Our Story

Dear Prospective Guest,

Thank you for your interest in Ragged Mountain Guides. We are happy to see that you have an interest in our programs. Ragged Mountain Guides LLC is a small family owned guide service and climbing school dedicated to providing you high quality instruction and custom experiences every time we climb. One of the reasons we wish to remain small, and owner operated is that it provides us the flexibility to offer unique and diverse trips, locally and farther afield. These can be adventures I come up with, you come up with, or we come up with together.

Our story began in 2010. I was working for the largest guide service and climbing school in the North East. I was managing 10 guides operating in 3 states, and was guiding daily. I had a wonderful experience working with this service. I learned how to be a guide, how to teach, and how to work with people there. After a while, I wanted to gain other experiences, go on bigger objectives and adventures with my guests, explore landscapes and have experiences with them. I was limited by what this outfitter could offer my guests, so I took a chance. After 8 years of full time work, I made one of the smartest choices ever– I founded Ragged Mountain Guides.

This choice was encouraged by a number of my clients, who followed me moving forward.  That forward move had us creating customized trips for our guests–doing things other guide services wouldn’t offer, like meeting a guest in 3 different states over 7 days to climb all of the super-classic ice climbs, and not missing any flights!  We have the skills, know-how and the logistical prowess to pull off your trip.  When you climb with us, you’re not just a number, you are our guest, and we are pleased to show you the mountains and plan your logistics.  We sometimes opt for the ‘other’ way, so we can avoid the crowds on the large group outings our colleagues run.  Plus, by keeping our ratios small, you’ll get the attention you deserve.  Each trip we run is a private program, focusing on your goals and your learning. We don’t buy into guiding the masses into the hills at the same time.  Your mountain experience should be intimate, custom, and mostly, yours!

While we started off with barely two nickels to rub together, we eventually procured the tools and equipment we needed (after we paid our taxes and insurance bill, of course!) and it was off to the crags, cliffs, and summits. Throughout this process, I have been lucky enough to spend time in the mountains with some really great people. What this really comes down to is the people—it’s about you! We’ve shared summits in really poor conditions, jammed splitter cracks in bluebird weather, taught an untold amount of knots and hitches, traded email, talked over the telephone, and even backed off of a few climbs! I’ve been fortunate to have some really neat opportunities, including guiding the Grand Teton on-sight, taking guests up really challenging ice climbs, training some of our nations finest rescue personnel to complete missions under duress, climbing first ascents in Alaska, and I’ve been just as excited to share a day top roping with Joel and his young family at the local crag.

Some of the more specialized programs we are lucky enough to offer include the American Mountain Guides Association’s Single Pitch Instructor program. I’m one of 50 hand selected climbing instructors in the nation to provide the first training course to America’s next generation of mountain guides and climbing instructors. This is frequently the first step an aspiring instructor takes, and I went through the old program myself.

I’m excited to share your journey across the cliffs, crags and mountains throughout the North East and beyond. Plan on a custom trip, meeting your needs and requirements, with a guide and instructor who is professionally trained and experienced to take you into the hills. We offer personalized service that cannot be paralleled by larger guide services. We are firm believers in getting what you pay for.  Ragged Mountain, the Gunks, Mt. Washington, the Grand Teton and Red Rocks are all simply a phone call or email away. We thrive on human powered climbing adventures, and strive to maximize your experience. Give us a call and see for yourself. We look forward to having you join the Ragged Mountain Guides family!

I look forward to sharing a rope with you soon.


Matt Shove

AMGA Certified Alpine Guide, AMGA Certified Rock Instructor,  SPI Provider

Owner, Director, and Senior Guide or Ragged Mountain Guides

Ryan, Matt, Riley & Stacy Christmass 2013

Ryan, Matt, Riley & Stacy @ Christmas