Colorado Mountain Club
Fort Collins Group Newsletter
Winter 2019

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.

-John Muir

Message from the Chair

The heart and soul of the Fort Collins Group of the Colorado Mountain Club is to provide trips throughout the year for our members. Over the past year, your Council looked at a number of options to increase the trips offered to you. I believe that we have arrived at solutions that encourage individuals to become trip leaders and lead more trips. Listed below are the new policies put in place on January 1:

  • To be considered an Active Leader, an individual must lead or co-lead at least 2 trips in a calendar year. Each instance of instructing in a field-based course, clinic, or workshop also counts as a trip lead. 
  • Fees for maintaining Wilderness First Aid & CPR Certification for Active Leaders will be paid by the Group. Fees for Wilderness First Aid & CPR Certification for non-active leaders will be reimbursed after the individual leads 2 trips in the 12 months following the training. For aspiring leaders, the Leadership in Training (LIT) hike is counted as one of the 2 required trips. 
  • Mountain Hiking School, Basic Mountaineering Course, Alpine Scrambling Course, Clinic, and Workshop fees are partially reimbursed (up to 1/2 cost) to current Active Leaders. Additional no cost courses and clinics are offered to only Active leaders. 
  • To help keep leaders current, a Fort Collins Group Wilderness First Aid & CPR Training will be scheduled in Larimer County at least semi-annually. 
  • The Group will recognize “Distinguished Active Leaders” to mentor new leaders and act as co-leads for new leader hikes; list to be published on the FC-CMC website. 
  • No cost Annual Dinner will be given to those with credit for actual trip leading 5 or more trips in the last 12 months, and a no cost Annual Dinner with one companion will be given to those with credit for actual trip leading 10 or more trips October 1 – September 30. (does not include co-leads, course or school directors or instructors) .
  • We will list all Active Leaders annually in the newsletter and conduct special drawings for gifts for all Active Leaders at the annual picnic and Leader meetings. 
  • Spirit of the Mountains award will be given annually to an individual at the Annual Dinner deemed to typify selfless service to the Fort Collins Group

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.

-Edward Abbey

Photos from the Trail

Its been an adventure-packed fall and start to winter for the Fort Collins group. See photos from our adventures!

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

-Sir Edmund Hillary

Mountain Hiking School

The 2019 Mountain Hiking School (MHS) will be offered this spring, March 19 through April 20. The course will be patterned after previous offerings of the MHS, as well as the Denver Group’s Wilderness Trekking Course. The planned MHS will consist of five 3-hour lectures (Tuesday evenings) and 5 all-day field trips (Saturdays). The primary subject areas include Basic Fundamentals such as: gear, nutrition & hydration, natural hazards, trip planning, hiking styles, group dynamics, and back-country ethics. Navigation and route-finding on- and off-trail will be heavily emphasized, using maps, compass and other readily-available tools and I-phone applications (other than GPS). Students will also learn how to deal with Emergencies such as illness, injury, getting help and overnight survival. Additional details are available.

This course will help prepare students for hiking safely and competently in all seasons in the Colorado Mountains, at varied elevations and under challenging weather conditions. It will also provide invaluable information & experience for those who might want to eventually become official CMC leaders. Completion of the course will also help prepare those who may be interested in enrolling in our springtime Alpine Scrambling Course, Basic Mountaineering Course, as well as other educational clinics & workshops. Four field trips will be conducted at lower elevations where snow may or may not be present, while the graduation hike will be at elevations from over 10,000’ to about 11,500’ and on snow. The B Level graduation hike will involve snowshoe travel, ice axe practice on moderate terrain, and a Class 2 ascent of an alpine ridge to a summit offering exceptional views.

Students are expected to attend all lectures and field trips in order to receive a certificate of completion. Enrollees are expected to be CMC-Fort Collins Group members, 18 years of age, to have good fitness & motivation, and to provide or purchase all necessary clothing & basic recommended gear. We can provide ice axes for the graduation climb. Necessary purchases can be made after the first classroom where gear will be discussed in detail. The course fee will be $125 for those registering by February 15, and $150 for those registering after that date. Course fees are used to rent space & equipment, prepare written materials, and meet other costs of classroom or internet instruction. Field trips are free, except for customary ride shares. Students who become CMC leaders within 12 months of completing the course can receive a rebate of $75. Applications for the spring 2019 course must be received by the Administrative Director, JoAnn Herkenhoff at (email: ) no later than March 15, 2019. The class will be limited to 18 students. Questions about the course may be directed by email to JoAnn or to Ward Whicker, Course Director ( Be safe and leave no trace!

