Kurt & Heidi Armacost
Heidi and Kurt met on the ski slopes of Utah, while Heidi was attending the University of Utah. Kurt managed a children’s ski school and Heidi was his prized instructor. In 1996 they took over the Armacost family business, where Kurt started guiding at the age of 16. During the early years Kurt would row the gear boat and follow his dad down the river. Heidi now manages the HCR office, while balancing two amazing future guides. Both of them have degrees from the University of Utah. At last count Kurt has logged over 500 trips in Hells Canyon. “It never gets old going to the best office in the world”. Family -time consists of river trips, camping, teaching two little girls how to fish. In the winter they never miss a weekend at the local ski resort.
A native of Eastern Oregon, Derek grew up in the Hells Canyon Area. He has been guiding on the Snake River and the Northwest since 1992. He brought his extensive knowledge to HCR in the late 90’s. Having racked up thousands of miles floating and fishing numerous rivers, Derek now spends the majority of his time casting his line into just two, the mighty Snake River of Hells Canyon and the River of No Return. "There just are not rivers anywhere that offer such a rich variety of exhilarating whitewater, spectacular scenery, and absolutely unparalleled angling". He has a master in Fine Art from University of Hawaii, and two bachelors of Arts from Eastern Oregon University. He also spent four years in the US Navy on the USS Nimitz working as a jet engine mechanic. To say his experience is diverse is an understatement. He now calls McCall Idaho his home.
Elijah Saltzgaber a.k.a Eli
An Idaho native, if it’s outdoors Eli loves it. Especially if you can paddle, cast, catch, hike, or educate about it. His deep knowledge of the 106 species Hells Canyon birds constantly amazes guest. During the winter Eli ski patrols in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. He is certified on the national registry of EMT’s. Eli’s easy going nature and approachability make him a go to guide when asking a question. He has been with HCR since 2005, and guided since 2002 on rivers in the North West. He likes to classify himself as well educated in applied hydrodynamics.
Came out west from Omaha Nebraska. He has guided since 2006, and found a home with Hells Canyon Raft in 2007. In the winter he works in the Ski Patrol at Mt Hood Meadows in Oregon. He recently built a cannon for launching explosives into avalanche zones. When not on the water or skiing, he mountain bikes, does extended mountaineering, SCUBA, fishing, and studies snow science. He recently built a facility to produce affordable water filtration in Kitale, Kenya. He has degrees from Gonzaga University in Civil Engineering, and Business. Plus he is still attending the school of life. He also has an EMT license, a National Avalanche School Graduate, an Avalanche II certification, and his friends say he is especially skilled at the steep boot pack when backcountry skiing.
Guide since 2004, on rivers around the world. You can tell that Mike has a passion for travel; He speaks 6 different languages, and has guided in 3 different countries including Australia, and Peru. Mike has guided for Hells Canyon Raft since 2011. Before that worked on the New, and Gualey Rivers of West Virginia, the Nenana in Alaska, the Snake River in Jackson, Wyoming, and the Canete in Peru. Also while in Peru during his spare time he taught English, and built schools. He is a graduate of Lake Superior State University. During the off season Mike is living in Seattle where he is studying to become a paramedic. He captains large yachts in the Puget Sound. Currently he is certified in swift water rescue, and has an EMT license.
From Yorktown, VA, Eileen’s first trip, at the age of 6, was with her dad on the Upper New River. She started guiding in 2007, and has logged thousands of river miles on the Ottawa River in Ontario/Quebec, Canada; the Rio Pescados in Veracruz, Mexico (and several others around that area. She has spent most of her time in West Virginian guiding on The New River, and the Gualey River. She is a wilderness first responder WFR from Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS; and CPR certified for the professional rescuer. She has a bachelor degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA in Fine Arts. She loves hiking, trail running, casting her fly line at huge rainbow trout, and doesn’t brag about it but Eileen loves to sew.