Meet the Guides

Get to know the Copper Oar Rafting Team!

Copper Oar’s Alaska rafting guides are world class adventure experts who know and love Alaska. All of our trip leaders are trained to Wilderness First Responder (or beyond) in addition to having acquired extensive whitewater rescue and field certifications. We use an Alaska outfitter’s style and approach that places your safety and enjoyment at the core of what we do. We also love sharing this place with others! We invite you to meet a few of our Alaska rafting guides here. We also suggest that you get to know them in their natural environment: on a river or trail in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness!

  • Cody Simmons

    Copper Oar Owner Cody grew up in the outdoors in Portland, Oregon, where he spent his time climbing, biking, boating, and refining his telemark skiing skills (How do you know if there’s a teleskier at your party? Don’t worry. They’ll tell you). First arriving in the Wrangells as a “dry lander,” Cody has ever since been captivated by the massive size, sounds, and beauty of Alaskan rivers (not to mention how much easier sitting in a boat is than walking…). After going all-in and buying a packraft, he has dedicated himself to running as many Wrangell rivers as he can, a list that currently stands at 12. His usual toy of choice is a packraft, but he never complains when he gets to spend some time on the oars. Cody’s biggest goal is to see and experience as much of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park as he can, and whether that’s by raft, foot, ski, or plane, he’ll take anything he can get.

    • Anya Voskresensky

      If you give us a call and a bubbly voice answers the line, chances are you’re talking with Owner Anya. A wilderness gal through and through, Anya has been exploring the Wrangells since 2014, and has not just limited herself to its waterways. An accomplished climber and mountaineer, Anya has explored the vast expanses of the park, and is happy to share her extensive knowledge to help ensure that you choose the best trip for your goals and interests. In addition to her passion for the outdoors, she has a love of logistics, and takes great pride in building adventure trips in Wrangell-St. Elias to fit any budget or interest. When she’s not hard at work arranging trips, Anya enjoys both cooking and art, spending her limited spare time in the kitchen cooking up delicious meals, or in the studio building beautiful mosaics. She’s also our go-to gal for any signs we need made!

      • Robin Weiss

        He’s all fun and games on shore, but as soon as he hops into his boat and puts on his captain’s hat, Captain Rob is ready to teach you about the river, landscape, flora, and fauna – basically any question you’ve got! With his big smile and unbridled enthusiasm for the rivers of Alaska, Robin is a joy to have rowing your boat. Combining a quiet maturity with a great sense of humor, he’s sure to have you laughing all the way down the river, and well into camp. Once in camp, his specialty is making delicious baked goods in the dutch oven – brownies, cakes, cookies, and his signature cinnamon rolls all taste better when eaten under the midnight sun on a glacier riverbank.

        • Sarah Ebright

          While she used to swear by “frozen water sports,” primarily enjoying skiing and ice climbing, the silty waters of the Wrangell Mountains slowly wore away at her, until she bought a packraft and became a rafting guide. And it’s all flowed downhill from there. Now, she splits her time between frozen and liquid water, and loves nothing more than loading up a heavy raft and letting the water carry her equipment through the Alaska backcountry (instead of her own legs doing the work). Known to sport a costume or two, keep an eye out for her Wonder Woman cape billowing out behind her as she rows her boat down the river! She specializes in keeping camp organized and everyone on the trip well fed – if you’re lucky enough, you may get the chance to sample her French toast recipe!

          • Merritt Poling

            Merritt had the honor of growing up in Idaho, surrounded by some of the finest whitewater rivers in the world. He earned himself many a sunburn (he’s pretty pale to begin with) on the middle fork of the Payette, paddle-rafting class-IV and -V stretches of river (and never once falling out of the boat, a point of pride that few others ever seemed to find nearly as interesting as he did; or maybe they were just jealous). Since arriving in Alaska, Merritt has enjoyed adapting to Alaska’s rivers (they are very different), and will gladly talk your ear off about that process. For that matter, feel free to ask him about pretty much anything. Flora. Fauna. Craft beer. Post-postmodern literature. You get the idea. He’s an inveterate nerd with a penchant for having and sharing opinions. But, y’know. In a fun way.

