Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

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Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:34 pm

I was wanting to get some feedback from current members, inactive members, or pretty much anyone with an opinion about CMC...

I'm thinking about joining but I don't know if it's going to be worth the time/effort. I've got a good base of outdoor/hiking experience. I've done Outward Bound and a bit of climbing there, backpacking trips, and a few Class 3/4 hikes. I know the basics, first aid, I'm an excellent navigator/mapreader...
I believe the CMC makes everyone sit through their beginner classes and I can't imagine how tedious some of that stuff is going to be when they talk about gear and not wearing cotton and other basics. I'd like to start right out with the Mountaineering course but I don't think that's an option.
It's just going to be hard to muster up the enthusiasm for some of these intro courses and intro 4-mile/2000' hikes when I want to be off climbing 14ers.
Ideally I could just learn from a few mentors but I don't know any! Anyway, I'm sure CMC will be a good way to meet some friends and like-minded people, so in the end it will probably be worth it even having to put up with a class teaching many basics with which I'm familiar.

Anyway, just wanted to get others thoughts on this... Any info helpful...

"Where's the beef?" -Wendy

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby oldschoolczar » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:17 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

Fletch F Fletch, are you really 6'5" - 6'9" with the afro?

"Where's the beef?" -Wendy

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby wasclywabbit » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:25 pm

I had quite a bit more experience than my classmates in Wilderness Trekking School but I still learned new stuff. I met lots of great people, one of whom I'm marrying in about 6 weeks. :D

The map and compass section of WTS was a great refresher and interestingly enough the best stuff I learned there was understanding a new map readers mindset and the mistakes they make.

I haven't been active in CMC for quite a few years but my fiancee and I have talked about rejoining if for no other reason than to meet more great hiking partners.
Ad alta per aspera: To the summit through difficulties.

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby valleygirl » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:22 pm

CMC membership is great if hiking and climbing and skiing is a social activity for you. I met my best hiking buddies, now my best friends, in the local CMC group and we go on outings most weekends of the year - so it really gets us off the couch and into the mountains. The variety of people also means that you will be exposed to outings and places you might not have otherwise considered, rather than just going to the same places you're already comfortable with.

Obviously, if your main motivation is to get to the summit as fast as possible, or if you don't like to put up with other people's inevitable little foibles, then you won't enjoy the camaraderie. But joining was a great choice for me, and now I'm chair of the local group.
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby TK » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:47 pm

Good wayto meet people. Bad way to get a private hike where you go at your own pace. Plus, I really enjoy their summit registers- even if some climbers argue that they violate leave no trace ethics. If they didn't maintain their summit registers, who would?
"If you're not sure where you are, but you haven't taken the time to stop and look at the map, you're not lost, just lazy." -Darran Wells

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby John Landers » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:57 pm

I have been a CMC member for about 25 years and looking back it was absolutely the right thing to do at that time; however, I have been fairly inactive for awhile.

My primarily reason to join was to learn skills to safely do 14ers. I never had any intentions of doing the things and learning all of the skills that I have over the years. CMC in that sense opened me up to all kinds of possibilities. Eventually I tbecame a trip leader and taught in various schools which was rewarding. I have met a lot of great people through the CMC.

The downside is like most large organizations there are politics. The CMC from my point of view lost its focus when it moved into the building in Golden and had to find ways to pay for it. Dues have gone up and the club has always had problems attracting and retaining membership, particularly the younger than 30 demographic. Now there are other options such as this site and the CMC has been slow to evolve and is heavily invested in brick and mortar. Will the CMC be able to compete in the long term?

If you are looking for trips going to various places as a group and want to meet people while gaining skills and experience the CMC membership is worth considering.

Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby SnowAlien » Wed Jul 27, 2011 3:12 am

Well, I've been a member for a year and I chose not to renew my membership. I went on 3 hikes with them and my experiences there were less enjoyable than my other hikes. On DeCaLibron we had an organizer who was wearing mountaneering boots and carrying a rope in August (were doing a standard route). He was also the slowest in the group and had an abrasive leadership style. On 2nd hike, Meeker, the organizer was very slow and we were not making good progress, so when the weather turned, we had to turn around. On 3rd hike, Sherman, the organizer and the group made it look like it was the hardest hike ever. Sherman was rated C, and 2 other hikes had D rating (the hardest at CMC). I never met anyone in the group on those 3 hikes that I would like to go after the hike and have a beer with. My opinion - older, slower folks. Maybe they have the basics, but they are in no shape to actually do any serious hikes. They sure have/carry a lot of equipment in anticipation though :)

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby bayouboy » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:03 am

I initially joined CMC to expand my climbing and backpacking knowledge. After I joined, I learned that I still had to pay for the classes which were expensive too. So, the very next day after I joined, I called CMC for a refund. They did refund my money, but they were very rude about it. That experience left me thinking that their hikes would have been about the same... ](*,)

Unfortunately, this left me without any ideas how to learn how to go from a class 3+ hiker to class 5.

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby sevenvii » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:15 am

I think the CMC (at least the Pike Peaks group =D> ) offers very good educational programs. I have only went through the basic mountaineering school (HAMS didnt have enough interest for last years class). I learned quite a bit, and not just from the classroom sessions, the field sessions were you get to interact with other students of various levels of knowledge, and instructors taught me quite a bit and were very easy to get along with. I would say I was in the minority though as for just wanting to pick up on the essentials and increase my knowledge...many of the other students are mainly joining for the social aspect and to find partners/group to enjoy the outdoors with.

I have never joined a group event, except for training, to date. So I really cannot comment about that, but with that said I still think its been well worth the money I have paid for the classes and registration. I am really excited about HAMS this coming fall.

Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby Bean » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:39 am

bayouboy wrote:Unfortunately, this left me without any ideas how to learn how to go from a class 3+ hiker to class 5.

Make friends and hit a rock gym to get the basics down before going outside, or hire a guide for a day or two.

I'm not a fan of the CMC. Aside from the cost associated with joining, and then paying to take classes from people who aren't necessarily qualified to be teaching anything (per discussions with someone who used to be heavily involved with the CMC), the only experiences I've had running in to them in the mountains have been total junkshows. But if you like to ruin snow climbs for the rest of the season, by all means, sign up.
"There are no hard 14ers, but some are easier than others." - Scott P

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby TomPierce » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:54 am

I've been a member of the CMC off and on for years, and have been an Assistant Instructor (but later asked to be a full instructor) in the CMC's Wilderness Trekking and Rock Seconding Schools. I have mixed feelings about the CMC.

On the positive side, I think the schools are generally very good, and even though not free I think they are easily cheaper than what you'd get through a guide service. Pretty thorough, solid instruction. So joining to get a set of solid basic skills is a reason to join.

On the negative side, I recently went on a CMC outing and told the leader I needed one more "check ride" as a Leader in Training to get certified as a Level D leader. Once we launched on the climb the next day (an overnighter) it became clear he'd forgotten all about the reason I was there; not to just climb the mountain but get certified. But once it dawned on me that he'd forgotten, I'd lost all interest in my original goal. The mindset was of rigid adherence to The Route, even if The Route was a pretty miserable, chossy climb while far more elegant (and perhaps safer) climbing beckoned 100 yards away. On the descent, far more efficient exit routes were bypassed in a slavish devotion to The Route. And woe be unto one who moves more efficiently (and ahead) of the group on wide open terrain. Must stay behind the leader, even if the leader is uncommunicative, get the idea. I fully get that they have liability issues and want to stick to the general plan, but it was maddening when others in the group would ask "why don't we go this way?" and even worse, to have the leader say afterwards that the nearby, better route choice looked, well...better.

My feeling is that the schools are generally great, but the outings are just social opportunities to meet potential climbing partners. I really question whether they will build outdoor skills beyond adherence to the bergfuhrer. Just my opinions.
Last edited by TomPierce on Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Your thoughts on the Colorado Mountain Club...

Postby peter303 » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:14 am

I thought they were bit fascist about requiring five CMC hikes of lower grade before letting you on a 14er hike.
I've been up more 14ers than many of the the trip leaders.


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