The Denver Group offers many unique opportunities for trying new activities and answering the lure of the wilderness and mountains. Through Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) courses and seminars you can learn many diverse subjects such as first-aid, hiking, climbing, skiing, camping, fly-fishing, photography and more. These courses appeal to people new to the area and the outdoors, as well as to those looking for new ways to enjoy the mountains and expand their personal horizons.

The CMC is the premier source for outdoor education in Colorado. Our instructors are volunteers and members of the club, and they are experienced users of the outdoors who have polished their skills on club trips and demonstrated their leadership abilities. Safety and personal responsibility on the part of each student is stressed in all courses. Respect for the natural environment and leadership skills are also stressed. You’ll gain the skills and knowledge to comfortably and securely participate in the activity you choose. This combination of excellence, value and fellowship is difficult to top.

The Denver Group of the CMC has created a complete education program for members to obtain the skills and knowledge needed to safely participate in Club activities. This program ranges from entry-level schools and seminars to very advanced schools. Although upper level schools may repeat important material covered at a lower level, a prospective student must know the material covered in the prerequisite courses.

Hiking Schools

  • Backpacking School (BKPS) The Denver Group‚ Backpacking School is an introductory mountaineering course open to all CMC members regardless of hiking classification. It is a great way to learn the skills for a safe and enjoyable time in the mountains joining others with similar interests.
  • Wilderness Trekking School (WTS) CMC’s comprehensive course on mountain hiking. This is your opportunity to learn and to enhance your ability to travel safely and with confidence in the backcountry. This course is designed to provide the skills and self-confidence to increase your odds of survival in an unexpected stay in the wilderness.
  • Wilderness Survival School (WSS) This course is designed to provide the skills and self-confidence to increase your odds of survival in an unexpected stay in the wilderness. This school is offered in May and will be announced in the spring.

Mountaineering Schools

  • Alpine Scrambling Course (ASC) teaches you semi-technical climbing that involves off-trail travel, often over rock and snow. Most Colorado summits are accessible by scramble routes. You can use the skills acquired in this course to reach the summits of hundreds of Colorado 14ers and 13ers.
  • Basic Mountaineering School (BMS) provides you with the skills needed to participate safely on non-glaciated CMC mountaineering climbs within Colorado in all weather conditions. These skills include navigation and route finding, planning and organizing climbs, rock climbing skills for following on fourth and fifth class routes, and snow climbing skills up to and including roped climbing with crampons.
  • High Altitude Mountaineering School (HAMS) was created to address the needs of CMC members interested in preparing, planning, and gaining skills to safely climb and enjoy bigger mountains: Rainier, Denali, Aconcagua, the Mexican Volcanoes, and more.
  • Advanced Crevasse Rescue Seminaris a capstone course on advanced techniques for crevasse rescue for use when traveling on glaciers. This seminar is NOT an introductory course and will NOT be reviewing introductory crevasse resuce and glacier travel techniques. It is open to HAMS graduates and those with comparable experience.
  • Technical Section Classes

Winter Schools

  • Winter Camping School is a non-survival school for those who want to enjoy the winter, snow and moonlight in comfort. The Winter Camping School concentrates on the fundamental understanding, equipment and techniques to keep warm in cold environment on an overnight stay. It covers topics as dressing, traveling, setting up campsite, cooking and sleeping comfortably in the winter among others.
  • Avalanche Terrain Avoidance Seminar The Denver Group and The Colorado Avalanche Information Center offer a basic avalanche course which will help you recognize when and where avalanche danger may exist and help you learn rescue techniques.
  • AIARE 1 Avalanche School The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Level I course is the North American standard for anyone who plans to spend time in the winter backcountry.
  • Backcountry Ski Touring School The Colorado Mountain Club’s Denver Group presents you with an excellent opportunity to learn a new winter sport or to re-acquaint you with an old one.  Learn to cross-country ski and get prepared to ski backcountry trails using classic Nordic-style technique.
  • Telemark School Learn how to Telemark ski or to improve your current level of Telemark skiing.  We help “never-ever,” beginner, intermediate and advanced-level telemark skiers learn and/or improve their telemark skiing skills and teach them how to transition those skills into the backcountry for more enjoyable adventures.
  • Ski Mountaineering School The Ski Mountaineering course is designed to acquaint CMC members with the skills, attitudes, and awareness needed for ski mountaineering tours, such as 13′er and 14′er ski descents in Colorado, and ski traverses such as the Haute Route in the Alps or the Wapta Traverse in Canada. Some of the topics covered include planning and preparation, ski gear and equipment, ski techniques, and avalanche assessment.
  • Technical Section Classes

Rock Climbing Schools

Fly Fishing Schools

  • Fly Fishing This school is designed for beginners but can be great for those with more experience also. Basic information regarding knots, clothing, gear, stream structure, fish behavior and casting is covered in three classes.  Two field days let you fish and learn with senior members of the Fly Fishing Section.
  • Fly Tying   This school is designed for beginners.  The school consists of four classes with instruction on tying tools, their usage, thread and materials attachment, fly proportions and fly finishing. The tuition includes the tying equipment and enough materials to tie hundreds of patterns.  There is nothing more rewarding than catching fish on flies that you have tied.

Photography Schools

  • Photography Section Schools The Photography Section provides two hours of instruction each month, plus day long schools for both beginners and experts, covering photographic and post-processing techniques.

Skills and Wilderness First Aid

  • Wilderness First Aid The class is open to everyone and includes all the basics needed to understand and provide care for first aid emergencies in the outdoors.
  • Trip Leader School
  • Introduction to Hiking Safety: This seminar is designed to introduce people who are new to the backcountry to the many aspects of safety that one needs to be aware of, tools you will need, methods of preparation you should employ, and how to respond to safety challenges.
  • Knot Tying Seminar This is an opportunity for students who wish to continue their climbing education to prepare for advanced classes like BMS, HAMS, and other Rock Climbing schools.  Instructors from many schools will be on hand to assist students while they learn knots appropriate to all facets of climbing. Once students have mastered a set of basic knots common to all schools, they can concentrate on intermediate and advanced knots in one or more disciplines.


School Directors

Resource link

Advanced Crevasse Rescue Seminar



Follow CMC Denver at @HikingDenver
Follow Colorado Mountain Club at @ColoradoMtnClub

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