Summit Leadership Staff

2014 Summit Staff will be announced shortly. Many of last year's instructors will be returning:

Summit staff are leading professionals in their field. They are highly skilled and dedicated educators, as well as fully proficient guides. Our programs are limited to very small staff to student ratios of 1:3 or 1:4 depending on the program content and location.  Our instructors are some of the best in the business representing many years of experience in the field, and many have additional training and certification through industry leaders such as the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) and International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA).  We are more than great technicians. We are great leaders, and we strive to better the leadership ability of our students in our every undertaking.We invite you to read the testimonials of our past participants to hear why this is such an amazing and rewarding course.

Jim Davidson

Keynote Speaker 2013

Jim Davidson

Jim Davidson is a climber, author and international speaker who shares stories and lessons distilled from 31 years of mountain adventures. As a high-altitude mountaineer and expedition leader, Jim has scaled peaks in Alaska, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nepal and Tibet, including the sixth highest peak in the world, Cho Oyu, at 26,906 feet.  Jim's epic survival and the wisdom he learned are shared in his national best-selling memoir, "The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survival" (co-authored with Kevin Vaughan, Random House/Ballantine Books). The Ledge won the National Outdoor Book Award for Outdoor Literature and was selected one of the Best Books of 2011 by Amazon. His story has also been shared internationally through a TV episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive" (Discovery Channel/Animal Planet). From Fort Collins, Colorado Jim operates Speaking of Adventure (www.speakingofadventure.com).

Steve Banks

Single Pitch Rock Instructor 2007-2013

Steve Banks

Steve is a fully certified IFMGA Guide, the highest level of international mountain guiding certification available.  Steve guides throughout North America and internationally, works as a professional ski patroller for Crested Butte Mountain Resort, as a forecaster for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center, and is an instructor for AIARE Avalanche Safety courses.  Don't be intimidated by Steve's credentials; he is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet!

Jason Belaire

Summit Co-Founder, photographer, and general supporter

Jason Belaire

Jason P. Belaire, IDSA is a lover of the outdoors, a mountaineer, a photographer and a product designer. Colorado is his home and where he cut his teeth on many of the rocky mountains. However, he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for almost 7 years where he climbed throughout parts of the Andes, sailed to Rio de Janeiro and served by feeding and reconstructing buildings for many orphans in remote areas of Argentina. He helped build the "Peter Terbush Outdoor Leadership Summit" with Dr. Jim Terbush while living in Argentina when Dr. Terbush was stationed there. He has faithfully contributed and attended almost all Summits and is looking forward to the 10 year anniversary this June.

Alan Bernholtz

  • Mountaineering Instructor 2006-2008, 2010
  • Multi-Pitch Rock Instructor 2005, 2009
  • Single-Pitch Rock Instructor 2011
Alan Bernholtz

Alan is a life-long climber, guide, business-owner and was previously the Mayor of Crested Butte. Alan has guided all over the world including Africa, Europe and Alaska. Along with Alan's many talents, he has a great sense of humor and is an excellent instructor and guide. Alan is the founder of Crested Butte Mountain Guides and is a certified Ski Mountaineering Guide through the AMGA.

Laura Chase

Single Pitch Rock Instructor 2004-2013

Laura Chase

Laura earned her BA from Western in 2003 before joining the North American Mobility Program on exchange with a guiding company in Central Mexico. Laura has worked and traveled all over the world including Nepal and Argentina. Laura is an exceptional leader and teacher whose skill and patience are truly admirable. Laura is a certified Top-Rope Site Manager through the AMGA and works as a professional guide with Crested Butte Mountain Guides and the Women's Wilderness Institute in Boulder.

Dan Escalante

  • Mountaineering Instructor 2002-2011
  • Single Pitch Rock Instructor 2012

Dan Escalnte

Dan earned his B.A. in outdoor recreation from Western in 2000. He has served the Colorado Outward Bound School, University of Colorado Boulder, Crested Butte Mountain Guides and other organizations over the years. Dan is known for his skill as a great climber and world traveler, but what makes him truly incredible is his wide range of work experience, his sense of humor, and his ability to lead and inspire others.

Christie Hicks

Program Director

Christie is the Wilderness Pursuits Manager at Western; the "mother" program of the Summit. Christie now lives in Crested Butte after working as a river guide, teacher and naturalist in Alaska, Idaho, California and Utah. She enjoys all the recreational opportunities the Gunnison Valley has to offer, and looks forward to participating in the Summit this year in the Single Pitch Course. Directors and Managers of Outdoor Pursuits and Outdoor Education programs are invited to apply to the Summit- don't let her be the oldest lady out there!

Ben Kiessel

 Multi-Pitch Instructor 2009, 2011

Ben Kiessel

Ben Kiessel completed a degree in Outdoor Leadership at Western in 2008. While attending school he worked for Wilderness Pursuits, leading rock and ice climbing trips. Ben now guides rock, ice and alpine trips for Southwest Adventure Guides in Durango, CO, where he lives with his wife Amanda. Ben is an AMGA certified Rock Guide.

James W. Terbush MD

Founder of the Peter Terbush Memorial Outdoor Leadership Summit and Pete's Dad

Salty Sailer

Jim Terbush is a "Salty ol' Sailor" with almost 30 years of Service in the US Navy. He and his bride "Leigh" have lived in six different countries and visited more than 80. In 2000 he and Leigh sailed from Capetown South Africa to Buenos Aires, Argentina in their 40 ft. sailboat, the Blue Peter.  Jim has a love of wild places and has worked in both the Arctic and Antarctica, serving as Ship's Doctor. He is a member of the James Caird Society (Shackleton) and has spoken to many groups about Resilience and Servant Leadership principles.