Årestua hut has some new information to share

December 4, 2016 by

Arestua Hut after a big dump!

The webpage for the Årestua Hut has been greatly overhauled and enhanced thanks to work done by David Miller, the current hutmeister. You can view the webpage at www.cmcboulder.org/cabin-arestua.html

The really new information is about access — or the lack thereof. There was a change of ownership of the Eldora Ski Resort sometime around 2015, and the new management is apparently a bit more picky about when they want to allow the public to cross their property to access the National Forest land that completely surrounds the resort. However, about one third of the Eldora resort is actually private property that was grandfathered into the National Forest land, so there is no getting around the issue. So if you want to access the cabin, you need to park outside the resort (east of the entrance, in a small roadside lot) and cross their property during working hours. Outside of working hours, there is a security guard watching for trespassers, as some people rudely discovered this past year. You have been warned!

With that bit of unpleasantness out of the way, there is other really useful new information there too, such as a GPS file that tracks the approach, for those with that skill; and graphic images of maps for those who don’t use a GPS. Did you know there are two different ways to get to the cabin? Yep, either via the Guinn Mountain/Jenny Creek trail, or the more adventuresome Lost Lake trail. But beware! The Lost Lake trail has avalanche terrain, identified on the map.

David also added a real treasure trove of information by adding the past Guest Books, dating back to 1997. These can be quite entertaining reading, some with elaborate drawings; but now you can do so in the comfort of your home, instead of a long hike to the hut.

For those CMC members not aware of the hut, you owe it to yourself to take a vicarious trip there via the webpage. Originally built by the CMC in 1969 through the initiative of Ingvar Skodal (who still lives in Boulder), the hut has been greatly improved over the past decade or so, by the installation of a double paned window (which replaced plexiglas), a solar system that provides interior lighting and repairs to the cranky wood stove that was really acting up last year.

But the hut only stays open and maintained by volunteers, so please consider acting on the information provided on the webpage how you can help. The main event is the fall work party, which will next happen September 9, 2017.

BMS Appreciation Party

November 22, 2016 by

To show appreciation for the Boulder CMC instructors, trip leaders and volunteers, the BMS Committee will sponsor a party in their honor. Beer & pizza provided! There are rumors a climbing-related movie might be shown as well…. Anyone interested in becoming a trip leader or instructor is encouraged to attend and find out all about it. Registration suggested here: https://www.cmc.org/Calendar/EventDetails.aspx?ID=34778

The party will be getting started at 6pm, Thursday, December 1, 2016 at the Boulder CMC Clubroom. Hope to see you there!


CMC instructors “hanging around” during a spring review session with Rocky Mountain Rescue

The 2016 Annual Dinner went well!

November 22, 2016 by

The 2016 Annual Dinner and Meeting went off without a hitch this year — much to the relief of the Annual Dinner Committee!

Contrary to the event last the previous November (The 2015 Annual Dinner that almost wasn’t), all went smoothly this year. Gary Johnston, the chair of the Annual Dinner Committee, deserves full credit for pulling together volunteers, and keeping everyone organized. Carrie Simon and Kahle Toothill helped with marketing, soliciting donated beverages from Upslope Brewing, and making the very important contact with Pemba Sherpa, owner of the Sherpa Restaurant and the trekking and mountain guiding service, Sherpa Ascent International.  Pemba had the unique distinction of being both our featured speaker as well catering the delicious Nepalese food provided — a first in our history of speakers, and the first time in a long time the dinner had been catered.

After enjoying an hour of socializing while observing the pictures contributed to the rotating slide show by local CMC members, dinner was served. Three different sumptuous entrees, accompanied by tasty naan bread, and hot chai made for a filling and nutritious meal. This was followed by more America-styled desserts of cake, pie and ice cream.

Nearly a full house in the Parish Hall at St John's Episcopal Church

Nearly a full house in the Parish Hall at St John’s Episcopal Church

To start the Annual Meeting, Rick Casey helped to recognize the volunteers who had played so many roles this previous year, among the Council, trip leaders, school instructors, Annual Dinner committee members, and, not to forget, our two BMS graduates: Kahle Toothill and Gary Johnston. Bryan Costanza then gave a spirited review of a new and upcoming section of the CMC, the Trailblazers. Though the new state-wide group (or “section”) is targeted towards the twenty to forty age group, Bryan said “they don’t turn anybody away” who wants to attend their hikes and social gatherings. For more information about this new group, see the Trailblazers section on the CMC website.

Next, continuing the annual meeting segment, Rick Casey took the podium to inform the audience what had been happening with the Boulder group over the past year, which had been rather tumultuous. Serving as newly elected Council Chair at the time, it fell to his responsibility to react to the news in late December 2015 that the Clubroom would need to be vacated with less than 30 days notice. Fortunately as it worked out, a new Clubroom location was found nearby, in fact just downstairs in the same Table Mesa shopping center. Valiantly, loyal CMC members answered the call to help move the Clubroom on short notice this short distance on January 30, 2016. But this was little comfort, because what the Council learned was that the Clubroom had been subject to such 30 days notice all along, and that their sublease from Neptune Mountaineering could have been broken at any time. Due to this continuing uncertainty, Rick described how the Council was exploring a possible arrangement to use the offices of the American Mountain Guides Association and the Access Fund. They had joined forces earlier this year to move to a new location together, driven by the mounting commercial real estate prices in Boulder to abandon their own separate offices near downtown Boulder.

The annual meeting came to its traditional close by Rick handing over the CMC branding iron to Gary, and Gary then calling for election of the slate of new Council members. (Please see this webpage for the listing of current Council members.) It should be noted that there were no new members elected to the Council, and only vacancies were created, significantly for the secretary and treasurer. (More on this topic below.)

