Michael O’Connor

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Michael started climbing in 2006 in Maryland at Towson University but didn’t find a real passion for climbing until he traveled abroad to New Zealand in 2007 for a semester of college. He met so many people from all over the world that had come to New Zealand just for the climbing. The amazing community that he became part of him fueled his fire for climbing. Once back in the states, he finished a degree in Sport Management and embarked on a mission to learn more about climbing. Michael scored a job at an East Coast climbing gym called Earth Treks. Working with great people and making lifelong friends in the indoor gym naturally led him to further expand onto the natural stone. He took that time to embark upon a career working in the climbing industry, learning about every aspect possible. This naturally led him to an interest in guiding. He started guiding for Earth Treks in 2010 teaching rock climbing in summer camps, introductory level outdoor climbing courses, and weekend ice climbing in the Adirondacks. Since then, Michael moved to California and has continued his professional guiding development through the AMGA. He is a certified Rock Guide since 2016. In addition to guiding with SMG in the Eastern/High Sierra, he currently resides in Santa Barbara most of the year where he works as lead route setter, head coach of the youth team, and guide at Santa Barbara Rock Gym. On days off  he has been been climbing all over California, and North America honing skills as a climber, guide, and  lifelong learner. If you can’t find Michael in the climbing gym chances are he is outside getting stuck in Sierra alpine cracks or out amongst the crag dwellers in the  the greater U.S.!

Sierra Mountain Guides- SHARE!


  1. Mike led me on a 4 day Sierra Nevada trip that included Summiting Mount Whitney via the Mountaineer’s route and a follow on climb of Mount Russell, also a class 3 route but with a taste of class 4 in places. Great trip with Mike’s guidance, encouragement, and skill at helping me achieve my goals. To add to my admiration of Mike note that I am a 70 year old Minnesotan with some but not a lot of climbing experience – so his task in getting me to the summits was not trivial. Great experience and would do it again.

  2. I climbed a multi pitch Sierra route at Mount Sill with Mike. It was a great experience and he made sure I felt safe and got to enjoy the views with peace of mind. The route had a rappel on descent and mike lowered me down this section. He dealt with a number of route finding situations and also provided good instructions when I needed them. Would totally recommend him!

  3. Had an awesome weekend with Mike !! We had amazing ice climbing at Lee Vining , it was my first time to ice climb and was lucky to be guided by Mike, he gave us a proper intro to Ice and was also very keen on safety which made us very comfortable.

    The weather was not stable the next day; Mike was ready with plan B, so we went and had an amazing day rock climbing at Owens River Gorge., where we also had some tips on anchoring.

    Above all, we had a lot of fun climbing with Mike And would def climb again with him if i am ever back at the Sierra s.

  4. I followed Mike on Venusian Blind on Temple Crag. Had a truly epic time! Mike managed all the logistics excellently and was very diligent in ensuring safety while moving quickly in the Alpine. I would 100% reccomend Mike to anybody looking for a guide in the Sierra’s.

  5. Fantastic guide and kick ass climber. Mike arranged a great day on Cardinal Pinnacle near Bishop. Excellent communicating everything and very safe. Knew the route in and out, including an extra sport pitch 1/2 way up we rapped in. I know Mike from my hometown and he’s one of the most solid all-round climbers I know. If you want a solid, safe day in the mountains, Mike’s you man.

  6. We had the absolute best time with Mike on the 3rd pillar on Dana. Right from the start, Mike was excellent at communicating to us about our gear, arranged meeting time, and answering all the questions we had regarding the climb/ gear. From the start of the climb, Mike took it upon himself to take pictures of us hiking, climbing, etc. During the climb, Mike was incredibly knowledgeable and talented leading us up some of the hardest sections we have climbed outdoors. He was very patient while we took our time, supportive and gave us constant encouragement. If we ever got stuck on a move, he would aid us through it. We had the climb of our lives and its all thanks to Mike. We feel like we have gained a friend and look forward to climbing with him in the near future.

  7. Mike did a great job leading on our first trip outside climbing. We had our entire family, including 9 and 12 year old daughters. He was very attentive to all our questions and concerns and helped our girls get really comfortable on the rock. We had a super time and we would absolutely recommend him!

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