Hello my name is John Binninger. I grew up in Oregon hiking and backpacking with my friends as often as I could. My dad was a lumberjack and a forester who instilled in me a love of the outdoors. My mom was a women’s rights activist who taught me the importance of giving back.
When my mom became stricken with Alzheimer’s, she got to the point of not enjoying birthdays anymore. So, in 2013, on her birthday, I decided to celebrate her in a different way: With a small group of friends, I climbed a mountain to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Association in her honor.
Each year that followed, we climbed more mountains, eventually raising over $70,000 for charity. Each year our community of climbers grew, and organizing the event became more challenging.
Last year as we climbed down over the unforgiving slopes of Mount Saint Helens, I asked Ulisses Guimaraes to partner with me. Luckily he accepted!
We founded Trailmixer in 2018 with plans to grow it into a bigger and more multifaceted organization. Some of our original hikers now hold Board positions. There’s really nothing holding us back!
Howdy, I am Rick Gilles, and I have been a lifelong Outdoor Enthusiast. From skiing at 3, to backpacking trips with my father starting at age 5, to my first Wilderness Survival training with the Scouts at 10, I have always had one foot in the Mountains or Ocean (and lately desert). Nature is my Spirit and Meditation. I am also a longtime LGBTQ activist: I helped start Colorado’s first Gay and Lesbian Youth Group, Outright, when I was 16, which morphed into being on the front lines in HIV activism with Queer Nation, ACT Up, and others. I have continued that fundraising activism in my adult life in each state that I have lived in. I am loving this opportunity to combine my spirit and activism with Trailmixer! An artist/carpenter and builder by trade, I have contributed as navigator and logistics planner for these charity climbs since the first year - map nerd, through and through. See you on the trail! And really, it’s only another mile…mile and a half……
My name is Ulisses Guimaraes. I was born a city boy, in a small municipality in Brazil where I grew up. I moved to California early in my 20’s, and I have lived in Los Angeles for the past 17 years.
Like a lot of Angelinos, I work for the entertainment industry as User Interface & User Experience Designer. A casual hiker for years, I had a life-changing moment in the Summer of 2017 while driving back from a hike with friends at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. We had to stop the car because the sunset was absolutely breathtaking. We stood in silence for several minutes, watching the sun, as it lowered, changing the spectrum of light and colors on California’s most majestic range of mountains.
I knew then and there I had found my passion.
Only a few months later, my friend John Binninger invited me to participate on a hike to raise money for charity. I immediately said yes, and I signed up to hike up Mount Saint Helens. It was there, on top of the volcano that we discussed partnering up to form what later would become Trailmixer. I had been involved with the AIDS Lifecycle for ten years – 5 years as a cyclis & 5 years as a Roadie – and I loved the idea of creating an organization that gives back to the LGBTQ+ community.
I am thrilled to be part of this journey and look forward to helping build a community that is as excited about climbing mountains as it is about giving back.
Hi, my name is Alberto Ortega, and I’m a Los Angeles native who grew up in the valley with the Angeles National Forest in my backyard. I started my career with the Forest Service in the mid 90’s in fire suppression and prevention. With a passion for the outdoors and education, I was a recipient for the Regional Forester’s Honor award 2016 Ecological Restoration and Engaging youth. I led a team that helped reduce congestion of the heavily used Chantry Flats Recreation area: We worked on a pilot program to shuttle forest visitors, which gave underserved communities access to use the park.
Looking forward seeing you on the trail.
Hello hikers and welcome to Trailmixer. My name is Francesca Koe (aka @kelpprincess on Insta and @free_dive on Twitter) and while it's true that my usual habitat is found underwater, I am #gratefulfornature everywhere. As an ocean advocate I helped to design & implement marine protected areas (MPAs) along the California coast as a primary stakeholder during the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, and I was proud to play a role in the passage of AB-376 (which bans the possession & sale of shark fins in CA). I am a multi-agency dive instructor (PADI MSDT #186082/ DAN #11837/PFI Safety Supervisor #1102 + AIDA judge), a competitive freediver, and the Editor-at-Large for Deeperblue.com. When I'm not in the water you can find me encouraging young people, friends & family to #gooutsideandexplore because hiking really is good for the soul. I am thrilled to collaborate with Ulisses and John on #trailmixer and eager to build more community as we meet out on the trails together.
Hey there, my name is Armando Sarabia, and I’m from Northern, CA. I first started fundraising for the LGBTQ community while living in San Francisco, by first running 26.2 miles in the Honolulu Marathon. After the marathon I wanted to continue fundraising for our community so, I rode my bike 545 miles (3 times) from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Although, I spend most of my time behind a chair as a hairstylist and makeup artist specializing in bridal hair and makeup. I am looking forward to some forced time off to begin my next adventure of getting out and hiking a mountain. See you at the top!