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Booking a Private Guide

Booking a private guide for your next mountain adventure couldn't be easier or more rewarding! Feel confident in your trip planning with expert advice from the experienced staff at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures and safe in the knowledge that our guides are certified to exactacting standards by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.

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Our Guides

Guide Certification, Training & Qualities
Yamnuska guides and instructors are certified as described below. In addition to certification, which only relates to a guide's technical competence, they need many other skills and qualities. They need to be endowed with patience, empathy, and a sense of humour. They must also be effective communicators and great coaches.

Yamnuska guides and instructors are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) or other member associations of the International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA) of which the ACMG is a member. Yamnuska guides and instructors operate within the certification and terrain guidelines of the ACMG. They are also certified in Wilderness First Aid and in Avalanche Safety. In addition, guide and instructor certification must meet the standards dictated by the various Land Managers who license our operations. Where jurisdictional standards are low (British Columbia) Yamnuska follows the higher ACMG standards.

ACMG   IFMGA

 

 



Barry Blanchard

Barry Blanchard

Barry is an Associate Director of Yamnuska involved in promotion of modern alpinism and mentoring of junior guides. Canadian Mountain Guide and alpinist, Barry Blanchard, was born in Calgary, March 29, 1959. Twelve years later three boys navigated the Bow River through the western side of the city on a raft of nailed together railway ties, Barry was at the helm steering the adventure. He found mountain climbing in the books of his high school library, some of which are still in his possession. A six month trip to the French Alps in 1980 set the course of Barry's life: to climb the steepest and most complicated faces of the world's great glaciated peaks. Barry has enjoyed some success: the first ascent of The Andromeda Strain, 1983; the North Ridge of Rakaposhi, 1984; the first ascent of the apocalyptic North Pillar of North Twin; the West Ridge of Mt Everest, 1986; surviving the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, 1988; a solo first ascent on the North Face of Kusum Kanguru, 1991; an attempt on K-2, 1993; first ascents in the St Elias mountains; M-16, a first ascent -in winter on the East Face of Howse Peak, 1999; the third ascent of the Infinite Spur on MT Foraker, 2000; the first ascent of Infinite Patience on the Emperor Face of Mt Robson, 2002. More importantly Barry has enjoyed all of his outings, even the ones not included in the narrow definition of "success". Barry moved to the mountains in 1982 to pursue his Mountain Guiding career (he is an internationally certified -IFMGA- mountain guide) and has included making Hollywood features such as "K-2", "Cliffhanger" and "The Vertical Limit" in his professional life. Barry lives in Banff, Alberta, with his wife Catherine Mulvihill, whom he met on a Mt Everest expedition in 1994, their daughters Rosemary and Eowyn, and their dogs, Finnegan and Seamus.

 

David Begg
David BeggPast owner of Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, David grew up in New Zealand where he began a life-long commitment to mountaineering when he was 16. New Zealand's Southern Alps were a perfect place to develop as a serious mountaineer. Upon graduation from University in 1975 he abandoned academia in favour of a mountain lifestyle. Between forays to climb in Europe and Alaska he also began working as a guide in New Zealand's premier mountain region, Mt. Cook. After qualifying as an internationally certified mountain guide in 1983 David emigrated to Canada where a few short years later he found himself at the helm of Yamnuska which he then directed for 21 years. David continues his connection with Yamnuska and particularly enjoys guiding ski mountaineering and introducing beginners to backpacking and mountaineering in the summer. He especially appreciates seeing his clients discovering the mountains the way he did 30 years ago in New Zealand. He lives in Canmore with his wife Maria, also a guide.

 

Steve Blagbrough

Steve Blagbrough"Stevie B" is a fully certified international Mountain Guide from the UK who joined us in 2001 from a position at prestigious Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. Steve's strong commitment to guiding and instruction has produced great benefit to our Mountain Skills Semester students and anyone else lucky enough to have him as an instructor or guide. Steve has been active in the outdoors for the past twenty years, most as a professional instructor, not only in mountaineering but also in many related pursuits such as kayaking and sailing. He has a particular interest in avalanche safety and is one of the main instructors on Yamnuska's avalanche safety courses.

