WP Staff Bios

Chris Noah

Chris Noah is going for a ROE (Recreation and Outdoor Education) major with an emphasis in Instruction- he is loving every minute of it! Chris instructs our rock,Ice, and snow programs. He spends his summers working for Colorado Outward Bound School in Leadville Colorado as a mountaineering and rock instructor. After graduation he plans to pursue a career in guiding high altitude mountaineering expeditions or just playing for the rest of his life. He hopes to see you on a trip soon!!!!!





Jared Cohn

Jared is an Environment and Sustainability major with a minor in Exercise Sports Science. "I came from Carlsbad, California and I'm stoked to be in Gunnison pursuing rock climbing and many other outdoor pursuits." He works as a setter and regular employee at the climbing gym. He is pretty awesome, and likes to let everyone know it, however they usually know before he tells them as his awesomeness is very clear. 




Sara Olsen

Sara Olsen was born and raised in Michigan. By the time she was 10, Sara was very much involved in climbing competitively. She did that for the next 7 years fairly consistently. One of her older sisters attended Western and Sara would visit at least once a year. It was no surprise she fell in love with the mountains being an avid climber. Sara decided to move a year early and graduated high school in Gunnison. Since living here she has continued her climbing career and has begun pursuing trad climbing. Nutrition has also been a major interest and way of life for Sara and is currently her major at Western.



Tyler Grimes

Tyler lives in Salida, CO, where he enjoys his guiding life. He is now a graduate student in the new Masters in Environmental Management program, which he also enjoys. Someday, he hopes to combine these passions of Environmental Management and Guiding into one super awesome career. He also wears cool T-shirts, needs a lot of attention and has a wry sense of humor. Once he took a set of Western van keys home for the weekend. We really needed them that day...



Anna Boyle

Anna hails from Lander, WY and is a Junior at Western pursuing  a double major with a B.F.A in Painting and a B.A in English. When she is not reading or elbow deep in the arts Anna enjoys getting outside and on the river! As an avid whitewater kayaker and skier she loves water in all forms, from class III rapids to fresh powder.  Outside of school Anna works for Wilderness Pursuits as a Field Instructor and serves on the board for the Western Mountain Rescue Team. Anna has both her Wilderness First Responder and Avalanche 1 Certification and leads kayaking, skiing, and hiking trips. When she is not out in the field or working in the WP office you can find Anna at the local whitewater park for an afternoon surf!


Travis Merrill

Born on Christmas day Travis is a unique and awesome individual.  His love of climbing things that probably shouldn’t be climbed brings him all sorts of skills in regards to rope work!  He is an epic skier who loves the trees and deep pow!  You might see him in a ski ninja suit on the mountain but you might not because that’s how ninja he really is.  He is a Coloradan and is double majoring in Recreation and Business.  In his spare time when not adventuring he can be found making chainmail armor. Travis is a Wilderness First Responder and will save your life if needed, demanding nothing in return.


 Zoe Smith

 The spicy Zoe Smith hails from Rockford, IL; where she was on the USA Waterski Team for a decade. She enjoys leading our rock-climbing, snow skiing, mountain biking, and whitewater activities. Her aspirations include, but are not limited to, biking the entire Colorado Trail and mastering underwater basketweaving. When Zoe is not out recreating, she spends the majority of her time in wildlife biology and ecology class here at Western.  She also works as WP office staff, where she is our official interior decorator and trip folder preparer.


 Bryce Weaver

Bryce always looks like this. Even when he's going to church. Or the bar.






Mitch chillin'
Mitch on the Taylor
Mitch Stypinski

Mitch hails from Lakewood, Colorado. Before coming to Western he spent three years in Steamboat Springs attending Colorado Mountain College. There he came to love rivers and river related activities. He loves to kayak more than anything in the world! He's also fond of desert ecosystems and enjoys learning about natural sciences and river ecology. He is a ENVS major with a water emphasis, and is fully embracing his emphasis by immersing himself in local rivers whenever possible.





