Andrew grew up the son of a textile salesman, far, far away from the nearest mountain. As fate would have it, he now finds himself living in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, guiding climbing and skiing year round. When not climbing or skiing, Andrew can usually be found skiing or climbing. This monotony of character may have a myriad of drawbacks, but it has also seen him to the top of classic routes and peaks including Fitzroy, Ama Dablam, El Cap, Denali’s Cassin Ridge and Huayna Potosi’s West Face. Along with climbing and guiding throughout North America, South America and Asia, Andrew has also spent what may be considered a ridiculous amount of time skiing across various ranges in Alaska. It is a rare occurrence to catch Andrew outside without his camera, and his photos and words have appeared in numerous national and international publications.
Born and raised in Australia, Abby Watkins spent her youth in the spectacular Aussie surf and bush, whilst training as an elite gymnast through her teenage years. She went to U. C. Berkeley on gymnastics scholarship, which opened the doors to her mountain career. Learning the ropes in Yosemite, she quickly transferred her athleticism and grace to climbing. She has completed one day ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome in record time, finished on the podium at international rock and ice climbing competitions, established all female first ascents in Pakistan and has stood on the summit of Himalayan classic Cholatse (6440m).
In her spare time, she is an aerial dance artist with Aeriosa Dance Society in Vancouver. Living and guiding for the past decade in Canada, Abby has been working for Yamnuska since 2001. She is the director of Alala Women’s Mountain Adventures.
Tim began climbing in the early 1960′s on the west coast. During high school and university he climbed on The Chief at Squamish, (incl. The Grand Wall – 2nd ascent, University Wall – 1st ascent). In 1977, a summer job in Yoho National Park introduced him to the Rockies, and led to a lifetime career as a national park warden where he specialized in the Visitor Safety and SAR Programs. Part of the job included training of other warden staff in mountain travel and SAR skills. In the winter seasons Tim worked in the Park’s avalanche forecasting and control programs and public avalanche information service. He also participated in the creation and subsequent operation of a special program to test pilots who will be accepted for helicopter mountain rescue services in the National Parks of Canada. In 1974 Tim obtained his Full Mountain Guide certification (ACMG/IFMGA).
Tim’s love of climbing has never changed. Climbing highlights include: California (’71-’74) the Triple Direct and West Faces of El Capitan in Yosemite and a winter ascent of Keeler Needle on Mt Whitny in the Sierras; Yukon, Mt Steele and the east ridge of Mt Logan; Nepal, Mt Pumori (23350), and the 1982 Canadian Mt Everest Expedition. Here at home in the Rockies: the 1st ascents of the ice-climbs Bourgeau Left and Righthand in 1972, the 1st ascent of the southeast face of the south tower of the Goodsirs, north face of Mt Temple, east buttress of Howse Peak, the east face of Mt Babael (3rd ascent), the north faces of Mt Robson, Edith Cavell and Mt Alberta. On the rock, for obvious reasons, he prefers trad routes. Some of his favourites include the older Yam classics,(eg.Kahl Wall and Forbidden), Ultra Brewers on Castle, and countless ascents of Mt Louis (First Ascent – Homage to the Spider).
In 2004, after nearly 35 years, Tim retired from the park service and since then Tim has worked, part-time for Yamnuska Mountain Adventures.
The first time Mike ever stepped into a pair of skis he was three years old, and he hasn’t looked back since. Growing up in Lethbridge, Alberta allowed him to spend his childhood climbing and skiing in the Canadian Rockies and abroad. This mountain lifestyle has led to lots of travel opportunities, and he’s been able to spend time either playing or guiding around the world. Numerous trips to the European Alps as well as Alaska, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States have given him his base as a climber/skier and as a guide.
His skills are strongest as a rock climber having climbed up to 7c+/8a in Europe, and 5.12d at home in Canada. This is closely followed by a strong passion for skiing, where his interests lie in longer unsupported traverses as well as in the realm of extreme skiing. As an alternative to skiing during the winter months, he learned to ice and mixed climb as a teenager as well.
Mike has been working with Yamnuska since 2006, and is best known to his guests for the patience in his teaching and coaching style, his openness and approachability but mostly for his endless enthusiasm and energy.
