Meet the Wilderness Guides!

Our goal is to provide a safe environment for all who strive to test their limits and explore the world around them. Thrifty Adventures excels in creating fun and informative events. We feel it is important to not only offer people new experiences but to dig deeper and teach them about the preservation and history of these areas!

Our Story

Scott and Christy Christy and I met in 2008 at a climbing gym, one week after she had returned from a medical mission in Africa. Her climbing partner had stumbled upon me while she was gone; after all, who wants to spend an extended amount of time off the mountain because you don't have a good partner to climb with! He introduced us and two years later we got engaged on Stone Mountain N.C. while she was hanging 80 ft off the side of the mountain!

We both have a passion for the outdoors and travel. Having understood that the best way to become successful is to follow one's passions; we decided to take all of the activities that made us so happy and provided us with so much personal growth and created Thrifty Adventures, a business that would allow us to share these experiences with others.

- Scott

Meet the Guides

Scott Thrift
Founder/Lead Guide

Scott Thrift In 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.

Darrel Kidd
Lead Guide and 20 year veteran climbing instructor

Darrel Kidd My 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.

Christy Thrift
Assistant Guide

Christy Thrift Nature 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!

Phillip Elting
Assistant Guide

Phillip Elting While studying Geology and Physics, broke and desperate for love and adventure, I signed up for a Rock climbing class. Little did I know that it would take over my life and challenge me more than anything I had ever dreamed. That was almost 10 years ago. Since, I have traveled the south east in search of those perfect moments where my fingertips and the rock meet in perfect unison. That one second where your pulling as hard as you can and your mind is clear and focused your eyes zeroed in on the next hand hold. Those are the moments I live for. I blame Darrel Kidd for this!( Darrel Kidd is a lead guide for TA but was my first climbing instructor back in college)

It is time to pass on the lessons and skills I have learned through years of climbing and training. Guiding is the next evolution of this skill set for me. I love to teach and to watch the growth people achieve through climbing. The light shines brighter through their eyes when they accomplish a feet they previously thought impossible.

I am also a woodworker by trade. I create pens, bowls, tables, and many other items out of beautiful woods from around the world. Enough about me, Let's go have some fun!

Genevieve Schambach
Certified Yoga Instructor and owner of

Genevieve Schambach I have been practicing holistic health and wellness since I was a child, taking my first yoga class at age six. I am an E-RYT, registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT) and certified with Yoga Alliance. My passion for teaching a sustainable yoga practice - focusing on alignment and breath work, come through years of classical ballet training. My approach encompasses mindfulness & meditation where the exploration of yoga is celebrated as a sacred time to go inside - finding a place that elevates and inspire from within.

I have a bachelor's degree from Ohio University. When I am not on my mat, I am with my camera - capturing Love & Light. I look forward to celebrating you and your journey through yoga and nature with TA!

* Vinyasa Yoga
* Prenatal Yoga
* Group Yoga
* Private Lessons

Why Choose Thrifty Adventures?

While there are many guide services available, Thrifty Adventures realizes that not everyone can summit the highest mountains. We do provide more technical trips but our emphasis is to provide safe trips for anyone who wants to test their limits and explore the world around them.

Another consideration that sets Thrifty Adventures apart from others is that we pride ourselves on educating our clients. It is important for all of our participants to understand gear, knots, techniques,

communication, and the importance of preserving these areas. We also take class sizes into consideration. We know that these types of guided wilderness experiences are pricey and each client deserves a little one on one time! Come join us and let us help you mark a few things off your bucket list!

Thrifty Adventures is growing fast. In the future we will be offering a variety of boating trips, US and international travel. We are insured and certified.


Thrifty Adventures gained its certifications through the Professional Climbing Guides Institute. We are proud to be a part of this wonderful organization.

PCGI Certified Single Pitch Instructor
PCGI Certified Top Rope Guide
Hiking Guide from the Professional Hiking Guide Association
Merit Badge Counselors for the BSA
CPR and First Aid
Wilderness First Aid
Girl and Boy Scout approved

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Keep close to nature's heart... and break clear away once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean! - John Muir