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Adventure Travel Trip Leaders

 

CMC Adventure Travel specializes in active vacations and small-group itineraries to inspiring destinations around the world. Our experienced all-volunteer trip leaders keep your costs low and provide you with an intimate knowledge of the areas in which they travel! 

 

Do you have a sense of Adventure and are willing to help facilitate meaningful trips for others? Become a trip leader today!
To learn more visit cmc.org/AdventureTravel/BecomeanAdventureTravelTripLeader.

 

Leaders

 

Kris Ashton 

Sandi Bianchi

Steve Bonowski

Bill Blazek

Rosemary Burbank & Blake Clarke

Linda Ditchkus

Svetlana Ehrhart

Chris Englert

Jason Gross

Polly Hayes

Gary Hellenga

Renée Howbert

Peter Hunkar

Carol Kurt

Patty Laushman

Janet Martel

Tim Musil 

Rick Pratt

Joan Rossiter

Karma Sherpa

M. Beatriz Silveira MD

Bea Slingsby

Cindy and Dave Smith

Denise Snow

Dave Thomas

Joanne Young

 


Leader Bios

 

Kris Ashton

Kris Ashton has been hiking, climbing, snowshoeing and skiing in Colorado since she moved here in 1972.  Kris frequently takes friends and family on hikes and often leads those hikes.  She has organized a variety of trips all over the world for herself and others in which she takes the lead--organizing travel, accommodations, activities, etc.  She has recently developed a fondness for long-distance and pilgrimage walks.

Kris loves the outdoors, travel, and adventure and loves to share those adventures with others. She also likes to teach or coach others who may be new to outdoor activities and adventure travel.

When not hiking or trekking, Kris is a Systems Analyst and works as an IT Consultant specializing in helping companies and individuals get better at Business Analysis and Requirements Development for technology-based solutions.

Kris attended the CMC Boulder Mountaineering School twice, simply because it was that much fun!


Sandi Bianchi

Trip leader Sandi, a Colorado native, grew up fishing every weekend with her parents whom she fondly refers to as “fishing fools.” Traipsing the state far and wide to find the elusive cutthroat trout, she explored more of Colorado as a child than most adults do in a lifetime. She shared her love of the outdoors with her three children through camping, hiking, biking and backpacking. Retired from corporate communications for a global medical device company, she now enjoys exploration of Colorado and the West, plus globetrotting with CMC members, friends, family and her sweetheart Ralph. When at home in Boulder, she is an avid gardener and composter; dancer (contra, waltz, swing and fox trot); organic, gluten-free cook; environmental and political activist; and grandmother of four. Sandi joined CMC in 1997 and became a trip leader a few years later. Besides leading hikes for the club, she was hike director for the club’s 2014 and 2015 In-State Outings. She is trained in Wilderness First Aid (2014) and AIARI I avalanche training (2015). Sandi has organized and led trips to Havasu Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Grand Gulch, Colorado National Monument, Crested Butte, San Juan Islands, Oregon Coast, Baja, Machu Picchu, New Zealand and Fiji. She looks forward to re-exploring some of her favorite destinations with Adventure Travel participants.


Bill Blazek

Bill Blazek has been enjoying the mountains of Colorado since long before moving here in 1981.   Bill has extensive experience hiking, rock/snow/ice climbing, backpacking, snowshoeing, and backcountry and downhill skiing throughout the Western U.S. and Alaska as well as the French and Swiss Alps, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and Aconcagua in Argentina.

Bill has been a member of CMC since 1986 and has been a trip leader since 1989.  He has been a senior instructor for the Basic Mountaineering School for many years and an assistant instructor in the High Altitude Mountaineering Section.  He is certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Successful summits Bill attained include Mont Blanc in France, Monte Rosa and The Dom in Switzerland, and Kilimanjaro in Kenya. In the U.S. Bill has summited Denali, Mt. Rainier, the Grand Teton, Granite Peak, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Muir, all of the Colorado 14ers, and many others.

Bill has also run over 50 marathon or longer races and has done many mountain trail runs. He has traversed the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, non-stop and unsupported in a single day, on 5 different occasions and by 3 different routes, as well as other long distance hikes in the Grand Canyon.

