Phil Powers - Executive Director
Phil Powers joined the American Alpine Club as executive director in May of 2005. His previous experience in the non-profit world includes service as vice president for institutional advancement at Naropa University and seventeen years with the National Outdoor Leadership School as chief mountaineering instructor and development/partnerships director. He remains an owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Powers is author of Wilderness Mountaineering and Climbing: Expedition Planning. His essay, "The Importance of Pace", was aired on NPR's "This I Believe" in 2006. Powers has led dozens of expeditions to South America, Alaska and Pakistan's Karakoram Range, including ascents of K2 and Gasherbrum II without supplemental oxygen. He made the first ascent of the Washburn Face on Denali, naming it in recognition of the impact longtime AAC member Bradford Washburn's photos had in the planning and route research of many Alaska climbs. Powers also made the first ascent of Lukpilla Brakk's Western Edge in Pakistan, and the first winter traverse of the Tetons' Cathedral Peaks. He continues to be an active climber and skier. He lives with his wife and children in Denver, Colorado.
Penn Burris - Director of Operations/Chief Financial Officer
Penn Burris, Director of Operations, has had a love affair with the mountains and climbing from a very young age. A Wyoming native, he spent his teenage years climbing in the Tetons, Devil's Tower, Vedawoo and the Wind River Range. Burris, a married father of 3 young teenagers, moved to Colorado in the mid 1980's to attend the University of Denver where he studied Economics and Political Science. While attending DU he furthered his involvement in the climbing community as the President of the DU Alpine Club, leading student climbing expeditions to Mexico, Alaska and throughout the U.S. After graduating, Penn went to work as a stockbroker for Dain Bosworth, a Minneapolis based Investment Banking firm. But, the outdoor industry kept calling him back. After 3 years, he left to start retail climbing shops and guiding service in the Colorado Front Range. Eventually, that lead to other outdoor industry careers including Outdoor Prolink/The Outdoor Network and 7 years as Vice President of American Outdoor Products; makers of Backpacker's Pantry food. Now living in Golden, CO, Burris explains "Working for the American Alpine Club is the perfect opportunity for me. It combines my years of development in the business world, my love of climbing and working with a really great and motivated group of people who truly care about the club and its future".
Erik Lambert - Information & Marketing Director
Erik Lambert has long been enriched by the vertical world—climbing and backcountry skiing in particular. His past decade was shaped just as much by New England granite, Wyoming powder, and Utah desert as it was by his experience in print and online media. He wrote a nonfiction mystery novel on an Arctic explorer that earned him a master’s in journalism from Dartmouth College. For many years afterward, he was Online Editor of Alpinist and Backcountry magazines; he also acted as Features and Arts Editor for the Jackson Hole News & Guide and freelanced for more than a dozen books, magazines and newspapers. Erik then joined the American Alpine Club team in November 2010 as Information and Marketing Director. He lives in Boulder, Colorado and feels most relaxed a thousand feet higher, on the conglomerate Flatirons above his home.
Keegan Young - Development Director
Keegan spent his early years exploring the wilderness and trout streams around his home in Idaho. Though always awed by the Tetons as a child, it was not until later in life that he became serious about climbing and sought out summits in Wyoming and Colorado. His passion for mountaineering runs deep and is magnified by his love for the climbing community. His attraction to nature and conservation led him to a fundraising career with the Tulsa Zoo before joining the AAC staff in 2011. Keegan majored in Marketing and Management at Oklahoma State University. He and his wife were married on the banks of the Snake River after spending a day summiting the Grand for their first time. During the past decade they’ve spent most of their free time driving all night to 14er trailheads and the amazing ice near Ouray. They are thrilled to finally raise their three children closer to the mountains and give back to the community and culture they love.
Craig Hoffman - Information Technology Director
Craig Hoffman grew up north of Chicago but migrated west as soon a possible. While attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, Craig took up mountaineering, rock climbing, telemark skiing and trail running. Following graduation Craig began working as a guide and had the opportunity to climb throughout the Himalayas, Alaska and South America. Craig later became an instructor for the Outward Bound School, instructing courses from 21-83 days through out Colorado, Wyoming, Alaska and Washington. Craig has worked for several small and large technology firms throughout the state and has started and operated his own web shop. In 2002 Craig moved to Boulder where he met his wife and running/climbing partner. The two moved to Chicago for the last several years while she attended medical school but are now happily living back in Louisville, CO and enjoying getting back out climbing and running.
