View Cart800-642-5389 Menu

San Juan Mountain Guides

The Local Experts Since 1986

Our guides are meticulously selected because they are 1) fun to be with in the mountains, 2) incredible teachers and instructors, 3) recognized as the best athletes in their discipline – among the finest climbers and skiers in the industry, and 4) love what they do. Our guides genuinely enjoy working with every ability level from children or rank beginners to high end athletes wanting to learn cutting edge techniques and climb some of the hardest routes in the world.

Guide Certification

All of our guides are AMGA trained and the majority of our guides hold either AMGA or IFMGA Certifications.  These certifications insure that our clients are working with the best mountain practitioners in the industry.

Office & Logistical Support

We prioritize your experience from the moment of your initial inquiry and/or reservation. We feature a full-time office staff throughout the year to help with your reservation and any other logistical help that you may require prior to your trip. No other guide service in the region can match our attention to detail and customer service!


Aaron Livingston

Aaron Livingston is a new member of the SJMG Guide Team but brings with him a wealth of personal and professional experience and is a talented rock climbing with many first ascents to his credit. Aaron is an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor and has also completed his AMGA Rock Guides Courses.  He is also a Wilderness First Responder.

Guide/AVY Director

Aaron Ball

Aaron is SJMG’s Avalanche Course Program Director. He is an American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Level One & Two course leader, and AIARE Instructor Trainer. Aaron is also a Wilderness Medicine Training Center senior instructor, and regularly teaches WFR & WFR Recert Courses in the San Juan area.

With over 15 years of experience in the outdoor industry, Aaron has worked as a whitewater river guide on rivers in California, Oregon, Utah, and Colorado; has served as a rock, river, and mountaineering instructor, course director and staff trainer for Outward Bound; has ski patrolled at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area; has guided rock climbing and backcountry skiing for Southwest Adventure Guides/San Juan Mountain Guides; and has taught as an adjunct faculty member for the adventure education programs at San Juan College and Fort Lewis College. He currently lives in the mountains outside of Durango, Colorado, with his family and is always out exploring the wonders of the area.

Medical Advisor/Guide

Alan Oram

Alan is the SJMG Medical Advisor. His varied background makes him one of the most unique individuals in the guiding industry, as he is both an AMGA/IFMGA Guide and a Doctor. As a board licensed Physician, Alan typically works in Emergency Medicine and has expanded his practice to consult guide services throughout the US in best practices for patient care in a wilderness setting. As a guide, Alan is a talented skier and climber and enjoys working with guests of all backgrounds in the San Juans, Tetons, Norway, and Europe.


Supervising Guide

Andres Marin

Andrés was born in Colombia where he started climbing at a young age. He moved in 2003 to Colorado. Since then, Andrés has had the opportunity to be involved in all kinds of fun adventures around the globe. Including first ascents in 4 continents & representing the US in 5 ice climbing worlds cups.

  • What is your guiding background? I have the opportunity to guide pretty much in every terrain: rock, ice, alpine, expedition, high altitude and a little bit of easy skiing.
  • What do you love most about your job? Being outside meeting great people and going to incredible places.
  • Where are you from, where do you live? I’m from Colombia (jungle, hot and wild) I live in Ouray (mountains, ice and mellow)
  • Climbing (rock, alpine, ice, expedition), skiing, canyoning experience? Climbing for 18 years first ascents in 4 continents.
  • Favorite place to travel/climb/ski? So many… I have had the opportunity to climb b in places such as: AK, lower 48, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Greece, France, Italy, Switzerland, Romania, Hungary, Spain, Slovenia, Russia, China and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Idea of a good time? Good times with great friends & family.
  • Best qualities about you? I do my best to keep it real. I value very much being humble and being willing to give back.
  • What is most important to you? What do you value the most in a partner? Being humble and open to learn. Try hard and be kind. Stepping out of the comfort zone is key on becoming a better athlete and person.


  • Started guiding in 2003
  • Started with SJMG in 2006
  • Education: Sound Engineering Javeriana Unversity, Columbia
  • Certifications: AMGA Certified Rock & Alpine Guide, WFR, CPR, Level 3 Avy
  • Places you have climbed in outside the US: Colombia, Europe, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Russia, Spain, Kyrgystan, China, Greece, Mexico, France
  • Favorite climb in Ouray: The Talisman
  • Best thing after climbing: Get up, tune up, pump some iron, watch UFC.

