Meet Our Guides

Brad JohnsonBrad Johnson

“Brad is a top notch trip leader. He has terrific knowledge of the local mountains and customs of Peru. We especially appreciate his care of the environment and attention to minimizing impact.”
--Blake and Carol Storie, Ishinca Valley & Chopicalqui Climb

Brad Johnson, founder and managing director of Peaks & Places Travel, first started guiding people on adventure travel trips in 1981. Brad has been a trip leader and mountain guide for over 20 years. In all, he has over 35 years of experience climbing around the world. He first climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 14 and in the years to follow, he has climbed and guided in Alaska, Europe, Peru, Ecuador, Nepal, New Zealand, China and Africa. He has been on 17 major expeditions, two of which were to Mt. Makalu in Nepal (the world’s 5th highest peak at 27,826ft.) in 1989 and 1992. A third expedition was to K2 (the world’s 2nd highest peak at 28,250ft.) in China in 1994. Brad summited Cho Oyu (the world’s 6th highest peak at 26,910ft.) in September 1999. Brad is a certified Wilderness First Responder, has both Level I and II Avalanche training, and participated in the American Mountain Guides advanced alpine guides course. Brad brings a wealth of experience and safety to the mountains.

Climbing & Trekking Guides

Koky CasteñedaKoky Castañeda

“Koky and Cesar can’t possibly be matched for their expertise and energy and willingness to share their knowledge, both in climbing skills and details to their country. I learned an enormous amount from Koky."
--Gary Vittoz, Ishinca Valley & Chopicalqui Climbs

Koky Castañeda, from Huaraz, Peru, is a fully certified UIAGM Alpine guide, has served as president of the guides association in Huaraz and has been director of the certification courses. Koky speaks fluent English, French and Spanish. Koky was also a key player in making the highest successful rescue of an injured climber from the summit of Huascaran Norte. In addition to Brad being the trip leader, Koky Castañeda, will be our head climbing guide for any of our climbing trips with groups of 4 climbers or larger. By having Koky join us this will not only add safety to your climbing experience, but will also ensure that we continue to keep our guide to client ratio small. With groups of 6-8 climbers we will bring along another UIAGM Alpine guide to help keep our guide to client ratio small.

Cesar RamosCesar Ramos

“Koky and Cesar were as good as they get. They both, at different times, went well beyond the call of duty. For Cesar to get 81 year old Dick Jessor up and down Ishinca was amazing!”
--Jim Whipperman, Ishinca Valley & Chopicalqui Climbs

Cesar is also a full UIAGM certified alpine guide. He was born in the heart of the Cordillera Blanca in the village of Chacas. Cesar has climbed many peaks in the Coridillera Blanca and is one of the few guides to explore new routes in the range. He speaks great English and has boundless energy and a constant smile. He brings strength and safety to the team and is always a favorite guide among clients. When we have groups of 6 climbers or larger Cesar Ramos will be joining us.

Christian StollChristian Stoll

“Christian was awesome. When I roped up with Christian I had more confidence and my mind was more at ease, which in turn allowed me to enjoy the climb rather fret about it.”
--Gordon Larson M.D. Pisco and Chopicalqui Climbs

Christian was born in Trujillo, a costal city on the northern coast of Peru. Christian’s mother is from Arequipa, located beneath the high volcanoes of southern Peru and his father is from Switzerland. The mountains above Arequipa and in Switzerland inspired Christian to be a mountain guide. He mainly grew up in Switzerland but went to high school in Pittsburgh PA and received a business administration degree from Butler County Community College. Christian speaks fluent English and Spanish and still remembers his German.

In 2009 Christian passed his final grueling 45-day Full Mountain Guides course based in the Cordillera Blanca Mountains of Peru and taught by the UIAGM/IFMGA certified guides office in Huaraz. With 10 years of climbing in the Cordillera Blanca and 7 years guiding, Christian is rapidly developing a solid resume of climbs and has a sincere and positive personality to go with his guiding skills. All of our clients who have climbed with Christian come away enjoying his energy, competence, patience and safe attitude toward the mountains.