“One of my greatest pleasures in life is being able to see my guests succeed while we are in the Mountains together. It’s so motivating for me to see the people I guide so rewarded and connected to the experience while we’re out there together. I’m always looking forward to meeting the next guest, passing what knowledge on that I can, and then to share in their journey out there… I just totally love my job man!”
Mike is a certified ACMG Assistant Alpine Guide on the road to becoming a fully certified IFMGA/ACMG Mountain Guide.
Mike Stuart decided to pursue a career in guiding after coming to visit Banff and realizing the potential for outdoor adventure to be found in the Canadian Rockies.
It was perhaps due to his exposure to those Manitoba winters which resulted in Mike choosing ice climbing as his first climbing experience and that soon became his sport of choice. His skills and knowledge rapidly accelerated following his move to Canmore and it wasn’t long before he was climbing Grade 6+. Having climbed many of the Rockies “classics” such as the Weeping Pillar, The Sliver, French Maid, Sea of Vapours, Nemesis, and the Replicant, Mike is happiest with tools in his hands and spikes on the ice.
As a guide Mike loves taking people into the mountains and enjoys watching them learn and grow through personal challenge and self-discovery. “Watching people make that personal connection with themselves and with nature through their climbing pursuits is very rewarding and being able to share in that experience is one of the many reasons I have chosen guiding as a profession”. As a climber his focus is on pure lines and big peaks in the alpine and meeting the challenge of the technical demands that this style of climbing inevitably entails.
Dave 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.
Originally 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.
Paul Rogers was introduced to climbing in the late seventies while at college. He soon moved out of London to pursue his newfound passion for sea cliff climbing. The first half of the eighties was spent in the west country of England climbing granite sea cliffs. Ice climbing trips to Scotland and summers in the European Alps was a natural progression.
In the mid eighties a climbing trip to New Zealand evolved in to permanent residency, and the Southern Alps of NZ began to shape Paul as a climber. Paul’s passion for granite continued with expeditions to the Trango Towers region of Pakistan and a long lasting drive to explore the granite walls of Fiordland National Park (NZ).
In 1992 Paul started his Mountain Guide training, completing his certification in 1996. Throughout the nineties, Paul mixed summer guiding with Outdoor Experiential Education, instructing for the NZ Army, The NZ Antarctic research program, and the Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Pursuits Center.
For the past ten years Paul had focused on full time high guiding. Three summers in Antarctica, four summers in Canada and the rest spent in New Zealand and Argentina. Paul regularly guides in Nepal and has lead expeditions to Tibet and Russia. As a guide Paul has worked on Everest, Cho-Oyu and Lhotse, summiting Cho-Oyu in 2006 and leading a Lhotse expedition that put two clients and four Sherpas on the summit in 2008. Most of Paul’s expedition work has centered around Aconcagua (Argentina), Mera Peak, Ama Dablam, Island Peak and Lobuche East (Nepal).
A passion for photography and rock climbing always follows Paul’s travels. Working in the Rockies and the mountains of BC has become a regular and most enjoyable experience, this being his fifth season. When not climbing Paul can be found planting trees in Wanaka, the resort town in Southern NZ, were he also volunteers in the local Search and Rescue team. New route development in the Fiordland Mountains still figures strongly when time permits!
Erica 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.
Simon Robins Simon loves the mountains. From boulders to big walls and frozen waterfalls to icy peaks. Simon has been climbing since 1991, and draws on these years of experiences to instruct and guide people through mountain terrain.
From his humble beginnings as a gym rat in the flat prairies of Edmonton, Simon’s adventures expanded with trips to the Canadian Rockies and then on to the mountain ranges of British Columbia, throughout the United States and South East Asia. Simon talents range from onsighting 5.13 rock climbs and spending 30 days skiing 300 km over the spine of the Canadian Rockies.
Simon joined Yamnuska in 2007. Whether it is rock climbing, mountaineering or ski touring Simon enjoys being able to share these mountain adventures with all. Simon feels lucky to live in Canmore, Alberta because everyday in the mountains is a great day.