Social Media

Andrea Iuppenlatz

Andrea Iuppenlatz manages SJMG’s Social Media Marketing platforms. She is also the Business Manager for the Red Mountain Alpine Lodge. Formerly she worked in Marketing for National Geographic Adventure


Bill Grasse

Bill guides rock, ice, and alpine climbing trips for us in the San Juan Mountains, as well as desert rock climbing trips in Utah. Bill is an accomplished rock climber, with many El Cap walls and hard free ascents to his credit. Bill is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide and WFR and Avalanche Level 1 Certified. He enjoys teaching climbing to others and thinks there’s nothing better than a great trip to Indian Creek with his closest pals!

I started guiding unofficially in college as a board member of the college climbing club which was basically a guide service without pay.  Officially in 2007 when I took my first AMGA course.

The thing I love most about my job is being around the excitement one feels when they first get into climbing.  

A Colorado native, I spent 14 years in the San Juans until a recent move to Carbondale in 2015. 

I have climbed rock extensively around the western United States and spent many years climbing ice in the San Juans and around Colorado.  I have climbed many walls in Yosemite and Zion, over 100 desert towers, and many routes around Colorado from Black Canyon to the Front Range.  I have been through canyons around Ouray and slots in Utah. 

My favorite places to climb vary but Yosemite, Zion, the desert southwest, and Red Rocks are some of my most frequented.  

Sore hands holding a beer next to a fire in the desert with great friends.  Hard to beat that… unless you replace the fire with a portaledge. 

I like to kayak, and take pictures, ( and play outside. 

Climbing goals? Send Proj, FAs in remote places on big a$# walls, to show people the me beyond my really really ridiculously good looks. 

Good looks. Duh! (and the person beyond those looks of course… my eyes are up here!) 

I get stoked on things that I’m stoked on.  I’m excited about things that are exciting. 

The most important thing to me is to look back from my death bed and know I had fun, helped people, and did the best that I could… in other words: that I Dominated! 


  • Started guiding in 2004
  • Started with SJMG in 2007
  • Education: BA English – Fort Lewis College Durango, CO
  • Certifications: AMGA SPI, WFR, Level 3 Avy
  • Countries you have climbed in outside the US: Canada, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Nepal, Pakistan, Europe, Greenland
  • Favorite Climb in Ouray: Teakettle Mountain
  • Best thing after climbing: Canned fish and a cold coke


Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson, founder and managing director to Peaks & Places Travel, offering trekking and climbing trips to Peru and Nepal. Brad has been a trip leader and mountain guide for over 35 years. In all, he has over 40 years of experience climbing around the world.

Born and raised in Boulder Colorado he was introduced to climbing by his father Dale Johnson, who had a distinguished climbing career himself. Brad learned to climb on the Flatirons and in Eldorado Canyon outside of Boulder.

At the age of 14, Brad climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and then Mt Kenya at age 16. When he was 17 he shared leads with is father climbing the North Face of the Grand Teton.

Brad began honing his skills on rock and with Gary Neptune made the first “piton less” (using only nuts) ascent of the D-1 route on the Diamond face of Longs Peak in Colorado in 1973. He went on to climb a number of big wall climbs in Yosemite Valley including the Nose on El Capitan.

Ice climbing has always been a big part of Brad’s climbing. In 1974 he made an attempt at the first ascent of the “Fang” near Vail, Colorado, failing just 15 feet short of the top. He made the first ascent of Horsetail Falls near Ouray with Bruce Adams in 1975. He also made an early ascent of Bridal Veil Falls near Telluride in 1976. Brad climbed the first ascent of Hidden Falls, left side in Glenwood Canyon in 1979 with Dick Jackson.

In 1975 Brad was part of a team of 6 who made the 1st ascent of the Arc Angle Ridge on Mt. Foraker, the following year, Brad with 3 partners made the 8th ascent of the Cassin Ridge on Denali at age 21. Brad then went on to the Alps and climbed the North Face of the Matterhorn, North Face of the Grand Charmoz and the North face of the Triolet in 1977.

Along with alpine climbing Brad’s passion for climbing eventually turned into guiding.

Starting with South America Brad has guided many volcanoes in Ecuador but when he discovered Peru’s Cordillera Blanca Mountains in 1982 he spent the next 28 seasons guiding and climbing 23 different peaks by 35 different routes in this amazing range. With his extensive knowledge of the Cordillera Blanca, Brad wrote and self-published the climbing guide: Classic Climbs of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, which has become the most popular guide book for that mountain range.

