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

Matt Robertson

MattMatt discovered his lifelong passion for the mountains at age 22 while recovering from a spinal-cord injury.  After graduating from Ohio State University, Matt launched a career as an IT consultant, working with global accounting and technology firms.  Seven years later, he found the call of the mountains too strong to heed merely on weekends, so he ditched the suit and tie, earned Wilderness EMT certification, and landed a job on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team.  After several seasons climbing and guiding in the Sierra, he began traveling to Asia, where he found world-class climbing on little-known sea cliffs along the northeast coast of Taiwan.

Matt made Taiwan home for ten years, during which he helped develop the local climbing area, published two guidebooks, became fluent in Chinese, operated a successful guide service, and completed over fifty first ascents in Taiwan, mainland China, and Thailand.  Among his ascents elsewhere, he has summitted Aconcagua, El Capitan, the North Face of Cima Grande di Lavaredo, Mt. Fuji, and all 54 of Colorado’s Fourteeners.

In 2012 Matt returned to California to live in the greatest mountain range on the planet and continue sharing the beauty and wonder of the Sierra Nevada with others.  He finds his greatest satisfaction in leading clients on challenging mountain adventures that expand their mental and physical limits.  Matt is currently pursuing his AMGA Rock Guide Certifications and recently completed the AMGA Rock Guide Course.

“Matt was once again one of the best guides I have climbed with. He was thoughtful, careful, and persevered through an incredibly long ordeal of twenty hours! He never wavered or complained and that in itself say so much. Matt is a great representative for SMI and I am honored to have had the chance to climb with him.” – Client – Don Otis

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

Megan Hammitt 

Megan is a Northern California native who didn’t give her love of the outdoors much weight until a couple of years into her career in the film industry. After snowboarding for the first time in 2006, the mountains reeled her in and forced her to leave Los Angeles for South Lake Tahoe in 2007.

Megan spent 5 years working in marketing as the “face and voice” of Heavenly Mountain Resort, hosting the local resort show, managing the freeride team and reporting on all things snow.  In Tahoe, she indulged her love of winter sports and discovered her love of rock climbing and backpacking. Ready for more adventure, she uprooted herself yet again and headed for Valdez, Alaska, where she worked for more than a year for a heli-ski guide service as a reservation and client care specialist. In Alaska, Megan learned to ice climb and took her first course in mountaineering, camping for twelve days next to a glacier in the Scandinavian Peaks of the Chugach Mountains. After the course, she trekked through the Kanchenjunga region of Nepal for several weeks, before landing in Bishop, Ca for a Wilderness Responder Course.

It was during that course that Megan met her, now, fiance, and it wasn’t long before she called Bishop home. Megan has worked with SMI since the summer of 2014, first as a porter and now as SMI’s office manager. She is a certified WFR and still loves balancing office time with plenty of mountain time. Come by the office and say hi if you’re ever in town!

Please take a minute to read more Testimonies and Reviews from our clients!