Smith Rock's Featured Guides

In business since 2003, Smith Rock Climbing Guides, Inc. is insured and permitted through the state of Oregon.  Our safety record is unblemished and transparent, having operated under the same name since our founding.  We are committed to providing a safe, professional, and rewarding experience.

Rest assured you are in the best of hands!     

Featured Guides 

David Potter, on 'Positive Vibrations', Sierra Nevadas, CA   David Potter

  Home: Redmond, OR
  Years Climbing: 28
  Years Guiding: 18


Certifications and training:

• AMGA Certified Rock Instructor
• B.S. Geology, San Diego State Univ.
• Certified Wilderness First Responder, WMI, NOLS
• Combat Lifesaver first responder training (US Army)

David is originally from Washington state, where he started out climbing the northwest volcanoes with his family.  By age 13 he had discoDavid Potter on 'Monkey Space' at Smith Rock.  Photo copyright Howie Garbervered rock climbing, and was soon helping to establish new climbs on the basalt crags of central Washington.  A well rounded climber, David has onsighted 5.12d sport climbs, redpointed 5.12d crack climbs, and aided A4.  He has numerous first ascents on rock and ice in the western US.  He has guided in Washington, Oregon, and California, and has trip led on successful ascents of over 20 grade VI big walls, including numerous ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite.  In addition to vertical pursuits, David has guided class 5 whitewater, completed an Eco-Challenge (Borneo 2000), and currently holds the speed record for the traverse of the Three Sisters mountains.  Formerly a Staff Sergeant in the Army National Guard, he ​served in Iraq in 2004-'05 as a Cavalry Squad Leader.  As our Lead Guide and an AMGA Certified Rock Instructor, David is a skilled Guide with a wealth of experience and technical knowledge to share with his clients.


  Derrick Peppers

  Home: Terrebonne, OR
  Years Climbing: 18
  Years Guiding: 6


Certifications and training:

• AMGA SPI Course, certified 2012
• Wilderness First Aid, WMI, NOLS         

Derrick is a natural teacher, with a talent for relaying both technical information and a love for climbing to his clients.  A guide at heart, he enjoys meeting new people and introducing them to life changing experiences.  He began his instructional career teaching at gyms and youth camps in the southeastern US.  Soon he moved west and set his sights on Smith Rock, where he was drawn to the natural beauty and enormous variety the area offers.  He spends a great deal of time exploring the backcountry of Smith Rock State Park, and enjoys climbing the lesser know adventure routes.  One of his goals is to climb 1000 routes at Smith Rock, where he will surely put his 5.12 climbing ability to the test.  Having climbed Monkey Face in under 15 minutes, it may not take him long to reach his goal!  Derrick not only climbs rock, he is also a prominent member of the growing “high line” community.  Similar to tightrope walking but on tensioned nylon climbing webbing, he can often be seen traversing spans between rock towers, hundreds of feet off the ground, safely attached with a climbing harness.


alex bio pic 1.jpg

 Alex Stewart

  Home: Terrebonne, OR
  Years Climbing: 20                                                       Years Guiding: 10


Certifications and training:

 • Wilderness First Responder, WMI, NOLS         
 • SPRAT Level I Rope-Access certified          

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Alex discovered rock climbing 20 years ago in Boise, ID.  Lucky enough to have a climbing gym within walking distance of his house, he was quickly hooked.  By the time he was 19 he was working as a climbing instructor and route setter in a popular gym, which led to outdoor guiding employment in ID and OR.  Alex is a strong climber as well as a skilled teacher, red-pointing 12c sport, 11d trad, and A3 aid.  He enjoys a good challenge, and is one of the few people to have completed the intimidating Picnic Lunch Wall route at Smith Rock.   A gifted athlete, he has made a name for himself outside of climbing as well.  He won the Super G at the US Western Region Championships, and was a high-level collegiate ski racer.  Alex is also the current authority on the “Monkey Swing” at Smith Rock, an adrenaline filled 300 foot rope swing he helped pioneer and perfect; he is one of only two people trusted by the Smith Rock community to set up and monitor this activity.  His knowledge with complicated anchor and rope systems is also utilized in his rope-access work.  Alex is certified as a Level I rope-access technician, trained to rig workers on vertical terrain and perform high-angle rescue in the commercial and governmental arenas.   He is not all serious though; he also enjoys mixing music, slack-lining, and has one of the best 80’s-retro lycra collections around!  Having climbed and instructed extensively in the US and abroad, we are very happy that Alex now calls Smith Rock home.



