A Guide’s Perspective on Yosemite’s Top Backpacking Summer Camp and Guide Service
Matt Schilowitz first joined Lasting Adventures as an intern back in 2017. He’s come back every summer since, and in that time graduated to a guide, then a lead guide, and now a program manager. But it’s not the paycheck that keeps Matt coming back—it’s the community, the park, and the impact that his job with Lasting Adventures provides. As an avid rock climber and a perpetual student of Yosemite’s big walls, our proximity to Yosemite—the mecca of modern rock climbing—also doesn’t deter him.
To gather some insight and answer the question, “Why Lasting Adventures?” we sat down with Matt to discuss the business of guiding, the culture of the company, and the impact of his work, both on the environment and the guests who attend our program. Here’s what he had to say.
Why should people come to Yosemite?
Many people’s daily lives don’t include any of that wilderness spirit or adventure.
Yosemite is truly a place of adventure and one of the last places around that really captures that essence of the wilderness spirit.
The park’s backcountry offers adventure at all levels within many disciplines. As a rock climber, I enjoy everything from the world-famous long multi-pitch climbs and big walls of the valley to the long mountain ridge scrambles in the alpine. Yosemite has so much to offer for everyone.
Every Fall, when I leave, I think of all the great times I’ve had that season, and I just know I’ll be back again.
What do you look forward to most about each season at Lasting Adventures?
Making a difference in a child’s life is so impactful to me, and I know that is why many of our staff are so passionate about this job.
Kids leave our trips with a greater understanding and appreciation of the natural world, Yosemite cultural history, technical backpacking skills, leadership skills, and confidence.
Kids have so many learning opportunities on our programs, and it is so fulfilling to interact with the youth and watch them grow in the span of six, thirteen, or twenty-seven days.
What’s special to you about Lasting Adventures?
There’s two things that make Lasting Adventures so special: community and impact. Our community is very tightly knit since we all live on the property; we share a lot of common interests. My coworkers are some of my best friends, climbing, and adventure partners. Staff training week is a great time to bond with everyone and get to know each other. I have never had trouble finding people to adventure with or hop on the bouldering wall in the evening. The weekly BBQs really bring everyone together too. Scott (our executive director) has a tradition of asking everyone to share one positive thing that happened that week, which always results in some amazing stories about youth participants growing or learning, adult clients having a great time, or personal adventures.
Lasting Adventures also do a great job of giving scholarships to youth who don’t have the ability to come to our programs independently.
This way, we can help kids see the amazing opportunities that the outdoors offers.
Matt Schilowitz is a veteran guide and program manager for Lasting Adventures Yosemite programs. He joined us five years ago as an intern and enjoys backpacking, climbing, and studying astronomy in his free time.
Featured image by LA intern, Sydney Shopp