Lead Staff

Led by Nadia’s infectious enthusiasm, passion, and high standards, DMM staff are well trained, highly qualified, charismatic, and committed to what they do. All lead instructors have a minimum of Wilderness EMT training, generous experience as an outdoor educator or guide, and clinical medical experience. Most importantly, they all have a passion for sharing that knowledge with others.

Nadia Kimmel

Executive Director

RN-BSN, WEMT, B.S. in Natural Resources Mgt., M.S. in Recreation

Nadia Kimmel Is the driving force behind Desert Mountain Medicine. Frustrated by her initial classroom bound “wilderness medicine course”, Nadia envisioned a more experiential wilderness medicine curriculum based in the field, drew up a business plan, and christened it Desert Mountain Medicine. Outside Magazine voted her one of “25 Goddesses Who Rule” in 2003 for her inspired vision in starting the business.

In 1990 Nadia left her hometown of Montreal, Canada for Crested Butte, CO where she was first introduced to the world of outdoor education. She eventually obtained her Masters degree in Recreation to teach outdoor education for numerous universities, colleges and private organizations. Her experience as field staff and as a wilderness medical provider has led her to provide International Wilderness Risk Management consulting for numerous adventure tourism businesses and university outdoor adventure programs.

Nadia’s incessant desire for knowledge has earned her a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Regis University in Denver, CO. She is currently an ER Nurse at St. Vincent’s General Hospital in Leadville, CO and a Nutritional Consultant with a focus on whole-food nutrition for endurance athletes.

Nadia’s true passion lies in wilderness medicine as she has inspired countless Wilderness First Responders and Wilderness EMT’s through her company Desert Mountain and her dynamic teaching since 1996.

During her free time Nadia enjoys riding bikes and laying down graceful telemark tracks somewhere in the mountains.

Eric Riley

Lead Instructor & River Rescue Coordinator

WEMT, B.S. in Recreation and Outdoor Leadership

Eric RileyOr “Riley”, as he is known, is the River Rescue Coordinator for DMM. He currently manages OARS’s Wyoming branch in Jackson, Wy. and is the founder of the Swiftwater Safety Institute. Riley teaches swiftwater rescue and wilderness medicine around the western U.S., Alaska and Central America and most recently conducted the first Panamanian 911 wilderness medicine and evacuation training hosted by EarthTrain in Panama City, Panama. When not traveling around the country in his vintage VW bus ‘Stevie’, Riley can generally be found in the rivers of the West, gainfully employing his former professional throwing arm rowing dories and managing OARS Wyoming. He possesses a gift for jerry-rigging anything mechanical and a wicked dry sense of humor.

Johann Aberger

Lead Instructor

WEMT, AMGA Rock Instructor, B.S. in Kinesiology, M.S. Social Justice Johann Aberger

Is a lead instructor for DMM’s WFR courses. He is a professor of Outdoor Education at Colorado Mountain College. He received his Masters in Social Justice from Prescott College in his spare time. An accomplished mountaineer and rock climber, Johann has left chalk marks and first ascents all over the western United States.

Mattie Guelinas

Lead Instructor

Mattie PaffenbargerRN, WEMT, B.S. in Education

Is a lead instructor for DMM’s WFR courses. Mattie works as an ER nurse in Tempe, AZ where she specializes in pediatric emergency care. In her spare time she is a backcountry guide for Scottsdale Community College’s outdoor recreation program and an oarswoman for the Grand Canyon Youth nonprofit river program. Her love for experiential teaching and unique ability of delivering complex information simply is what makes her a fantastic teacher for DMM.

Paul Chivvis

Lead Instructor

Paul ChivvisMS in Adult & Organizational Leadership, BS Environmental Science

Originally a clam digger and welder from L.I.N.Y. Paul learned about the mountains as a youth in Maine then in the European Alps. He calls Coeur d’Alene home and runs North Idaho College’s Outdoor Leadership certificate program. It includes instructor for WFR, Mountaineering, Avalanche education, Backcountry skiing, ACA Swiftwater Rescue, Whitewater guiding, Mt. biking Moab, etc. Good days include anything with his family, outdoor activities with friends and beer.

