Marko Prezelj

The name Marko Prezelj is synonymous with alpine climbing! Marko is a Slovenian climber who was a student of the “old school” learning process of making mistakes and learning that the skill of an alpine climber is both complex and immeasurable. These are the impulses that still drive him today. Marko is a man of many talents, in just one month he got married, finished his Chemical Engineering Degree and became a Father. This only confirmed all that he learned from years of alpine climbing, your limits are all in your head! Marko is drawn to the mountains because the outcome of everyday is a mystery. Thanks to our partners at Patagonia for facilitating Marko’s visit to the Adirondacks! Be sure to check out his slideshow at Keene Arts on Friday night January 17th and take his Advanced Ice clinic on Saturday January 18th! 

Josh Wharton

Josh Wharton grew up in the woods in southern New Hampshire, not too far from the Adirondacks, this will be his first time visiting our climbing scene at Mountainfest thanks to our partners at Patagonia!  Josh kicked off his climbing career in High School and never looked back. Josh’s style can be described as an “all-around” climber, he’s just as happy and comfortable to crank on 10′ boulders as he is on high Himalayan, alpine walls. Josh enjoys any form of climbing that truly makes him work and pushes him to be his absolute best at climbing and at home with his wife and daughter, in Estes Park. Josh’s presentation will be Saturday night January, 18 at Keene Valley Central School and he will be hosting an advanced clinic on Sunday the 20th. 

Jeff Shapiro

Jeff found climbing at a young age while being fascinated with the feelings of fear and doubt.  From his early teens to now, almost 30 years later, that search has led to some of his most influential “life highlights” and his love and utmost respect for the mountains.  Jeff doesn’t specialize in any particular style or medium but instead, views each facet of climbing whether sport cragging, long wall routes, frozen waterfalls or mixed nightmares as “training for the big mountains.”Jeff grew up learning to climb in Washington state. Index and the North Cascades were favorite stomping grounds, but since his first season in Yosemite in ’92, he has been quietly and humbly faithful.  Currently and for the last 19 years, he and his family have been living in Montana where there is what he calls “endless rock and ice adventures to be had.” BE sure to check out Jeff’s Intermediate Ice and Fast and Light clinics.

Alden Pellet

Alden Pellett is our guest speaker and slideshow presenter for Sunday night’s “Locals Night”, don’t miss out on this one! Alden is an Ambassador for Mammut and is a part of the product development team for CAMP Technical Adventure Equipment, He has been ice climbing for over 25 years, climbing expert-level routes in Newfoundland, the Canadian Rockies, French Alps, the Gaspe’ Peninsula and Newfoundland. He has a love for adventure and is not afraid of running it out with a pair of ice tools on the sharp end – known for bold first ascents around the Northeast using a traditional boltless on-sight ground-up ethic on lines such as “Pipe Dreams”, WI6R/X,M5, at Lake Willoughby, Vt. and “Canary”, WI5+X, at North Bald Cap in N.H. Jeff Lowe and Guy Lacelle remain inspirations to Pellett as he also applies his strong style to thousands of free-solo ascents of ice routes including difficult climbs around the country such as “Bridal Veil Falls” WI5+, “Called on Account of Rains”, WI5+, “Mindbender”,WI5+, as well as “Power Play Direct”, “Positive Thinking”, “Goat’s Foot on Ice”, Waterfall Wall, and many more here in the Adirondacks. Last winter, Pellett accomplished the first free-solo ascent of the 1000-foot Cholesterol Wall via “Fat of the Land”, WI5+, in Newfoundland.Despite those personal ascents, Pellett still says, “There’s no better climbing day than a solid outing with a good partner, having fun on whatever route you chose to go after. Fondly recalling Chouinard’s Gully as one of his first multi-pitch ice routes.In Winter, he can often be found around his home stomping grounds of Lake Willoughby and Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont, and loves running into fellow ice climbers as excited about the sport as he is.

Chuck Boyd

Chuck is a professional alpinist and ski patroller who owns and operates Vertical Realms, a climbing school and guide service based in Suffield, CT. He has climbed and skied extensively throughout the world, and he has made first ascents of mountains in Pakistan’s Karakoram and Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. In May, 2004 he reached the summit of Mount Everest. On ice, snow or rock, Chuck’s goal is to teach people to safely experience the mountain world. Chuck is a nationally registered avalanche instructor and a member of the National Ski Patrol and AIARE. He became an avalanche instructor in 1996 after two close avalanche encounters in the Alps. A graduate of the National Avalanche School, Chuck regularly attends the ISSW, an international conference on snow science.

