CEO Phil Powers is a lifelong climber who has made over 25 expeditions to Alaska, South America and the Karakoram Range. He made the first ascent of the 8,000-foot Washburn Face on Denali, the first ascent of Lukpilla Brakk's Western Edge in Pakistan (VI, 5.11, A3) and the first winter traverse of the Tetons' Cathedral Peaks in 1992. He has also climbed two 8,000-meter peaks—K2 and Gasherbrum II—without the aid of supplemental oxygen.
Phil has served on both the Access Fund and AMGA boards. He is the recipient of the American Mountain Foundation’s VIIth Grade Award for climbing achievement; the AAC Mountaineering Fellowship Grant; the Mug’s Stump Climbing Grant; and the Wilderness Education Association’s Paul Petzoldt Award for Excellence in Outdoor Education (2007). He received the American Alpine Clubs highest award for service, the Heilprin Award, in 2012. Phil has written two books on climbing: Wilderness Mountaineering and Expedition Planning.
He continues to be an active climber and skier.
Nat Matthews serves the AAC and its members as the CFO and Director of Operations. He was born and raised in the tropics (Marianas and S.E. Asia) and has a broad background in finance and operations in industries ranging from financial services and insurance program management to aerospace and renewable energy. Despite his tropical upbringing, Nat took to the mountains when he moved to Colorado at the age of 15. He has been snowboarding since the mid-80's, fly fishes throughout the year, finds respite in the mountains when he can, and is grateful to the AAC for reintroducing him to climbing. Nat and his family couldn't be happier being in Golden near the mountains, rivers and towns they love. He is a graduate of Michigan State University (M.B.A.) and the University of Colorado, Boulder (Environmental Studies), and he attended Fountain Valley School of Colorado.
Keegan spent his early years exploring the wilderness and trout streams around his home in Idaho. He attended Oklahoma State University where his attraction to nature and conservation eventually led him to a career with the Tulsa Zoo before joining the AAC staff in 2011. His passion for mountaineering runs deep and is magnified by his love for the climbing community. Though he's climbed in the Himalayas, Cordillera Blanca, Alaska Range, and Patagonia, he can usually be found scrambling Kelso Ridge in the Front Range on any given weekend. Keegan currently serves as our Managing Director of Membership, Marketing, Development, Publications and Volunteer Programs.
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.
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.
After lots of Googling and a single visit, Whitney moved West. She found roommates on the Internet, packed a few things in her car, and left Florida for the mountains. They haven’t let her leave since. After earning an Art Education degree from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, she found herself volunteering her way into the outdoor industry. In 2012 a position at the Club was created for her to shape stories and mobilize community; she now manages the marketing department. In her free time she runs a gear review company, enjoys hiking Colorado's 14ers, skiing, and exploring new crags.
Maria Povec joined the AAC at the end of 2015 as the Policy and Advocacy Director. Maria and her team work to ensure that our mountains and public lands are pristine, wild, and open to human-powered recreation. Together with non-profit partners, AAC’s policy team focuses on critical issues facing climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Maria is proud to have helped launch the first ever "Climb the Hill-" an event which brings professional rock climbers and industry leaders to D.C. to advocate for policies that support public lands and human-powered outdoor recreation.
Maria has a master's in policy and leadership from Stanford University. She has worked for the Maine Legislature and at a policy think tank that advises policymakers and state agency leaders. She grew up in the wilds of Maine and is married to an outdoor adventure filmmaker.
Jeff Deikis - Creative Director
Jeff Deikis, based out of Bishop, California, serves as the Club's Creative Director, overseeing content development, graphic design and brand management. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan but introduced to the outdoors before he could walk, Jeff is an avid climber and backcountry snowboarder with some 30+ years of mountain experience. He has been working within the Outdoor Industry for over 14 years, in various marketing and program development roles. Additionally, Jeff is an internationally recognized award winning photographer and an avid world traveler. He can usually be found milling around the Eastern Sierra, his trusty pooch Obi in tow.
