How the CMC Boulder group Trip Leader & Course Instructor email lists can help you!

August 18, 2014 by

Have you ever wondered how to become qualified to be a CMC trip leader?

Or perhaps you might have a question about an upcoming CMC course, and you would like to ask a question of that instructor?

You can do both using existing email lists on the CMC Boulder website! This little known feature of the website was created primarily to facilitate communication between trip leaders and course instructors, but they can also be used by any CMC member who wants to contact trip leaders and course instructors, for whatever reason.  Certainly part of the vision for these email listservs was to encourage those CMC members who aspire to become trip leaders or instructors, but you are free to ask any question you might have.

The email lists for Trip Leaders are:

  • A-B Hike Leaders
  • C-D Hike Leaders (includes snow climbs)
  • Overnight Backpack Trip Leaders
  • Rock Climbing Trip Leaders
  • Ski Touring Trip Leaders
  • Ski Mountaineering Trip Leaders
  • Ice Climbing Trip Leaders

The email lists for Course Instructors are:

  • Hiking & Backpacking Instructors
  • Snow School Instructors
  • Basic Rock School Instructors
  • Rock Lead School Instructors
  • Area Tele Ski Instructors
  • Cross Country Ski Instructors
  • Backcountry Tele Ski Instructors
  • Ice Climbing Instructors
  • Alpine Rock Instructors
  • Advanced Mountaineering Instructors

How To Subscribe & Benefits of Subscription

All of these email lists are self-subscribing, meaning you yourself create your subscription, and you can also unsubscribe at any time. To  subscribe, there is a page for the Trip Leaders, and another page for Course Instructors, which then lead into the various subcategories. These can be found on the homepage of in the top menu, under Trips/Trip Leader Email Lists (or click here), and for instructors, under Training/Instructor Email Lists (or click here).

The subscription process is similar for all the lists (because they all use the same open source listserve program, MailMan). You will be shown a webpage that asks your for your name and email, and has other instructions for how to to use the list. You need to create a password for your subscription and register your email; should you ever forget your password, you can recover it using this form.

Using this same web form, once you have been verified as a subscriber to the list, you can see the list of others on the list. Most importantly, you can begin asking questions of the entire group — the real benefit of email listservs. Any email you send to the group is received by all members of the group; and any response is also seen by all members of the group. So, this enforces a certain self-discipline on the communication, since all responses are seen by everyone.

Another purpose of the lists was to offer a place where persons wishing to co-lead a trip could ask existing Trip Leaders if they could co-lead a trip with them, the first step in becoming a qualified Trip Leader.

Benefits of the Lists

These lists were created to stimulate interest in trip leaders and course instructors, how one achieves that position, and the rewards that come from this.  There are concrete financial benefits of being a Trip Leader or a Course Instructor, primarily through discounts on purchases of gear; the foremost discount is the Trip Leader discount at Neptune Mountaineering, good for a 20 per cent discount off of any non-sale, non-special order purchase (including multiple items).

But the real benefit of becoming a Trip Leader or Course Instructor are the non-financial ones: the connections with other people, the self-confidence and increased knowledge that comes from leading trips or instructing courses. Of course, there is no way to put a price on that….

If you have any interest in the email listservs, please feel free to email me, Rick Casey, at

Arestua goes solar!

August 8, 2014 by

Thanks to the persistence and dedication of a few local hut enthusiasts, on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 the Arestua Hut acquired a state of the art solar power generating system that will provide a safe and reliable lighting system for years to come. How did this remarkable development come to pass?

I was lucky enough to be part of this historic event because I read about it in the August 4 issue of the GPS stated that it was going to happen, and if you wanted to help call Ray Bly at  this number. So I did, and the next day found myself in Nederland, at Ray’s house, helping to pack in the last materials needed for the project. There I also met Mike, Ray’s partner and friend:

Ray & Mike

Ray (left) and Mike at Ray’s house

It had all started around last February when Ray began making inquiries to the Club about installing a solar panel at the hut.  Though initially Ray did experience some confused reactions to his proposal (“You want to do what again?”), he eventually made contact with the right people in the Boulder Group, namely Jason Kintzel, chair of the Cabins Committee. As their goal became clear to Jason, it was deemed a worthy addition to the cabin. One of the worries that the Cabins Committee has is the unauthorized use of candles for lighting in the hut, and starting a fire that burns it down. Fortunately, most users do have head lamps and battery powered lanterns, but the concern is still there. By adding this type of lighting system, that concern will now be greatly allayed.