Carol Kotchek - Bookkeeper
Carol Kotchek moved here in 2002 from Sun Valley, Idaho and obtained a degree in accounting in 2007 from Regis University. She started climbing at the City of Rocks, Idaho in the era of painter pants, rugby shirts, and clanging hexes. Having climbed through the leopard skin lycra phase she's now back to placing trad gear with an occasional foray to sport climbing areas. Her 15 minutes of fame was being the cover girl on the City of Rocks guide book for many years. Carol has been actively involved in climbing access issues for many years. She was on the City of Rocks climbing management team, the Las Vegas Climber's Liaison Council (when she lived in Las Vegas for two winters), and is currently on the Flatirons Climbing Council. "Although working on committees can be frustrating, it is great to see the truly positive results of your efforts a few years down the road." She feels that working at the Alpine Club is another great opportunity to participate in the preservation of this great sport and hopes that efforts put in now will elevate the climbing experience for future generations.
Janet Miller - Executive Assistant/Grants Manager
Janet has been with the AAC since 2006. She came with over 6 years administrative experience, starting with Outward Bound in 2000 and then two years in New York working for the National Maritime Historical Society. Upon returning to Colorado in 2006 she came on board here at the AAC. As Executive Assistant she provides administrative support to Phil Powers and other directors on staff and also administrates the AAC's ever growing grants program. Prior to Outward Bound she spent almost a decade working in veterinary medicine as a certified veterinary technician.
Janet enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, climbing, skiing, snowshoeing and sea kayaking.
Lauren Shockey - Membership Coordinator
Lauren Shockey hails from the great state of Texas. She grew up spending every moment in the great outdoors and got her first taste of climbing in Ward, Colorado as a young camper. She then went on to be a Youth Rock Climbing Instructor in North Carolina while in college. Also, while attending Southwestern Adventist University, she learned that she had a passion for working with non-profit organizations. After graduating from SWAU with her bachelors degree, she and her husband moved to Denver, a place where they could get their fill of climbing, skiing, and hiking. In 2009, Lauren was excited for the opportunity to join the AAC staff and merge her two interests of non-profit and the great outdoors.
Vickie Hormuth - Development Manager
Vickie joined the Fundraising Department of the American Alpine Club in 2012. She has been involved in the non-profit arena since 2001 working for nonprofits including Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Outward Bound, the Environmental Defense Center, & the Nonprofit Support Center of Santa Barbara. A native of Colorado, Vickie was introduced to the outdoors at an early age, but didn’t discover climbing until attending University of Colorado, Boulder. There she became an active member of the CU Alpine Club, eventually serving as the marketing & outreach chair on the Board of Directors. Since that time Vickie has climbed her way across the US and around the world, exploring New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, France, and Greece, but is happiest climbing at her home crag of Eldorado Canyon or Lumpy Ridge.
Ben Edwards - Development Coordinator
Ben grew up in Texas, enjoying the outdoors and visiting Colorado for family vacations. He stayed in Texas to study Economics at Baylor, where he met his wife. They made their way to Colorado as soon as possible. It was during college that Ben became captivated with the world of climbing, of racking up vertical mileage and discovering untouched rock. Having claim to multiple first ascents, Ben is familiar with working on access issues for climbers. He is passionate about sharing his love for climbing and giving back to the climbing community. Before joining the Alpine Club, Ben interned with Leave No Trace and set routes with Rock’n & Jam’n Climbing Gyms. Ben also enjoys skiing, hiking, and searching for new rock.
