Mountain Skills believes that continuous education for its guides is paramount. Our employees are New York State licensed guides, First Aid and CPR certified, and many hold additional certifications from the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and as Leave No Trace trainers. We also hold regular training for our guides so they stay up-to-date on company policies and new methods for client care and coordination – we want to ensure that each one of our guides provides you with a memorable and enjoyable experience!
Moreover, we are committed to our community. Our guides actively support efforts to open more climbing opportunities in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve by participating in rare plant and animal studies and assisting in the removal of invasive species. We also sponsor DOT Adopt-A-Highway projects, maintain trails in our area through the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, volunteer for the Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue Squad, and train yearly with NYS DEC and Mohonk Preserve rangers on High Angle Rescue.
Mountain Skills Climbing Guides are true Gunkies: most of us live locally and climb daily in our beloved Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains.
Doug Ferguson discovered climbing in 1997 while living in Boulder, Colorado and has owned and operated Mountain Skills Climbing Guides since 2008. In 2002, he began guiding and climbing full time at the New River Gorge in West Virginia. Doug has climbed extensively throughout the United States, largely in the southeast (North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee) and since moving to New England, in the Adirondacks, the Gunks and the White and Green Mountains. Doug guides rock during the warmer months and ice during the winter, and has more than 1,500 rock and ice climbing routes under his belt.
His climbing and mountaineering educational background consists of: Certified AMGA Rock Instructor, AMGA Ice Instructor Course graduate, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, AMGA Top Rope Site Manager, AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Provider, AMGA SPI Provider assistant, Wilderness First Responder training, Leave No Trace Master Trainer, National Ski Patrol Level 1& 2 Avalanche Safety, New York State Licensed Rock, Ice, Hiking, Camping Guide, and Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue Volunteer.
Doug is also on the Board of Directors for the Gunks Climbers Coalition, an advocacy group dedicated to creating and maintaining sustainable opportunities for responsible climbing along the Shawangunk Ridge and surrounding areas. Recently, Doug loves volunteering weekly with the NYC Adaptive Climbing Clinic helping to teach rock climbing to people with physical disabilities at Brooklyn Boulders.
A Michigan native, Doug’s love of mountains and the outdoors began with a competitive skiing career in high school. With a background in art and design, Doug paints with oil color full time and creates rustic furniture, mostly from pieces of wood chopped down from his neighbor’s backyard. You can view Doug's paintings and other art work at www.dougfergusonpainting.com
Chuck Boyd has 25+ years of climbing experience around the world. He has climbed Mt. Everest and attempted other 8000 meter peaks (K2 and Broad Peak). He has also had first ascents on Shipton Spire in Pakistan (1996) and the East Face of Cayash in Cordillera Blanca, Peru (1983).
Chuck’s impressive list of certifications include: American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Certified Rock Instructor, American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor, American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Climbing Wall Instructor Provider, American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Ice Instructor Course, Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Nordic Downhill Instructor, National Ski Patrol Level II Avalanche Instructor Trainer, American Avalanche Association Member, Graduate National Avalanche School, National Ski Patrol Senior Alpine Patroller, National Ski Patrol Senior Nordic Patroller.
Chuck also teaches avalanche courses during the winter months and owns Vertical Realms, which predominately operates at Ragged Mountain in Connecticut. He keeps Doug Ferguson out of trouble… most of the time.
Born and raised in New Jersey, a land of endless suburbia, Ryan Stefiuk somehow developed a love of the outdoors at a very young age. He discovered climbing towards the end of high school and has been hopelessly addicted ever since. For nearly a decade, Ryan was semi-itinerant and climbed all over the country. A resident of Northampton, Massachusetts, he is now strategically located just a short drive away from some of the best climbing in New England and New York.
As a climber, Ryan has chosen to focus his energy on long rock and ice routes and hard mixed climbing in the Northeast. Ryan has climbed extensively throughout the United States and Canada and is responsible for much of the modern mixed route development currently taking place in the Catskill Mountain region.
Ryan is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course provider, Wilderness First Responder, NY State licensed Rock and Ice Guide, and has taken the AMGA Advanced Alpine Guides Course, AMGA Ice Instructor Course and AIARE Level I and II courses. Ryan also writes Bigfoot Mountain Guides, a blog about climbing and guiding in the Northeast.
