MWS 2017 Staff


Gar Duke

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.

Email: gar@montanawildernessschool.org

Josh Olsen

Josh Olsen

Co-founder and Program Director

I am 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 the last ten years teaching around the United States, India and in Morocco. During the winters I have spent the last decade working as pro ski patroller and avalanche rescue dog handler, and currently ski patrol at Bridger Bowl. My love of education and desire to always keep learning lead me back to school, to receive a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction 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.

Email: josh@montanawildernessschool.org

Claire Kleese

Claire Kleese

Student Enrollment and Family Outreach Coordinator

I was fortunate to be born and raised in beautiful Western Montana and growing up in the Bitterroot Valley provided me with the opportunity to spend my childhood climbing the canyons, skiing, camping, hunting and canoeing the rivers of Montana. In my youth I fell in love with rock/ice climbing and alpine mountaineering, continuing to this day. After high school I completed an Outward Bound course in Colorado and Wyoming before heading to college where I received a degree in Geography and GIS/Remote Sensing Imagery. I’ve spent time recreating and 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 Student Enrollment and Family Outreach Coordinator.

When not working with the MWS team, I am an illustration artist and usually covered in ink and paint creating new artwork for various galleries and shows. Otherwise I'm out trail running, skiing, mountain biking, traveling, climbing, playing music or gardening!

Email: claire@montanawildernessschool.org

Rachel Glass

Rachel Glass

Program Assistant, Expedition Wrangler and Field Instructor

I was born among the evergreens in the upper left corner of the Pacific Northwest, a place I’ve returned to many times throughout my wanderings and seasonal migrations. In my past lives I’ve been a bike messenger, a silversmith, a climbing instructor/guide, an outdoor educator, a research assistant and a musician.

I spent the majority of my adolescence in an orchestra pit, as a classically trained oboist. When I was 18 years old, I travelled to Patagonia with an outdoor education program and immediately fell in love with the ruggedness of the massive, granite peaks. This trip instilled in me a strong desire to protect wild places so that I may continue to return to them both as classrooms and to adventure. I spent the next decade working in the outdoor industry as an advocate, guide and climbing instructor.

When I’m not at work with the MWS crew, I can be found skiing, rock climbing, making a mess in the kitchen or on the road traveling.

Email: rachel@montanawildernessschool.org

Nicki Bailey

Nicki Bailey

Outreach Coordinator and Field Operations Supervisior

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.

Email: nicki@montanawildernessschool.org

Stephen Halvorson MD

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 wife and son through the varied terrain of the Northern Rockies.

Seasonal Staff


Janine Welton

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!


Andrew Morehouse

Andrew Morehouse

Field Instructor, Expedition Wrangler

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.

Quinn Mawhinney

Quinn Mawhinney

Field Instructor

As a Montana native, I had the fortunate luck to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a child. Growing up in Gallatin Gateway instilled a passion for the great outdoors through backpacking, paddling, skiing and climbing. My family and I have enjoyed long trips canoeing some of Montana’s most scenic rivers such as the Gallatin, Missouri, and the Smith River. One of my most memorable trips was a 1,000 mile canoe expedition near the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territory. I have also spent time teaching teenagers how to paddle in Namibia, Zambia, and South Africa. Most recently I have spent the winter biking, skiing and climbing in the southwest US. As much as I enjoy my personal pursuits in the outdoors, I find the combination of education, service work and outdoor adventure the most powerful and meaningful. After I graduated from Montana State University with a B.S. Sociology, I taught Honors Natural Science, Algebra 2, P.E. and Global Studies for The Traveling School in Southern Africa for two separate semesters. Traveling from Zimbabwe to Malawi to Namibia, I shared my passion for place-based learning, backpacking and paddling with teenage girls. I find it inspiring to support young individuals gain independence and confidence through adventure education. I have also worked as an environmental science teacher for a Montessori School and as a field instructor for Montana Outdoor Science School. Furthermore, I have volunteered as a mentor for the Big Sky Youth Empowerment Program and have spent many seasons helping young adults with disabilities learn how to climb and ski with the Eaglemount program. I am psyched to be a part of the MWS team this summer and I look forward to camping under the Montana night sky, eating delicious trail snacks and chatting on the trail and in the boats.

Matt Zia

Matt Zia

Field Instructor, Expedition Wrangler

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), having 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 class, I played Ultimate Frisbee on the CC club team, learned how to rock climb, and discovered how much better it is to ski powder instead of ice. Since graduation, I’ve worked as a field instructor for the Colorado Outward Bound School, been a ski instructor at Crested Butte, and taught high school math and physics at the Telluride Mountain School.

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.

Adam Chenoweth

Adam Chenoweth

Field Instructor

I am proudly from the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota. I grew up car camping, fishing and hunting with friends and family. My senior year of high school I had the incredible chance to take a class called Outdoor Adventures. The class combined environmental science, ecology, and outdoor recreation in to one memorable experience. The capstone of the class was spending four days winter camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. That class, and especially that trip, made me fall in love with outdoor recreation and set me off on the career path I am on now.

