Thursday, December 9, 2010

If you missed Howard Snyder's recap of McKinley, watch him here....

The Boulder CMC Group's 2010 Annual Dinner was an outstanding success, partly because of the attraction of keynote speaker, Howard Snyder, who led the 1967 Colorado McKinley Expedition.  The expedition, one of the most controversial in North American mountaineering history, was chronicled in the 2007 book Forever on the Mountain, and in Howard’s 1973 book, The Hall of the Mountain King. It was very poignant hearing Snyder credit CMC with giving him the skills he needed to learn mountaineering and likely to have helped save his team's lives, despite the loss of other lives on that fateful expedition. If you missed Snyder, check out the short clip below.

Howard Snyder, autographing his book, The Hall of the Mountain King (photo by Janine Fugere)

Howard Snyder showing a painting of his teammate, Paul Schlichter, setting off a flare at the Summit of McKinley  (photo by Jim Groh)

For more activities open to all members, join the Boulder Group at these next two events!

Boulder Group Holiday Party, 12/12, 6pm:  Every year the Boulder Group has a Holiday Party open to all members, which follows the 5:30pm December 12th Council meeting. The party starts at 6pm. Consider yourself invited! (RSVP not necessary) The traditional Holiday Party will be held in the BCMC Clubroom, The format will be potluck, BYOB and strictly informal. It will be a wonderful opportunity for you to meet your Council and State Board members, get familiar with them and ask any questions you might have.

Movie Night – Cliffhanger, 12/14, 7-9pm:  Come watch possibly the most ridiculous climbing film ever made! Sylvester Stallone stars as a daring climber/ranger, with truly dramatic scenery from the Italian Dolomites to the Rockies!   Rated R, released in 1993, we'll have fun pointing out all the technical errors in the outlandish climbing stunts.   No registration necessary; just come to the Clubroom. BYOB. Socializing 6:45-7pm.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Make your gift to the CMC go further today, on Colorado Gives Day

Today is Colorado Gives Day! Community First Foundation, a Denver-based organization, is partnering with nonprofits across Colorado, including the Colorado Mountain Club, to increase funding for the important work that we all do. The initiative is called Colorado Gives Day and is taking place during a 24-hour period TODAY. Donations will be accepted through, a site created by the Foundation, with an ambitious goal of raising $1 million in one day for Colorado non-profits. The CMC receives 100% of their donations received through  because the Foundation covers credit card and processing fees. Furthermore, a special incentive fund has been created to increase the value of donations received on Colorado Gives Day, so each and every dollar that is raised for the CMC results in an incentive gift from the Foundation and its partners. This is a great way to make your contribution go further. Thank you for your support of the Colorado Mountain Club!

 FOUR Easy Steps to Support the CMC through Colorado Gives Day

  1. Visit
  2. In the Key Words or Charity Name section, type Colorado Mountain Club
  3. Click the Donate Now button and select your donation amount
  4. Click Add to Cart and proceed to checkout with your donation

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Knot Tying School Graduates 38 Students

In third annual session, Knot Tying School graduated 38 students after completion of two consecutive instructional days. Not only did students learn to tie knots, they received a take-home book with different types of rope and webbing, one-on-one instructor time, an arduous knot tying scenario session to apply the knots they learned, and the satisfaction that they can safely tie over 20 knots...or some of them can. 

The third edition of the CMC Knot Tying School was a resounding success.  Nearly 40 students demonstrated a mastery of 6 basic knots, and then anywhere from 2 to 15 advanced knots of their choosing.  They also demonstrated a thorough knowledge of “what knot to tie when?” in grueling one on one discussion sessions known as “Knot Scenarios”. Renowned alpinist Gerry Roach lent his own particular flavor with an opening discussion on the importance of being able to tie a wide variety of knots.