When not enjoying the outdoors Bill is a software engineer doing Quality Assurance Automation Development in telecommunications at CenturyLink in Denver.


Linda Ditchkus

Linda Ditchkus has been a member of the Colorado Mountain Club for nearly 20 years and spends as much time as possible in the Rocky Mountains. When not enjoying the great state of Colorado, she travels to the mountains and historic sites of foreign countries. She has visited more than 50 countries and has trekked in many of those, including Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Switzerland, and Vietnam.  Linda has led and co-led several CMC Adventure Travel Trips, whose destinations include: Scotland’s West Highland Way, the Best Hikes of Italy (with hiking in the Dolomites, the Lake District, and Cinque Terre), the traditional Tour of Mont Blanc (100-mile circuit hike around Mt. Blanc – in Italy, Switzerland, and France), trekking in Transylvania’s Southern Carpathian mountains, England’s Hadrian’s Wall Path trek, trekking in the Polish Tatra Mountains, and a multi-sport winter trip in Canada’s French-speaking Quebec.

Originally from Chicago, both Linda and her husband David have lived in many places in the U.S. and abroad, but now would not live anywhere else but Colorado. Linda is semi-retired but remains a bank and accounting consultant. Linda likes to focus trips on long-distance hiking and country high-points, but she always includes events that allow exposure to the country’s culture. For example, touring museums and castles, or enjoying local cuisines and beverages.

Linda loves to have trip participants of various ages, backgrounds, and interests on her trips. Whether you want to meander to the destination taking photos or race your way to the finish, Linda’s trips are for you.


Svetlana Ehrhart

Svetlana was born in Russia and worked as a tour guide in St. Petersburg for 12 years. She also worked as a tour manager taking English speaking tourists all over the former Russian republics between 1984 and 1996. She has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, graduated from a Tour Manager Academy here and owns her own tour company. Svetlana organizes trips for Russian speaking tourists in Colorado, South Dakota, New Mexico, Mexico, California, Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, and Wyoming. She has also organized a trip for the CMC club to Russia in 2013. Her husband John is retired and together they like to hike in places such as the Grand Canyon, on Colorado’s 14ers, and the Narrows and Angels' Landing in Zion National Park.


Chris Englert

Chris Englert, forced into wanderlusting at the age of 5, has been traveling her whole life. With 50 countries and all 50 states checked off, she’s even circumnavigated the globe! Despite all her travels, Mexico finds a sweet spot in her heart. Growing up in San Diego with frequent jaunts to Tijuana, Chris fell in love with this beautiful country. She’s enjoyed all the beach towns (Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, Mazatlan), the Yucatan, Northern Mexico and even Mexico City. Now she’s excited to lead this trip to her soon-to-be favorite destination, Oaxaca, where she can habla español, taste great molé flavors, and party with her dead relatives at Dia de Los Muertos. When Chris isn’t traveling, she runs her own walking tours business in Denver--EatWalkLearn--where she provides guided educational walks for the public, and where she leads private customized walks for boards, foundations, and executive retreats. 


Jason Gross

It is a beautiful world and Jason loves exploring it with others.  Every new place he visits makes his world feel a little smaller and further highlights how precious this planet truly is.  You can find Jason leading trips domestically and/or internationally along with instructing for a few Colorado Mountain Club schools, classes, and courses. Of the many great programs the Colorado Mountain Club has to offer, his favorite is instructing in the High Altitude Mountaineering School.  Jason hopes to have you join him on an Adventure Travel trip with the Colorado Mountain Club.


Polly Hayes

Polly is a CMC Trip Leader and has been a member of the Colorado Mountain Club since she moved to Colorado in 2000. She has led or co-led several CMC Adventure Travel Trips, including Yellowstone in Winter, New Zealand Great Walks, and Turkey Hike and Culture. She enjoys traveling domestically and internationally when she is not busy working at her day job as Water Program Manager for the US Forest Service. Polly is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.


Gary Hellenga

Gary Hellenga became hooked on mountains after reading a Reader’s Digest condensed version of “The Conquest of Everest” as a 12-year-old living in South Carolina.  When a family move took him to Germany the following year, he began what has now been 40+ years of pursuing outdoor recreation.  Throughout his high school, college, and early professional years, Gary continued to get out climbing, running, hiking, and skiing in the mountains of Europe, Montana, and Colorado.  

