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scott thriftIn 1999 I was recovering from my first shoulder dislocation, when my dad asked me if I wanted to climb Mt Rainier with him. I replied, "Sure, what's Mt. Rainier?" Dad gave me a book and 6 months later, off we went.

We did a week long mountaineering seminar with Rainier Mountaineering Inc. I fell in love with the mountain & the sport. I came home and took up rock climbing, as this was the closest thing to mountaineering I could do in this region. I spent the next 2 years learning as much about climbing & rope management as I could. During that time I summited Mt Rainier, Mt Whitney and Mt Shasta.

Two years later I returned to Mt Rainier & tried out for a guide position with RMI. There were 80 people more qualified than I; and only 6 open positions.

I knew I was far less experienced but decided I would have fun with it. It was a tough couple of days. I was passed over for a guide position, but was asked to stay on as a carpenter. Later I was informed that they had created the position for me because they were interested in keeping me on so I could gain experience. I climbed on my days off and was able to interact with some of the more seasoned guides. I picked their brains and absorbed all of the information they were willing to give me. I spent about 6 months there.

Since then, I have climbed 8 of the 15 fourteeners in California including Mt Whitney, Mt Shasta, and a multitude of routes on Rainier, Mt Baker, and Mt Hood. I have also climbed a couple times in Peru. I continue to climb in NC, WV, TN, CA, OR, WA, and Utah.

  • Professional Climbing Guides Association (PCGI) - Single Pitch Guide
  • Professional Climbing Guides Association (PCGI) - Top Rope Guide
  • NC Emergency Management - Mountain Search and Rescue Technician  
  • Office of State Fire Marshal - Technical Rescuer Anchors & Mechanical Advantage Systems 
  • American Heart Association - Adult and Pediatric CPR
  • Former EMT-B



christy thriftNature has always been close to my heart, but climbing put it all into an entirely different perspective. I graduated with a biology degree with a concentration in conservation and animal behavior in 2003! A few years later I got into hiking, backpacking, boating and of course rock climbing. I was at a cross roads in my life and needed something that would help me build trust and confidence in myself and others. I joined an outdoor club that helped me continue to climb on a regular basis and gave me the opportunity to fall in love with hiking and backpacking. These activities did help me gain the personal strengths I was searching for, and introduced me to some of my closest friends and now hubby!

I have spent many hours in wilderness settings and have gained a lot of peace and strength from it. A few of my favorite adventures were: rafting the White Nile, Living at the Rock Ranch and climbing daily at Hueco Tanks, Climbing at the New River WV, camping out in rainforests in Washington State, Hiking the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Rappelling and hiking the Narrows in Utah at Zion National Park and of course my NC home climbing at Crowders, Pilot, and Stone Mountains! It wouldn't be right if I didn't show love for the local Blue Ridge Mountains, those majestic peaks have a piece of my heart!

I am excited to create NC Outdoor Adventures Guides. Not only is this company giving me the opportunity to further my climbing knowledge but it thrills me to know that I can help others search for themselves on the side of the mountain! 

  • Professional Climbing Guides Association (PCGI) - Aspirant Single Pitch Guide  
  • NC Emergency Management - Mountain Search and Rescue Technician    
  • American Heart Association - Adult and Pediatric CPR  
  • Office of State Fire Marshal -Technical Rescuer(TR)
    • TR Water Rescue NFPA 1006 Block 
    • TR Water Rescue Operations 
    • TR Water Rescue Techniques
    • TR Water Rescue Transportation
    • TR Water Rescue Victim Management


Lead Guide and 30 year veteran climbing instructor

darrell kiddMy journey to climb and become a climber began more than 25 years ago here, in NC, at Crowder's Mountain. Since that time this journey has taken me into 16 states. It has caused me to hike and carry climbing gear over literally thousands of miles of approach trails. I have climbed and belayed more than 100 miles of vertical, technical rock. Rock climbing has afforded me some of the most exhilarating and fulfilling experiences of my life along with a couple of the most terrifying. I have had the great fortune to plan..., prepare for...., then execute and celebrate numerous mountaineering adventures. I have also had the good luck and good wits to survive a few adventures not-so-planned. You take what the mountain gives you and, hopefully, you learn from it all. Whether laboring up desert spires in the 105 degree summer swelt of southern Utah or shivering through unexpected ice storms on alpine towers in Wyoming, I have learned to climb my way out of trouble.

Lessons learned on rock become lessons applied in life. At this stage in life my adventure days may be past, but I can re-live that sense of adventure, the excitement and even the fear and trepidation of this great sport in the eyes, and through the expressions, of students and clients. Teaching and guiding gives me an opportunity to give to others a portion of what the sport has given to me. I have been a climbing instructor for close to 20 years at a local college.


