Don is a first-generation American and was born in Oklahoma City’s Little Saigon. His parents were refugees of the Vietnam War. Growing up in a flat place with little woods or topography, Don was drawn West to the Colorado Rockies to study mountain guiding. Further travels brought Don to the PNW where he began his guiding career on Mt Rainer and Mt Shasta. The ubiquitous human journey and pilgrimage in the wilds has always been very important to Don and, it is his passion to be able to guide and work with people in the outdoors.
Don loves mountaineering, ice climbing, rock climbing, backpacking, hunting, and traveling with his partner Emily.
Don was a contestant in 2015 on the Reality TV show “Naked and Afraid” in Namibia.
Take 5 with the Guide
Favorite childhood breakfast cereal
Reese’s crunch puffs
When you’re not guiding?
I hike and whittle and ski, I take time to read book and take classes on things not related to climbing.
One piece of advice for aspiring mountaineers
It’s going to be like middle school. There’s not one way to be or do things, keep your chin up and don’t be discouraged.
In another life I’d…
I’d like to be a biologist.
What’s always in your snack bag?
Kendal Mint Cake
Denali 2 summits
Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) 30+ summits
Koma Kulshan (Mt. Baker) 20+ summits
Mt Shuksan two summits and a ski descent.
Mt. Hood 5 summits various routes 3 ski descents.
Mt Shasta 3 summits
The Grand Teton
Pico de Orizaba
Many Colorado 14ers and ski descents.
Avalanche Level 2
Leave No Trace Trainer
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor
AMGA Alpine Guide Course
AMGA Alpine Rock Course
AMGA Ice Instructor Course
AMGA Alpine Skills Course
Loved it. Much better than my Brand X Denali expedition last year I attribute this to perhaps higher screening standards with AAI. Also more menu diversity with AAI which was appreciated.