 

Jason Billing
Jason BillingJason began climbing at the ripe age of 13 and hasn't really looked back since. His love for climbing has taken him to beautiful spots all over the world - Australia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, and climbing areas across the U.S. and Canada. But still he thinks: "the Rocky Mountains are the best, just so much variety in all seasons, so much space and untouched wilderness, so many amazing climbs and mountains." Though rock climbing is his first love and true talent, in High School he began ice climbing and went on to climb many of the Bow Valley test-pieces. Jason has been guiding with Yamnuska since 2007 and has become known for his patient and clear teaching style, and his approachable, friendly personality. "I love my job and am passionate about giving my guests 100% of my energy. Climbing has given me so much, and as a guide my goal is to show my guests how much the mountains, wilderness and climbing can give them. It is a real pleasure to see their eyes opened, to see them learn something new and do things that they never thought possible." An ACMG Alpine Guide and Assistant Ski Guide, Jason is on the path to becoming a fully-certified IFMGA Mountain Guide.

 

James Blench
James BlenchJames is something of a legend in guiding circles. One of the original "Yam" guides, he was involved in its founding and has been involved in the founding of the company and has been an active guide and instructor since the late '70s. James was a member of the small group of young climbers that put ice climbing and the Canadian Rockies on the map in the '70s and early '80s. He participated in many seminal first ascents including the first free ascent of Nemesis. He participated in the successful ascent of the W. Ridge of Everest in 1986 and made the first ascent of the S. Face of Gangapurna in '81. He has also climbed extensively in Peru. To this day James is an active high-end climber. James is an fully certified international Mountain Guide (IFMGA), he guides and instructs all aspect of mountaineering including avalanche safety programs. He obviously derives great enjoyment from being in the mountains as his clients can attest. He lives in Canmore with his wife Leslie and son Simon.

 

Adam Burrell
Adam BurrellAdam grew up in Thunder Bay, spending most winter weekends at the amazing 225 metre local ski hill and in the summer trying to rock climb in running shoes at the local bluffs.  He started his lifelong guiding career in Ontario as a sea kayak, whitewater canoe and rock climbing guide, and has expanded his repertoire to include hiking, backpacking, ski touring, heli-skiing, via ferrata and mountain rescue.  Adam has followed his passions around the world, bicycle touring in New Zealand, paddling the Northwest Territory's South Nahanni River, thru-hiking the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, sea kayaking in Belize, surfing and climbing volcanoes in Mexico, mountaineering in Alaska and climbing all over Canada and the US. 

Adam has spent 6 years guiding and instructing ski touring, avalanche courses, rock climbing, hiking and backpacking for Yamnuska.  He is an ACMG Ski, Hiking and Apprentice Rock Guide and lives in Canmore with his wife Joanna and their 2 year old daughter Eva.

 

Patrick Delaney
Patrick DelaneyWow! I've been climbing for over 20 years... has it been that long? My vertical addiction has taken me around the world in search of rock, ice and snow. Travel allows me to climb with as little distraction as possible, no interference with "life" and its distractions. In climbing it has always been my end goal to experience "flow" during my climbing practice, being totally absorbed in the moment, fully present! Professionally, I find that guiding allows me to follow my passion. I focus 100% on my guests and their experience. My professional goal is to facilitate experience for my guests, increase enjoyment and manage risk with the highest standard in the industry. Activities such as rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, alpine climbing, expedition climbing and mixed climbing can take me anywhere. My permanent base camp is in Canmore, Alberta but I am motivated to climb anywhere on the globe. I have been working for with Yamnuska for five seasons and in partnership with Yamnuska I'm looking to promote Canadian private guiding. The future: As an ACMG full alpine guide I am motivated to lead high altitude peaks and overseas climbing trips. In Canada, I would like to help my guests explore the possibilities for new climbing challenges and help them achieve and surpass their goals.

