The Northwest Mountain School Guide Staff
In addition to John Race and Olivia Cussen
, the Northwest Mountain School utilizes a variety of other guides. These local climbers are selected for their climbing skills, their ability to provide a professionally run program, and personalities that make any day of climbing or skiing enjoyable. The basic requirements for employment include a minimum of a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification and a CPR certification. While American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) training and certification is not required for work with Leavenworth Rock Guides or Northwest Mountain School, it is preferred. As the US is not yet a credential based system (i.e. where guides are required to be certified) it is expected that individuals will do some guiding prior to obtaining their certification and we are happy to provide a venue for these excellent guides to work toward AMGA certification.
Jared’s climbing adventures began at 16 in California with a chalk bag and a pair of converse. A steady diet of climbing mags and Trad classics by Robbins, Chouinard and Long soon took him to the Big walls of Yosemite and later to crags, travels, and employment on each of the seven continents. Jared’s love of adventure and passion for creating a safe, exciting, and engaging experience form the foundation of his guiding resume. Jared holds a B.A. and Graduate Certificate in Linguistics and when not guiding works as a professional Firefighter/Paramedic (IAFF). Jared is also a Wilderness/High Altitude rated paramedic, FEMA rated Disaster Medical Specialist and Emergency Medical and Technical Rescue educator. Jared holds AVI II certification, and is a Leave no Trace Trainer. He lives in Tacoma, WA with his wife and two young daughters.
AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Tico is a native of upstate New York, and started learning to climb in the Gunks in the early 90’s. Since then, he’s visited all 50 states and climbed rock in 41 of them, and is still learning subtleties and tactics in the art of climbing. Highlights of his career include helping to lead the first disabled Nose-in-a-day, spending way too much time in the desert, and shredding the champagne powder of his current home in Utah. Tico has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, is a WFR, has completed an AIARE Level 3 course, and is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide.
Eric was born Kansas, where he says he was able to hone his skills in the flats before taking them to the mountains. And yes, I know what you are thinking, I am not in Kansas anymore, and that is okay with me. He graduated with a degree in Business Management from Colorado Christian University in Denver, Colorado, where he probably spent more time climbing and skiing than in class. After college, he moved to Washington where he has spent the last 5 years climbing and guiding all over the Cascades. Eric has led climbing trips in the Cascades and expeditions in South America and Alaska. Eric spends his winters as a professional Ski Patroller at Crystal Mountain where he enjoys ski touring and working with his avalanche rescue dog Luna. Eric is Level II Avalanche Certified, a Wilderness First Responder, OEC certified, a Leave No Trace Trainer, and is also on his way to AMGA certification.
Joel’s passion for climbing has led him on many exploits to the premier rock and ice venues. Alpine regions especially inspire and influence him. Joel has climbed internationally in Argentine Patagonia, the Italian Dolomites and Canada, as well as traveled to Mexico, Dominican Republic, Switzerland, and Austria. Joel usually spends the winter climbing in Patagonia then two months in the Alaska Range before returning to work each summer for NMS. Joel has lately been working to hone his off-width technique and recently succeeded in climbing Fitzroy in Patagonia. Joel attended the University of Montana, Missoula where he received a B.A. in Biology with an emphasis on Ecology (2004) as well as an education in the climbing to be had in the state that literally means “mountainous.”
A native or Oregon, Geoff has been climbing since 1997 and guiding since 2005. Apart from successfully summiting all of the Cascade volcanoes from California to British Columbia, he has done most of them multiple times and most by various routes. When not in the Northwest working difficult alpine routes, you’ll find him in the Sierra, Tetons, Bugaboos, and the Rockies looking for anyone to go climbing with. Geoff successfully summited both Liberty Ridge on Rainier and Casaval Ridge on Shasta in a total of four days, both separated by 500 miles and two state lines, on a friends dare in a pub! His friend now owes him beer the rest of his life. When not guiding, Geoff enjoys backcountry skiing with his dog Kaya, rock climbing with his wife Julia, and chasing after his twin girls Eden and Haley. Geoff is an accredited member of the American Mountain Guides Association and has completed his Rock Instructor and Alpine Guides courses looking to one day be a fully certified IFMGA guide. He also has his Wilderness First Responder, AIARE Avalanche Level II, and is an AIARE Level I Instructor during the winter months.
Drew started guiding in 2000, primarily leading skiers and climbers in the heavily glaciated terrain of Alaska's Wrangell-St.Elias Range and Chugach Mountains. As a climber he has traveled throughout North America, India, China, Bolivia, and New Zealand. Extensive travel led to a desire to settle down here in Leavenworth, WA where he lives with his wife in Icicle Creek Canyon. An avid climber and skier, Drew uses the solid granite, and reliable snow pack found in his own backyard to train for annual pilgrimages to the great ranges of the world. Drew's motivation to guide stems from a love of wild places and the opportunity to share those places with good friends. Drew is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and holds a level III avalanche certification. Drew also works as a Professional Ski Patroller at Stevens Pass Ski Area.