When the pursuit of natural harmony is a shared journey, great heights can be attained.

-Lynn Hill

Alpine Scrambling Course

Have you taken the Mountain Hiking School and are now ready to stretch your skills a bit further? Do you want to improve on the skills you will need to climb most of the Colorado 14ers? The Alpine Scrambling course is for you.

Most Colorado summits are accessible by scramble routes, so the skills acquired in this course will improve your ability to reach the summits of the Colorado 14ers as well as hundreds of other peaks. The Alpine Scrambling Course is also a good choice for those interested in climbing semi-technical non-standard routes. While much of the enjoyment of scrambling is freedom from technical gear and complicated rock climbing techniques, unroped scrambling in exposed situations is potentially one of the more dangerous aspects of mountaineering. For this reason, education and training specific to scrambling is important for safe and confident climbing.

The ASC student will practice elementary technical methods in preparation for the more challenging scrambles. A review of ice axe self-arrest, fit-and-usage of a climbing harness and helmet will provide for a safer climbing environment. Leaders of scrambling trips will carry a rope and some protection gear during field days. Technical gear may be used for security on exposed sections, or to facilitate a safer retreat in case of difficulty. Sustained use of the technical gear is not taught in this course. A goal of the course is to assist students to become more comfortable with exposure since that is a significant aspect of scrambling.

Although many find the ASC a logical bridge between a hiking course and a technical climbing course, others find the ASC an end in itself. For those with moderate goals and aspirations, the ASC will provide a rewarding experience. For those with more lofty ambitions, the ASC will add skills, confidence, and conditioning in anticipation of moving to technical climbing courses.

Enlightenment isn’t found with a full stomach, or on a soft pillow.

-Conrad Anker

Alpine Scrambling Course (continued)

Elective Scrambles are typically rated at the C hiking classification level. C classified trips can be up to 15 miles roundtrip and/or up to 3,500 feet elevation gain. The earlier Elective Scrambles are not likely to reach these limits, a few of the later scrambles may get close or exceed them. The physical and mental demands of the ASC are not to be underestimated. A typical 4 a.m. meet time, long approach hikes while carrying a 20 lb pack, challenging scrambles with exposed climbing, and a late afternoon return to the trailhead, can be demanding on mind and body.

If you believe that you may have issues handling exposure on your own or in a group, you are encouraged to start gradually with the easiest scrambles earlier in the season. Elective Scramble listings include descriptions of the hiking distances, climbing difficulties, and degree of exposure that you can expect on each trip. Ramping up the difficulty of your trips allows you to gradually increase your comfort level. Missing the early scrambles may result in attempting a later, more difficult, climb without being mentally prepared for it which would be discouraging for everyone.

Alpine Scrambling is generally offered every two or three years based on interest expressed by Fort Collins Group members. Acceptance to the course requires active CMC membership, and prior completion of the Mountain Hiking School, Wilderness Trekking School, or equivalent experience. If you are interested in taking this course, please contact John Raich, course coordinator. You can request a copy of the ASC manual for a closer look at the overall program.

More Information:  John Raich, ASC Director,

Not all those who wander are lost.

-JRR Tolkien

Annual Potluck and Gear Swap

While driving to trailheads in Rocky Mountain National Park, have you ever wondered how places along the way like Loveland, Drake, Estes Park, or Big Thompson got their names and why folks settled where they did? If so, this presentation by Fort Collins trip leader, Carolyn Hammond, is for you!

Join the Colorado Mountain Club Fort Collins Group for a fun evening as we share our potluck dinner favorites and check out the gear swap items. Relax and hear Carolyn Hammond share what she has researched about the early history surrounding our foothills. The further back in our local history you look, the more you will find land characteristics dictated how this area was developed and what happened along the way. Enjoy historical perspectives such as in 1904 when Highway 34 to Estes Park was a very narrow, shoulderless version of what it is today. If a stagecoach encountered a wagon, the wagon had to unhitch its horses and be disassembled so the coach could pass. To do this and reassemble the wagon took the team of people a large amount of time, so imagine if the stagecoach met several wagons in a day!

Come join Carolyn as she captivates you with the adventures of our past and shares this connection with the land through our local history.

WHEN:  Wednesday, 27 Feb 2019 – Potluck at 6:30pm and Presentation at 7:30pm

WHERE:  Fort Collins Senior Center, Prairie Sage #3 Meeting Room, 1200 Raintree Drive, Fort Collins

CONTACT:  Anita Wright,

Not all those who wander are lost.

