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Meet Our Team

Trusted Local Guides to Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock Climbing Guides is the place to go for rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park. Insured and permitted by the state of Oregon, we have been providing safe, professional, and rewarding climbing experiences for over 20 years. We are Smith Rock’s only on-site guide service. 

Rest Assured you are in the best of hands.

Owner / Lead Guide David Potter is an AMGA Certified Rock Instructor

Featured Guides

With Smith Rock’s largest staff, we employ over a dozen guides ready to climb with you or your group. Here are some of our trip leaders:
Climb instructor in orange jacket rock climbing at great height with view of smith rock below

David Potter

Home: Redmond, OR
Years Climbing: 35
Years Guiding: 25

Certifications and training:

  • AMGA Certified Rock Instructor
  • B.S. Geology, San Diego State Univ.
  • 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 discovered 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 held the speed record for the fastest enchainment of the Three Sisters mountains for over a decade. 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.

Man standing on the top of a large boulder at Smith Rock.

Derrick Peppers

Home: Terrebonne, OR
Years Climbing: 19
Years Guiding: 9

Certifications and training:

  • AMGA SPI, 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.


Alan Collins

Home: Bend, OR
Years Climbing: 22
Years Guiding: 6

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 Rock almost any day of the week. Over the past four years Alan has bolted more than 100 new routes at Smith Rock, ranging from single pitch sport routes to classic multi-pitch adventures. Although he is a 5.14 climber, he 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 make time for other ​things, such as working on trails and building erosion control features so people can get to his new routes! When not climbing with his dog, Alan likes to skateboard, snowboard, hike and paddleboard. He also spends time on the road in the offseason, 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.

Woman rock climbing high off the ground and hanging on with one hand.

Jess Moran

Home: Terrebonne, OR
Years Climbing: 8
Years Guiding: 4

Certifications and training:

  • AMGA SPI, certified 2020 

Jess discovered climbing while living in Southern California, where she ​soon became proficient in a variety of styles ranging from spicy slabs at Joshua Tree, multi-pitch adventures at Tahquitz, and steep pocket-pulling at Malibu Creek and other areas.  She has traveled extensively, enjoying the mix of environments and climbing styles the US has to offer.  While on a trip to Smith Rock, she fell in love with the natural beauty and amazing variety of climbing found here, and before long was here to stay.  Jess is a strong climber who leads 5.12, and is motivated by the challenge of reaching that next level of difficulty.  But perhaps more importantly, she has found that rock climbing helps foster a mind/body connection that leads to better focus, balance and overall health, while allowing her to spend time in some of the most amazing places on earth.  Guiding gives her the chance to share these experiences with people everyday.  She has developed programs and camps for kids, led clinics for gym climbers moving outdoors, and guided a wide range of clients and terrain ranging from day-one beginners to challenging multi-pitch routes.  Those who climb with Jess can’t help but feel better at the end of the day, and with an AMGA SPI certification, she has the technical knowledge to go with it.

Overhead view of a rock climbing instructor in a yellow shirt crack climbing at Smith Rock.

Dave McRae

Home: Bend, OR
Years Climbing: 32
Years Guiding: 20

Certifications and training:

  • Associate of Science degree, Weber State Univ.
  • Certified Private Pilot

Dave is an all-around mountain man.  An accomplished backcountry snowboarder, 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 was the long time staff adventure writer for the Oregon publication Cascades East.  Dave has been a Smith Rock local since 1999.  Although he can lead 5.12, his main passion is route development.  He has established hundreds of climbs throughout Oregon, and his new guidebook: Central Oregon Rock, will be published in late 2024 by Wolverine Press.  Most importantly, he offers 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.

Climb instructor rock climbing several hundred feet off the ground.

Adam Macaluso

Home: Bend, OR
Years Climbing: 9
Years Guiding: 4

Certifications and training:

  • AMGA SPI, certified 2017
  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR), SOLO
  • AIARE Avalanche level I
  • B.S. Mountain Recreation Management, Northern Vermont Univ. 

Adam started climbing as a teenager in the northeast US, exploring the crags and mountains in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont with his friends.  An adventurer at heart, he progressed quickly and learned a great deal through experience, tackling complicated alpine routes on Mt. Washington and climbing anything else he could find.  He saved all his money for a plane ticket to Nepal, and while there realized he wanted to guide as a career.  Within a few years he was guiding rock and ice under the tutelage of New Hampshire’s most experienced guides, and it became apparent that he was a gifted leader and teacher.  Along the way he spent a great deal of time working with non-profit groups to provide climbing opportunities for disadvantaged youth.  Wanting to explore the western US, he came to Oregon to make Smith Rock his new basecamp, and we are happy to have him working with us.  A solid climber in a variety of terrains, he climbs at the 5.12 level in both sport and trad.  When he isn’t climbing he relaxes by writing songs, drawing comics, and reading.  Adam definitely enjoys being out at the rock, and anyone who climbs with him appreciates his combination of lighthearted attitude and technical knowledge.  He has quickly become one of our most requested guides, and is a great person to spend the day with.

Woman crack climbing several hundred feet off the ground.

Emily Croharé

Years Climbing: 6
Years Guiding: 3

Certifications and training:

  • Master’s in Exercise Physiology
  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
  • AMGA SPI Certified, 2022
  • AMGA RGC, 2024
  • 300hr Registered Yoga Teacher
  • AIARE Avy PRO Level 1
  • AASI Certified Snowboard Instructor

Emily is most passionate about climbing, splitboarding, and surfing and has chased this stoke across South & Central America, Africa, and Europe. In the US, she has spent most of her time in Colorado, Utah, and the West Coast seeking out awe-inspiring moments that are usually found in the snow or hanging off a rock face. A couple of Emily’s favorite places to climb on rocks are: The Black Canyon, Colorado; Sardinia, Italy; and Indian Creek, Utah. She loves sharing experiences in the outdoors with others, and is especially passionate about empowering women to claim their space in outdoor sports. Emily has a Master’s in Exercise Physiology, is a Registered Prana Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Wilderness First Responder, and AASI Certified Snowboard Instructor.

Alex Laub

Home: Bend, OR
Years Climbing: 9
Years Guiding: 4

Certifications and training:

  • PCGI Multi-Pitch Guide Course
  • B.S. Geology, Oregon State University
  • Wilderness First Responder, SOLO

Alex is a motivated and talented climber with a talent for teaching technical skills and climbing systems. He is also a great person to spend the day with, and a highly requested guide. Having started climbing at gyms in his teens, at Oregon State University he was hired to teach courses on multi-pitch systems, self-rescue and technical retreat. In fact, he wrote the curricula for these topics for the program, which is still followed today. Smith Rock has always been his favorite climbing area, and he has redpointed 5.13 here. Other areas he enjoys are the High Sierra, where he has practiced his other talent: endurance sports. Along with climbing the Tuolumne “Triple Crown” and summiting Mt. Whitney via the East Buttress in the same week, he is a notable mountain and trail runner, always training for some of the world’s most grueling races. Alex has the fastest known times for the South Sister Summit and Circumnavigation, and can often be found running up, down and around mountains and wilderness areas all over the west coast. Perhaps Alex’s greatest passion however is teaching climbing, and helping others gain in knowledge, competence, and self-belief.