About San Juan Mountain Guides
The Local Experts
Our guide service is based in both Ouray and Durango, Colorado – located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. We offer both open registration courses and custom programs designed to fit individual goals. Custom programs allow us the flexibility to structure the curriculum to meet each person or self-organized group’s specific needs and objectives. Either way, your outdoor experience will be not only instructional, but also personalized and fun.
Our tag line – “The Local Experts” – says a lot about who we are and who we continually strive to be as guides and mountain professionals. Whether it is on the classic ice routes of Ouray, Silverton, and Telluride or on remote alpine climb’s in Alaska’s Ruth Gorge, we work tirelessly to consistently update, add to, and improve our knowledge of all the factors that go into running a successful and rewarding program for our clients and guests.
26 Years of Expert Guiding
San Juan Mountain Guides was founded in 1986 by Mike O’Donnell. In the mid-90′s Mike Gibbs also became an owner of SJMG. Both Mike O’Donnell and Mike Gibbs were instrumental in the creation of the Ouray Ice Park and the development of ice guiding in the United States. In 2003, Clint and his wife Ryan Cook became the owners of SJMG and they helped to continue the growth of the sport of ice climbing in Ouray.
In the spring of 2012 Nate Disser acquired San Juan Mountain Guides from the Cook’s. Nate was also the owner Southwest Adventure Guides (SWAG) – a Durango, CO based mountain guide service, which he had run since 2004. In the fall of 2012 SJMG and SWAG merged under the name San Juan Mountain Guides.
The San Juan Mountain Guides Difference
- The Local Experts: San Juan Mountain Guides has been in operation since 1986. In that time we have gained an unparalleled knowledge of local routes, teaching methodologies, guiding techniques, and respect amongst the local business and climbing community.
- AMGA Accreditation: San Juan Mountain Guides is one of a select group of companies to be recognized as an AMGA Accredited Guide Service. As an accredited company, you can be certain that San Juan Mountain Guides meets or exceeds industry standards for business practices and guide training and certification.
- Locally Owned and Operated: Since 1986 we have been Durango’s and Ouray, Colorado’s premier climbing guide service that is also 100% locally owned and family operated!
- Experience: Over the years we have conducted thousands of trips of all shapes and sizes, involving a wide range of activities, everywhere from Colorado and Alaska, to South America.
- Small group sizes: Our trips usually have between two and six people plus one or two guides per trip. The trips are small and very personalized.
- Guide Certification: The majority of our guides are AMGA or IFMGA Certified, and all of our guides have participated in AMGA courses and trainings. This means you will experience the highest level of professional service and technically proficient guide.
- Leadership: Our guides are experienced professionals that have developed highly effective teaching skills and have unparalleled training and experience. Our Senior Guides also speak the language in the countries in which we operate international expeditions, insuring that your trips runs as smoothly as possible.
- Pre-trip support: You have access to a small and personal office staff who have actually “been there and done that”.
- References: We maintain a data base of previous and current clients who can provide references for San Juan Mountain Guides’ trips and guides.
- Strong Domestic Program: We are not an office in a large city, far from the mountains. Our office staff and guides live, train, and work in the mountains every day.
What does all this mean?
What all this means to you is that your trip runs smoothly, with a high rate of success, no hassles, the highest possible risk management, and unsurpassed customer service. We know the places we run trips and love the job we do. It’s that simple.
Whether you’re looking to do a major high altitude climb, learn some new skills, or just have an enjoyable mountain adventure, San Juan Mountain Guides has the experience to pull it together for you.