I grew up in Preston, New York, in rural central New York state. I started hiking and backpacking at the age of 14, exploring the woods around my home. It was around this time that I started downhill skiing, though I've x-country skied since the age of twelve. In college I found my love for rock climbing, and began to pursue alpinism and mountaineering in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and in the Adirondacks of New York. After graduating from Bates College my love of climbing drove me out to Boulder, Colorado where I continued to climb and ski as much as possible.

I moved to France in 2003, and I attained the aspirant guide's diploma in August of 2006. I am the second American to attain guide certification in the French system.