Email:   Phone: 1-970-596-2999

About CBO

Susan Purvis, W-EMT

Susan Purvis saves lives and teaches others to do the same.

Susan Purvis is a Lead Instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). She is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA), the Explorers Club, Wilderness Medical Society and ex Mountain Rescue Association member. Susan is one of 800 women inducted into The Explorers Club.

Susan’s love for outdoor adventure and medicine has taken her to the hottest, coldest, and highest places on earth: Ethiopia, Antarctica, and Nepal. As a wilderness medicine specialist and extraordinary speaker, Susan has worked on film sets for National Geographic Channel, truTV, appeared on the science documentary, The Hottest Place on Earth, aired on the BBC and Discovery. She’s been featured or quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, on CNN, television, numerous magazines, and newspaper articles. See Susan’s authors page for a television, radio and news articles (

Since 1998, Susan has owned and operated Crested Butte Outdoors International, based in Whitefish, Montana. Her mission is to teach students how to think critically in unconventional settings.

An explorer by passion, Susan combines wilderness medicine, desert survival, exploration geology, and K9 training to land jobs on all seven continents. She teaches high altitude medicine for the local Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest Guides. Susan has served as a medic at a remote field camp (Holtanna Glacier) and ice breaker (SS GOULD) in Antarctica, explored for gold in the Dominican Republic and produced a documentary in the Amazon jungle. Susan also spent a decade working at an urgent care ski clinic in Crested Butte where she also worked as a professional ski patroller, guide, K9 avalanche specialist and SAR member. Susan was named a brand Ambassador for Marmot and received Congressional Recognition for her role in avalanche search and rescue. (Search dogs and avalanche dogs)

When Susan is not teaching you can find her boating on the cold, clear rivers in northern Montana or skiing Colorado’s high peaks.

Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost–And Myself (Blackstone) is her first book and narrated by Susan.

Stephen E. Halvorson, MD

Steve is a rural emergency medicine physician in Montana. CBO is excited to showcase one of our newest instructors. He shares the same amount of passion for adventure and teaching as we do.

Dr. Halvorson has served as an expedition-physician or instructor for the Himalayan Rescue Association, Everest ER (basecamp), the Khumbu Climbing Center and for high altitude efforts in Peru and Argentina.

He’s had the good fortune of integrating interests in wilderness, medicine, travel and rope work. He has served various roles for urban and rural youth corps, taught climbing and guided river trips in the US and Central America.

As medical director for the Hardrock 100, he also serves as physician advisor for youth development groups and wilderness outfitters. He continues to teach wilderness medicine for Wilderness Medical Associates, and pursues opportunities to explore the intersection of technical rope rescue and pre-hospital medicine.

Rocco Altobelli, Flight Paramedic

Since 1989 Rocco has been a professional ski patroller, worked on urban and rural ambulances, a search and rescue coordinator, an avalanche rescue dog handler, a raft guide, a firefighter and an EMS and wilderness medicine instructor. When he’s not teaching he can be found mountain biking and backpacking, backcountry skiing, or canoeing with his family and dog. Rocco pays the bills working as a flight paramedic servicing Northern Idaho, Montana and Washington State.

Peggy Miller, Urban & Wilderness Paramedic

Peggy has been an active volunteer emergency medical services provider for the past 25 years with a busy fire  department just outside Washington, DC. The past 15 years have been at the paramedic level.   She also holds paramedic licensure in the state of Montana.

For the past 18 summers, Peggy has been working for the US Forest Service in the wildland fire environment. Currently a Public Information Officer, Peggy has held numerous other positions with the Forest Service, including fire line qualified paramedic and nationally qualified Medical Unit Leader. Peggy has been to wildland fire assignments in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Georgia, and Texas.

As a former Maryland Instructor Certification Review Board Level II EMS instructor, Peggy taught EMT and CPR classes at the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Training Academy and the University of Maryland Fire Rescue Institute until she relocated to Montana in 2009. While in Montana she was the EMS Training Coordinator and instructor for the Whitefish Fire Department until she moved back to Maryland in 2012.  Peggy is an Assistant Instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates International.

An avid hiker, camper, sail boater and scuba diver, Peggy enjoys the outdoors. She is the mother of 3 grown children and the very proud grandmother of 4 young grandchildren. Peggy resides in Frederick Maryland.

Mark Fisher, W-EMT

Mark started his outdoor career in the early 1990s, when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and became an Assault Climber. His passion for climbing encouraged him to pursue a degree in Outdoor Recreation and Kinesiology. He served as the Officer in Charge of the Mountain Leader’s Course at the Marine Corps Mountain Training Center in Bridgeport, California.


  • Wilderness EMT since 1998
  • Mountain Mobility Instructor/Advisor for United States Special Operations Command.
  • Snowbird Ski Patroller since 2005.
  • American Avalanche Association Certified Instructor
  • Wasatch Backcountry Rescue Dog Handler

Kenny Gasch

Kenny is a seasoned backcountry guide, he has spent most of his time working in the Beartooth and Wind River Mountains guiding the highest peaks in Montana and Wyoming. Kenny has also guided rock and ice climbers over the years as well as filling in as adjunct faculty at Northwest College in their Outdoor Program. In September 2018 Kenny moved to Whitefish , Montana where he works along Susan Purvis in her avalanche and wilderness medicine courses. His focus will be avalanche education, backcountry travel and safety, and community service.