            • Harrison Koontz
              Harrison Koontz

              Born and raised in California, Harrison’s dabbled in almost every outdoor pursuit you can imagine. His drive for newer and bigger outdoor experiences eventually led him to Alaska where he’s ice climbed on glaciers and rafted down glacially fed rivers. Viewed by many as a bear of a man, this friendly giant likes to relax by the fire after a long day on the river by singing folk songs (and the occasional cover of Britany Spears) while strumming his guitar. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, crack open a beer and ask him about his throwing axes. No matter how you choose to spend your time onshore, you’ll enjoy getting to know Harrison and having him guide you down one of Alaska’s rivers.

              • Leslie Hundhammer

                Known for her infectious smile (even after 7 days of straight rain) and extensive river knowledge, Leslie “The Hammer” Hundhammer first started guiding the rivers of Southeast Alaska before joining us up in McCarthy. While she’s experienced in guiding ice climbing and glacier hikes, the rivers are where her true passion lies. She’s traveled the world in search of new rivers to run, and is full of fun stories to prove it! Despite some initial challenges with her orange slicing technique, she quickly overcame this hurdle, and now is known for creating delicately beautiful riverside fruit platters, almost too pretty to eat. If you’re ready for some fun stories and lots of laughter, hop in Leslie’s boat and enjoy the show!

                • Jonny Cromwell

                  Living off a strict diet of poutine and Canadian bacon, Jonny “Bomber” Cromwell was a guide down in Haines before the allure of the Wrangell Mountains drew him in. Residing in a self-converted school bus with his wife (and fellow raft guide) Leslie, Jonny spends the summers on the rivers, and the winters on skis, chasing storms throughout North America. He’s even bought some property in the Yukon and is working side-by-side his wife building a house (not that school bus living isn’t amazing…) Around these parts, Jonny’s known for his quick wit, great sense of humor, and knack for fixing things. If you’re lucky enough to have him on the river, ask him about his childhood days as a choirboy – maybe he’ll even perform a traditional Canadian song for you.

                  • Gaia Marrs

                    Former co-owner Gaia Marrs grew up in the Kennicott Valley and has spent her whole life rafting, hiking, sledding, skiing and dogsledding through the surrounding wilderness. Her first time down the Kennicott, Nizina and Chitina Rivers was at age two, riding in the bail bucket at the front of the raft. Gaia has been leading river trips in the Wrangells for eight years, and was a participant in these adventures for many years before that. She is happiest behind the oars, with many days of wild river stretching out ahead and a new group of adventurers to share in the journey. Whether on the other end of a telephone, behind the desk, or on the river, Gaia is committed to helping you experience the wilderness journey you are looking for.

                    • Wayne Marrs

                      Former co-owner Wayne Marrs first came to McCarthy, Alaska in 1998 and fell in love with the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. His passion for the outdoors is only matched by his desire to share that experience with others. Wayne’s true passion is discovery. He has been rafting, climbing and trekking throughout the world, including Myanmar, Uganda, Jordan, Indonesia, Madagascar and Nicaragua to name a few of his more obscure adventures. His favorite river run is the headwaters of the Nile, where one rapid has been gauged at 1.2 million cubic feet per second! In addition to his rafting experience, Wayne is also an accomplished climber, working with St. Elias Alpine Guides, an Alaska mountain climbing company also located in McCarthy.

                      • Howard Mozen

                        Howard Mozen is the founder of Copper Oar and still leads trips. Both of his hands are quite full these days as two lil’ Mozens, Avery and Owen, now roam the Alaska wilds. However, he continues to guide Alaska adventures out of his love for the wilderness and desire to share it with you. His knowledge of the flora and fauna is exhaustive, as is his willingness to share a laugh. We highly recommend hiking or rafting with Howard!

                        • Tim Riedel

                          Tim Riedel is the former manager of Copper Oar and the most courteous and enthusiastic flight attendant Alaska Airlines has ever known. If you don’t get lucky enough to catch him serving peanuts on your way into Anchorage, come on a river trip with him and experience his passion for life and love of the wilderness first-hand. Tim has been guiding river trips since he was 18 years old and is truly a master of the art. His attention to detail, generosity in caring for people, and in-depth knowledge of the history and natural history of the area make him one of the premier guides with which to share the journey of a lifetime.

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