Our staff comes from a wide variety of backgrounds but they all have one thing in common - they are the best in their respective fields. With years of experience, accreditation from the world's most respected outdoor organizations and a passion for sharing remarkable experiences with you - our guides are constantly setting the standard in the outdoor industry for delivering safe, challenging and memorable adventures for all of our guests.
Alex grew up all over the west but calls Summit County, Colorado home. He is an avid skier and rock climber spending amble hours in Eldo Canyon, the Tetons and other areas around the US. In the winter he works for Brekenridge ski patrol part time along with Irwin Guides. Currently he is a Colorado wilderness EMT-B, American Avalanche Institute Level III certified and started down the AMGA Ski Guide Program.
Jake is all over the place … Jake has been guiding in Washington State since 2006, returning to his home state to combine passion and profession after first summiting Mount Rainier on his 15th birthday. In the Spring/early Summer he makes his pilgrimage to the Alaska Range to guide his favorite trip on Mount McKinley, teaching climbers how to live and climb on North America’s highest peak. In the winter Jake heads south to guide the volcanoes of Mexico and Ecuador before heading to South America’s highest peak, Argentina’s Aconcagua. When not guiding globally, Jake calls Crested Butte home and shares his wealth of experience and skills with Irwin Guides' guests. Jake’s favorite aspect of guiding is sharing his love of the high places and teaching others how to access the view. Specialties: cat skiing, backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, winter mountaineering, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and avalanche education
Alan has worked as a full time mountain guide rock and ice climbing, back country skiing, mountain biking, teaching avalanche safety courses and guiding internationally since 1992. He has been a certified American Mountain Guide Association Ski Mountaineering Guide since 1992. Alan worked as a helicopter ski guide in Valdez Alaska in the mid 90’s and has also guided helicopter skiing in Iceland and Chile. He and his family lived in France 2012-2014 guiding and playing in the Eleven property in the Alps. Alan has been a weather and avalanche forecaster for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center. He is also a certified Wilderness First Responder and has an extensive background on the Crested Butte Ski Patrol and Search and Rescue. He currently holds the title of Global Activities Director and Senior Guide for Eleven and Irwin Guides. Specialties: Rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, mountaineering, hiking, cat skiing
Reed graduated from Central Michigan University and moved immediately west in 2002. While in college, Reed fell in love with traveling to new mountain ranges like the LaSals, the Appalachians, and the Porcupines. Reed loves sharing his passion and experience with others through backpacking, rock climbing, canyoneering, mountain biking, running rivers, and backcountry skiing. He has worked in various elements of outdoor industry, such as admin and guide staff, since 2000 including Central Michigan University’s Outdoor Program, Outward Bound, Trailhead Wilderness School, Adaptive Sports Center, and Rim Tours. Reed Joined Irwin Guides in 2009. He is a certified Level 1 Mountain Bike Instructor and guide through the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and it working toward furthering his certifications in the guiding world. Specialties: Mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, rafting and stand up paddle boarding
My name is John Bocchino, and I go by John or Bo. I am a fly fishing guide, and I live on the Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies, in Gunnison. I have been in the Gunnison Valley since 2006, when I came to work for one of the top resorts in the valley. I managed the fly shop and guide service there for five seasons and guided for eight seasons, prior to starting up my own fly fishing outfitting business and working for myself for a couple of years. I joined Irwin Guides in 2015. Fly fishing is my passion, and I spend as much time on the water as possible. This part of the Rocky Mountains is home to some of the best trout rivers in the country, and there are countless opportunities to fly fish on a variety of water in the area. I am a member and past president of our local Trout Unlimited (TU) chapter in Gunnison, the Gunnison Angling Society. I am a life member of TU, and fully support the TU mission to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Prior to pursuing a career in the fly fishing industry, I spent 25 years in telecommunications, information technology, engineering and consulting. My business experience is extensive and has varied over the years. I worked for multi-national corporations with operations around the globe. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel around the US, Canada, Europe, and Hong Kong and China.