Dougald MacDonald has been a full-time climbing journalist since the mid-1990s. In addition to writing a book about Longs Peak and countless print and online articles, he has worked as Editor and Publisher of Rock & Ice magazine, Editorial Director for Climbing and Urban Climber, and now Executive Editor of the AAC. In this position, he is responsible for the American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Climbing, as well as the club's publications website. Dougald has been climbing for more than 35 years and still enjoys just about every aspect of the sport, from bouldering to long alpine routes. He especially loves putting up new routes in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming.
CJ grew up climbing silos in northern Wisconsin, and her wanderlust compelled her to explore the Rocky Mountains landing her in Boulder, CO since 2012. With over 13 years of development and fundraising experience, CJ joins the AAC as Major Gifts Officer. CJ has previously worked and volunteered with nonprofits that focus on empowering young women in the outdoors and the preservation and exhibition of regional art. Most recently CJ worked with the University of Colorado Boulder establishing and stewarding mutually beneficial partnerships. She is thrilled to engage fellow climbers and outdoor enthusiasts philanthropically. CJ continues to explore her outdoor passions by skinning up 14ers, plunging down single-track, and of course exploring local crags.
Jesse joined the AAC in 2017. He grew up in New Hampshire and moved to Colorado in 2015 from the Boston area. Jesse has spent time with several non-profit and public agencies focusing on conservation and recreation, including supervising the Appalachian Mountain Club's backcountry hut system. He's lived in Oregon and went to grad school in Seattle where he studied land use and public health. Jesse learned to climb (and about rope drag) by plugging so many cams on the cliffs of North Conway he never had to make a move above gear. On weekends he can be found volunteering as a ski patroller or EMT, and is psyched to explore the mountains of Colorado with his girlfriend and dog.
Katie Sauter - Library Director
Katie joined the AAC as the Library Manager in 2013. While attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, she spent many hours in Norlin Library where she discovered her calling to be a librarian. She went on to get a Masters in Library & Information Studies at McGill University in Montreal. She enjoys reading, hiking, snowshoeing and exploring Colorado and its history. 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. Recommended books are Starlight and Storm, The Last of His Kind (about Brad Washburn) and Colorado 14er Disasters.
Eddie was previously the AAC's Regional Manager in the Northwest, and has much experience in the outdoor industry as a guide, instructor, buyer, and brand manager. He cut his teeth climbing in the North Cascades while going to college at Pacific Lutheran University, and has climbed mountains throughout the world. Eddie is based out of Seattle, Washington and loves climbing everything from boulders to mountains, on warm sunny rocks to frozen waterfalls.
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.
Ron Funderburke joins the club as a career climbing instructor, guide, and educator. He is an AMGA certified Rock 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, Climbing: Toproping to Sport, Climbing: Sport to Trad. 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 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 live in Golden, Colorado.
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 into sport climbing. Her 15 minutes of fame was being the cover girl on the City of Rocks guide book for many years. Carol began working at the AAC in 2010. She is inspired by all great changes that have occurred in the past few years, new lodging facilities, new grants, more events, and an expanded benefits package for AAC members. She feels that working at the Alpine Club is a 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.
Heidi McDowell - Special Events Manager
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 runout 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. For the past few years she's crafted events for the AAC as the Club's Senior Events Manager. In her down time she can be found clipping bolts, shredding powder, mountain biking, or hiking in the mountains with her pooch and AAC office dog, Gradie.
Shane grew up in Columbus, Ohio and was exposed to climbing at an early age through trips to the local climbing gym and a mentor that taught him to climb in the Red River Gorge and New River Gorge. During high school, a summer long trip to Colorado cemented his love for the outdoors and solidified his goal to move "out West." After graduation from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Marketing Management, he moved to Golden, Colorado to pursue his passion for climbing and the outdoors. Since moving to Golden he has developed a penchant for long, demanding days in the mountains. Before joining the AAC, he worked as a manager at Bent Gate Mountaineeering and the marketing coordinator at Rab. If he's not out climbing during his free time, he's focused on spending time with his wife, son and two dogs.
