our team

MWS 2018 STAFF

Gar Duke

Co-founder and Executive Director

I grew up in Washington State where I was fortunate to spend my youth camping with my family, catching salmon and water skiing on the Puget Sound, snow skiing in the Cascades, and being a well rounded pacific northwest kid. In college I fell in love with rock climbing and alpine mountaineering, a journey that led to my career in outdoor education. I have field instructed and course directed for a variety of outdoor educational programs; the majority of my time in the wild places of the American west for Outward Bound, where I have worked in the mountains, rivers, canyons, and deserts instructing mountaineering, rock climbing, and canyoneering courses. I have college degrees in Psychology, Business Administration, and a Masters in Ecological Design, as well as a USCG Master's License.

My wife, Nicole, and I moved to Bozeman in 2011 after falling in love with the big skies and wild places of Montana where we now live with our son, Crusoe, and high energy herding dog, Odin. Outside of my work and family life, my current outdoor interests are long distance trail running with my dog, bow hunting, backcountry skiing, and fly fishing on Montana's amazing rivers.

Send Gar an email.

Josh Olsen 

Co-founder and Program Director

I am a native Montanan and grew up exploring wild spaces from the Bear Paw to the Beartooth Mountains. I was lucky enough to spend my youth skiing, hiking and climbing in many wild areas of Montana. I have worked as an educator in many capacities primarily in the backcountry; instructing kayaking and climbing and spent some time teaching English in Tanzania, Africa. I am former wilderness instructor for "at- risk" youth programs and worked as a field instructor for multiple wilderness adventure programs in the mountain west. In addition to my work with youth I also worked professionally as a sea kayak guide and as a climbing instructor. I have taught wilderness medicine courses for Aerie Backcountry Medicine for over 10 years teaching around the United States, India, China, Tibet and in Morocco. During the winters I have spent the last decade working as a professional ski patroller and avalanche rescue dog handler, and currently work at Bridger Bowl. My love of education and desire to always keep learning lead me back to school, to receive a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on place-based learning from the University of Montana.

I live in Bozeman with my wife and two dogs, trying to scratch out time to ski, hunt and climb between working and learning to garden.

Send Josh an email.

Claire Kleese

Communications Manager & Development Assistant

I was fortunate to be born and raised in beautiful Western Montana. Living in the Bitterroot Valley provided me the opportunity to spend my childhood climbing, skiing, camping, hunting and canoeing all over Montana. After high school I completed an Outward Bound course before heading to college where I received a degree in Geography and GIS/Remote Sensing Imagery. I’ve spent time adventuring throughout the US, Central America, Canada, Iceland, India, Nepal, Pakistan, China and Tibet. I've worn a variety of different career hats in my life however my passion for Montana's wild spaces and helping others develop a relationship with their environment and community are just a few of the many reasons I am so happy to be a part of the Montana Wilderness School team as Communications Manager & Development Assistant.

When not working with the MWS team or with Mystery Ranch Backpacks as a technical document developer, I am an illustration artist and avid gardener. I try to make as much time as possible for trail running, skiing, hunting and biking!

Send Claire an email.

Nicki Bailey

Operations & Youth Contract Expedition Manager

I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and spent my childhood amongst the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. From a young age, however, I was intrigued to see other places and have been lucky enough to call five countries my home. While living in South America, I had the pleasure of working for Outward Bound Brazil, bringing my passion for the outdoors, teaching, a commitment to service and my love of language together. I moved back to Outward Bound in the states with the opportunity to build a tiny house on wheels. I have always admired Montana's geography for its diversity and vastness, and am looking forward to exploring more of it. When not at work (unlikely) you might find me out climbing (most likely in costume), running, making a ludicrous number of labels, avoiding gluten or going on ridiculously long bike tours.

Send Nicki an email.

Stephen Halvorson MD

Medical Advisor

Steve has had the good fortune of integrating interests in wilderness, medicine, travel and youth development beginning with the outdoor recreation program at UC Berkeley, where he earned a BS in resource economics and a minor in writing. From the University of Montana, he earned a BA in biology with an emphasis in riparian ecology. In between, he served various roles for urban and rural youth corps, taught climbing and guided river trips in the US and Central America. While a medical student at the University of New Mexico, he initiated research in acute mountain sickness and subsequently volunteered for the Himalayan Rescue Association in Pheriche and with the Everest ER. He currently is the co-medical director for the Hardrock 100 and serves as physician advisor for youth development groups and wilderness outfitters. He continues to teach wilderness medicine for WMA and other organizations in and outside the US. When not at work, he drafts his son through the varied terrain of the Northern Rockies.