David Boersma - Graphic Designer
David Boersma, originally from Holland, Michigan, got his start climbing in Joshua Tree NP when he moved west to California on a whim. Amidst stints in Pasadena, Santa Cruz, and Ft. Collins, he spent time hiking much of the Appalachian Trail and motorcycling the Andes Mountains. After studying digital film and video production at the Illinois Institute of Art–Chicago, David was a graphic designer for several marketing agencies on a multitude of outdoor industry brands. When not behind his computer, like every other Coloradoan, he's typically found tucked away somewhere in the Rocky Mountains backpacking, snowboarding, or climbing with his wife and two dogs, cooler in tow.
Whitney Bradberry - Content Manager
Whitney is originally from Florida, but her love for skiing brought her out west. Within the first year of living in Colorado she was hooked on climbing. Whitney graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in 2010 and from there pursued her love for the outdoor industry. She joined the Club in December 2012. In her free time she manages a small gear reviewing company, enjoys hiking Colorado’s 14ers, and climbing around the Front Range.
Jonny Griffith - Marketing Manager
From a young age, Jonny Griffith has been fascinated by climbing. Unfortunately, he grew up in Kansas, so it wasn't until he moved West that he finally cut his teeth on the sport. Jonny studied history & Asian culture in college, which has led him to a variety of jobs, from finance in NYC to guiding in China, with a dash of dog mushing and video production in between. He lives in Golden, Colorado and is happiest when he is hiking with his wife and baby boy.
Remy Rodriguez - Conservation and Volunteer Program Coordinator
Remy is a lifelong member of Northern California. Having grown up in the East Bay, surrounded by truly ex-hippies, she was exposed to the outdoors in a way that helped to cultivate and nurture awe and respect. From the age of seven, Remy was begging her mom to take her to oil spills around the world so that she could help. Throughout her life, no matter which stage she was in, she was always thinking very deeply about the natural world. At 24, Remy went back to college and re-discovered her passion for conservation biology and the planet. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Pace University and became intimately acquainted with the Hudson Valley, as well as the mountains and parks of New York and New England. She found her love of ice climbing in the Catskills and led some summer camp rock climbing trips in the 'Gunks. She left the Northeast for Colorado to pursue a graduate degree and will graduate from Naropa University in 2014 with an M.A. in Environmental Leadership.
Remy has been forever changed through her own volunteer work. Shortly after returning from a volunteer trip in South Africa to rehabilitate penguins, she finally got what she asked for as a child. When the Cosco-Busan ran into the Bay Bridge, spilling over 50,000 gallons of bunker fuel, Remy jumped to help. That experience left a mark on her in a way that classroom work never could by giving her a real world example of conservation, and solidifying her convictions for the Earth and its creatures into actions.
Remy is always looking forward to playing outside, whether it be on the rivers, oceans, ice, rocks or snow, and look forward to the many more adventures Colorado can provide.
Allie Levy - Online Store Manager
Originally from the suburbs of Detroit, Allie graduated from Dartmouth College in 2011 with a B.A. in English. Yet it was not until leaving the Granite State and its excellent climbing areas behind that Allie discovered her passion for climbing in, of all places, New York City, where she worked as a Floor Supervisor at Eastern Mountain Sports in SoHo. Despite her love for the Northeast and the Gunks in particular, Allie moved to Colorado in fall 2013 in order to escape the city and be closer to the mountains. Allie is excited to combine her background in retail with her love for climbing as the AAC’s online store manager.
Dana Gerschel - Library Director
Dana Gerschel, a recent transplant from Brooklyn to Denver, is thrilled to be a newly minted Coloradan. Dana has an MLS from Queens College and an MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University. She has spent the past six years managing libraries, archives, and special collections, most recently as Library Director at the Yale Club. Dana took full advantage of the east coast; cycling the 376 mile Green Mountains loop self-supported, participating in triathlons, and winter camping against her will. She is looking forward to riding her bike to work and does not miss the NYC subway. Dana brought her husband, an avid climber, and her 1 year old along for the ride.
Katie Sauter - Library Manager
Katie loves books, Colorado and snow.
Shelby Arnold - Museum Director
Shelby became Director of the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum in January 2011. Her heart for travel and exploration landed her in Colorado in 2008 after a 42-day trip to 12 national parks, culminating at the summit of Longs Peak. A climber herself, Shelby embraces the Museum's mission to inspire visitors, share stories, build community, and preserve the mountains we know and love. She comes to the organization with a BA in Public Relations and over eight years experience in event planning and concert promotion.
