Kurt & Heidi Armacost
As a Montana native, born and raised in Bozeman, Joe grew up spending most of his time in the outdoors, whether that was skiing the deep cold smoke of the local mountain or running around the Bridgers throughout the summer. After traveling abroad for a couple years and working part time here and there, Joe decided to go back to school at the University of Montana in Missoula. While studying philosophy, he managed to stumble upon a job as a river guide on the local Clark Fork. Now, during the winters, he runs his own woodworking business and continues to pursue his love of guiding in Idaho on the Snake and Salmon Rivers in the summer months.
I was born and raised in southern Virginia and earned a degree in Fine Arts at James Madison University. A trip to the Futaleufu River in Chile my senior year of college solidified my love for rivers and inspired me to get into guiding after graduating in 2008. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of guiding rivers in Canada, Mexico, West Virginia and here in Idaho. After a recent hiatus to pursue a more traditional career in hospitality, the river has called me back and I’m home again in Hells Canyon! When I’m not working on the river, I’m most likely playing on other rivers with my husband or going on adventures with my German Shepherd dogs. Our home base is here in McCall.
Originally from Arnold, CA, Kirk started guiding in 1996. He has guided in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Alaska. Kirk absolutely loves music and fishing. Prior to guiding, Kirk spent time working and mushing on the Iditarod in Alaska. Kirk currently owns and operates his own steelhead fishing company on the Salmon river.
Robinson is from Logan Utah. He has been around white water his whole life and is always in search of more time on the river. His passion for the river and the outdoors brought him to Hells Canyon. He is a certified Advanced EMT and during the school year works for the ambulance service in his hometown. He is currently studying nursing at Utah State University.
Some call me big swirly, or “swirls” for short. I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina, but have grown up in the mountains of McCall. Before I became a raft guide I spent a summer commercial salmon fishing in Cordova, Alaska, and working various construction jobs. I’m currently working towards a degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Idaho, and spend all my free time outdoors hiking and fishing, or in the garage working on various projects.
Emma loves the natural beauty and stress relief that comes from being outdoors skiing, hiking, backpacking, and of course working on the river. Born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, Emma grew up skiing at the local hill Pebble Creek and during winter months is a volunteer patroller on the mountain where she has completed certifications in Mountain Travel and Rescue and Avalanche Safety. She is also certified in outdoor emergency care and is a licensed EMT. When not outside, she stays busy catching up on her studies at Brigham Young University. She will graduate with a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies in April 2021.
I am a ski instructor in the winter months and driver extraordinaire for Hells Canyon Rafting in the summer time. I became a Seattle transplant in 2015 and before that lived in Eastern Washington, Oregon and Iowa. My Washington life: school bus driver, piano teacher, martial arts instructor, software trainer for law firms, jewelry design and sales, ski instructor and ski patrol, kind of all over the place, but never bored!
My Idaho life: skiing, biking, hiking, paddle boarding, mushrooming, Pilates and exploring our beautiful area.
Jack’s a mountain boy. Born and raised in McCall, Idaho, he grew up climbing, hiking, mountain-biking, fly-fishing, cliff-jumping, backpacking, trail-running, canyoneering, nordic skiing, peak-bagging, snow-shoeing, river floating, bivouacking, paragliding, and generally milking every last drop of fun out of the mountains. On the river, he loves shooting rapids, eating PUD, and chatting with all the cool people he gets to meet. And when he’s not immersed in the grandeur of the American West, he’s at the University of Idaho, chipping away at an English degree, and planning his next round of shenanigans.
After growing up with the city life and traditional sports back East, Brian made his way to Idaho in the mid ’90s where he found happiness and true love! Happiness took the form of outdoor sports and recreation – whitewater rafting/kayaking, mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding and backpacking. True love turned out to be a local Idaho girl who wanted to join him in the wild adventures of life. After many river miles floated, vertical feet climbed and descended, travel across the world and back, and nearly 20 years of marriage, they are still taking on the challenges of the outdoors and life…albeit with a crew of 5 kids in tow! As the years tick by, the kids are starting to lead with us in tow! McCall, ID will always be home for Brian and the crew, but as new adventures call, we may find ourselves out across the world…again!.
John grew up in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. He has lived and worked through out the mountain states. Currently he splits his time between McCall and Colorado. John enjoys exploring the recreational opportunities McCall offers, rafting, canoeing, fishing, hiking and numerous mountain bike trails. He professionally raced mountain bikes and co-designed the 1996 Atlanta Olympic mountain bike course. He’s happiest when he’s in the outdoors with his wife Liz, three sons and cattle dogs.
Sean was born and raised in McCall, Idaho. He began guiding for Hells Canyon Raft in 2015. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR) from Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS and a certified Swiftwater Rescue Technician from Wilderness Rescue International. He has a Doctorate degree in philosophy from the Universiteit van Tilburg in the Netherlands. In the winter he works as assistant program director and glorified snowboard instructor at a local non-profit hill, The Little Ski Hill.