Kyle Juszczyk

Kyle grew up in Iowa moved to Colorado for school and work. He is a Recreation and Outdoor Education major. For WP, He leads whitewater, climbing, ice climbing, and mountain biking trips as well as works at the front desk. In the summer he raft guides for Wilderness Aware on the mighty Arkansas River. He enjoys long walks on the beach, curling up with a good book, and many other cliché activities. Come sign up for trips with Kyle because he’s the coolest thing since sliced bread.




Erin Kearns

Erin is a junior from Smuggler's Notch, Vermont. She came to Colorado to study mountains. She spends most of her time skiing, climbing things to ski them, talking about skiing, or dreaming about snow. When unable to ski, she resorts to rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking, and anything else that gets her outside. In her spare time she can be found rappelling off of random things, rolling down campus hills in shopping carts, building snowmen, and occasionally attending biology and environmental science classes.....or skiing.





Andrew Plagens

Andrew was born in the flatlands of Michigan. He relocated to Colorado in 2011 to attend Western State Colorado University. Andrew is an avid climber who enjoys all disciplines of climbing. He is also an avid backcountry snowboarder. He is also known to wear flipflops on blisteringly cold and snowy days. Along with climbing, Andrew also has a passion for history which is his major at Western. Because of this, he loves to collect books about mountaineering history; his favorite book about climbing is The White Spider, by Heinrich Harrer.




Dylan Rome

Dylan grew up in Austin, TX where he started wrenching on bikes and racing cross country at an early age.  At WP Dylan helps maintain our mountain bike and ski fleet. He truly enjoy instructing the mountain biking and skiing trips, and believes that the best trip that WP offers is the weekend mountain biking trip to Fruita and Grand Junction, hands down. If he’s not skiing, biking or working you can probably find Dylan out on the river bugging fish. He works as a fly fishing guide in the summer, so that he can stay in the valley as much as possible.



Tucker Cocchiarella

Tucker was born and raised in the mountains of Colorado.  He enjoys to travel through the mountains year around, whether it is by skis, raft, kayak, rock, or by bike. He also takes pleasure in capturing these beautiful moments of traveling through the wilderness with his camera. 




Tim Manuzza

A lover of adventure, Tim Mannuzza graduated from Vermilion Community College in Ely, MN with his Associates in Science in Outdoor Leadership, as well as, with his Backcountry Guide and Wilderness Emergency Medical Response Certificates. He is an ACA Sea Kayak Instructor an lives to be on the water, whether in a sea kayak, white water kayak, or canoe. At Western Tim is studying Recreation and Outdoor Education, as well as, Anthropology; he also works as an RA in Moffat and is involved with the White Water Club, and Mountain Rescue Team. You have probably seen Tim around campus as he is easily recognized by his constant juggling.


Sam Gaiser

Sam is a fourth generation Native of Littleton, Colorado. He started doing crazy things like jumping off the roof and gapping his dad's road bike at an early age. He's been rolling with it ever since. Sam loves pursuing any and all recreational activities but would pick snowboarding in fluffy waist-deep pow and flowing through epic mountain bike trails over anything else. He loves camping and getting in the backcountry and came to Gunnison specifically to do so, although school is also on the weekly agenda. You may confuse him with his other long haired, tank-top and board short-wearing roommates, though he will probably have the raddest board shorts of them all.






Christie Hicks

Christie is the Wilderness Pursuits Manager. She hails from San Luis Obispo, CA, where she grew up water skiing, swimming, surfing, and hugging trees. She holds a BA in Molecular Biology from Pomona College and an MS in Environmental Education through the Audubon Expedition Institute. She spent the last 15 years teaching and guiding in the mountains of Southern California, on the rivers of Alaska, Idaho, amongst the red rocks of Moab, UT, in the yoga studios of Crested Butte, and within the Himalayas of Nepal. She is happy now to train, mentor and keep the budgets and permits in order for the amazing WP Staff and the students they serve.