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Our MissionEncourage and help facilitate personal growth, curiosity, and respect for the outdoors for Alaskan locals and visitors of all ages through outdoor educational and experiential outings.

Photo: Arrigetch Peaks, Brooks Range, Alaska

Emily Smola
Emily Profile_edited.jpg

Growing up in Soldotna, Alaska, Emily has made Fairbanks her home for over a decade in a homemade dry cabin...while living in a tent for 18 months in Fairbanks as the cabin progressed. She gained skills and confidence through formal outdoor education courses, years of her own wilderness escapades such as the thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, winter hunts in the Minto Flats, and rock climbing for months in world-renown places both in the U.S. and abroad. Work experience as a tutor, mentor, and climbing coach for youth, and as a trip leader for UAF Outdoor Adventures is where she found a passion for teaching outdoor education and creating a welcoming space for individuals. She is happiest when her students are able to remember skills she taught them years ago, because it means they have a desire for the material. Her dream is to make the outdoors a more inclusive environment all while having fun in a safe manner. When she's not running this operation, she's working as a massage therapist, building another dry cabin, and planning her next thru-hike.


Next trip: Explore Alaska Long Trail options, August 2023

Credentials: Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, PCIA CWI-L, LNT Master Educator, SRT-1 (Expired, but the knowledge is not), ACA Canoe Skills, CPT, RYT 200, LMT, B.A. Psychology w/ Elementary Ed. Music Performance from UAF.

Travis Russell

Travis grew up in Fairbanks with a fairly rustic, "classic Alaskan" childhood. Living in a teepee, to a bus, to finally a house his family built, he grew up subsistence hunting, fishing, trapping, and managing sled dogs. He builds, can fix most things, and if he doesn't know how, he will find out. Although working years as a roofing foreman, he found his passion was actually in coaching and mentoring the UAF Youth Climbing Program's team. He has been rock climbing for 16 years in world renown places both in the US and abroad, and pushes the limits of his abilities in the hopes of gaining inner strength and insight. However, his is most happy when sharing the love of climbing and the outdoors with others. When he isn't climbing, hunting, building cabins, or coaching, he is planning the next climbing trip. 

Next trip:  Yosemite, April 2023

Credentials: Wilderness First Responder, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, PCIA CWI-L (expired, but the knowledge is not). A.A. in Process Technology from UAF. 

Josh Jones III
Assistant Instructor

Josh is a jack of all trades being a licensed boat captain, certified welder, and having a bachelors in electrical engineering among other certifications. Originally hailing from Kodiak, where he grew up hiking, fishing, and camping. Later on he developed leadership skills as a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. He came up to Fairbanks for college, and spends much of his free time climbing and skiing in the local area. Now he's working on a master's degree in electrical engineering, still climbing and skiing to this day.


Next Trip: Find a good rock in the UK or Germany, May 2023


Credentials: Wilderness First Responder, Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels, PADI Open Water & Dry Suit Diving certifications, Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering, and various formal climbing, mountaineering, and camping classes.

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