Shane is from Knoxville Tennessee and has been guiding whitewater trips in the Southeast since 2002. He really enjoys sharing Idaho’s river canyons with all of the guests and guides during these great whitewater adventures. Shane has been guiding trips at HCR since 2018, he really loves Idaho and considers it his second home. Running rivers and spending time caving, canyoneering and mountain biking are some of his favorite outdoor activities. Shane is a wilderness EMT and works full time as a technical rescue instructor teaching courses all over the U.S. He has made some lifelong friendships through his many river adventures, and can’t wait to continue the journey this summer with you. See you on the river soon!
Craig grew up in San Diego, surfing,spearfishing, hunting and enjoying the outdoors. He attended Humboldt State University, where he was captain, and later a coach of the Timber sports team. After working with the University Recreation department, Craig found a love of whitewater. In 2014 he followed this passion to the rivers of Colorado, Utah, California, Alaska, and eventually Idaho. Craig works as a ski tuner in the winter in Ketchum Idaho where he is in pursuit of his new found passion: fly fishing. During the busy holiday weekends, Craig is usually waist deep in the Big Wood river, angling for trout. If it’s a powder day though, you can usually find him near the front of the lift line at Sun Valley resort. Craig has a Wilderness first responder and swiftwater rescue cert, a quick sense of humor and a killer recipe for Baja style corn on the cob.
Despite being raised in the suburbs of southeastern Pennsylvania, I quickly gained an affinity for rock climbing and river running when I started college. I attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and attained a BA in Anthropology, in addition to leading climbing, backpacking, and rafting trips for my school’s outdoor leadership program. Since graduation I have spent two seasons guiding on different sections of the Colorado River near Moab. In the winters you can find me chasing a goggle tan and waist deep pow!
I’ve been guiding since 2014, and I first got my feet and the rest of me wet in Oregon. Since then I’ve guided all over including: California, Arizona, Idaho, Washington, Utah, and Chile. I grew up in Boston, but went west for college and stayed. I enjoy playing stringed instruments, biking, kayaking and learning Spanish, math, science. I once explained system collapse in quantum measurement to a kayaking client (at their request). I currently spend the off season teaching math and science at McCall Donnelly High School.
Catherine is from Long Island, New York, and grew up waterskiing, sailing, and kayaking on the bay in the summers and skiing/snowboarding in the Catskills during the winters, where she later became a snowboard instructor. Her love for the outdoors started through camps with overnight trips on the Appalachian Trail and canoeing down the Delaware RIver. After graduating college with a degree in Environmental Studies, she lived in Washington State for a year where she fell in love with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. After spending some time in the hustle and bustle of 9-5 life in NYC, she decided it was time to get back outdoors doing what she loves. She is also a big fan of doughnuts and funky sunglasses.
I grew up in San Diego, California, but have been coming to McCall pretty much since I was born. My love for rafting started young, doing some day trips in Idaho as a kid. My first multi-day rafting experience was through the University of Utah and we did a trip down the Green River through the Gates of Lodore. That first trip inspired me to become a guide, the people I got . After I graduated college I went to a week long guide school and proceeded to get hired. I worked full-time in Dinosaur National Monument for 3 seasons. I fell in love with rafting and working outside. Now, I work in healthcare but raft whenever I can in the summers and teach skiing and ski patrol in the winter on days off. I love being outside with all my heart whether it be climbing, mountain biking, skiing, backpacking, I just love being outside and sharing that love with others. I make a mean dutch oven pineapple upside down cake!
I grew up just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and moved to Utah to take advantage of all the West has to offer. I’m an avid mountain biker, skier, and outdoor enthusiast. Recently, I’ve picked up backcountry skiing which has made my connection to the mountains even stronger. My love for rafting comes from doing multi-day trips with friends on the Green and Colorado Rivers. I’m a University of Utah student majoring in business management and working my way towards a career in the outdoor industry. During the school year, I work at an after-school program for children in grades 1-5 as well as enjoy volunteering with various organizations.
Chris grew up in the suburbs. His life changed when he went to school in the mountains before he turned 18. He earned a BS in Math and Environmental Sciences, and did graduate work in Atmospheric Science, Environmental Engineering, and Public Health. He spent his 20s exploring as much wild country and ecological integrity as he could, eventually settling down in central Idaho’s mountain and canyon country. Between working as a river guide and telemarking ski patroller, he owns and runs an environmental science consulting company and maintains an extensive organic orchard. His soul is soothed by getting out and sharing his experiences and love for nature.
A fourth generation Idahoan who grew up on a farm/ranch in southern Idaho.”I had always loved Idaho, but truly didn’t realize all it had to offer until I moved away. After 10 years, I was drawn back home to Idaho. It was then that I could recognize and appreciate all the incredible resources available and access to some the most amazing whitewater in the world!” With 12 years experience he would rather be on the river than just about anywhere else. During the off season he is an avid hunter, fisherman, skier, snowmobiler, and hiker. “I love knowing that the snow I enjoy all winter in our mountains becomes the very water I enjoy in the summer in our rivers.”
Growing up in the mountains of Utah, Abi has had a lifelong passion for all things outdoors. A guide since 2012, she has logged thousands of river miles on the Salmon and Snake rivers in Idaho. While not on the river, she works as a Lift Operator at Solitude Mtn. in Salt Lake, UT. Abi has two degrees in economics and political science from Utah State University, is trained in swift water and wilderness rescue, and is currently working on obtaining an EMT license. Abe will forever be remembered as a beautiful member of our family.