Gary started climbing in 2010 when he lived in Anacortes, WA while stationed there in the Navy. His roommate talked him into bouldering on Mt. Erie. After getting hooked, Gary left the country for a 7 month deployment in the Middle East. To fill the void of not actually climbing, Gary read books, forums, watched videos, practiced knots and rescue from the top of his bunk to fill the void of not being able to actually climb. This turned out to be a great way to build a solid and knowledgeable foundation of skills. He also ordered a lot of gear to be sent home. When he finished deployment, there was a giant stack of climbing gear waiting to be used.
This is when things got serious. This was Gary’s last few months in the Navy, and his first summer in WA. He enjoyed learning outdoor rock climbing at Mt. Erie, and soon hooked up with fellow AAI Guide Lee Lazzara for some outings. After his enlistment in the Navy, Gary moved to Durango, CO for sunny weather and to pursue his new found love for rock climbing. This is also where he met another soon-to-be AAI Guide, Nik Mirhashemi. Nik and Gary started climbing together exclusively. Gary became interested in guiding and became an AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor in 2013 and thus kicked off his guiding career.
Gary started guiding for Kling Mountain Guides in Durango, and continued to progress as a mountain guide with training thru the AMGA. He has traveled all around the west, and is in love with the sandstone climbing in the Moab and Red Rock areas. Gary continued to work based out of Durango for 4 years, until bigger terrain and more interest in alpine, ice, and mountaineering objectives brought him to the Pacific Northwest and Alpine Ascents International. Guiding in the PNW is a pivotal step in a guides’ career and Gary is excited to continue pursuing IFMGA Guide status and explore new terrain!
Take 5 with the Guide
If you could only take one album on an expedition?
Paspatou – Parra for Cuva according to Spotify 2021 Wrapped
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
What was your first mountain?
Mt Adams attempt with 6 internet strangers in 2011.
In another life, I’d…
One piece of advice for aspiring mountaineers?
Don’t bring too much stuff.
The Chef – Vallecito, CO [III 5.9 5 pitches]
Da Cherry on Top! – Vallecito, CO [III 5.9+ 6 pitches]
Belly of the Beast – Telluride, CO [IV WI5+ M6 C1 X 6 pitches]
93,000,000 Miles – Red Rock Canyon, NV [IV 5.7 2,600’]
Sylas – Durango, CO [5.11+, 1 pitch]
The Warrior – Red Rock, NV [IV 5.11- 7 pitches]
Cloud Tower – Red Rock, NV [IV 5.12- 6 pitches]
The Scenic Cruise – Black Canyon, CO [IV 5.10d 13 pitches]
Primrose Dihedrals – Canyonlands, UT [IV 5.11+ 7 pitches]
Epinephrine – Red Rock, NV [IV 5.9 13 pitches] (Guided)
Russian Arête – Black Canyon, CO [IV 5.9+ 1,800’] (Guided)
Resolution Arête – Red Rock, NV [V 5.10 C1 24 pitches]
Little Bear Peak [14,037’] > Blanca Peak [14,345’] > Ellingwood Point [14,042’] Traverse – CO
Cathedral Traverse – Grand Teton National Park, WY
Northeast Face of Pingora Peak – Wind River Range, WY [IV 5.8+ 12 pitches]
Direct North Ridge of Mt. Stuart – North Cascades, WA [IV 5.9+ 20 pitches]
Kautz Glacier Route – Mt. Rainier, WA (Guided)
Wham Ridge on Vestal Peak – San Juan Mountains, CO [III 5.4 10 pitches] (Guided)
Bridalveil Falls – Telluride, CO [III WI5+ 3 pitches]
Ames Ice Hose – Telluride, CO [III WI5 3 pitches]
South Face of Engineer Mountain [12,972] – San Juan Mountains, CO
Southeast Face of Sultan Mountain [13,368’] – San Juan Mountains, CO
Wilderness First Responder & CPR
AIARE Avalanche Level II
Leave No Trace Trainer
AMGA Certified Single Pitch Instructor
AMGA Rock Guide
AMGA Alpine Guide
Yes. Top notch all the way. Both Victor and Nick are experienced and knowledgeable guides. Their decision making and leadership skills are of the highest order. Lots of teaching opportunities along the way; both Victor and Nick were very open and willing to share their knowledge