Growing up in Midcoast Maine surrounded by forest, Max always had a connection to the natural world. He didn’t realize how unique of an upbringing this was until much later. As a teenager Max discovered climbing on an Outward Bound program. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this was the spark that would give many of his pursuits direction throughout his life. Three days after high school he was on a plane to Colorado for another Outward Bound program, this one lasting the entire summer before college.
In college, Max studied Earth Sciences with a focus on paleoclimatology, the study of past climate systems. Much of his studies involved glaciers and the mountains of the world. Working for the Climate Change Institute, he participated in a research expedition to Denali, Alaska, where the team performed a reconnaissance for extracting a surface to bedrock ice core from the lower Kahiltna Glacier. He traveled to Peru to assist other scientific research expeditions into the Cordillera Blanca.
Career, climbing and life has landed Max in Boulder Colorado where he lives with his partner, Katie and their dog Dexter. Although Max still travels frequently for work, most of his climbing happens along the Front Range of Colorado. Climbing in the alpine on rock, snow and ice has always been Max’s biggest passion. After leaving academia, Max decided that sharing the mountains with people had a longer lasting impact. By curating mountain experiences and teaching people mountain craft so they can be self-sufficient, Max makes stewards of everyone he climbs with. So that they can safely and respectfully appreciate the wild and hard to reach places that Max so appreciates.
Melding his academic background, professional guiding certifications, previous experiences and personal passion for the mountains Max founded Alpine to the Max.
Max started his guiding career working for International Mountain Climbing School in North Conway, New Hampshire. Surrounded by the White Mountains and living in the Mount Washington Valley, Max honed his craft for both personal and professional pursuits. Climbing and guiding on Cathedral Ledge, Whitehorse Ledge, Cannon Cliff and Mount Washington itself Max put in the miles and hours to rise up through the ranks quickly. In the winter season he climbed as much ice as he possibly could, with the wet climate of New England that was quite a bit. The ice climbing in New Hampshire and Vermont is second to none. Guiding the many classic multi-pitch ice routes in Crawford Notch was how he spent the brutally cold winter months. Max took his first American Mountain Guides Association course in North Conway, New Hampshire. This opened his eyes to the dedication and hard work it would take to make guiding a sustainable profession. During this time Max also volunteered with the local Mountain Rescue Service that performed technical rescues throughout the surrounding mountains.
Traveling on glaciated terrain wasn’t new to Max as he had climbed many glaciated peaks personally, not to mention that he studied glaciology at university. Yet, he wanted to develop his guiding skills further. Traveling to the Pacific Northwest and working for International Mountain Guides on Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and in the North Cascades National Park Max quickly fell in love with that landscape. Over the course of many seasons, Max has summited Rainier nearly 100 times, not to mention ascents of other peaks. Mentoring younger guides and taking a leadership role was a natural progression for him.
Going back to his roots as a rock and ice climber, Max traded the snowy peaks of the Pacific Northwest for the rugged and technical Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As an American Mountain Guides Association certified Rock and Alpine Guide, Max was a kid in a candy store. Max can often be found guiding and climbing the tricky and technical routes in Eldorado Canyon or high above Boulder on one of the Flatirons. When the conditions are right, the long technical routes in Rocky Mountain National Park are a fantastic reprieve from the summer heat. In the winter, Max teaches American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education courses for The Mountain Guides. He also owns and operates Alpine to the Max based in Boulder, Colorado.
University of Maine, Orono
Bachelors degree in Earth Sciences
Pingree, K., Lurie, M., Hughes, T. Is the East Antarctic ice sheet stable? Quaternary Research, Volume 75, Issue 3, Pages 417–429, May 2011