Peak Mountain Guides
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About Peak Mountain Guides
A Company of AMGA Certified Instructors & Guides

divider
our team

matt wade, mountain guideMatt Wade

President & Founder

Instructor & Guide
AMGAAMGA

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide

Avalanche Level 1, 2, & 3

AIARE Level 1 & 2 Avalanche Instructor
AIARE Instructor Trainer

Certified Wilderness First Responder

Matt's caring nature and thoughtful program design characterize his many successful years as a professional climbing and skiing guide. He brings a methodical and practical approach to teaching climbing and skiing, ensuring his clients build a strong foundation for future endeavors. Matt's personal climbing and skiing achievements include first ascents of alpine routes in the Andes of Bolivia, first ski descents of steep couloirs in the San Juans of Colorado, and ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite. He holds a BS in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, where he also developed the Associated Students Outdoor Recreation Program.  He is also a Level 1 Instructor Trainer for the American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education (AIARE), helping the next generation of avalanche instructors hone their skills.  Matt was the recipient of the Marmot Ski Mountaineering Guide Exam Scholarship in 2006 and the Black Diamond Rock Guide Exam Scholarship in 2007.  Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, Megan, and his sons, Andrew and Ryan, when he's not in the mountains.

 

Chad PeeleChad Peele, Instructor & Guide
AMGAAMGA

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

AMGA Certified Alpine Guide

Avalanche Level 1 & 2

AIARE Level 1 & 2 Avalanche Instructor
Certified Wilderness First Responder

Chad's patient demeanor, thorough teaching style, and friendly nature bring out the best in all his climbers and skiers. He is known for his witty sense of humor and a special dedication to his clients' learning and enjoyment. Chad has shared his professional approach to guiding with a diversity of clients, from beginner to advanced and young to old, throughout North and South America for 13 years. Chad is a veteran of many big mountain expeditions to the world's great peaks including Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, Makalu, Mt. Rainier, Denali, Moose 's Tooth, and Aconcagua. Chad is on the design team for First Ascent/Eddie Bauer clothing and has been instrumental in the creation of their guide line of products.

 

angela hawse, mountain guideAngela Hawse, Instructor & Guide
AMGAAMGAAMGAIFMGA

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
AMGA Certified Alpine Guide

AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide
IFMGA Internationally Licensed Guide

Avalanche Level 1, 2, & 3

Certified Wilderness First Responder

Angela has been climbing for 25 years and has worked professionally, full-time as a guide for over two decades.  She is one of the most experienced women guides in the industry, and is one of only 6 female guides in the country to have achieved certification in all of the AMGA Guide disciplines: Alpine, Rock, and Ski Mountaineering.  As such, Angela holds the highly regarded international credential for mountain guides, that of the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA). She has led over 20 high altitude expeditions including ascents of Denali, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid and lesser peaks in the Himalaya.  In 1998 Angela reached the south summit of Mt. Everest, the second highest point on earth at 28,875 feet.  She has climbed big walls in Yosemite, Zion, and Pakistan and has personal ascents in Patagonia and throughout the Andes, Himalaya, and Karakoram.  Angela has a Master of Arts degree in International Mountain Conservation and has served on the Board of Directors for the American Mountain Guides Association for six years.  She is also a guide trainer and examiner for the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and was the recipient of the AMGA "Guide of Year" Award in 2011.

 

gary ryan

Gary Ryan, Instructor & Guide
AMGA

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
AMGA Ice Instructor Course

Avalanche Level 1 & 2

Certified Wilderness First Responder

 

 

 

Born in Northern England to a climbing family, Gary grew up on the traditional crags of the UK and classic mountains of Western Europe.  A seasoned mountain professional, Gary has been climbing for 35 years and working as a full time AMGA certified rock guide for the past decade.  From World Cup events to first ascents, spanning from Alaska to the Alps, Gary has performed at high standards around the globe. His depth of experience and personal climbing accomplishments belie his easy going nature and his infectious British sense of humor, and are only secondary to his dedication to his clients.  Gary's exhuberance, enthusiasm and confidence in the mountains inspires the very best in his clients.  He has a Bachelor's degree in Geology from St. John's College in Manchester, England.