Lead River Guide and Kayak Instructor

TRevor LeeHey, I'm Trevor Lee. I'm from Panama City Beach, FL. My wife and I came up here on a whitewater rafting vacation many years ago and that was all it took for me. We immediately started our plans on how to move. Its been 13 years now and I continue to fall more in love with whitewater everyday. I started my journey as a raft guide on the Nolichucky river. There I learned reading water and safety skills needed for whitewater. These days you'll find me in my kayak. I love being in my boat and you can find me on anything from class 1 to 5. The Nolichucky is my home river and will always hold a special place in my heart. I've also found a new passion and that is teaching people to kayak. There's nothing like the smile on someone's face when they nail their first roll. The joy that comes from being able to teach someone along their journey of discovering whitewater and help them become safe and better boaters is amazing. My training includes Advanced Swiftwater Rescue, wilderness first aid, first aid, CPR training, and I'm also a level 4 ACA certified kayak instructor.




Assistant Guide

Kimberly DronskyI have always been an outdoor kid. My parents started taking me camping when I was 6 months old. All during my childhood I camped, fished, and swam the lakes of Texas and Arkansas, climbed the rock faces of the coves and jumped in the lakes, went canoeing in the swaps of Louisiana, and overall enjoyed playing outdoors in the woods and getting dirty with my brother and friends. We moved to Maine when I was about 12 and the outdoor lifestyle slowed down due to building a log home, school, and the teenage life in general. I did do some cross-country skiing, and ice skating while ice fishing with my dad to pass the winter blues. Fast forward 20 years, I have gotten married, had 2 kids, was a leader in the Girl Scouts and met a few friends that have gotten me back outdoors. For the last 10 years, I have been mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking on a regular basis. I have done short section hikes of the Appalachian Trail in TN, NC, and VA. I recently picked up hiking in Maine while visiting family in the summertime. I also enjoy rock climbing, white water rafting, tubing, and visiting the local wineries and breweries of NC, VA, TN, and ME. I am always up for an adventure that involves dirt roads and seeing "what is over there?"

      • SOLO - Wilderness First Aid Cert.



Assistant Guide

David RappOutdoor recreation and adventure has been part of my life from my earliest memories. Family vacations were spent camping in Northern Ontario, backpacking and canoeing in the Adirondacks and local whitewater. We spent time in state and National parks and that is when I decided I wanted to be a park ranger. I went to school for Outdoor Education and Recreation at small New England college where in addition to my canoeing and skiing, I started to rock climb, ice climb and work with adjudicated youth. For my college internship I applied to an Adventure company that did outdoor programming for youth at risk. Well they were not doing a lot of programs at that time, but asked if I wanted to come to West Virginia and raft the New, Cheat and Gauley and oh we are doing a climb of the Mexico volcanoes if you want to come along. I was hooked. I spent the next eight years as Program Manager/Guide running whitewater on the New, Cheat, Gauley and Upper Youghiogheny as well as teaching basic climbing and rappelling. It provided opportunities for me to paddle whitewater in Costa Rica, the Colorado River, Ocoee, Penobscot and lots of creeks. I also was able to work with and develop outdoor programming for youth at risk that included, rafting, climbing, caving, backpacking and community service. To gain more experience I spent a winter as an instructor at Outward Bound Wales at the Rhowniar Centre, the sister school to the original Outward Bound School in Aberdovey Wales. After all my adventures I decided I had one more goal to achieve and become a park ranger. I guess it helps being in the right place at the right time and became a Ranger at New River Gorge National River as climbing/river ranger. I recently retired from a 26-year career with the National Park Service working at Assateague Island National Seashore, Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Blue Ridge Parkway. My life has come full circle and I look forward to introducing people to the joys of the river and discovering the beauty of the natural wonders around them.

      • National Registry EMT
      • CPR for profession Rescue
      • SAR Technician
      • Swift water Rescue 


Independent Climbing Instructor and Guest Guide

mitchell rutledge

An intellectually curious individual talented in empowering others to step beyond perceived barriers and reach for their climbing dreams.

I was first introduced to rock climbing by a friend in 2012. Growing up outside camping, boating, mountain biking, and motorcycling, I had always enjoyed the feelings being in nature brought to me, but I had never considered trying rock climbing before that day. I now climb nearly every weekend! 

There is really nothing I don’t enjoy about climbing. Climbing works your mind, heightens your senses, feeds you with adrenaline, builds your confidence, shapes your body, connects your spirit, inspires you to push your boundaries, and surrounds you with the best community anyone could ever ask for.

