Recommended guides for climbing in the Sierra Nevada

Cosley & Houston Alpine Guides is a small business and we like it that way. With few exceptions, we guide all of our trips ourselves so we may not be available for the climb or tour you want at the time you want. To help you realize your goals we offer here (in no particular order) a list of guides whom we can endorse without reservation.

There is one common attribute shared by all the climbing guides we recommend in the Sierra. They have received American Mountain Guides Association certification as either a Rock Guide or an Alpine guide (or both). The AMGA offers guides certifications for alpine guides, rock guides and ski guides. Guides who have received all three certifications are awarded the international credential of UIAGM / IFMGA Mountain Guide. See our Choosing a Guide page for more information.

Some of the guides listed below work for an established guide service and use that guide service as their main contact. If you contact the guide service, be sure to insist on either the guide of your choice or another AMGA of IFMGA certified guide.

As you can tell, we feel very strongly about the value of guides certification. We believe not only that guides with these credentials have demonstrated a high level of guiding ability, but that the certification process itself builds a stronger profession and is a strong indication that a guide has made a real commitment to his or her profession.

Mike Powers
Mike lives in Bend, Oregon, and is currently employed by the American Alpine Institute. Mike's email address is

Bela Vadasz
Bela owns and directs Alpine Skills International based in Donner Pass, California. Bela only occasionally gets to the Alps, but you might be able to talk him into another trip there. I'm sure he'd love to go if he can fit it in among his many responsibilities at home.

Marc Chauvin
Marc Chauvin is the owner and director of Chauvin Guides International in North Conway, New Hampshire. Though Marc primarily guides in the Northeast, he occasionally makes the trip across the continent.

Steve House
Steve, another UIAGM guide, lives in remote Bend, Oregon. His best contact is also by email at

Vince Anderson
Vince spreads his guiding around a number of different companies. His best contact is by email at

Freddy Grossniklaus
Freddy, and his wife Lisa live in Park City, UT. Freddy spends much of his summer in the Alps. Visit Freddy's web site at

Martin Volken
Martin grew up in Stalden, Switzerland, just down the road from Zermatt, Martin and his wife Gina live in North Bend, Washington. His web site is found at

SP Parker
Along with Todd Vogel, SP owns Sierra Mountain Center (not to be confused with Sierra Mountain Guides). SP lives just outside of Bishop.

Howie Schwartz
Howie is another neighbor of ours in the Bishop area, home of the greatest concentration of IFMGA guides in the USA! Howie's email is

Doug Nidever
Doug is a member of Sierra Mountain Guides and lives in June Lake. He owns Nidever Mountain Guides.

Rock &
Todd Vogel
Todd shares Sierra Mountain Center with SP. Todd lives in Bishop.

All UIAGM / IFMGA Internationally Certified Mountain Guides display this logo.

These guides also have AMGA guide certification in all disciplines, including AMGA Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering.

All AMGA Certified Guides display this logo.

These guides are certified as either AMGA Rock or Alpine guides (or both).