James grew up exploring the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau, where he became fascinated at an early age with the stories landscapes could tell. College brought him to the northern Rockies, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Earth Science from Montana State University. A chance email led him to enroll as a student in a WRFI semester, which sent him on a trajectory to pursue a career in field education. After a post-graduation Continental Divide Trail thru-hike, he became a WRFI instructor on the Colorado Plateau course, where he revels in the opportunity to share his passion for the region he calls home.
James completed a Master’s in Geology at Utah State University where he researched the geomorphic signals of active subsidence and river incision near the southeast Utah town of Moab. He is excited to combine his love for wilderness, geology, and experiential education into a career where he can spend as much time in the field as possible.
When not instructing for WRFI or working seasonal geology jobs, he can be found backpacking long distances, pushing the practical limits on his nordic skis, riding his mountain bike up hills, and generally seeking out the wild places in the Intermountain West.