Friday, September 2, 2011

Celebrating stewardship!

On Thursday morning, staff from the CMC were treated to a breakfast celebration on the lawn of the American Mountaineering Center by our corporate partner REI. The event recognized 13 local nonprofit organizations, and REI’s contributions this year in the amount of $234,000 to fund outdoor stewardship projects.

Participants enjoyed one of the first cool and breezy mornings of fall on the grass outside the Mountaineering Center, and the food – donated by Whole Foods and Ideal Market – was delicious.

REI awarded $4.2 million this year nationally to nonprofit partners that restore outdoor spaces. REI invites select organizations to apply for grant funding based on nominations from store employees. Eligible groups must be outdoor nonprofits that promote active volunteerism through their programs, such as hands-on trail building or restoration events.


CMC staff enjoyed mingling and talking with our friends from REI, as well as staff from the other grantees: The Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Continental Divide Trail Alliance, Colorado Youth Program, The Colorado Trail Foundation, Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership Inc, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Bluff Lake Nature Center, Colorado Mountain Bike Association, Westminster Legacy Foundation, and Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. 

This year, REI awarded $10,000 to the CMC’s Volunteer Stewardship Program. The funds will be used for six projects, ranging from high-elevation Fourteener restoration, to ground-breaking trail construction in a new state park, to family-friendly trail maintenance of open space trails. The funds will go towards our 2011-2012 stewardship projects on Mt. Yale, Hope Lake, Staunton State Park, and Golden Cliffs. Over the course of these projects, we expect to engage a total of 506 volunteers, including 235 youth, for a total of 3,250 volunteer hours. We will build or maintain 5 miles of trail and restore 12.5 acres of land. To learn more about the CMC’s stewardship work, or to find out how you can get involved, contact Lisa Cashel at

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pawnee Peak Loop Recap from the Longs Peak Group

Excerpt from Longs Peak Group Member John Layman about his recent Pawnee Peak hike over the weekend. Enjoy!

On Saturday, August 20 Martin, Johnine, and Graciela (all from the Denver Group) joined me on the scheduled hike to Pawnee Peak.  This is called the Pawnee Peak Loop because we start on the normal trail to Long Lake, continue on to Lake Isabelle to take the standard trial to Pawnee Pass.  It is call the Loop because we return by dropping into the Blue Lake drainage on the other side of Pawnee. 

The weather was perfect, just a few clouds around which never threatened.  There wasn’t even much wind on top.  

This is quite a snow year - as I think we all know.  There is always a snow field on the way up to Pawnee Pass, but it is usually melted out or at least is small enough by August 20 that a hiker doesn’t even think about it on the way up.  But this year the snow field is still very large.  I wondered if it would keep us from the top - or at least cause us to take a detour.  But the trail just skirts the snowfield so we were able to stay on the trail (or within just a few feet of  it) on the way up.  There were quite a few people on the trail.  As I looked down I could see at least four groups of two to four people each on the way up.  At the Pass we took the standard right turn and started up the side of Pawnee Peak.  This part of the climb was very tiring for me - could it be that I am getting older?  Once on top we stopped for a good meal, then looked down at the saddle between Pawnee and Mt. Toll.  It looked very far away (to this tired hiker) and the rocks we had to travel over looked formidable. Also, we could see extensive snowfields between the saddle and Blue Lake - so wondered if we could even find a way down. We considered retracing our steps, but Martin and Graciela were particularly interested in dropping down to Blue Lake so we started to the saddle with the knowledge that we could climb back up if needed.

When we got to the saddle (wasn’t as far as it looked) we could see a good route down - at least to the top of one of the lower snowfields.  As we worked our way down over loose, steep rock we came to a gentle snowfield which offered us our first, short glissade - lots of fun.  As we continued to find a route through and over the rock we finally came to a large snowfield which ended a few hundred feet above the Lake.  This was our chance - a fun and gentle glissade which allowed us to drop down about 500 feet - just by sliding.  We had to cross one last snowfield to get to the trail which skirts the Lake to the north.  Once past this it was smooth sailing as we walked out the three miles to the Mitchell Lake trailhead.  What, no one there to give us a ride over to the Long Lake trailhead - of course not.  Not much fun walking along the pavement between the two trailheads, but then we knew that was part of the Loop, so it provided us all a good opportunity to relive the hike - and to talk about what to have we are having for dinner.