 

Jesse De Montigny
Jesse de MontignyJesse moved to the Bow Valley in 1998 to take part in Yamnuska's three month Mountain Skills Semester program. Using this as a springboard for his skills development, he has travelled all over the world to climb and ski and has pursued his passion to become an internationally certified Mountain Guide through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He is also now the Assistant Director of Operations for Yamnuska and uses his skills both in the field and in the office to provide you with the best mountain experience possible. Some of Jesse's personal mountain achievements have included: a 175km ski tour through the spine of the Canadian Rockies from Jasper to the Columbia Icefields, climbing the north face of Mt Temple, and climbing 5.12+ routes around the world. Some of Jesse's favorite personal trips include: rock climbing in Thailand, Greece and Mexico, lodge-based ski touring in the Selkirk Mountains and ice climbing in the best ice climbing area on the planet... the Canadian Rockies! Jesse lives in Canmore with his wife Christine and daughters Sierra and Kylee.

 

Jean Gamilovski

From the moment Jean had his first rock-climbing lesson, climbing became his passion. Now an accomplished climber and guide Jean was born in the quiet town of Klaipeda, Lithuania and relocated to Newfoundland, Canada in 1996. It was there in 1998 that Jean visited St. John’s first indoor rock-climbing gym and soon after was tying into the lead lines on the beautiful sea cliffs of Newfoundland. Very quickly climbing became his life – rock climbing, bouldering and ice climbing all had his attention and soon after he quit university to pursue climbing full-time. His love of climbing eventually brought him to the west coast where he now calls Canmore his home

Jean has climbed many of North America’s classic climbing areas. From the cool cliffs of Newfoundland to the busy rocks of Ontario, to the fiery Mexican spires, the granite monoliths of California to the rock face amidst the scorching deserts of Jordan and now the mountains and cliffs of the Rockies and the Coast Mountains of Canada
To Jean, climbing is a metaphor for life. Every day, like every climb, is different and the experience you have depends on the route you choose and the moves you make. The key to an interesting life is to continue to challenge yourself and to enjoy. Whether you climb an old favourite savoring the experience for what it is or you challenge yourself with a new route, success comes from always being engaged with the rock you are climbing on, the people around you, and learning from both.
In addition to guiding Jean is a photographer and a filmmaker with two feature documentary films under his belt and many ideas in his pocket

 

Richard Howes
Richard HowesRichard is perhaps our most cosmopolitan guide. An Australian/Canadian resident in Germany, Richard spends his northern summers guiding for Yamnuska in the Canadian Rockies. Richard is another guide who works extremely hard for guests and is consequently in much demand. Richard has been instructing rock and alpine mountaineering for Yamnuska for 12 years. His primary residence is near Munich in Germany though you may also find him guiding in New Zealand from time to time. Richard is an Assistant Alpine Guide.

 

Carl Johnston
Carl JohnstonCarl grew up scrambling granite and limestone outcrops in Ontario. His fascination with big peaks was revealed, however, while on family vacation at age 12 when he attempted a spontaneous solo crossing of the Columbia Glacier. The escape failed, but he has enjoyed surprising people in the mountains ever since.

While at university, climbing adventures yielded remote first ascents on some of the East’s biggest faces, and two local guidebooks. Back then, favourite days involved a light pack, little sleep and lots of terrain. They still do. In 1997, wanting a change, he decided to test the notion that “guiding ain’t rocket science”, and left an aerospace PhD to come to the Rocky Mountains and get a real job. He joined Yamnuska in 2000 as one of the only local Rock Guides. He has been enthusiastically sharing his addiction to the mountains and sense of humour with guests ever since. With a broad teaching background, Carl is a dedicated instructor who strives to fill each guiding day with discovery.

