Alpine Ascents International


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Willi Photo
Willi Prittie
Willi has been climbing, guiding and teaching for a quarter century. Considered one of the premier instructors in America, Willi's students have had outstanding success in reaching personal goals. He has amassed hundreds of ascents (many while guiding) in Washington, Canada and Alaska. Willi is a Senior Guide for the American Mountain Guides Association and (should he have the time) is responsible for accrediting new guides into the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association). Fluent in Spanish and well versed in South American culture, Willi has an outstanding reputation for leading safe and successful trips. He has developed quite a following and has led climbs to Mt. Sajama, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Island & Mera Peaks, as well as multiple guided ascents of Denali, and has guided in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Willi has led well over a dozen climbs to the summit of Aconcagua and is considered one of the world's leading climbing and logistical experts in the region. He also bears the responsibility of training new guides on climbs around the world. Willi led the Alpine Ascents International 2000 Everest Expedition, and has recently led the Vinson, Aconcagua, Denali and Kilimanjaro expeditions. Willi is the consummate mountain guide and one of the most respected mountaineers in America.

Vern Photo
Vern Tejas

One of the world's most famous mountaineers, Vern has summited the highest mountain on each continent and has guided well over 30 climbs on Denali. A charismatic leader, he is legendary for Denali's first solo winter ascent, the first solo ascent of Mt. Vinson and as a lead guide for Col. Norman Vaughn's ascent of Mt. Vaughn. In addition to his fame and expertise in the extreme environments of Alaska, Antarctica, and the Caucasus, Vern's success in guiding people to the summit is simply remarkable. Along with numerous highly successful guided expeditions of Elbrus, Vern has 100% success on Kilimanjaro. Vern's guided ascents are an extremely unique blend of his dynamic spirit, climbing expertise and guiding savvy, and are renowned in the guiding community. Vern led the Alpine Ascents International expedition to Iran's Mt. Damavand (one of the first American guided climbs). Most recently Vern had outstanding success with two trips to Mt. Vinson, Denali and Elbrus, guided the 2000 Everest expedition and in his free time, completed a winter ascent of Aconcagua and a top-10 finish in the 1999 Eco-Challenge. With a fiddle in his hand and a smile on his face, Vern treats everyone to the remarkable experience of life.

Luis Photo
Luis Benitez

Luis has spent the better part of his life up high. He was raised in the Andes, is an AMGA Pro, was formerly a Course Director for Outward Bound and has been a mountain guide for almost a decade. Luis has guided Ama Dablam, Island Peak and Tent Peak in Nepal, in Ecuador, Alaska, France, Africa and was part of the first American ascent attempt on Gangapurna in the Annapurnas, where he established the current American high point for the route. In 2001 Luis had a successful ascent of Mt. Everest with the first blind climber to reach the top. Luis has guided for Alpine Ascents Internationl in Ecuador, as well as on Cho Oyu, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Island Peak, Everest, and Denali.

Jose Photo
Jose Luis Peralvo

Jose Luis has been a mainstay of the Alpine Ascents International's South America guiding staff for nearly 10 years, and is one of the most respected guides around with 16 years of climbing experience, including 10 years in Ecuador. Jose is the Director of the ASEGUIM Mountain Guide and Rescue School. In addition to Bolivia, the Volcanoes of Ecuador, Peru and Aconcagua, he has climbed in Germany, France and Peru. Jose's delightful manner makes him one of Alpine Ascents International's most well-loved guides. Most recently Jose guided the most successful Ecuador season to date, and also guides in Peru and Bolivia.

Mike Photo
Mike Roberts

A well-established mountaineering veteran, Mike has guided five ascents of Denali, and guided such peaks as Aconcagua, Island Peak and Lobuje in the Himalayas. Mike spent much of his time guiding in New Zealand where he was an assessor for New Zealand Mountain Guides and has over 18 ascents of Mt. Cook. For the last nine years, Mike worked for the United States Antarctic Program as both a field leader and team rescuer. A charming individual, Mike guides for Alpine Ascents on Denali and Mt. Everest.

Bryce Photo
Bryce Brown, Doctor

Bryce Brown aka "Dr. Stitch," is the expedition medical officer. He is currently undertaking specialist training in Emergency Medicine in Winnipeg, Canada, with a side interest in altitude and wilderness medicine. This is his fourth trip as expedition doc, and second to Everest with AAI (also Alaska and Tibet). He has conducted research previously on respiratory muscle fatigue at altitude and on this trip caffeine and hydration status (in conjunction with Lipton/Unilever). Current research interests involve the physiology and potential new treatments for HAPE. Bryce has been climbing for approximately eight years, summitting many Canadian peaks as well as Denali. At the completion of his medical training, Bryce aspires to a career in emergency and expedition medicine.

Ellie Photo
Ellie Henke, Base Camp Manager

Ellie is Alpine Ascents International's Base Camp Manager on Aconcagua and Mount Everest. As an assistant guide, Ellie has added a superb dimension to Alpine Ascents' domestic and international programs. A naturalist by profession, Ellie has assisted Willi in guiding Aconcagua, Ecuador's Volcanoes, Mt. Baker, Rainier, and has taught classes at the AAMS for over 15 years. A talented artist, Ellie is an asset to every trip she joins, bringing a wealth of experience,as well as cultural knowledge and teaching skills to every expedition.

Al Photo
Al Hanna, Climber

Almost 15 years of mountaineering world-wide, including six of the seven summits. Many expeditions to other mountain areas such as Greenland and Ecuador, and three previous Everest expeditions make Al the team's self-described "grandfather in experience." "His nearly 72 years makes us all hopeful that we also can thus excel when septuagenarian," the team reports.

Jeff Photo
Jeff Mathy, Climber

Jeff Mathy started basic camping and backpacking as a young Boy Scout on troop excursions to the local mountains, when his pack weighed almost as much as he did. Mathy left the Boy Scouts only after earning the final and prestigious Eagle Scout Award. Mathy aspires to be the youngest person in the world to climb the illustrious Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. He plans to break the current records by years - Mathy is 23 and has already climbed four of the Seven Summits.

Arnold Photo
Arnold Witzig, Climber

Arnold, a retired business owner making a new life for himself, has two new loves: The lovely and charming Sima Sharifi and mountaineering. In a short period of only four years, Arnold has amassed numerous expeditions including six of the seven summits and Cho Oyu.

Cleve Photo
Cleve McDonald, Climber

Cleve is a very capable Alaskan climber who has 15 years of mountaineering experience in Alaska, including Denali, as well as expeditions in the Andes, including Aconcagua's Polish Glacier.

Joe Photo
Joe Leroy, Climber

Joe, a successful small-business owner, found himself getting bored with marathons and made the full-immersion jump to mountaineering just a few years ago. His experience includes climbs on Kilimanjaro, Vinson, and Denali.

Karl Photo
Karl Yoder, Climber

Karl's experience includes 10 years of mountaineering throughout the mountain ranges of the American west, and multiple expeditions in the Andes of South America.