More than guides
Pathways trip leaders are passionate about travel and they want to do whatever they can to help you connect with a new place and the local community. Your leaders are multi-lingual and they'll share with you all their insider knowledge about your surroundings - everything from naming that unique wildflower on the side of the trail, to talking about the history and geology of the mountains you’re hiking in, to making reservations at the best restaurant in town that only the locals know about.
Your leaders will hold they keys to many undiscovered doors and help you see the world through their local eyes. You'll learn from your leaders throughout the trip - from history and culture to architecture and cuisine - everything that makes their home special. Your leaders will know the ins and outs of the itinerary, help the trip run smoothly, welcome spontaneity and choice and they’ll add spice, humor, enthusiasm and a big, constant smile.
MERLIN LIPSHITZ | patagonia
Merlin Grew up in the Bariloche region, north of Patagonia. His love of the mountains began at a very young age when he became enthusiastically involved in the Bariloche Mountain Club. He became a Ski Instructor at the age of 18 and a Trekking Guide at 21. He finished his career as an IFMGA (International Alpine Certified Guide) in 2004.
His first time to the Fitz Roy area was in 1996 for a climbing trip and he fell completely in love with Southern Patagonia. Since then, he has completed three ascents on Fitz Roy and two on Cerro Torre, among others. He has also completed ascents in the USA, Bolivia, Peru, Canada and the Alps.
Merlin has been leading trips since 1998 and he has lived and worked all over the world, including at Stratton Mountain Ski Resort in Vermont. Merlin is the Founder and Owner of Mountaineering Patagonia and he spends his time organizing and leading successful expeditions throughout the mountains in Los Glaciares National Park and around the world. Merlin lives in El Chaltén year-round with his wife and two kids.
Spending time in the mountains and sharing experiences with others is a very important passion of Merlin’s. He is excited to welcome all the Pathways guests to this very special place - one of the most beautiful and unique places on Earth!
gianni trepin | Italy
Gianni grew up in Trentino-Alto Adige region. His love of the mountains began at a very young age as he started ski racing and rock climbing as a child. Spending time in the mountains and sharing experiences with others is a very important passion of Gianni's.
Gianni has experience as a ski instructor, tennis coach and he is a certified, professional Alpine Guide. Over the years, Gianni has climbed some of the most challenging and well-respected ascents in the Alps and has paved the way for new routes throughout the mountains. He has also spent time in the Himalayas and in Norway, leading successful expeditions throughout these high mountains.
Gianni has recently published a book about his experiences in the mountains with many trekking route explanations and descriptions. He loves the mountains, trekking and guiding very much and he now spends part of his time instructing kids who want to become mountaineering guides in the Alps.
Gianni owns his own ski and mountaineering school called Tonale Freeride in his hometown of Tonale Pass where he guides throughout the Alps & Dolomites. Gianni is excited to share this experience with Alberto & Sarah and looks forward to welcoming all the Pathways guests to his beautiful home. Bergheil!
sofie stranger | norway
Sofie has always loved the outdoors, and the mountains have been a big part of her life for as long as she can remember. Her mom worked in the DNT (the Norwegian Trekking Association) for 30 years, so hiking in the Norwegian mountains was a natural part of her childhood.
Sofie grew up in Oslo but realized she needed to have the mountains closer. After traveling in Asia for a year and a half, she moved to Sogndal - the best place to explore the mountains and fjords of Norway with access to everything you need to live and love an active lifestyle.
Sofie lived in Sogndal for three years, taking advantage of being outside as much as possible. When she wasn't skiing, climbing, ice climbing, hiking and exploring, she was finishing her studies to become a teacher. She loves to teach and guide and she has been a climbing instructor for kids and a trekking guide for adults. Most recently, Sofie guided a 3-day skiing trip across the biggest glacier in Norway, Jostedalsbreen, and this past summer she guided a group through the Jotunheimen National Park, east to west. In the Jotunheimen, Sofie has been a climbing instructor with the DNT youth summer camp and she spent a season working at Gjendesheim Mountain Hut (where the Norway Pathways group stays).
Recently, Sofie realized that she wanted a new challenge and wanted to explore more of Norway so she has paused her studies and moved to Tromsø way up north near the arctic circle. There, she works in a kindergarten and runs a beginner climbing course for the Tromsø Climbing Club. Sofie is excited to get back to the Jotunheimen next summer and share the beautiful Norwegian mountains and way of life with the Pathways group!
AIMÉ RAMUNDA | PATAGONIA
Aimé grew up in the southernmost city of Argentina in Ushuaia. This magical place, known as “The End of the World”, was the beginning of everything-adventurous for her. Aimé’s love of the mountains began at a very young age as she was motivated by her unique surroundings and her cravings for exploration. She grew up cross country skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking and horseback riding. Aimé became a horseback riding guide at the age of 15 and through her love of being outside and sharing her mountains with others, she transitioned to becoming a trekking guide and a climbing guide.
Aimé has led trips in various places around South America such as the high mountains in Argentina, volcanoes and deserts in Chile, deep forest in Patagonia and mountains of Bolivia. She also loves to teach and Aimé has been involved for many years in the “Club Andino Ushuaia” as a mountaineering instructor for adults and kids.
