Here at Northeast Mountain Guiding we pride ourselves on professionalism.  We staff some of the most highly respected and experienced guides in the country.  All of our guides are CPR for the Professional Rescuer and Wilderness First Aid certified along with being trained and/or certified in the discipline they are instructing/guiding.  We are the only guide service in the region that currently employs guides certified by the Professional Climbing Guides InstituteNational Canyoneering Guides Association and the American Hiking Guides Association.  Our guide's training and certifications are conducted by Nationally and/or Internationally recognized organizations.

Our founder, and current owners are highly respected figures in the outdoor education and guiding industry.  They are also founders, curriculum developers or directly involved with various levels of National and International guide training and search and rescue training organizations in the United States.  When you're in the wilderness or mountains with us you're with trained professionals, some of the best in the industry! More information on our guides and staff can be found by scrolling down.

Joseph "Joey" Vulpis

President, Founder & Recreational Division Director

Joey has been guiding for many years and is an essential part of the Outdoor Adventure & Education industry in the United States. He helped create this industry with the US Department of Labor in 2013/2014. He is a co-founder of the American Hiking Guides Association (Mountain Leader Program) which has established itself in the United States as the governing body for training and certification for hiking and backpacking guides (Mountain Leaders). He was the Secretary of the Board for the Professional Climbing Guides Institute (PCGI) for 2 consecutive terms from 2014 until 2018 and was a member of their Board of Directors for 2 consecutive terms from 2011 until 2014. Joey is a co-founder, Chief, Technical Team Leader and head instructor for Bayshore Search & Rescue, a wilderness ground search and rescue team in Central New Jersey. He is a co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic Mountain Rescue Team which is now run by various State Police agencies in the Mid-Atlantic US. He also works as a contractor with several Federal law enforcement agencies as a Wilderness & Remote Rescue Specialist. 

Joey is a certified PCGI Top-Rope Guide and works alongside certified guides on a weekly basis. He took the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor course in April of 2018 and is planning on being assessed for certification in 2021. He is a Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Advanced First Aid and Wilderness First Responder Instructor as well as a High/Low Angle Rescue Instructor. He is a former volunteer EMT with South Aberdeen EMS/Bayshore EMS where he served as Sergeant for 2 terms. South Aberdeen EMS responds to 1200+ emergency 911 calls annually. Joey is also an adjunct instructor with the Center for Wilderness Safety and the Executive Director for the Wilderness & Mountain Safety Institute. He was also a key figure in the development of permit programs for guides in the states of both Delaware and New Jersey. He recently developed curriculum for backcountry water safety and backcountry food handlers.

         Joey holds first ascent climbs in High Point State Park NJ, Allamuchy State Park NJ, Green Pond NJ and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area on both the NJ and PA sides. His most well known ascents are at High Point State Park and a recent first known winter ascent of the Southwest face of Mount Tammany which is a rock, snow and ice climbing route between the upper and lower head walls. Joey is the author of the 2018 'Mountain Leader Handbook' which is a formal text for hiking and backpacking guides. He is also the author of 'Garden State Climbing', which is a guide book for New Jersey and also an in-depth history book of rock climbing in New Jersey. Joey, a father of 2 children, calls New Jersey his home.

Joey's Certifications & Trainings:

  • Leave No Trace Trainer
  • PCGI Top Rope Guide
  • New York DEC Licensed Guide for Hiking, Rock & Ice Climbing - #8146
  • CPR for the Professional Rescuer (AHA)
  • Basic First-Aid (AHA)
  • Wilderness & Remote First Aid (ARC & CWS)
  • New Jersey EMT
  • Confined Space Entry - 29 CFR 1910.146
  • Wilderness EMT
  • Wilderness EMT Advanced
  • High/Low Angle Rescue Technician (Mountain Rescue)
  • NCGA Level I, II and III Canyoneering Guide
  • NCGA Waterfall Rappelling Guide
  • ​NCGA Canyoneering Rescue Technician
  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • Search & Rescue Technician III
  • AHGA Hiking Guide
  • AHGA Mountain Leader
  • International Mountain Leader
  • FEMA ICS 100 and NIMS 700
  • A-101 Aviation Safety
  • Food Handler's License (for backcountry meal preparation)​
  • Backcountry Water Safety
  • Basic Water Safety (ARC)
  • ​Basic Water Rescue (ARC)
  • NJ Licensed Tree Care Operator/Arborist (NJLTCO#767, NJTC#788741)

