Sawtooth Mountain Guides is owned and operated by Erik Leidecker and Chris & Sara Lundy. The guide service was founded by Kirk Bachman in 1985, and Kirk remains involved with SMG as an avalanche educator, guide, and respected advisor. Leidecker and the Lundys exemplify that a good guide is born of both training and experience. Each SMG guide has his or her own particular background of expertise garnered through both formal training (AMGA, AIARE, WFR, etc) and from experience climbing, skiing, traveling, and guiding in Idaho and in the great ranges of the world. Further, each SMG guide is thoughtful and considerate, leads an interesting life, and is a lot of fun as a companion with whom to spend time in the mountains. Come join us!
Erik Leidecker, Co-Owner
Erik grew up just south of the Sawtooth Range in Ketchum, Idaho and started working for Sawtooth Mountain Guides in 1993 while attending Darmouth College, where he was an English/Writing major and a member of the varsity alpine ski team. He purchased half of SMG from in 2003, and jointly runs the company with Chris and Sara Lundy. In 2008 Erik passed his final AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certification exam and received his IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations) “pin”. This certification is the highest available for mountain guides world-wide and represents Erik’s passion for guiding, his commitment to the profession, and his years of experience working in a variety of mountain venues. Erik is also a member of the First Ascent Ski Guide’s Team and currently lives in Hailey, Idaho with his wife Gretchen and daughters Sascha and Svea.
Chris Lundy, Co-Owner
Chris has worked as a snow professional since 1996. After finishing an MS degree in Snow Science from Montana State University, he worked as a ski patrol/snow safety technician for Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Bozeman. After a few seasons of avalanche forecasting in Glacier National Park, he was lured to Idaho to work as a forecaster with the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center in Sun Valley, becoming the center director in 2010. Chris recently joined SMG full-time to pursue his passion for avalanche education and skiing in the Sawtooths. He brings a nationally-recognized expertise in snow science to SMG’s avalanche education program, as well as a strong background in steep skiing and ski mountaineering honed in the couloirs of the Sawtooths and on peaks in Alaska, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Peru, and Patagonia.
Sara Lundy, Co-Owner
Sara grew up in Idaho and landed in Stanley in 1998 through a winter semester course from the College of Idaho. Her passion for the area exploded and she has been a permanent fixture ever since. Sara started with SMG in 2001, maintaining and resupplying the Williams Peak Hut. Few others have made the trek into the yurt as much as her! Since becoming a full-time ski guide in 2002, she has been leading backcountry skiers on day and multi-day trips as well as teaching avalanche courses. Those that have tasted her backcountry cuisine after a long day of faceshots will never forget it! Sara has completed her Level I-III avalanche certifications, and passed the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) Ski Mountaineering Course and Aspirant Exam. With her husband Chris, she pursues a passion for dragging ski gear across the globe whenever time allows.
Kirk Bachman, Founder
Kirk Bachman has worked as a mountain and ski guide since the mid-seventies in the Sawtooths and Tetons. He first introduced the Mongolian yurt as a backcountry shelter to the mountains of North America and constructed the first “yurt hut system” in the Sawtooths. Kirk specializes in leading multi-environment trips mountain-to-river, and is also an avid sailor. Guiding internationally, his experiences includes numerous mountain ascents and ski/snowboard descents throughout the South American Andes, exploratory Himalayan climbing, heli-ski guiding in Alaska’s Chugach Range, and adventuring in Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand. Kirk is an AMGA certified alpine and ski mountaineering guide.
Marc Hanselman was born and raised in Idaho. He grew up in Sun Valley where with the help of the outdoor program at the Community School (a local private high school) Marc got an early start with adventure sports. Now he has first ascents in Thailand, Japan, Australia and of course, Idaho. Marc first started with SMG as an intern in 1993, but did not start guiding in earnest until 1999. In between he graduated with a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and taught English for two years in Japan. In the fall of 2011 Marc became a fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide.