Dave joined the IG team in 2014 and brings with him a variety of skills and experience. He has been working in the outdoor industry since 1998. He has guided all over the American west and throughout Europe. He has worked as the Director for well established outdoor programs in both Colorado and in Germany. He has also worked with the Adaptive Sports Center based here in Crested Butte. He holds a variety of certifications including AIARE Level 2; Level 4 ACA Kayak/Swiftwater instructor; ACA Level 3 SUP; AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, and he has taken his first AMGA Ski Guide Course. When he's not guiding for IG he teaches for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). He loves sharing the outdoors with his clients.
Sydney grew up in southwestern Colorado, where she learned to ski at the age of 3. Since then she has been addicted! After earning her BS in Health and Exercise Science, Sydney moved to Crested Butte with her husband, Rob in the summer of ’08. You will often find her mountain biking, kayaking, or at the local Cross-Fit gym or the Alpineer, where she works part-time. Sydney holds a Wilderness First Responder and AIARE Avalanche 1 and 2 certifications. She is also a formidable athlete – winning the Crested Butte Telemark Extreme Championships in 2010 and 2011, as well as the Subaru Freeride Series event in 2014. Sydney is excited to share her passion for skiing and be part of the Irwin Guides team. Speciality: Cat skiing
Colleen moved to Crested Butte in the spring of 1994. She started fly fishing in 2000 and has been “hooked” ever since. Colleen has been guiding fly fishing for the last 8 years around the Gunnison Valley. She has volunteered her time to help guide disabled veterans and their family members fly fishing in Summit County. Fly fishing is her number one passion in the summer, when not guiding fishing you could probably find her floating the Gunnison River, wading the Taylor River, or adventuring to one of Gunnison County’s many high alpine lakes to catch native Cutthroats. In the summer of 2014, she was the winning guide for the Crested Butte Caddis Cup. She is a graduate of Western State Colorado University located in Gunnison with a degree in Recreation: Outdoor Leadership and Business. Colleen has been instructing skiing and helping with instructor training at the Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte for the last 17 seasons. As a member of the Education Staff for PSIA Rocky Mountain she helps to educate and certify Adaptive Alpine Skiing instructors from the Rocky Mountain Region. Colleen is a presenter at the Adaptive National Academy and helps educate adaptive instructors for across the country. You may also see her bartending at the Scarps Ridge Lodge in the evenings.
Ian is a professional mountain guide from Australia, and is our big mountain specialist, who has been living in Crested Butte for the past 20+ years. Primarily an alpine climber, Ian has climbed all over the world from Scotland to Chile, Canada to New Zealand…including numerous expeditions to 8,000 meter peaks in the Himalaya & Karakorum. Here in Colorado, Ian has climbed all the 14ers (30 of them via technical routes), and would be happy to throw you a rope and point the way to the summit. In winters, apart from ice and alpine climbing, Ian has skied or snowboarded over 100 days a season in the backcountry for the past 20 years. He knows and loves our Elk Mountains and will be happy to share that love with you.
Ian is a Colorado native who has been playing in mountains all his life. After learning what true powder skiing was while captaining the University of Utah Nordic Ski Team in Salt Lake City, Ian decided to retire from ski racing around groomed gerbil loops and become an avalanche professional and mountain guide. Ian comes to Irwin Guides with extensive backcountry experience across the Western United States as well as the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Norway, and Iceland. He has been guiding since 2001. Ian has guided several trips on Denali in Alaska for Mountain Trip International and has worked for Telluride Helitrax. Ian is an AMGA Certified Ski Guide and is pursuing IFMGA certification in Rock and Alpine disciplines. Ian holds AIARE Level III avalanche certification and forecasts for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center and is a Professional Member of the American Avalanche Association. Ian also guides fly fishing trips for Irwin Guides here in Crested Butte, and for several outfitters in central Idaho. Specialties: Fly fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, back packing, mountaineering, rafting, cat skiing, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, winter mountaineering, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and avalanche education
Moose has been with the Eleven staff since April of 2012. He grew up skiing all over the East coast as a competitive junior racer attending Stratton Mtn. School. He has skied most of Colorado, Canada, Mt. Hood, the Alps and the Andes. His family has always been outdoor oriented and he moved to the Gunnison Valley in 1996 to pursue adventures in the surrounding area. Skiing powder, fishing, wingshooting, and big game hunting are his passions. Most of the Summer finds him on the Gunnison River in the oarsman seat of his dory guiding happy fishermen. With 15+ years of guiding experience on the local rivers, lakes and mountains he has extensive knowledge of the area but is always looking for more! In his role with Eleven he strives to enhance guest experiences on and off the water. Always one to lend a hand, you'll find that he wears a number of different hats in his role as Director of Fishing Operations. Generally, he is based in Crested Butte, but Moose often travels to other Eleven locations in search of outdoor adventure and hungry fish!
