Archive for February, 2016

Clubroom update, March 2016

February 29, 2016

As the Council chair, I felt it was my responsibility to let our members know what’s happening with the Clubroom situation, and how well it is going, and where we still need help.

Since last month, we have added an electric line (of sorts) which gets power to the west side of the main room without running an extension cord across the floor. So now we can power the stereo and digital projector more easily. This was thanks to Joel McGuire and Gretchen Gaugler. They also installed some climbing anchors on the walls for use during the spring climbing classes. They make for an interesting wall decoration otherwise…

The illuminated sign was moved from its old location to the new one last week; however, the illumination is still not working, which is being addressed. But at least the new sign is in place!


The front room is still pretty cheerless, though, and the rug fragments that were salvaged from the old clubroom are not exactly enhancing the decor. There is one sofa there, but if anyone has any old rugs or stuffed armchairs that they would like to donate for the cause, these would be greatly appreciated. We still need to construct some shelving or a cabinet in the bathroom as well, to put the supplies somewhere.

As far as other details, I have constructed a “List of Clubroom Tasks” in an online document (a google sheet) so that this can be easily referred to. This can also be accessed via our website,, and then clicking on the “List of Clubroom Tasks” link in the left panel, or click here.

As you can see there, it’s not a long list, but it is the small things that makes a space more livable. If anyone wants to volunteer, just send email to, and I will put you in touch.

Rick Casey

chair, Boulder CMC Group


Building Schools in Nepal: A CMCer’s Journey to Conquer Peaks and Expand Education

February 6, 2016

Valerie Hovland accomplished a feat some mountaineers only dream of: summiting Everest. But after a couple trips to Nepal in the early 2000s, Hovland shifted her focus to a much different dream: building a school in rural Nepal.

Hovland, the director of the Advanced Mountaineering School at the Boulder CMC, first traveled to Nepal in 2003.

“I fell in love with the mountains, and I just kept going back,” she explained.


Hovland stands in front of Ama Dablam in 2004

In 2004, CMC members organized a trip to Ama Dablam (22,349 ft.) in the Himalayas, and Hovland decided to return to Nepal for a second time—a trip that instilled in her both a dream to climb Everest and a desire to help people in rural Nepal.

After the trip, Hovland began fundraising to help children by building a school in Nepal, a country with a 57.4 percent adult literacy rate and 24.8 percent of the population below the international poverty line, according to UNICEF (for reference, the U.S. has around 15.1 percent below the poverty line). With tourism and development focused on bigger cities like Kathmandu (the capital), Nepal education initiatives often fall short in rural communities.

Hovland began her effort to build a school by connecting with Room to Read, an education platform that focuses on literacy and gender quality that has roots in Nepal and works in collaboration with communities and local governments throughout Asia and Africa.

“I clicked with how they did things and started volunteering with them,” Hovland explained. “That’s when I decided to raise money to build a school there.”

Through her slideshows of mountaineering trips, Hovland reached the CMC community and beyond, including friends and family. After summiting Everest in 2008, she made a documentary and presented it throughout 2009, completing her fundraising goal.

Val-Everest-R2R logo

Hovland poses on Mt. Everest with a Room to Read poster

The five-room school was finished in 2010 in the plains of rural southwestern Nepal. Hovland got the chance to visit in 2011, where its 900 students sung and danced for her. Hovland describes it as “one of the most amazing experiences of [her] life.”


Hovland is greeted by students at the school she built in Nepal

R2R dancing

Students dance outside of the school to welcome Hovland


The school is two stories, including a library dotted with vibrant colors where each class comes once or twice a week. It includes literacy programs and color/rating systems to help students progress.

R2R school

Hovland and students celebrate outside of the two-story school building

R2R library 2

Hovland joins students and Room to Read educators in the school’s library

Hovland was inspired by the experience, and decided to start fundraising to build another school. She is currently working toward her goal of $40,000-$45,000.


Back in Boulder, Hovland says her experiences in Nepal have affected her life significantly.

“I think more globally now,” she said. “I have a sweet spot in my life for Nepal, even when I’m on the trails here…I have two small kids now, and I’m excited to take them there someday.”

Hovland has currently raised $24,240 of her goal to build a second school in Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, or Sri Lanka.  To help her reach it, check out her Room to Read fundraising page.

CMC Boulder’s Grant to the Front Range Climbing Stewards Goes to Needed Trail Work

February 3, 2016

The Boulder CMC offered a conservation grant in 2015 to the BCC Front Range Climbing Stewards, a full-time team of three trail builders who work with volunteers to fix trails for Boulder climbers.

Climbing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world today, putting huge pressures on the environments that foster the sport. Approaches and descents from crags damage trails, creating the need for single, durable approach trails that everyone can use.

In order to maintain and create trails like these, the Boulder Climbing Community and the Access Fund partnered to launch the Front Range Climbing Stewards in 2014—a mobile crew that builds durable approach trails in loose, delicate terrain.