Drew’s fondness for the mountains is rooted in Vail, Colorado, where he grew up. He came to Idaho while earning a degree in geography from the University of Denver. After spending one summer as an intern and one summer as the SMG office manager, Drew is now a full-time summer guide. While pursuing a career as a mountain guide, he has spent two winters on the Sun Valley Ski Patrol. In May of 2009 Drew started an education with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) by taking a Single Pitch Instructor course in Boulder, Colorado. He has since completed all the first level courses and is fast-tracking for his IFMGA credential. If not guiding or ski patrolling, Drew is probably traveling the world or exploring the local mountains on his “real good alpine benders.”
Despite growing up in Anaheim, California, Ryan Jung has had a love for high places and adventure since an early age. He first started climbing in Joshua Tree, which naturally lead him to Yosemite Valley. Ryan spent a year living and climbing in “the valley” and honed both his big wall and free climbing skills on stone rivaled only by the alpine granite of the Elephant’s Perch! Ryan has been guiding during the summer season for SMG since 2003, and came to us directly from an AMGA Rock Instructor Course. Currently Ryan spends his summers in the Sawtooths and the rest of the year in southern California pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Tim Ball loves climbing and he has been doing it for over 30 years, everywhere from his homeland of Australia to New Zealand, European Alps, Great Britain, Himalayas and the United States. In the winter, he teaches snowboarding at Sun Valley and in the summer, he doubles up as a white water raft guide. In October 2011 he was a member of the Aqua Vitae Project, which provided Cholera relief in the Nepal Himalaya, whilst achieving three first raft descents on the rivers draining Mt. Everest, Annapurna, and Dhaulagiri. Tim has been guiding other people for 25 years and loves sharing adventure sports with his clients.
Megan started climbing on the granite of New Hampshire. She now splits her time between Moab, Utah, and the Sawtooths where she works as a climbing and canyoneering guide. The stellar granite climbing offered on the Elephant’s Perch and the adventurous nature of the Sawtooth’s will keep her returning for years to come. Megan has taken her AMGA Rock Instructor course and is actively pursuing her Rock Guide and Alpine certifications.
Tom grew up in Seattle in an active outdoor family, skiing, backpacking and climbing at an early age. He graduated from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis in Outdoor Education and went on to work around the country for several Outward Bound programs. In 1990 he moved to Sun Valley, Idaho to take a job as the Outdoor Program Director at The Community School. He designed and ran climbing, backpacking, rafting, and biking trips all over the Intermountain West for 18 years. His main outdoor passion is alpinism, and Tom has climbed in the Yukon, Cascades, Alps, South America, and Euroasia. He is credited with some classic first ascents in the Cascade Range of Washington State. Tom is an AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) SPI Certified Rock Instructor , Wilderness First Responder, and a Climbing Wall Supervisor at our local YMCA. He continues to chase down his “inner child” through loads of fun in the outdoors.
A member of the US Ski Team from 1991-1998, Zach competed on the World Cup Tour for 7 seasons. In 1999 he focused his career on the emerging event of ski cross. After 9 X Games appearances Zach tallied gold, silver and bronze medals becoming one of the sports pioneers. Beyond competitive pursuits, Zach and his brother, Reggie, have been exploring the world as backcountry skiers and guides. Their adventures have appeared in numerous ski films and TV shows featuring first descents in the Himalayas, New Zealand, Greenland, Alaska and at home in Idaho. Now while raising a daughter and new son in Ketchum, with his wife Monica, Zach prefers to return to the Sawtooth backcountry – home ground for local adventures. Sawtooth powder and ski mountaineering are his passions, and teams up his brother Reggie Crist as a First Ascent Designer and Ski Athlete.
Growing up at the Rannoch School in Scottland, which emphasized experiential and outdoor learning, instilled Guy Robins’s love of the outdoors. In 1988 Guy spent his first season guiding in Nepal and two years later he co-founded Equator Expeditions, an adventure travel company that specializes in rafting, climbing, trekking, and mountain biking in Nepal, Pakistan and North India. Today he is a full-time resident in Ketchum, Idaho and as a guide he does it all: fly fishing, climbing, hiking, and rafting. Incidentally, Guy is also a terrific chef and he loves to whip up something special after a great climb in the Sawtooths!