My path to becoming a guide began in the early spring of 2019. I found myself backpacking alone in Alaska. Somehow, I got a free flight tour to the top of Denali that landed on a high-altitude glacier. Enthralled by the towering great white peak, I knew then I wanted to become a mountaineer and come back to stand at the top of Denali. When I came back home to the Northeast, I enrolled in the first intro to mountaineering course I could in the White Mountains of New Hampshire; I was hooked. The guides I was with were pillars of true leadership and lovers of the outdoors and life, unlike anything I’ve seen. From then on, I aspired to become a guide.
My guiding career kickstarted in the summer in 2021 in Haines, Alaska. I guided on multi-day mountaineering expedition trips in the mountains and glaciers of Southeast Alaska, as well as sea kayaking and backpacking. In my time in Haines, I learned the importance of going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the guests had the most meaningful and fulfilling trips.
I find it very rewarding to cultivate experiences and lessons of a lifetime that only the outdoors can provide. When in the backcountry, I am guiding people through some of their hardest and best days of their lives. And the moment the weather clears and we get to see the view, that is when we know it was all worth the effort; a conquest of body and soul. Those types of moments are the ones I live for and find meaning in.
Last season, everything has come full circle. I was an assistant guide on a Denali climbing expedition in late May. Afterwards, I was leading expedition backpacking trips up to 14 days long all over the vast state of Alaska. From trips up in the Northern Brooks Range in the Gates of the Arctic National Park to the southeast corner of Wrangles St. Eias. Next Season, I look forward to launching my first season partnering with Tyler Kuhn and A-Team Outfitters!
The other half of me is that I am a full-time Mechanical Engineering student at Johns Hopkins University. At school, I created a blacksmithing and knifemaking club and have a part-time internship developing a biological research device. Although I live in the East during the off season, my heart will always be in Alaska.
I can wait to get out exploring with you all.
Quote about life:
“You either make life happen or let it happen. The epitome of life is to create something whether that’s bringing your dreams to fruition or forming lasting memories on adventures.”
3 Years of Alaskan Backcountry Guiding from day trips to large Expeditions
A lifetime of backpacking
Alaskan mountaineering guide, proficiency in glacier travel and rope systems
Sea Kayaking Guiding
Philosophy of Food:
“An army marches on its stomach.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
My father would say he learned how to cook by listening to his stomach. The same is true for me and I have a large one so I like to eat a lot and well in the backcountry.
Thoughts on Safety:
“The mountain doesn’t say you are black, you are white, you are weak, you are strong. It’s one rule for everybody. If you give up, you die…” Nims Purja
Nims is one of the greatest mountaineers today whom I revere. Although we are not summiting K2 in the winter like him, we are nonetheless entering the Alaskan backcountry. His words are necessary to pay heed to. When entering the wilderness, we must always remember mother nature is unforgiving and unpredictable and must be respected. However, the rewards are infinite when we play by her rules. I always approach all my trips with humility and never take shortcuts when safety is a concern.
Most major accidents are avoidable by recognizing heuristic and biased decision-making traps. In the guiding world, the most common trap people fall into is “expert halo.” In other words, following the guides without ever voicing your questions or concern.
When we are in the backcountry together, we are a team. I rely on everyone I travel with for feedback and to communicate. At the beginning of each day, we set a game plan. If there is a concern, we group up, discuss and reassess.
Favorite Movie Quote:
Bilbo Baggins: “I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, mountains, and then find somewhere where I can rest.”