Peter grew up in the flatlands of the suburbs of Chicago. Upon laying eyes on the Colorado Rockies in 2007, he knew that this was the place to be. After finishing his degree in Recreation and Tourism at Colorado State, he relocated to Crested Butte and hasn't looked back. He discovered his passion for climbing during his years at Colorado State and is now determined to share it with as many people as possible through guiding and instructing. Peter has begun his professional guiding track with the American Mountain Guide Association and looks forward to applying that knowledge with his clients. He is proud to work beside some of the best, most professional guides in the business. Aside from guiding Peter helped co-found the local climbers coalition representing the Gunnison Valley, working with representatives from the local public land agencies to ensure protection and sustainability of the local climbing areas. When not climbing at the local crags around Crested Butte, he can be found exploring his favorite climbing areas around the Western desert.
Dan moved to the Crested Butte area in 2010 to pursue a degree in biology from WSCU. After a brief skibaticle, he is back at school and happy to be guiding all things water for Irwin Guides whenever he can. Born and raised in Boulder Colorado, Dan started fly fishing when he was around 12 and it has remained a fundamental aspect of his life ever since. Dan also competed in a variety of whitewater kayaking disciplines throughout high school, and continued to coach after he graduated in 2009. On one of his rare days off you can likely find him fishing deep in the Cochetopa Hills, surfing at the whitewater park in Gunnison or rafting some of the local whitewater.
Ross grew up in Australia and learned to ski as a teenager. He has been living and skiing in the US for almost 20 years now, with a never ending passion for skiing and ski teaching. Ross is currently a member of the PSIA National Nordic/Telemark Team, which is a team of the best Nordic/Telemark educators in the country. He has been the Head Judge of the US National Telemark Free Skiing Championships for the last ten years. Ross is also an Avalanche Level 1, AIARE certified Instructor and avid backcountry skier. Whether it is hiking in the Anthracites of Crested Butte, a skin track in the backyard of the Ryounkaku Lodge in Hokkaido Japan or a heli lift in Valdez, Alaska. As long as the snow is deep and the friendships are good, Ross is happy. In the summer Ross keeps his ski legs in shape by guiding folks on the amazing single track mountain bike trails that surround Crested Butte. Specialties: Mountain biking, hiking, cat skiing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and avalanche education
Megan Paden moved to Crested Butte in 1995 after earning a degree in Exercise Physiology from KU. During her first winter working as a ski instructor, she immediately became hooked on the adventurous mountain lifestyle and decided to make Crested Butte her home. She has spent the last 18 years employed within the ski industry and exploring the surrounding mountains with her husband, 2 boys and variety of four legged friends. Megan has worked with the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol for the last 12 years, holding credentials as a Colorado Blaster in Charge, Emergency Medical Technician and Avalanche Level 1 and 2 certifications. She has been a member of the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse snow safety team for 3 years, worked as a guide with the previous Irwin Lodge and returned to Irwin to guide since it's reopening. When the seasons change, Megan stays busy running a garden design business and balancing free time between her family, horses and kayak. She feels lucky to work in the mountains and enjoys sharing the experience with others. She looks forward to another abundant Irwin winter. Specialty: Cat skiing
Karin enjoys sharing her love of the backcountry with others. The mountains are an amazing classroom, and Karin has spent the vast majority of her life learning, growing, and being humbled in the mountain environment. She began working professionally in the mountains in 2002 and has spent the last 15 years as an outdoor educator, instructor, technical guide, ski patroller and avalanche forecaster. Karin also dedicated over a decade of this to working as an instructor, course director and staff trainer for Outward Bound schools across western North America in addition to her guiding. She is currently trained by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) in the Ski and Alpine disciplines and is AMGA certified as a rock climbing guide. Active full-time since 2006 in the avalanche industry, Karin is trained to a Professional Level 2 standard and is an AIARE Course Leader. She also has a love of mountain biking and is certified as a Level 1 instructor through the BICP. No matter how you want to travel through the mountains, Karin would love to spend a day with you whether climbing rock, making beautiful powder turns or shredding the single track.
