We feel strongly that training as well as experience is key to a guide’s development as a professional. We value the expertise that years of climbing and mountaineering has brought to our guiding but we also recognize that training and evaluation by peers are necessary before one can truly be called a “professional”. Therefore we require our guides to show a commitment to their profession by being involved in the American Mountain Guide’s Association courses and exams.

Our full lead guides are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association and our assistant guides are required to have taken an AMGA guides course and to have served a lengthy and rigorous apprenticeship under direct supervision of lead guides. We devote a significant portion of our gross each year to the training and professional development of our guides. This training includes sending our assistant guides to AMGA guide training courses, attending biannual medical training courses to maintain certificates, and being involved in the AMGA training process as examiners and instructors. If you compare our level of training and professionalism to other guide services we are confident that you will find our standards to be among the best.

Meet The Owners

The Sierra Mountain Center, LLC is a limited liability company owned by Robert “SP” Parker and Todd Vogel who together have over 40 years of full time professional mountain guiding experience. New Zealand born SP is certified in Rock, Ski and Alpine disciplines (IFMGA certified) and has served as a recent director of the AMGA. Todd is an AMGA certified rock guide, a certified alpine guide, and a ski guide for over 20 years; a Grouse Mountain summiteer, a past board member of the American Mountain Guide’s Association and a leader in the AMGA accreditation and Top Rope Instructor programs.

In addition to the owners, SMC is proud to be employing the talents of guides who are some of the most experienced professionals in mountain guiding.

Meet Our Guides

Connie Morrison

Program director Connie Morrison

Program director Connie Morrison

Connie joined us spring 2008 as our office manager and program director. Connie is an accomplished skier and also works with Mammoth Mountain teaching for their disabled sports program.

She is the enthusiastic voice you will hear when you call us and she looks forward to helping answer your questions about the Sierra and all the SMC offerings.

SP and Todd only own the business; Connie runs it. She is the core of SMC around which everything happens and without her we would be in deep trouble.

Lindsay Fixmer

Since her initiation into climbing in 1999, Lindsay has travelled to world-class climbing destinations and guides clients of all abilities on rock, ice and alpine climbs. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Lindsay knew she wanted to return west where the mountains offered a plethora of climbing opportunities. She began a career coaching youth competitive climbing teams and managing climbing gyms. Through her experience teaching the technical skills of climbing Lindsay naturally transitioned to guiding and works closely with her clients to develop their skills. Her preferred venues include Rockies, Tetons, Sierra, Rainier, North Cascades, Alaska, the north and southeast US, Argentina, Mexico, and Iceland. While Lindsay loves rock climbing she excels as a technician on ice. From the ice meccas such as the Northeast, the San Juan’s in CO, Hyalite Canyon in Bozeman, MT; Cody, WY; to the stunning fjords of Iceland she brings her clients to their peak level of performance. Lindsay originally began working in the Sierra in 2006. Now, a decade later, she bases in Bishop near the gorgeous landscape of impeccable granite. When Lindsay isn’t climbing you can catch her playing guitar and singing at local cafes.
Lindsay holds the following credentials; AMGA CWI Provider Trainer, AMGA SPI Provider, AMGA Certified Rock Guide, AMGA Assistant Alpine Guide, AAIRE Level 2, Certified Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer

Ryan Huetter

ryan_huetterRyan grew up near the coastal tidewaters of the Puget Sound in Washington State, but has since traded moss and rain for the sunshine and splitter cracks of the Sierra Nevada.  Since graduating from Western Washington University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Adventure Management, Ryan has called the Sierra home. Beginning with leading extended backcountry mountaineering and backpacking trips for the Outward Bound School all over the range, he finally settled down in Mammoth Lakes to enjoy the unbelievable skiing and climbing the Eastside is famous for.

Ryan’s passion for climbing has taken him around the world, from Yosemite Valley where he has climbed more than 15 big walls including a 9 day ascent of Tribal Rite (5.10 A4), to 6 seasons in Patagonia where he has made many major ascents including Fitz Roy and first ascents of remote alpine walls.

But year after year, the Sierra Nevada remains Ryan’s base, and he loves introducing people to the Range of Light.  Ryan’s favorite Sierra climb is definitely the Third Pillar of Dana, of course coupled with fish tacos from the Mobil Station.