 

Dan Zokaites

Dan Zokaites, Lead Instructor & Guide
AMGAAMGAAMGAIFMGA

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
AMGA Certified Alpine Guide

AMGA Certified Ski Mountaineering Guide
IFMGA Internationally Licensed Guide

Avalanche Level 1, 2, & 3

Certified Wilderness First Responder

Dan guides around the world in all disciplines of climbing and has successfully guided clients to the top of several "Seven Summits" including Carstenz Pyramid and Aconcagua.  He has been guiding for 5 years and is certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) as a Rock Guide.  Dan also has a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and he enjoys the real world application of mechanical principles in the mountains.  His in-depth understanding of rope systems, hauling principles, and other high-tech aspects of climbing enables him to be a particularly effective teacher of these subjects.  Dan is also an avid skier and has spent several winters ski patrolling at Telluride Ski Resort.  In addition to his AMGA Rock Guide certification, he holds Outdoor Emergency Care, Wilderness First Responder, and Avalanche Level 1, 2, & 3 certifications.

 

Jim Turner

Jim Turner, Instructor & Guide
AMGA

AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Certified Wilderness First Responder

 

 

 

 

Jim is an accomplished alpinist with an impressive resume of highly regarded ascents around the world.  He has completed difficult routes in the Central Alaska Range, the Canadian Rockies, Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, Argentine and Chilean Patagonia, and extensively around the Colorado Plateau, including at least 30 different routes in the Black Canyon and an equal amount of desert towers.  He has climbed Fitz Roy in Argentina by two different routes and he has completed first ascents in Patagonia, the Central Alaska Range and in the desert Southwest. In addition to his extensive background in climbing, Jim has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of New England and he has worked as environmental educator for many years.  He combines his enthusiasm for climbing and his experience as an educator to provide fun-filled, educational climbing experiences for his clients. 

 

 

Marc RippergerMarc Ripperger, Instructor & Guide
AMGAAMGA

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
AMGA Certified Alpine Guide

Avalanche Level 1, 2, & 3
Leave No Trace Master Trainer
Certified Wilderness First Responder

 

 

A native to the plains of Iowa, Marc relocated to the desert Southwest after college and has been ambitiously pursuing his passion for the mountains ever since. Marc has guided throughout North and South America for over ten years. His experience includes extensive ice and rock guiding in the San Juan Range of Colorado, where he makes his home each winter. He has also led expeditions and taught courses in Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Pacific Northwest, Canada, Alaska, Russia, Kenya, and throughout the desert Southwest near Moab, UT. Marc is an AMGA certified rock and alpine guide and he enjoys educating climbers of all ability levels. His passion for teaching is a hallmark of his style and he has a long history of helping climbers reach their goals. Outside of guiding, Marc has established numerous first in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico, where he lives with his wife. During his days off, he enjoys climbing with his wife and squeezing in time for painting and eating good food. Marc holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of New Mexico.

 

josh hirshbergJosh Hirshberg

Director of Snow Safety

Instructor & Guide
AMGA

AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Avalanche Level 1, 2, & 3

AIARE Level 1 & 2 Avalanche Instructor

AIARE Instructor Trainer
Certified Wilderness First Responder

 

A passion for the outdoors has shaped Josh’s life and provided him with endless opportunities for learning and teaching others. Josh enjoys all forms of mountain travel while specializing in skiing and avalanche assessment. For over a decade he has worked as a guide, outdoor educator, and avalanche forecaster. Josh has worked extensively in Colorado, in the Sierra Nevada’s, and as far off as the Argentine Andes. He previously worked as an avalanche forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and the Crested Butte Avalanche Center. Josh holds a B.A. from Prescott College where he studied Visual Art, Social Ecology, and Snow Studies. He is an AIARE avalanche Course Leader and Instructor Trainer as well as an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and Assistant Ski Guide. When not skiing or climbing Josh enjoys biking, photography, supporting social justice movements, and spending time with his family.

 

zach lovellZach Lovell

Instructor & Guide
AMGA AMGA

AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

PSIA Level 1

Avalanche Level 1 & 2

Certified Wilderness First Responder

 

Zach’s family spans from Colorado to Missouri and as such calls them both home. He enjoyed a diverse upbringing from the alpine playground of Colorado to the humid rock crags of the Midwest. After living and climbing abroad in the European Alps, Zach began his guiding career in Washington State in 2013 and now operates in the Cascades, the Alaska Range including Denali, Red Rock, and the San Juans in the winter. He graduated from Western State Colorado University with a B.A in Outdoor Recreation and Education, and is now pursuing all 3 disciplines of the AMGA. When he isn’t out climbing and skiing you can find him writing/performing music in a variety of genres.

