The heart of the Arizona Climbing and Adventure School (ACAS) resides with its instructional staff. Every course bears the mark of its instructor's leadership and vision. ACAS instructors are dedicated educators, caring and skilled in a number of disciplines. Whether leading a technical ascent or explaining the nuances of desert ecology, these men and women form the backbone for every course.

Instructors are selected for their maturity, judgment, teaching experience and outdoor skills. A genuine interest in people and love for teaching are as important as an extensive climbing resume. Our select instructors are
American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA), Professional Mountain Guides Institute (PCGI), Leave No Trace (LNT) and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified. Many have graduated from outdoor educational organizations and schools such as Prescott College, Colorado Mountain College, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) or Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS). Their years of climbing, canyoneering and teaching have made them unequalled in safety and experience. Climbing and wilderness adventures are more than our business, it's our way of life!

Mark Brontsema
WMI/WFR Certified
LNT Certified
NOLS Certified
Colorado Outward Bound Certified

Climbing and Canyoneering Instructor
Jayci Ferrimani
WMI/WFR Certified

Canyoneering Instructor,
Colin Kubarych
WMI/WFR Certified
NOLS Certified

SPRAT Level III Instructor,
Dan Janssen
WMI/WFR Certified

Climbing Instructor,
Adrian Montano
WMI/WFR Certified
Testing for AMGA/SPI
Canyoneering Instructor,
Eric Crosby
AMGA Recert
WMI/WFR Certified

Climbing and Yoga Instructor
Amylee Thornhill
WMI/WFR, Yoga, PCGI Certified
Prescott College

We at the Arizona Climbing and Adventure School (ACAS), want personally to tell you how pleased we are that you are considering joining us for a course. If you do come, you will look back on your ACAS course as one of the great adventures and learning experiences of your life.

Along with adventure will come challenges.
Indeed, the very purpose of ACAS is to help you find untapped resources within you; to let you discover that you have the ability to do more than you thought you could.

The number one concern our students have before coming is "not being able to meet the physical challenges of the course." We address that concern by encouraging a noncompetitive and nonevaluative learning environment. You set your own goals for the course. And you are the sole judge of your success. Upon completing the course, better that 95% of our students felt they benefited greatly from the experience.

Our Course's Focus On:

... Transcending self-imposed limitations
... Self-knowledge
... Tenacity
... Teamwork and responsibility
... Promote skill mastery
... Leadership skills
... Self-reliance

Each course has a set curriculum; depending on which course you enrolled in, expect to camp, hike, make challenging decisions, rock climb and rappel off vertical faces, explore deep desert slot canyons; but don't expect your course to happen in any routine way or on any particular schedule. The itinerary, the route, the staff and the weather will all work together to make your course unique and challenging.

Each course offers you the opportunity to risk, to trust, to try and to learn. Our courses and workshops are designed to allow you to learn by doing. You will be asked to be an active participant, to experience adventure based programming firsthand. You will find that our courses can leave a lasting impression on you.

Expect your course to be dramatic, exciting, educational and fun, but be prepared for it to be even more. Your ACAS experience is still ahead of you. The itinerary has yet to be finalized; you and the uncontrollable forces of nature are about to write the story.

Be ready for anything. Get personally invested. Get excited. Get ready for one of the truly great outdoor experiences of your life!

We hope you look forward to being with us as much as we look forward to having you!


Mark Brontsema, director / former NOLS, COBS / WFR / LNT certified
Jared Bryant, climbing / canyoneering director, AMGA/WFR certified
Colin Kubarych, canyoneering instructor, AMGA/WFR certified
David Brontsema, businees development director
Jayci Ferrimani, climbing /
canyoneering instructor, AMGA-RG/WFR certified
Michelle Monette, assistant director
Hallie Mueller, assistant climbing instructor
Titiana Shostak-Kinker, climbing / yoga instructor, PCGI/WFR/LNT certfied
Mike Riley, climbing & LNT instructor, AMGA/WFR/LNT certfied
Bob Pettit, climbing instructor, AMGA, WFR certfied
Adrian Montano, climbing instructor
Brock Gudeman,
climbing instructor, AMGA/WFR certified
Dan Janssen, SPRAT Level III instructor - Rope Rescue instructor
Amylee Thornhill, climbing / yoga instructor, PC/WFR certified
Eric Crosby, climbing / canyoneering instructor, Recert AMGA/WFR
Saile Fritz, climbing instructor, WFR certified, completed AMGA/RG Course
Michael Knarzer, climbing / canyoneering / SPRAT instructor
Beth Suffolk, yoga and hiking instructor
AnneLiese Nachman, climbing instructor
..................and the rest of our exceptional staff!




"Triumph and disaster are equal imposters" – R. Kipling

Director, Mark Brontsema's colorful 35-years in the climbing, canyoneering and adventure-based profession started with Exum Mountain Guides in Moose, Wyoming in 1977. In 1981, Mark enrolled in the National Outdoor Leadership School and soon after became a climbing instructor. Mark pursued climbing in Yosemite, Joshua Tree, North Cascades and Alaska. In 1993, he had the opportunity to be with the Colorado Outward Bound School in Leadville, Colorado. Mark has been the Director of the Arizona Climbing and Adventure School for the past 25 years.

Mark has had the opportunity to climb, sea kayak, canyoneer and backpack in some of the most remote areas of the Western Hemisphere. Mark has participated on international expeditions – from cold Alaskan mountains and oceans to the vertical pinnacles of Yosemite and Tierra Del Fuego. He also has been the director of Youth Wilderness Challenges, a community education and substance abuse prevention program of the Cave Creek School District and a Sierra Club outing leader.

Mark donates a portion of the resources of the Arizona Climbing and Adventure School to CARE, Doctors Without Borders and WFP/UNICEF.

Mark has held certification in Team and Trust Building, Wilderness Therapy, Rock Climbing Instruction, Sea-Kayaking, Mountaineering, Outdoor Leadership and Wilderness First Aid/Responder from the Colorado Outward Bound School, American Mountain Guides Association, the National Outdoor Leadership School and is a member of the American Alpine Club member, ACCESS FUND, Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) and Leave No Trace (LNT) Partner.
- by Michelle Monette

Mark has written a variety of adventure articles in several publications and newspapers as well as gear reviews for The New York Times and has been an ANA (Arizona Newspapers Association) award winning columnist for three years.

Mark's, 'Journals from the Abyss' published columns, is about his many enlightening, humorous, foolish and life changing adventures which can be read by clicking here.

Climbing and Canyoneering Director
Jared Bryant
AMGA/SPI Certified
WMI/WFR Certified

Climbing and
Canyoneering Instructor
Bob Pettit
AMGA/SPI Certified
WMI/WFR Certified

Climbing, LNT and Adventure Instructor
Michael Riley
AMGA/SPI Certified
WMI/WFR Certified
LNT Master Certified
NOLS Certified
Prescott College -
Outdoor Ed.

Canyoneering and Climbing Instructor,
Michael Knarzer
American Canyoneering Association (ACA) Instructor, AMGA Testing

Climbing Instructor
Saile Fritz
AMGA/RG Course Completed/Testing
WMI/WFR Certified

Climbing and Yoga Instructor
Tiitiana Shostak-Kinker
WMI/WFR, Yoga, PCGI Certified
Prescott College

Yoga & Hiking Instructor
Beth Suffolk
Red Cross Certified