Meet Our Team

Our team combines a passion for the outdoors with friendly expertise to help our customers get the most out of their adventures.

  • Sandeep Nain

    CEO & Guide
  • Burke Lyman

    Store Manager
  • Ayden Belsky

    Assistant Manager &
    Rentals Manager
  • Brandon Prince

    Climbing/Camping Buyer & Climbing Specialist
  • Brennan Halterman

    Shoe Whisperer & Footwear Buyer
  • Will Bowen

    Ski Specialist & Graphic Designer
  • Anna Goad

    Climbing Specialist &
    Events Coordinator
  • Kelly Wilms

    Backpacking Specialist &
    Social Media Guru
  • Spencer Gjording

    Sales Associate
  • Bucky Bukowitz

    Sales Associate
  • Kayli Brown

    Sales Associate
  • Claire Larson

    Sales & Warehouse Associate
  • Jerry Casson

    Ski Specialist & Boot Fitter
  • Carson McCarrel

    Warehouse Trainer & Manager
  • Scott Mcleod

    Warehouse Manager
  • Kat Cutright

    Director Of Strategy

Sandeep Nain

CEO & Guide

Sandeep began his climbing career in the Pacific Northwest, and enjoys rock climbing, ice climbing, and backcountry skiing. He has climbed and guided extensively in the Cascades, and summited the volcanoes of Washington multiple times. Some of Sandeep's favorite climbs in the Northwest are the Torment-Forbidden-Traverse, Liberty Ridge, the Coleman Headwall of Mt. Baker, and the North Ridge of Mt. Baker. Although Sandeep is known by the climbing community for climbing big alpine routes, his first passion is rock climbing. On sunny days you can find him climbing with friends at Mt. Index, trying-hard on steep crimps at Exit 38, or in the winter pulling on plastic in the gym. He enjoys projecting 5.12 routes as much as climbing long rock routes in the backcountry.

In addition to a depth of climbing experience in the Pacific Northwest, Sandeep has extensive high altitude climbing and guiding experience. Some of Sandeep's first high altitude climbs were in the Indian Himalaya, where he and two friends achieved three first ascents of technical six-thousand-meter peaks in the Miyar Valley which were documented in the American Alpine Journal. He has also been active in Mountain Rescue, and earned the Life Saving Award for an especially difficult and dangerous mission.

These days Sandeep can be found responding to emails on his laptop at the warehouse, playing with his three daughters, helping customers at the shop, or climbing with Miyar Adventures guides during their time off.

Burke Lyman

Store Manager

Do what you love and never work a day in your life" was a phrase that Burke just did not believe. And then the mid-life crisis hit. He bypassed the neck tattoo and the convertible Camaro and opted for a job at Ascent Outdoors.

If you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the once-accused Sasquatch partaking in one of his favorite outdoor activities, you'd find him backcountry skiing, backpacking, fastpacking, long distance trail running or, just recently, alpine climbing.

Burke likes to talk. Boy, does he like to talk. If you manage to catch him at the store, he loves it when you ask him a question. If he doesn't know the answer, he will make sure to find someone who does.

Moral of the story: Burke didn't need a neck tattoo and convertible Camaro to love what he does and never work a day in his life.

Brandon Prince

Climbing/Camping Buyer & Climbing Specialist

Brandon has been with the store for two years now. His passion is climbing, whether it's ice and alpine or rock and big wall adventures.

"Climbing gave me a way to connect with the outdoors in an introspective way. For me, climbing is not just about getting to the top. It's about the inner conversations you have with yourself when you're unsure, and how you incorporate those lessons into your everyday relationships, especially the deep friendships you form with the partners you trust your life with. Facing fear and doubt taught me humility and gave me a better understanding of what's important in life. My goal is to bring this peace, self-awareness, and friendship to all new climbers, and help them discover just how truly capable they are."

Brandon loves to answer all questions climbing, whether it's crampons or cams, ice axes or aiders. See if you can stump him with a gear question!