Figure 8  

This years graduates are Jeffrey Albers, John Aldag, Michelle Altieri, Erika Andersen, Marland Billings, Marc Borai, Fred Caloggero, David Cassin, Karen Dean, Allen Folson, James Graham, Scott Hammond, Marc Hasfjord, Walt Hastings, Jay Hendrickson, Sylwia Hendrickson, Jason Kolaczkowski, Kim LaLiberte, Melanie Layton, Warren May, Ryan Mays, Lucas McCain, Bruce Metcalf, Richard Ostrosky, Paul Perea, Roger Pomainville, Maddalena Ragusin, Bruce Randall, Zach Randall, Nathan Reich, Marco Satarsiere, Rachel Scott, Kristina Short, Randal Stinson, Charles Thabault, Nick Theiler, Adam Yaws, Linda Ziccardi.   All students received completion certificates.

Clove Hitch

Double Fisherman
We would like to thank the following instructors who gave generously of their time; Dave Pellegrini, Bob Dawson, Jerry Allen, Greg German, John Mitchler, Nickie Kelly, Tom Creighton, Alan Chudnow, Deb Kirk, Greg Olson, Wayne Johnson, Debbie Malone, Brian LeBlanc, Casey Lems, Chuck Barnes, Ed White, Eileen O’Leary, Brian Jones, Vern Bass and Gerry Roach. The Instructors represent many backgrounds within CMC, and are all Instructors in WTS, WCS, BMS, HAMS, or Tech Section Rock & Ice Climbing Schools. Students were encouraged to get to know as many instructors as possible, especially if they plan to go on to a school an instructor is involved with.

Kudos to Lisa, Kristin, Chun, Shelby and Rachel for setting it all up for us.

Next year we plan to offer this school in early November again, after climbing season, but before holiday season.

Dave Covill, KTS Director
Dave Pellegrini, KTS Lead Instructor
John Mitchler, KTS Scenarios Coordinator
Gerry Roach, KTS Knots Guru

Can anyone name this knot?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Stewardship Forum – Resounding Success!

Over 150 participants, representing land management agency staff, non-profit professionals and stewardship volunteers gathered at the American Mountaineering Center to brainstorm the launch of a coordinated stewardship movement in Colorado. Representatives from national foundations and federal agencies affirmed that this type of forum was the first of its kind in the country.  A remarkable slate of panelists discussed potential goals for a new coalition, drawing on both conservation trends and successes from their own experiences. Breakout sessions gave all participants a chance to weigh in on the challenges and opportunities within the arenas of collaboration, capacity building, funding, public policy, and citizen engagement. The Colorado Mountain Club and steering committee partners were honored to host Senator Mark Udall, who weighed in on taking the stewardship movement in our state to the next level. Many thanks to all who organized, volunteered, and participated. Stay tuned for the follow-up report and our next meeting on January 19, 2011.

Director of Conservation, Bryan Martin

One of several panel discussions

Many ways to get involved

Wynne Whyman, CMC Board President

Senator Mark Udall rounding out the forum

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Donate to CMC and Stay at Vagabond Ranch

Have you ever thought about donating to the CMC on a monthly basis? Now is a great time to start. EVERY new donor to sign up for monthly recurring donations through our electronic funds transfer (EFT) program before March 1st will receive a complimentary overnight stay for two at Vagabond Ranch Huts near Grand Lake, Colorado (a $72 value!) 

Vagabond Ranch

To be eligible, you must donate at least $10 per month and remain enrolled for one year; only new EFT donors qualify. Sign up at or call Sarah Gorecki, Development Director, at 303-996-2752 for more information. Read more about Vagabond Ranch Huts at

At 9000 ft elevation, the Vagabond Ranch sits in the alpine meadows and wetlands that border the confluence of Willow and Bill creeks.    
It is home to many forms of wildlife including Moose, Elk, and Beaver. Off property trails follow meadow and stream to the continental divide, and alpine tundra, vistas, and lakes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Trip Report-Quandary in November

Another trip report from the soon-to-be graduate, and hopeful instructor, of Wilderness Trekking School. Marco is no stranger to 14er's; however, this was his first winter ascent of Quandary(14,265') with his WTS class to obtain part of their 'extra credit' C Classification.  Most students are looking forward to earning the C Classification to go onto Basic Mountaineering School(BMS).