-JRR Tolkien

New and Prospective Members Meeting

Our next meeting for new and prospective members will be held on Tuesday March 5th, 2019 at 6:30pm at the Harmony Library – Poudre River Public Library. Meeting runs 6:30pm to 7:30pm. Signup is not required to attend, but preferred. All are welcome!

Please share the information about this meeting with anybody you know that might be interested in CMC. Also share the link to Facebook and to the CMC calendar.

Participants will learn about the Colorado Mountain Club. Get an overview of all the Club has to offer including outdoor trips/activities for every season lead by experts, social events, training, etc. We’ll have plenty of time to answer any questions participants might have and provide them with all the tools to get started with the CMC!


WHEN:  Tuesday, 5 Mar 2019 at 6:30pm

WHERE:  Harmony Library, 4616 S Shields St, Fort Collins, CO 80526

CONTACT:  Amparo Maya,


The summit is just a halfway point.

-Ed Viesturs

Backcountry Film Festival

Join the Colorado Mountain Club, Odell Brewing, and Wool Hat Creative Productions at the 2019 Backcountry Film Festival in Fort Collins!

The Backcountry Film Festival is produced by Winter Wildlands Alliance as a celebration of the human-powered experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community. Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization that partners with groups like Colorado Mountain Club at the local level to inspire and educate the backcountry community to protect and care for their winter landscapes. Funds raised at each screening stay in the local community to support human-powered recreation and conservation efforts, winter education and avalanche/safety programs and to raise awareness of winter management issues.

Adventure, environment and climate, youth outdoors, ski culture- you’ll find it all in this award winning lineup.

Volunteers are needed to assist with ticketing, setup and tear down, and beer pouring.

WHEN:  Tuesday, 12 Mar 2019 – Doors open at 6:30pm, Show starts at 7:00pm

WHERE:  Odell Brewing Company – 800 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524

CONTACT:  Amparo Maya,

Mountains are freedom. Treat them respectfully.

-Conrad Anker

Earth Day

The CMC Fort Collins Group is participating in Earth Day Fort Collins at the Civic Center Park, 11am-5pm, Saturday April 20, 2019.
You are invited to this free entry event and to stop by our booth.

Earth Day encourages and inspires community members to honor the Earth every day and make efforts toward conservation and preservation of our wondrous planet for current and future generations.

Your help is essential to make this a successful event!

Volunteers are needed to set-up the booth at 10:00am, take down at 5:00pm and to attend the booth between 11:00am and 5:00pm. Responsibilities include greeting visitors at the booth, distributing materials, and answering questions about the CMC. Any length of time you can help will be greatly appreciated! Let us know what time works best for you. 

WHEN:  Saturday, 20 Apr 2019 from 11:00am – 5:00pm

WHERE:  Civic Center Park, Fort Collins, CO

CONTACT:  Amparo Maya,

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.

-Amelia Earhart

Leadership and Safety

The Colorado Mountain Club relies on volunteer trip leaders to lead adventures for its members. Being a trip leader is a great way to give back to the club and help foster the next generation of mountaineering enthusiasts. To become a trip leader, an applicant will complete a leader training session with the leadership and safety director, acquire and maintain wilderness first aid certification, and plan and lead a trip with a mentoring trip leader. The cost of first aid training is reimbursed to trip leaders who lead one or more trips each year. Anyone interested in becoming a trip leader is encouraged to speak with the leadership and safety coordinator for the Fort Collins group, Peter Gill.

It always seems impossible until it is done.

-Nelson Mandela

Calling All Contributors

The Fort Collins group newsletter relies on submissions by our members, trip leaders, instructors, and council to share their experiences with the Colorado Mountain Club on and off the trail. If you would like submit a trip report, article, photograph, or library for inclusion in this newsletter, please email communications director, Chris Haugen.

Climbing is my lifelong journey.

-Chris Sharma

About our Group


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Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

-Theodore Roosevelt

About CMC

Colorado Mountain Club

The Colorado Mountain Club has been delivering conservation, education, and recreational opportunities to the Colorado public since 1912. The CMC acts as a gateway to the mountains for novices and experts alike, offering an array of year-round activities, events, and schools centered on outdoor recreation. The Club connects thousands of adventure-loving mountaineers and teaches the skills to safely and respectfully maximize living in an outdoor playground.


To unite the energy, interest, and knowledge of the students, explorers, and lovers of the mountains of Colorado; Collect and disseminate information regarding the Rocky Mountains on behalf of science, literature, art, and recreation; Stimulate public interest in our mountain area; Encourage the preservation of forests, flowers, fauna, and natural scenery; and Render readily accessible the alpine attractions of this region.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

– Henry David Thoreau

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