Ayden Belsky

Assistant Manager & Manager Manager

Ayden is primarily a passionate climber who enjoys skiing, mountaineering, backpacking, and pretty much anything and everything outdoors! Ayden enjoys combining her history working as a teacher and therapist with her work outdoors within the outdoors at The Mountaineers’ day camps and now Ascent Outdoors. Ayden loves rocks, particularly crisp slabby and crimpy ones! In addition to rock climbing, Ayden enjoys spending time in and around water, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing.

Feel free to ask Ayden just about anything! From technical alpine climbing gear, to Trader Joe's snacks and dirt baggin’ essentials, Ayden is stoked to chat with you about all outdoor gear and adventures!

Brennan Halterman

Shoe Whisperer & Footwear Buyer

Brennan has had the blessing and privilege to be a part of the Seattle outdoor retail scene for 20 years now. Fortune threw him into the footwear department at the Seattle REI and he was able to work alongside some master class tutelage via OG GOAT Pete Smith for almost 5 years. After some time at The North Face he stumbled across Second Ascent in 2008 and is quickly approaching his 14th year at the business (now Ascent Outdoors) in August 2022.

Brennan has been the Footwear buyer at the shop since 2015 and has enjoyed the wild ride of the quest for a next-level footwear selection in the northwest. It has been his absolute pleasure to help assist all visitors to Ascent Outdoors with their foot health and footwear needs.

Brennan enjoys off-trail backpacking, looking for wildlife, swimming in lakes, crawling into tree holes, wading through coastal sea caves and, most recently, plundering trails with his two small children. He has had the sincere pleasure of extensive backpacking in SE Alaska, Denali National Park, and many, many areas across WA state.

Brennan can share many fun stories involving flying squirrels, huge elk skulls, cougar growls, the Marmot Underground, wacky bear glissades, 3am Alaska summer rope swing with Humpback Whales, Sasquatch theory, thirsty Mountain goats with hiking kilts, those 2 times at Burning Man, and, most importantly, Ice Weasels.

Will Bowen

Ski Specialist & Graphic Designer

Will spends a great deal of his time outside skiing, climbing, hiking, backpacking, biking, and practicing yoga. He has called many places home, from Atlanta and Santa Barbara to New Zealand, but couldn't be more excited to be in the Pacific Northwest at Ascent Outdoors. After years of wanting to increase his knowledge of outdoor gear and become more involved in the outdoor community, he finally feels at home and surrounded by good people.

Please come talk to Will about trees. If you don't want to talk about trees, Will is also happy to talk about environmental conservation, vegan cooking, yoga, and ceremonial teas. If you want to talk about gear for any of the activities listed above, come find Will. Trust me, Will can get into a really deep conversation about tent stakes if you're up for it.

Anna Goad

Climbing Specialist & Events Coordinator

Anna was born and raised 45 minutes away from Mt. Rainier National Park and the outdoors have always been a haven for her. She’s dabbled in a lot of outdoor activities, but you’re most likely to find her climbing in Squamish, Gold Bar or Leavenworth, hiking in the Cascades, camping out on the Olympic Peninsula or shredding her local skate park in her roller skates. The PNW is very much a part of her fabric and it brings her a lot of joy helping people get outside for their next adventure. Ask Anna about a good hike or boulder to climb, she has really good taste.

Kelly Wilms

Backpacking Specialist & Social Media Guru

Kelly's love for the outdoors started with camping and backpacking. She has backpacked in 14 National Parks and hopes to keep exploring. After backpacking, Kelly got into sports climbing and has learned most of her climbing skills in the Red River Gorge. Since moving to Seattle from Ohio, she has expanded her outdoor experiences into mountaineering & ice climbing.

"I'm always down to try something new and push myself mentally and physically. Part of the reason I moved out west is to be closer to the thing I enjoy the most, which is being outside and exploring new adventures in new places!"

Kelly loves helping people prepare for their next adventure! She has firsthand experience with Ascent Outdoors rental gear and knowledge on how to pack for many different environments due to her experience backpacking on glaciers, in deserts, and everything in-between! Don't be shy to ask her gear questions.

