacts and friendships everywhere I go. It’s rare not to bump into an old friend or familiar face no matter the adventures venue.
In 2013 my son Bodhi was born. My wife Winslow and I, had been married already for 15 years, but put off having a family because we didn’t want to give up our lives of adventure. Turning 40 and feeling more secure with our business changed our perspectives. We decided we didn’t want to miss out on the experience of having a family and believed we could find a way to keep adventure a central focus for our family.
I love my family, my business and my job and am grateful for the life Winslow and I have built. I hope to be able to share my skills, experience, and gratitude with you on your next mountain adventure!