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.
Nat Matthews - Director of Operations/Chief Financial Officer
Nat Matthews joined The American Alpine Club in September 2014 as its CFO/Operations Director. He has a broad and varied background: from being born and raised on Guam and in S.E. Asia to a professional background in finance, operational excellence and business development in industries ranging from financial services to renewable energy. Nat has a keen passion for the outdoors. His first ventures into the mountains include trekking in Nepal and climbing Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia and several 14ers in Colorado. Nat and his family recently relocated back to Colorado to be in their element. Prior to that, he spent 11 years in Phoenix, AZ and 2 years at Michigan State University where he earned his M.B.A. in Finance and International Business. Nat is also a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, majoring in Environmental Studies, and attended Fountain Valley School of Colorado, a local boarding school heavily influenced by the western spirit and environmental stewardship. He has been snowboarding since the mid-80's, fly fishes almost every week from Spring through Fall, and finds respite in camping trips with his kids. Nat and his wife couldn't be happier being back in Golden near the mountains, rivers and towns they love.
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 - Accountant
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.
Vickie Hormuth - Development Director
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.
Heidi Medema- Special Events Coordinator
Heidi hails from sunny California where she was a climbing, rafting, and backpacking guide at U.C. Davis. From there she expanded her climbing repertoire in the great PNW, learning actual footwork on slippery basalt and clipping bolts at Smith Rock. From 2012 to 2015, she was the AAC Oregon Section Chair, while simultaneously working at the Mountain Shop, the oldest mountaineering gear store in the country. Now she joins the AAC team in Golden, Colorado as the Special Events Manager. She can't wait to explore Colorado, summit 14'ers and spend sunny days climbing all of the local crags!
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. She 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 review company, enjoys hiking Colorado's 14ers, and exploring new crags around Colorado.
Paul Dusatko - Marketing Manager
Born in Telluride, CO Paul's love for the mountains and the outdoors started early as his Mom didn't allow him inside the house between the hours of 10am and 4pm. With T-Ride's ski team as his P.E. class this indoor restriction was NBD. At the age of 12, Paul's parents relocated the family to Southern California. Reluctant at first, Paul soon embraced the ocean, surfing, and ultimately rock climbing in 1990 via the Yosemite-like granite of Tahquitz, Suicide and the monzonite domes of Joshua Tree's Wander-land Valley. A hard core TRad climber at first, Paul fully embraced the “Sport Climbing is Neither" mentality of the early 90's So Cal climbing scene. After multiple big wall ascents usually ending in multiple epics, Paul soon found attraction to the accessibility, social interaction, and gymnastic movement of sport climbing and bouldering. As training facilities progressed from glue-ups under the freeway to the first commercial climbing gyms, his attraction to the technique and power required to succeed at bouldering and sport climbing grew. Soon after his first climbing gym gig at Rockreation Costa Mesa and notable bouldering, sport climbing, and trad ascents, Paul signed his first contract as a professional climber. Fast forward to the present and Paul has been a route setter, instructor, pro climber, guide, and industry player since 1994.
For the past few decades Paul has played an integral role in the marketing and growth of climbing here in the U.S. Paul produced and directed 6 full length climbing films including Inertia 1&2, A Day In The Life; 5 Women Who Climb, Soul Cal, Bouldering 101 with Matt Birch, and Sport Climbing 101 with Chris Lindner. While these award winning films found success in both the national and international markets, Paul continued to work in and out of the climbing industry. Career highlights outside the industry include positions at MGM, Netflix, and SFA Design.
Returning to Colorado in 2009, Paul took over management of the wall at Miramont Lifestyle Fitness in Fort Collins and saw major success by focusing on the core member experience. Designing and building a unique Wave Wall bouldering expansion, Paul left Miramont in 2013 having increased climbing membership by 400% and helped to reinvigorate a core climbing scene.
Sterling Boin - Financial Operations Analyst
Sterling Boin joined The American Alpine Club in May as a Financial Operations and Marketing Analyst after earning his Bachelors degree in Finance and Marketing from Syracuse University. Originally from the Bronx NY, getting out into the wilderness was no easy task growing up. Sterling developed a passion for skiing from weekend trips to Vermont's Green Mountains. Skiing soon led to other vertical adventures including climbing in the Gunks and Adirondacks. These outdoor activities brought him out west at the first opportunity. Sterling enjoys working to unite the members of the AAC with all of their different outdoor passions.
Ron Funderburke - Education Manager
Ron Funderburke joins the club as a career climbing instructor, guide, and educator. He is an AMGA certified Rock Guide, an Apprentice Alpine Guide, and the Discipline Coordinator of the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Program. Also, Ron has co-written a handful of books on climbing and climbing instruction, including: Rock Climbing: The AMGA Single Pitch Manual, Climbing: Gym to Rock, Climbing: Protection , Climbing: Knots. As a climber in all disciplines, instructor trainer, and writer, Ron has been a student of climbing craft since 2000, where he began exploring the varied rock and conditions in western North Carolina. He has also climbed throughout the United States with an undiminished zeal for rock, ice, and alpine climbing, and he has even been spotted attempting to ski. Ron studied English and French at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his graduate studies at Appalachian State University focused on Alaskan climbing narratives in the early twentieth century. As the Education Manager, Ron serves as an educational resource for the entire club, a special projects and initiatives manager for educational outreach, and promotes the club's core values to provide authoritative climbing information and knowledge.
When Ron is not out in the mountains, teaching climbing, or promoting the club, he can be found teaching his sons, Burke and James, to monkey around on crags and boulders. He and his wife Mary divide their time between North Carolina and Golden, Colorado.
