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Kel Rossiter


  • Ed.D./Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
  • Non-Profit Management Executive Certificate, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • Professional Management Certificate, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
  • M.S./Outdoor Education, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
  • Minor Degree Coursework/Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • B.A./Philosophy, Political Science, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Trainings, Certifications, & Skills        

  • International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA), Certified Mountain Guide
  • American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA), Alpine Guide Exam, Certified Ski Guide
  • American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA), Alpine Guide Exam, Certified Alpine Guide
  • American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA), Rock Guide Exam, Certified Rock Guide
  • American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA), Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) Provider
  • American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA), Ice Instructor Course
  • American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Rock Instructor & Guide Courses
  • American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Alpine Guide & Advanced Alpine Guide Courses
  • American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), Level 1, 2, &3 Training
  • American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE), Level 1 Instructor
  • Professional Climbing Guides Institute Certified Multi-Pitch Guide
  • American Canoe Association (ACA) Coastal Seakayak Instructor
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educator
  • Amateur Radio Technician Class License (KB1YLO)
  • National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) Search and Rescue Technician (SARTech) Level 3 Certification
  • New York State Licensed Guide (Tier II Rock & Ice)
  • State of Maryland Rock Climbing Instructor Certification
  • SOLO Wilderness First Responder
  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Instructor Course

Professional Experience    

Adventure Spirit LLC, VT
Lead Guide/Owner

Managing all aspects of a small business committed to delivering on its mission to partner with individuals and groups to create experiences that foster personal growth and renewal, promote group bonds, bolster climbing skills and confidence, and deepen connections with the natural world upon which these experiences depend. Over a decade of operation, we have expanded programming to offer climbers at all ages and stages of life opportunities to explore the Northeast, Cascades, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, and Europe. 

Various Colleges & Universities, VT
Instructor/Adjunct Faculty

Leading field and classroom combination courses for the Vermont State Colleges, University of Vermont, Green Mountain College, and other area colleges and universities.  Courses include Rock/Ice Climbing, Fundamentals/Advanced Alpine Climbing, Wilderness & Climbing Leadership, and Backcountry Navigation.  In all of the courses I strive to combine activity-specific technical skills with transferable inter and intra-personal skills and to deliver theory relevant to developing as outdoor professionals.

Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated, WA
Senior Guide

Working with a team of three guides and nine clients we instruct clients in the mountain skills necessary for our summit attempts on Mount Rainier. Client groups have ranged from teen adventure camp students, to corporate businesspeople, to wounded veterans. Working with these clients throughout the summit climb experience demands a range of teaching, coaching, and counseling skills, helping clients to realize both their limits and their potential.   

Northern Vermont University, VT
Mountain Recreation Management Department

Lead faculty member in the Adventure-based Program Management concentration. In all curricula, I balanced the various instructional modes to meet learners’ different styles, talents, and needs. Theory-related courses integrated activities including lecture, problem-based activities, group work, site visits, community service-related class projects, and personal portfolios. Technical skills-related courses introduced the fundamentals, placed within a context of history, culture, environment, and self-development. Additional activities included student advising, equipment room management, club advising, committee membership, and advancing numerous initiatives on-campus and in the surrounding community, with a particular focus on environmental issues. 

Georgetown University, DC
Director of Outdoor Education

Primary responsibility for all aspects of the university’s outdoor education program, including freshman wilderness pre-orientation programming, outdoor leader development, semester outdoor programming, and urban outreach initiatives. Leadership and instruction in the areas of sea/whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, caving, orienteering, winter mountaineering and backcountry skills, in regional and international locations.   Directing this multi-faceted program advanced skills in risk management, curricula design, leadership instruction, budgeting, staff and trip leader development, and program visioning and development. Under my leadership, we: moved from a budget deficit to surplus, vastly increased the breadth of its activity offerings, enlarged the amount of students and staff served, initiated collaborative experiential programming with academic departments, enriched the inter/intra-personal facets of the leadership curriculum, and entrusted students with leadership roles in larger expeditions, including spring break and pre-orientation programming.

Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, CA
Garden Educator/Lay Practitioner

Lead assistant to the garden manager in planning, developing, and maintaining the center’s bio-intensive organic garden. Managerial duties included determining planting/harvest schedules, integrated pest management, equipment acquisition and control, project development, and handling accounts with area markets and restaurants. Teaching duties included providing educational presentations to area garden groups, schools, and community programs. Work took place in a Zen community, with activities including meditation, group work, and individual study.         