In 2016 I pursued a climbing guide certification with the Professional Climbing Guides Institute and in 2017 I became Chair of the American Alpine Club - Charlotte chapter. I am skilled in leveraging both my recreational and professional climbing experiences with my professional knowledge as a mechanical engineer to teach quality education to those that seek it.

I believe climbing is for everyone and I want to show you that! Please reach out to me anytime with any of your climbing questions!

  • Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) - Single Pitch Guide
  • Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) - Lead Guide Course Completion
  • National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) - Wilderness First Responder



Asistant Guide

Amanda Standley

Howdy! I spent my earliest years climbing trees and playing in the dirt. My love for nature propelled me to seek outdoor recreational opportunities in college and in 2014 I fell in love with rock climbing. The wilderness has shown me the essence of life and rock climbing has provided me the opportunity to implement it. I have used it as a catalyst for personal and professional growth and whether it was the jungles of Thailand or the deserts of Utah, I have learned to show up in the world and tackle the challenges that occur. I learned to crack climb, multi-pitch, and trad climb in Yosemite, CA, and over the coming years I visited Squamish, the Wind River Range, and Red River Gorge. The physical and mental fortitude I learned unknowingly prepared me for my next journey, a 3,300 mile walk from Delaware to California, where I learned life lessons about human connection, vulnerability, and living presently.

Being an assistant instructor is fulfilling my mission of giving back to the community and spreading the gifts of rock climbing while nourishing human connection. It has enriched my life and can enrich yours too!

  • NOLS Wilderness First Responder
  • Girl Scouts of America Gold Award
  • BS in Kinesiology
  • 200hr Yoga Teacher Training



Asistant Guide

Sam Bujnarowski

For the longest time, climbing existed in the back of my mind. It was something I was interested in, but I never imagined I’d really get to climb, and especially not regularly. I was introduced to climbing during my childhood when my sister would take me to the climbing gym where she worked. Something about those moments stuck; fast forward about a decade later and what was once seemed impossible is now a part of my daily life.

It never ceases to amaze me how the experiences I’ve had through climbing have translated into my life as a whole. Overcoming fears, facing my shortcomings, and learning how to learn something new were all lessons I learned in an incredibly unique way thanks to climbing. Ultimately, it was getting the opportunity to share those experiences that lead me to guiding.

As a climber, I remember how difficult it was to break into the sport, but how exciting first-time experiences were. And as a guide, I’m interested in making that process as enjoyable, and educational, as possible. I’m constantly looking for ways to expand my skills as a guide while improving the experience of my clients.



Asistant Guide

Elisabeth Crabtree

I was born in Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus with lots of corn and soybean fields, but very few hills. The highest spot in town, where all us kids went sledding, was a dirt hill pilled up by the city when they dug out the municipal swimming pool. I grew up on stories of tall mountains, wild rivers and bold adventurers in fantasy novels long before I ever saw any. I’ve always looked for adventure wherever I am, and as a result usually found it. I backpacked through Europe solo for a year, I bought an abandoned house in Detroit for $1,650 and taught myself plumbing, electrical & HVAC, and now in the mountains of North Carolina I climb, hike, camp and float on the river.

I started climbing in a gym and immediately got hooked. Working out had always felt like a chore but now I could climb for hours until I was so exhausted I could barely hold a glass. I was the strongest I’d ever been and I was in love with the climbing community. When I moved out of the city 6 months later, the nearest climbing gym was now two hours away, so I went online to find partners and embarked on learning how to climb outside. These days, I’m usually lucky enough to make it to some crag every week. Climbing has taught me the joy of movement and gratitude for a strong, healthy body, it’s tested me mentally and taught me how to persevere through fear and it’s brought me outside to the breathtaking, unique places of the world. I love sharing that with other people; teaching them the skills they need to succeed and keep themselves safe and being the one to open that door that leads to a new adventure.



Asistant Guide

Elizabeth Heinonend

Moi! I go by Beth and I am from the far north in Minnesota and my family is from Finland. I grew up hiking in the dead of winter being told "we are snow people and waiting out the winter inside is a waste of our genetics". When summer came around it was more hiking, camping, and cliff jumping. I have a long history with outdoor adventures of all kinds, rock climbing being the center point and fond memories of mountaineering with my grandparents. Summer of '21 I climbed Mt Rainier and Mt Baker with a few friends which was one of the most terrible and enjoyable trips I have had that led me to find a job in the guiding community. I do have goals of getting IFMGA certified so I can work in some of the most amazing places on earth but that process will take a handful of years. For now I also work as a Climbing Instructor at a climbing gym where I get to help climbers develop their skills to prepare them for the great outdoors.



NC Outdoor Adventures

NC Outdoor Adventures,
1173 Whitson Branch Rd.
Bakersville NC 28705
Phone: (828) 260-4505
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