Gary joined the Pikes Peak Group (PPG) of the CMC when he moved to Colorado Springs in 1996, and soon took on the positions of director of the PPG Basic Mountaineering and Winter Mountaineering Schools.  He has led a number of CMC trips in Colorado, as well as HAMS climbs in New Zealand and the Alps of France and Switzerland.  In 2003, he and his wife Lynn got the opportunity to move back to Bozeman, but they have remained CMC members to the present time, occasionally joining CMC AT or HAMS trips, including journeys to Bolivia, Rainier, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Iceland, and Mexico.  In 2013, Gary led an AT trip in Australia, while he and his family were on sabbatical and living “Down Under”.

Gary retired in June 2015, and he and his family have just completed another 7-month relocation abroad, exploring New Zealand and exchanging houses with a family in France.  He hopes to lead future ski touring, climbing, and/or cycling trips in Europe, Canada, and New Zealand for the CMC. 


Renée Howbert

Renée has been a volunteer in the Colorado Mountain Club since 1987.  She was an instructor in the Wilderness Trekking School, the Basic Mountaineering School, and the Backcountry Ski Touring School. Wanting others to have great experiences with the CMC too, she has been a long-time member of both the Backcountry Ski Touring School Committee and the Adventure Travel Committee.

Hiking and cross-country skiing are her passions.  She has summited all of the Colorado “Fourteeners” and, with her husband, through-hiked the nearly 500 miles of the Colorado Trail.  She enjoys exploring the historic South Park region of Colorado where she and her husband own a cabin.  Adventure Travel trips she has led include four trips to Yellowstone National Park in winter, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, and Canyon de Chelly.

As a data analyst in a large hospital company, Renée enjoys “finding the story in the data”. She recently “semi-retired” to a half-time position, giving her more time to hike, ski, and enjoy other favorite activities such as reading, listening to American roots music, and enjoying live theater.


Carol Kurt

Carol Kurt is a 40+ year member of the Colorado Mountain Club. She has been the Chair of the Aspen Group for over 15 years and has served on the CMC board for 6 years and is currently on the CMC Foundation. She attended the Basic Mountaineering School which she helped organize in Aspen.

For over 20 years Carol has led cross country skiing and snowshoeing winter hut trips plus many backpacks, hikes, and mountain climbing trips.  She has led trips to Argentina, and llama-supported treks to desert locations in Utah and the Wind River area of Wyoming.  She has also co-led the CMC’s Yellowstone in Winter ski and snowshoe trip. With her husband, she has climbed all of Colorado’s 14ers, some several times.

She was vice president of a ladies’ accessories importing and manufacturing company for 25 years and worked for Vogue Magazine as Fashions in Travel Assistant Editor.  She currently lives in Aspen and is retired.  She serves as an ambassador for the Aspen Ski Company, taking people on skiing tours at Aspen Highlands.  She is also a master naturalist in the White River National Forest Conservancy, reporting on trail conditions and giving talks. Her passion is being outdoors and educating people about our wonderful resource to help preserve it for future generations.


Patty Laushman

Patty Laushman has completed the Colorado Trail, planning detailed logistical itineraries and leading multiple private groups. She has taken navigation1, 2 and 3 through the Denver Group and navigated the entire Colorado Trail. She has been a member of the CMC since 1991 and is certified in Wilderness First Aid.


Janet Martel

Janet has been a member of the Colorado Mountain Club since the early 1980s.  A career move from Indiana to Colorado in 1978 opened her life to the world of mountains and a life enjoyed primarily outdoors.   While climbing 14ers with friends it became apparent that the quest to climb them all would benefit greatly from the classes that CMC had to offer.  Since taking Basic Mountaineering School, she went on to climb all the Colorado 14ers, most of them twice.  She taught in the Telemark Ski School for several years and still remains an avid skier both in the backcountry and ski areas.  Cycling both on a road bike and mountain bike round out the activities enjoyed in Colorado and other Rocky Mountain States.

