Expedition Guides

Steve JonesSteve Jones - Global Descents Guide

Legendary, what else can we say? Steve is a native of California where his love for rivers began. Honing his skills as a young river guide on the famous Kern River, Steve was an integral part in pioneering one of the greatest sections of river in the U.S., the Forks of the Kern. Steve’s calm demeanor and meticulous eye for safety has led him to become on of the world’s greatest expedition leaders. Leading trips down some of the world’s greatest and most difficult rivers including the Zambezi, Futaleufu, Yangtze, Colca, Katun and the Apurimac. While not leading Global Descents trips, Steve works as a boatman supporting the many scientific research projects on the Colorado River and throughout Grand Canyon.


Dave Kashinski - Global Descents GuideDavid Kashinski

When it comes to finding someone to explore a new river or jump on board for anything adventurous, Dave is the first in line and the best partner you could choose. He started running rivers as a kid growing up in Aspen, Colorado. At the age of 17 he started his career as a leading river guide on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Working during the summers as he earned his degree from Brown University, Dave’s passion for the river never subsided. After school he continued to follow his passion for running rivers and has become a world-class river guide having worked in many destinations including Chiapas, Belize, Chile, India, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.


Matt Gontram - Global Descents GuideMatthew Gontram

Matt started rafting and kayaking in Colorado at the age of eighteen. Since that first summer on the rivers of the southwest, Matt has pursued his passion for running rivers around the globe. He has worked as a guide and led expeditions in numerous locations and can never seem to get enough. When not working on the river, you can find Matt looking for a ride to the put-in or tirelessly looking for new destinations for Global Descents. Matt and his wife Wendy call Embudo, New Mexico home and enjoys the rivers of the Southwest as much as possible.


Wendy Hinton - Global Descents GuideWendy Hinton

Wendy started her rafting career on the Rio Grande and Rio Chama and has been in love with rivers ever since. She has left New Mexico to search out other rivers in the U.S and beyond, working in Zambia, Colombia and California to name a few. She loves to share her passion for the river with everyone in her boat. She is also the backbone of the Global Descents headquarters in New Mexico and spends her summers guiding the many different sections of the Rio Grande river basin. When not on the river, Wendy enjoys walking her dogs on area trails and kayaking her local rivers.


Harvey King - Global Descents GuideHarvey King

Harvey King’s infectious smile and superlative swiftwater skills make him one of the most oft-requested guides on the globe. He enrolled in a guide training school on the Gallatin River, Montana in the spring of 1991 and has never looked back. In twenty years of river-running, Harvey has traveled and paddled extensively throughout the world, including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, China, Canada, India, and the United States. He regularly takes trips down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, and enjoys revealing the wonders of the world to his seven year old boy, Canyon. Harvey lives with Canyon and his wife, Tara, in Taos, New Mexico, where he leads swiftwater rescue seminars and runs an after school program for kids.


Kenny Kiley

Kenny grew up on the banks of the Sandy River in northern Oregon. River running is in his blood and he has made it his life pursuit in every aspect. Kenny is an accomplished class V rafting and kayaking guide and other than his home rivers in Oregon you’re likely to see him on the mighty Zambezi safety kayaking or guiding a raft. When Kenny is not guiding he is hard at work in his shop making custom wooden paddles and oars under his brand, Blunt Family Paddles. Kenny always has a smile on his face and is regularly requested as a guide for our returning guests.



Vinnie - Global Descents GuideVinnie Maplanga

Vinnie grew up close to Livingstone, Zambia with the Zambezi River close by. Little did he know that soon crazy rafters would be running the rapids of the Batoka Gorge. As soon as the rafters came, Vinnie quickly worked his way through the ranks of hysider and guide. That was more than 20 years ago. Now, nobody knows the Zambezi better and we are lucky to have Vinnie as a primary part of our Zambezi crew. In addition to the Zambezi, Vinnie has worked on many rivers throughout Europe and is an accomplished chef with a specialty in Zambian cuisine.



Andrew "Sven" Bolton - Global Descents GuideAndrew “Sven” Bolton

Sven is yet another legendary guide that we are lucky to have running trips for Global Descents. If you have ever paddled in Zambia, Switzerland or Austria, chances are you’ve heard of Sven and he probably had something to do with the logistics of your trip. He is a magician when it comes to making things happen. With more than 20 years of river running experience and 15 of those on the Zambezi, Sven is an incredible addition to any trip we run. If you join us on the Zambezi, you’re sure to meet Sven and have the trip of a lifetime. Sven is also a budding politician whom we expect to make a run for Parliament sometime soon. When he’s not on the river or managing rafting operations, Sven enjoys exploring the Alps with his girlfriend, Andie.


Gian Marco Velluntino - Global Descents GuideGian Marco Velluntino

Gian Marco grew up in the Southern city of Arequipa, Peru. He was born into whitewater. One of three brothers that are known all over South America as the most accomplished river runners in Peru. Its no wonder as there father helped to support the very first exploration of the Colca Canyon in the early eighties and Gian Marco and his brothers went on to accomplish first descents on many of the most difficult rivers throughout Peru. Gian Marco is always a part of our Peru adventures along with his brothers, Piero and Duilio. When not on the river, you can find him running his zipline operation outside of Santa Teresa and enjoying most of his time with his family.


Cesar Diaz

Cesar is quite possibly the best known guide in Colombia.  He has played a primary role in promoting river recreation and exploration in Colombia for the past 10 years. Cesar is the current Colombian National Kayak Slalom Champion and has represented Colombia in slalom competitions abroad.  In addition to being credited for many first descents throughout Colombia, Cesar is continually looking for more.  He runs the river almost daily and lives with his partner Gladys in the small Colombian town of San Gil.



Duke Bradford

Duke Bradford has worked in the adventure/tourism industry for more than a decade. From the back of the raft to the forefront of his two adventure-based businesses, Duke excels at finding innovative ways to show wild places to people around the world. He continues to travel and to network extensively in order to maintain the highest levels of creativity and originality in his vision of adventure travel; and somehow he still manages to paddle and ski a couple hundred days a year! Duke lives in Keystone, Colorado with his wife, Anne, and their son, Cassius.


Mitch Sasser

Mitch’s life changed the first time he ran the Futaleufu.  After years of professional guiding and instructing in New Mexico, Mitch found his way south to Patagonia to explore some of the greatest whitewater  on earth.  He found it and he never returned.  Now, after 10 years as a full time resident of the village of Futaleufu, Mitch spends his time raising his 3 daughters with his wife Tatiana and getting out on the river as much as possible.  With summers spent on his local river and the rest of the year traveling the continent teaching swift water rescue courses, Mitch is a busy guy.  Certainly, there are few other people you’d rather run the river with than Mitch.