Eddie Espinosa - Northwest Regional Manager
Eddie Espinosa grew up in Puyallup, WA and has stayed in the Pacific Northwest most of his life. He started going into the outdoors as a child, following his dad in and around the trails of Mt. Rainier, the Olympics and the North Cascades and eventually finding his way into climbing while attending Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Since college he’s worked as a climbing and kayaking guide and instructor, taught climbing courses at the University of Puget Sound and coordinated outdoor programs for the YMCA. Most recently he was the Marketing and Brand Manager for Feathered Friends, an expedition outfitter and specialty climbing store in Seattle. He also currently serves on the board of the Washington Climbers Coalition and volunteers with his local mountain rescue unit. Eddie has climbed throughout the world, enjoying all types from bouldering to ice climbing. Of all the places he’s been, he still loves the northwest and lives in Seattle with his wife Ann and new son Evan.
Jeff Deikis - Western Regional Manager
Jeff Deikis, originally hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan, learned to climb on the overhanging sandstone of the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. After graduating from the University of Michigan, and embracing the dirt-bag lifestyle, Jeff moved into the bed of his truck and began a four year odyssey exploring the Nation's climbing--from Rumney, New Hampshire to Yosemite Valley, California and everywhere in-between. While coming from a sport climbing and bouldering background, Jeff does enjoy plugging the occasional gear and getting terrified high off the deck. When not on the rock, he can be found trudging into the mountains, snowboard in tow, looking for any line that could inspire him.
More recently, Jeff has made the sunny skies of California his home, living in the Eastern Sierra amongst the juggernaut granite boulders of Bishop.
Adam Peters - Rocky Mountain and Central Regional Manager
Adam Peters spent his early climbing days running up and down the granite crags and domes of the Wichita Mountains in his home state of Oklahoma. After graduating from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2006 he relented a career in law and moved to Golden, Colorado to pursue the climbing lifestyle in full. As a co-founder of 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell in Arkansas, Adam revels in a good ole fashioned climber gathering. While his current appetite for rock climbing endeavors involves clipping bolts he can also be found returning to his Okie roots by plugging and chugging up gear routes. It’s even rumored that he’s been known to clamber up an alpine route or two in the Front Range of Colorado.
Adam is absolutely ecstatic to be a part of the AAC team and represent the Rocky Mountain and Central Regions and their local communities.
Lisa Hummel - Southeast Regional Manager
Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Lisa has spent over the last decade (more or less) living and climbing in the Southeast. She began climbing while studying Cultural Anthropology at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. While the southeast is at the core of Lisa’s climbing experience, occasionally traveling nationally and internationally to climb continues to fuel her passion for being part of the amazing climbing community. Locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, climbers share similar stories, goals, and values.
As the AAC’s Southeast Regional Manager, Lisa continues her commitment and passion for the climbing community through local climber gatherings, support of meaningful projects, and partnerships with local climbing organizations. Connecting with fellow climbers, volunteers, and local climbing organizations crystalize both the importance of, and responsibility for our collective climbing community; looking out for one another, perpetuating good ethics, and challenging each other to live our dreams keeps us strong…so do push-ups.
Philip Swiny - Facilities Director
Philip is originally (sort of) from New England, but has lived and worked all over the country. He grew up spending a great deal of time outdoors with his family, and has continued to do so as much as possible both professionally and recreationally ever since.
He has lead and managed youth conservation programs, worked as a rock-climbing guide, coordinated international research expeditions and most everything in between.
Philip joined the AAC in 2012 as the GTCR manager and has spent summers at the Ranch since, he also traveled to El Paso, TX to coordinate renovations and manage the all-new Hueco Rock Ranch. Philip has now moved to AAC HQ to handle logistics for all existing properties and help research and develop new lodging locations.