 

Danika GilbertDanika Gilbert, Instructor & Guide
AMGA AMGA

AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Avalanche Level 1, 2 & 3

Certified Wilderness First Responder

 

 

Danika Gilbert has been guiding around the world for over twenty years. She has worked in many different environments and locations. From mountain biking and trekking to rock and ice climbing and backcountry skiing, Danika is comfortable guiding just about anything in the mountains. She has worked with athletes with adaptive needs and is helping a group of young Afghan women learn to climb mountains in Afghanistan. She is honored to work with Peak Mountain Guides and enjoys helping anyone achieve a dream or explore new possibilities.

 

steven van sickleSteven Van Sickle, Instructor & Guide
AMGA

AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor

Avalanche Level 1

Certified Wilderness First Responder

 

 

Steven is a dedicated climber and motivated mountain guide who is conscientious and skilled at balancing the needs of clients in a safe and professional manner. He first learned to climb on the steep granite cliffs of the Sandia Mountains outside of Albuquerque. After years of living and climbing out of his car, he began guiding in Ouray where he now calls home. Steven is a graduate of the Alpine Mentors Program which has given him the opportunity to climb in remote locations all over the world. In the unfortunate circumstance of rain, Steven enjoys playing guitar, reading books, thinking about future climbing trips and spending time with his incredible wife.

 

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At Peak Mountain Guides we take pride in offering exceptionally well designed programs that emphasize safety, education, and having fun.  The following Core Values guide us in our pursuit of excellence:

Risk Management is our First Priority
At Peak Mountain Guides we are 100% dedicated to risk management. Our decision making can be characterized as consistently thoughtful and attentive, and our AMGA certified guides have the training and experience to make sound decisions on your behalf.

Many steps are taken to ensure we are maximizing your rewards while minimizing risk. Our AMGA certified guides have customized daily route plans, weather and avalanche forecasts, communications devices, and well maintained equipment at their disposal. We have a risk management plan designed for every one of our programs and we review it with you prior to departure. These extra steps are taken so you feel comfortable and in good hands when you climb or ski with us.

Caring is the Foundation of Our Leadership
As a company that is dedicated to individuals and groups of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, we build trust and form relationships through caring. First and foremost, we listen. We want to hear about your dreams and goals, your apprehensions and concerns, and your questions. Our guides are approachable and easy going so our dialogue together is always relaxed and enjoyable. We go out of our way to create a supportive atmosphere so you feel safe and comfortable throughout your experience.

We Believe in Education
What sets our guides apart is their ability to consistently design learning opportunities that facilitate your skill development and mountain judgment. Of course our guides hold high credentials, an impressive technical ability, and proven judgment, yet their willingness and skill for teaching is what makes them truly special. After spending time with us you will have greater proficiency in skills and a deeper understanding of an array of climbing and skiing concepts. In addition, your judgment and decision making ability will improve as our guides articulate the process of staying safe and having fun in the mountains. Every program you do with us will enhance your repertoire of skills and understanding so you continue to grow as a climber or skier.

We Take Pride in Great Service
We offer the highest level of service for your education and success. This includes prompt and thorough replies to your emails and phone calls; assistance with your gear selection; careful trip planning with customized daily route plans, risk management plans, and time estimates; pre-trip in-person consultations before all multi-day trips; and a commitment to your learning by taking every opportunity to share our process of decision making with you. This attention to detail ensures top-notch program design and seamless logistics.

Let's Have Some Fun!
Climbing and skiing with Peak Mountain Guides is fun! While we're working hard for you, we're having fun! And so will you! Whether we're flowing through perfect powder in a beautiful bowl, or pulling the crux move to stand on an incredible summit, we're always taking a moment to smile and laugh. After all, this is what it's all about! Join us for good times, lots of smiles, and memories that will last a lifetime.

 

