Jackson Hole Mountain Guides had its beginnings in the winter of 1967-1968 when Barry Corbet, a well-known guide and skier, reached an agreement with Teton Village developers to operate a climbing school at the resort. He acquired a Forest Service permit for activities around the ski area, a climbing concession from Grand Teton National Park and hired long-time climbing ranger Pete Sinclair as chief guide. That March Corbet was paralyzed in a helicopter accident while filming a ski movie and thereafter had very little to do with the company.
JHMG operated out of Teton Village from 1968 to 1986. Pete Sinclair got the first season going with the assistance of Peter Koedt. Sinclair established High Camp in 1969; for many years tents and caves were the only facilities and access was via a rocky route next to the stream. Sinclair continued running the company until mid-season 1970. Other guides of the early days were Ray Jacquot, Ted Wilson, Jim Greig and Jack Turner, soon followed by Carlos Plummer, Bill Thompson and George Hurley.
Long time Wilson resident Jim Huidekoper owned JHMG from about 1970 to 1975. Bill Thompson, first the director, eventually became a majority owner until 1985.
Andy Carson acquired and operated the business, with the assistance of Nancy Carson and Paul Horton, a minority owner, until 1999. In 1986 Carson installed the first Weatherport Quonset hut at the Grand Teton camp, much smaller than today’s model, and it was about that time the Carsons applied the name Corbet High Camp. Andy moved the business to town in 1987 after the resort made exorbitant demands to continue operating at the Village.
The guide service has been active in the Wind River Mountains since the initial seasons, and in the Beartooth Range of Montana since 1979. Winter guiding was rare until Andy Carson’s tenure. For many years Carson personally guided the vast majority of winter outings.
In 1999, JHMG was sold to Kathryn Hess (Miller), Rob Hess, Jim Ratz and Phil Powers, a foursome that had met while working at the National Outdoor Leadership School. Rob is the third American to summit Everest without oxygen and today serves on the AMGA board and previously as its Technical Director. Jim had been Executive Director of NOLS for over ten years. Phil, among his numerous alpine endeavors, summitted K2 and today is the Executive Director of the American Alpine Club. After Jim’s untimely death in 2005, current JHMG partner and company general manager Dan Heilig came on board, buying Kathryn Hess’ shares. Dan likewise had extensive experience in the mountains, including summitting Gasherbrum 2 on an expedition with Phil and Rob, plus a successful career as executive director/staff attorney for the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Wyoming’s largest statewide conservation organization. Since that time JHMG has developed partnerships with non-profits such as 1% for the Tetons, Big City Mountaineers, American Lung Association, Veterans’ Expeditions; opened a Boulder, CO office for guiding in Eldorado and on the Flatirons; became one of the first permitted guide services for the premier South Fork of the Shoshone ice area near Cody, WY; and continued to build its Moab, UT and Red Rocks, NV offerings.
Today, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides guides hundreds of people throughout the year in the mountain ranges of Wyoming and Montana, in the canyons and on the towers of Utah, on Cody’s South Fork ice falls, and on the cliffs and crags of Boulder, CO, Red Rock, NV and City of Rocks, Idaho. Come join us!