Jon Ritze


I grew up in the vicinity of some pleasant woods and nature preserves in New York state and regularly used them during my younger years to play, often intrigued by the living squirmy critter’s that lurked about and the natural beauty of the woods. I collected frog’s from a pond behind my house, lifted rocks to reveal slimy salamanders, caught a few snake’s, and spent many afternoons after school rock hopping and swinging on vines.

At age 18 I had my first backcountry experience with a 3 week Outward Bound course and from that point on I was completely and hopelessly addicted to outdoor sports. Within the next few years I took 2 amazing courses with the National Outdoor Leadership School; the first a 78 day backpacking and whitewater canoeing expedition in the remote outback of Australia, the second a 90 day outdoor educator course in the Rockies including rock climbing, backpacking, backcountry telemark skiing, and 30 days of canyoneering in Canyonlands. This was my first Canyon experience, and I knew that one day I would return to Utah for more canyon exploration. My early twenties then shifted gears as I began getting into long-distance backpacking. In 2006 I thru-hiked 2200 miles from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail. In 2007 I hiked half (1350 miles) of the Pacific Crest Trail, hiking from Mexico to Northern California, and returned the following year to hike the rest of the trail from California to Canada through Oregon and Washington. These experiences taught me many lessons on life, personal capability, humility, and my seemingly innate need to be surrounded by massive mountains.

After spending the last several years living in New York working for an outfitter and exploring the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Adirondack Park and spending the summers backpacking in Montana and Colorado, I am thrilled to be back amongst the world of Slot Canyons, and endless outdoor recreation opportunities. My biggest problem living out here so far has been figuring out how to spend my free time; canyoneering, rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking, there’s just too much to do!