Matt Shove 

Matt Shove is the founder and director of Ragged Mountain Guides.  He has climbed, instructed and guided guests in mountain areas all over the United States since 2001.   Matt’s work experience includes guiding and instruction in central Connecticut’s Traprock crags; the Gunks, Catskills and Adirondack Mountains in New York; New Hampshire’s Cannon Cliff, Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges, Mt. Washington and Presidential Range; significant guided ascents in the Grand Tetons; Katahdin and Acadia National Park in Maine; western North Carolina’s Looking Glass Rock;  Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias and Chugach ranges; City of Rocks in Idaho; Kentucky’s Red River Gorge; the Needles of So. Dakota; Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower; multiple ascents of Mt Rainier via 4 different routes, along with other significant ascents in the Cascade Range

Will Roth

Will’s first exposure to climbing was at age 13 over 3 days with Rock & River way back in 1993! But it wasn’t until attending college at Plymouth State in NH that he first really got involved with the sport. Luckily Jim Shimberg was around then, and still is, to show him the way. After seeing the cover of the Jan 2005 issue of Climbing Magazine, and reading the associated article about the ice climbing scene unfolding in the Adirondacks, he decided to move to Keene Valley that winter and hasn’t left the area since. He chases the ice, snow and alpine in the Adirondacks and the Northeast, around the country from Cascade volcanoes to San Juan ice to Teton alpine rock, and internationally in Peru, Bolivia, United Kingdom and France. Will works year round as a NYS Rock and Ice Guide, an adjunct for the Plattsburgh State Expeditionary Studies program and North Country Community College Wilderness Recreation Leadership program. He is a American Mountain Guides Association Rock Instructor and has completed the Ice Instructor course. Will lives to be outside sharing his love of climbing. And now he and his wife Sara get to share it with their new to the world daughter!

Mark Scott

Mark grew up hiking, climbing and attempting to ski in the Champlain Valley and Adirondack High Peak Region. These days he’s still doing the same with the addition of guiding and instructing rock and ice climbing year round, raising his daughter and diving into the endless quagmire of home renovation. His goal when out with guests is to share his appreciation of the Adirondacks with them and to provide an experience that is both memorable and educational. 

Jeremy Haas

Energetic is an understatement. Local guide and alpinist Jeremy Haas has spent two decades in the northeastern mountains, from West Virginia to Gaspe. In addition to the years spent alpine climbing and ski mountaineering throughout the Rockies, Jeremy has made trips to the Cascade and Selkirk Mountains, and overseas to the Mont Blanc massif.

After a few years of living in Colorado, he returned to New York and sought out the alpine potential of the East. Jeremy’s home is the Adirondack Mountains, with their unique blend of roadside climbing and technical mountaineering in an expansive backcountry. He is the coauthor of the new rock climbing guidebook for the Adirondack Park, through which he has discovered a wealth and variety of climbs. Patient out of practice, he has been with Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service since 2002.

Matt Wiech  

Matt is from the Northeast U.S. and lives there throughout most of the year with his wife and son. Although he is passionate about the rock and ice climbing terrain in his home mountains, the Adirondacks of upstate New York, he can’t resist the diverse landscape and climbing opportunities that the rest of the country has to offer. For the better part of 20 years Matt has travelled seeking out long alpine routes, sunny desert rock climbs and perfect powder stashes with his climbing partners, whom he considers to be some of the finest people on this planet. Matt now spends his summers in the Pacific Northwest where he shares his stoke for mountaineering with his guests on Mt. Rainier and in the North Cascades. When he’s not climbing or guiding, Matt enjoys paddling quiet waters to remote campsites, cooking seasonal food and hanging out with friends and family. In between traveling for climbing and guiding objectives, Matt spends most of the winter as a ski patroller at Whiteface Mountain and guiding ice climbing in the Northeast.

Andrea Charest

Andrea is a Mammut Athlete Ambassador, climber, skier, guide, mother of a 2 year old, wife, and business owner, in no particular order of importance! Originally from Pittsburgh PA, Andrea moved to Vermont to attend UVM and fell in love with the community and the opportunities the mountains provided. She began working at Petra Cliffs in 2002 and began rock and ice guiding soon after. Ten years later, she and her husband Steve purchased the climbing center & mountaineering school business. Andrea continues to pursue education through the American Mountain Guides Association and is an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Assistant Rock Guide and Apprentice Alpine Guide, as well as a NY State Licensed Guide. Andrea competed for several years in the Ouray Elite Mixed Climbing Competition at Ouray Ice Fest and in mixed climbing competitions at the Bozeman Ice Fest, Smuggs Ice Bash, and Mt. Washington Ice Fest.  One of Andrea’s favorite parts of leading women’s ice climbing groups is the sound of laughter bouncing around the ice. Her style is to be thorough and professional but to make sure everyone is having as much fun as possible!