Matt Novellino

Vice President & Pro-Services Division Director

Hey everyone! Over the last couple of decades my path, both in Special Operations and as an outdoorsman, has taken me all over the world, but it all started right here in New Jersey! I grew up exploring the woods near my home in Denville, where I first found my wilderness inspiration in the echoes of the Native Americans who once inhabited our hills. Early on, I became interested in the techniques of survival, tracking, and eventually rock climbing, backpacking, and skiing. In 1999, I visited the Black Hills of South Dakota, and began what has now been a 20 year relationship with the Lakota tribe, and a love for the wild spaces of the American West. In 2003, I decided to follow my interests in self development and service into the military, and I enlisted in the US Coast Guard where I eventually became a Helicopter Rescue Swimmer. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast, I was fortunate enough to be involved in 140 helicopter rescues within New Orleans. Following an extremely rewarding 4+ years in the Coast Guard, I returned to NJ where I began to guide rock climbing, backpacking, and survival training in New Jersey and New Hampshire. It was during this time, while we were both fixtures in the Allamuchy State Park climbing scene, that I first met Joey from Northeast Mountain Guiding.

During this period, I enlisted in the Army National Guard with the goal of entering Special Forces. After completing Infantry training, Airborne school, and a variety of other schools, I was selected as a candidate for Special Forces. In 2009 I reported to Ft. Bragg NC, where I underwent 21 months of training in the SFQC (Special Forces Qualification Course). After making it through training which included small unit tactics, cultural and language training in Arabic, SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape school), the SF Weapons SGT Course, and an Unconventional Warfare culminating exercise, I finally earned my Green Beret in the summer of 2011. After graduation, I moved to Colorado and reported to my National Guard Special Force unit. Living in and around Boulder, I had the opportunity to take my passion for the outdoors deep into the Rockies where I continued to polish my navigation, survival, and off-trail skills. When not exploring the mountains in the US, I traveled around the world as a Green Beret, including missions in Europe, North Africa, two combat deployments to the mountains of Afghanistan, and countless Special Operations schools and training evolutions.

Following my last trip to Afghanistan, I transferred to my unit's "training detachment" where I mentor and assess Special Forces hopefuls from the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy. On the civilian side, I've been able to remain active in the aviation and maritime search-and-rescue fields through jobs as a Rescue Swimmer instructor for Ocean Rescue Systems International, and a hoist and tactical advisor for SRT Helicopters, as well as an independent training contractor for SOCOM. In my spare time, I have also run my own leadership and team-building company called Origins Training Group and a wilderness mentoring company called Warrior Wilderness Mentoring. I continue to maintain and develop relationships with the Native American nations which have been so influential on my philosophies in wilderness and in life. As an aspiring author of historical fiction and non-fiction, one of my long term goals is to share that positive influence I've received through my writing. In 2018, my wife Aja and I got married in our home town of Denville. Not long after, we bought a home in the woods in Rockaway NJ where we live today with our fat cat Ocho and our Siberian Husky Sky. I still travel regularly to the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest to practice my wilderness skills and philosophy, but I am super excited to be back in the New Jersey, and honored to have the opportunity to become a big part of Northeast Mountain Guiding! See you out there!

Matt's Certifications & Trainings

  • Former US Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer
  • ​US Army Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (Green Beret) 2011 to present
  • ​Tactical Combat Casualty Care Qualified
  • SERE C High Risk
  • ​High Threat QCB instructor
  • ​Colorado National Guard SAR Team Member
  • ​Maritime & Aviation Rescue Instructor
  • US Army National Guard 2008 to present
  • ​Helo Cast Master
  • Fast Rope Insertion Master
  • USMC Scout Swimmer Graduate (2012)
  • Bronze Star with Valor (Afghanistan 2013)
  • ARCOM with Valor (Afghanistan 2017)
  • Bronze Star (Afghanistan 2017)
  • Bachelors Degree BFA

Field & Operations Directors

Sally El-Sadek

River & Yoga Operations DIrector

Sally is an east coast native of Egyptian roots who started exploring yoga and paddleboarding in 2007. She was looking for something to calm her mind. Listening to her body and connecting with her breath helped her meet herself, mentally and emotionally. Sally has always been drawn to the healing, empowering and balancing energies of the water and nature. Standup paddleboard opened a whole new world, allowing her to explore still waters and the rough waves of the ocean, paddling out with friends and navigating into the remotest of areas... all while cultivating strength and balance and a connection to the sublime. It is on her board that she finds the greatest balance and peace. After experiencing her own personal transformation on land and on water, it became her passion to share the magic of paddling and SUP Yoga with everyone.

