Our Dedicated, Adventerous Guides

San Juan Outdoor Adventures leads trips into the San Juan mountains with extreme care and respect for our natural surroundings. Our mountain staff is highly qualified and expertly trained in making these excursions fun, educational and low impact and they will provide you with a wealth of information about the Telluride area.

Josh Butson
Josh ButsonOwner, Lead Guide
Josh is the owner of the San Juan Outdoor Adventures/Telluride Adventures and is the director of the Telluride Avalanche School/San Juan Field School. For the past eight years, he has been one of the San Juan Outdoor Adventures premier guides.

Josh has been guiding year-round for a living for 20 years. He possesses a strong knowledge of the San Juan Mountains and believes that the Telluride area has endless outdoor recreation opportunities. He grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he was introduced to climbing, paddling, mountaineering, and skiing.

From an early age, Josh was driven to find new sites to explore. Some of his favorite destinations are Joshua Tree, Zion, Red Rocks, Moab, the Adirondacks, Acadia, the Cascades, China, Ecuador, Argentina, Nepal, and Bolivia. He has a love and appreciation for the natural world, which makes him passionate about sharing this love with others. He feels that it is the SJOA’s responsibility to help pass on an appreciation of all of the area’s local cultural and natural history.

Josh’s education includes a bachelor of science degree in adventure-based recreation program management and an associte’s degree in outdoor recreation. Some of his certifications and training include American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Top Rope Certification, AMGA rock instructor course, The American Institute for Avalanche Research and education (AIARE) Level II professional avalanche training, (AAA) Level II avalanche training, wilderness first responder certification (WFR), and CPR for the healthcare provider. Josh lives in Telluride with his wife, Tara; their sons, Lincoln and Brahm; and two cats.

Tara Butson
Tara ButsonOperations Director, Guide/Instructor
Tara has a world of experience in the outdoor industry. Some of her experience includes working for wilderness therapy programs in Maine and Colorado. She has been guiding since 1999 and brings a lot to San Juan Outdoor Adventures. Her expertise spans from hiking and climbing to teaching survival skills. She has also been a Wilderness Education Association instructor, interpretative guide, and a paddling instructor. If she is not guiding or managing the SJOA office, you can find her running around in the mountains training for her next ultra marathon.

Tara’s education includes a bachelor of science degree in adventure-based recreation program management and an associates degree in outdoor recreation. Some of her certifications and training include WEMT, (AIARE) Level 2 avalanche training, and CPR for the healthcare provider.

Lane Abbott
Lane AbbottGuide
Lane is an outdoor enthusiast from Houston, Texas. He had begun appreciating nature at a young age by spending summers in the hills of northern Alabama, and by taking occasional family trips to the mountains in Colorado.

In his late teens he moved to northern Norway, where he started picking up outdoor skills. He attended an outdoor school, where he would spend a year learning the ins and outs of the arctic outdoors and going on long trips in extreme conditions. After the school year, he continued using his new skills on his own trips around northern Scandinavia and Svalbard.

After recently moving to back to the US, Lane made the move to southwestern Colorado to be around high-quality wilderness, and to work with things he likes to do.

Christopher Brock
Christopher BrockGuide / Instructor
Christopher grew up in Southern Texas, frequently visiting Monterrey, Mexico to see family. He moved to Denver to study film and explore the Colorado Rockies. After visiting Telluride on a road trip with a close friend, he decided to move here in pursuit of skiing and climbing. On his off seasons he traveled from his Subaru Outback seeking classic western climbs such as The Grand Teton of Wyoming, Mt. Whitney of California, and Castleton Tower of Utah. Chris has lived in Wyoming and Montana but always returns to the steep, jagged peaks of the San Juan’s. He has spent recent years traveling to Iceland and Mexico, and backcountry skiing and climbing all over the San Juan’s, Wasatch, Ruby, and Sierra Mountains. Chris is a Mountain Guide for all activities, an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor, has an AIARE level 1 avalanche certification, and is a Wilderness First Responder. He is bilingual, speaking fluently in Spanish and English.
Jayci Ferrimani
Jayci FerrimaniGuide / Instructor
Jayci started exploring the Colorado Rockies with his parents when he was 10 and started climbing in his late teens, but his real mountain addiction began after moving to Boston to attend college. After graduating, he immediately moved back to Colorado to pursue his real passion. For the past 10 years, he has been climbing extensively throughout the Southwest and North America. He has completed first ascents in Arizona, Utah, and the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

Jayci is currently pursuing his AMGA Rock Guide certification and also intends to attain his Alpine guide certification. When not guiding, he can be found high off the ground in the desert or in his favorite climbing area, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River.

