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IMCS GUIDES

Meet Our Team

Paul McCoy

IMCS President and Guide

At the age of fourteen on a fly-fishing trip with my father in Jackson Hole WY,  I was intrigued by a brochure for rock-climbing and begged my dad to let me hire a guide for the day. I learned the ins-and-outs of belaying and safe climbing. Since that pivotal day, I have been hooked.

Back home in upstate NY, I sought boulders, cliffs, and crags – anything to play on. In 1999, I learned to climb ice. While obtaining my degree in Adventure Recreation from Green Mountain College in Vermont , I had the opportunity to climb in Northern Spain,  New Zealand’s southern Alps during a year-long study abroad, and spent a month rock climbing at Mt. Arapiles in Australia.

Mark Vanover

IMCS Guide

I grew up in New Jersey and have lived in Londonderry, NH since 1981. My first year in NH I took a multi-day rock climbing class followed up that winter with a multi-day ice climbing class – with IMCS. After 40 years climbing is still my life long passion.

I guided part time for a few years in the mid 1990s and after a successful business career retired in 2015. Since then I have focused on professional development and guided for the last five years in New England, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

Over the years I have climbed all over the world in all disciplines – rock, ice and alpinism. Some of my favorite places to climb are Bolivia, Canadian Rockies, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Black Hills, Colorado and of course New England with its diversity of climbing terrain.

Guiding and instructing enables me to share my passion for climbing which hopefully leads my clients to life long pursuits of mountain adventures and fun.

Dodge Garfield

IMCS Guide

Raised in New Hampshire, I grew up in the heart of the White Mountains where I found a passion for skiing, hiking, and climbing at  a young age. Since cutting my teeth in New England, I have spent time climbing extensively across North America as well as in Europe, South America and remote regions of Nepal.

After graduating from high school, I went straight into the guiding profession. I currently spends Fall & Winter in New England guiding rock and ice. I spend Spring & Summer in Alaska as a Denali Lead Guide and member of Denali Volunteer Rescue.

With years of experience in the Cascades, Alaska Range and other big mountains I love helping folks get ready for their next adventure whether it’s their first time climbing or preparing for a multi-week expedition.

I am also the author of New Hampshire Ice: A Select Guide and Kinsman Notch Bouldering.

Conrad Yager

IMCS Guide

I started climbing in 1986 at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. Instantly, I knew I wanted to continue climbing and do more. I became an instructor in 1989 for the Special Operations Training Group, eventually training other trainers. By the time I left the Corps, I was the senior enlisted climbing instructor.

After Desert Storm, I decided to change course and left the Marines. I landed in North Conway to begin my life as a mountain guide. In 1995, I began working for EMS climbing school, where I stayed for 17 years. In 2012, I joined the IMCS roster, where I have been happily serving clients ever since.

My experience in the Marines makes me a solid skills instructor and I enjoy sharing that knowledge at all levels. I’ve guided all over the world on rock, ice, and alpine ascents. Every climbing trip I’ve ever been on has been the best trip ever, but the Gunks, Acadia, and Joshua Tree are my favorite places to return to.

Owen McAndrew

IMCS Guide

I am a passionate educator and guide based out of Jackson, NH. My areas of focus are youth outdoor programming, avalanche education, and rock climbing instruction. I place particular importance on the relationships facilitated through outdoor experiences. If you’re looking for me, I can often be found at one of the local crags on summer evenings, or the east side of Mt. Washington on winter mornings.

Outside of IMCS, I work with several local school districts to provide experiential learning opportunities in the Mount Washington Valley.

Brendan Kehde

IMCS Guide

I am an avid climber and explorer with over 30 years experience in the mountains and wilderness. From an early age, I’ve found outdoor adventure to be the most fulfilling way to experience the world. This has taken me to various parts of the world while climbing, hiking, paddling, skiing, riding motorcycles, or on a surfboard.

I’m also a husband, father, health and wellness coach, personal trainer, and plant-based nutrition educator. My passion as a guide is promoting longevity and helping you adventure well in a holistic way. When with clients, I like to be a resource, as well as a partner in order to help them along a lifetime of peak experiences.

Jeni Calzaretta

IMCS Guide

Raised a New Englander, I first learned to climb in the Mount Washington Valley. As an avid outdoor enthusiast and aspiring alpinist, I made the leap to sign up for my first ice climbing course at the Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest years ago. I was relieved to see that women’s specific courses were being offered, I signed up without a thought. Fast forward, I am now the head of Women’s Programs at IMCS and guide the very same clinics that I was inspired by. When it comes to guiding, I am most passionate about empowering new climbers by teaching the skills to become more independent in the outdoors.