In 2015, the team performed trail work on the Turkey Rocks and Castleton Tower climber’s approach trails, using the CMC donation to get quality and necessary work done on federal land where climbing access often falls low on land managers’ priorities.

The Turkey Rocks Approach Trail project took place on September 30, and the FRCS improved the approach trail by creating “hardened, durable surfaces for the trail tread and mitigating the erosion that takes places because of the trail’s alignment.” They enhanced the trail with stone structures and off-trail log check dams.

The Castleton Tower Campground/Approach Trail project near Moab took place between October 17 and 27 and focused on providing maintenance on the climber’s access trail, campground, and trailhead—all of which serve as access to multiple crags with over 35 routes, including the famed Kor-Ingalls route that is one of the “50 Classic routes of North America.”

The FRCS raised over $27,800 in 2015 through fundraising. In 2016, they are planning work on the iconic Third Flatiron descent trail, the Plotinus Wall, the Castleton project, access trails at Turkey Rocks and Lumpy Ridge, and the Dark Side boulders near Morrison.

The cost of running the three-person FRCS crew in 2016 will be around $120,000, of which between $70,000 and $100,000 comes from land manager contracts and other for-fee programs and services. The remaining money comes from fundraising, making it a vital part in the group’s success and ability to maintain and repair trails.

“On behalf of all of us at BCC and the Front Range Climbing Stewards, thanks for your support,” said FRCS program director Roger Briggs.

The new BCMC Clubroom: moved in, but still needs help

February 3, 2016

As the previous emergency issue of the Compass described, the Clubroom needed be vacated by February 1, with our CMC Council having been notified in early January with less than thirty days’ notice. Thanks to the hearty response by dedicated members of the Boulder Group who showed up on Saturday, January 30, the move was swiftly accomplished. Since the new location was fortunately close by, the contents — the books, files, bookcases, cabinets, big Clubroom desk, and the dismanted equipment storage unit — could be hand-carried, for the most part; but some volunteers brought their truck, vans and even a trailer. All hands pitched in and started working in earnest:

The process begins: here's the old clubroom where people are just getting started...but eventually everything will go!

The process begins: here’s the old clubroom where people are just getting started…but eventually everything will go!


Consequently, the old cluroom was emptied within two hours, which just a little additional clean up. By around mid-day, we were well on the way to getting the material in the new clubroom organized:

The new clubroom, with a bunch of stuff brought down, waiting to get organized. Note the oddly shaped piece of brown furniture in the foreground, which was left behind by the previous tenant, and which I thought we'd have to dispose of, but turned out to be of use, as we'll see later.

The new clubroom, with a bunch of stuff brought down, waiting to get organized. Note the oddly shaped piece of brown furniture in the foreground, which was left behind by the previous tenant, and which I thought we’d have to dispose of, but turned out to be of use, as we’ll see later.











But then we need to break for lunch, celebrated with quality pizza from Beau Jo’s, a Colorado pizza restaurant just down the road:

Lunch time! We celebrate our progress at mid-day with pizza from Beau Jo's, just down the road on Baseline.

Lunch time! We celebrate our progress at mid-day with pizza from Beau Jo’s, just down the road on Baseline.









While the move went well, there’s still lots to be done…to being with painting over this on one of the walls!

Someone has GOT to paint our CMC logo over this! Any volunteers?

Someone has GOT to paint our CMC logo over this! Any volunteers?











More volunteers are needed to help make the new Clubroom truly usable. A partial list includes:

  • find an electrician who can help install additional electric sockets (two of the long walls have none)
  • organize the files in the Clubroom desk (lots of old detritus in there…)
  • add doors to a corner cabinet in the front desk area
  • hook up and test the stereo system (I tried and failed…)
  • hang pictures where possible (how to do into concrete?)
  • paint the CMC logo on the wall to cover up the previous tenant’s logo
  • install a roll of carpet in the front room (left over from old clubroom; perhaps find better?)
  • install new locking doorknob on equipment room
  • reinstall bathroom shelves for bathroom supplies
  • install big mirror in bathroom (or donate to …?)
  • put up paper towel rack above kitchen cabinet
  • add some touches to the front room area to make it more comfortable (suggestions?)
  • clean and tidy up in general

These are tasks could be done when the Clubroom hosts are normally there, which is Tuesday and Thursday, 5-7pm. Otherwise, if there is sufficient interest, a special volunteer meeting could be held to provide access. As the central organizer in this, I’m willing to help coordiate the effort. So, if you just want to come by when the Clubroom is hosted, check the Hosting Calendar on the website to be sure a host will there (or via Calendar). Alternatively, if you would like to be part of special volunteer meeting, which would probably be best to hold on a weekend when people aren’t working, please email me which weekend dates you would prefer, at I myself will be busy this Saturday, February 6, with teaching for Advanced Mountaineering School, so that’s out for me!

To see all the pictures from moving day, see here.

Rick Casey, 

Chair, Boulder Group