Seatrek Ocean Kayaking Center, CA
Instructor/Interpretive Guide

Provided ocean kayaking instruction and interpretive guiding for individuals and groups at several Northern California sites. Ensured the safety, enjoyment, and learning of group members of varying abilities in a variety of sea conditions. 

U. of New Hampshire, Residence Life, NH
Graduate Housing Resident Assistant

Served as a resident assistant in the university’s graduate housing. Graduate students from over ten different countries and ranging in age from twenty-two to fifty lived in this dormitory. Together with this diverse group I created engaging programming, developed effective communal living policies, and successfully mediated conflicts. 

Counseling Services Inc., ME
Program Coordinator/Graduate Assistant

Established a weekend adventure program promoting social and emotional growth for youth with severe behavioral issues. Coordinated, developed, and marketed programming to area families. 

University of New Hampshire Browne Outdoor Center, NH
Group Facilitator

Facilitated single and multi-day adventure experiences for a diversity of college, civic, and professional groups. Integrated a progression of ropes course and wilderness activities framed within metaphors for the group/individual and debriefed to create a forum for group/individual development.

Lawrence Public Schools, MA
Experiential Curricula Developer/Graduate Assistant

Implemented an experiential education program for urban middle school students. Instructed in-house graduate course teacher training. Directed programming and developed curricula for numerous single and multi-day adventure activities. 

Genesee Valley Outdoor Center, MD
Experiential/Environmental Education Facilitator

Provided outdoors adventure and environmental instruction to schools and colleges, at-risk and special needs youth, and civic organizations. 

Kawamura International, Japan
Curriculum Consultant/Trainer

Developed, marketed, and delivered communications training promoting efficient information flow and retrieval systems for multi-national corporations and government agencies. 

U.S. Army Adjutant General Corps, USA
Cadet/Second Lieutenant

Designed and presented daily field skills training, ranging from wilderness orienteering to tactical field command post operations. Extensive work in challenge and skills course environments. Coordinated personnel, supplies, and logistics for multi-million dollar training exercises.


  • Rossiter, K. (2021, December). Finally, a dry, warm safe home for screws. Climbing Magazine
  • Rossiter, K. (2021, September). Field tested: Scarpa Manta GTX Tech. Climbing Magazine.
  • Featured in Kate's Real Food Blog (2020, March). Five reasons to climb with a professional mountain guide.  
  • Featured in Global Rescue Blog (2020, January). How to choose a climbing guide.
  • Rossiter, K. (2019, August). Review: Black Diamond Reactor Tools. Climbing Magazine.
  • Rossiter, K. (2019, May). Editors choice: Black Diamond Ultralight screw review. Climbing Magazine.
  • Rossiter, K (2013-2019). Numerous pieces written for the Mammut Athlete Team blog.
  • Rossiter, K. (2017, May 13). The case against bucket lists. Seattle Times.
  • Rossiter, K. (2017, January). Green ice: Vermont's ice and mixed climbing. Climbing Magazine.  
  • Rossiter, K. (2016, November). Learn this: How to glissadeClimbing Magazine.  
  • Rossiter, K. (2016, November). Learn this: Better clipping and extension techniquesClimbing Magazine.  
  • Rossiter, K (2016, May 23). In mountaineering, as in life, preparation trumps optimism. Seattle Times.
  • Rossiter, K. (2016, March). Learn this: Alpine cookingClimbing Magazine.  
  • Featured in Roots Rated (2016), Meet Kel Rossiter: Climber, skier, and adventure guide extraordinaire.
  • Rossiter, K. (2014-2016). Numerous reviews for Alpinist Mountain Standards
  • Featured in AMGA Series (2015), Partner Athlete Profile: Kel Rossiter with Mammut.
  • Rossiter, K. (2015, August).  Learn this: Alpine cooking 201. Climbing Magazine
  • Featured in Seven Days (2015, January 14), Work: Ice man.
  • Cited in Climbing Magazine (2015). Climb this, not that!: An expert guide to uncrowded routes, by Julie Ellison, 320, 56.
  • Featured in Desk-to-Dirtbag Blog (2013), Zen and the art of climbing: How to lead a considered life, by Ryan Shauers.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2012). Education for regional environmental non-profit leadership. In D. Rigling-Gallagher (Ed.), Environmental leadership: A reference handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 402-410.
  • Rossiter, K. (May-June, 2011). Tech tip: Guide devices. Climberism, 6, 33.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2010). Environmental studies program graduates as leaders in regional environmental nonprofits: what sustains them; 2009 Symposium on Experiential Education Research Abstracts. Journal of Experiential Education, 32(3), 297-301.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2009, Spring). Getting horizontal at Upper West. CRAG Rag, The Climbing Resource and Access Group of Vermont Newsletter, 7(2), 2.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2009). Loving the land for life: The vital role of recreation ecology. In R. H. Stremba & C. Bisson (Eds.), Teaching adventure education theory:  best practices. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2008). Be considerate of other visitors: Lesson plan. Leave No Trace tool kit. Boulder, CO, Leave No Trace. 
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2006-2008). Listserved!. Regular feature in the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Newsletter
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2006, November). Keeping the “Wild” in “Wilderness”. Proceedings from the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education International Conference, Boise, ID.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2006). Educational leadership for sustainability: something old, something new. Environmental Practice, 8(3), 191-193.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (2005, Fall). A higher cause. Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Newsletter, 4.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (1997, March). The bread trail. Vegetarian Times, 76-82.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (1996, NA). A desert crawl. College Monthly, 9-11.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (1996, May 28). Need a vacation? Take a hike!. Your Health, 37-40.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (1995, September). Tortoise on a desert run. Vegetarian Times, 92-94.
  • Rossiter, T. K. & Rossiter, W. K. (1995, May 23). U.S. apples go where Chryslers fear to tread. The Asian Wall Street Journal, 8.
  • Rossiter, T. K. (1995, March 20). Crunching the competition. National Review, 8.
  • Rossiter, T. K. & Rossiter, W. K.  (1994, October 10). No life after work, say Babbitts of Tokyo. The Asian Wall Street Journal, 8.