Carl Heilman

Carl has been involved in the sport of snowshoeing ever since making his first pair of snowshoes in the early 1970’s. He has written numerous articles and has been a consultant on the sport of snowshoeing. He’s been leading beginner’s and advanced snowshoeing workshops for the Adirondack Mt. Club and Appalachian Mt. Club since the mid 1980’s and has also done programs and workshops for many organizations and schools throughout the United States. Carl still hand crafts a limited number of snowshoes each year. His snow-shoes have been used all over the world, and some of his ideas for snowshoe design have been incorporated into commercial styles. While he enjoys passing along his expertise on snowshoeing and winter travel, he enjoys most seeing folks turn-on to the sport after using snowshoes for the first time!

Matt Horner

Matt moved to the Adirondacks in 1994 and has taken his climbing from the first days of fumbling with the “coolest gear ever” to many significant first ascents in the Adirondacks.  He has been a successful guide with Adirondack Rock & River Guide Service for over a decade. Teaching and guiding come naturally and his infectious enthusiasm for climbing rubs off on everyone he spends time with. His passion for ice climbing has led him to pursue adventures in the Canadian Rockies, Peruvian Andes and Mongolia’s Altai Mountains as well as throughout the lower 48 and Alaska.

Chad Kennedy

Born in the neighboring town of Peru, Chad is one of Rock and River’s two “native born” guides. Soft spoken, friendly and always professional, his designation as one of the few local AMGA certified guides demonstrates his strong commitment to his chosen profession. Having guided locally for over 10 years, Chad explains his deep affection for the Adirondacks as “one of the few areas you can rock climb, ice climb, back country ski, mountain bike, trail run and paddle, all within minutes of your front door”. Widely traveled with several international mountaineering adventures and western cragging/skiing trips under his belt, Chad’s priorities are simple, his family (wife Jill, dog Tenko and cat Phiggy), his friends and a day in the mountains doing just about anything.

Matt McCormick

Matt McCormick is a Vermont based climber who has been pursuing his passion for the vertical world of the last 13 years. He has traveled extensively to destinations from Pakistan to Canada, and has spent much of his time inspired to explore the terrain close to his home in New England. Matt started climbing 13 years ago psyched on doing it all, from bouldering to ice climbing. Today he still holds that psyche for all forms of climbing and works hard to climb at his best in all of these mediums. Recently Matt has been most excited about putting up new, traditionally protected rock climbs in the Adirondacks of NY and trying to capitalize on those ephemeral new drips of ice that occasionally form around New England.

Matt works with Sky Ambitions in Vermont and also as a mountain guide and climbing coach across the northeast. Check out is website at

Don Mellor

Teacher, guide, author. Interested in country music, camping, walks on the beach, NASCAR, honest conversation. Been climbing for a long time.

Ian Osteyee

Ian Osteyee has been climbing in the Adirondack Mountains since 1983. Around here he’s known for his first ascents on the thinnest, nastiest, most challenging routes of the region – “Bobo the Circus Idiot,” “Wilheim Jorge,” “Sea Tips,” “Grandma’s Still,” and “Ruination” WI6 X to name a few. He’s also climbed some of the most daunting ice routes in the Canadian Rockies, and around the world and has several first ascents in Nepal. One of Ian’s favorite climbing partners is renowned blind climber Erik Weihenmayer. Ian has taken Erik up Nepal’s famous ice route “Losar” WI5 700m. He’s also climbed with Erik in Scotland, Alaska, and around the Northeast. Ian enjoys climbing wherever he goes, but is still most excited by the climbing right here in the Adirondacks. Ian is sponsored by CAMP and BlueWater Ropes and Rab.

James Pitarresi, Ph.D.

James (the “Ice Doctor”) first started climbing in Western New York and Southern Ontario in the 1970s (and he still wears his vintage Joe Brown helmet). After taking time off to complete graduate school, start a family and a career, he returned to ice climbing in the early 1990s. Since that time, he has spent his winters climbing ice throughout the Northeast. It was a conversation with Jeff Lowe who first gave him the idea that teaching ice climbing would be a great way to give back to the sport. Accepting that sage advice, James has been active in combining his passion for ice climbing with his enthusiasm to share his knowledge with others so that they can learn to move confidently and safely on vertical ice. Over the past decade, James has taught ice climbing to individuals and groups and he has been involved with the Mountainfest for many years. James is a licensed guide and when not climbing, he is Vice Provost at Binghamton University (SUNY).