Owner, General Manager, Senior Educator and Senior Guide
Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides is owned and operated by Joshua Baruch. Joshua has been working in the outdoor industry for 21 years, with experience in outdoor guiding, healthcare, mountain rescue, transportation, and safety. Joshua has a tremendous passion for exploring the outdoors, a desire to promote exploration in others, a strong sense of responsibility related to mountain safety, and an uncanny ability to find the best local places and experiences possible.
Joshua grew up in Connecticut but spent much of his childhood ski racing in Vermont and backpacking/ski mountaineering in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire. His first backpacking trip was at age 7 with Mother, Heidi, and brother, Eddie, that included eight days and nights in the eight AMC huts around New Hampshires Presidental Range. At the end of that trip,he was hooked by the mountains and what he had experienced on that trip. The next year he skied Tuckermans Ravine headwall for mothers day at age 8 and that tradition continued every mothers day for the next 8 years. Josh now lives in Boulder with his wife, Erica, son, Asher, and daughter, Lilah. When not working, Josh can be found on the many trails, peaks, and couloirs in Colorado’s front range mountains. Throughout the four seasons, the Baruch clan continuously explores the magnificent terrain, scenery, and wildlife of their incredibly extended backyard!
After years as a professional Tennis athlete on the ATP Pro Tour, Josh started guiding in 1997, with a 3 month guide apprenticeship in Switzerland, and has more than 21 years of professional guide experience on 5 continents. Josh’s outdoor experience includes managing and owning a mountaineering guiding company that operated domestically and internationally for 5 years (California Expeditions), more than 30 international expeditions to five continents; AMGA training and AIARE certifications (SPI, Rock, Ski, and AIARE Level 3); 2 years high angle search and rescue experience; 2 years EMT-I working the 911 call system (Golden and SWAC Firestations); W-EMT training and certifications and WFR/WEMT Instructor; Critical Care registered nurse and ten years nursing experience (including trauma intensive care units, telemetry, post anesthesia, interventional radiology); Certifications in Advanced Trauma Life Support, Advance Cardiac Life Support (ACLS),Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Whitewater Rescue Technician (WRT), Colorado River Guide Instructor; Fly Fishing Guide Instructor; College Instructor for outdoor navigation and wilderness survival; Safety consultant and risk management plans written for the State of California; and Former wildfire red card and wildlife crew member. Joshua’s formal education include undergraduate and graduate studies in adventure education and leadership development and another degree in critical care nursing.
Josh has continued to build upon a solid outdoor foundation and passion developed from a young age. The important lesson I learned is exposure at a young age can really set the seed for a fondness and love of the outdoors. I am trying to create the same foundation for my kids and those that I have the opportunity of share time with outdoors, regardless of their age. We all get our exposure to different things at different ages and times.
The most important thing is creating a safe, fun, and engaging experience to maximize personal growth, learning, and ‘thirst for adventure of some kind’.
Josh lives by two principles in the mountains and rivers:
1. The summit or destination is optional and getting down safely is mandatory.
2. Just because you love the mountains, does not mean the mountains love you.
My goal is to create a safe, transformational, and amazing experience for all our guests!
Erica BaruchFacilitator / Guide
Erica truly appreciates the ways in which the wilderness provides inspiration. She has been guiding for Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides and Colorado Wilderness Corporate and Teams since the company’s inception and has been moved by how instructive and stimulating the outdoors can be when incorporated into team building and leadership development events. Erica brings a passion for diversity of perspective and an ability to help team members recognize the abilities and experience of their colleagues. Erica’s skill in noticing team dynamics allows her to make insightful observations that carry through to an organization’s day-to-day work.
In addition to working for Colorado Wilderness, Erica serves as an independent diversity and inclusion consultant for several local organizations. Her facilitation skills, honed in her consulting practice, contribute to her success with our clients. Additionally, she brings an enthusiasm for teaching effective communication and building trust. Erica values the cross-pollination of ideas that occurs by working in different contexts and enjoys seeing how quickly clients link what they learn in an outdoor event to their office environment. She believes nature encourages an openness that can be hard to achieve in the conference room.
Erica came to Colorado in 2001 so she could access the inspiring and calming properties of the wilderness daily. She spends time outside whenever possible and particularly enjoys the power of the wilderness to promote personal growth and connection with others.
Erica holds an AB and a MA in English Literature and a Juris Doctor. She is a certified trainer of the Influence Style Indicator (ISI), as well as a Wilderness First Responder.
Craig DobkinFacilitator / Guide
Craig is one of the most gifted and experienced facilitators in the state. Since 1985, Craig has trained and coached corporate teams using experiential methodology. In 1994 he received the Association for Experiential Education’s (AAE) Michael Stratton Practitioner’s award for his outstanding performance and in 2003 he was selected as an “exceptional experiential educator” to give AAE’s Kurt Hahn address. Craig’s journey has taken him on several paths, but always with an emphasis on team building and leadership development.
