We are all committed to preserving Yosemite climbing history and organizing Facelift.
If you see us, please give us a big hug and thank you!
Ken Yager, President
It was love at first sight when Ken Yager met Yosemite Valley for the first time in 1972. Yager, after serving his rock apprenticeship under Warren Harding, finally started living his Yosemite dream by moving to the Valley when he was 17. He has an impressive climbing resume and guesses he's climbed El Cap around 60 times, but in his usual humble fashion, has not kept track. He worked as a Yosemite Mountain School guide over eleven years, when he guided the monolith three to six times a year. His love for Yosemite motivated him to establish the Yosemite Climbing Association in 2003. Under this umbrella, he has collected decades' worth of climbing gear and history and advocated for the establishment of the Yosemite Climbing Museum. He also started Yosemite Facelift because of his embarrassment at guiding clients through trash and toilet paper. In 2015, his efforts earned him the David R. Brower Conservation Award from the American Alpine Club. You can read more about Ken and his accomplishments in the Alpinist. The Yosemite climbing community is lucky to have him!
Allyson Gunsallus, Managing Director
Allyson's commitment to the climbing community began in 2007 when she moved to California from New England to be closer to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra. Since then, she has spent as much time as possible climbing in the Western United States and abroad. Allyson has alpine experience in the Sierra, Peru, and Argentina and has rock climbed all over the world. She is also a California-licensed attorney with a career in biotech. In 2017, she was recognized by the National Park Service for her central role in Facelift organizing. Recently, Allyson has supported Facelift behind the scenes, helping with camping, grant-writing, sponsors, and many other things! Learn more about Allyson on her website, SaltEarthArt.com.
Linda Jarit, Event Coordinator
Linda has been climbing in Yosemite since the 90s and participating in Yosemite Facelift from the beginning. She has multiple first ascents in Yosemite and is a great mentor for more junior climbers. She took a more active role in Yosemite Facelift in 2017 when she agreed to help organize sponsors and volunteers making camping requests. Linda brings her open and friendly demeanor to the otherwise rough edges of the Yosemite Climbing Association staff. We love you, Linda!
Guy Yager, Programs Director
Guy grew up in Yosemite and spent many years exploring it as if it was his playground. When his dad, Ken, started the Yosemite Facelift, he was right alongside him, volunteering, as a young kid. He participated in every Facelift up to the 10th annual, after which he moved across the country to go to College in Terre Haute, Indiana. Right before he left, he climbed Royal Arches and Half Dome with his dad. Guy’s passion for the climbing community became the strongest after he moved away. Fueled by the joy of climbing two of Yosemite’s most classic climbs, Guy became President of his school's climbing club and helped develop their first collegiate climbing team. Under his leadership, the team won two regional championships. Since graduating college in 2018, Guy has provided support from afar, coordinating Facelift and developing the YCA.
Kate DeWaard, Event Coordinator
Kate has been a lovely, calm presence in Yosemite for years. During Yosemite Facelift, you can find her managing all logistical aspects for evening programs, including bar staff and wristbands, raffle prizes, and her toddler, all with poise and a smile. Things would fall apart without Kate! Thank you!
Kaya Lindsay, Social Media Coordinator
Kaya Lindsay is a rock climber and self-made digital nomad who spends all of her time exploring North America and jumping on new and exciting climbs. She started her own social media marketing business in 2014 and has been supporting herself by freelancing ever since. Her attendance at the 2015 Yosemite Facelift event fueled her desire to give back to the climbing community and since then, she has been helping the Yosemite Facelift event spread their message through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter marketing. Kaya believes strongly in protecting our wild places and getting women involved in rock climbing and hopes to combine these two passions into a career. If you want to learn more about Kaya you can visit her website at www.onechicktravels.com.
Timmy O'Neill, Program Coordinator
Timmy O'Neill is a positive force of human nature who first visited Yosemite as a cashier in the Village grocery store almost 30 years ago. He purchased his initial rack of cams and nuts in the Valley and has been on the sharp end of life ever since. He held the Nose speed record with Dean Potter and the duo were also the first to climb three Grade VI's in one day: Half Dome, Mt Watkins, and El Capitan. TO has been a stalwart member of the YCA since the dawn of the Facelift, volunteering his time, talent, and energy to the stage and is an international emissary for the YCA demonstrating the importance of supporting the climbing community and preserving wilderness and wildness. We are lucky to have him on our team!
Steph Brontman, Webmaster
Steph first visited Yosemite on a whim after extending a post-student-teaching road trip a couple extra days. After seeing El Cap for the first time, a day-trip immediately turned into two and Yosemite had officially captured her heart. Steph saw a poster for the 2012 Facelift during that trip and made the hour-commute every day just to come volunteer and help clean up. She has come back every year since and is so excited to be a part of the team! While she is an IT professional by day, she spends most of her free-time exploring San Diego with her dog, Monty, and making delicious food to fuel her adventures. In the park, you can find her biking around the Valley with Monty in tow, hiking, and honing her rock climbing skills on the best granite in the world. Her passion for this event and Yosemite in general knows no bounds (including making it physically a part of her with a Half Dome tattoo) and she welcomes the opportunity to make the YCA website the best it can be!