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Founder/Lead Guide

scott thriftIn 1999 I was recovering from my first shoulder dislocation, when my dad asked me if I wanted to climb Mt Rainier with him. I replied, "Sure, what's Mt. Rainier?" Dad gave me a book and 6 months later, off we went.

We did a week long mountaineering seminar with Rainier Mountaineering Inc. I fell in love with the mountain & the sport. I came home and took up rock climbing, as this was the closest thing to mountaineering I could do in this region. I spent the next 2 years learning as much about climbing & rope management as I could. During that time I summited Mt Rainier, Mt Whitney and Mt Shasta.

Two years later I returned to Mt Rainier & tried out for a guide position with RMI. There were 80 people more qualified than I; and only 6 open positions.

I knew I was far less experienced but decided I would have fun with it. It was a tough couple of days. I was passed over for a guide position, but was asked to stay on as a carpenter. Later I was informed that they had created the position for me because they were interested in keeping me on so I could gain experience. I climbed on my days off and was able to interact with some of the more seasoned guides. I picked their brains and absorbed all of the information they were willing to give me. I spent about 6 months there.

Since then, I have climbed 8 of the 15 fourteeners in California including Mt Whitney, Mt Shasta, and a multitude of routes on Rainier, Mt Baker, and Mt Hood. I have also climbed a couple times in Peru. I continue to climb in NC, WV, TN, CA, OR, WA, and Utah.


Lead Guide and 30 year veteran climbing instructor

darrell kiddMy journey to climb and become a climber began more than 25 years ago here, in NC, at Crowder's Mountain. Since that time this journey has taken me into 16 states. It has caused me to hike and carry climbing gear over literally thousands of miles of approach trails. I have climbed and belayed more than 100 miles of vertical, technical rock. Rock climbing has afforded me some of the most exhilarating and fulfilling experiences of my life along with a couple of the most terrifying. I have had the great fortune to plan..., prepare for...., then execute and celebrate numerous mountaineering adventures. I have also had the good luck and good wits to survive a few adventures not-so-planned. You take what the mountain gives you and, hopefully, you learn from it all. Whether laboring up desert spires in the 105 degree summer swelt of southern Utah or shivering through unexpected ice storms on alpine towers in Wyoming, I have learned to climb my way out of trouble.

Lessons learned on rock become lessons applied in life. At this stage in life my adventure days may be past, but I can re-live that sense of adventure, the excitement and even the fear and trepidation of this great sport in the eyes, and through the expressions, of students and clients. Teaching and guiding gives me an opportunity to give to others a portion of what the sport has given to me. I have been a climbing instructor for close to 20 years at a local college.


Assistant Guide

christy thriftNature has always been close to my heart, but climbing put it all into an entirely different perspective. I graduated with a biology degree with a concentration in conservation and animal behavior in 2003! A few years later I got into hiking, backpacking, boating and of course rock climbing. I was at a cross roads in my life and needed something that would help me build trust and confidence in myself and others. I joined an outdoor club that helped me continue to climb on a regular basis and gave me the opportunity to fall in love with hiking and backpacking. These activities did help me gain the personal strengths I was searching for, and introduced me to some of my closest friends and now hubby!

I have spent many hours in wilderness settings and have gained a lot of peace and strength from it. A few of my favorite adventures were: rafting the White Nile, Living at the Rock Ranch and climbing daily at Hueco Tanks, Climbing at the New River WV, camping out in rainforests in Washington State, Hiking the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Rappelling and hiking the Narrows in Utah at Zion National Park and of course my NC home climbing at Crowders, Pilot, and Stone Mountains! It wouldn't be right if I didn't show love for the local Blue Ridge Mountains, those majestic peaks have a piece of my heart!

I am excited to create Thrifty Adventures! Not only is this company giving me the opportunity to further my climbing knowledge but it thrills me to know that I can help others search for themselves on the side of the mountain!


Lead Guide

brandon pelfreyI've been climbing and mountaineering for about 17 years, and professionally guiding for 7 of those years on rock, ice, and mountaineering experiences. While guiding in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, I earned a Masters in Counseling from the University of Wyoming in order to pursue my personal passion of wilderness therapy. I hold a National Certified Counselor (NCC), and am working toward full Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). My true happy place is the wilderness, and in the high alpine. It's my privilege to introduce people to the wilderness, and provide them with meaningful opportunities to enjoy and grow through outdoor experiences. I look forward to seeing you out on trail!