Chris first found his love for the outdoors in the mountains of southern Arizona. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Chris wanted to share his passion for climbing with others as a guide. Five years later, after guiding and recreating in Alaska, New Zealand, and Colorado, Chris is excited to be in Crested Butte as a Winter Intern with Irwin Guides. Chris is certified as a Single Pitch Instructor and Wilderness First Responder. He is excited about gaining further guiding education for both climbing and skiing through the American Mountain Guides Association. Although the outdoors command a large part of Chris’s life, he also enjoys art, music, and laughing.
Snow Safety Director and Risk Manager has been an outdoor professional since 1992 when he arrived in Crested Butte with his focus on guiding and education. He began with Outward Bound in 1994 and has lead mountaineering, river, sea kayaking, and canyon courses in Colorado, Utah, Mexico, and Alaska. Billy was a forecaster for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center for 10 years. He worked for 10-years on the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol and previously worked as a Snowcat ski guide for Irwin Lodge. He is a certified level 3 Avalanche Practitioner, a certified AIARE Avalanche Instructor and teaches avalanche courses locally and for the Silverton Avalanche School. Billy is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician and teaches wilderness medicine for the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS. During the off seasons Billy may be found Heli-ski guiding for our operation in Iceland, playing in the Elk Mountains, kayaking through the Grand Canyon, and travelling the globe. Specialties: Rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, cat skiing
Evan, originally from Jackson Hole WY, gained his ski skills from participation in the Jackson Hole Ski Club starting at the age of 7. He has since traded the skinny skis and groomers for fatter planks and powder. His skills extend beyond skiing though and he is well known in the whitewater kayaking community for many first descents on rivers in Peru, Madagascar, and Siberia. When he’s not skiing or paddling he can be found on his mountain bike logging long rides around the Crested Butte area where he now lives and works. Evan has started his guide training path with the AMGA, is a certified EMT-B and AIARE Level I Avalanche Instructor. Specialties: Mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, backpacking, cat skiing, backcountry skiing, ski mountaineering, cross country sking, snowshoeing and avalanche education
Donny is solely focused on sharing human-powered skiing. His primary passion is guiding, which he does, as a AMGA-certified Ski Guide, in both the northern hemisphere as well as in Chile, where he has spent every “summer” since 2004. Colorado has been his home since 1993 and the West Elk Mountains are one of his favorite ski destinations. Donny has appeared in the ski films Solitaire and Valhalla by Sweetgrass Productions and is a regular contributor to multiple ski industry publications. In 2013 he was nominated as Avalanche Instructor of the Year at the Outdoor Retailer Show and has presented at the Snowsports Industry Association show about the importance of responsible backcountry travel. He is an ambassador for the Winter Wildlands Alliance. Donny is an AIARE Level III Avalanche Forecaster and Level I Course Instructor; he was an examiner for PSIA and a heli-ski guide earlier in his career. He is sponsored by Dynafit, Zeal Optics, Skratch Labs and Backcountry Access. You can follow his adventures on his personal website www.independent-descents.com.
