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.
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 last 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.
This season, everything has come full circle. I will be an assistant guide on a Denali climbing expedition in early June and afterward I look forward to launching my first season with Carl and his crew.
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.
I can wait to get out exploring with you all.
AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Search and Rescue
Kayak Rescue Training
A lifetime of backpacking
Several years of ice and rock climbing
Alaskan mountaineering guide, proficiency in glacier travel and rope systems
Sea Kayaking Guiding
“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.
“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. 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.
Super excited Beryl’s joined us for the season. Bringing the enthusiasm of youth and the experience of big mountain terrain, Beryl is keen to get out and show you around.
His quote from Bilbo Baggins says it all “I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, mountains, and then find somewhere where I can rest.”
I spoke with Beryl extensively this spring before hiring him on, and his commitment to learning, to wilderness and Alaska, to guiding and adventure sold me. Excellent references, solid certification credentials and a sense of what matters really make a difference.
Beryl “gets it”, and I’m thankful he’s part of our team.