Tom was a lucky 13 year old when he was brought to Seneca Rocks on a climbing adventure with a family friend. Those two weeks in June 1973 changed his life forever.
Tom is about to spend his 40th year climbing and 26th year guiding at Seneca Rocks.
The original passion for climbing quickly became an obsession to find the best methods to teach rock craft: to design and select the most efficient systems and tools to pass on this art.
This core experience forms the foundation for the development of SRMG’s curriculum and one-of-a–kind tools.
The following are a few of the milestones Tom is especially proud of:
- PCGI Mentor/Assessor-Top Rope Guide/Single Pitch Guide
- PCGI Lead Guide Certified
- ACCESS FUND Seneca Rocks Regional representative
- Chosen by Garrett College in Western Maryland for over 15 years to develop and operate their AdventureSports Institute climbing instruction and guides’ training program.
- Twenty-five+ (don’t jinx me) years of accident-free multi-pitch guiding at Seneca.
- Completion of the TradWall Anchoring Center at our guide service facilities at Seneca.
- Being asked by John Long to edit his latest anchoring treatise.
- Guiding in Europe, Mexico, Australia; more than 23 years spent pioneering new routes here at Seneca and in southern Thailand.
These days if you don’t find Tom guiding a Seneca classic, teaching a Lead Course or running a guide certification course you’ll usually find him somewhere in the North Fork valley hanging out with the Mollster putting up first ascents and hoping to find another Triple S; while he may not find it today, it doesn’t mean its not out there!
Andy Hershey has climbed and backpacked throughout West Virginia and the United States, and has worked with Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides since 2005. He has been employed as a full-time professor at the Adventuresports Institute (ASI) of Garrett College since 2005. Among other things at ASI, he coordinates the program's academic backcountry and climbing related curricula. In addition, Andy is the owner of Appalachia Mountain Guides LLC, which also operates under the name Coopers Rock Climbing Guides. Since acquiring a bachelor's degree in Park and Resource Management; and master's degree in Sport Management, Andy has worked as a backcountry ranger in Yosemite National Park, worked in an adventure setting with youth-at-risk as an Adventure Specialist and Program Coordinator at the Yellow Breeches Educational Center, and with a variety of other outdoor education programs and guide services. Andy currently holds the following certifications:
- American Mountain Guides Association: Single Pitch Instructor
- American Mountain Guides Association: Climbing Wall Instructor Provider
- Wilderness Education Association: National Standards Program
- Wilderness First Responder (former EMT)
- National Association of Search and Rescue: SARTECH III
- Leave No Trace Master Educator
Gina was introduced to rock climbing in the early 90’s and has been hooked ever since. Born in California, Gina spent her youth and early adulthood cross country and alpine skiing, backpacking and alpine mountaineering, She was fortunate to have the high Sierras, Cascades and Rocky Mountains, as well as the Cordillera Blanca of Peru and the Andean cordilleras of Ecuador as her stomping ground. Gina graduated with a BA in Psychology from UCLA in 1983. She went on to get her M.A. in clinical psychology, and a Masters of social work from University of Maryland. Her outdoor rock and snow lifestyle lead her to teach snowboarding for over 10 years in Vail, Colorado. Currently Gina owns and operates CORE Fitness Personal Training Gym in Timonium, Maryland. In 1997 she and her daughter had the good fortune to enroll in a climbing course with SRMG that began a friendship and working relationship that continues to this day. Since 2007 Gina has been involved with developing women’s climbing programs for Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides.
Gina has been a certified personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise for over 22 years. Her interests are varied but she is obsessed with traditional rock climbing! If you have any climbing related comments or questions please ask her in person on the SRMG deck!
Quite possibly the longest apprentice at Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides, Kelly has been climbing with Tom Cecil since she first summited Seneca at age six. In addition to fifteen years of climbing at Seneca, Kelly has climbed all over North America with the guides from SRMG in places such as New Mexico, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite Valley. After attending the University of Maryland in Baltimore County to study music Kelly moved to Seneca Rocks to live and climb locally. Her most recent education comes from the Professional Climbing Guides Institute. After Kelly took the course at The Gunks, she not only flashed her rescue exam, she broke the speed record and is now a PCGI Certified Lead Guide. Recent testimonial- "Hi Tom and Kelly, Many thanks for an absolutely spectacular day climbing on Monday. Amanda and I had the time of our lives playing on Seneca Rocks under Kelly's superb leadership. Really, she is a fantastic guide, knowledgeable and mature way beyond her years. We got lucky with the weather holding off, and were thrilled that Kelly was up for guiding through the afternoon until Amanda could climb no more. We'll definitely be asking for her to guide us if we can make our dream come true and come back to visit you guys next year. Bruce"
Stephen is from Chevy Chase, Maryland and has been guiding at Seneca for four years. He found his passion for climbing instruction when he moved to the front range of Colorado in 2008. There he led military youth on adventure trips throughout the rockies for Operation Purple. He has since earned a degree in Adventuresports Management from Garrett College in western Maryland. Stephen is a Wilderness First Responder and has earned certification as a Single Pitch Instructor from the American Mountain Guides Association. He also carries certification as a Search and Rescue Technician Level 3 and a Nordic Ski Instructor Level 1. When not at Seneca, Stephen can be found guiding and developing new routes in the Musandam Peninsula of Oman. He has spent three winters there working for Absolute Adventure of Dubai. You might also find Stephen in southern Thailand re-bolting with the Thaitanium Project crew.
Matt Davey Karlson
Matt Davey Karlson AKA "Matt DK" Has been guiding for four years at Seneca Rocks. A graduate of Garret College's Adventure Sports Program, it would be hard to find a more knowledgable and motivated guide.
Matt's certifications include PCGI certified Lead Guide, AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor and Leave No Trace Master Educator.
Brendan started guiding at Seneca Rocks in 2007. When he's not out guiding he's usually still on the rocks pursuing his passion for climbing. Brendan is a Wilderness First Responder and is currently Lead Guide certified by the PCGI (Professional Climbing Guides Institute).