Hey there, this TR comes to you at a time in Colorado when I typically do not climb high peaks.  I am making a foray into new horizons regarding mountaineering, and am excited to do so with new friends that share my enthusiasm for the mountains.


I wake up at 2:50am and have given myself 5-6 hours of sleep the last two nights, so falling asleep at 10pm on a Friday is easier.  Leave the house at 3:10am.  Make my way to the Wooly Mammoth parking lot just off of I-70 (Morrison exit).  I was surprised to see all of my team members ready to rumble, all 10 of us throwing it down and meeting at 3:30am Saturday morning….money.  More and more my comfort level with my team is growing, these folks love the mountains as much as me, and I can not express how happy it makes me.

I drop off my car at the park n’ ride, struggle to smile when everyone at different intervals shouts to me “good morning”, I am late for everything except hiking.  I ride with Wayne and Rich O to the trailhead.  We stop at a 7-11 in Frisco because our original destination was closed.   I got a coffee, banana, and some big red bubble gum.  Chatted with KD for a bit and took advantage of the restroom.  One thing that has become evident, when hiking with the WTS team, you should take advantage of every “bio break” you get.   I have had to struggle through the WTS course on the hikes because I am so used to doing things when I want to do them.  I sacrifice that convenience for safety by hiking with my team.  

After the pit stop, we travel to the trailhead and get there at 5:40am.  The team has delivered on time, one of your best advantages at gaining the summit. 

We have a quick briefing at the parking lot and start the hike of Quandary at 5:50am.  About .75 miles in, with headlamps rockin’, I encountered a very icy steep spot on the trail.  I was able to make a move and get passed it but slightly slipped when I did not think I would have.  Someone following directly behind took a slip on that same ice.  After that, the instructors told us to apply our micro spikes or yak trax if we had them.  I had bought my micro spikes on Thursday and was dismayed at the price tag.  65 bones eh?  I gave a little guff to the salesperson at the downtown Denver REI. 

“Do you feel these are worth 65 dollars?”
“Yes, we had some employees come back from the Ouray ice festival this year and they insisted we must carry this product.”

Holy Bojangles! These things worked great.  Micro spikes fit in this hiatus between a good hiking boot and crampons.  Absolutely ingenious!

So we all throw on some traction on the boots, except a few folks.  Those people would definitely rely on their trekking pools.  With the Micro spikes I had the luxury of putting up my trekking poles for a large portion of the hike.  Especially going down a peak, I do not like trekking poles, even though they are supposed to save your knees.  I like having my hands free so I can balance myself with my arms, much like a gymnast on a balance beam. 

Our lead instructor Wayne set a great pace.  We stopped about .5 mile before gaining the ridge.  At this point, our group split up into two groups because some folks wanted to rest more and others wanted to get moving because it was cold.  My personal preference is to keep moving as much as possible.  This is one thing I am learning about a team atmosphere, that I must control my pace in accordance with the team. 

Bruce, Jason, Dick, Kristina, Brandon, and I start making our way to the ridge crest with Kristina leading.  I got behind my original group trying to keep tabs on the folks resting.  I was getting a bit anxious because I wanted to summit with everyone.  Once we gain the ridge we hike a little ways to a saddle, and we take a good pause and were surprised when the next group arrived quicker than we thought.  Sweet!  Bruce had created a “Tiki Bar” in the snow beside the trail while we waited.  We had Mai Thai’s, Martini’s, you name it.  Bruce is a great backcountry bartender! Hehehe.