Sally's yoga teaching style is lyrical and inspired, rooted in sound biomechanics and creative expression. Teaching to all levels of students from true beginners to advanced seasoned practitioners, Sally offers simple modifications and advanced expressions all while keeping the class steadily flowing forward. Interweaving ancient tradition with modern training techniques, Sally's flows are fun and exciting and accessible to all. She teaches at several local yoga studios and is also available for private and group classes. Her teaching specialties include: vinyasa, Dharma Yoga, Acro Yoga, Barkan Hot Yoga, Kids Yoga, Chair Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Pre-Natal, Post-Natal, Baby and Me, SUP Yoga, flexibility classes, bodyART

Sally leads yoga teacher trainings, retreats and workshops internationally and locally. Destinations include Tulum Mexico, Costa Rica, Egypt, Thailand, and Dubai. Sally loves helping people find connection with their bodies, their voice, their breath; To find strength where they feel they are weak; To break through their barriers; To find their own journey and feel comfortable in their own skin.

Sally's Certifications & Trainings

  • Red Cross Lifeguard
  • WPA Class 1 Certified (World Paddle Association)
  • PaddleFit Core Certified
  • CPR & AED Certified
  • First Aid Certified
  • Dharma Mittra, Life of a Yogi: 500Hr TT
  • Jimmy Barkan Method of Hot Yoga: 200H TT
  • Jimmy Barkan Method Advanced Level 2/3 Vinyasa: 80H TT
  • EvenFlow Yoga Teacher Training: 200Hr TT
  • Radiant Child Yoga Level 1/2/3, Happily Ever Now: 70Hr TT
  • Mentor under kinesiologist, shaman, energy healer
  • elevatED Flexibility Teacher Training
  • Certified International bodyART Instructor Level 1
  • International and Public Affairs B.A., Princeton University​
  • ​AHGA Hiking Guide Course


Jan Wright

Hiking & Backpacking Operations Director

Jan is a 25 year veteran of Law Enforcement. He retired as the Chief of Police of the Hamburg New Jersey Police Department. Jan specializes in instructing police recruits and active duty police officers.

He is a graduate of West Point Command and Leadership and the FBI Executive Leadership Program at Princeton University.

Jan is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200) and teaches throughout the state.

An avid Appalachian Trail hiker he recently completed 800 miles in 43 days. In September of 2018 he ran the entire New Jersey section of the Appalachian trail, 73.2 miles in 33 hours. Jan has also competed in numerous Marathons, Spartan races, Multi day Adventure Races and Triathlons. Jan lives in New Jersey with his wonderful wife and their two dogs known as the Wolfpack.

Jan's Certifications & Trainings

  • Registered Yoga Teacher 200 HR. E-RYT
  • ​Former Chief of Police (Hamburg, NJ)​
  • CPR/AED
  • NJ Police Firearms Instructor

Stephen Phillips

​​Climbing Operations Director

Hi! I have been an avid outdoorsman my whole life. I am an Eagle Scout and spent most of my childhood backpacking and camping with my scout troop. My years in scouting led me to the Emergency Services/Education path, I currently reside on. I have been in the Emergency Services for well over a decade. I started my career as a Volunteer EMT in the town I grew up in and soon after became a paid per diem EMT.
Currently, I am a Volunteer Fire Fighter and a Member of Middlesex County Urban Search and Rescue Team. I also am a member of the State UASI USAR Team.
I hold technician level certifications in rope rescue, structure collapse, trench rescue, and swift water rescue. I am also a State Certified Fire Instructor.
My wife and I are travelers and have been exploring the mountains of NJ and NY for years and we travel as frequently as possible. Recreationally I am a Mountain Biker and Road Cyclist, Trail Runner, and Climber so working in the Outdoors is a dream come true.

Stephen's Trainings & Certifications

  • Level 1 Fire Instructor
  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • ​NFA Structural Collapse Specialist
  • CPR/AED
  • ​Wide Are Search Trained
  • Trench Rescue Operations I & II
  • Rope Rescue Technician
  • Middlesex County USAR team member