Archive for December, 2016

Checking your BMS courses

December 15, 2016

If you have taken any classes with the Boulder Mountain Schools, you may want to check your record of them on the state website. This is the official record of the classes you’ve taken through the CMC, and since some courses can be prerequisites for other courses, it is therefore necessary for this record to be accurate.

However, due to various changes in the development and maintenance of the state website over the past few years, the processes by which these data are maintained may not be up to date. Though I’m sure school directors try to report the record of each class accurately, there has not been a well established standard by which these data are recorded, and so mistakes are certainly possible.

The best way to check the data is by the members themselves. So, if you have taken any BMS classes in the past, and are interested in checking them for accuracy, you can do so on the state website,, by logging in, then clicking Members > My Membership > My Schools.  If you see any mistakes, you should email, or call the state office at 303-279-3080.

If you need to contact any of the BMS school directors, you can locate the appropriate person and their email on the Contact Us page on the Boulder website.

Highlights from the December meeting of the Council

December 13, 2016

For those not aware – and unless you go out of your way to serve on it, you probably are not – the Council of the Boulder Group of the CMC is the governing body that keeps the group going. You can read more about the Council on our website here. As you can see, there are several vacant positions, particularly for vice chair, so if you have any interest in helping our group, you can send an email to That would be Gary Johnston; I am currently the Past Chair on the Council.

The first meeting of the new 2017 Council took place Tuesday, December 6 at the Clubroom,  and there were some significant decisions made in which the general membership might be interested. The most important was perhaps the extension of our lease on the Clubroom through June 2017, after which it will be on a month by month basis. At that time, the Council is considering leaving the current location, and renting office space on a per meeting basis at the joint offices of the Access Fund and the American Mountain Guide Association at 4720 Walnut Street.  This is still in the process of being worked out, but just as those organizations were forced out of their previous locations by the increasing cost of real estate in Boulder, the Council realizes that the current location of the Clubroom is not stable. We could be forced out if the property owners find a tenant willing to pay retail rental rates. Currently, our rental rate is what Neptune Mountaineering was charging us in our previous location, but this is not guaranteed going forward, as our lease now is directly with W. W. Reynolds, the property management company.

The next highlight, on a more fun note, is that the Backcountry Film Festival will be coming to Boulder in January 26, at Neptune Mountaineering. You can register at the state website. These are always excellent, original films, some shorter, some longer, that focus on non-motorized winter sports and conservation. Highly recommended!

Next, Ben Monarch was welcomed as as our new Secretary. This is an important role, as the person who records our minutes at the Council meetings helps us stay organized. Ben has an excellent background as a past attorney turned software entrepreneur, and who moved to Colorado recently. We are lucky to have him helping us. Welcome Ben!

For those who are considering becoming a trip leader, or even if you’re not, a Wilderness First Aid course is going to be offered again at the Clubroom, sometime in February. Offered at just $35, this 16 hour, two day course, is excellent preparation for dealing with backcountry accidents requiring first aid. We had a good time at the first such course that was offered last May at the Clubroom. When the date is set, you can sign up at the state website. We’ll try to announce it in the January Compass.

Finally, we reviewed the 2017 budget and approved it. This was prepared by Jason Kintzel, who generously stepped up to volunteer as our Treasurer, but who was already the head of our Cabins Committee. Jason works as an engineer but had some previous experience with Quickbooks, and has really helped fill an important role. But if you would like to help the Group and have bookkeeping or accounting experience, I’m sure Jason would not mind if you volunteered to help out with this position. You can email him at

To keep up with other CMC happenings, you can check the Boulder website (, the state website (, or sign up for the monthly newsletters. You can do that by logging into the state website, click on Members, then CMC Updates, then Newsroom.

BMS Appreciation party much appreciated!

December 8, 2016

One of the favorite traditions of the Boulder Mountain Schools (BMS) and Outings Committee is to host an annual party for its volunteers. The instructors and trip leaders who make the effort to teach classes and lead trips deserve such recognition; and it helps to build the personal relationships among the group.

And usually the best time to host this annal party happened is in the “in between” season, when it’s getting too cold to climb outside, but the snow pack is not yet deep enough to ski. Plus it needs to be held before the holiday party season gets in full swing, so that people can put it on their schedule. This year, December 1 seemed about right, which happened on a Thursday.

The turnout of about twenty-five made for a good crowd, enough to feel like a party, but not so big you couldn’t talk to everyone. Gary Johnston was


Good conversations as the party got started 

instrumental by picking up the pizzas at Beau Jo’s, and I helped by picking up the beer at good old LiquorMart.







There was even some family entertainment in the early part of the evening: these kids quickly found out how to build img_1227a blanket fort in the front room, using materials they found on hand: future survivalists for sure!





The quality pizza from Beau Jo’s was served nice and hot, and people quickly got down to business enjoying it….


It was great to see the younger new leaders this year were able to make it:


Around the table are Katie Toothill, Bryan Costanza, Becky Ruttenberg, Chris Bamat (almost hidden), Ben Feinstein and Trey Lawrence. Oops…Ben didn’t quite become a leader this year, but we’re sure he’ll get that second co-lead in soon!

After dinner, I gave a short talk expressing appreciation for the instructors and trip leaders, outlining the steps to becoming a trip leader:


This tried and true system has worked well for the Boulder Group over the years, bringing new leaders into the group, and ensuring they become safe and capable leaders. Becky Ruttenburg, Jill Yarger and Gary Johnston also made announcements, encouraging people to get involved as trip leaders and instructors.

Then the real highlight of the evening was settling down into watching a fun film together..but enough said about that! You’ll have to tune into the CMC grapevine to hear about it; but it was such a hit, I’m sure there will similar such parties in the future.


A fun spoof of a climbing movie….Hollywood style!

After it was over, everyone enjoyed helping to clean up, and restore order, as all good campers should:


Who knows…maybe we should do this more often?



Årestua hut has some new information to share

December 4, 2016

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

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.