Certifications and professional courses include:

  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide
  • AMGA Aspirant Alpine Guide
  • AMGA Assistant Ski Guide
  • AIARE Level 1 Instructor
  • AIARE Level 3 Certification
  • Wilderness First Responder

Lauren Breitenbach

lauren

“In 2015 Lauren was an intern at SMC coming back in 2016 as a backpacking guide. Lauren grew up in San Diego, CA where she still lives in the winter and fall while she finishes up her degree in environmental engineering from San Diego State University. In the summer find her tent posted up in the buttermilks but she most likely won’t be there… In her free time she enjoys rock climbing in the Sierra alpine (or anywhere else with rock) as well as backpacking to scenic alpine lakes. Lauren is a certified Wilderness First Responder and has completed her AIARE level 1 course. Once finished with her degree she plans to pursue her American Mountain Guides Association  certifications to take her guiding to a more technical level.

Jessica Haist

jessica_haistJessica is one of our backpacking guides and originally hails from Toronto, Canada, Jessica now calls Mammoth Lakes California home. Jessica has a diverse range of interests and is avid skier, rock climber, gardener, mountain biker and generally enjoys being outside in the mountains. She has lived and worked all over North America pursuing various occupations including millinery, fashion, film festival organization, rock climbing instruction and outdoor education. Jessica moved to British Columbia in 2004 to start her guiding career and attend Thompson Rivers University, receiving an Associates Degree in Adventure Guiding. She is certified in avalanche safety, wilderness first aid, technical rescue and rock climbing instruction. She is currently working on her Masters Degree through Prescott College in Adventure Education.

Alwyne Butler

alwyne picAlwyne grew up in Minnesota and, while the flat lands hold a special place in her heart, she longed to explore the USA and beyond.  On her year as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Thailand she signed up for her first rock climbing course and fell in love with the movement.  Once stateside again she began a NOLS semester and explored the Southwest.  She got some of her first exposure to backpacking, caving, climbing, and expedition-style river trips.  One of her instructors on that course introduced her to Prescott College and she knew she wanted to be part of the community there.  Four years later, with a degree in Adventure Education and a yoga teacher training certification, she began to work wilderness therapy in Colorado and Utah.  Since relocating to California in 2013 Alwyne has worked with many schools to facilitate outdoor education trips and personally explore the Sierra and become a member of the Sierra Mountain Center crew.  Now you are sure to find her scrambling on the granite mountains, biking the single-track trails, and running through the meadows. You can count on Alwyne to be upbeat, positive and always having a good time with an exceptional ability to connect with a wide range of guests on the trips.

Dave Stimson

Guide Dave Stimson on Starlight Peak

Guide Dave Stimson

Dave is originally from Alberta, Canada, but has traded in his Canadian passport for his American one, lured by clean Sierra granite and perfect California weather. He graduated from Mount Royal University in 2007 with an undergrad in Ecotourism & Outdoor Leadership and has been working ever since as a ski patroller and avalanche forecaster in Canada during the winters. Dave has been climbing since 2003 and has climnbed in Squamish, the Canadian Rockies, the Tetons, Red Rock, Indian Creek and Peru, to name a few. His first time climbing in California was in 2103 in Yosemite Valley and was instantly in love. He is excited to be back with the SMC team for his second season, and to climb and guide in the Range of Light. Dave holds a Wilderness First Aid certification from Canada, and a Canadian Avalanche Association Level 2. He began the AMGA program in 2014 and has completed the Rock Guide Course, the Alpine Guide Course, and the Ski Guide Course.

Barb Bemis

barb

Barb grew up in western Massachusetts, appreciating the outdoors daily on her family’s dairy farm. She attended college at the University of Maine in Orono, where her interest in other outdoor activities took off. She studied bioengineering while also working at the outdoor center on campus. Though engineering was extremely interesting, she chose to follow a career of more adventure. Barb has been guiding backpacking, canoeing and climbing trips since 2012. She has led trips in Maine and New Hampshire as well as in California. She spent 3 seasons teaching outdoor science to fifth and sixth grade students in the San Bernardino Mountains of California. This is Barb’s first summer guiding in the Sierra Nevada and she is thoroughly enjoying it.

