The Guides

DICK JACKSON
Aspen Expeditions Worldwide founder & director, IFMGA mountain guide, outdoor photographer

Professional mountain guide Dick Jackson has owned and operated Aspen Expeditions Worldwide since 1976. Internationally certified by IFMGA/AMGA in all disciplines of rock and ice climbing, ski mountaineering and alpine mountaineering, Dick guides climbs and ski trips in Colorado and around the world, including the Himalaya, Alaska, the Alps and Africa.

Dick's first ascents include the Voie Jackson in Chamonix, France, in 1976, and he was on the first American ascent of Himulchuli, Nepal, in 1984. Dick is also an outdoor and landscape photographer, a USHGA-certified tandem paragliding pilot and instructor, and a founder of Aspen Paragliding.

When not guiding or photographing professionally, Dick enjoys spending time with his wife, Paulina Vander Noordaa, and daughter, Tashi Jackson. Dick served as a board member and president of the American Mountain Guides Association from 2001-'05 during which time he worked tirelessly to convince the International Federation of Mountain Guides to recognize U.S. mountain guides and the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) in accordance with international standards.

Dick and Aspen Expeditions are sponsored by Marmot.

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AMOS WHITING
IFMGA mountain guide, AIARE instructor, AMGA instructor, Outdoor Educator

Amos Whiting, internationally certified by IFMGA/AMGA as a rock, alpine and ski mountaineering guide, is Aspen Expeditions' in house trainer. Amos has worked as a outdoor educator and guide since 1995. He has a BA from Prescott College in Wilderness Leadership and Counseling Psychology.

Locally and nationally, Amos plays a key role in teaching and mentoring American mountain guides as a lead instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). 

In the winter, Amos guides backcountry skiing, hut trips, ice climbing and teaches Level I and II AIARE avalanche education courses. In the summer, he guides rock and alpine climbing in Aspen, Europe and Peru.

Some personal high points in the mountains include a four-day second and mostly-free ascent of Lobo Este Pario VI 5.11+ A3 in La Esfinge, Peru, a first ascent and ski descent of 55-degree Sick Iron in Alaska's Chugach Range, and a solo ascent of the Frendo Spur, D+, in Chamonix, France.

When not working for AEW, Amos is a senior Instructor/ Examiner and member of the Technical Committee for the American Mountain Guides Association. He also enjoys running deep water soloing trips in Mallorca Spain, (mallorcaclimbingcamps.com). He is sponsored by Five Ten and G3.

He lives in Basalt, CO with his three boys and wife. He loves to salsa dance and surf.Amos was the 20th American to receive his IFMGA certification the highest level of mountain guide certification in the world.

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MIKE ARNOLD

IFMGA Mountain Guide


A passion for skiing ushered Mike into the world of climbing, which led to his current obsession for rock, alpine and ski mountaineering routes around the world and then, in turn, sharing that passion with others through guiding.

During summer months, Mike can be found exploring the cliffs and peaks around Colorado in his Sprinter van while planning his next adventure. Known for his all-around ability, Mike has climbed numerous 5.13, V10 and M9 routes and recorded descents on classics like the North face of the Aiguille du Midi and Denali.

Michael's travels in the last six years have taken him to the Canadian Rockies, Alps, Andes, and Alaska Ranges. In 2014, Mike completed the final requirement to become a fully-certified IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide. Mike grew up ski racing.

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BRITT RUEGGER

AMGA aspirant Ski Guide, AMGA alpine & rock course, AIARE Course Leader & Instructor

Britt is a Level 1 & 2 AIARE instructor and has completed his AIARE Level 3. He has successfully completed all of the AMGA ski guide courses. Britt has skied and guided extensively in the Elk Mountain Range of Colorado, South America, Wyoming and Alaska. Britt has a confident yet easy going demeanor. He enjoys and excels at sharing his passion for skiing as a ski guide.