Ray is one of the owners in OG Power Station, a Colorado company that sells stand-alone solar power station products suitable for small scale power needs — perfect for a remote alpine hut! Two other friends of Ray, Mike and Bryce, make up the rest of the OG Power Station team, also helped Ray in the effort. Although not members of the CMC, they had long been users of this beloved hut, and wanted to donate this system (worth about $4,000 retail) to the hut for the benefit of all.


Together, they had made three previous trips this year, carrying up the larger parts of the system: the large PVC pipe for the support post, the solar panel itself, the metal frame that connects the panel to the post, and, last but not least,  a 70 pound battery! On this fourth and final trip, we four drove in on the bumpy Rollins Pass road to Yankee Doodle Lake, which puts you within a mile and a half of the hut.



As we hiked across the bald that leads to the hut via this cross-country approach, the weather was clearly going to be a factor….

Hiking towards the hut

Hiking towards the hut with installation materials

And at the hut we were greeted by Steve Priem, a long time previous caretaker of the hut. Steve’s intimate knowledge of the hut and its history, plus his carpentry skills, were sought out by Ray. They had made contact, but today was the first time they got to meet in person. Steve had arrived separately in his usual style: putting his mountain bike on the bus up to Nederland, biking to the Hessie trailhead, and hiking up to the hut from there. (Now that’s a low carbon footprint of a trip!)



Between the five of us, the installation went pretty quickly; which was a good thing, as the rain did start to fall, just as Steve and Ray made the final adjustments to attaching the panel to pole….

Steve and Ray attaching the solar panel

Steve and Ray attaching the solar panel














Inside, Mike had been busy wiring the new lights:


Mike and the new lights!

Finally, here’s how the solar panel appears from the outside, discreetly position above the southwest corner:

Solar panel at Guinn Mountain hut

The new solar panel installed at corner of the hut

To acknowledge this generous gift to the hut, a plaque that commemorates this will be created and placed in the hut. Many thanks again to Ray, Mike and Bryce for this tremendous gift!

To see more pictures: photographs by Bryce Avallone, and photographs by Rick Casey

To learn more about the company whose product now powers the hut, see OG Power Station’s website:

(Photo credits: all photos taken by Bryce Avallone, except the first and fourth, taken by Rick Casey)

BRS class of Spring 2014 graduates 11 students!

June 17, 2014 by

The spring season of the Basic Rock School came to a successful close on the weekend of May 17, with the graduation climbs of the instructor groups led by senior instructors Eileen Monyok and Andy Cooke, with their assistants. A total of ten students graduated, although 12 students originally signed up, but two had to drop out. All students made it through the three field trips, where some had some close calls with precipitation rolling in during the afternoon. Thankfully, no epics were reported — which is always a relief the school director!

The following students graduated:

Alan Youngblood
Anhchi Ly
Bridget Sorrell
Conner Ford
Duane Lovato
Marcos Ripoll-Bunn
Norm Sydow
Pieter Bork
Scott Johnson
Van Smith

The senior instructors were ably assisted by the following assistants:

Aaron Nichols
Don Byington
Francesco Sangiori
James Hicks

On Belay Tower and Knot Test day, the following assistants helped out:

Brenda Leach
Jon Bork
Matthew Holiday
Vita Holiday

And there was an 11th student, Jen Stichman, who was the first person to graduate from BRS via the Test Out Option.

The BRS Test Out Option is an innovation I developed, with the Boulder Mountain School committee, as a way for experienced climbers to pass BRS without having to pay for the course, or spend time reviewing skills they already have. Jen, a climber who can lead 5.10, was certainly in that category, and passed the in-person field tests easily. More information  about the Test Out Option can be viewed on the Boulder CMC website at

Thanks to everyone who helped out! Congratulations to all the students, who now know how to climb safe and can share this knowledge with their future climbing partners. Climb safe everybody! A small sample of photos from spring BRS can be seen here.


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