- Since 2014 -
who we are
Mammoth Climbing Guides is a locally owned and owner operated small business based in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Our team of guides is more like a small family and we all get to play together in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains year-round. We climb together, ski together, train together and get to work together. We were founded in 2014 and since then we have grown to become the premiere rock climbing guide service in the Eastern Sierra. Our guides are not just top level professional guides but also world-class athletes, trusted mentors, patient teachers, are caring, fun and good hearted people.
Kyle is the owner, operator and lead climbing guide at Mammoth Climbing Guides. He was born and raised in the Sierra and began climbing in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks at the age of 14. He started working in the climbing industry at his local climbing gym when he turned 16 . Since then his career has been centered on climbing. From his early beginnings working as a route setter, to a private coach/trainer and later as an Assistant Manager, to the beginning of his professional guiding career in 2010, climbing has been an all-consuming lifestyle. Having climbed roughly 300 days a year (a conservative minimum) for the past 16 years, that’s 4,800 days and likely somewhere around 30,000 hours! Needless to say, Kyle has accumulated a little experience over the years.
Kyle also works seasonally as a Ski Patroller, led a team that later founded the Bishop Area Climber’s Coalition, is a long-time volunteer for Paradox Sports, specializing in adaptive climbing and working with wounded veterans. He is also a former Climber Steward in Yosemite National Park and a nationally published climbing photographer. You can see his photography work HERE. Kyle also organizes adaptive climbing trips in Yosemite National park and the Eastern Sierra.
Kyle has trained with the American Mountain Guides Association, having also completed the Adaptive Climbing Initiative training course provided by Paradox Sports. He’s also trained with the Professional Climbing Guides Institute and is a nationally certified Emergency Medical Technician.
Fun fact: In his late teens, Kyle was passionate about building custom cars and ran a custom graphics, paint and pinstriping business out of his parents garage. One of his former clients was James Hetfield, lead singer for Metallica.
Jon is an East Coast kid, hailing from New York. Jon picked up climbing while going to university and decided it was much better than playing football. After Jon finished his Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering he moved out west and has since devoted a considerable amount of time to exploring the alpine terrain and rock climbing in the Eastern Sierra. He also doubles as a math tutor at the local community college and can often be found in his kitchen perfecting his homemade sourdough breads.
Jon holds certifications from the American Mountain Guides Association, National Outdoor Leadership School and the American Institute of Avalanche Rescue and Education.
We also think he’s probably the nicest guy we’ve ever met.
Forrest Schwab is as solid as guides come. He guides alpine, rock, ice, backcountry skiing and also split-boards. While he may be one of the burliest guides in the range, he’s also one of the kindest and most patient mentors you could ever find. Forrest is amazingly talented when it comes to working with kids and is as adept teaching an intro to climbing course as he is on the tallest peaks.
Forrest has spent the last decade here in the Eastern Sierra having made his way out here from Marblehead, MA.
Forrest has trained with the American Mountain Guides Association and holds a current Wilderness First Responder Certification.
Zak Mills might as well be an astronaut. Don’t believe us? Watch him in this film called ZABARDAST, where he and his friends pioneer first descents in remote areas of Pakistan. If that doesn’t convince you maybe his multiple ascents of El Cap in Yosemite Valley will. Or any of his snowboarding expeditions to Alaska. Or maybe his paragliding, kayaking, mountain running and whatever else he’s currently doing. We literally can’t keep up. Yet amidst all this mountain mastery and bad-assery, Zak brings a humble and easy-going attitude to the job.
Zak moved to Mammoth Lakes, CA to attend college and pursue his education. He did this while balancing his ongoing obsession with shredding powder and chasing the next big backcountry lines in the Sierra. He began climbing in 2011 and to little surprise he quickly amassed an impressive list of completed routes and peaks.
Zak is ongoing with his training with the American Mountain Guides Association, holds a current Wilderness First Responder Certification and has completed Pro Level avalanche courses with the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education.
Follow along with him and try to keep up with his always inspiring Instagram feed.