Our Guides

Zach Schneider

ZACH BIOZach attended Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona and received his degree in Adventure Education/ Wilderness Leadership and Environmental Studies. Zach is a certified Multi-Pitch Guide and Mentor for the Professional Climbing Guides Institute. He holds a Wilderness First Responder and a Level 2 AIARE Avalanche Certification. Zach has used both his education and experience to climb routes all over the United States.

Notable achievements include: The Nose on El Capitan and The North Face of Half Dome in Yosemite Valley. Big wall routes in Zion and long alpine routes such as, The Sun Ribbon Arete on Temple Crag and Pingora/ Wolfs Head in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. He is very active in the climbing community; establishing many new routes and first ascents in the Eastern Sierra. In addition to climbing, Zach is an expert back-country skier with many peak descents in California, Idaho, and Wyoming. Whether its rock, ice, snow, climbing up or skiing down Zach is always up for an adventure! Zach Schneider loves his home in Crowley Lake, California with his wife, Lynsey, Daughter Rilynn and their dog Toule.

“Zachary lassoed Thunderbolt Peak on the first attempt.  He neatly ascended and attached a fresh SMI cordalette to back up what was there and to protect the clients.  He is a mother **** phenomenon!” – Client – Mike Schaut

“The course with Zach this weekend was excellent. He was an amazing guide / teacher.” – Client – Andy Nees

Lindsay Fixmer

37024_10151574961661178_884156207_nSince her initiation into technical rock climbing in 1999, Lindsay has sought a nomadic lifestyle pursuing new mountainous terrain with a love of sharing amazing climbing endeavors with others. From 2000 to 2008, Lindsay spent considerable time working in the indoor climbing industry managing facilities, instructing and coaching youth competitive teams, honing a knack for teaching climbing movement.

Lindsay joined Sierra Mountaineering International in 2009 well versed in rock, ice and alpine climbing while guiding in various classic destinations across the country throughout the year. You may find Lindsay guiding ice in the White Mountains of the Northeast, Hyalite Canyon in Montana or the CO western slope in the winter, technical peaks in the Rockies, Tetons and Cascades and rock climbing on granite, sandstone and limestone throughout renowned areas like Red Rocks and the southeastern U.S. International trips have included Aconcagua, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Canada and Iceland.

Lindsay is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide, an AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Provider Trainer, a Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Master and has completed AAIRE Level I and II Avalanche.

“Lindsay was awesome today climbing Cardinal Pinnacle, some of the most fun I’ve ever had outside. I’ve had an incredible time and can’t wait to do a trip with SMI again!” – Client – Nick Ornella

“Lindsay is just a master on the rock. Killer read on the mountain and a lot of fun to be around. It’s impossible to not feel at ease around her in any conditions.” – Client – Damon Krytzer

Tristan “TRIPPY” Sieleman

TrippyTristan grew up in the rolling hills of Iowa. A trip to Colorado sparked his interest in the mountains. He moved to Colorado as soon as he could to study outdoor recreation leadership at Colorado Mountain College. After “cutting his teeth” in the Rockies he moved to California to pursue his guiding career.

He has since guided and climbed throughout the US and internationally. In addition to climbing he loves to get into the backcountry on his skis. He currently splits his time between the eastern sierra and Joshua Tree. Tristan is a certified multi pitch guide through the Professional Climbing Guides Institute. He is also a mentor/assessor at the single pitch level and is also on their technical committee. He is also a wilderness first responder. So come climb with Tristan and see how patient and energetic a guide can be!

Trippy’ smile and so always on cue humor will induce the happiest of times and memories, regardless the storm, always!

“Tristan is an excellent mountaineer.”Client – Mike Schaut

” I can’t say enough about our guide Tristan. The two other members of our group had no climbing experience and Tristan did a great job teaching and being patient with all of us. I hope to get to climb with Tristan and SMI again someday soon. Oh and the food was amazing! I usually lose my appetite at altitude, not possible with chef Tristan!” – Client – Dan Farrell


Amy Ness

Amy joAmy grew up in “the Plains State” of North Dakota, playing every sport she could to bide her time until the day she would discover her love for the mountains, and in particular, technical rock climbing and mountaineering.  After her first day climbing, she was hooked for life.  Moving to Leavenworth, WA, after finishing her degree in International Studies, gave her a playground of rock to hone her skills.  Eventually, she found the great Sierra and has spent the last six years living in Lone Pine CA, at the base of Mt. Whitney.