Besides being a guide and ACMG instructor, Carl is a paramedic and manages winter operations for a private rescue service. When not busy in the Rockies, he enjoys exploring the world’s other great ranges. He and his partner, Nadege, catch up on sleep in Canmore.

James Madden
James MaddenFor my second birthday I got an old pair of wooden skies which I spent every waking moment skiing around the living room with. I guess that was to be expected with a mother who raced for Canada. Growing up in a small town in BC I turned to the mountains at 16 with my older brother looking for more adventures. I grew fond of not only being out there but teaching and taking others with me to experience these great places. I have since visited Baffin Island, and Alaska as I worked my way through the guiding stream. I am going into my 4th season with Yamnuska and look forward to sharing my experiences with you! James is a fully certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide.

 


Grant Meekins
Grant MeekinsGrant is an internationally certified Mountain Guide who was born and raised in the Yukon Territory. For several years, Grant lived above the Arctic Circle and he spent most of his youth in the mountains of northern Canada. He began skiing in 1972 and climbing in 1980. In 1979 he was named Yukon's "Athlete of the Year" for his performances in Cross Country Skiing, Table Tennis and Wrestling. Grant moved to Alberta in 1997. Since then, he has numerous first ascents to his credit such as "Cineplex" (M9) and "Rocky Mountain Horror Show" (M11+). He has climbed several of the world's most difficult mixed climbs, including "Musashi" (M12). Internationally, Grant has enjoyed guiding some of the world's most beautiful mountains including Ama Dablam, Lobuche, Imja Tse and Aconcagua. Bilingual in English and French, Grant worked as a high school teacher before discovering his love of guiding. He has a calm, easy-going manner, and gets deep satisfaction out of helping people attain their dreams. Grant lives in Canmore with his wife, the world champion extreme skier Maegan Carney and their son Lincoln.

 

Matt Mueller
Matt MuellerMatt started rock climbing on the East coast of Canada in the early 90's. The call of cliffs higher than 15 meters took him to Banff in '94. Shortly after arriving in Banff, Matt realized that guiding would be the future path for him. After years of training Matt took his first ACMG exam in 2003. Within hours of receiving that first certification, he was sitting in Yamnuska's office, looking to start work as a guide! In the years since, Matt has honed his skills as a Guide, climber & skier in the ranges of the globe. Despite climbing and working internationally, Matt considers the ranges of Canada home. Topping out on local peaks, skiing Canadian snow, climbing world famous ice - all world class mountain adventures right in the backyard. Matt is a certified ACMG Alpine Guide and an Assistant Ski Guide on the road to becoming a fully certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide.

 

Jesse Petersen
Jesse PetersenBorn and raised in Calgary, Jesse Petersen started rock climbing in gyms at the age of 16. Shortly after that he spent a year in Squamish, BC. This is where he truly developed a passion for climbing and skiing. That passion has grown into a life style, which has taken him to many corners of the globe in search of the next big mountain adventure. Now Jesse has lived in Canmore, AB for almost 10 years, and is proud to call the Rocky Mountains home.  He has climbed on 4 continents, many different mountain ranges, and reached altitudes of 19,000 feet.  But most of all, he is thankful for the friends he has met along the way. What Jesse loves the most about guiding is sharing his passion for mountain sports with his clients.

 

Nicholas Rapaich
Nick RapaichAt the age of four I was placed on skis and sent down the bunny hill. Ever since it has been one of my passions and has allowed me to make the mountains my lifestyle. I spent my entire childhood and teens downhill racing and freestyle skiing. Originally from Ontario, I moved to Banff when I was 23 to work for a heli-ski company as a Registered Massage Therapist. It was there that I began my apprentice to becoming a guide with the ACMG. I began my climbing career later in life but it has been a passion of mine for the past 14 years. Yamnuska has a great thing going for its staff and guests. I feel pretty fortunate to work for them and have so since 2004. I truly love my job, which helps me to get more people interested in the passions that have defined my life. I always fell like a kid when I click on my skis, nothing gets me more motivated and excited. Sharing that experience with others and watching that kid immerge from within as they click in and follow is a hard job to beat. If you're curious about escaping the everyday routine of your life and to find out what fuels the passion that drives all our guides, come and sign up for one of our courses and you'll be sure not to be disappointed! Nick is an Assistant Alpine Guide and Full Ski Guide on the path to becoming a fully certified ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide.