alan collins bio pic.jpg Alan Collins

  Home: Bend, OR
  Years Climbing: 20
  Years Guiding: 2



 Certifications and training:

• B.A. in Adventure Leadership Education, Oregon State Univ.
• Wilderness First Responder, WMI, NOLS          

Alan was born to be a climber.  His father was the pioneer of numerous classic routes in Smith Rock’s earlier days, and Alan has followed suit.  He started climbing at the age of four, and can still be found at Smith RockAlan Collins bio pic 2.jpg almost any day of the week.  Over the past three years alone Alan has bolted more than 75 routes at Smith Rock, ranging from single pitch sport routes to classic multi-pitch adventures.   He has first-ascents rated up to 5.13d, but also enjoys just being at Smith Rock and spending time with clients and friends in this beautiful area.  His best friend is often by his side: his dog, appropriately named Mr. Smith.  Of course, Alan does things other than climb, such as working on trails and building erosion control features so people can readily access his new routes!  A great deal of work goes into the user friendly nature of Smith Rock, and Alan has volunteered hundreds of hours to the cause.   When not climbing with his dog, Alan likes to skateboard, snowboard, hike and paddleboard.  He also likes to travel, and has visited most of the major climbing areas in the US.  Over the past several years he found the time to earn a BA from Oregon State University in Adventure Leadership Education.  He enjoys helping clients attain their climbing goals, whether it be learning to belay or ticking their first 5.12; and while he has a very relaxed and comforting nature, he takes his role as guide and instructor very seriously.  Alan is not only one of the hardest-climbing guides in the US, he is a knowledgeable, patient and skilled instructor as well.




  Alec bio pic.jpgAlec Berghoef

  Home: Terrebonne, OR
  Years Climbing: 7
  Years Guiding: 2



Certifications and Training:

  • AMGA SPI, certified 2015
  • Wilderness First Responder WMI, NOLS
  • AIARE Avalanche level I
  • B.S. Environment Studies and Sustainability, Northern Michigan Univ.
  • Minor in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership, Northern Michigan Univ.            
alec biopic 2.jpgAlec was first introduced to climbing as a teen.  Originally from Michigan, he has traveled extensively in the US, Canada and overseas in search of rock and ice to climb. His trips out west introduced him to areas such as Smith Rock, Yosemite, and Squamish, and he was hooked on the dramatic landscapes and amazing climbing.  Although he is modest and soft spoken by nature, Alec is a very strong climber, capable of on-sighting 5.12.  He is also a knowledgeable teacher, with an AMGA guiding certification and a college background in outdoor education.  Along with rock guiding, he has taught snowboarding for several years and has competed in the US IFSA World Free-Ride circuit.  Alec appreciates the role he plays in helping people enjoy life and the natural environment.  He has led clients on wilderness expeditions in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and includes hiking the John Muir trail in the CA Sierras as one of his favorite experiences.  Along the way he enjoys working on his landscape photography, preferring the classic look of 35mm film.  Another formative experience was the time he spent working in orphanages in Central America.  All of these things have helped Alec become the person he is today; not just a solid guide but a great person to share the day with at Smith Rock.



Dave McRae in the Grand Tetons, WY

  Dave McRae

  Home: Bend, OR
  Years Climbing: 23
  Years Guiding: 11

Certifications and training:

         • Associate of Science degree, Weber State University, 1998
         • Certified Private Pilot

Dave is an all-around mountain man.  An accomplished backcountry Dave McRae at Smith Rock.  Photo by Ryan Carrascosnowboarder, mountaineer, and rock climber, he can climb the hardest route on the mountain and then ride down it.  Originally from Ogden, Utah, he started climbing rock and ice in his late teens, and has since summited countless peaks in the continental U.S., Alaska, and South America.  He is also certified as a pilot.  His experiences have helped fuel a love of writing.  He has written feature articles for Climbing, and is the staff adventure writer for the Oregon publication Cascades East.  Dave has been a Smith Rock local since 1999.  Although he can lead 5.12, he also enjoys exploring the many easy and moderate routes, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the area.  Most importantly, he posesses a great mix of outstanding technical knowledge and warm personality.  His clients are quick to become friends, and he is a highly requested and recommended Guide.


Our Guides Climb With:
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