Janet completed a degree in Biology at Indiana University and went on to work her entire career life in Biotechnology from which she is now retired.  She still has a keen interest in science and after retirement went back to school full time to earn a degree in Veterinary Technology.  A passion for the welfare of animals has led to a long term involvement with animal shelters where she volunteers on a weekly basis.  You will often find her in the woods accompanied by her trusted canine companion.  She tries to incorporate wildlife viewing if possible on all trips that she leads.  Once on a river trip she led for the CMC, the group got to witness a desert big horn sheep giving birth on the banks of the river, a highlight of the entire trip.

As a passionate traveler on her own, she has much experience in leading trips for friends, family, and the CMC.  She enjoys the National Parks of the U.S.., as well as the great natural wonders far from our borders.  There is still a long bucket list that keeps her looking forward to future trips.


Tim Musil

Growing up and attending college in Texas did not afford many outdoor pursuits for Tim, so coming to Colorado in 1978 presented many new opportunities.  He joined the CMC in 1991 to meet new hiking companions and to learn more about traveling in the backcountry.  After taking several of the club’s schools, Tim became a trip leader in 1995.  Since then, he has led many day hikes, but he especially enjoys leading backpacks and other hiking trips for the Adventure Travel section.  These trips have primarily been to national parks across the United States including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, and Yosemite.  Tim has led over 20 Adventure Travel trips, and has ideas for leading many more in the future.

As a field instructor for the Wilderness Trekking School, Tim makes new acquaintances and teaches new club members about hiking for safety and enjoyment in the beautiful state of Colorado.

Tim works as an auditor for the U.S.. Department of Interior, and gets outdoors to hike, ski, or snowshoe as time allows.  When in the city, he plays tennis and enjoys going to the movies.


Joan Rossiter

Joan is a CMC Trip Leader and has been a member of the Colorado Mountain Club since 1983.   She has co-led the CMC Adventure Travel trip Yellowstone in Winter on two occasions.  She has been involved in the Backcountry Ski Touring School as an instructor since 1998 and is the current school director.  She enjoys domestic travel, especially random road trips.  Joan is certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.

 


Karma Sherpa

Karma Sherpa, a native of Nepal, has more than 20 years experience leading trips to Nepal. He has guided many trips to Everest Base Camp, Gokyo, Annapurna Base Camp, high passes such Tashi Lapchha, Ganja La, and Chola passes, and guided many cultural treks in Nepal. A native Sherpa, Karma was born and raised in the mountainous region of Nepal where hiking and climbing was part of his daily life. He has an extensive knowledge of the Himalyas and maintains a strong connection with the local people. His passion is to share this knowledge and skill with others. Karma has been a member of the Colorado Mountain Club Boulder group for two years.


Bea Slingsby

Leader Bea Slingsby is a 40+ year member of the Colorado Mountain Club.  The club is important to her and she enjoys giving back by having done many volunteer jobs over the years.  She served as Chairwoman of the Adventure Travel Committee for 14 years. Bea has led numerous Adventure Travel trips all over the world including many to the Alaska Arctic, Mongolia, Vietnam, three to Bhutan, and llama treks in Grand Staircase Escalante and the Wind Rivers of Wyoming. Her passion is hiking, exploring and learning about unusual places. 

Bea and her husband enjoy season passes to two theatre companies, and love the Spanish Peaks Celtic Festival in La Veta, Colorado.  She has been a cat lover all her life and also enjoys reading non-fiction about wildlife.


Cindy and Dave Smith

Cindy and Dave have been CMC members for a combined total of 50 years. Both have taken the majority of the Denver Group schools including Wilderness Trekking School, Basic Mountaineering School, Rock Climbing School, and Telemark School. Dave has instructed in most of these schools and has been a trip leader for over 25 years.

Cindy and Dave climbed Kilimanjaro; Dave has climbed in Nepal, Mexico, and South America. They went on the 2014 Grand Canyon trip and decided to step in to lead the trip in 2018. 

Cindy spent 37 years as a teacher, with a special focus on outdoor education. She presently volunteers with YEP, CMC’s Your Education Program, and teaches hiking, backpacking, geology, and back county skills. Both Dave and Cindy work trail crews each summer for Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado.