Debbie & Gary Bunten - GTCR Assistant Management Team
Debbie and Gary joined the Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch staff as assistant managers in the summer of 2012. Long time visitors to the Tetons, their passion began twenty years ago when they first visited the area. It's where they first learned to climb, which was a perfect addition to their penchant for the outdoors. Their love of backpacking, hiking, and cycling has led them on many national and international adventures. Gary recently completed a career with an electric utility company. Debbie has a diverse background that includes dance, fitness, and administrative work. They are excited to be associated with the American Alpine Club, and feel that being at the GTCR, where they have visited so many times in the past, is a dream come true. Both are originally from Georgia.
Paul Nelson - New River Gorge Campground Manager
While many climbers seem to grow up and learn climbing in the eastern United States before quickly moving to Colorado, Utah, or California, Paul is that rare breed of eastward-migrating climber. He learned to climb in the deserts and mountains of his home state Utah, before moving to Texas for his graduate studies, where he climbed extensively in that state and in northern Mexico, before moving even further east to Ohio and then Fayetteville, West Virginia, where he is wholeheartedly obsessed with the bullet sandstone of Appalachia. He has dabbled in most types of rock climbing–big walls, sport projecting, bouldering, multipitch, headpointing, first ascents– but is most at home when challenging himself on single-pitch sport or trad climbs, preferably sandstone.
A historian of American environment and exploration, Paul received his Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, teaches the occasional university history course, and recently published a history of Southern Utah’s Canyon Country, Wrecks of Human Ambition. While hiding from academia, he also moonlights as a dessert chef at Fayetteville’s Secret Sandwich Society restaurant, a bluegrass mandolin player, and whitewater boater on the New and Gauley rivers. If you stay at the AAC’s New River Gorge campground, you will probably run into him too early in the morning, where he will energetically collect your fees and tell you where the best rainy-day crags are.
Dougald MacDonald - Executive Editor
Ever since the mid-1990s, when he decided business journalism wasn’t his thing and quit his job as editor of the Denver Business Journal, Dougald MacDonald has been a climbing journalist. In addition to writing a book about Longs Peak in Colorado and countless print and online articles, he has worked as Editor and Publisher of Rock & Ice, Editorial Director for Climbing and Urban Climber magazines, and now Executive Editor of the AAC. In this position, he is responsible for the American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering, as well as the club’s publications website. Dougald has been climbing for 35 years and still enjoys just about every aspect of the sport, from bouldering to long alpine routes. His current dream is to put up new free routes on Baffin Island.
Erik Rieger - Assistant Editor & Art Director
Erik Rieger fell into the roll of climbing journalist as a student at Colorado College, where he volunteered as editor and designer of the Colorado College Alpine Journal for several years. When he graduated in 2012, the AAJ and Accidents became the exciting next step. In addition to an array of media and editorial work, Erik is most fulfilled working on these two AAC titles, believing that good stories and smart design can inspire climbers and others to pursue adventure. Erik has climbed throughout North and South America, enjoying everything from alpine-style first ascents to bouldering at home. When not working, you can find him exploring and climbing throughout the lesser-traveled parts of Colorado and abroad.
Lindsay Griffin - Senior Editor, The American Alpine Journal
Jed recently retired following ten years as President of Sterling College in Vermont. He has been a practitioner and consultant in education and outdoor pursuits, including over 60 safety and quality reviews and accident investigations. He co-authored the Association for Experiential Education's Accreditation Standards for Adventure Programs, has had several articles published, and produced three educational videos on experiential and adventure topics. From 1987 through 1992, he was Executive Director of the United States Biathlon Association. (He was on the U.S. Biathlon Team in the 1960’s while serving in the U.S. Army.) He was a faculty member at the University of New Hampshire from 1973 to 1982 - where he designed and directed an experiential teacher education graduate program called "Live, Learn, and Teach." He has also worked as an instructor, program director, and school director for several U.S. Outward Bound schools and as a mountain guide.
He was a member of the Board of the American Alpine Club from 1974 to 1998, serving as President from 1992-94 and as Secretary from 1994-98. He was elected to Honorary Membership in 2007. Jed has been the Chair of the Safety Advisory Council and the editor of the American Alpine Club’s annual report Accidents in North American Mountaineering since 1974.