Andres is a native of I am 27 years old, from Ibague, Colombia and learned to climb in the central mountains of Colombia. Andres came to the United States in pursuit of the AMGA/IFMGA certification, with the goal of becoming the first Colombian IFMGA guide. After my certification process is finished, he plans to take his education back to the guides in Colombia. Andres’ philosophy is to be kind, be happy, and try hard. A recipient of the Mugs Stump Grant, Andres has represented the US in the Ice Climbing World Cup for the past 3 years. He is currently an AMGA certified Rock Guide, an Alpine aspirant, and working towards his ski certification. Andres has a very deep personal climbing resume including difficult mixed lines (up to M12), and challenging big walls in Yosemite, Zion, the Fisher Towers, and Columbia. He has guided on Denali and Mt. Rainier for many years now.
Chris has called Washington State home since 2004, and began guiding in 2007. He loves sharing the experience of the mountains with others, and feels lucky to be able to do so for a living. He has guided on Mt Rainier, numerous other peaks in the Washington Cascades, Mexico and Nepal. When not guiding, he spends time exploring the Cascades on backcountry skiing and climbing trips. Climbing and skiing have also taken him to most of the western U.S., Canada, France, New Zealand, and Thailand. He holds an Avalanche Level II certification and is a Wilderness First Responder. Chris also holds an engineering degree that gets used intermittently.
AMGA Certified Rock and Alpine
Ian's intense focus on climbing began in 1998. Ian's drive has taken him into the Kichatna Spires of Alaska and the Waddington Range of British Columbia to help establish first ascents with the help of two Mountain Fellowship Grants from the American Alpine Club. He has also made extensive trips through much of the Western United States and abroad in places like the Alaska Range, French Alps, Yosemite, Patagonia, Zion, the B.C. Coast Range, the Tetons, and the Canadian Rockies just to name a few. In his home state of Washington he has put up over a half dozen first ascent both in the mountains as well as the on the crags. Ian is a certified AMGA Rock and Alpine Guide, an AIARE level 1 avalanche instructor, a Wilderness First Responder, as well as AIARE level 3 certified. Ian continues to pursue full IFMGA professional guide certification. He is also newly associated with the American Safe Climbing Association after replacing nearly 100 bolts in the last 2 1/2 years. Ian's uncontrollable enthusiasm is always showing, no matter the objective, no matter the weather he is always excited to be out in the mountains.
IFMGA Licensed Guide
Nick began climbing in 1986 and started guiding in 2003. He completed his full IFMGA certification in the Spring of 2011. Enjoying a wide spectrum of climbing and skiing, his travels have taken him from skiing in the Alps to the big walls of Yosemite, from Canadian Rockies ice to Sierra Nevada alpine rock, as well as many places in between. Nick guides climbing and skiing in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and Europe. He is an active volunteer with Portland Mountain Rescue and is a Wilderness First Responder. He has completed his AIARE Level III Avalanche Course and is a Course leader for AIARE Level 1 courses.Nick's Photos
Austin Shannon grew up in Bend Oregon where his love for the mountains began. He followed that passion to Colorado for college at Colorado Christian University. During His time in Colorado he enjoyed all that it had to offer, from rock climbing and ice climbing, to snowboarding and mountaineering. One of the most influential times in his life was when he spent a semester in Patagonia, Chile with the National Outdoor Leadership School where he learned to be comfortable and survive in any outdoor environment. Austin is a certified Leave No Trace educator and a Wilderness First Responder. He has now returned to the Northwest to further his passion for being in the outdoors.Austin has been working as a professional mountain guide since 2008. Since his beginning as a guide he has worked all over the Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and California--as well as Alaska and Mexico. Austin continues to further his professional development through the AMGA working to attain his IFMGA certification.
Einar began his guiding carrier in 2001 training the U.S Marine corps for winter survival in the unpredictable terrain of Iceland and Greenland. He quickly realized that there was something to this business of guiding. After somewhat exhausting his mountain resources in Iceland he traveled to the French Alps to seek some further experience. After that followed New Zealand, British Columbia, South America and the U.S.. He now resides in beautiful Leavenworth, WA with his wife and son during the fall and winter months. Einar mostly enjoys the vast expanses of glaciated and alpine terrain however he is slowly but surely gaining appreciation for the Cascade trees. He has multiple Ice-climbing first ascents in Iceland along with alpine and skiing first ascents and descents in Greenland. Einar has completed the Canadian Avalanche Associations Level 2, Module 3 training, he is a Wilderness First Responder and is actively pursuing IFMGA certification through the AMGA.
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