She and her partner have established numerous first ascents in the area, most noteworthy, Keeler and Day Needle on the Whitney Massif, Bastille Buttress on Lone Pine Peak, and several routes in the Whitney Portal.  Most recently, she has taken these big wall experiences to establish routes in Torres del Paine, Patagonia.  She estimates that she has spent close to 100 nights sleeping on a portaledge- hanging thousands of feet up on a rock wall.

Amy joined SMI in 2014 and is always eager to share her love of the outdoors.  Whether scrambling up 3-4th class, roping-up for snow couloirs, or going up steep, technical rock faces, Amy is all in!  She is a certified WFR and AMGA Single Pitch Instructor.  Having fun, staying safe, and playing hard is why Amy loves her job.

“Amy exceeded my expectations on providing her guidance expertise on how best to climb Mt Whitney.  This included valuable tips on climbing techniques with patience and understanding.  Amy also exhibits an engaging style with a sincere interest in creating a personal dialogue which allowed us to get to know each others background and interests.  Amy displays dedication, determination and passion for her SMI guide role and appears to be a role model employee with appreciation and respect for your leadership guidance. Lastly, I have great admiration for the superb talents Amy demonstrates in her many rock climbing achievements and expert guidance to her rock climbing clients. “ – Client – Steve Stephens

“Amy was super-clear on instructions and confidence-inspiring on the rock. She is really passionate about climbing, and that was infectious all day long. We had a ton of fun climbing with her!” – Client – Damon Krytzer

Alex Barber


Alex Barber was born and raised in Southern California. In his youth, it was the time spent fly fishing with his father in the Sierra Nevada that turned his interest to the mountains. He first climbed local Mt. San Antonio after a failed solo winter attempt on Mt. Whitney in his teens. Alex has worked as a mountain guide since his early 20’s in places such as Mt. Rainier, the North Cascades, Aconcagua and the Sierra Nevada, his home range. For Alex, guiding is about facilitating a safe, fun and rewarding excursion into the mountains!

In 2013, he started climbing in the Himalaya and has been on five 8000m expeditions, climbing in what has become his signature style of solo, without supplemental oxygen or Sherpa support. For more information on Alex’s 8000m climbs check out Alexanderbarber.com.

“Last week, [my friend] and I had the wonderful experience of having Alex as our guide. Alex was extremely patient. Also, Alex was constantly conscious of our safety. I cannot imagine anyone doing a better job as a guide than Alex Barber did on our expedition.  But the greatest experience of our climb was getting to know Alex. His accomplishments on 8000 meter peaks are inspiring–it shows what can be accomplished when a person sets a goal and obsessively pursues it.”  – Client – Ken McKnight 

Forrest Schwab

bio pic 3Growing up on the north shore of Massachusetts, Forrest spent the majority of his youth exploring the rugged coastline and dense mountains of New England. His passion for climbing and the outdoors grew during his years at Proctor Academy, a boarding school in rural New Hampshire. Forrest started guiding at St. Lawrence University, taking his fellow peers into the nearby Adirondack Mountains in northern New York. After graduating with a B.S. in Geology, Forrest set his sights west on the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California to pursue a life of adventure, and a career in guiding.

Forrest now lives in Mammoth Lakes, California and spends the majority of his time immersed in the surrounding mountains. He is an avid rock and ice climber with a real passion for technical mountaineering. In the winter, his pursuit of technical ascents couples well with his love of backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Forrest is a Wilderness First Responder and is currently pursuing rock and alpine certification through the AMGA and recently completed his LEVEL 1 AIARE Instructor Certification Course.