Matt Parker

Lead Instructor

WEMT, M.S. Recreation Administration, Certified AMGA Single Pitch Instructor

Matt ParkerOriginating from Atlanta, Georgia, Matt began his outdoor career leading trips, teaching for and managing part of the outdoor recreation program at Georgia Southern University. Since completing his Master’s work and fleeing the heat and humidity of the south, Matt has stayed busy touring around the intermountain west. Matt has guided international trips to Northern India, Fiji and Australia, worked as a Senior Field Instructor for a top wilderness therapy program, guided sea kayak and river trips for O.A.R.S. and currently works as the Outdoor Programs Coordinator and Nordic Supervisor for the Town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Matt is also an active member of the Summit County Rescue Group where he currently serves as the groups Medical Officer and on the Board of Directors. In his spare time, Matt can be found backcountry skiing, climbing, hiking, boating, brewing beer and seeing live music.

Trevor Fulton

Lead Instructor

WFR, B.S. Environmental Science Trevor Fulton

Born and raised in North Idaho, Trevor has been a coordinator at the University of Idaho Outdoor Program since 2005. He teaches classes, leads trips and runs the UI Climbing Center. In addition to his role with the Outdoor Program, Trevor teaches climbing, skiing, mountain biking and wilderness medicine courses through the academic Movement Sciences department. Along with his role at DMM he is an instructor for the Swiftwater Safety Institute, a founding member of the Northwest Collegiate Climbing Circuit and involved with outdoor access issues for non-profit organizations. When he isn’t teaching, you’ll find him mountain biking, backcountry skiing or running whitewater all while sporting a purple headband in and around the great state of Idaho.

Jon Totten

Lead Instructor

Jon TottenWFR, MS in Adult & Organizational Learning, BS Resource Recreation & Tourism, USCG 50-ton Master

Jon has been an outdoor educator for over 15 years. While spending the majority of that time in Idaho, his passion for teaching outdoor skills has taken him to places such as New Zealand, the San Juan Islands, and the Caribbean. His favorite topic areas include: sailing, whitewater kayaking and rafting, stand-up paddle boarding, navigation, backcountry skiing, avalanche safety, and of course wilderness medicine. He is currently the Coordinator of the Outdoor Pursuits program at North Idaho College. When he’s not leading in the wilderness, he enjoys backyard bbq’s, playing harmonica, and telling not-so-short stories.

Merril Tydings

Lead Instructor

RN-BSN, WFR, BS Political Science

merril tydingsMerril was raised by a park ranger in the mountains and deserts of New Mexico and has led a lifetime of exploration and adventure sharing her love and passion for the outdoors as a ski guide, hotshot firefighter, and WFR instructor. Her background is in trauma medicine and works as a Flight Nurse in Flagstaff, AZ, and is also involved in several international medical trips. She can be found in her spare time trail running, road biking, rock climbing, rafting, backcountry skiing and mountain climbing!

Megan Raczak

Assistant Director

WEMT, OEC, B.S. in Health & Exercise Science

Megan was born and raised in the Aspen area. Influenced by both her family outings and the outdoor recreation program of the community, she found a passion for outdoor recreation, sport and medicine at a young age. After majoring in sports medicine she moved to Jackson and became a WEMT. Megan currently works for Jackson Hole Ski Patrol in the Teton Village Clinic and OARS Wyoming. She began teaching for DMM in 2013 and enjoys teaching and practicing wilderness medicine. In her spare time, Megan can be found back country skiing, trail running, biking and fly fishing the Teton valley.

Deryn Peck

Assistant Instructor


Deryn PeckGrowing up in the beautiful, and conveniently located, Napa Valley, Deryn was blessed with a family that took every opportunity to expose her to the incredible landscape California has to offer. She spent time backpacking the Lost Coast and Marble Mountains, skiing and snowboarding throughout Tahoe, and then discovering the incredible rivers along the Sierra Nevada’s.

After completing a B.A. Environmental Studies form Sonoma State University she worked as a Horticulturist for a private winery until her wanderlust became too strong and she began traveling. Volunteering in Futaleufu, Chile, she happened to be introduced to the world of whitewater where she immediately dove (not head first of course) into the sports of rafting and kayaking. Deryn now works as a River Guide for OARS taking every opportunity to introduce guests to California’s pristine rivers.