Michelle Hoffman - Online Store Manager
Michelle is one of the many East Coast transplants to Colorado. Living in “upstate" New York, she began her outdoor climbing career in the 'Gunks. The next few years, she began to expand her horizons to different styles of alpinism. Her sophomore year of college, she joined a 2-month expedition in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru. There, she summited seven 5000m mountains and attempted two more, including the magnificent Alpamayo. A week after she got back to the States, she packed up again. This time, it was to move out to Colorado, where she became an Online Media Intern with the American Alpine Club. Loving the office environment, she held a few different part-time positions at the Club until coming on as the Online Store Manager in October 2014.
Sam Andree - Membership Coordinator
Born in Philadelphia, Sam was raised in Roanoke, Virginia, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. After a childhood spent hiking, kayaking, biking and exploring the trails and mountains of western Virginia, Sam began climbing in high school and then more seriously while attending Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sam's experience with NOLS and AMGA allowed him to spend 3 summers guiding climbing trips for the schools freshman wilderness orientation. His studies in environmental science, architecture and geography enriched his love of the outdoors, while his time spent in the Red River Gorge, New River Gorge, and Joshua Tree developed his love of the sport and the climbing community. Sam bypassed the state of Colorado when he biked from Oregon to Virginia several years ago, but today he is thrilled to be in Golden, where he has exchanged one mountain range for another. He is eager to connect with fellow climbers, to encourage and promote membership, and to share the vision of the AAC with a new generation of climbers.
Katie Sauter - Library and Museum Curator
Katie loves books, Colorado and snow.
Her favorite collection in the AAC Library's archives is past president J. Monroe Thorington's scrapbooks from his exploration of the Canadian Rockies and Selkirks. Some of the books she enjoys most in the library are The Last of His Kind by David Roberts (about Brad Washburn) and Colorado 14er Disasters by Mark Scott-Nash.
Eric Rueth - Library Assistant
Growing up Eric spent much of his time in the forests and waterways of central Wisconsin. But, it wasn't until hiking up Longs Peak's Keyhole route while visiting Colorado that he fell in love with the outdoors. From that point on he knew he wanted to spend as much time in the outdoors, specifically mountains, as he could; so he packed his bags and left America's Dairyland for the thin air and mild winters of Colorado. Eric is excited to be able to mix his passions, mountains and books, as a library assistant at the American Alpine Club Library.
Devyn Studer - Museum Manager
Devyn spent her younger years in Washington DC, visiting every museum she could. In 2001, she moved to Colorado, beginning her lifelong awe of the mountains. Her climbing career began in college on the infamous Bastille Crack in Eldorado Canyon, where she fell in love with the vertical life. She comes to us with a degree in International Relations and a background in the nonprofit sector and event planning. When she is not climbing rocks in the canyons around Boulder or on towers in the desert, she is often reading history books, skiing uphill, or home brewing. She is excited to bring together her passion for history with her love of climbing at the Mountaineering Museum.
Eddie Espinosa - Western States 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. 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, and comes with a strong membership and retail background. 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 disciplines from bouldering to ice climbing. Of all the places he's been, he still thinks the North Cascades are some of the best mountains in the world. He lives in Seattle with his wife Ann and two sons Evan and Anderson.
Jeff Deikis - Senior Manager for National Programs
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. Jeff manages and directs the AAC's national grants programs as well as the Craggin' Classic event series.
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 Management Team
Debbie and Gary joined the Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch Staff as Assistant Managers in the summer of 2012. They have served in this capacity until 2015 when they stepped up to be Managers. 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.
Brian Martin- Hueco Rock Ranch Manager
From the time Brian first began climbing and pursuing life based on simplicity and the outdoors, his path has taken him hither and yon: from the poison ivy laden backwoods of Arkansas to the sun-soaked granite of the high sierra, where he is currently a seasonal volunteer for Yosemite Search and Rescue. Working for search and rescue allows him to combine his passion for the outdoors with his background in emergency medicine and his desire to help others. After searching thousands of miles, from the Costa Rican surf and the jungles of Honduras back to his homeland in Missouri, his greatest wish, to spend the winter in a warm climate, has finally been realized. Brian is elated to spend the winter season working at the Hueco Rock Ranch. As manager, he hopes to ensure a sustainable future for climbing at Hueco Tanks State Park and to further the climber-park relations in a manner that will allow continued access for the next generations of climbers.
Paul Curran- Gunks Campground Manager
Paul was first introduced to climbing while in the Army. Once out of the Army he lived as a naturalist on the Mohonk Preserve while attending SUNY New Paltz without running water or electricity. He worked as a ranger on the preserve in exchange for housing. It was during this time he developed a love of rock climbing.
Paul started guiding twenty years ago, and within a few years of guiding he was running all operations of a climbing school. Recently Paul worked for Disney on Broadway. Disney came looking for expert climbers who have mastered rope work, rock climbing equipment. Paul also works part-time for an NFL stunt company. He's excited to be home again in the shadows of the cliff he loves.
Ryan Butler- GTCR Assistant Manager
Ryan, originally from Reading, PA, got his passion for the outdoors in upstate NY while completing a degree in Outdoor Leadership. He spent as many weekends as possible trying to get out and climb or ski, or both. Summers were spent exploring new parts of the country which is what eventually led him to the Intern position in 2014 at the Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch. After that summer he knew he couldn't resist going back and took the opportunity to fill the Assistant Manager role for 2015. Ryan now lives in Portland, OR and spends the off season as a guide working in various amazing places around Washington and Oregon.
Meet our Interns