“Forrest was great!  I wouldn’t have summitted, much less survived, without Forrest’s help, and more importantly, his patience and understanding. “ – Client – Joe Kidd

“I just wanted to express my satisfaction with the service received. Palisades from the West was an amazing experience full of beautiful views, summit efforts and also a lot of risks. Forrest handled that very efficiently, he assessed very well weather condition, routes, timing, food and overall our safety. Undoubtedly Forrest is a valuable asset to your company, thanks again for the great service.”
– Client Erik Merino

Natalie Brechtel

Natalie has been an outdoor professional for over 15 years, and has climbed and explored on all seven continents.   Originally a San Diego native, she spent her youth camping and backpacking in the southwest.   She currently travels all over the US to guide mountaineer trips, or to teach wilderness medical courses, but calls California home. She holds her BA from U.C. Santa Barbara, where she did research and education on health, nutrition and movement.  She is certified as an EMT-B and Wilderness First Responder, and holds certifications from the AMGA, AIARE and is an Leave No Trace Trainer.  Natalie spent 5 years managing UC Santa Barbara’s outdoor program and ropes courses, feeding her passion for outdoor education.  She has worked for that National Park Service as a Park Ranger, and as part of Yosemite Search and Rescue. Chasing adventure, Natalie began an obsession with working and exploring in Antarctica.  At one point she spent over 14 month straight on the frozen continent and experienced winter in the coldest place on earth! She has been a part of the US Antarctic Search and Rescue, and Auxiliary medical team along with her work as mountaineer and in field camps.

In essence, Natalie has worked some of the most wild and remote jobs imaginable in the pursuit of outdoor exploration both for herself and others.   Helping others reach their goals, grow in confidence and develop a love for the outdoor is one of Natalie’s specialties.   It’s also the most rewarding part of her work.

When not teaching or guiding you can find her somewhere high up on a rock or deep in the mountains she loves.

“It was crazy good because of your guide Natalie. She pushed us a little beyond our confidence and we credit her with our summit. She is simply a phenomenal young person and guide”  – Client – Dennis Valley

Sigi Vogl

Sigi has successfully been climbing and guiding clientele globally for over 40 years. His climbing career began in the Bavarian Alps in his early 20’s while being stationed in the Armed Forces Recreation Center, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. During his tour of duty as a recreation specialist, Sigi was the personal guide to the top US Generals on the nearby ski slopes. Upon discharge, Sigi stayed in Germany working and mentored under some of the top alpinists/guides of the era. During this period Sigi climbed extensively on many of most difficult routes throughout the Alps and began his guiding apprenticeship. Upon return to North America, Sigi lived in Alberta, climbed extensively in the Canadian Rockies and was one of the early US invitees to attend the Canadian Mountain Guides Association course. Sigi has since put his skills to work, operating a guide service with the German Alpine Club for 18 years leading German clientele trekking thru the Canadian Rockies, the High Sierra and Wind River Range. Sigi currently splits his time between ski guiding in Sun Valley, Idaho and guiding in the Sierra for SMI and is owner operator of a guide service to the Dolomites in Northern Italy called Adventure Dolomiti. Sigi’s credentials include and experience include WFR certification, Leave no Trace, Avalanche Forecaster for Idaho Department of Transportation, Level II Avalanche Certification, Idaho Outfitter and Guide Association Level II ski guide certification, backcountry ski guide for Sun Valley Trekking,  Executive Director of the US Heli Ski Association, guide and operations manager for Sun Valley Heli Ski. Sigi is a former Far West Ski Association ski racer, coach and PSIA certified ski instructor. He has ski toured and climbed extensively throughout the Sierra Nevada, Idaho, Canadian, Europe and South America.

Sigi’s proudest achievements are his two daughters, granddaughters and life companion wife, Natasha. He and Natasha built a humble timber frame passive solar home  which we like to call Basecamp located in Paradise overlooking the Owens Valley and majestic Range of Light.

You are an expert route finder and did a great job of keeping us safe.  You are beyond nice!  You are so willing to put up with all of our opinionated ideas and take them in stride, always with a smile on your face.  Even when we reneged on the water run!  You are a great climber and a great person.  I think us three amigos had a great time!”  – Client – Jeff Kiefer


Mark Tucker

Born and raised in Southern California, Mark’s passion was not only the beach but the nearby mountains. Becoming a member of Snowbird’s mountain operations for eight seasons was the perfect venue to transition to guiding for RMI Expeditions. Mark was a member of the 1990 Peace Climb, becoming the 306th ascent to summit Mount Everest and the 1st Southern Californian.

Mark has been guiding for over 30 years. He has guided over 250 expeditions both at home and abroad. After his summit of Carstensz Pyramid, he joined the Seven Summit Club.




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