Aaron Ball

Aaron Ball

Aaron Pic Snow

Aaron grew up on a farm in Northern California where his parents ran a summer camp featuring backpacking, horse packing, fishing, and simply spending time in the mountains. His first 14er was Mt. Shasta in logging boots when he was 16. He began climbing, guiding, and teaching in the outdoors in 1998 while attending Chico State University. He made plenty of stupid decisions early in his climbing and skiing career, but happened to develop great mentors along the way that helped him develop his craft. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Science in 1999, he worked as a raft guide in Utah; a rock, mountain, and river instructor and staff trainer for Outward Bound in Oregon, California, and Utah; and a ski patroller at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Aaron moved to the San Juan Mountains in 2005 and began guiding for San Juan Mountain Guides shortly thereafter.

Aaron’s guiding and outdoor education career is fueled by his passion for the mountains, the technical subtleties of his trade, and the people he meets while working in a career he loves. In addition to being a guide and educator for San Juan Mountain Guides, Aaron is also an instructor trainer for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), the Operations Coordinator and Lecturer for Fort Lewis College’s Adventure Education Department, and the owner of Southwest Rescue, a company providing wilderness medicine and swiftwater rescue courses in the Four Corners region.

Aaron has completed the AMGA Rock Guide Course and the AMGA Ski Guide Course. He is Level 3 avalanche certified and a Wilderness EMT. Aaron has also earned a masters degree in Adventure Education with an emphasis in Risk Management. He has skied and climbed extensively throughout the US.


A bit more about Aaron:

  • He values good humor, good skiing, good coffee, good rock, good friends, and good beer.
  • He adores his wife and two children.
  • He’s always psyched when people get excited about the nuances of mountain travel.
  • His favorite places to ski are the Sierra, the Tetons, and the San Juan’s.
  • His favorite climbing can be found in Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and in the Utah desert.
  • He can’t believe he gets to live in Durango with access to some of the most amazing country in the US.


  • Started guiding in 1998
  • Started with SJMG in 2007
  • Education: Master of Arts in Adventure Education from Prescott College
  • Certifications: WEMT, Level 3 Avy
  • Countries you have climbed in outside the US: None
  • Favorite Ski Descent in the San Juans: The Battleship
  • Best thing after climbing: A tall, cool Budweiser
/* ]]> */