Tom moved to Colorado in 2000 after living in Missoula Montana for four years. He has been climbing his entire life which led him to a passion for living in the mountains skiing and ski mountaineering. He has been working as an Irwin cat guide since 2008, and for Crested Butte ski patrol since 2004. In 2009 he worked and lived in the French Alps for a season working as a patroller, and has developed a passion for skiing in Europe. He has spent four seasons in the Alaska range working for the National Park Service as a volunteer for Search and Rescue, and is aspiring to work on Denali as a climbing ranger. He is also a member of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Search and rescue team, and an EMT-B. Specialties: Rock climbing, ski mountaineering, ice climbing, cat skiing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and mountain biking.
Crested Butte finally pulled Amy away from the Michigan “city girl” lifestyle in 1999. She received her BA in Exercise physiology and joined the Western State Rescue Team. She has led sea kayaking, mountaineering, backcountry snowboarding, ice and rock climbing trips. She has since left the valley on occasion to guide sea kayaking in Mexico, as well as ice climbing, sea kayaking, and mountaineering expeditions in Alaska. Currently Amy splits her time between the waves and mountains. Teaching outdoor education in California, with her downright love for adventure here in Crested Butte. Specialties: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, mountaineering, hiking, stand up paddleboarding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing
In 2005, after returning from Costa Rica with less than $100 to her name, and living poor and homeless in Gunnison for a few weeks, Ashley returned to her home town and got a job working oilfield construction. She has had jobs operating heavy equipment ever since, including plowing parking lots for CBMR and driving the snow cat to deliver food to the two restaurants on the mountain. Ashley started working as a cat driver for Irwin Guides in 2011. Ashley spends her summer months working as a river guide on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho and on the Colorado river in Grand Canyon.
Juniper is a Colorado native who moved to the Crested Butte area in 2008. In 2013 Juniper joined the Eleven team as a snowcat operator and has never looked back. Being in the backcountry and assisting guests in enjoying the Irwin terrain as much as her, truly makes for a rewarding career. When Juniper isn't working for Eleven she can be found enjoying time with her friends snowboarding, wheeling, wake boarding, summiting Gunnison County's countless peaks, and participating in many of Crested Butte's community events with her Bully Basset Dog, Mickey in tow. Juniper's contagious smile and love for life is an amazing addition to the Eleven family and we're happy to have her.
Peace grew up right here in Crested Butte, when her family moved back and settled into the valley in 1996. She's been a fan of skiing since she was just a wee one, starting off in a carrier on her father's back at just 6 months. Combining her love for snow and travel, Peace has started on a new adventure of chasing winter, spending her "summers" down in New Zealand as a groomer at Mt. Hutt Skifield and returning to Crested Butte to work for Irwin Guides as a snowcat driver and as a snowmaker and groomer for Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Peace has also been a member of the Crested Butte Fire Department since 2004, as both a wildland & structural firefighter and EMT-B.
Martin spent most of his summers just over Schofield pass, in the old ghost town and mountains of Crystal. Growing up backpacking in the Maroon Bells and Elk Range, gave him a love for the outdoors. He continued his passion in 98' by moving to Boulder for climbing and a NOLS semester in the Wind River Range. He continued onto CMC in Steamboat Springs, to obtain his EMT and education while guiding backpacking and canoe trips in the Boundary Waters and Rocky Mountains. Jumping the pond to the Big Island in 2001, he found new passions; sailing, surfing and spearfishing. Martin made this a full time job sailing as a deckhand in the South Pacific. After refurbishing his own sailboat, he spent the next 5 years sailing the west coast of the US, Mexico, Central America, South America and Galapagos. He has logged over 20,000 nautical miles, holds a 50 ton captain's license and has worked on various yachts and sailboats in the islands of the South Pacific and Pacific Northwest. He enjoyed working with a wide variety of clientele from all over the world and providing them with the best experience possible. In 2009, Martin attended Le cordon Bleu and then went on to work in Spain, Switzerland, and India, absorbing as much food culture as possible. He brought it back to Colorado in 2012, opened a food truck and catering company in Fort Collins CO where he found two more passions, his wife, Chelsea, and black lab, Reba. They sold everything in 2014, moved to the other end of Schofield Pass and have settled in the mountains of Crested Butte. Specalties: sailing, white water rafting, climbing, backpacking, culinary, and of course, skiing
Cait has been working for Irwin Backcountry Guides since November 2014. Cait was born and raised in Reno, NV. Her passion for the mountains and outdoors brought her to Crested Butte, CO. When Cait isn't creating a once in a lifetime outdoor hospitality experience for our clients, you will find her gardening, rock climbing and hiking with her dog Beam. She hopes to learn how to fly fish this summer. Winter activities Cait is passionate about include snowmobiling, snowboarding and split boarding. After working in the restaurant industry for many years Cait decided to switch it up and work in the beautiful outdoors doing what she is passionate about
Since Neil picked up a bike in 2010, his passion for the sport and eagerness to explore has been a common theme. Neil is an avid adventure cyclist, tackling routes such as the Colorado Trail, Arizona Trail, Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and many others. There is something about living off your bike, traveling to unknown places, all on dirt roads and singletrack that Neil loves. When he is not out in the backcountry he is riding dirt or snow locally here in Crested Butte. Neil loves taking photos with his Sony a6500, watching the Chicago White Sox with a good IPA in hand, and has watched the complete series of The Office too many times to count.
