Caleb Padgett

Enjoying an Escalante sunset. Click to enlarge.

Hometown: Grants Pass, OR
Years Climbing: 13       Years Guiding: 8
Interests: Splitboarding, gardening, homebrewing.
Caleb grew up in Southwest Oregon and started rock climbing, kayaking, and backpacking at a young age. Caleb attended the University of Oregon, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science, and was actively involved in their outdoor leadership program. He has climbed extensively throughout the Western U.S.and Canada, with multiple ascents of Yosemite’s El Capitan and Half Dome, alpine climbing in the Cascades and Sierra’s, as well as establishing numerous first ascents in Zion. Caleb has been guiding professionally since 2003 and has experience leading wilderness expeditions with at-risk youth, guiding rock climbing and canyoneering trips, and teaching all levels of instructional courses. He received his A.M.G.A. Rock Instructor certification in 2008 and passed theAdvanced Rock Guide course and Aspirant Exam in 2011. As one of the co-founders of Z.M.S, Caleb is passionate about getting people into the outdoors and experiencing Zion. When he is not guiding or managing the business Caleb loves to spend his time rock climbing in Zion, exploring a new slot canyon, or backcountry snowboarding in Utah’s world-famous powder.


Mike Banach

Seeking the sheltered break of Punta Cabras, Baja de California. Click to enlarge.

Hometown: Midland Park, NJ
Years Climbing: 13       Years Guiding: 7
Interests: Climbing big rocks, surfing, ice climbing, skiing the fluffy Utah backcountry powder, photography, and rock-paper-scissor showdowns.

Mike grew up in Northern New Jersey, 20 minutes away from New York City and 10 minutes away from the mountains. Both are fun, but he always had more fun playing outside and exploring the NE mountains. His parents strapped skis to him at 3, and that pretty much sealed the deal. Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Business, with a Minor in Civic & Community Engagement from Penn State University.  After college, Michael moved out to Oregon to be closer to the larger mountains, ice, and rock of the Western US. Mike has slept many nights on the sides of Yosemite and Zion Big Walls, as well as at the base of the Cascade and Sierra Mountain Ranges. He has been leading outdoor trips since 2005, and has loved it ever since. As co-owner, Mike relishes in the opportunity to share laughs in the mountains with new & old clients & friends.

Mike has completed the AMGA Rock Guide Aspirant Exam and is currently pursuing his Advanced Rock Guide Certification from the American Mountain Guide Association.


Joe French

Joe Frency, Zion Mountain School Guide

Floatin' the San Juan. Click to make bigger.

Hometown: Duluth, MN
Years Climbing: 15       Years Guiding: 9
Interests: rafting, backcountry hot-tubbing, “gladiatingâ€, climbing new routes in Zion.

Joe has been one of the most prolific Zion climbers in the last decade and has lived in Zion since 1999. He has established numerous first ascents in Zion from single pitch sport routes to multi-day bigwall climbs. Joe has been guiding and instructing professionally for 5 years. He has his A.M.G.A. SPI certification, completed the Rock Instructor course and is pursuing his Rock Guide Certification. Joe is a knowledgeable instructor, a patient guide, and loves showing people all Zion has to offer.

Joe is AMGA SPI certified and has completed his AMGA Rock Instructor Course.


Greg Istock

Hometown: Vero Beach, FL
Years Climbing: 7       Years Guiding: 6
Interests: Motorcycles, Painting, Gardening, Carpentry, Cross country Skiing, Musician
Greggy is one of the nicest people. Greggy has been guiding in Zion for 5 years, and loves showing visitors some of the wild and cool slot-canyons of the area. He also enjoys taking people out climbing on the local sandstone crags. In 2006, Greggy received his AMGA Top Rope Certification. Greggy always finds time to laugh and enjoy life. The way he sees it, he’s got one of the greatest jobs on the planet. A true kid at heart, he simply loves playing outside and getting his hands dirty. He first came to Zion with his wife Val, and they instantaneously decided that this is where they wanted to spend the rest of their life in a true paradise.


Zach Lee

The sweet granite of Tahquitz. Click to enlarge.

Years Climbing: 13       Years Guiding: 5
Interests: Coffee (minus the cream), Enduro Off-road Biking, Establishing new climbs, Playing and Exploring Outside
Zach loves to climb. Whether its rock or ice, Zach simply loves getting after it and taking advantage of each day. Zach is one of the most active climbers in Zion and has established an impressive number of high quality routes during his 8 years in the canyon. Zach’s passion enables him to enjoy life and loves enjoying his passion for the outdoors with others. No matter what your level, Zach is super supportive and wants you to enjoy the place he calls home. After a trip with Zach, you might catch the same bug that has afflicted him for decades.


Gaar Lausman

Ironically, being woken up by sheep. Click to enlarge.

Hometown: Louisville, KY
Years Climbing: 11       Years Guiding: 6
Interests: Mt biking, boating, fishing, developing new routes in Zion, woodworking.

Gaar has climbed extensively across the U.S. from 5.13 sport routes at the Red River Gorge to 5.12 first ascents in Zion. Gaar has guided professionally for 10 years and has obtained his AMGA SPI and PCGI certifications. Gaar has a Bachelors degree in Business Management, Associates in Administration, and post graduate studies in Conflict Resolution from Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky. He is an Eagle Scout and his depth of outdoor experiecne ranges from instructing for camps and wilderness programs, guiding mulit-day kayaking trips in the Florida keys, and guidng and instructing rock climbing.