Lindsey Greer
Lindsey GreerGuide
Lindsey was raised in the outdoors of small town Michigan. Of the many sports she played growing up, she decided to continue her softball career through college while studying Anatomy and Child Development, along with volunteering for a Children’s Hospital. Upon completion of her degree, she decided what she really wanted to do was travel and took a job as a Kids Camp Counselor in Telluride, CO. From there, she planned several trips including solo traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, car camping and hiking around the country of Iceland, and backpacking the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland. She has spent her last year backcountry skiing and climbing in the San Juan, Wasatch, Ruby, and Sierra Mountains. Lindsey’s experience includes a volunteer guide for Telluride’s Adaptive Sports Program, an outdoor education field instructor for kids ages 3-14, and Mountain Guide for San Juan Outdoor Adventures. She is a WIlderness First Responder and our Kids Camp Director.
Emma Johnson
Emma JohnsonGuide
Emma grew up primarily in Washington DC and Geneva, Switzerland, where she spent much of her free time skiing and hiking. At Wesleyan University she studied Theater and Political Science, until she spent her senior Spring in Wyoming and Utah on a NOLS course. During that time, outdoor education was used as the vehicle towards leadership and communication development. After finishing that program in the Spring of 2019, she worked as a hiking and sea kayaking guide in Norway. Emma is a Wilderness First Responder as well as a Leave No Trace Master Educator, and loves bringing those elements to her work in outdoor education. She is bilingual in English and French.
Ashley Klassen
Ashley KlassenGuide
Ashley grew up on the plains of Kansas riding horses and going on canoe trips. Her family took a few ski and hiking trips to Colorado and she knew that was her true home. She went to university in Denver and graduated with a bachelor’s in International Relations with a minor in Outdoor Leadership. After
working as a lift operator and a raft guide she made her way to Telluride and then Ophir and has never felt more at home. She worked as a hutkeeper at the Opus Hut for 3 years year round. She splitboarded to and from work with heavy packs and helped with remodeling projects, stocking the hut, and managing the business. The winters at 11,765’ taught her invaluable lessons about the San Juan snowpack and winter patterns. Splitboarding has taken her to Canada, Alaska, and New Zealand, and finally to return to Alaska in 2021 to take on Denali via the West Buttress. In the summer Ashley loves to run up local technical peaks and compete in endurance mountain bike events. Ashley has been a member of Search and Rescue since 2017. She is certified in Rigging for Rescue, and Wilderness EMT and has been a WFR since 2014. She has her AIRIE Avalanche Pro 1 as well as the Canadian Avalanche Association Level 2.
Garrett Ryan Smith
Garrett Ryan SmithGuide
Garrett grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and was an urban dweller living in big cities on the east coast and overseas until he and his wife moved to Tucson, Arizona for graduate school. This was the first time Garrett traveled beyond the “Hundredth Meridian” and was immediately enthralled by the mountains surrounding Tucson. He took up trail running as an activity that would allow him to form a more intimate connection with these places, while also allowing his two German Shorthair Pointer pups to join him in these explorations. Since starting this trail running odyssey Garrett has completed more than 70 ultramarathon races as well as doing a number of self- and semi-supported adventures from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the heights of Colorado’s 14ers.

Garrett graduated with a PhD from the University of Arizona where his research focused on using ecological and sociological methods to study recreational activities and recreational users to help better inform public land management decisions. When he is not guiding Garrett works as an outdoor educator and runs his own research consulting firm in Telluride. He is a Wilderness First Responder. While he prefers the simplistic nature of running and traveling light in the mountains, he is trying to broaden his horizons into other outdoor endeavors, particularly winter activities, though it is sometimes hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Eric Tanguay
Eric TanguayGuide
Eric began leading outdoor adventures in Colorado, instructing backpacking courses for the Colorado Outward Bound School, honing his alpine mountaineering and rock climbing skills. He has instructed rock climbing camps for semester long courses and directed 30-day Technical Mountaineering Courses in the remote Weminuche Wilderness located in the South San Juan Mountains. He has also traveled to the Kenai Mountains in Alaska. Eric instructed 14 day mountaineering courses teaching glacial travel and crevasse rescue.

He enjoys sharing his enthusiasm for the mountain environment and helping people push their limits— whether it’s gaining a summit or completing a difficult climb or great hike. When not guiding you might run into him hiking a fourteener or climbing near Telluride.