Carlos Callupe CarreraCarlos Callupe Carrera

Carlos was born and raised in the small town of Pocpa located below the majestic Cordillera Huayhuash Mountains. He spent most of his youth there studying and helping his family with their farm. His father was one of the pioneers of guiding both trekking and climbing groups in the Cordillera Huayhuash. It was hear that Carlos was introduced to tourism, trekking and the sport of climbing. By the age of 16 he was acting as assistant guide with his father taking trekking groups around the Cordillera Huayhuash mountain range. He participated in a National Geographic Society expedition documentary called, Sources of the Amazon River and he help with two other documentary movies made by the National Television of Peru, one called Challenge of the Andes and the other Reportage to Peru.

Following his passion for mountaineering he decided to go to the university and Peru’s mountain guide school. After 4 years of studying and training he became a fully qualified IFMGA mountain guide. A world recognized certification for mountain guides. Carlos has climbed and guided in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and many places in his home country of Peru.

Carlos now lives in Huaraz, he speaks Spanish, Quechua and English. He is a true professional in the mountains, always concerned with the safety of his clients, helping them to learn new and safe techniques for climbing. He is soft spoken and always has a smile and ready to help with what ever has to be done. Carlos helps Peaks & Places with both our climbing and trekking adventures.

Cusco Cultural Guides
Marco PalominoMarco Palomino

“We will never forget Marco Palomino’s passion for his culture and his country – a very special person and guide.”
--Carolyn and Bill Schwartz, Mt. Salcantay & Inca Trail Trek

Marco was born and raised in Cuzco and comes from a family of 5 brothers and 3 sisters. He is married and has 3 beautiful daughters of his own.

Marco has been guiding groups throughout Peru for 14 years and has been an officially certified guide for 10 years. He is fluent in English, Spanish, German and Quechua, the native Andean language. Marco has a deep heartfelt passion that few guides really have for their country, the Andean Culture, the Inca culture and the legacy they left behind. He also has a gift for getting you excited and involved in the places you are visiting and he is an excellent communicator.

Marco is constantly studying about the Inca’s history and how their culture interacted on a daily basis with nature and their belief system in the mother earth and the heavens above. Marco has studied at length about the flora and fauna of the region as well as astronomy and astrology and how all of these things played important rolls in the Inca Culture and the current Andean Culture.

Peaks & Places is proud to have worked with Marco for the past 8 years as our head cultural guide in the Cuzco region. Have a look at the many testimonials we have received about Marco Palomino. He makes your trip a unique “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.

Gary Sanchez Rivas

“Gary simply made the trip for everyone with his wealth of knowledge and his passion for his culture. He was very responsible and took take care of everyone’s needs.”
-- Cynthia Conner, 2007 Classic Inca Trail Trek

Gary was born and raised in Cuzco. He was raised by his parents who speak both Quechua and Spanish and grew up with two brothers and two sisters. Gary speaks a little Quechua himself, the original language of the Incas and his ancestors. He has a strong belief in the Quechua culture, being raised by and spending his youth around Quechua speaking people.

Gary is a graduate of the Instituto Superior Antonio Lorena de Cuzco and has studied Anthropology, Archeology and history. His goal is to be an Anthropologist one day. Gary has spent the past 11 years as a licensed cultural guide leading trekking and cultural trips within his home country of Peru. He has guided many groups on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, as well as to Choquekirao, around Mt. Ausangate, and Salcantay. He has traveled throughout South America, Spain and France. Gary speaks Spanish and English fluently and has a very charismatic personality. He is charming, fun, patient and always eager to share his knowledge of the Cuzco region with anyone he is guiding. All of our clients have enjoyed Gary’s skills as an educator and cultural guide.

Peaks & Places • 45 Ridgeview Lane • Ridgway, Colorado 81432
Ph: 970-626-5251 Fax: 970-626-3286