Don Nguyen

    Don Nguyen

    Senior Guide: Washington, Alaska, International

    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

    Guide For:


    Significant Ascents

    Denali 2 summits
    Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) 30+ summits
    Koma Kulshan (Mt. Baker) 20+ summits
    Mt Shuksan two summits and a ski descent.
    Mt. Adams
    Mt. Hood 5 summits various routes 3 ski descents.
    Mt Shasta 3 summits
    Mt. Whitney
    The Grand Teton
    Gannet Peak
    Pico de Orizaba
    Many Colorado 14ers and ski descents.


    WFR/ CPR
    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

    I appreciate the guides and office staff for providing an overall smooth and enjoyable experience, on and off the mountain!

    Denali BLOG

    • Denali Webinar

      Dominating the already immense landscape of the Alaska Range, Denali “The Great One ” is the tallest mountain in North America, rising a lofty 20,310’ above Denali National Park.  Mountaineers flock from across the globe to test their strength and climbing prowess on this ultimate alpine test piece.  If you have Denali on your list […]

    • Denali: A Photo Essay

      by Brooke Warren Denali “The High One” is the third highest of the seven summits, right behind Everest and Aconcagua, at 20,310 feet. It is an “ultra-prominent” peak with soaring vertical relief of 18,000 feet, greater even than Mount Everest (a mere 12,000′ of vertical relief) when measured from its 2,000-foot lowlands to its lofty […]

    • Dear Alpine Ascents: Insulating Ice Axe Handles?

      Hey Alpine, I’m headed up to Denali this May (!!!!) and I heard that climbers insulate their ice axes? Interesting… What’s the rationale and how do I do it? Thanks in advance and see you in Talkeetna! Sincerely, Seeking Toasty Mitts Hi Toast Mitts, Thanks for reaching out and stoked you’re headed up to the […]

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