Karl Welter
Karl WelterGuide
Karl grew up in Wisconsin, hunting, fishing, paddling, and skiing as much as possible. At college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison until 2006, he learned to top-rope and trad climb as well as studying geography. With Camp Manito-wish YMCA in Wisconsin, he led several backpacking trips to Alaska’s remote Brooks Range, then guided in wilderness therapy in Colorado.

A professional patroller with Telluride Ski Resort since 2008, Karl enjoys the challenge of that job, applying high angle rope rescue skills, skiing steeps and (sometimes) deeps, and forecasting with the TSP Snow Safety team. He volunteers with San Miguel County Search and Rescue team as well as teaching the Telluride Avalanche School AIARE Level 1 and Rescue Courses.

His travels to the summits of Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming, Nepal, New Zealand, and France are life highlights, especially as a guide. Besides walking uphill and skiing down, Karl can be found paragliding the skies over Telluride. He has worked with San Juan Outdoor School since 2009.

Tyler Weller
Tyler WellerGuide / Instructor
From picking juicy fruit on the family farm in Pennsylvania to choosing ripe ski lines in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, the outdoors have always been a major theme in Tyler’s life. His love for the mountains started chasing powder and conveniently attending college in  Northeastern Vermont. This is also when he started his professional guiding career, leading mountaineering trips up Mount Washington and taking people ice climbing at various crags in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. After graduating with a B.S. in Mountain Recreation Management, the chase for high peaks ensued as he found his way traveling across the country to the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. With Telluride as his current home base, he still takes every off-season as a chance to get out and travel, honing his skills in as many new realms as possible.
In addition to an excellent safety record, our guides possess the following qualifications:
  • Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician
  • Wilderness First Responder / First Aid Certification
  • Low to High Angle Rescue
  • Outdoor Emergency Care Technician
  • CPR for the Healthcare Provider / Professional Rescuer
  • Avalanche Courses Level I -III
  • AMGA Certification & Membership
  • American Avalanche Association Professional Membership
They gave much of their time and effort to San Juan Outdoor Adventures. Their influence will stay with us for a lifetime.

Peter’s roots went back to Vermont where he grew up at the base of the state’s biggest mountain, Mount Mansfield, hiking and skiing. He earned a bachelor of science degree in outdoor recreation and resource management at the University of Vermont and has worked in recreation ever since. In 1987, he relocated to the San Juans where he guided for more than 20 years.

Peter’s guiding and personal adventures took him on wild rides, including three winter seasons spent in the Alps, skiing and climbing in India, mountaineering in Peru and Nepal, and a first ascent in China (peak 5,965 meters), Another was a complete climb and partial ski of Mount St Elias, the second highest peak in the United States, not to mention 14 trips up Denali.

Peter’s favorite passions were backcountry and ski mountaineering; ice climbing; and rock climbing, preferably in the warm, desert sun. When not guiding or adventuring, he worked for nearly 20 years as an avalanche technician in the Telluride ski area.

“I love the outdoors. What can I say?” he said.

Jack Roberts climbed for 39 years, more than 30 of them in Colorado. He was a published author with the second edition of his ice climbing guide to Colorado, “Colorado Ice,” which was a finalist in the guidebook category at the 2006 Banff Book Festival. He was a frequent contributor to Climbing and Rock and Ice magazines, and the American Alpine Journal. He was awarded recognition at the Banff Book Festival as having written the finest article of the year in the 1997 Canadian Alpine Journal. His last article was published in Alpinist No. 20, under the Mount Huntington story.

Jack was frequently requested as guest lecturer, presentor, and clinic instructor at the Ouray Ice Festival, Pont Rouge (Festiglace) ice festival, Bozeman Ice Festival, Cody Ice Festival, and many others.

His climbing career began in 1968 in Southern California where he climbed at Tahquitz, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite. He eventually became a part of the influential Stonemasters Climbing group and went on to ascend big walls in Yosemite. Many of them were second ascents—The Shield, Zodiac, Tangerine Trip, Tis-Sa-Ack, Cosmos, Gobi Wall, El Cap Towers Right Side, Mescalito. Later, he gravitated to alpine climbing in Europe, Canada, and Alaska where he established first ascents on Mount Huntington, Denali, Mount Lewis, Mount Kennedy, and others. With Dale Bard, he did the first free ascent of Polar Circus and with Tobin Sorenson did the first winter ascent of the North Face on Mount Robson and the first winter ascent of the Central Couloir on Mount Kitchener.