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Meet the Team

We love what we do, sharing this special place with others, and we are committed to the highest standards of safety. If you’re in the Lake Tahoe area, be sure to link up with us for some rock climbing at Lover’s Leap!

Petch

Owner/Lead Guide

Petch has been climbing since 1989 and has passion teaching and guiding as much as he does for climbing. At the end of an eight month climbing trip that took him and his partner from Joshua Tree in Southern California to Devils Tower in the eastern part of Wyoming, and everything in between, the final stop turned out to be Lover’s Leap. The right turn towards Lover’s Leap landed Petch in the campground in 1993. Climbing for eight months and a bank account of zero, he quickly found a job at the Strawberry Lodge. Falling in love with Lover’s Leap and Strawberry he found making a home easy. A guiding job opened in 1996 with teaching youth backpacking and rock climbing. The exciting future of guiding as a full time profession led to the opening of Lover’s Leap Guides in 2003. With his enthusiasm and knowledge of Lover’s Leap, Lover’s Leap Guides has become the most popular and busiest service to climb at Lover’s Leap. He has spent countless ours working with the Access Fund, CRAGS, and the Forest Service to maintain trails, protect nesting raptors, and community outreach. Climbing most of the routes at Lover’s Leap, he has also added numerous routes of his own. From 5.5 to 5.12D, some of his first ascents have become modern day classics. A good chance you will probably climb one of his routes when you climb with Lover’s Leap Guides.

Petch is certified by the AMGA as a Rock Instructor and holds his certification as a Wilderness First Responder and CPR.

Zack Fletcher

Guide

Do you remember when you were a kid and thought anything was possible? I am still that kid, in awe of the big mountains, climbing the vertical terrain with its infinite possibilities. For over a decade, rock climbing has taken me to five continents and ten countries, offering a diverse exposure to the world of climbing These experiences have taught me that when we climb, train, and live with purpose we can all make our impossible..... possible.

I first started climbing on February 4th 2007 at Lovers Leap on a cold and windy Corrugation Corner. I have been climbing ever since. I am excited to work with Lovers Leap Guides, sharing my passion for climbing and this region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Steve Schwortz

Guide

Steve started climbing over 20 years in the Shawangunks in New York. A traveler and generalist at heart, he has climbed a little bit of everything in a lot of places - boulders and clip-ups, desert towers and big walls, waterfall ice, alpine ridges and big peaks . Since moving to California in 2008 he has climbed many of the classics in Tahoe, Yosemite, Bishop and throughout the Sierra.

Steve has been teaching climbing in various programs since 1997 and also spent 15 years working as an academic anthropologist and archaeologist earning three degrees and working on dozens of field projects in the US, Europe and Africa. Leveraging his varied outdoor education, scientific fieldwork and experience, his focus is on delivering high quality climbing instruction, fun experiences and effective programming for climbers of all experience levels and backgrounds. Climbing and archaeology combined to provide effective ways to travel extensively throughout North America, Europe and Africa while exploring both the natural and cultural worlds.

Steve is certified as an AMGA SPI and CWI and is a Provider for the AMGA CWI Program as well as the AAC Universal Belay Program. He is a certified WFR and holds the CWA Work-at-Height certification for Qualified Climbing Wall Workers. He also guides at Donner Summit for NASTC and ASI, works with several climbing gyms in Northern California and teaches at Sacramento City College.
photo: Tom Goliber

Daniel Johnson

Guide

Daniel found climbing in the hills of Alabama over a decade ago. Growing upon the rural South, he had something of a free-range childhood and often found himself playing in the woods and creeks for much of the evenings after school. This love of the natural world translated into a passion for mountaineering and alpinism, bringing Daniel to the Alaska Range, the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and down to Mexico’s volcanos.
Daniel served in the Navy as a Pilot until 2021. While in the Navy, he guided part-time but since 2021, he is now a full-time rock climbing guide, working at Lover’s Leap, Joshua Tree, and Red Rock. With a passion for climbing and sharing the experience that the rock gives, Daniel loves all things climbing. Probably the only things that he loves more are his dog, Nico, and his incredibly supportive partner — and that’s still up for debate.
Daniel is an AMGA Aspirant Guide and he also holds AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and Wilderness First Responder certifications. He is also a IRATA/SPRAT Level I Rope Access Technician.

Brady Latham

Guide

Brady started climbing over 20 years ago. She grew up in California, climbing at indoor climbing gyms on junior climbing teams. She has been teaching climbing since 2006 in collegiate and military outdoor recreation, indoor climbing gyms and non-profit outdoor education throughout California, Utah, and Colorado.

Brady is currently a rock site manager for California Outward Bound and the General Manager of an indoor climbing gym in northern California. She is certified through the AMGA and holds Wilderness First Responder and CPR certifications.

She loves splitter cracks and backcountry routes. She has climbed desert towers, granite peaks, and classic routes throughout the western states. When she isn’t climbing she is knitting beanies for friends or blasting music while cooking good food.

The Lover’s Leap climbing area holds a special place in her heart as it was where she climbed her first multi-pitch route growing up. Working for Lover’s Leap Guides allows her to share her passion for climbing on some of the best granite in California!

Sarah Shaw

Guide

Climbing since high school, undercover crusher Sarah Shaw has done it all from hard big wall free climbing to classic double digit bouldering and rare repeats and second ascents of routes all over the US and beyond. When she was a teenager, Gunks locals knew her as “Super Strong Sarah Shaw” because,well, she was super strong! She worked her way through the classics as well as the sometimes legendary hard and scary technical and physical testpieces that define hard Gunks climbing – the bastion of Northeastern trad climbing. She has climbed 5.13 onsights on gear, done major hard linkups of long
routes in Red Rocks and free climbed on El Cap. Sarah has climbed all over the world amassing a proud list of ascents with an impressive list of partners.
Many years of hard work and dedication has left Sarah equally talented with excellent technique and delicate footwork and of course with strong fingers. She can teach you both technical skills and movement lessons, help you train for your project and get you fired up for climbing your dream routes Sarah will help you work your way through the classic beginner climbs and moderates of Lover’s Leap and other Highway 50 areas and then can show you how to take those skills to harder climbs. Sarah is a certified AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and an Apprentice Rock Guide. She is also a certified Wilderness First Responder. In her other life Sarah is an experienced rigger in the theater and
art worlds, having worked on a variety of productions and projects. She spent years working as a routesetter and forerunning for major national competitions. Currently she is studying for a degree in radiologic technology while moonlighting as a ropegun for hire.

CJ Howard

Guide

CJ is a native of Southern California. His partner introduced him to climbing in 2008. For the last 15 years CJ has immersed himself in climbing. He moved to Northern California for the winters, but stayed for the world class climbing of the summers. CJ is a “para-climber” whose left leg was amputated below the knee in 2003 as a result of bone cancer. CJ enjoys working with people of all abilities and impairments. Beyond the crag he is a long time suffer-sport athlete and competitive cyclist, and works in health policy to make health care more affordable and accessible. CJ is currently an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and Apprentice Rock Guide.

JP Arizti

Guide

JP originally grew up in central Mexico where he was exposed to mountains in his early-teen years.
After having grown up in a really tropical and rural area of Mexico where he could roam free, this love very naturally transformed into love for the mountains which in turn took him in a journey along some of the worlds most beautiful ranges, from the Canadian Rockies to that Andes & Patagonia, as well as the French Alps
JP is now in a journey to reach the full level of IFMGA guiding in hopes of being the first Mexican ro reach this major accomplishment!