Our Guides

At CenterFocus we take pride in having the best guides possible to make any adventure you choose to take with us the best it can possibly be. Our guides have tons of experience and expertise doing what they love to do and they enjoy sharing the wonders of the outdoors with you. We understand that when you book an adventure trip that you are not only choosing it to experience the beautiful outdoors, you are also choosing to have an expertly guided experience combining the best of adventure and safety.

Below are bios on each of our guides telling you about their qualifications, skills, and what they love most about the outdoors. We are happy they are a part of the CenterFocus team and are confident you will be just as happy to have them guide your next outdoor adventure.









Garret Bennett – Senior Guide & Owner

Garrett began climbing at age 12 and has more than two decades of experience rock climbing, canyoneering and hiking in over ten countries, across five different continents. He is certified in high angle rescue, confined space rescue, and is a certified Wilderness First Responder through the Wilderness Medical Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Garrett graduated from Arizona State University with honors and prior to founding CenterFocus, he had eight years of guiding experience working for multiple adventure companies. Garrett has also guided in the jungles of Central America. Garrett was a manager of the Climbmax - Climbing Center in Phoenix. Additionally, he had been the lead climbing guide for various climbing programs where he certified and trained other guides. He has worked with the United States Forest Service as a Wildland firefighter for five seasons where he also served as an orienteering instructor. His attention to detail is impeccable, his commitment to client satisfaction is unabating, and his passion for the wilderness is never-ending. He somehow manages to get 30 hours of work done every day and has for the past five years. When he's not guiding Garrett can be found cleaning up local canyons and researching environmental law.

David Malpas – Internet Marketing & Co-Founder

Dave, a native of New Jersey, graduated from the University of Mass., Amherst before moving to Arizona. He has been climbing for over 15 years and hiking for well over 20. Dave has had several years of guiding experience with various southwest adventure companies. Dave's outdoor leadership skills were honed at a young age in scouting where he achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout and is currently a Rock Climbing Merit Badge Counselor. He is a former firefighter/EMT, and also worked for the United States Forest Service as a Wildland firefighter and CPR instructor. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder and is also certified in high angle rescue. He has travelled throughout all fifty states, and most of the Canadian provinces. Dave has climbed extensively around the United States and in Europe, and recently spent time sailing throughout the Caribbean on an old sailboat that he retrofitted for his mission on the sea there. He is currently deployed to McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Zack Summit – Senior Climbing Guide

Zack Summit grew up on the East Coast before heading west to study Environmental Science at Prescott College in Prescott, AZ. Zack has been backpacking since before he could carry a backpack and rock climbing in New England and the West for ten years. He is an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor, certified Wilderness First responder, and has been trained in high-angle rescue and advanced wilderness medicine. Zack works and plays outside, and you won't see him happier anywhere else. When he's not summiting a Sedona spire or exploring local slot canyons you can find him leading community service trips for teenagers, cooking, or packing for the next big adventure.

Charles Matheus – Grand Canyon Backpacking Guide

Charles Matheus is an Arizona native who has a B.S. in Natural History and Education from Cornell University. Charles is also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School's Mountain Instructor's Course and has been guiding and teaching in the outdoors since 1988. He has led extended backpacking and climbing trips into most of the West's major mountain ranges and deserts. Charles likes to combine his passion for backcountry living and biology by keeping trip-by-trip species lists of flowering plants and birds. Charles has been a certified Wilderness First Responder for nearly 20 years. Besides leading canyon trips, Charles volunteers for an organization that provides rites of passage and long-term mentoring for underprivileged teenage boys.

David Klingbeil – Ranch Manager & Senior Canyoneering Guide

As caretaker for the Rocking X Ranch in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness, David serves as the adventure ranch manager and canyoneering guide for CenterFocus. In addition to potentially being the fastest hiker on earth, David knows the Anchas like his own back yard - as they are literally his own backyard. David is medically qualified and has served as a backcountry ranger for the Forest Service in these areas. He has been an avid rock climber for over ten years and has also served as a guide for multiple adventure companies where he learned to walk just a little bit slower for his clients.

