Bernd on the Aiguille du Republique, Chamonix, france

Dominic Gawel

Lead Backpacking Guide

Dominic was born and raised in Long Beach, California. As a city kid starving for the mountains and snow, he visited the local San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains to ski on the weekends during the winters and hike often during the summers. While in Long Beach, Dominic was heavily involved in Boy Scout Troop 212, where he aquired much of his outdoor skills. In scouts Dominic was not satisfied with the backpacking program, so he took charge and planned more difficult and more frequent backpacking trips. He took scouts seriously where he held all the highest leadership positions and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. At the age of 14, Dominic wanted to ski the North Couloir of Mt. McGowan, Idaho, included in the top 50 classic ski descents of North America. Obviously his mom would not let him do it alone, so she hired a mountain guide to take him. After that day Dominic has been set on to becoming a mountain guide, and chose his college and degrees with this goal in mind.

During the school year, Dominic lives in Gunnison, Colorado where he is pursing bachelor’s degrees in Recreation and Outdoor Education (Outdoor Leadership emphasis) and Environment and Sustainability (Water emphasis) at Western Colorado University. At Western Colorado University, he is an active member of the Western Mountain Rescue Team, the only collegiate based Mountain Rescue team certified by the Mountain Rescue Association (MRA). As of April 2019, he was elected President of Western Mountain Rescue for the upcoming academic school year. 

Dominic’s main passion in life is skiing, and will be competing in freeride skiing with his university ski team next winter. Dominic’s other passions are backpacking, climbing, mountain biking, running, and fishing. 

Beyond his countless Sierra backpacking trips and through hikes, Dominic can be found on ski tours, climbs, and hikes in Colorado and has summited the fifth highest peak in Africa, Mount Meru. We are excited to have Dominic part of our team!


  • Widerness First Responder

  • AIARE level one avalanche