With the entire team together again, I am feeling good.  We make our way up to the summit.  We hike for around 45 minutes and Wayne pulls me aside to tell me to hike ahead and get photos of the team with Bruce’s camera as they are approaching the summit.  I had taken a GU shot about 20 minutes earlier and was feeling high energy. Started hustling my way up and was able to nab great shots of the team on Quandary’s ridge.  Had to use the pounding temple rule to take break!  Hehehe. At higher altitudes, that is my signal to take a break. 

I reach the summit and set up shop to take pictures of my team coming up to join me.  Bruce wanted to make Karen Dean and Karen Joos first 14er summit special.  We had a “Knight” ceremony for both of them.  While I took the picture, the team formed two lines facing each other and held up their trekking poles while Karen times 2 walked through.  I think I enjoy witnessing other peoples’ accomplishments in the mountains more than I do my own.  

One of my proudest moments of being a mountaineer so far, was smiling at my wife (Becky) and our wonderful friend (Regina) on the summit of Longs Peak back in September.  I had climbed Longs two other times, but never felt like that.

We have a wonderful weather day in Colorado. We sat up there for an hour and soaked in the views.  I have climbed Quandary before with no snow, but looking in every direction, the views of snowcapped peaks were different than the views I am accustomed to.  I think I am sold on winter climbing, even though it makes me more anxious than summer ascents.

While we are chilling up there, I run into Stacia.  I met her and Alan climbing Mt. Toll a month ago.   My goodness, do you want to know how many times I have told some random person hiking “See you on the trail again soon”.  I have met some awesome people that I hope to run into again.  Seeing Stacia, this was the first time running into someone I have met before on the trail.  She was a bit flabbergasted as well.  I took down her cell number, and now officially have a new hiking partner.  We chatted for a while and then she headed off.  Our team decided to descend not long after.  

Before we left the summit, I have this habit of snapping pictures of folks when they do not know.  Sometimes it is not in the most flattering light for some individuals. This one photo shows Karen D., Jason, and Brandon all admiring the view of the summit in different directions.  No matter how many photos I take of myself, I can never get that same embodiment of pure wonder.  Hello folks that do not hike, this is why we punish ourselves. For that picture where we all daze off into different directions of the horizon, marveling at the planet we live on. 

Anyway, we head down and the sun is beating on us.  You factor in the albedo from the snow and you are just getting blasted.  I was very conscious of this and applied sun tan lotion a couple times.  I did because sometimes I’ll miss some little spot and get burnt to a crisp on a segment of skin on the side of my neck or something.  I did well with covering my skin with clothing and sun tan lotion. 

I was getting so hot, that close to tree line I sat down with Kristina and Jason under a small tree just to get a reprieve from the sun.  It felt so good in the shade.  I chatted with Jason and Kristina a bit about a variety of subjects.   They seem very motivated to climb high altitude mountains.  Good for them, and I hope they are successful in their endeavors. 

Since I have started taking this class, it seems my goals with the mountains seem to change weekly.  Eventually, I figured out I just like to be outside man.  There is no rhyme or reason. Hiking gives me the motivation to wake up early and get out there and live a lifestyle I have long admired from the hottest doldrums of Texas.    

We bushwhack a bit to navigate to the pervious trial of Quandary (this has been closed for restoration purposes).  Quandary is definitely a high traffic peak.  The winter months will cut down on the amount of people, but it is still popular.  We make it to the cars!  Sweet!

We all head to Dillon Dam Brewery for beers and burgers.  We had a great time and as we were leaving you could sense the vibe that everyone knew we only had one more planned date together (Snow Day in December) and we were being slightly more sentimental than usual (maybe the beers).  It was poignant for me; these are my types of people in every way.  I respect their opinion, they respect mine.  They love the mountains and so do I.  They inspire me.  Those three things are all I need from someone.  

One note: I am thinking about doing the Leadville 50 race just because of Brandon on our team. He did it last year and I have been picking is brain regarding this “ultra”.  The Leadville 50 is a 50 mile race in one day that has an insane amount of elevation gain.  I want to try it.
I hope to have the opportunity to be an assistant instructor for WTS in April.