Josh Klingbeil – Senior Canyoneering Guide

Josh is about as cool headed of a person as you will ever meet. He has climbed extensively throughout the desert Southwest as well as California, leading hard traditional routes or soloing. Josh is extremely competent in the vertical world, and has made quick work of challenging climbs throughout this region of the country. He is calm and understanding, putting any client at ease with his solid attitude, and obvious true and safe understanding of what he is doing. Josh worked for the US Forest Service as a Wildland firefighter before joining CenterFocus, and resides in the remote wilderness of the Sierra Ancha. He has guided for many other Arizona adventure companies over the course of the past decade. When he is not leading clients through a technical canyon, you probably will not find him, as he may be establishing first ascents in a remote piece of Arizona backcountry, or simply wandering through desolate pieces of wilderness looking for his next objective.

Ty Lampe – Senior Havasupai Hiking Guide

Ty Lampe is an Arizona Native that was born in a small mining town North of Phoenix, AZ. There, Ty began exploring the great outdoors and later continued on to spend 10 years working for the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center, a wildlife rehabilitation and educational division of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, where he worked with numerous species of wild animals and educational programs with an emphasis on venomous reptiles of North America. Ty has enjoyed a professional outdoor guiding career of over 20 years, where he has shared his knowledge of the Southwest with visitors from around the world. Ty has served as a consultant for several B.B.C. documentaries, as well as for P.B.S., Discovery Channel, Oxford Science Films and also for several movies that have been filmed in the state. Ty has worked as a white water rafting, mountain biking, fishing, horse-back riding, and backcountry hiking guide. Ty has guided Havasupai for over 15 years, and is one of the most knowledgeable non-natives in the area. When not guiding, Ty can be found searching for a rattler to spend a relaxing day with or enjoying the sweatlodge with the natives of Havasupai.

Melissa Philibeck – Archaeology Guide & Assistant Canyoneering Guide

Growing up in the land of the Menominee Indians, Melissa has always had an interest in Native American culture and a connection with the natural environment. Before moving to Arizona, Melissa graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Archeology and an emphasis in Native American studies. She has participated in several excavations of prehistoric Native American sites that date back 1,500 years. For the past five years Melissa has worked for the National Park Service as an archaeologist in the Sedona / Verde Valley area.

Eric Martin – Assistant Canyoneering Guide

After spending five years saving our National Forests from wildfire, Eric Martin decided it was time for a change of pace and CenterFocus was lucky enough to pick him up. Eric has an incredible personality and if you're lucky enough to be on one of his tours, he'll probably have you laughing just about the entire time. He is extremely dependable and his attention to detail and safety are second to none. When he's not dropping into a slot canyon, Eric can probably be found riding his motorcycle with his dog Charlie Brown on board.

Patrick Newill – Reservations & Backpacking Guide

Patrick spent the first 18 years of his life in a small town outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has been backpacking since he was 10 years old and started climbing when he turned 18. Patrick developed a love for the outdoors early in his lifetime and learned of the incredibly positive impact outdoor education has on the lives of children and adults alike which inspired him to earn a B.S. in Mountain Recreation Management and Adventure Leadership at Lyndon State College in Vermont. Before Centerfocus, Patrick worked as an outdoor instructor facilitating team-building exercises, top-rope site management, and high ropes work with Lyndon State Adventure. Patrick is an incredibly dedicated skier as well, spending the last 7 winters as a PSIA instructor teaching advanced ski techniques. When not guiding, Patrick is most often found on a slackline rigged between two cliff faces, playing guitar, or stepping into a pair of skis.

Barry Malpas – Astronomy Guide

One could say that Barry has a passion for astronomy and science. His education from Rutgers is in Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy. Originally from New Jersey, he came out to visit Arizona, fell in love with the dark skies and never left. Barry was a co-founder of the United Astronomy Clubs of New Jersey, a member of the Antique Telescope Society, is on the board of the Coconino Astronomical Society at Lowell Observatory and is a 50 year member of Amateur Astronomers, Inc. in Cranford, NJ. He has written several articles on Amateur Astrospectroscopy, is researching for a book on the the History of Women in Astronomy, and also teaches astronomy at Coconino Community College. When the sun is up, and he's not viewing sunspots, you can usually find Barry playing the guitar and singing a tune.

Van Nielson – Life Member

Van has a B.S. in Recreation Management and youth leadership, as well as experience as a Zion based canyoneering guide. Van has also made numerous descents of canyons in Costa Rica and New Zealand. At a young age Van loved the outdoors, earning the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America before moving to Utah, and then Arizona. Van has since moved into a new future with his family, and no longer guides for CenterFocus. Van was a critical player in our early years, helping us get to where we are today. We wanted him to be remembered into the future as he was a great person, and one of our original trusted guides. If you can locate him, Van may be found playing traditional sports or the role of "Uncle Van" for his nieces and nephew.