In Nepal Brad has been on 8 expeditions to 8,000m peaks, three to Mt. Makalu, once to the North Ridge of K2 from the Chinese side in 1994. He has been on two expeditions to Cho Oyu with one summit, and two expeditions to Mt Everest, successfully reaching the summit May 23, 2013. Brad has also successfully guided Ama Dablam as well as other 6,000m peaks in Nepal.

In addition Brad has been working toward being a certified mountain guide through the AMGA and has taken and passed the Advanced Alpine Guides Course, he has taken level 1 & 2 avalanche courses, and is current with his WFR certification.

Supervising Guide

Chad Peele

Chad works the winters in the San Juans and is in high demand all season. He is a year round professional mountain guide, dividing his time on Mt. Rainier, the Himalaya, South America, Colorado, and lots more! He is well suited at teaching first timers the fundamentals of alpine sport as well as guiding seasoned climbers around the best climbs and tours of our range.

Chad is also a member of the Eddie Bauer/First Ascent Pro Team.


  • Started guiding in 2000
  • Started with SJMG in 2007
  • Certifications: AMGA Certified Rock & Alpine Guide, WFR, CPR, Level 3 Avy


Charlie Faust

Charlie Faust

Senior Guide

Clint Cook

Clint has been guiding professionally since 1999, and moved to Ouray in 2001. Clint is one of a few Americans to be internationally licensed as a UIAGM/IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide, and AMGA Certified Rock, Alpine, and Ski Mountaineering Guide. Clint has a B.S. in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University. Clint is also a former owner of SJMG.


  • Started guiding in 1999
  • Started with SJMG in 2002
  • Education: BS in Natural Resources from  from CSU
  • Certifications: IFMGA/AMGA, WFR, CPR, Level 3 Avy


Dale Remsberg

Dale is an Internationally Licensed Mountain Guide (IFMGA) and Technical Director of the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Never one to focus on a single aspect of climbing, he is an accomplished all around climber with high-end skills that cover all disciplines of climbing including; sport, trad, mixed, ice and alpine. His passion depends on the season, feeling equally happy on WI6, M8 or 5.12.

Whether climbing in Switzerland, his local crags in Eldorado Canyon, seeking perfect untracked powder around the world, or mastering techniques for classic ice routes in the Canadian Rockies, Dale loves helping both new and experienced climbers and skiers achieve their goals. Dale’s quiet determination and love of the mountains will generally ensure success with a smile on his face.


  • Started guiding in: 1993
  • Started with SJMG in: 2011
  • Education: AMGA Mountain Guide Program, Class of 2006
  • Certifications: AMGA Certified Rock, Ski, & Alpine Guide, WFR, CPR, Level 3 Avy
  • Countries you have climbed in outside the US: Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland
  • Favorite climb in Ouray: The one I’m currently on. If I had to choose one it would be Ames Ice Hose
  • Best thing after climbing: Seeing my dog light up!


Derek Esposito

Derek Esposito is a new member of the SJMG Guide Team but brings with him a wealth of personal and professional experience. Derek is an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor and has also completed his AMGA Ski, Rock, and Alpine Guides Courses.  He is also a Wilderness First Responder and has completed his Pro 1 Avalanche Course.


Elías de Andrés-Martos

Elias des Andres Martos grew up in Segovia (Spain) at the foothills of the Sierra Guadarrama, where he began going to the mountains at the age of 8. After his college years, he pursued formal mountaineering and climbing instruction with the Spanish Mountaineering Federation, a task that he continues today with the AMGA in the USA. In 2004 he arrived in Colorado, where he matured as a climber, making the Rockies his playground, having ascended over 100 peaks above 4000 meters.

Currently, he lives in Ouray, Colorado, where besides ice climbing, he also volunteers in the Search & Rescue group. Elías has climbed in North and South America as well as in Europe. He enjoys sharing climbing time with people on snow, ice or rock, but prefers them all combined in an attractive alpine route. Elias for sure loves to share his favorite sight ever, that of the Patagonian Ice Shelf, the 3rd largest continental ice cap in the world where he will for sure try to encourage you to go!


Jason Denley

Jason Denley is new to SJMG but comes from a diverse background in guiding that has taken him from the San Juans to the remote mountains of the St. Elias and Denali National Park in Alaska. Jason is an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor.


Jayson Simons-Jones

Jayson Simons-Jones is an accomplished guide and photographer, having travelled around the globe on a variety of assignments.


Jim Turner

Jim Turner works as a mountain guide in Ouray, Colorado and Moab, Utah.  He has climbed 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 of the Gunnison and an equal amount of desert towers.  His climbing career highlights include summiting Fitz Roy in Argentina by two different routes and putting up new routes in Patagonia, the Central Alaska Range and in the desert Southwest.