PARTNERS & AFFILIATIONS

IFMGA
International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations.  The International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA) is the world wide governing body for professional mountain guides. Guides who have passed exams in all AMGA disciplines (rock, alpine, and ski) become licensed by the IFMGA. This represents the highest level of training and credential achievable by a mountain guide. Peak Mountain Guides staff members Angela Hawse, Geoff Unger, and Tim Brown are IFMGA licensed mountain guides.
Marmot. Marmot is an award-winning, globally distributed brand of high performance technical clothing, apparel and equipment. Since 1974, Marmot products have been worn by climbers, skiers, mountaineers and adventurers worldwide. Marmot is the official clothing sponsor of Peak Mountain Guides.
Petzl
Petzl. Petzl is an industry leader in the development of climbing hardware, ropes, headlamps, and softgoods. With game-changing innovations like the first leashless ice tools and the first harnesses with DoubleBack buckles, Petzl has a reputation as a maker of progressive, highly functional climbing equipment. Peak Mountain Guides is proud to partner with Petzl to provide our clients with Petzl ice tools, crampons, harnesses, and helmets.  We also use Petzl ropes on all our programs.
K2 Backside.  K2 Backside series skis are designed for legendary K2 performance with backcountry specific features. They have rocker tips for smooth turn initiation and float in powder, tip and tail holes for rapid attachment of climbing skins, and straight tails for easy kick turns and quick anchors. We are proud to have K2 Backside as our ski program partner. 
SCARPA
SCARPA. SCARPA is one of the world's longest-running makers of climbing and skiing footwear.  Since 1938, their legendary Italian craftsmanship has been known for exceptional performance, fit, and durability. SCARPA has many "firsts" to its credit, including being the first to design a Gore-Tex boot and the first to design a plastic telemark boot.  They were also one of the early pioneers of a high altitude plastic mountaineering boot, which is now the standard for many expeditions today.  We provide our clients with SCARPA rock climbing shoes, mountain boots and ski boots.
Back Country Access
Backcountry Access. Backcountry Access (BCA) makes innovative avalanche safety equipment that is grounded in comprehensive research.  BCA has contributed numerous cutting-edge discoveries to the avalanche community about important topics such as strategic shoveling, multiple burials, and probing techniques.  Peak Mountain Guides' clients are provided with BCA beacons, shovels, and probes on all skiing and avalanche programs.
Pivot Cycles
Pivot Cycles. Pivot makes mountain bikes that climb better, descend better, corner better, and simply feel better than any other bikes on the market. Performace oriented features such as DW-Link suspension, finely tuned frame geometry, and perfectly matched components make for an exceptoinal rider experience. At Peak Mountain Guides we use Pivot mountain bikes for approaches to distance desert towers, alpine summit climbs, and anywhere a mountain bike can add efficiency and fun to our day.
 
AIARE logo

American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education.  The American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education (AIARE) is the country's foremost authority on avalanche education. Peak Mountain Guides staff Matt Wade, Chad Peele, and Tim Brown are AIARE qualified Level 1 and Level 2 avalanche instructors. Matt and Tim also serve as Instructor Trainers for AIARE. 

Ouray Ice Park

Ouray Ice Park.  The Ouray Ice Park is the world's most accessible and diverse ice climbing park.  Located just 5 minutes from downtown Ouray, it offers world-class ice climbing in an incredibly convenient setting.  There are over 200 routes throughout the mile-long Uncompahgre Gorge with options for both beginners and advanced climbers alike.  Peak Mountain Guides is a top level sponsor of the Ouray Ice Park.

Avalanche Research
American Avalanche Association.  The American Avalanche Association represents the professional interests of the United States avalanche community including educators, ski patrollers, forecasters, guides, and snow safety officers.  All Peak Mountain Guides ski staff are Professional Members of the American Avalanche Association.
Leave no trace logo
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.  The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide.  Peak Mountain Guides is proud to be a Partner Organization with Leave No Trace. 
American Alpine Club
American Alpine Club.  The American Alpine Club (AAC) supports alpinists, rock & ice climbers, boulderers, and mountaineers who are passionate about climbing, its community, its history, and its preservation.  The AAC does this by providing knowledge and inspiration, conservation and advocacy, and logistical support for the climbing community.  All Peak Mountain Guides staff are members of the American Alpine Club.  
Ouray Mountain Sports.  Ouray Mountain Sports caters to rock climbers, ice climbers, and alpinists.  They have a wide selection of climbing gear and their friendly, knowledgeable staff can offer expert advice on any gear question.  We work closely with Ouray Mountain Sports to provide our clients with the best equipment and clothing for their climbing endeavors.
Leave no trace logo
US Forest Service. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to "care for the land and serve people".  Peak Mountain Guides is an agency partner with the Ouray Ranger District of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests.  As an agency partner Peak Mountain Guides promotes responsible recreation and low impact ethics.
National Park Service
National Park Service.  The National Park Service oversees the management and safeguarding of the National Park System, which includes nearly 400 places with over 275 million visitors every year.  Peak Mountain Guides serves as a steward of Mt. Rainier and North Cascades National Parks by fostering resource protection and providing interpretation for the guided public.

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AMGA Certification
Peak Mountain Guides staff members Angela Hawse, Geoff Unger, and Tim Brown are AMGA certified American Mountain Guides and IFMGA internationally licensed guides.

Peak Mountain Guides LLC | 280 7th Avenue | PO Box 1025 | Ouray, CO 81427 | 970-325-7342 | info@peakmountainguides.com

IFMGA internationally licensed guides