Oregon Guides and Guide Services
This goes beyond the issue of permits and government ethics, other activities by Mr Kessler and his colleagues include slandering injured climbers and writing fraudulent checks. See the list below. For an enumerated list of such activities visit this page.
An example of how government employees ignore ethics
regulations, pursue conflicting interests, and abuse their government
We strongly recommend avoiding courses through or with Mountain Savvy, Glen Kessler, and Doug Ironside. The primary reason is the unethical basis on which this business was built and is maintained, at a significant cost to the public. And unlike the organizations they are attacking and slandering, Mr Kessler and his friends have never provided anything at all to the public as a service at no cost.
First, the facts of the conflict of interest and ethical matters ...
In the winter of 2000-2001 a new Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) avalanche course program began operating on Mt Hood under the name of Mountain Savvy, a business run by Glenn Kessler. As a government employee this is in direct violation of CFR 2635 (conflicts of interest).
About six months prior to the opening of this program the OMA was suddenly told by the US Forest Service that we needed a special business permit to operate the one or two avalanche classes per year which we had been offering for several years. These accommodated 4-6 students each, used multiple volunteer instructors, and were offered at very low cost. They were a public service.
We applied for a permit and while it was being processed USFS Ranger Kessler came out to one of our mountaineering classes, run in the same volunteer public service manner, and personally cited us for not having a permit. Later that summer he did this again, after spending the first day of our class spying on us with a telescope from the parking lot. (On the clock, as an employee of the people of the United States.) He obtained details of our class through Doug Ironside, a local guide and a buddy of Glenn.
These actions ensured that the OMA would have to stop offering these services just as, so very coincidentally, Ranger Kessler opened his own business. Several other volunteer and grassroots avalanche and winter safety programs mysteriously disappeared at the same time, and the implementation (at the request of the Mazamas) of spring climbing season avalanche information was undermined.
Following that first attack on our program we contacted the national ethics office for the US Forest Service (yes, there is one - believe it or not) and inquired about the conflict of interest issue. No response was ever received, but approximately six months later a futile but thorough and expensive investigation of the OMA, one leader, and at least one other entirely unrelated organization was begun. The amount spent on this ran well into six digits, according to sources familiar with agency investigative costs. It involved at least two special agents, claims of "computer conspiracy against the United States", and subpoenaed bank records. All that resulted from this was a financial assessment showing a total annual OMA budget for that year of about $2700 and two more petty offense citations just like the first two. Again, only charges similar to those issued the first time were proposed and to date (over four years later now) those have not been presented to the court.
In February of 2004 the non-profit CSAC Avalanche Center received a fraudulent and harassing check written online. The results of a police investigation, covering 2 felonies and 2 Class A misdemeanors, received in July lead back to Mr Glen Kessler. After the incident with the bad check written to the non-profit CSAC we were informed that Doug Ironside also had a history of check fraud. We contacted the Bellingham police department and found that, indeed, he did serve time in jail after stealing checks from a fellow climber and neighbor and using them to buy gear from a local climbing shop. A copy of that police report is also in our files.
This ongoing string of incidents over the past seven years which have centered around Mr Kessler have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money with the sole goal of protecting his business and harassing others.
Nobody in the OMA has been cited for guiding aside from teaching OMA classes, and none of the charges made over the OMA classes were ever upheld in court. Rumors to the contrary are false and are being spread by Glenn and his friends, who are claiming people were guilty of "pirate guiding" when this has never even been charged, let alone established, despite an investigation with a six digit cost.
This is not about resentment over being charged with anything - nothing has ever been successfully prosecuted. Nor is it about our class being terminated - as a nonprofit charging an artificially low price we have no financial interest in whether or not we can hold one class per year. This is about how government in general and the Forest Service in particular operate and the conflicts of interest which are taken for granted. These activities and deals are very much counter to the public interest.
You can find out much more about this issue here on our website. We present facts - what happened and when - and supporting documents. Many documents which we have requested from the forest service which would shed a great deal of light on matters have, of course, not been provided. There have been allegations against us, primarily in the form of presumed guilt, which have not been backed by either documents or facts. Don't be misled about who is being open and honest and who is not.
Now you've heard our opinion of Mountainsavvy and its owner Glenn Kessler. If you have any comments or questions concerning this issue for Glenn his e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org