Nate Sydnor - Owner
AMGA - SPI
Nate hails from Appalachia, and has come to be the owner of MDA after nearly twenty years in the American West. While completing a BA in Education at Prescott College, he cut his rock climbing teeth right here in the canyon country of Southeastern Utah. Supercrack, the legendary route that started it all in Indian Creek, was the first route he ever attempted (unsuccessfully) on a rope. Although he has been far and wide, visiting many of the greatest climbing areas on Earth, his heart has remained here in red rock country. In addition to his official AMGA training, Nate has also been to the school of hard knocks. He's climbed prolifically in the desert, as well as pretty much every major climbing area in the US, from coast to coast, from big walls to boulders. Nate also has many first ascents and first free ascents to his name, up to 5.12+, ranging from Moab, to Indian Creek, to Patagonia. He has also studied under several of the IFMGA's most prestigious guides, completing training in nearly every discipline of guided terrain.
Nate also holds a Masters of Religious Studies from Naropa University, and originally had plans to pursue an academic life. Predictably, these plans changed once he began his first season as a part-time guide for Moab Desert Adventures back in the day. What was originally meant as a brief hiatus from academia turned into a new life as Nate quickly realized that he much preferred to be working and educating in the desert and in the mountains. He is reserving his life in a classroom and behind a lectern for his retirement years.
Here at MDA, we gain great satisfaction by helping our guests find what they are searching for in the desert. Whether it be a day of canyoneering with the family, or a solo trip to attain the summit of one of our amazing desert towers, it is our aim to help guests achieve their goals in a safe and enjoyable way. With a wide array of technical and scientific understanding, we try to ensure that our guests attain a glimpse of the beauty and serenity that the desert has revealed to us. Always guided by passion, we look forward to sharing the majesty of the desert with you!
AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide
Marie started climbing in 2002 at Stoneworks Climbing Gym, in her hometown of Beaverton, Oregon. She instantly fell in love. Shortly after, she joined the Mazamas Explorer Post, a high school climbing club, where she learned the techniques and practices of traditional and sport climbing, mountaineering, and rescue skills. Through the Explorer Post she met two of her best friends, and together they ventured out to climb and explore all over the west. She climbed her way through college in New England, and has since climbed all over the U.S., as well as in Mexico, Israel, Greece, and Bulgaria.
Clients routinely comment about Marie’s enthusiasm and skill. She is an expert at putting people at ease, and we always receive feedback about her clear and concise explanations of the subtle nuances of climbing and canyoneering. Whether it’s on a technical desert tower, an afternoon stroll, or an advanced climbing clinic, Marie is versatile, competent, positive, and encouraging. She is the most recent addition to the Moab Desert Adventures guide pool, and has made quick work of becoming a true desert-dweller.
Before joining the MDA team, Marie taught and coached climbing in Oregon, and guided in the South Platte and Colorado Springs regions of Colorado. In the winter off-season, she likes to visit family, ice climb around Colorado, and chase the sun to climb in more southern locales. When she's not working in Moab, she can usually be found climbing sandstone splitter cracks in Indian Creek, and scary, obscure desert towers in the middle of nowhere. Otherwise, she enjoys hanging out with good friends, eating the vegetarian specials at Milt’s, and doting over her beloved dog, Gabe!
AMGA - SPI
Jay is most certainly our resident climbing historian/poet laureate. With over 50 years of experience, he has a vast knowledge of climbing history, knows everyone in the climbing world, and has a story for almost any climbing situation, often beginning with; “This one time on El Cap…”
He has done hundreds of first ascents throughout the West, including the first 5.13 off-width in the world, Lucille, in Vedauwoo, Wyoming, an elegant and brutal line.
Jay started climbing on a family vacation to the Tetons when he was seven. He did his first leads at age eleven, swinging a hammer to place pitons in a world before the traditional protections of today’s cams, stoppers, and bolts existed.
Jay first started teaching climbing while in the Boy Scouts, and later, in High School. He has guided professionally in California, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, and Utah.
He’s also a telemark and skate skier, proud father, and long distance trail runner (49 marathons and Ultras).
He’s written a peak-bagging guidebook to California: Climbing California's Mountains, Falcon press 2003. Jay also has a degree in Geology/Paleontology from the University of Wyoming, and a Special Education teaching credential. On his days off, you can find him on any number of obscure desert off-widths, mountain biking, or trail running.