After several years and countless days of climbing in the Gunks, Dustin Portzline finally made the move from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to New Paltz in Fall 2010. He brings with him the experience of two summers as a climbing instructor at Falling Creek Camp in North Carolina as well as many lengthy road trips sampling a diversity of American rock. Dustin strongly believes that climbing is the most spectacular way to experience our natural world, and is perpetually excited to share his love of the sport with others. His favorite areas to climb include the High Sierra, Red Rocks, Western North Carolina and, of course, the Gunks.
Dustin has completed the AMGA Rock Instructor Course and is a certified Leave No Trace Trainer, a licensed New York State Rock and Ice Guide, a Wilderness First Responder, and a graduate of Penn State University with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. When not squeezing in a few more pitches, Dustin claims he is working on a naturalist's guide to the Shawangunk Ridge.
Mark has lived in the Hudson Valley and climbed in the Gunks since 1999. While living in New Hampshire, he climbed many peaks in the White Mountains, Catskills and Adirondacks. Mark has climbed in Joshua Tree in California and many routes at Red Rocks in Nevada, and Red River Gorge in Kentucky. In winter, Mark enjoys back-country skiing, snowshoeing and trips to warmer destinations. He is also an avid caver who has explored and mapped caves throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Mark studies natural sciences including geography, ecology and geology. A volunteer with several regional, non-profit and state climbing-related agencies, Mark supports protection of nature as well as climbing resources.
Mark’s training includes: AMGA Rock Instructor Course graduate, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, licensed New York State Rock Guide, Wilderness First Responder, Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue member, Cave Rescue Certified and a Leave No Trace Trainer.
A native to the Gunks, John Mackey has been climbing locally for over ten years now. First starting off ice climbing in the ravines of the Catskill's then promptly moving on to rock climbing in the Gunks, Adirondack's, and the White Mountains. While hard mixed routes are his favorite in the winter, John loves the back country routes that the Northeast has to offer. He is a powerhouse when it comes to ice climbing and is quickly becoming to go to guy for finding the best ice in the area. John has also hiked countless peaks in the Catskill's and Adirondack's as well as climbing on Mt. Rainier in Washington. He is a certified PCGI Lead Guide, NSP Avalanche I, licensed New York State Rock, Ice, Hiking and Camping Guide with Wilderness First Aid/ CPR training.
Born and raised in Suffern, NY, Paul Knill joined the Air Force in 1992, where he spent seven as an aircraft mechanic before becoming a personal trainer with an emphasis on holistic health. Paul's enthusiasm and love of the outdoors has compelled him to climb peaks such as the Grand Teton, Mt. Rainier, Gannet Peak and Mt. Katahdin. Paul has been climbing in the Gunks since 2005.
Paul is a certified AMGA SPI, Wilderness First Responder certified, AIARE Avalanche 1, New York State Licensed Guide and a Hudson Valley Mountain Rescue volunteer. In case you were wondering, the ‘K’ is silent.
Brendan Mealia has been climbing since 1994. Though he is a staunch advocate of the traditional climbing style that the Gunks demand, Brendan also enjoys sport climbing and bouldering. He has climbed across the country: New Hampshire, New York's Adirondacks, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, and California. Brendan also loves skiing and playing music, and in winter he has lived in the Southern US and out in Big Sky, Montana.
Brendan is a licensed New York State Rock and Ice Guide, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.
Though well-traveled in the western climbing arenas, Jeremy is happiest when clinging to the side of a cliff in New York State. A Gunks climber and Catskill ice climber since 1989, Jeremy grew up in the gorges of Ithaca and recently co-wrote and published Adirondack Rock: A Rock Climber's Guide. He has been guiding rock, ice, alpine ascents and backcountry skiing since 2002, and finds that the personalized instruction of guiding is the best way for a client to get immediate feedback and quickly improve their skill set.
Jeremy is an AMGA Single-Pitch Instructor, AMGA Rock Instructor Course graduate, NYS licensed Rock and Ice Climbing Guide, former Emergency Medical Technician, and is Level II Avalanche certified. He credits his enormous amount of patience to his job as a high school science teacher.
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Full Day Climbing Rates:
Double: $195 each
Triple: $165 each
Quad: $140 each
Five: $140 each
Six: $130 each
Ten & up: $110 each
Half Day Climbing Rates:
Double: $140 each
Triple: $125 each
Quad: $110 each
Our rates include Mohonk Preserve and Peterskill day fees as well as all technical climbing equipment.
A 50% deposit is required for groups of 5 or more.
Tipping your guide is customary.
Rock and Snow
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