Shortly after becoming a Guide, Deryn began pursuing further medical knowledge and became a Wilderness EMT. She has used this training as a member of Bear Valley Mountain’s Ski Patrol and an instructor for Desert Mountain Medicine where she began teaching Wilderness First Responder courses in 2009. With a constant thirst for knowledge Deryn is actively pursuing Masters Degree in Nursing that she hopes to use in conjunction with her wilderness skills.

Ryan Diehl

Assistant Instructor

B.S. in Education and Recreation

Ryan DiehlHoned his skills as a river guide and ski-bum. Spent the better part of a decade professionally river guiding throughout the west, but primarily running the rapids of Idaho. Ski Patrolling, River Guiding, Snowcat Driving, Forest Service tours of duty and traveling have been featured in Ryan’s itinerary lately. Assistant swiftwater rescue and WFR instructor for DMM for 3 years. Now serves as assistant coordinator, Utah State University Outdoor Recreation Program.

Dave Bastian

Assistant Instructor

Dave BastianWFR

Dave Bastian lives in Northern Utah and serves as the Program Coordinator for the Utah Conservation Corps at Utah State University. Prior to coming to the UCC, Dave was the Director of Operations at Save Our Canyons and the Membership and Outreach coordinator for the Utah Rivers Council. Dave is working on a degree in Conservation Leadership at Utah State and spends his free time backcountry skiing, hiking, climbing, mountain biking and playing the guitar and banjo.

Alan Kaufmann

Assistant Instructor

M.S. in Forestry, B.A. in Geology

Alan KauffmannAlan Kaufmann is the Training Education and Risk Management Coordinator for the Coconino Rural Environment Corps (CREC), a conservation corps based in Flagstaff, AZ. After stints in MD, VA, MI, and CA, he attended Pomona College, earning a B.A. in Geology with minor concentrations in Ecology and Anthropology. He spent time in ID, CO, MN, SD, NM and VT before coming to Flagstaff in 1997 to earn a Master’s degree in Forestry from NAU. Alan’s career has been bipolar, flipping between outdoor education and natural resource management. He has led over 100 wilderness trips (for Boy Scout high adventure bases, and a Wilderness Therapy program here in AZ). He has also worked on a wilderness trail crew, led an integrated pest management crew, and worked four seasons in fire management. When not at work, Alan pursues his interests in primitive survival skills, Taoist practice, Philipino martial arts, playing music, and reading.

Ryan Soderberg

Logistics / Staff Support

ryan soderbergBS in IS, WFR

Has worked with DMM since 2007 providing the website / IT support duties and handling logistics amongst the staff members. Ryan has extensive experience promoting outdoor events both present and past. With an extensive background in trail running, mountain biking and skiing, following life’s passions are always a priority.

Robert A. Stoldal

Assistant Instructor


Robert Stoldal

Robert or “Adam” currently resides in Logan Utah where he works as the Southern Utah Crew Coordinator for the Utah Conservation Corps. Adam has spent the last ten years working with different corps and land management agencies throughout the west. Adam spends his free time tinkering with power saws and crawling up various rock faces and descending into unnamed canyons in Utah.

Kip Davis

Assistant Instructor

Certified AMGA Rock Guide, Aspirant AMGA Alpine Guide, Trained AMGA Ski Guide, AIARE Level II, WFR

Kip graduated from the University of Oregon where he studied Sociology, Special Education, Adventure Education, and Wilderness Leadership. In 1999, he headed to Leadville, CO to work for the Colorado Outward Bound School, eventually becoming the Course Director, Program Manager and Trainer. After thirteen years of dedication to the school, Kip continues to be a technical trainer for the rock and mountaineering programs.

In 2004 Kip began teaching for Colorado Mountain College where he helped to develop the curriculum for CMC’s Mountaineering, Ice and Rock Climbing, Mountain and Canyon Orientation, Avalanche Level I and II, High Angle Rescue and Multi-pitch Climbing Management courses.

Kip began guiding for Colorado Mountain School in 2010. He brings with him over a decade of experience in technical mountain travel and outdoor-education instruction. He is a certified Rock Guide and Aspirant Alpine Guide through the American Mountain Guides Association.

When he is not teaching or guiding, Kip enjoys climbing and adventuring all over the world. He has explored the peaks of Europe, Canada, South America, and much of the United States. Kips favorite climbing areas continue to be Chamonix in France, and his backyard of Rocky Mountain National Park. We are excited to have his expertise on board at Sawatch Backcountry Guides.