Jeff is a Colorado native whose passion for the outdoors has been evident since birth. He has been a winter sports enthusiast since a young age; active in snowboarding, splitboarding, backcountry touring and XC skiing. Jeff migrated to Crested Butte in 2018 from Breckenridge where he spent 15 years working in the outdoor action sports industry in various retail and rental management roles. Jeff’s love for outdoor adventure is what prompted him to join the Irwin Guides team. The appeal of the serene mountain landscapes and exploring the vast trail networks on his bike was an integral part of his decision to relocate to Crested Butte. When he is not managing equipment and retail needs for Irwin Guides you will find him mountain biking, exploring the surrounding mountains, SUPing the local rivers or doing just about anything outside with Luna Bean, his Alaskan Husky.
Elliot first experienced Crested Butte’s glory in 2011 when he realized that not only is this a place he wanted to live, but also start a career. His childhood in Florida is what originally introduced him into fishing, but Colorado is where he first picked up a fly rod…and never looked back. Determined to sink his feet in, Elliot found that fishing was a passion that he strived to focus on in his day to day life, whether it be a profession or a hobby. As one thing leads to the other, fly fishing consumed his time as he soon began guiding clients and managing the fishing operation. It's not always about the fishing when there are numerous other activities to engage in, but the peace of mind that fishing brings is how he relaxes both mentally and physically. The pure joy of teaching others how to improve their game on the water is what drives the motivation for him. Fly fishing is not a simple task and can be unpredictable, but when done properly there is no greater satisfaction for Elliot than releasing a fish back where it came from.
Cody is life long outdoor enthusiast whose love for cycling brought him to Crested Butte in the 2014. His passions are mountain biking, skiing, building trails, gardening and promoting the stoke. Cody joined the IG team with a strong background in sales and several years worth of local Crested Butte knowledge. He enjoys exploring the Gunnison Valley on bike and learning about its rich local history. He was awarded “Trail Keeper of the Year Award for 2017." When not booking epic adventures for our guests you can find Cody exploring the high country with his friends or at our local CBMBA dig days helping maintain and create the best trail network in the world!
Born and raised in Ohio, Cody moved out to Colorado without ever stepping foot in the state. Once he experienced the rocky mountains for the first time he never looked back and has turned rural Gunnison County into the place he calls home. Cody is driven by adventure and feels most at peace when he is outside cowboy camping under the milky way or when riding anything with wheels! Dirt bikes are his specialty, as he finds there is no faster way to see the countryside, but he also loves pedaling mountain bikes. Cody earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Western State Colorado University in the field of Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Recreation & Outdoor Education. He maintains his WFR status, along with having his AIARE 1 & SRT 1. His degree and outdoor education background helped foster his care for the environment and his passion for helping people. There is no such thing as a bad day in Cody’s life, eternally positive and equally as energetic, he finds that the little things are what brings sunshine to every day!