Britt grew up ski racing in New England.  His passion for skiing, climbing and ice climbing lead to his desire to become a mountain guide.

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GREG SHAFFRAN

AIARE Course Leader & Instructor, EMT, Ski guide

Greg has worked at Aspen Expeditions since 2008 as ski guide and Level 1 & 2 AIARE avalanche education course instructor. Greg is also a full member of Mountain Rescue Aspen and a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

Greg loves to travel and explore the globe and some of his adventures have taken to Nepal and Bolivia. Born and raised in Aspen, Greg still calls the Roaring Fork Valley home.

Greg's other passion is food. He often works as a private chef for families or events, which makes him a sought-after hut trip partner.

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DIRK BOCKELMANN

General Manager

Originally from Atlanta, Dirk has been with Aspen Expeditions since 2006. He manages day-to-day operations, sales and marketing.

An avid backcountry skier and climber, Dirk knows the Aspen area intimately and all the services that Aspen Expeditions provides. 

Dirk climbed the Himalayan peak Ama Dablam in 2008 and completed a unique 10-day ski tour in the Canadian Rockies in the spring of 2011.

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TODD REEVES

AMGA Single Pitch Rock Instructor

Todd has been guiding rock and alpine climbers for almost 20 years. Originally from the Hill Country, near San Antonio, Texas, Todd has trained at the highest levels with IFMGA guides in both rock and alpine AMGA courses, and his favorite climbing locales include the Utah desert, the High Sierra, Red Rocks, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Tetons.

With a background as an engineer and wildlife biologist, Todd applies a thoughtful approach to guiding and earns high marks for fostering safety and skills development in his clients. When not climbing, Todd enjoys birding, backcountry skiing, Tuesday night bike rides and dreaming about floating on more rivers.

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KAREN SAHN

AMGA Single Pitch Rock Instructor

Karen, a longtime Aspen resident, is a passionate rock climber with an extensive background in avalanche forecasting and mitigation.

Needing a break from ski boots, Karen has shifted gears. She now spends her winters in Red Rock both guiding and pursuing her personal climbing.  She likes to experience a variety of climbing styles and rock but her favorite is sport climbing on Limestone. Off the rock, she enjoys making jewelry.

As a former avalanche forecaster and technician on the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol, Karen played a key role in the initial opening of the legendary Highland Bowl to the public and in, for more than a decade, its day-to-day operations. Karen recently completed her AMGA Single Pitch Instructor training, and some of her favorite climbing locales include Red Rocks, Indian Creek and Independence Pass.

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ZACK SMITH

Accomplished Alpinist
AMGA Single Pitch Rock Instructor

Zack Smith's humble, laid-back demeanor belies the fact that he is actually one of the countries most talented all-around climbers. Over the last ten years he has quietly accomplished an enviable list of first ascents and impressive repeats throughout North and South America. The Patagonia clothing company wrote about Zack on their website saying, "Zack Smith is a ninja, a master of all climbing styles, a bona fide climbing badass, and if you haven't heard about him, it's likely because he prefers it that way."

In the realm of alpine climbing, Zack's five trips to Patagonia have led to new routes on Aguja San Raphael, the North Tower of Paine, and the long-sought first free ascent and speed record of the Central Tower of Paine in a shocking five hours. During Patagonia's 2007 season, Zack made a near boltless ascent of Cerro Torre's egregiously over-bolted Compressor Route, inspiring others to look at the peak in new ways. 

In February of 2010, he climbed the 5,000-foot ice and mixed route Supercouloir on Fitz Roy in a day. In the spring of 2008, he visited Alaska and added a first ascent to the north face of Kichatna Spire. The Message or The Money (VI M6 AI4) was climbed in eight hours and is the fastest ascent of a mountain that has been referred to as "the most difficult summit in North America." Returning to Alaska the next year, he enchained three separate peaks in the Ruth Gorge that included a rapid first ascent on the Sugar Tooth, The Eye Tooth, and a previously-unclimbed summit dubbed The Missing Tooth. In May 2010XX, climbing in the Ruth Gorge once again, Zack succeeded on the south face of the Mooses Tooth via the first ascent of Swamp Donkey Express (VI 5.10 A2 M5), a coveted line that had been attempted and talked about since 1964.

