Our Team

We are committed to providing our members with the best possible experience in the Alaskan wilderness, offering introductions to a variety of outdoor activities, while maintaining maximum safety.

Robert M. Shurmer, owner and senior guide

Outdoor enthusiast since childhood, Shurmer grew up roaming the woods, hunting, canoeing and x-country skiing in rural Ohio. A Boy Scout and US Army ROTC Scholar at the University of Notre Dame,  Rob has degrees in both history and theology; he received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia and currently teaches at St. Albans School in Washington, DC, where he also serves as chair of the history department, academic adviser, and an athletics coach. Rob has also lived and trekked in Austria, Canada, and Scotland. He has been leading backpacking and dog-sledding trips in Virginia, West Virginia, Alaska, and Canada since 2000. He is first aid trained, CPR certified, and NRA weapons certified.


Will Kohler, owner and guide of Wrangell Outfitters, Horsfeld, AK

We will be meeting up with Will Koehler at his bush ranch in the wilds of the Wrangell St. Eias National Park. Will is a lifelong Alaskan whose obsession with the wilds began at an early age. Growing up in the Alaska Range, Will and his brother Mark were ever pursuing wild things and wild places. As kids they ran long trap lines with dog teams and explored their huge backyard extensively with horses. Their upbringing in Alaska’s intense terrain has honed their skills as guides and given them rich knowledge at a wide angle. Their sharp eyes for the wildlife will surely open yours to the details of the landscape in ways you have never experienced.  As the owner, Will guides the trips and runs the logistics of the outfit, and Mark brings his skills as a hunting guide and bush pilot to the business. Together they make a tough team to beat. These two provide an authentic understanding of Alaska’s intense history and lifestyle, and their stories will keep you on your seat, even in times when they have flown off theirs. We are truly blessed to work with Will this summer.



Dr. Carrie F., guide

Carrie has had a range of outdoor experiences, ranging from childhood tent-in-the-backyard adventures to solo backpacking trips in the Utah wilderness. She grew up in Maryland and has also lived in Montana, New York, Utah, and DC. Carrie spent two years working as a senior field instructor in a wilderness therapy program in southern Utah. Here, she worked with adolescents and young adults on intensive all-season backcountry trips throughout Utah and Nevada. Here she learned primitive backcountry skills like “busting” (making fire with a bow and spindle) and shelter making, and became adept at map-and-compass navigation. She also received certification as a Wilderness First Responder, allowing her to respond effectively to backcountry medical emergencies. Beyond her work in Utah, Carrie has also backpacked in upstate New York  and Montana, and has horsepacked in Colorado. Internationally, Carrie has hiked, camped, horsepacked or backpacked in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Iceland. Carrie will be joining Alaska Trek 2016 directly from her honey-moon vacation in Norway.


Thomas G., guide

Thomas is an alumnus of St. Albans School in Washington, DC and will attend the University of Notre Dame, as a participant in the Great Books Program, in the fall of 2017. He is currently spending a year focusing upon wilderness guide training —  mountaineering, backpacking, and sea-kayaking with NOLS in Patagonia, laboring on a coconut farm (and learning to surf in his free time) in Panama, snow-shoe trekking down the Pontax River to Hudson Bay, and finally returning to Wrangle St. Elias National Park to work as a ranch hand and guide this summer. Thomas has worked a great deal with youth groups, has led climbing, kayaking, and backpacking expeditions in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Thomas is certified in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and Leave No Trace Principles (he will also return from Chile certified as a Wilderness First Responder). He also has spent the last four years working with youth camps promoting leadership, self-discovery, and therapy in the outdoors. After being part of the 2016 AWOC expedition and falling in love with Alaska, he cannot wait to return in 2017!


Tyler C., guide (emeritus)

Tyler grew up in rural upstate New York where he developed a love for the outdoors. He spent his childhood summers hiking, biking, rock climbing, and canoeing in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York, and his winters skiing the mountains of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York. Since graduating from college, Tyler has lived in Jackson, WY where he did a great deal of skiing, hiking, and rock climbing (and playing professional lacrosse) Currently he lives in Washington, DC, where he serves as the Director of Admissions and as a coach for the St. Albans School. He has visited Alaska twice – most recently in July of 2012 to spend three weeks climbing Mnt Denali. He could not be more excited to trade the summer swelter of DC for the Alaskan wilderness.

Tyler in AK

James C., guide (emeritus)

James joins us this summer directly from his Princeton graduation ceremonies, where he received his B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. While at university, James not only spent time with the Outdoor Action Program, a campus group dedicated to adventure-based experiential education, but chaired his college’s student council. James spent seven weeks last summer on a solo trek across the Scottish Highlands and Islands. More importantly for us, though, he also has experience trekking in both Denali and the Wrangell-St. Elias; he successfully traversed the Goat Trail and climbed over the Chitistone Pass with the 2009 AWOC Expedition.


Matthew Asbill, back country guide (emeritus)

Since childhood, Matt has been trekking into the woods and to the tops of mountains. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont, where he, along with completing a B.A. in philosophy, spent four years working with the UVM Outing Club. He is responsible for rewriting the club’s trekking manual. Through his work at UVM and with NOLS, Matt has amassed a significant background with outdoor leadership training programs. Along with his knowledge of back country living and ethics,  Matt brings with him special skills in situational leadership development and wilderness medical instruction. He is an avid backpacker, skier and climber, – and hip to the Colorado bluegrass scene – and now lives in Jackson, WY. Matt is First Aid, and CPR certified and is a trained Wilderness First Responder.

AWOC Alaska-765




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