 

Erica Roles
Erica RolesErica has been working as a guide for Yamnuska since 2006. Born in the UK, she moved to Canada with her family in 1998. She fell in love with the mountains of Western Canada and made her home in the Bow Valley. Initially she began her ski career as a Pro Ski Patroller at Lake Louise. Wanting to share her passion for the mountains with other people led her to a career in guiding. She now works year-round as an ACMG guide - rock climbing in the summer and skiing in the winter.

 

Nick Sharpe
Nick SharpeNick Sharpe is another import from the UK, moving to Canada in 2002. He began rock climbing and mountaineering in his native Lake District in NW England. At 16 he joined the Royal Air Force and soon after discovered and joined the RAF Mountain Rescue Service. A 22 year association with this Service allowed Nick to hone his mountaineering and instructional skills leading up to the running of a 36- man rescue team and eventual post as the Chief Instructor for the RAF Mountain Rescue Service. Throughout the 80's early 90's Nick was an extremely active climber surprising the locals with on-sight ascents of some of the leading climbs of the day, both in summer and winter. He has many European Alpine seasons under his belt and has climbed around the world. Highlights include India in '86 (Shivling 2nd ascent East Ridge), Norway (Troll Wall), Nepal in '98 (SW ridge Ama Dablam) and Mt McKinley in '89. Nick was also a team member to successful expeditions to Diran in '92 and the North Ridge of Everest in '01. Nick trained and certified in the UK and Europe with the British Mountain Guides attaining the coveted IFMGA Mountain Guides Carney. Now resident in Canmore and a member of the ACMG, Nick actively climbs and guides year round. Nick is also enjoying introducing his two boys Ben and Alex to their vast Canadian playground.

 

Olivia Sofer
Olivia SoferOriginally from Montreal QC, Olivia's love for the outdoors began when she put on her skis at the age of 6. She was part of the Rod Roy ski school which took her to numerous ski hills inspiring her desire to always see new places. While at McGill University she started ice climbing in the winters and raft guiding in the summers. It was 5 years later that she came to the Canadian Rockies to raft guide and climb the peaks of her dreams. She took an Intro to Mountaineering course with Yamnuska and never turned back. Since her arrival in the West, she has guided on rivers across BC and Alaska, she has guided hikes and treks around the Rockies and interior ranges of BC and ski guides in the winter months. "What captured me was not only the beauty and love for the mountains that I have found but the peace that it brings me and the smiles it brings to those around me. I continue guiding to share that love and bring out the 'down to earth' side in people. Out there we are all on the same playing field." She has also climbed peaks in South and Central America and India. Olivia is an ACMG Hiking Guide and Assistant Ski Guide.

 

Dave Stark
Dave StarkDave Stark has been instructing and guiding in the mountains of Western Canada since 1981. His climbing resume spans the globe with climbing and mountaineering experience on five continents. He has guided groups on high alpine peaks in Asia, South America, Antarctica and North America. As the Director of Operations at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, Dave is in charge of the guides and all aspects of the field programming. In addition to his supervisory and training duties he still actively guides and stays current with all technical facets of Mountain Guiding. He has written curriculum and evolved programs from ideas into full scale operations. He directed the Mountain Skills Semester at Yamnuska for over ten years. He has coordinated mountain safety crews and rigging staff on many film projects. He helped develop the curriculum for CAC Avalanche Skills Training Courses and has been teaching avalanche awareness courses for the past thirty years. Dave's primary focus with Yamnuska, involves education, technical training, safety systems and assessment of risk. His specialty is providing maximum benefit in programming and skills learning.