Typically there are two instructors and one intern with a group of up to twelve students. The High Peaks Adventure instructors are talented wilderness leaders and teachers who are versed in backcountry travel and adolescent development. The intern is a college-aged High Mountain Institute alumni who is an aspiring outdoor educator. All High Peaks Adventure instructors have wilderness medical training.

For our days of rafting, mountain biking, and climbing, we work with contracted, professional guides who are specialists in their field. We work with Arkansas River Tours for our day of rafting and Absolute Bikes Adventures for our day of mountain biking. During these days, the High Peaks Adventure instructors focus on individually coaching students as opposed to instructing the group. For our day of climbing, instruction is provided by experienced High Mountain Institute staff.

Matt Turnbull

A native New Englander, Matt made the move to Leadville to teach history at the High Mountain Institute in 2007. After graduating from Bowdoin College in 2000, he earned a Master’s Degree in history from the University of Michigan. He has taught in a variety of settings, including stints as a winter naturalist at Vail, an experiential educator in Plymouth, MA, and a sixth grade English teacher in the Boston area. In past summers, he has participated in teaching seminars on “Federal Trials and Great Debates in American History” and “The Progressive Era.” He has also led and scouted backpacking and bicycle touring trips for Overland Summers, and instructed The Leading Edge courses for HMI. Matt now teaches history at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols in Cambridge, MA. In his free time Matt enjoys running and biking in the mountains, cross-country skiing, and doing jigsaw puzzles when he should be grading papers.

Emily Blau

Emily grew up in New York City, where the closest thing to the backcountry was Central Park. Emily willingly left “the city” behind and attended Deerfield Academy and was a student for HMI Semester 21, when she explored the highest mountains she had ever seen. Emily spent her college years on Cumberland Plateau at Sewanee: University of the South, graduating with a B.S. Natural Resources. Remembering the influence HMI had on her, Emily studied abroad for a semester in Freiburg, Germany and took classes in forest ecology and sustainability. She then returned to HMI as an apprentice for Semester 33. Emily enjoys singing to any and every song she knows the words to (loudly), hammocks, and Sleepytime tea.

Leslie Dinkin

Born and raised in Southern California, Leslie grew up hiking in the Santa Monica mountains. Her love for backpacking and camping grew during her summers in northern Wisconsin as both a camper and a counselor. She first fell in love with Colorado after spending a semester at HMI in 2011 and is excited to reunite with the Leadville community as the High Peaks Adventure and Lake County Backpacking intern. Leslie is currently studying Anthropology and Religion at Colorado College. She recently returned from a semester abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos where she focused on evolutionary ecology. When Leslie isn’t hiking, she can be found on the potter’s wheel making bowls or skiing in the Rocky Mountains.