Jim has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of New England and worked in education for many years.  He combines his enthusiasm for climbing and his background as an educator to provide excellent instruction to both novice and experienced climbers of all ages and abilities in every climbing discipline.



Katie Beringer

Katie is an avid climber, skier, and runner. She is passionate about sharing the outdoors, especially rock climbing, with others. She has been providing opportunities for women to experience outdoor recreation since 2013, leading multiple climbing excursions for women and girls as young as six. She began professionally guiding in 2017 in effort to better facilitate women’s climbing courses. While she enjoys guiding clients from all backgrounds, she has a special place in her heart for guiding adolescent girls, adaptive athletes, and the special needs community.  She aspires to complete AMGA’s Rock Guide Program, guide for many years, and retire with her hopefully immortal dog, Kit.

  • Years climbing: 6
  • Guiding with San Juan Mountain Guides since: Summer 2017
  • Certification: AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide, SPI, WFR, CPR, EMT
  • Favorite Place to Rock Climb: Eldorado Canyon, CO, Wild Iris, WY, Red Rocks, NV

Office Manager

Keeton Disser

Keeton Disser is the SJMG Office Manager. She is an avid mountain runner and all around outdoor athlete and has lived in the San Juans for almost 20 years.


Kristin Arnold

Kristin has guided for SJMG for the last 3 years. She has completed his AMGA SPI Certification, and has also taken her AMGA Rock Guide and Ski Guide Courses. He is also a Wilderness First Responder.


Kurt Blair

Kurt Blair lives in Durango and serves as our program coordinator in the Durango area and for programs in the Weminuche Wilderness. Kurt is an AMGA certified Rock Guide and Aspirant (Ski & Alpine) Guide with the AMGA. He has completed the AAA (American Avalanche Association) Pro 2 and is an AIARE Course Leader for Rec 1 and 2 avalanche training.  He also holds Wilderness EMT certification and is a PSIA Level 2 Alpine Ski Instructor. As an avid rock climber and mountaineer, he has climbed in inspiring destinations such as Alaska, Canada, Yosemite, Swiss Alps, Ecuador, and the Himalayas.  As a fun fact, Kurt has climbed 36 of the 50 Classic Climbs in North America.

Co-Owner & Business Development

Mark Iuppenlatz

Mark Iuppenlatz is Co-Owner and Director of Business Development for San Juan Mountain Guides. He is an avid backcountry skier and former ski instructor for Vail Resorts. He is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.


Mason Stansfield

Mason Stansfield has guided for SJMG for the last 2 years. He has completed his AMGA SPI Certification, and has also taken his AMGA Rock Guide and Ski Guide Courses. He is also a Wilderness First Responder.


Michael Ackerman

Professional educator, accomplished adventurer and celebrated storyteller Michael Ackerman hails from Colorado’s Western Slope. Embodying over two decades of professional backcountry experience, expert technical skills and hard-earned wilderness wisdom, Michael has made his mark as one of the preeminent adventure guides and outdoor instructors in the American West.

From high altitude glaciated peaks to remote desert canyons, down wild whitewater rivers and across remote alpine single track, Ackerman leads it all with a warm smile, a healthy dose of humor and an indefatigable devotion to the natural world.

Michael began snowboarding in 1986 and it was his love of sliding on snow that led to a life in the mountains. Since 1999, Ackerman has worked as a rock, mountain and river guide, professional ski patroller, avalanche educator, wilderness medicine trainer, SAR technician, Outward Bound instructor, collegiate faculty member and freelance photojournalist. He maintains an exemplary safety record and a distinguished resume of personal and professional expeditions.

Ackerman pursued his formal education at Prescott College, Fort Lewis College and Harvard University, has completed AIARE’s Level Three and Avalanche Instructor Training and has participated in the AMGA’s TRSM and Ski Guide courses.

When he’s not in the field with SJMG, Ackerman can be found producing digital art; utilizing writing, photography, audio and video pieces to share his story and the stories of others. He also enjoys conducting product research, testing and design for a myriad of outdoor equipment manufacturers and is an independently contracted safety officer and logistician for backcountry media projects and mountain film productions.

What do you love most about your job?

Empowering students so they can achieve their dreams. I feel incredibly blessed to meet, teach and work with so many amazing individuals.

Favorite place to travel/climb/ski?

The Great American West

Idea of a good time?

Pursuing human powered, multi-sport adventures with close friends in remote locations.

Hobbies? Passions? Interests?

Radical minimalism, terrestrial and aquatic adventures, playing music, reading non-fiction, fishing and firearms

Climbing/skiing goals?

