The roots of Alyeska Mountain and River Guides go back to the early sixties when much of Alaskaís backcountry was being explored for the first time. In 1962, climber, kayaker and adventurer Sepp Weber created Weber Alyeska Wilderness Guides and began offering adventures into the Alaska wilderness on rivers and mountains he pioneered. Sepp is legend in Alaska for his many exploratory journeys and remote expeditions and may be the most famous Alaska explorer living today. Raised in Austria where he cut his teeth skiing and climbing in the Alps, Sepp became a noted ski instructor and mountain guide throughout Europe and soon began adventuring all over the globe. He came to Alaska in the early sixties where he was part of the first team to ski Mt. McKinley and Mt. Logan in Canada and led many first descents of Alaskan and Canadian rivers. His book, Wild Rivers of Alaska, was the standard text for arctic river journeys for many years.
Michael Funke developed his love of outdoor adventure from scouting and family camping trips across the American West. After a summer at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Michael attended Vanderbilt University where he became the coordinator and head instructor for the Vanderbilt Outdoor Education Program teaching wilderness skills. After leading two climbing trips from Vanderbilt to the mountains of Alaska, Michael knew this was home. His first guide job came in 1982 in Katmai National Park where his path would cross with Sepp Weber. Michael was hired by Sepp in 1984 and became his chief guide. Michael took over part of the business in 1993 and named the new company Alyeska Mountain and River Guides.
Michael operates the business and guides many trips throughout the year as well as exploring the Alaskan backcountry on his own adventures. Michaelís outdoor experience led him to a position as an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska where he taught mountaineering, rock climbing, crevasse rescue, snow, rock and ice anchors and orienteering. He also served on the Risk Management Advisory Committee for the Alaska Wilderness Studies department at the University of Alaska.
In 1993 Michael was hired by the National Geographic Society to provide mountain safety and to help film the Mount Vaughan Antarctic Expedition in Alaska, Patagonia and Antarctica. This documentary was release on National Geographic Explorer as "The Height of Courage: The Norman Vaughan Story." He continued working and advising on many movies, documentaries and commercials filmed in
. Soon after, AMRG expanded into the film location business with partner John Markel and Alaska Film Locations was created. Alaska
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