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.
Running rivers all over the west U.S. for the past 15 plus years, running whitewater and floating through remote river canyons is truly where I am happiest. I have been an outdoor educator for my entire adult life, working as a backcountry ski guide, avalanche instructor, snowboard instructor, and wildland firefighter. But being able to share w/ people the beauty, serenity, and empowering experience a moving river can create is the one I find the most rewarding and enjoyable. I spend 3-4 months out the year working and playing on the amazing rivers Idaho has to offer. Let’s go boating!
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 two years ago, and before that lived in Oregon and Iowa. My loves are family and all things northwest, except the rain. In my spare time I love skiing, biking, hiking, Pilates and becoming acquainted with this beautiful state of Idaho.
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:: PSIA Level 2 Alpine certification, Children’s Specialist 2 (CS2) – highest PSIA child specific accreditation, Senior Specialist 2 (SS2) – highest PSIA-NW adult specific accreditation, PSIA-NI Board of Directors Representative Hiking Club, biking road and off, running, skiing, skiing, skiing, teaching skiing, training instructors, home projects and training to become a Pilates instructor.
As a sophomore in high school, I was on a Ski Club trip that brought our group to McCall, Idaho in 1978 from Walla Walla. I fell in love with the area but did not return until the mid 2000s to vacation with family. Upon my husband’s retirement last year we finally made our move to McCall.
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!.
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.
Even though Paige spends the majority of her time back on the waters kayaking, rock climbing or ski instructing in Tennessee, family connections brought her all the way out to wonderful Hells Canyon. Going on her first multi-day rafting trip in 2015 through the Grand Canyon with her family, she made her way here to Hells canyon and stuck to it. Her love of the big water and overnight quality time with campers is what made her fall in love with the place. When not here on a raft, you can find her studying for a business management and psychology degree at East Tennessee State University.
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!
Jamie spent his budding youth roaming the mountains of McCall and kicking soccer balls. After high school, he attended the College of Idaho and graduated with a degree in English Literature. In 2016, he spent the year coaching children’s soccer for Arsenal Football Club in London, the Philippines, and Israel. It was during this time abroad that he heard the mountains and rivers calling, and he decided to return home to enjoy the amazing access to the outdoors. In the winters, he spends his time skiing and teaching children how to ski.
A renaissance man that grew up in McCall, Idaho, it took Barry many years of odd jobs, failed careers, and traveling across 30 countries on 5 continents to realize that Idaho is where he wanted to be. As a guide he gets to exercise his love of rivers and the Idaho wilderness as well as create flawless Pineapple upside down cakes.
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.
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.
Patrick 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.
Audrey is a native Idahoan and began her career as a river guide in 2008. Born and raised in Emmett, Idaho, Audrey has enjoyed living, working, and playing in a variety of locations around the west, including Oregon, California, Montana, Colorado and Mexico. She attended the University of California Santa Barbara where she earned a degree in Creative Studies and Exercise and Health Science. She also has a M. Ed from Montana State University. Working on the river three months a year ultimately lead to working in a classroom as a teacher for the other nine months of the year. Audrey currently lives in McCall and teaches high school English and drama. When school’s out, she enjoys snowboarding, working out, gardening, baking cookies, kayaking, and being on stage.
Growing up in the country side of central Illinois Farmland, Colt joins our team after a year residing in Idaho. Now Living in McCall, Idaho Colt takes great pleasure in exploring all the opportunities to adventure in such a rich and mountainous place. He earned a bachelor’s degree In Outdoor Education with an emphasis in Wilderness Leadership and a minor in Environmental Studies at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. Colt played as a college soccer player all four years and continued at a high level for another two years after school. He worked as an Athletic Performance Coach, Personal Trainer, and Soccer coach in his hometown Chatham, IL, finishing a two-year apprenticeship before moving out west. An aspiring Entrepreneur, Professional Athlete and a Public Speaker Colt looks forward to exercising his story-telling and leadership skills in this remote and wild place.
Anneke grew up in the dry, desert valley of Phoenix, AZ, but has always been drawn to rivers and oceans. With family in Idaho, and her first thrilling and scenic rafting trip on the Salmon River as a teenager, the seed was planted for her to become a raft guide. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2012 with a B.A. in Social Welfare and Geography, she has tried on many hats and lived in many places, but has always held a love for wild places and for the joys that come from sharing them with friends and strangers. In 2015, she began guiding for a rafting company in California’s gold country, where she worked two seasons, and then moved to Idaho where the rivers are many, the winters are long, and the people are warm. She enjoys hiking, swimming, storytelling, cooking, and a good solid pun.