Find Your Next Adventure

Or leave the current defaults



Quick Trip Search
Colorado Mountain Club
Welcome,   Log OutMember Login •  Contact Us
Home » Groups » Fort Collins » Mountain Hiking School


Mountain Hiking

Contact: Ward Whicker

This course is designed to teach Club members the necessary skills to safely hike in the mountains of Colorado and participate in Club-sponsored hiking trips. It is typically taught annually and involves multiple evening lectures and weekend field trips.

MHS 2020

The 2020 Mountain Hiking School (MHS) will be offered this spring, March 17 through April 18: 

  • Evening lectures:  March 17, 24, 31; April 7, 14
  • Field trips:  March 21, 28; April 4, 11, 18

The course will be patterned after previous offerings of the MHS, as well as the Denver Group’s Wilderness Trekking Course. The planned MHS will consist of five 3-hour lectures (Tuesday evenings) and 5 all-day field trips (Saturdays). The primary subject areas include Basic Fundamentals such as: gear, nutrition & hydration, natural hazards and weather, trip planning, hiking styles, group dynamics, and back-country ethics. Navigation and route-finding on- and off-trail will be heavily emphasized, using maps, compass and other readily-available tools and I-phone applications (other than GPS). Students will also learn how to deal with Emergencies such as illness, injury, getting help and overnight survival. Additional details are available.

This course will help prepare students for hiking safely and competently in all seasons in the Colorado Mountains, at varied elevations and under challenging weather conditions. It will also provide invaluable information & experience for those who might want to eventually become official CMC leaders. Completion of the course will also help prepare those who may be interested in enrolling in our springtime Alpine Scrambling Course, Basic Mountaineering Course, as well as other educational clinics & workshops. Four field trips will be conducted at lower elevations where snow may or may not be present, while the graduation hike will be at elevations from over 10,000’ to about 11,500’ and on snow. The B Level graduation hike will involve snowshoe travel, ice axe practice on moderate terrain, and a Class 2 ascent of an alpine ridge to a summit offering exceptional views. 

Students are expected to attend all lectures and field trips in order to receive a certificate of completion. Enrollees are expected to be CMC-Fort Collins Group members, 18 years of age, to have good fitness & motivation, and to provide or purchase all necessary clothing & basic recommended gear. We can provide ice axes for the graduation climb. Necessary purchases can be made after the first classroom where gear will be discussed in detail. The course fee will be $125 for those who pay by the date of the first lecture (March 17), and $150 for those registering after that date. Course fees are used to rent space & equipment, prepare written materials, and meet other costs of classroom or internet instruction. Field trips are free, except for customary ride shares. Students who become CMC leaders within 12 months of completing the course can receive a rebate of $75. Applications for the spring 2020 course must be received by the Administrative Director, JoAnn Herkenhoff at (email: ) no later than March 15, 2019. The class will be limited to 18 students. Questions about the course may be directed by email to JoAnn or to Ward Whicker, Course Director (

Be safe and leave no trace!