About Us

Our goal at Bigfoot Mountain Guides is to provide our clients with a fun and rewarding climbing experience at a reasonable price. We pride ourselves on having guides that are experienced climbers and skillful educators. All of our instructors and guides have extensive educational backgrounds and have received professional training and certification from the American Mountain Guides Assocation (AMGA).

Our Guides

Ryan Stefiuk

As a youth, growing up in central New Jersey, I sought out little pockets of wilderness wherever I could. As a student at St. Lawrence University (1997-2001) I spent much of my free time in the Adirondacks. The SLU Outdoor Program helped deepen my love of the outdoors and gave me a strong base of outdoor leadership skills. By the end of college I was climbing during much of my free time, and felt pretty certain I wanted to teach others how to climb and enjoy the outdoors.

 In 2003 I took an American Mountain Guides Association(AMGA) Rock Instructor Course and it changed my life. I learned so much, and it helped me see how much I didn't know about climbing or climbing instruction. Shortly after that I began guiding rock, ice and alpine climbing in the northeastern United States. Since then I’ve taken many AMGA courses and count them as some of my most valuable instructional climbing experiences.

 I’ve worked as a classroom science teacher (I have an undergraduate degree in Earth Science) and have worked closely with many educators throughout my time as a guide. My guiding and instruction have been heavily influenced by these experiences. Having an appropriate agenda, choosing the right objectives, using proper sequencing of learning material, communicating effectively, role modeling carefully and being empathetic are crucial to producing a successful guiding outcome.

As a climber I’ve chosen to focus a lot of my energy on ice and mixed climbing in the Northeast. In the Catskills I helped usher in modern mixed climbing. Each winter I continue to find inspiration in the steep sandstone cliffs there. I enjoy long granite rock routes too, and try to climb a classic or two every year. Some of my favorites include the Steck-Salathe on Sentinel Rock(with Bayard Russell, 2006), the Scenic Cruise, Black Canyon of the Gunnison (with Matt Garza, 2006) and the Beckey-Chouinard route on South Howser Tower in the Bugaboos (with Lawrence Haas, 2013). Good partners have been an important key to many of my climbing successes.

During my time as a climber I’ve watched the climbing community grow by what seems like several orders of magnitude. As I guide I’ve chosen to focus heavily on leader training, instructor training, and climber safety. With more people at the cliffs than ever before we need to be safer and more aware of others around us, and we need to do this diplomatically; climbing areas are a finite resource.

I currently reside in Northampton, Massachusetts and offer guiding and instructional services at many areas throughout the northeast region. In my spare time I run religiously, garden, cook, and spend time with my partner and dog.

Training and Certifications:

  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide 
  • AMGA Advanced Alpine Guide Course 
  • AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course Provider 
  • AIARE Level I and II Course 
  • NREMT certified and MA-licensed EMT-B, WEMT