Nowadays, Aimé spends her time guiding and leading trekking expeditions through the mountains in Los Glaciares and Tierra del Fuego National Parks, enjoying her passion and sharing these beautiful mountains with others. She is looking forward to leading for Pathways and helping Americans experience the beauty and uniqueness of Patagonia!
tom crocker | patagonia & italy support
Tom was 18 when he first traveled to South America. The five weeks he spent on his own with a homestay family and attending a language school in Chile opened his eyes to the incredible culture and landscapes of Latin America. Since then, Tom has lived in Buenos Aires, lead research expeditions in the Peruvian Andes, organized group trips to Patagonia & Ecuador and planned backcountry adventures in Bolivia.
As a snowmaker in Colorado, ski patroller in Vermont, and Geology major in college, Tom’s love for mountains and glaciers is hard to surpass. After working for an adventure travel company in Massachusetts for nearly four years, he now calls Boulder, Colorado home. Tom is an active member of the technology startup community in Boulder and has worked in business development for two venture-backed companies.
Patagonia is Tom’s favorite place in the world. He believes the stunning scenery alone makes it worth the trip. When combined with the incredible food, wine, culture, llamas and some of the friendliest people on the entire continent, Patagonia is a special place not to be missed.
Tom's love of organizing shared experiences makes him a natural fit on the Pathways team. He’s always thinking 3 minutes, 3 hours and 3 days ahead to ensure things run smoothly so people can spend their time experiencing the people and landscape that make a destination so unique – and not be trapped in the back of a bus traveling overnight on zigzagging roads (though if you’re into that, he’ll join you there too!).
FISCHER HAZEN | COLORADO
Fischer’s passion for the outdoors began at a young age in his mountainous hometown of Telluride, Colorado. He started skiing as soon as he could walk and in the years that followed he was constantly trying to keep up with his dad on the snow. From that point on, he was hooked.
While studying at Colorado College, and obtaining degrees in Geology and Spanish, Fischer became involved in both the outdoor leadership and rock climbing communities. Over his four years at CC he led many student orientation trips, rock climbing adventures and in the summers worked for an adventure travel company for students.
In recent years, Fischer has been pursuing a career in the guiding industry. He spends his time guiding big mountains in Alaska and Argentina as well as rock climbing, ice climbing and backcountry skiing in his home region of Colorado.
Fischer loves sharing his passion for the outdoors with others. For him, there is nothing more rewarding than helping people discover a place that is new to them.
JULIANA EGUIA | PATAGONIA
Juliana was born in Bahia Blanca, a windy town located 600 km south of Buenos Aires. She moved to the capital city to study Arts at University, where she lived until 2012.
While she was working in the Museum of Latin American Arts (MALBA) , she began rock climbing and high-altitude mountaineering with the Centro Andino Buenos Aires. From 2006 until 2012 , she worked ad honorem for this mountain club as an instructor taking people to the mountains for their first experience in high altitude mountaineering.
She did several climbs and trekkings in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nepal and different regions in Argentina, including two ascents to Mount Aconcagua (6,962 meters). She is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.
Since 2012, Juliana has lived and worked in Patagonia, leading and guiding groups around this special place. She loves sharing Patagonia – from its “maté” drinking culture to its mountains and glaciers.
Alberto Schiavon | Italy
Alberto was born in the Trentino region of Italy and was raised in his village of Madonna di Campiglio, immersing himself in the natural wonders of the Brenta Dolomites. At the age of 13, he discovered snowboarding. His love for the sport grew and he progressed to become an Olympic athlete.
After obtaining a degree in Economy and Financial Markets in Milan, and working for a few years in the marketing world, Alberto shifted his career and has since dedicated his life to his true passions: immersing himself in the outdoors and welcoming people in to his family’s exquisite Chalet Del Sogno in Madonna di Campiglio.
Alberto loves to travel, be outside and connect with people so leading for Pathways is a natural fit. After so much traveling around the world, Alberto still considers Madonna di Campiglio one of the most beautiful places full of incredible scenery, unique mountains and endless outdoor opportunities for all abilities. Alberto has a wealth of knowledge of the region and he is incredibly passionate and always eager to help others discover the beauty of northern Italy.
sarah marston | trip support
Sarah has been passionate about travel and about sharing active adventures for as long as she can remember. Growing up hiking in the White Mountains and staying in the AMC huts with her family and close friends sparked her deep love of the mountains and of connecting with people on and off the trail.
Sarah's love of travel was born after a trip to Paris and Dijon with her dad and following a summer in Annecy, France when she and her family discovered the French Alps. Throughout her high school and early college years, Sarah and her family spent their summers hiking together from hut to hut in the European mountains - from the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Haute Route and the E5 in the Alps to the Alta Via 1 and 2 in the Dolomites and the Pyrenees in Spain. Sarah went on to graduate from Bowdoin, specializing in French & International Relations, and spent her post-grad summer biking and backpacking the GR5 from the North Sea in Holland to the Mediterranean Sea in France. She spent the year after Bowdoin teaching English in France, traveling around Europe as much as possible.
Professionally, Sarah worked for VBT Bicycling & Walking Vacations for several years where she worked as a logistics & operations intern, an assistant trip leader, and helped recruit and hire trip leaders. Sarah led two long-distance, self-supported bike trips for teenagers while working as a trip leader for Overland, later working in the Overland office for three years in logistics, leader recruiting & hiring, operations, and as Director of Admissions.
After a week exploring the Brenta Dolomites & Northeastern Alps in the summer of 2016 with Alberto as her family's incredible local guide, Sarah knew that she wanted to bring people together to discover this area and other unique and uncommon places around the world.
Sarah's experience in the industry & passion for travel and people naturally led her to found Pathways. Sarah will be supporting the Italy trip and co-leading the Colorado trip and she can't wait to share this experience with you and with all the people and communities you'll connect with along the way. Cheers!