Glenn Pinson

glenn_pinsonGlenn has for years climbed in the Sierra, Cascades, Tetons, Cordillera Blanca, Himalaya and has to his credit 2 (major) routes at the Riverside Quarry. He has participated in most of the AMGA curriculum, learned things but also managed to have a lot of fun along the way. He has been guiding in one capacity or another since 1987 and is a paramedic with 16 years of field experience and a rope rescue instructor with 23 years experience. Glenn’s 2 favorite routes (thus far) in the Sierra are the Sun Ribbon Arete on Temple Crag and the East Face Route on Whitney. For Glenn, it is never about the rocks. It is always about the people. You will find Glenn to be one of the most enthusiastic people around.

Mike Phillips

mike_phillipsMike is another east coast transplant to California who hasn’t looked back after falling in love with the mountains and deserts of the West. He is a graduate of Oregon State University where he studied outdoor leadership and experiential education. Mike’s professional background in outdoor education brought him to the High Sierra to lead expeditions for Outward Bound in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Mike has worked for Sierra Mountain Center since 2012 guiding trips in the Mt. Whitney Region, along the John Muir Trail and off-trail throughout the range. During the winter you can find Mike caring for injured skiers and performing avalanche control as a professional ski patroller at Mammoth Mountain. Mike is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association and has completed professional level training through the AAA and AIARE. He enjoys climbing peaks and long walks with good company in the high country of the Sierra, and getting out for big backcountry ski lines on sunny spring days.

Cavin Tague

calvin

Calvin grew up near the city of Boston and quickly realized his need to be in close contact with nature. He enrolled at Unity College of Maine in 2010, took a National Outdoor Leadership School semester course in 2011 and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Adventure Based Environmental Education. Shortly after, he moved to the Far East in search of adventure and professional experience. I Nepal, he worked as an educator and guide for Initiative Outdoor, a leadership school in Kathmandu. During his half a year stay he managed to help lead back packing expeditions as well as rock climbing and caving trips. Calvin taught children about the joys of outdoor living at local school and invited students to join him at the office for some bouldering sessions and climbing lessons. Next, Calvin made the decision to move to Vietnam where he worked as a rock climbing and sea kayak guide in Lan Ha bay. Another half a year was spent here exploring his new home island of Cat Ba and journeying into the bay to be the first to summit some of the karsts’ most inviting rock faces. Since Calvin’s travels in Asia he has returned home to the states only to continue his travels.  But since May of 2016 he has made a big change. He’s settled here on the eastside and dedicated himself to guiding in the Sierra Nevada and practicing the art of alpine climbing.

Jarette Capelli

guide Jarette Capelli

Family lore has it that Jarette was conceived at Convict Lake in the Eastern Sierra and has been exploring the mountains with his family since he could walk.  He grew up in Ventura, but spent countless hours wandering the backcountry and eventually relocated to Mammoth Lakes after finishing high school.  He has been on Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol for 6 years during the winter, and has spent his summer being a lifeguard down at the beach.  Since his friend and fellow guide, Mike Phillips, mentioned he would be a good addition to the Sierra Mountain Center team last season Jarette has transitioned to the mountains year round.  He loves to adventure in the snow or sun, with his only prerequisite for adventure being his dog, Sespe, a spunky red heeler.

Louie Allen

Louie Allen

Louie grew up in the remarkably charming, yet flat city of Cincinnati, Ohio and spent his youth dreaming of bigger terrain.  He found his passion for the outdoors through hunting and fishing, and by exploring the Appalachian Mountains during family vacations and scouting trips.  Louie studied Outdoor Education and Recreation Management at Ohio University, where he quickly fell in love with climbing and backpacking and worked as a trip leader and climbing program manager for the University Outdoor Pursuits organization.  He holds a Wilderness First Responder and AMGA Single Pitch Instructor certification, and hopes to begin the AMGA Rock Guide Program in early 2017.  During the winters, Louie heads east to work as an indoor and outdoor climbing instructor and competitive coach, and to enjoy “big dumb sandstone” rock climbing in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.  He has an affinity for any and all baked goods, and swears by the Kia Sorento as the unsung hero of the car-camping world.  This is his second season guiding with SMC.