Meet the Instructors

Haines High Adventure Base instructors on the summit of Aconcagua, Argentina. -Francois Morin

The instructors and guides at Chilkoot High Adventure Base are professionals.  They are special individuals who have a passion for being in the wilderness environment.  They bring a wealth of experience from years of guiding throughout Alaska and the world to every course, and they genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge.  Their skill and positive attitudes insure scouts a great experience during their Chilkoot High Adventure Base.  The following is a partial list of our guides’ accomplishments:

* More than 75 Mt McKinley expeditions (20,320 ft.).
* Extensive climbing, trekking, and skiing trips throughout the Wrangell, St.Elias, Alaska, and Fairweather ranges in Alaska.
* More than 80 expeditions to Aconcagua (22,829 ft.) in Argentina.
* Climbing expeditions and treks throughout Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan.
* Sea kayaking expeditions throughout Alaska, Mexico, Honduras and Greece.
* Guided technical climbing on objectives as varied as Ama Dablam (22,493 ft) in Nepal’s Everest region, and classic alpine rock routes on Patagonia’s infamous towers.
* Exploratory sea kayaking expeditions to Dundas and Taylor Bays in Glacier Bay National Park.
* 30-Day ski mountaineering trip from Skagway to Juneau Alaska. This was the 1st crossing of the Juneau Ice Cap from this direction.
* 25-day ski mountaineering trip from Mt. Fairweather to Haines Alaska crossing the remote Fairweather range.
* Climbs and treks throughout Greenland.
* Trekking in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia.
* Treks throughout Chilean and Argentine Patagonia.
* Expedition to Broad Peak (8000 meters) in Pakistan.
* Cultural treks in Guatemala, Ecuador, Nepal, Pakistan, Greenland and Africa.
* Rafting trips in Pakistan, Alaska, Nepal, Africa, and Costa Rica.
* Multiple Climbs of the volcanoes of Ecuador.
* Expedition to Bogda Feng in Xinjiang, China.
* Multiple climbs of the volcanoes of Mexico.
* Training of US Army Special Forces in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.
* Canoe trip down the Yukon River to Dawson with a team from National Geographic. The article is in National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s March/April 2001 issue.
* Expeditions to Mt Elbrus in Russia.
* Over 100 ascents of Mt Kilimanjaro.
* Multiple Ascents of Mt Vinson in Antarctica.

Chilkoot High Adventure Base has over 50 instructors.  Below is a partial list of these special individuals.

Sean Gaffney

Sean is the Chilkoot High Adventure Base Executive Director. He is an EMT and has been instructing and guiding for 25 years.  He is closely involved and on the board of Directors of the Great Alaska Council.  He is an international climbing guide with more than 75 ascents of mountains over 18,000 feet. Sean has led extensive skiing, rafting and trekking expeditions throughout North America.


Eli Fierer

Eli is the Director of Operations, and still manages to get out into the field on occasion.  He has guided and instructed more than 15 years throughout North America, Alaska, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, and China. An EMT II, avalanche instructor, and accomplished teacher, Eli also leads many of our first aid and rescue courses.



Travis Tucker

Travis manages Chilkoot High Adventure Base field operations. He is a certified WEMT, has multiple ascents of Aconcagua and Denali under his belt, and enjoys snowboard mountaineering and ice climbing at home in Telluride, Colorado.



Brian Rougeux

Equally at home on the high peaks of South America or the granite cracks of Utah, Brian is an EMT and has been leading Haines High Adventure Base courses since 2005. He brings a wealth of skill and experience from instructing and guiding on Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, the Cordillera Blanca, the volcanoes of Ecuador and Mexico, and peaks throughout Alaska.


Nathaniel Stephens

A WEMT, expert naturalist, ACA certified sea kayak instructor and an accomplished whitewater boater, Nathaniel has been guiding and instructing in Baja, Mexico and Alaska for more than 12 years. He is our University Program Coordinator, and he manages our sea kayak program.



Bob Daffe

Bob is a whitewater pioneer. He has over 30 years of experience in whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing. He is a Rescue 3 International instructor, a raft guide examiner, and a canoe and kayak instructor. When he isn’t leading whitewater in the Yukon, Bob can be found teaching courses in Nepal and Ecuador, or leading personal expeditions in Chile and Africa.

Bill Dwyer

Bill has ice climbed with kangaroos, guided expeditions to the highest peaks on three continents, and sea kayaked throughout Southeast Alaska. With over six years of wilderness education and teaching experience, Bill is at home in the outdoor classroom. Between organizing service programs in Tanzania and leading mountaineering courses in Argentina, Bill teaches English in Juneau, Alaska.

John Chitanda

John brings his high altitude experience and broad knowledge of local culture to the Haines High Adventure Base Tanzania programs. John is a fully licensed Kilimanjaro guide with over 200 ascents. He is a passionate supporter of education and community service on the mountain and in his home town of Moshi, Tanzania.

Luis Villaba

Originally hailing from Puebla, Mexico, Luis has worked with Chilkoot High Adventure Base for over 4 years and leads rock climbing and high altitude courses in Mexico. As a certified Mexican paramedic, Luis also teaches emergency response and rescue courses.


Meredith Riley

Meredith grew up in Hong Kong and moved to Park City, UT to pursue skiing.  She is a  professional skier and competes internationally.  She instructs Chilkoot High Adventure Base mountaineering, ski, mountaineering, and ice climbing courses in Alaska and Utah.  Meredith is also an EMT.


Nic Cunningham

Nic has climbed the seven summits.  Nic also leads high altitude trips in South America and Africa.  Originally from the farmlands of Minnesota, Nic brings his healthy appetite and attitude to mountaineering and ice climbing courses throughout Alaska.  He has been guiding and instructing with Chilkoot High Adventure Base for 6 years.


Phillip Bassignani

Phil is a certified EMT. After college in California he began guiding trips in and around the mountains of Colorado. Phil now splits his time between Alaska, Colorado, South America, and Utah  guiding, climbing,  skiing, and surfing .



Will Hockett

Will was born in the South Pacific to a wild pack of Carnies and educated in an East Coast ivory tower.  Since then, Will has climbed on 6 continents and traveled to more than 40 countries.  He is a collector of stories and is truly “living the dream”.



Caleb Smith

Caleb is a passionate rock, ice, and alpine climber with numerous ascents of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, and Aconcagua and has traveled extensively throughout South America. He is also an EMT and Wilderness First Responder.  When not instructing Chilkoot High Adventure Base courses or traveling the world he lives in Reno, NV.


Caleb would rather be climbing.He has climbed, adventured and explored on five continents.He enjoys meeting people and traveling.Most of all he is passionate about technical rock, ice and alpine ascents.He is a certified EMT and Wilderness First Responder.He lives part time in Reno, NV and travels most of the year.