I went to college at the University of Minnesota Duluth where I studied Environmental and Outdoor Education. The Outdoor Volunteer Program at UMD became my community as I got involved with leading day hikes across Duluth, teaching 3rd graders how to tap a maple tree, and leading a spring break backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. During my summers I sought out more experience by working at wilderness camps in the Boundary Waters, including YMCA Camp Menogyn where I fell in love with leading teens on canoeing, rock climbing, and backpacking trips. One memorable trip being a backpacking trip in the Bob Marshal Wilderness. In the winter of 2015/16 I had the opportunity to spend my winter with 20 sled dogs and 6 fellow staff members at Camp Menogyn, where we hosted groups and took them on dog sleds, skis, and snowshoe outings.

I recently moved to Portland, Oregon and have been enjoying the new scenery and spending my free time skiing at Mt. Hood. I am stoked to be a paddling instructor for MWS this summer and am looking forward to many days on the water, nights in the tent, and good conversations with my students and co-instructors.

Heather Waterous

Heather Waterous

Field Instructor

I grew up in a rural region of the interior of British Columbia, Canada and attended a summer outdoors school every year throughout my adolescence. Exploring wilderness settings became a fundamental part of my identity. I have a deep appreciation for, and innate curiosity about, the natural world.

Recently I have migrated to the coast and currently live in Squamish, British Columbia. There, I attend Quest University Canada full-time and am halfway through my Bachelor’s degree. My studies focus primarily on climate change effects upon wildlife ecology as well as indigenous research paradigms, and I am particularly interested in arctic ecosystems. I enjoy pairing my studies with play, and frequently take advantage of the beautiful skiing, hiking and climbing available just outside my front door. There is a small community of Bozeman-ites at Quest, and I quickly became curious about this place of endless adventure that I’d heard so much about. One excursion visiting a roommate provided an introduction to the Montana wilderness. I was captivated!

I have worked as an instructor in the outdoor education industry for the past 4 years with Educo Adventure School, based in the stunning Cariboo region of BC. This year, I am thrilled to be joining the Montana Wilderness School team. I am looking forward to the introspection and self-discovery that wilderness environments afford, and to the chance to both facilitate growth in my students and explore the places that hold us during that journey. To me, outdoor education remains challenging, yet incredibly rewarding work.

Kane French

Kane French

Field Instructor

Born and raised in the foothills of North Carolina, I moved to SW Montana for the big peaks and untamed wilderness. It all started for me while studying abroad in Ecuador, where I explored the Andes mountains. This experience ignited a deep passion for the complexities of mountain craft and a desire to share these raw spaces with others. Ever since graduating from the University of North Carolina with a BA in Political Science, I've redirected my outdoor lifestyle out West: working as a mountain guide in SE Alaska and a ski patroller at Big Sky Resort.

In between seasons you might find me backcountry skiing in the Northern Rockies, crack climbing in Utah's deserts, or bushwhacking in Appalachian forests. Entering my fifth year in outdoor education, I'm pumped to be a part of the MWS team.

Ned Gall

Ned Gall

Field Instructor

Born and raised in Eastern Iowa, Ned moved to Montana in 2008 to attend MSU- Bozeman and ski Bridger Bowl. From a young age he has found solace in nature, as life has progressed this has strengthened. Ned spends much of his free time back-country skiing, rock climbing and riding bicycles in the various mountain ranges throughout Montana. In June of 2011 Ned worked for the Native Science Field Center on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, creating and planting community gardens as well as taking Native youth on short science based field trips. He has volunteered with Eagle Mount at Bridger Bowl to help physically challenged people get out and make some turns. Most recently Ned has been working seasonally to support his skiing habit, and expand his skill set. Last summer Ned worked for Outward Bound in Colorado, and it was then that his perception of the mountains changed from a place for personal escape to a huge classroom, where there is much to be learned and taught.

Ned is excited to be part of the MWS team this season, working in the mountains of Montana.

Eric Falconer

Eric Falconer

MWS Intern

My roots were nourished in the front range of Colorado instilling a deep passion for adventure and love of the natural world within my heart. This love has brought me to many places including the bottomless canyons and sandstone walls of Arizona. There I majored in Adventure Education and minored in Earth Sciences at Prescott College. Through the discovery of new skills, new knowledge and new environments, one may also discover a new self.

Traveling and learning among new geologic landscapes, ecosystems and demographics has always been passion of mine. For myself, feeding the soul has always involved good food, making art, playing with animals and getting lost in the music. What my soul is most hungry for though, besides chocolate, is to connect with the landscape. Weather immersed in a fall line of waist deep powder, weaving my tires through rocks and roots while ascending on single track, or reacting to the flow of water and waves crashing over a boat. I aspire to connect students to the landscape and pass the torch of adventure.