MATT ZIA

Mountain Program Manager

I grew up playing in the mountains of New Hampshire where my mother, a former Outward Bound instructor, took me on my first backpacking trip at age 10. I vividly remember hiking 10 million miles to our camp with a 150 pound pack (a three mile hike with a 20 pound pack…it’s all relative to a 10 year old), getting my mind blown by the idea of cooking mac and cheese without a proper kitchen, and nearly eating it face-first into a big pile of rocks on the way down.

I moved West in 2010 to attend Colorado College where I majored in Environmental Science. Between classes, I played Ultimate Frisbee on the CC club team, learned how to rock climb, and discovered the joy of skiing powder. Since graduation, I’ve worked as a field instructor for the Colorado Outward Bound School, spent time as a ski instructor, and taught high school math and physics at the Telluride Mountain School. I am also an assistant rock guide through the American Mountain Guides Association, an LNT Master Educator, and EMT-B in the state of Montana. In addition to my work at MWS I teach high school math at a small independent school in Bozeman.

When I’m not working, you can likely find me searching out splitter crack climbs in the desert, chasing untracked snow on big mountains, improvising elaborate meals on a camp stove, or running around the hills with my camera.

Send Matt an email.

ANDREW MOREHOUSE

Paddling Program Manager

I am excited to bring my love of the outdoors and passion for experiential education to the MWS team. The mountains and rivers of upstate New York fueled my relationship with the natural world and led me to pursue a bachelor of science degree in Environmental Science with a focus on Ecosystems studies from the University of New Hampshire. Following my time at UNH, I worked as a Nordic ski coach at St. Lawrence University, where I completed a Master of Education degree focused on experiential and outdoor education. Over the past ten years I have worked as a teacher and kayak coach for World Class Academy, ski coach for the Bridger Ski Foundation, teacher for the Montana Outdoor Science School, paddling coordinator for St. Lawrence University, and instructor/program supervisor for NOLS. I have been fortunate enough to teach courses in remote places throughout the world and look forward to helping students explore the great state of Montana this summer.

When I’m not with MWS, I can be found working with the US Ski Team in Europe or playing music at some of Bozeman’s finest establishments.

TORY DILLE

Student Outreach Manager

I am beyond excited to join the MWS team and work for an organization that allows me to engage with two of my passions--experiential education and wild places! My experiences growing up in the diverse landscapes of Missouri and Washington state inspired me to study the intersections between humans and the natural world. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, I moved to the High Rockies to work as a natural science educator for an organization in the Vail Valley, Colorado. Working in the fields of outdoor and environmental education has given me the opportunity to explore wild places on backcountry trips with youth and develop curriculum around topics that I am passionate about including alpine ecology, geology, snow science and natural resource management.

Driven to explore more wild places and join a dynamic community, I moved to Bozeman last year and have been stoked ever since! In addition to working for MWS, I teach science for an independent high school and am currently pursuing an MS in Science Education through Montana State University. When I'm not out teaching or at the office, I'm hard at work exploring the contours of my new local ranges through some of my favorite activities—rock climbing, backpacking, ski touring and mountain biking; please say hello if you see me on the trails!

Send Tory an email.

seasonal STAFF

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Janine Welton

Field Instructor

Raised in Alberta and Washington’s Okanogan Valley, I was introduced to the wonders of physical exploration at a young age. I was lucky to have parents who took me skiing, biking, swimming, and paddling through the landscapes of my youth and my love of self-propelled activity, wild places and pika has only grown since. As a dual citizen, I’ve moved between Canada and the United States my entire life. I began attending the University of British Columbia in Vancouver after high school and spent a year on the north coast of BC where I learned to love rain and gigantic trees. Homesick for the Rocky Mountains, I moved to Missoula in 2013 to complete my B.Sc. in natural resource conservation. I’ve worked for land management agencies as a fire fighter, wilderness ranger, and guide. Instructing for the Montana Wilderness School has allowed me to combine my greatest passions: education and mountaineering. I’m looking forward to working with the supportive team of staff again this season and being challenged and inspired by my students!

Janine Welton

Field Instructor

Raised in Alberta and Washington’s Okanogan Valley, I was introduced to the wonders of physical exploration at a young age. I was lucky to have parents who took me skiing, biking, swimming, and paddling through the landscapes of my youth and my love of self-propelled activity, wild places and pika has only grown since. As a dual citizen, I’ve moved between Canada and the United States my entire life. I began attending the University of British Columbia in Vancouver after high school and spent a year on the north coast of BC where I learned to love rain and gigantic trees. Homesick for the Rocky Mountains, I moved to Missoula in 2013 to complete my B.Sc. in natural resource conservation. I’ve worked for land management agencies as a fire fighter, wilderness ranger, and guide. Instructing for the Montana Wilderness School has allowed me to combine my greatest passions: education and mountaineering. I’m looking forward to working with the supportive team of staff again this season and being challenged and inspired by my students!

Contact
Montana Wilderness School
P.O. Box 1183
Bozeman, MT 59771
406-522-1525
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