Jerry Casson

Ski Specialist & Boot Fitter

Jerry has been working at Ascent Outdoors for the past 5 years and currently serves as the ski buyer and one of the master bootfitters at the shop. He has 30 years' experience as an avid backcountry skier and climber in the Pacific Northwest.

Nick Chernikovich

Warehouse Associate

Nick previously work in the corporate world for the last 20 years before becoming our Warehouse Manager in January 2022. When not meticulously taking care of his mustache, you can find him playing in the snow and climbing rocks around the PNW.

Carson McCarrel

Warehouse Trainer & Manager

Carson's favorite outdoor activity is skiing. From laps through the park to powder stashes, he finds happiness in all aspects of skiing! Carson is a huge reason why things in our warehouse are so well organized. The systems he's implemented help warehouse operation run smoothly so your orders reach you quickly.

Scott Mcleod

Warehouse Manager

Scott loves any excuse to get outside and out for an adventure, especially if it includes his dog, Stella. Backpacking and paddleboarding are his favorite ways to soak up the Washington summers while winters are filled with snowboarding. After moving back to Washington from Arizona his passion for spending time in nature grew into a full-fledged obsession, and he can think of few places that are as beautiful and accessible to anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors. He finds spending time in nature to be very cathartic, spiritually fulfilling, and a great way to get a boost and bring perspective to his life.

Kat Cutright

Director Of Strategy

Kat discovered a love of the wilderness after relocating to Washington from the Great Plains as a teenager. They love sleeping under the stars and have clocked many miles backpacking trails in Washington and Montana, and hiked the full Torres del Paine circuit in the Patagonian Andes. Kat's favorite outdoor activities besides hiking & camping are non-technical alpine summits, running (slowly), distance-riding her road bike, and lifting heavy objects. Right now, their exploration of the PNW is largely limited to car-camping with their road-trip-happy eight-year-old daughter and corgi. They are looking forward to getting back into climbing one of these days.

You won't find Kat at the shop often, but you will find them online, writing copy for the website and blog, fine-tuning promotional emails, and helping the rest of the team drive the mission of Ascent Outdoors!

Claire Larson

Sales & Warehouse Associate

Claire Larson is an ice climber, splitboarder, and community organizer who has called Kansas, Montana, and New Zealand home.

Having dabbled in rock climbing for more than a decade, it wasn’t until Claire attended the first LGBTQ+ inclusive ice clinic at the 2019 Bozeman Ice Fest that she felt secure in her aspirations to dedicate her life to spending time high in the mountains, climbing rock and ice, and both taking and creating space in this community for historically excluded peoples.

Currently, she also serves as a founding organizer of the ALL IN ICE FEST and is a mentor in the SCARPA Athlete Mentorship Initiative

Spencer Gjording

Sales Associate

Spencer grew up in Seattle and has always enjoyed exploring in the woods and on the water. From a young age, he spent his free time hiking, backpacking, and skiing, and was introduced to mountaineering in high school. Spencer sought work in the outdoor industry to further his own experience in the alpine backcountry and because he loves to share his knowledge with others. In recent years, he’s picked up rock climbing and backcountry skiing to enable himself to push farther into the mountains.

Bucky Bukowitz

Sales Associate

Bucky grew up in Maryland and spent most of his time paddling and peddling around. After cycling across the country he began guiding trips in Jackson, Wyoming. While dreaming of the Pacific Northwest he found himself guiding multi-day sea kayaking trips in the San Juans. He enjoys everything from mountain biking to backpacking and is always wanting to expand his knowledge in the outdoors.

Kayli Brown

Sales Associate

Kayli was born and raised in the Washington Cascades, so her natural love of the outdoors was a catalyst for all her hobbies. Skiing, hiking, backpacking and water sports are an adventure staple. She is currently studying to get her Masters in Public Health but in her free time she loves to paddle board on Lake Union and ski Mission Ridge. If Kayli isn’t outside she can be found enjoying the Seattle food scene or playing a game of Uno.