The mountains, so ever-present and prominent to the west of the metro area, can be both inviting and imposing. But for anyone wanting to know more about all they have to offer, there is a place where …
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The mountains, so ever-present and prominent to the west of the metro area, can be both inviting and imposing. But for anyone wanting to know more about all they have to offer, there is a place where generations of mountain-ward adventurers have gone — the Colorado Mountain Club.
Wilderness trekking, backpacking, winter camping or backcountry skiing, the CMC, established in 1912, can help natives or new arrivals navigate almost any Colorado outdoor adventure they can think of.
No matter the season, Colorado’s mountains are immense natural magnets for many who call the state home. Fostering that love of the outdoors, the CMC offers its members classes, events, camps, seminars and more.
It’s also a nonprofit organization working toward conservation and responsible stewardship of what many consider the state’s most valuable resource — open space.
Its mission statement evokes memories of early pioneers of the state, while at the same time, feeling as relevant and current as can be:
“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.”
The club is open to folks of all ages, but Claire Joseph, CMC’s membership services coordinator, said introducing children to the wonders of the mountains is a priority.
“We do camps all year-round,” she said. “But one thing we typically do every year are summer camps for kids from first grade through senior year of high school.”
Joseph said aside from camps, CMC offers schools a chance to do field trips at its facilities.
“We recently just had a bunch of fifth-grade groups come and learn about climbing and use our rock wall,” she said. “There’s also a museum in our building where they can learn about mountaineering and the history of mountain culture.”
Joseph said CMC also offers a huge selection of adult education programs.
“We are a leader in Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder programs, which offer nationally recognized certifications,” she said. “There’s also a Wilderness Trekking School — an intro-level course teaching students the basics of things like map and compass use, knot tying and a bit of avalanche awareness.”
CMC also teaches AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) certification courses, required for certain ski and backcountry jobs. But it’s not all serious business for adults. CMC’s winter offerings include courses in backcountry skiing, split boarding (a form of snowboarding) and a ski mountaineering school.
“We also sell books, with more than 68 titles published in-house,” Joseph said. “We just recently came out with a book on the best bird hikes and a backcountry cookbook, which is very popular.”
CMC offers yearly membership for individuals and families for a fee. You can learn more about the Colorado Mountain Club by visiting cmc.org.
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