Craig founded four non-profits focused on experiential learning: Genesee Outdoor Learning, a K-5 outdoor education program; West Pines Training Center, which uses challenge courses to develop curiosity, undefeatable spirit, and tenacity; YouthBiz, which teaches middle and high school students entrepreneurial skills and habits through actual business ownership; and Play for Peace, which brings together people divided by conflict through laughter, inclusion, cultural awareness and compassion. Play for Peace now operates in communities across the world through Play for Peace Clubs and Practice Peace Sessions where mentors and trainers teach and role-model trust, communication, respect and cooperation.
Craig holds a BS in Outdoor Education and a MA in Special Education. He is a trained facilitator of the DiSC and Myers-Briggs personality profiles and uses these tools in his experiential work with teams. In conducting programs, Craig uses humor and introspective questioning, bringing both laughter and significance to the experience. Few leave an event with Craig without a profound appreciation for his wisdom.
Virginia SanfordFacilitator / Guide
Virginia Sanford discovered climbing when she moved to Colorado in 2007. She was instantly hooked. Since then she has travelled around the world climbing, backpacking and adventuring. She comes to Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides with experience as a wilderness therapy guide and eight years of experience as an outdoor educator. Virginia began incorporating team building and leadership development into her outdoor education work with children in 2009. Since then, she has facilitated team building and leadership development programs with children, adolescents, and adults from New England to New Zealand to Colorado.
Virginia has found the wilderness to be a setting capable of helping individuals tap into previously unknown capabilities. She has witnessed the transformative power that the wilderness has on communication, teamwork, and self-efficacy across age ranges. As a team facilitator, Virginia strives to incorporate the beauty and challenge of working within the wilderness setting to draw upon the innate strengths and competencies of participants.
Virginia is currently working on a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with the intention of integrating her love of the wilderness with the therapeutic realm. Virginia is also a certified Wilderness First Responder. When taking people into the wilderness, Virginia brings a passion for the natural world that is infectious.
Jill YargerFacilitator / Guide
Jill joined the educational and team-building staff of Colorado Wilderness Corporate and Teams in the summer of 2014. She is a educator, team builder, and mountain and river guide. Her goal is to help her guests activate new possibilities in themselves and to grow group cohesion. She uses a self discovery and reconnection to nature to help people contact to their core selves and to each other in a respectful and rewarding manner. She draws upon a background in DiSC, Myers-Briggs, and Higher Alignment personality tools, combined with deep interpersonal respect to let each guest feel connected and respected.
Jill moved to Boulder Colorado in 1990 from and worked in the aerospace industry as a structural engineer on space satellites for 25 years as well as completing her masters degree in engineering. On the weekends she discovered the mountains and started her training in outdoor hiking, climbing, and skiing. She started leading trips into the mountains for the Colorado Mountain Club and as her skills grew she started teaching in multiple mountain discipline. She also went on to give back to her fellow mountaineers by volunteering for the Mountain Rescue Association and the National Ski Patrol. She is a natural educator and has a gift for understanding the root causes of challenges to learning and she makes complex concepts more structured, streamlined, and attainable.
Today the call of sharing her love of the mountains has drawn her away from the engineering world and into guiding and educating people into journeying into the great outdoors, and returning safely. She now teaches various mountaineering skills and trains new instructors and trip leaders in the Colorado Mountain Club, as well as training rescue skills in the National Ski Patrol. She also teaches avalanche safety to the general public via the AIARE and NSP programs.
Robin MeetzFacilitator / Guide
Besides owning and operating a small business for 32 years, Robin who is a native of Colorado, brings her knowledge and experience of human behavior and self-discovery to CWRAG. She has been a Stephen Leader and Minister for 14 years, and has extensive training in the Enneagram; a vast and profound personality-typing system for learning about yourself and others from our underlying motivational factors.
Robin’s passions are a mix of psychology, philosophy, science and spirituality, along with mentoring and teaching others. She believes that we were all born with exactly what we need, and that it is our own work, self-discovery, and recognition and constant awareness of our false-self, that gets us to a place of balance, freedom and peace, and “doing life well.”
Diana SabreenFacilitator / Guide
Diana Sabreen has facilitated team building and outdoor education for youth and adults for over a decade. After traveling to 22 countries (at last count), she still loves showing clients the beauty of Colorado. Diana is a professional photographer (www.DianaSabreen.com) and the founder of Shoot Cameras Not Guns (www.ShootCamerasNotGuns.org), a non-profit that teaches photography internationally as a tool for social change and empowerment. Originally an east coaster, Diana was drawn to Colorado for the snowboarding, sunshine, music and culture. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder. After earning her degree, she ran several indoor rock climbing facilities, and created their Corporate Team-building programs.
