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 Owner

The Sierra Mountain Center, LLC is a limited liability company owned by Robert “SP” Parker  who has some 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 past director of the AMGA.

Learn more about SP here.

Meet Our Guides

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

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

Calvin Tague

calvinCalvin 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.

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.

Chris Norment

Chris Norment SMC Science AdvisorAt SMC we also want to be engaged and to engage our guests in the natural history of the Sierra Nevada. To that end we are please to be able to work with Chris Norment as our sScience Advisor.
Chris is a Professor of Environmental Science and Ecology at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. His current scientific research focuses on the ecology and conservation of birds and amphibians in the Northeast. However, he also has long-standing research interests in the ecology of desert and arctic and alpine habitats. He has conducted research in arctic Canada and Alaska, the Snowy Mountains of Australia, the Northern Rocky Mountains, and Death Valley region (where he is pursuing his current obsession with the Inyo Mountains salamander). He also has worked as a secondary high school science teacher, Outward Bound mountaineering instructor, U.S. National Park Service biologist, and gumball machine repairman. He has authored over forty scientific papers and published four books of creative nonfiction.

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 climbed 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 fifth season, and to climb and guide in the Range of Light. Dave holds a Wilderness First Responder certification, and a Canadian Avalanche Association Level 2. He began the AMGA program in 2014 and is a Certified Rock Guide, Certified Ski Guide, and Assistant Alpine Guide.

Barb Bemis

Barb grew up in western Massachusetts, appreciating the outdoors daily on her family’s dairy farm. She received a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Maine, while simultaneously working for the outdoor program. Barb chose to pursue a career in the outdoors, and has been educating and guiding youth and adults since 2012. She has led trips canoeing, backpacking, rock climbing and mountaineering in Maine, New Hampshire and California. She enjoys working with both youth and adults in the outdoors. When she is not working or enjoying free time in the mountains, you can find Barb cooking, working on a puzzle or coloring. She is a certified AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and is an apprentice Rock Guide. She has also completed the CAA Operations Level 1 avalanche course.

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.

Lauren Breitenbach

laurenIn 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.

Louie Allen

Louie AllenLouie 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 fourth season guiding with SMC.

Joe Crawford

Joe began exploring the mountains while studying Economics at the University of Oregon. Sport climbing at Smith Rock and mountaineering on the Oregon Volcanoes soon gave way to a love of all mountain sports from bouldering to ice climbing and skiing. Drawn to California, for its superior weather and range, Joe began guiding on Mount Shasta in 2011 and in the Sierra in 2014. Having moved to the Eastern Sierra for the incredible alpine terrain, Joe couldn’t help but find a home in June Lake. Joe enjoys skiing the unheralded terrain of “the loop,” from the obvious classics on Carson Peak to the lesser known powder stashes of Fern Creek. In the summer months, he spends his off duty time climbing the alpine rock routes of the high country, his favorite thus far is the Direct North Buttress of Merriam Peak. When he’s not guiding and playing throughout the range, he can usually be found extolling its virtues in a local hot spring, rambling through the hills with his dog or perched at the local brewery.

Certifications and professional courses include:

  • AMGA Advanced Rock Guide Course
  • AMGA Ski Guide Course
  • AMGA Alpine Guide Course
  • Wilderness FIrst Responder
  • AIARE Level II
  • Leave No Trace Trainer