  • American Mountain Guide Association - Single Pitch Instructor 
  • American Mountain Guide Association - Climbing Wall Instructor 
  • ACCT Challenge Course Level 1 Facilitator 
  • Wilderness First Responder 
  • Leave No Trace Master Educator


Lead Guide

mitchell rutledgeI have always enjoyed being outside and going on adventures. Raised in Florida I spent my childhood camping, boating, Mtn. biking and dirt bike riding. I was introduced to rock climbing by a friend in 2012 and quickly took interest in the physical and mental challenges of the sport. Soon after my introduction I began taking courses and collecting gear to take my friends climbing. After several years of sport and gym climbing I found a love in multi-pitch traditional routes on some of North Carolina's most iconic climbs which lead me to seek higher education.

My education comes from the Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) and includes Top Rope and Single Pitch guide training and I continue to improve on it every year with more experience and knowledge. My motivation in becoming a guide came from my desire to share the burning passion I have for climbing with those that have not yet caught the climbing bug. 

Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy motorcycle riding and work full time as a Mechanical Engineer at a local engineering firm in Charlotte, NC.


Assistant Guide

daniel bomfimAdventure and exploration are some of the best experiences to be had. You learn about the world around you and more importantly about yourself. I believe that is one of the major attractions I have to the climbing. You can always push your physical and mental limits, no matter what level you are. And you get to see and experience beautiful locations in the process. And what better way to enjoy your passions then helping other people share those experiences and achieve their goals. 

I've been guiding with Thrifty Adventures for 3 years or so, mostly climbing and kayaking trips. I've also completed the Top Rope Guide and Single Pitch Guide courses from PCGI and always wanting to learn more and highly recommend taking courses whenever possible. On more of a personal note, I was born in Brazil moving to the US when I was 11, so Soccer is a way of life. I also speak Portuguese, Scuba Dive, love to hike and go camping.

I've been very lucky in my life and have gotten to travel quite a bit, some of my favorites have been : Climbing in Spain, going to Premier League match in London, watching Messi score a hat trick at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, scuba diving in Brazil, Hawaii, Bahamas, Honduras, Mexico, hiking in Alaska and seeing the glaciers, hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro, and touring several castles in Germany.

To finish I would like to share these two quotes that I really enjoy. "Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show." And "If it excites you and scares you at the same time, it probably means you should do it." And that is what is great about Thrifty Adventures, you can do what excites and scares you in a totally safe and fun environment. Hope to see you soon and happy adventures!


Assistant Guide

amanda krollI've always loved the great outdoors and traveling. I grew up in a military household and was blessed with the opportunity to live in a lot of different places. I initially got into rock climbing in college, as a Physical Education requirement and loved the challenge and camaraderie that it created. After taking this class it was another six years before I really got into rock climbing recreationally. I love the challenge; both physical and mental, that comes with rock climbing. It has been a great way for me to meet people and share my love of the outdoors with others. I also enjoy other challenging hobbies like hiking, aerial dance, and have recently taken up beekeeping.

I have travelled all over the world including some hard to get to places. Two of my favorite places that I have been is Ushuaia, Argentina and Havasu, Arizona. However, we are blessed to have so many fabulous places in North Carolina to climb and visit and to live in such a diverse country. I am looking forward to hiking and climbing all over it in the years to come!! The opportunity to share my passion with others is so exciting!


Assistant Guide

Marissa MirbachI grew up in California, where I developed my love for outdoor activities with easy access to hiking, trail running, cycling, surfing and skiing. I started climbing at the gym a few summers ago with some friends, and fell in love with the sport.

I moved to Charlotte a year and a half ago, and climbing has been an amazing way for me to build community, make friends, learn skills and explore the outdoors. I primarily sport climb, but am always happy to follow my friends up adventurous multi-pitch trad climbs. My favorite places to climb in the area include Table Rock, the New River Gorge and Pilot Mountain.

I love working with Thrifty Adventures to help others get to know the North Carolina crags I've grown to love.

Thrifty Adventures,
12255 HWY 226A, Spruce Pine NC 28777
Phone: (828) 260-4505

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