I currently call homebase Bozeman, MT but make the seasonal migration to North Conway to guide some of the best ice climbing the US has to offer. I am an American Mountain Guide Association trained instructor and Apprentice Guide. I have spent the last few years climbing rock, ice and alpine extensively throughout the US while living out of my van. I spend my free time climbing, trail running, cycling, and listening to metal.

AJ Hunter

IMCS Guide

I was raised between North Carolina and New Hampshire. I joined the Army and deployed to Iraq in 2006. After my time in the service, I went to college where I fell in love with climbing. I thrive on the freedom of movement, creativity, and exploration that climbing  provides. I started guiding in 2017 and have worked here at IMCS and in the Cascades; big rugged snow covered peaks have always inspired me.

Outside of guiding I run a gear company where I design hunting saddles and other hunting equipment. Focusing on lightweight and modular gear, my goal is to make quality, versatile equipment. Hunting and climbing go hand in hand for me as they both help me explore, connect with nature, and test myself. As a general “woodsman” sharing that knowledge is important–at IMCS I feel like my job is to educate as much as simply guide.

Zebulon Jakub

IMCS Guide

I began climbing as a kid in Western Massachusetts when I was playing soldier in the woods. I wanted to emulate the soldiers at D-Day who scaled cliffs over the beach to attack a gun position. I used rope scavenged from my dad’s ladders, and my brothers and I would pull ourselves up using sling harnesses we made ourselves. My parents wisely bought us actual equipment so we wouldn’t break our necks and I was set on a life of exploring and adventuring.

With a desire to become a guide and instructor, I went to the Green Mountain College to study Adventure Recreation. There, I met Paul, the current owner of IMCS, and began my formal education. I began guiding in 1997 and worked for a few years all over the USA.  Then after graduation in 2001 and having been the first guide to do an internship with IMCS, I was hired for full time work and never left.

Since then, I’ve added kite boarding, SCUBA, kayaking, surfing, etc. to my repertoire. A lifelong tinkerer and inventor, I really enjoy the systems and creative process climbers use to protect themselves and their partners. My favorite types of clients are those seeking to solve problems or overcome obstacles. I enjoy sharing my technical knowledge to come up with solutions.

I started with IMCS as a guide in the year 2000, which makes me the longest running guide in the company’s history. I guide rock, ice, skiing, and especially climbing systems and technical skills.

If you’re a ham radio operator, you can find me at KC1 QLE!

Jess Kowalski

IMCS Guide

I am a wandering + pondering bean: often teal in color, though increasingly covered in cheetah print. I enjoy swimming, biking, climbing, hiking, rafting, zines, book clubs, laughing, dancing, being covered in dirt, playing with friends, and watching things grow. I may be found lurking around icicles, mountains, deserts, farms, puddles of water of all sizes, food, art supplies, or IME.

Many of my goals in life revolve around community building and healing through a trauma informed lens. I recently started practicing massage, and run the All Outdoors Collective here in town. In 2023 we organized the first LGBT+ ice clinic in the MWV. I aim to create more supportive, compassionate, and community-oriented spaces with IMCS!

Craig Taylor

IMCS Guide

Hey there All. I fell in love with rock climbing in high school and it hasn’t stopped. The love affair with climbing that is. Early in college I got the hankering for the winter exploits and explored the ice climbing and mountaineering in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley.

I settled in North Conway, NH to climb hike ski…..and with the help of some great climbing partners, and mentors, I began guiding in 1994. I took my American Mountain Guides Association Level 1 Rock Guide Exam in 1998 (now known as Rock Instructor)and became a Single Pitch Instructor course and exam provider that same year.

I have guided in South America in Peru and Bolivia, domestically in Joshua Tree and Red Rocks. My home base is the granite cliffs in and around North Conway. I love teaching and guiding climbing and have plied the trade full time since 1994. It’s too late to stop now and I do not want to. It is so exciting to me to turn people on to climbing and all it has to offer our bodies, spirits and minds. I hope to climb with you soon!

Al Hospers

IMCS Guide

I began technical climbing with friends on the ocean cliffs of northern California in 1990, unless you count several years of easy 5th class scrambling I did with my grandfather in the North Georgia mountains in the early 50’s. My wife and I moved to North Conway in 1997 to climb and enjoy the outdoors. We have a son, Lewis, who was born in 2000.

The joy, thrill and camaraderie I feel in getting out on the rock and ice today, is very similar to what I experienced as a child. While climbing is only a portion of my life these days, it is a very important part. I enjoy working with clients of all levels and experience, helping them to find that same enjoyment that I find every time I climb.