Conferences, Presentations, & Appearances

  • Presenter, 2020, Drexel University, The Climbing Path: Lessons in Dealing with Ambiguity & Risk.
  • Appearance, 2020, Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad, Season 2, Episode 5, Vermont.
  • Presenter, 2019, Brown University, A Path of Ones Own.
  • Presenter, 2019, Vermont School Board Insurance Trust, Finding Your Way in the World.
  • Presenter, 2018, Boston University, Climbing as a Lens on Life.
  • Presenter, 2018, College Outside Conference, The Crooked Path: A Climbing Career.
  • Guest, 2016, Vermont Edition, "When Winter Hits, We Play", Vermont Public Radio.
  • Presenter, 2012, Green Mountain College, Summit Psychology: Lessons in Life & Climbing
  • Featured, 2010, in an interview in Climberism Magazine, Issue #3, "Guide Review: Kel Rossiter of Adventure Spirit Guides."
  • Presenter, 2009 Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Recreation Ecology for Outdoor Professionals
  • Panelist, 2009 Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Teaching Adventure Education Theory: A Showcase of Best Practices
  • Presenter, 2009 Symposium on Experiential Education Research, Sustaining Work in Environmental Nonprofits: Examining the Academic and Extracurricular Experiences of Environmental Studies Program Undergraduates 
  • Poster presentation, 2008, University of Vermont, College of Education & Social Services Scholarship Symposium, Investigating the Roots of Commitment in Regional Environmental Nonprofit Professionals Who Were Environmental Program Undergraduates
  • Presenter, 2006 International Coalition of Outdoor Recreation & Education Conference, Research Symposium poster and presentation, Keeping the “Wild” in “Wilderness”
  • Presenter, 2006 International Coalition of Outdoor Recreation & Education Conference, “Loving the Land to Death?” or “Loving the Land for Life”: Recreation Ecology
  • Presenter, 2006 International Coalition of Outdoor Recreation & Education Conference, Advancing a Truly Sustainable Education:  Questioning Orthodoxies in Experiential/Environmental Education 
  • Presenter, 2004 International Coalition of Outdoor Recreation & Education Conference, Spirit in Education
  • Presenter, 2004 Association for Experiential Education Northeast Regional Conference, Props: Added Dimensions in Education
  • Presenter, 2003 Association for Experiential Education International Conference, The Middle Trail: A Case Study of the Spiritual in Education
  • Presenter, 2002 Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Journaling as Alchemy: Transforming Experience into Learning