Chris Brothersen

Assistant Instructor

Chris BrothersenChris was born in Logan, Utah and has been working and playing in the Utah backcountry ever since. He started working for the Forrest Service while attending Utah State University and stayed on after graduating with a B.S. in Recreation Resource Management. In 2011 Chris received a Masters of Natural Resources in Ecosystem Management and now works for the Utah Conservation Corps training and supervising field crews working on conservation projects throughout Utah. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder, Desert Mountain Medicine Instructor and is an adjunct faculty member for Utah State University Department of Environment and Society. When not working for the betterment of society, Chris enjoys riding bikes, skiing in the backcountry, paddling, rowing, tubing, and putzing around in the garden.

Amber Zappia

Assistant Instructor

WFR, B.S. Anthropology & Geography

Amber ZappiaAmber was born and raised in Florida. Though she is from the flat land, she spends as much time as possible adventuring in mountains ranging from Ecuador to Alaska. Amber has been working in wilderness education for 10 years and has been guiding for the past 6 years. Her love for the world and the people in it brought her to attain a Bachelor’s in both Anthropology and Geography from the University of Florida. Currently, Amber is the Graduate Assistant of the Travel and Recreation Program (TRiP) at UF while working on her Masters of Sustainable Development Practice. Amber has been a certified WFR for the past 6 years and has a true passion for sharing knowledge. She is excited to be an Assistant Instructor for DMM and is eager to meet all of you!

Pam Rogers

Assistant Instructor

WEMT, B.S. Recreation & Outdoor Leadership

pam rogersNative to Northern Idaho, Pam has led backcountry wilderness trips for over 12 years.  She’s passionate about teaching, outdoor education and community service.  Pam has explored mountains on three continents and spent two years living in a mud hut working with schools and rural clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa as a US Peace Corps volunteer.   In addition to her role at DMM she works in sales for an outdoor retailer, leads Women’s outdoor trips for the University of Idaho and is an EMT with her local Volunteer Fire Department.  When not working or volunteering she can be found on the river, or in the mountains, often with a camera in hand.

Greg Davis

Assistant Instructor

WFR, OEC, M.S. Outdoor Adventure Programming

greg davisGreg Davis was born and raised in Salt Lake City and has spent most of his life working and playing in the Wasatch mountains and on the rivers of Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. He currently resides Logan and works as the Trip Program Coordinator for Utah State University’s Outdoor Recreation Program where he develops and supervises student outdoor leaders. Greg also works with Cache County Search and Rescue as both a Mountain Rescue Association and National Association for Search and Rescue Member. In is free time, Greg can be found on the river or seeking out the fluffy white stuff in the Bear River backcountry.

Jessica Evans-Wall

Assistant Instructor


Jessica-Evans-WallJessica has been playing in the outdoors since she can remember. She got her first wilderness medical training as a sophomore in high school in a Wilderness Advanced First Aid course and was hooked from then on. She is now a WFR, EMT and is hoping to attend medical school. Jessica has guided on rivers in ID, CO, WV, AZ Chile and New Zealand for the past 12 years and loves bringing people outside. She attended college at Duke University and studied International Conservation and Sustainable Development. She currently lives in Crested Butte Colorado where she teaches Ballet and works at an Orthopedic/Urgent Care Clinic.

Mark Mealy

Assistant Instructor

WEMT, EMT-Tactical

mark mealyMark is originally from Florida where he grew up fishing, SCUBA diving and spending lots of time in the water. He now lives with his family in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri where they own a hobby farm. Mark enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors. Some of his hobbies include gardening, hiking, canoeing and farm activities. Mark’s experience includes 10 years of service in the Army where he served as an infantryman. During his term in the army, Mark completed a 1 year combat tour in Iraq. After the military Mark spent 7 years working as a war zone contractor in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel and he was often tasked as a team medic. Mark is a nationally registered EMT and holds both wilderness EMT and tactical EMT certifications.

Ryan Howe

Assistant Instructor


Ryan HoweRyan currently resides in Flagstaff Arizona where he works as a Program Director for the Arizona Conservation Corps. Ryan has spent the last 6 years working in the Corps world, and is thrilled to have met so many amazing people through this work.  When not involved in Conservation work, Ryan spends his free time volunteering with the Coconino County Technical Rescue Team.