The Team


Chad Simpson
Executive Director

Chad has unique experience in both the backcountry and evidence based training development. Because of this, he places an emphasis on integrating industry-based best practices in his attempt to promote a safe and responsible outdoor community. His instructing experience ranges from teaching and guiding for nationally known outfitters, to training development and instructing in the emergency response and homeland security world.

Chad is also a Wilderness EMT, BLM wildland firefighter, NYS Guide, and wilderness high-angle rescue crew member. He holds a BA from the University at Albany and is an Eagle Scout.

smart water.jpg

Ethan Minier
Programming Director

Due to his academic background, Ethan brings a strong evidence-based approach to Northern Ridgeline’s curriculum. While earning a BA in Sociology and a MS in Epidemiology, Ethan focused on investigating the link between the environmental and human health.

Ethan also pulls practical experience from his current position as a Wilderness Therapy Field Guide in order to supplement Northern Ridgeline’s curriculum. He holds certifications in Adult and Pediatric CPR/AED First Aid and Anaphylaxis, Mental Health First Aid, and is a certified Wilderness First Responder as well as a licensed New York State Guide.

In his free time, Ethan volunteers for a high-angle Search and Rescue organization and enjoys traveling, backpacking, running, and yoga.

Kristinartindar Iceland.jpg

Kate Rhodes
Senior Instructor

Risk management professional by day and outdoor enthusiast by night, Kate is passionate about proactively mitigating outdoor risks through public education and empowerment.  Kate is Wilderness Education Association (WEA) Outdoor Leader Accredited through the 2 - year intensive program which culminated in a 28 day bushwhacking excursion in the deserts of New Mexico's famous Gila Wilderness. 

With over a decade of experience hiking and backpacking throughout the US and abroad, Kate maintains formal training in land navigation, winter mountaineering, Leave No Trace, outdoor recreation risk management, and wilderness medicine. Kate is also an active field rescue team member and trainer for a technical search and rescue team based in New York's Capital Region. Kate holds a B.S. in Environmental Science & Policy from Clarkson University.

Lance L Pants
Chief Marketing and Administrative Director

Lance comes to us from the feline world. Abandoned in the woods after his birth he often reminds us that we have merely adopted the backcountry while he was born in it, molded by it. Though rarely helpful Lance has been involved in every aspect of Northern Ridgeline from its inception. No one really knows how old he is.

When not at work Director Pants enjoys licking hands, chasing treats, and sampling crinkly plastics.