Emma grew up on the coast of Maine and came West to Colorado College, where she studied creative writing and teaching. She's passionate about connecting recreation, education and conservation and is always excited to talk about how art and the environment intersect. Her favorite climbing area is Indian Creek, closely followed by Otter Cliffs (Acadia) and the Teton Range. Emma left Colorado to work as an environmental educator and guide in Jackson Hole for a few seasons, but is excited to be settling back into the Front Range and helping AAC members share their stories. Her other interests include watercolors, puppies, sailing, backcountry skiing, and competitive games of Bananagrams.
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.
Vanessa is originally from Florida and acquired a passion for wildlife research and conservation which led her to attend Florida Atlantic University earning a BS in Biology. Her passion for boating and the outdoors led her to travel the country as a raft guide in Colorado and West Virginia, followed by winters hunting powder in Colorado's backcountry. After two years in the Peace Corps, she returned to Colorado to pursue her passion for climbing, kayaking, and ski mountaineering. Maintaining her love for conservation and protecting our natural resources, she takes time out from pursuing her outdoor recreation goals to be an active volunteer with raptor nesting programs on the Front Range with JeffCo's Open Space. Vanessa is currently serving as the Development Coordinator for the American Alpine Club.
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.
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.
Amanda joined the membership team at the AAC in 2018. She grew up on the Front Range of Colorado, where she fell in love with the wilderness through backpacking, hiking and getting outside as much as possible. After a few years in Minnesota during high school, she ran back to the mountains to get a BFA at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. It was not until after college that she discovered climbing, but it quickly became a passion. She thrives on the constant challenges, motivations, and strong relationships that come from the sport. Along with climbing, she balances her free time between making art and getting outside to trail run, snowboard and backpack. She loves working in a place where she can serve other climbers and constantly share outdoor adventures with her coworkers.
Anna cut her climbing teeth in Vedauwoo in the dead of winter, so it's a minor miracle that cracks are still her primary love in climbing. An upstate New Yorker, she fell in love with the outdoors thanks to canoe touring in the Adirondacks, and her interests have since expanded to include climbing, mountain and road biking, skiing and backpacking. She crossed to the opposite coast for college in Southern California, where she studied U.S. and environmental history, then headed inland after graduation to Colorado's mountains. Anna brings her passion for climbing, the mountains, and the histories of public lands, outdoor recreation and conservation to her varied roles at the AAC.
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.
Bob learned to tie in safely from Lute Jerstad (American Everest Summiter 1963) in 1974 and has been climbing ever since. A Maine native, Bob enjoys many outdoor pursuits with his children and wife, Lauren. Active in the Search and Rescue community in New England, Bob has worked closely with State and Local agencies to help lost or injured individuals in the Maine woods. Having first stayed at the Ranch in 1976, Bob is excited about the opportunity to welcome climbers to the center of Teton mountaineering.
Mark grew up in New Paltz and gained a love and appreciation for the outdoors under the Shawangunk Ridge from an early age. He was fortunate to have an experienced father who introduced him to nearly every activity nature has to offer, from hiking and climbing both rock and ice to cross country skiing and kayaking, and even just soaking in every sight and sound. After graduating from Clarkson University, Mark returned to the area and counts himself lucky to see the cliff from the campground he works at every day, even when he's not able to make it up.
Raised in Chicago-land area, Kristi escaped the hectic city life for big trees, beautiful landscapes, and the opportunity to be planted between an ocean and the mountains of the high country.
Kristi began climbing in 2013, after moving to Chapel Hill North Carolina to complete her Bachelor's degree in Philosophy. In efforts to learn about her "self," she found that nothing quite compared to the learning experience that was to be had while on the rock.
After spending many breaks from school climbing in The New River Gorge, Kristi immediately fell in love with the area, and knew this was the place she would forever call home.