  • 2019-Present Ortovox Athlete/Brand Ambassador
  • 2013-2019 Mammut Athlete/Guide Ambassador
  • 2009-2020 Recipient of the Northern Vermont University Professional Development Funds award.
  • 2019 Winner of the American Mountain Guide Association Staff Scholarship for the Ski Guide Exam.
  • 2013 Winner of the American Mountain Guide Association Black Diamond Scholarship for the Alpine Guide Exam.
  • 2010-2018 Recipient of the Eddie Bauer-Rainier Mountaineering-Whittaker Mountaineering Guide Grant Award.
  • 2011 Winner of the American Mountain Guide Association Mammut Scholarship for the Rock Guide Exam.
  • 2006 Winner of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education Graduate Student Writing Award for an essay titled Keeping the “Wild” in “Wilderness”.
  • 2003-2008 Recipient of the Northern Vermont University-Lyndon Brierley and Burnham Awards promoting faculty research and professional development.
  • 2003-2008 Recipient of the Northern Vermont University-Lyndon Faculty Advancement Endowment Award promoting faculty research and professional development.

Community Activism            

  • 2020-Present, Meals on Wheels, On-call Meals Delivery Driver.
  • 2019-Present, American Mountain Guide Association, Environmental Working Group, Member
  • 2019-Present, Climbing Resource and Access Group-Vermont (CRAG-VT), Volunteer & Special Committees
  • 2018-2020, Vermont Outdoor Guide Association (VOGA), Board Member
  • 2008-2018, Climbing Resource and Access Group-Vermont (CRAG-VT), Board Member & Access Committee Chair
  • 2008-2010, Burlington Area Community Gardens, Volunteer, Advisory Board Member
  • 2008-2010, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Volunteer
  • 2003-2008, Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education, Environmental Stewardship Committee Member, Research and Publications Committee Member
  • 2004-2008, D Acres Educational Farm & Homestead (Environmental education center), Board Member, Secretary
  • 2004-2008, Kingdom Trails (Mountain bike trail network), Trail Patrol
  • 2000-2008, Association for Experiential Education, Publications Advisory Committee Member/Manuscript Reviewer/Conference Presentations Reviewer
  • 2004-2006, Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team, Member and Special Teams Member (Hasty & High-Angle Rescue)

Courses Instructed     

  • Fundamentals/Advanced Rock Climbing
  • Fundamentals/Advanced Ice Climbing
  • Fundamentals/Advanced Alpine Climbing
  • High-Angle & Crevasse Rescue
  • AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course 
  • Snowshoeing
  • Orienteering
  • Canoeing
  • Coastal Kayaking
  • Leave No Trace Trainer
  • Single Pitch Instructor Courses and Assesments: Instructed and tested student leaders in the techniques and considerations involved in setting up and running a top rope climbing event for groups.
  • Lead, Multi-pitch, & Rescue Rock Climbing: Covered gear placement, intermediary anchor building, mock leading and leading, station transitions, and how to avoid and implement rock rescue scenarios. Blended climbing history and lore into each course.
  • Advanced Winter Mountaineering: Covered snow and ice anchor building, sled travel, short pitching, simul-climbing, crevasse rescue, and avalanche awareness. Blended  mountain history and lore into each course.
  • Meditation: Examined and practiced a variety of meditative techniques and some of the history and philosophy underlying them.
  • Entering the Academic Community: Using an experiential format that included classroom guests and activities, field visits, and outdoor activities, introduced first-year students to concepts and skills relevant to collegiate success, ranging from budget planning to giving feedback to your room mate.
  • Introduction to Adventure Programming: Examined the historical, philosophical, psychological, pedagogical, and administrative aspects relevant to becoming an adventure professional.  
  • Adventure Programming Leadership Skills: Combined modules in technical skills development, career exploration, and professional  portfolio preparation, exposing students to—and preparing them for—the variety of applications of adventure programming in the non-profit, for-profit, and civic sectors.
  • Outdoor Practicum: Introduced students from diverse majors to the basics of backcountry travel and living.
  • Outdoor Expedition: Worked with students to prepare for extended trips with large groups to distant locales including the Ecuadorian Andes, Mexican Volcanoes, Everglades, Baja Peninsula, Sierra Nevadas, Desert Southwest, Adirondacks, and Italy.
  • Leadership Theory and Practice: Provided students with theoretical underpinnings of leadership and inter and intra-personal skills related to its practice via lecture, activities, and field projects.
  • Leisure & Society: Examined the historical, psychological, and sociological aspects of leisure and its importance to individuals and communities. 
  • Wilderness Mind: Using readings, discussion, and experiential activities, this course explored the various meanings and values of wilderness and the intertwine of wildness and human creativity.