In 1999, mountaineering outfitter Alpine Ascents International established the Alpine Ascents Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving the lives of people who live in indigenous mountain areas by providing access to education and resources.

The Sherpa Education Fund provides finances for education and educational facilities for Nepali students. It is the hope of the Sherpa Education Fund that, through education, these students will enhance their communities by sharing knowledge and generating resources in the future.

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Todd Burleson

Director and founder of Alpine Ascents International, Todd has achieved unparalleled success in the mountain guiding industry and is one of the world's leading mountaineers. Todd spent most of his childhood in Alaska where his prowess and love for mountaineering were developed. In his eighteen years of guiding, he has led 8 expeditions to Mt. Everest, and has guided successful expeditions on every continent including all of the Seven Summits. In addition to instructing mountaineering courses, Todd has recently led successful expeditions to Mongolia, Rainier, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Everest and a number of first ascents in the arctic region of Greenland. Recently, Todd led our trip to Cho-Oyu and runs our school and Denali programs in Alaska. Todd joins many of our expeditions in a support role, overseeing logistics, climber development and ensuring a good time is had by all. He currently lives in Alaska where he is raising yaks, fishing and flying.  Forever climbing great peaks around the world, Todd just climbed Aconcagua again as well as Australia's Kosciusko, completing his Seven Summits for the second time.  In 1998 Todd was awarded the American Alpine Club's prestigious David J. Sowles award for his rescue efforts on Mt. Everest in 1996.

Gordon Janow

Gordon is a founding member of Alpine Ascents and is responsible for overseeing all operations and creating written materials, researching climbing and cultural histories. He manages all aspects of the business, our office and is our marketing expert with a keen interest in client care and customer service. Details, details, details…

On the travel front, he is a long-time independent traveler, and  scouts new locations such around the globe with a particular focus on the Indian subcontinent. Most recently Gordon lectured in and visited Kosovo and the Western Balkans;  and the region of Ladakh, India researching new trekking areas. Over the last 30 years he has spent over 5 years in the India region, visiting states such as remote as the hill tribe region of Nagaland, with other intrepid journeys to Mongolia, Iran and Yemen. Gordon leads most of our India trips, such as treks or private journeys such as the art and architecture tour of Central India.

As a writer, he has had both fiction and travel works published in the U.S. and India. Gordon has served as an Indian subcontinent expert for numerous media sources such the New York Times, BBC  and Outside Magazine and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC and the NBC Nightly News.  Gordon and his family joined our trek to Everest base camp, introducing his kids to the joys of Asian travel. Any other "spare" time Gord can be found coaching ice hockey in rinks of the Northwest and Canada.

Gary Harrington

Gary directs the day-to-day financial operations of Alpine Ascents. He's recently arrived in Seattle after living overseas for a number of years whilst working for various not for profits. Gary's interests include soccer, cricket and a growing understanding of baseball.

Dane Burleson

As Guide Manager, Melanie supports guide staff in the field, oversees guide scheduling & recruitment, permitting, and coordinates guide trainings. In addition she acts as a liaison between office and guide staff in order to provide the highest quality programs possible to our climbers. Melanie brings diverse professional experience working as a field Instructor and Course Director for Outward Bound, a guide for young adult cancer survivors on wilderness trips, a classroom teacher and an outdoor educator. Melanie has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad but is happy to call Seattle home. In her free time she explores the outdoors by foot, bike, skis, or boat as much as possible.