Zack has proven his abilities on the smaller cliffs as well; opening new routes in Mill Creek like The Sceptic (5.13c R), a route protected with natural gear and bolts placed on lead. In Indian Creek he established the ultra classic, Burl Dog (5.13a), and has on-sighted other desert test-pieces up to 5.13a. Well known Idaho-based climber, Dean Lords, called Zack "the best crack climber I've ever seen." On the notoriously loose and difficult big walls of the Black Canyon, Zack has climbed more than 25 different routes and added a few of his own with climbs like Bloodsport (5.12c R) and Woke Up Punk (5.12a R). He has established dozens of new boulder problems up to V10 throughout the western states with the stunning highball Falcon vs. Eagle (V9) on Independence Pass and the Shaolin Finger Jab (V8) outside of Moab, Utah, being recent standouts.

When he's not chasing his own projects in the mountains or at the crags, Zack makes his living as a climbing guide for Aspen Expeditions and Moab Desert Adventures. After graduating from an intensive guides course program through the Alaska Mountaineering School in 1999, he began guiding professionally and has coaxed hundreds of clients up difficult desert towers, Colorado peaks, and across African jungles. Besides climbing he is an avid traveler and has set foot on six separate continents. Between work and play he is well known for enjoying the good life of strong coffee, a good movie, and relaxing at home with his family and friends who often refer to him as "Bones." —Josh Wharton

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Bob "Sloman" Sloezen

Bob has an extensive international climbing and mountain guiding career that spans more than 30 years. Bob specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and has summited Mount Everest three times. He has climbed many other 6,000 to 8,000-meter peaks in the high Himalayas, as well.

In the summer, Bob frequently guides for Aspen Expeditions, leading climbers up Capitol Peak to the Maroon Bells. Sloman, as he known to friends, remains one of AE's most requested alpine guides.

Bob is a fixture at Aspen Highlands in the wintertime, where he has worked variously as a ski pro, patroller and race crew for many years.

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SAMMY PODHURST                                                                                                                                               

Sales & Marketing, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Aspirant Ski Guide

 Growing up on the east coast, Sammy always knew she wanted to move west. Impatient to finish college, she hurried up and graduated a year early to pursue her life on the new frontier.

Sammy has been with Aspen Expeditions since 2011. She is a passionate climber and an obsessive ski mountaineer. She loves to take her adventuring abroad, traveling to places like India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, as well as Europe and South America.

Some of her most memorable climbs/skis have been down in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, a part of the Peruvian Andes, with several summits above 6,000m. She has done extensive ski exploration in the Elk range, with prominent ski descents from the summits of the famed Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak.

Locals in town know Sammy as “Sunny Sam,” which is easily explained once you meet her. A ball of happy, positive vibes, Sammy is always up for anything and doing so in good spirits. When Sammy is not out skiing or climbing in the mountains, she is herding her two border collies, usually running through the mountains.

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BLASE REARDON                                                                                                                                               

American Avalanche Association Certified Instructor

 Growing up, Blase explored the creeks, river and woods of Ohio and learned to ski on golf courses at night. His exploring and skiing have since taken him to the whitewater of the Appalachia, the remote mountains of Kyrgyzstan, and graduate studies in glaciology and creative writing. He skis in the daylight now - mostly - and for many winters, he's worked as a backcountry forecaster, where he's known for his engaging teaching and forecasts. He has published technical and scientific articles on snow science and glaciology and serves on the American Avalanche Association's Executive Committee.

As a guide, Blase relishes helping people find their way deeper into the mountains. His expertise is leading day and overnight trips that include natural history, wide-ranging conversations, cross-country travel, and non-technical peaks.

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