Lofty summits, deep powder and big smiles.


Nate Disser

Nate is the Owner/Director of San Juan Mountain Guides. Previously, he also owned Southwest Adventure Guides in Durango, CO before taking over SJMG in 2012 and merging the companies under the SJMG brand. He began guiding in the St. Elias Mountains and has also guided on Mt. Rainier and Denali. He has a BA in Psychology and a BA in Organizational Communications, is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and is AIARE Level 3 Avalanche Certified.

Nate is an IFMGA Mountain Guide and AMGA Certified Rock, Ski & Alpine Guide, the highest level of certification available for guides working in that terrain. Nate has also served on the AMGA Board of Directors 2011 – 2014. He currently serves on the Ouray School Board, and the Ouray Mountain Rescue Team.


  • Started guiding in 2002
  • Started with SJMG in 2003
  • Education: BA State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo
  • Certifications: IFMGA Mountain Guide, AMGA Certified Rock, Ski & Alpine Guide, WFR, CPR, Level 3 Avy
  • Countries you have climbed in outside the US: India, Peru, Ecuador, Canada
  • Favorite ski descent in the San Juans: Champion Bowl
  • Best thing after skiing: Coming home to 11 year old Mason and 9 year old Addison.


Head Guide

Patrick Ormond

Pat is one of the most diverse and experienced mountain guides in the US. Climbs throughout North America including: Yosemite, Squamish,Utah, Washington. Big walls in Yosemite and Zion. Ascent of Aggro Monkey 5.13b at Smith Rock, OR. Began climbing in Washington at age three. Expeditions to Alaska and Argentina. Lead guide on Denali and Aconcagua. Ascent of Cassin Ridge on Denali.  Backcountry ski guide and avalanche instructor in Utah. Ski descents throughout the Wasatch range and Tetons. Collegiate rower and 1997 National Champion at the University of Washington. Pay lives with his wife Dawn in Ouray, CO and guides for Exum Mountain Guides in the summer. Pat is a fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide, having completed his AMGA Rock, Alpine Guide, and Ski Mountaineering Certifications.


  • Started guiding in 2001
  • Started with SJMG in 2009
  • Education: BA Visual Comms – University of WA
  • Certifications: AMGA Certified Rock, Alpine, & Ski Mountaineering Guide, WFR, CPR, Level 3 Avy
  • Countries you have climbed in outside the US: Canada, Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Sardinia
  • Favorite climb in Ouray: Bird Brain Boulevard
  • Best thing after climbing: Getting my shoes off

Supervising Guide

Sheldon Kerr

Sheldon began her guiding career in Alaska in 2004. She has climbed, skied and guided throughout the Alaska Range, Chugach, and Wrangell-St. Elias. When a craving for shorter approaches and shiny bolts strikes, Sheldon’s favorite spots on earth are Chamonix, France; Courmayer, Italy; and Smith Rock, Oregon. She has also climbed and guided a number of high-altitude peaks including Denali, Aconcagua, and Kilimanjaro. Winter finds her in Colorado’s San Juans ski guiding from chairlifts, skin tracks, and helicopters during the week. Weekends are reserved for ice climbing and reading the New Yorker. She is a National Avalanche School graduate, AIARE (American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education) Level III certified, and teaches Level I and II avalanche courses.

Sheldon is an IFMGA Mountain Guide and AMGA Certified Rock, Ski & Alpine Guide, the highest level of certification available for guides working in that terrain. Follow her adventures at


Steve Johnson

Whether he’s working or playing, Steve’s fun and energetic ways become immediately apparent. His climbing obsession shows in the amount of time he spends in RMNP and especially on the Diamond. Steve started climbing in 1992 and guiding in 1996, drawn by the allure of sharing his passion with others.

Given his burly frame and even-keeled disposition (not to mention his sense of humor), Steve’s been called a “gentle giant”. It’s not hard to imagine him working through the most knotted muscles in his other job as a Certified Massage Therapist. He graduated with honors from the Boulder College of Massage Therapy, and started an in-patient massage therapy program at Boulder Community Hospital for which he received an award recognizing his outstanding community service.

Steve is AMGA Certified in the Rock and Alpine disciplines and is on route to his goal of gaining IFMGA international certification. In addition to climbing in France, Italy and Switzerland, he’s climbed and guided throughout the U.S., including extensive Front Range experience, San Juans, Alaska, Mexico, and Ecuador.

Office Staff

Suzanna Lourie

Suzanna Lourie works in the SJMG Office