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The native Algonquin word for Mt. Marcy (5344'), the highest summit in New York's High Peaks region, is Tahawus or 'Cloudsplitter.'

Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides LLC is co-owned & operated by Jesse Williams & Emilie Drinkwater. In 2012, Mark Scott joins Cloudsplitter as a guide and coordinator of summer Adirondack rock climbing programs.

We believe that a good mountain guide has the skill and fitness of a pro athlete, the knowledge of an engineer, the judgement of a doctor, the patience of a teacher and the companionship and inspiration of a favored partner. Cloudsplitter's combination of professionalism and personality ensures an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides employs only AMGA Certified and NYSDEC Licensed guides and instructors who have invested in the pursuit of professional training and certification, have demonstrated the minimum standards of experience, skill and competency, and share an equal measure of personable attitude and friendly demeanor.

jw_bio_photo_1.jpgJesse Williams is founding owner/member of Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides LLC. After graduating from nearby Middlebury College (B.A. Environmental Studies) in 1994, Jesse started a professional mountain guiding career as a rock & ice climbing guide in the Adirondacks, a ski patroller at Jay Peak in Vermont, and an itinerant carpenter.



After developing a solid traditional foundation in the Northeast in the 1990's, his experience over the last two decades also includes a diversity of climbing and skiing adventures in the North Cascades, Rainier, Alaska, European Alps, Canadian Rockies and Tetons. He is a 'jack-of-all-trades' alpinist, schooled in the humble competency of northeastern traditions, but comfortable in any mountain range.

Jesse is an internationally licensed IFMGA Mountain Guide, certified by the American Mountain Guides Association as a Rock Guide, Alpine Guide and Ski Mountaineering Guide.

He is additionally trained & certified as a Level 3 Avalanche Forecaster, Wilderness First Responder and a LNT (Leave No Trace) Master Trainer.

His professional resume includes extensive rock and ice climbs throughout the northern & eastern US, rock cragging throughout the western US, alpine ice on Maine’s Mt. Katahdin; ski mountaineering descents and alpine rock, ice & mixed routes on the Kahiltna, Ruth and Pika glaciers in the Alaska Range, three Denali (Mt. McKinley) summit expeditions and ski mountaineering in the Alaska and Wrangell/St. Elias Ranges; alpine summit climbs on Mt. Rainier, Baker, the North Cascades, the Tetons and in Rocky Mountain National Parks; big water-ice climbs and ski mountaineering tours in the Canadian Rockies; multi-day ski tours in Quebec’s Chic-Chocs, long free climbs in Red Rocks and Yosemite, big walls in Zion Canyon, backcountry ski tours in the Colorado Rockies and Tetons and classic alpine climbs in the Chamonix Alps.


Jesse enjoying nice ice on Positive Thinking (II WI5) at Poke-O-Moonshine mountain.


 Photo, Tim Kemple

amga_rock_guide.jpg Emilie Drinkwater has been a climbing guide & instructor in the region since 2000.  In addition to Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides she works in Alaska with Alpine Ascents International and in the Tetons with Exum Mountain Guides.  Emilie has also worked frequently with North Country Community College's Wilderness Recreation Program and Plattsburgh State University’s Expeditionary Studies program. A former collegiate nordic ski athlete (B.A. Anthropology, St. Lawrence University) and two-time Lake Placid Ironman triathlete, Emilie is an AMGA Certified Rock Guide (one of only a very few American women guides certified at this level), Aspirant Alpine Guide, and a NYSDEC licensed Tier 1 rock and ice climbing guide. Emilie is in pursuit of additional AMGA Certification and has completed the AMGA Ski Guide Course, Ice Instructor Course, and Level 3 Avalanche Forecasting Course.

Emilie, Old Snowy.jpg

Emilie, Snowy Mtn. (Photo courtesy Jim Lawyer / )

You may also recognize Emilie from the cover (and pages) of Adirondack Rock- the recently published definitive guidebook to the region. While she is passionate about Adirondack face climbs and backcountry solos, Emilie‘s resume includes alpine ice on Mt. Katahdin, alpine rock in Alaska’s Little Switzerland, waterfall ice in the Canadian Rockies, multi-day ski tours in Quebec’s Chic-Chocs, desert cragging, long free climbs in Red Rocks and Yosemite, big walls in Zion Canyon, backcountry ski tours in Colorado, hard free climbs in Joshua Tree and long free adventure climbs in the Southeast.

Most recently, Emilie climbed several first ascents in the Indian Karakoram as part of an expedition to climb Saser Kangri II, alongside a crew of American Alpine Club all-stars who won the Piolet d'Or for their alpine style first ascent of a 7600M peak.

Emilie's blog on Outdoor Research's Verticulture details her experiences and is often refreshingly funny, especially the one about 'modern Adirondack guiding!'

Emilie thanks her sponsors for their support:





Mark Scott grew up in the Adirondacks and started climbing here when he was 12 years old, helping to establish first ascents in the High Peaks by the time he was seventeen. Mark graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2007 with a B.A. in Geography and a minor in Anthropology. Included in this time was a year spent ‘studying abroad’ in New Zealand, which in all reality meant spending every available opportunity in the amazing Southern Alps. This time reaffirmed that climbing would be a life long pursuit. Following college Mark spent time in Peru to gain high altitude experience and then moved west to climb. After several years sampling desert cracks and Rocky mountain alpine climbs, Mark returned east to the Adirondacks to pursue the hard, traditional climbs that most inspire him and to create a lifestyle that involves living close to the land and mountains.

Since moving back to New York he has spent time working as a guide in the Shawangunks, an outdoor educator and as a counselor for adjudicated youth. He hopes that this diverse background, as well as his certifications as an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor and training from the AMGA Rock Instructor course in 2011, will enable him to craft enjoyable experiences for his guests.


Associate Guides & Subcontractors. Cloudsplitter welcomes the opportunity to work with our fellow professional guides. As necessary, additional guides who are AMGA certified on the appropriate terrain (and NYSDEC Tier I Licensed) with the requsite professional experience, may be contracted or employed by Cloudsplitter to assist in programming.