About the Project

Exum Mountain Guides is likely the oldest climbing school in the United States. It officially began offering services in Grand Teton National Park, WY in 1930, as the Petzoldt School of American Mountaineering. While there are many articles and books about individual guides connected to Exum Mountain Guides, a comprehensive history has not been written. Collecting and writing this history is the goal of the Exum History Project.

This website was created in order to share stories and resources about the guide service and the guides, collect stories and historical materials from readers, and gather together a community of people interested in the history of this iconic guide service.

About Dr. Kimberly Geil

Head shot of Dr. Kimberly Geil

The Exum History Project is run by Dr. Kimberly Geil. She is the third generation in her family to work at Exum Mountain Guides. Her uncle, Peter Lev, began guiding in 1960 and later was one of the four guides Glenn Exum sold the climbing school to in 1978. Her grandfather, Lester Lev, worked in the Exum Office that same summer his son became an owner. When Kim was 12 years old, she visited her uncle in the Tetons. This was the start of a love affair with the Tetons and the climbing school, and she began working full time in the office in the summer of 1996.

Kim has recorded oral histories with multiple guides, clients, and office staff, so that their stories will be preserved. As she writes profiles for some of these individuals, she will share them here, along with other stories and resources. Eventually, these stories, along with other materials from archives and readers of this site, will turn into a book about the history of this iconic guide service.

Kim has a B.A. in Sociology from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research on Teaching from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is the founder of Coaching Heights, a coaching business that specializes in helping people optimize their lives so that they can show up more consistently as their best selves, and also find work that fulfills them. One of the reasons she loves working in the Exum Mountain Guides office is because she arranges climbing adventures that help people dig deep and tap into potential they never realized they had.

You can support this project by:

1) Signing up for the email list so you’ll be notified about new profiles and events;

2) Sharing historical artifacts, photos, or stories about Exum Mountain Guides, and/or

3) Donating to help cover costs related to transcriptions, professional editing, scanning and transferring of old documents, photos, and audio recordings to digital formats, website hosting and maintenance, researching and writing time, and more. Then see your name on the Honor Roll!