With business done, the presentation turned to a more distant and exotic land, Nepal, but with no less serious topics. Pemba Sherpa gave a detailed and far ranging talk and slideshow focused on the history of his native country, and he had gone back to help his village with three distinct projects of his own initiative, prior to the devastating 2015 earthquakes. After that tragic event, Pemba redoubled his efforts, resulting in nearly herculean amounts of material and financial aid that he helped raised for his village and surrounding region, strictly through friends, benefactors and local benefit events.


Pemba Sherpa talking about his native Nepal

In the end, the Council made clear to the audience that the Boulder Group is struggling from a lack of volunteers helping with Council, the schools and with trips. Most critically, there are opening on the Council for Secretary and Treasurer, both key positions.

Fortunately, Jason Kintzel, the Cabins Committee chair, has stepped forward to volunteer as the interim Treasurer. But the Council is urging any CMC members who would like to volunteer for either of these positions to please contact Gary Johnston, chair@cmcboulder.org.



GPS to cease publication

October 17, 2016 by

The weekly email newsletter for the Boulder Group, the GPS, will cease publication after the week of the 2016 Annual Dinner on November 12, 2016.

This was my suggestion to the Boulder Council at the September meeting, and the Council agreed to this action. This is being done because the GPS is no longer needed in this era of social networking, where individuals have access to many channels to find out about local events. Nonetheless, the GPS filled an information need for many years, and I thought it appropriate to summarize its history as best I could before ceasing its publication.

The origin of the GPS

The GPS was started years ago, long before social networking became such a pervasive aspect of our online lives. It’s evolution spans the time from the earliest use of the Internet, well before the sophisticated interconnected websites that form the social networking landscape that we know today.

Before the GPS started, the Boulder Group had created a small website for itself in the mid-1990’s, using the free Boulder Community Network (BCN), a humble website which still exists today at bcn.boulder.co.us, which is still free for non-profit, community use. This static site did not reach out to anyone however, and someone had the idea to use email to send out weekly news about the group around the later 1990’s. That someone was Don Walker, who at the time was the editor of the Compass, Boulder’s monthly newsletter. At that time, the Compass was still printed in hard copy form, and manually processed and mailed from the Clubroom. It was usually a simple, four page, black and white document, but printed on one piece of paper, folded like a newspaper. For quite some time, Sheila Delamere, the long-time Clubroom manager back then, handled this task almost single-handedly, though she usually had some help, folding the several page black -and-white 8.5 x 11 pages in half that were sealed with adhesive dots (as flyers are done today), and taken to the post office for mass mailing.

It was around this time that Don had the idea of starting a weekly email version of the Compass, which he called, naturally enough, the GPS, as a more modern version of the Compass. At the time, the use of email by any organization to convey messages was quite innovative, and something very new to most people. I have no record of how the distribution list was first created and maintained, but I suspect it was quite small, and probably done by word of mouth. In those early days of the Internet, it was a much more trusted environment, and the GPS editor would have been quite sensitive to avoid sending the GPS to anyone who did not want it. The technical production of the GPS was simple: create a Word document and cut and pasted it into  the body of the email, the method still used today; but the method of distribution did improve along the way.

When I joined the Boulder Group around 2002, I had just graduated with my master’s in telecommunications from CU Boulder, and eager to start having a life again, after enduring several years of graduate school while working as a programmer. After completing Advanced Mountaineering School my first year, and making new climbing friends within the Club, I was asked by Don if I would take over being the editor of the Compass. I seem to recall it was over a few beers at the newly opened Southern Sun…how could I refuse? I wanted to help the Club, and I did enjoy writing.

After passing on the editorship of the Compass, Don then passed on the editing of the GPS to Danita Dickinson. Though no real record was kept of its history, I know that Brenda Leach was the editor for a time in later 2000’s. By this time, I had become involved with improving the Boulder Group’s website, and serving on its Council. I had persuaded them into paying for a Clubroom computer and hosting the website at a real Internet Service Provider (ISP), instead of the limited BCN. With the help of other  volunteers with IT skills, the Boulder website grew into a website with real functionality; and one of those features was the change the subscription method for the GPS. It was not very difficult to turn this into a self-subscribing service using the well known open source Mailman utility, which is still in use today on the Boulder website at cmcboulder.org.

After Brenda Leach, other editors would serve for a time before turning over the responsibility to someone else. I am probably not remembering them all, but I know that Blake Busse, Jim Ilg and Roger Hedrick all took a turn, all of whom still reside in Boulder. But with the explosive growth in social networking, the GPS has outlived its usefulness, and people have many other sources of current information, both within the CMC’s own publications, and the many other sources for local information on the Internet.

And here was where I learned some of these historical details…over a recent pleasant dinner at Efrain’s in Lafayette…


Having dinner with Don Walker at Efrain’s in Lafayette, October 5, 2016.



Access to Guinn Mtn/Årestua Hut in question

October 16, 2016 by

Summer access to the Guinn Mountain/Årestua Hut from the Eldora ski area has been disrupted this year. Visitors expecting to park at the Eldora ski area and hike up to the hut should know that Eldora Mountain Ski Area management has closed this access across their private property, which borders on USFS land, due to a recent ongoing lawsuit. Other information at the time of this report is incomplete, except that they erected a barrier and posted a security guard at the normal access points. Hopefully winter access will be open when the ski area opens for the winter ski season. There are ongoing discussions between the Eldora management and community groups, but no conclusive developments have been forthcoming. Further details will be published in future issues of the Compass.