Pflueger laughs when he remembers guiding a group of backpackers at age 16.
"I didn't tell anyone (in the group) how old I was,'' said Pflueger. "I played this game where I'd ask them to guess how old I was (when the hike was over). They thought I was in my 20s. It's funny -- they had no idea how old I was. I wouldn't have trusted a 16-year-old kid. I didn't even have a driver's license.''
But he knew his stuff. Pflueger's father, Otto, introduced him to backpacking and fishing at an early age, and his resume is jam-packed with accomplishments now. He has kayaked, climbed and rafted all over the world, including ascents of Denali and Mount Foraker in Alaska, as well as the big walls in Yosemite and alpine first ascents north of the Arctic Circle.
Pflueger is also a noted nature guide and instructor, working with Outward Bound West, a national organization designed to expose young people to the natural world.
These days, Pflueger's focus is photography, a passion for which he developed as he became a more experienced outdoorsman.
His skills with the camera and as an adventurer will be on display Tuesday at the REI in Berkeley. Pflueger will show slides of his climbs in Alaska and a kayaking venture down the Copper River and across Prince William Sound, among other trips.
But Pflueger, who also builds photography-related Web sites, isn't just showing off. He aims to bring the outdoors to those who have little or no experience in camping, hiking and the like.
"I've been outdoors all my life,'' said Pflueger, a Richmond resident. "I really enjoy the camaraderie of the people I've taken trips with and the solitude. (I want to make) the element of exploration and adventuring accessible.
"People have this perception that people who like the outdoors are scared of crowds and an urban environment. There's nothing antisocial about being outdoors. I think of it as kind of exciting -- I like the contrast. You can be in a dense, urban (area) and the next day be in the middle of nowhere with no one around you.''
In November, Pflueger presented his slide shows at four Bay Area REIs, including Concord and Fremont. Other shows earlier this month took place in Saratoga and San Francisco.
"(The shows) have been received really well,'' said Pflueger, a graduate of Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, and UC Berkeley. "People get excited about it and ask a lot of questions. I tell people what they can do if they haven't had a lot of experience outdoors. I want to impart some knowledge in people and inspire them to take trips.''
Pflueger's monthlong kayaking trip through Prince William Sound covered 600 miles.
"It was really memorable; I enjoyed it,'' he said.
"To be able to make your own itinerary and not have to follow anyone's schedule is the ultimate solitude and liberation.
"The Alaska course is one of the most challenging things (I've) done. Alaska water can be terrible.''
Then there's the cold. Pflueger said one of the biggest challenges of one trip was keeping his camera working in subzero temperatures. He had to sleep with it to keep it warm. The slides give a better picture of the severity of the conditions than any words could.
"Saying it's 30- or 40-below doesn't mean anything to anyone,'' Pflueger said. "If people see (the conditions) it makes it more accessible, more understandable.''
Mark Sundeen, a New York adventurer/writer, marvels at Pflueger's skills. He accompanied Pflueger two years ago on a climbing expedition to the Alaskan arctic for an article published in National Geographic Adventure. They've gone on other journeys as well.
"He's just an ox and an incredible kayaker,'' Sundeen said. "He's great to work with and has so many outdoor skills. He'll paddle all day, then take pictures. He has a seemingly endless reserve of energy.''
Although photography and his Web-development endeavors take up most of his time, Pflueger takes trips whenever he can, including to nearby spots such as Point Reyes or the Sierra. He hopes to inspire others to do the same.
"I'm surprised more people don't take advantage (of the resources) they have here,'' Pflueger said. 'There are people I know who live in San Francisco who've never even seen the beach.
"You're just a couple of steps away from (getting out of) the urban environment, and don't even need a car or bus. You can be in San Francisco, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, then walk to the Headlands to explore.''
Adventurer, guide and photographer Jeff Pflueger will give a slide presentation of six years' worth of trips to Alaska at 7 p.m. Tuesday at REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. Free. (510) 527-4140, (510) 847-0650