Diana believes that experiences and challenges in the wilderness can provide life changing moments and is happy to share her outdoor knowledge with all experience levels. Her approach to team building focuses on positive and healthy communication, trust building, and helping clients break past perceived barriers to realize their own potential. She holds a Wilderness First Responder certification and prioritizes safety on every outing. Diana is a strong believer that play time for adults is as important as it is for kids. In her own play time, Diana practices acro yoga (partner acrobatics), dance, and circus arts, and is a Circus Yoga certified teacher. She thrives when helping adults use their bodies in challenging, creative, and rewarding ways, and believes that there is great opportunity for learning as well as fun in every event and activity.
Anita EngelOffice Staff / Accounting Director
Anita moved to Boulder, Colorado 17 years ago to engage her love of the mountains. She spends her free time hiking and training for mountaineering challenges. Anita has been successful in completing many domestic and international treks including; the John Muir Trail, the Dolomites, West Highland Way, West Coast Trail and the Bernese Oberland region in Switzerland. Anita’s enthusiasm for adventure has taken her, along with her family to the third highest peak in North America, where they climbed Pica de Orizaba. When at home Anita takes advantage of the endless activities the Front Range offers. The Front Range is a playground for avid hikers and climbers where she spends much of her free time with friends and family.
Anita supports Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides with her organization skills and attention to detail. Anita can be found at the head office where she assumes the role as accounting director. She has been with Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides for the past 7 seasons and its Anita’s goal to guarantee every customer enjoys a unique experience with nature.
Sandy HeiseOffice Staff / Educator
Sandy has guided and assisted with team-building events since 2014. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her first career was in I.T. doing software development and server administration. A passion for geography and maps led her to study Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in a two-year college program.
As a freelance writer, Sandy revised two hiking guidebooks for Falcon Guides (“Hiking Colorado” and “Best Hikes Near Denver and Boulder”) and created a new hiking guide for CMC Press (“Colorado Waterfall Hikes”). She enjoys hiking and mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, backpacking, ski touring, and photography. As a volunteer, she taught mountaineering/climbing courses and led trips for the Colorado Mountain Club. Sandy has backpacked more than half of the 567-mile Colorado Trail. She has summited Mt Rainier, Grand Teton, and 51 of Colorado's 54 official “14ers”. She has also explored mountain ranges around the world including the Himalayas, the Andes, the Pyrenees, Alaska's Chugach Mountains and Brooks Range, the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Cumbrian Mountains of England, and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Joey JohnsonOffice Staff / Group and Corporate Sales
Joey is a social butterfly seen at area concerts, brew fests and local festivals along the front range. She enjoys camping, boating, fishing, and all things under the sun with family and friends. A southern girl who likes to smell the roses along the way and the more that come along for the adventure, the merrier it is.
Seminole State Park in Wyoming is her favorite camping spot because of their sandy trails and beaches, and of course the shooting stars. Grand Lake ranks as the most beautiful spot in Colorado for her because it is so majestic with great constellation viewing, endless stars at night and that quaint cozy small-town feel.
She is a self-proclaimed tourism junkie and has been involved in a variety of economic and tourism initiatives while in the Colorado area. Serving on the Board of Directors for the GO NOCO regional tourism act grant committee and working with the grass roots effort of creating Visit Longmont, the convention and visitor’s bureau of Longmont, serving as the first president of the organization.
Joey is originally from Nashville, TN and a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a degree in public relations and psychology. She has worked with a variety of groups throughout her career in training and sales capacities within and outside the hospitality and tourism industry. Her credentials include various certifications and recognitions in sales and training from White Lodging, Marriott International and Ceridian (Comdata).
Michael RestivoOffice Staff / Sales and Marketing Guru
Michael is a skier, climber, and cold weather enthusiast from the great mountain town of Miami, Florida. After graduating from Florida International University with no idea what he wanted to do with his life, he went to work in Nepal for six months, in the time deciding he wanted to climb and ski. Michael moved to Seattle where he learned mountaineering, alpine climbing, and ski touring on Mt. Rainier and in the North Cascades, his favorite National Park. In Seattle, Michael was a freelance writer for outdoor publications such as the blog for The Clymb, and worked at a local ski shop.
Michael comes from an Italian American family and spent his university summers studying in Florence, Italy, and helping to guide university students through cultural and historical sites. Michael moved to Boulder to escape big cities, and he loves the Flatirons, the Indian Peaks, and Rocky Mountain National Park. His goal is to continue to climb and ski more ambitious lines, and inspire people to see the state with the same love that he does. With Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides, Michael wants to be ‘more than a guide company’ and engage diverse groups of people into unique and life-changing experiences, especially those, who like him, come from a place where the mountains aren’t prevalent. When he’s not executing a less than acceptable pour from the CWRAG kegerator, Michael enjoys skiing all conditions, climbing while loudly cursing through finger cracks, and writing bios.