Denise Snow

Denise Snow has been a CMC member of the Pikes Peak group since 1989 and a trip leader since 1993. She has also been an instructor for Mountain Oriented First Aid, Basic Mountaineering School, Ice Climbing, cross country skiing and High Altitude Mountaineering School. She became a trip leader and instructor because she was so positively influenced by other trip leaders and instructors that she wanted to give back so that others could have the same wonderful experiences as she did.

Denise has three bachelor's degrees and one Master's Degree in Physics. She is currently a retired Astrodynamicist from Air Force Space Command. Her outdoor interests include hiking, mountaineering, backpacking and road cycling. But her real outdoor passion that she shares with her husband, is cross-country ski racing. Her racing has taken her to twelve countries; one 90 kilometer race in Sweden, the Vasaloppett, she shared with 14,999 participants.

Denise led a CMC climbing trip to the Dolomites of Italy in 2000, an AT trip to hike the Haute Route in Switzerland in 2014, an AT cycling trip in Tuscany in 2015, and plans to lead an AT trip to hike the Alta Via I in the Dolomites and one to New Zealand soon.  She enjoys sharing her love of adventure with other like-minded people and looks forward to leading future Adventure Travel trips.


Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas has been a CMC trip Leader for about 12 years.  He leads primarily “B” and “C” hikes and a few snowshoe hikes in the winter.  Over the past few years, he has lead on average 20-25 Front Range hikes per year.  He has been a hike leader for the last six CMC In-State-Outings and in 2016 was responsible for coordinating the hiking schedule for the Sweetwater ISO.  In 2017 he volunteered to be in charge of the ISO to be held in Pagosa Springs, CO.


Steve Bonowski

Steve has been a CMC member since June, 1982 and a CMC trip leader since June, 1986. Steve has led regular CMC trips in Colorado (of course), Utah, and Arizona.

He has been an Adventure Travel trip leader since summer, 1994 and has led 31 international trips to South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia; also New Zealand. 29 of the trips have been done as the only, or senior, trip leader, and two as an assistant leader.

Steve has taught in a number of Denver Group schools, including Wilderness Trekking, Basic Mountaineering, High Altitude Mountaineering, Beginning Rock Climbing and Avalanche. At the Statewide level of the Club, Steve is an inactive Leave No Trace Master Trainer. He was the founder of the Adventure Travel Leader Training Seminar and taught in the first three courses. He is a past member and chair of the Adventure Travel Committee and remains a member of the High Altitude Mountaineering Committee.

Steve's first love in the Club has been conservation advocacy, stewardship, and access work, which he began doing in July, 1982. He is a past chair of both the Denver Group and Statewide Conservation Committees. He has been active in Colorado's broad based conservation community for over 30 years.

Steve spent 11 years on the Board of the CMC in four different terms between 1992 and 2009 and is a two time past chair of the Denver Group. In addition to the CMC, Steve currently serves on the Boards of the CMC Foundation and Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship. He is the current Board chair (2016) of the Vail Pass Task Force.

In his spare time, Steve is an active bibliophile and musicologist; and serves as the head grounds keeper for Casa de Esteban.


Rosemary Burbank & Blake Clarke

Blake and Rosemary have led 4 winter trips to Yellowstone for the CMC and 9 Grand Canyon raft and hike trips. They have both received special service awards for their volunteer work with the Denver Group Council and the Backcountry Ski Touring school. Aside from having been on 29 week-long backpacks in the Grand Canyon, they also enjoy canoeing in the BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park in Canada.

They may say their biggest and greatest adventure was to cycle across the Unites States 3 times, on the central, southern, and northern Bikecentennial routes.  They met on the CMC Yellowstone in Winter trip in 1983 and are 37 and 40 year CMC members.

 


Peter Hunkar

Peter first got involved with the CMC in 1991 and went through many of the CMC schools in the early 1990s, including Basic Mountaineering School, High Altitude Mountaineering School, Ice Climbing, and Technical Rock Climbing schools. He was also an instructor for BMS in the early 1990s.He retired from his position with the Federal Government in 2013, and is currently Director of the Colorado Milk Marketing Board.

He has successfully climbed and led trips to Mount Rainer, climbed Cayambe in Ecuador and Denali in Alaska, and also made an attempt on Khan Tegri at the border of China and Kazakhstan. Peter has traveled extensively and rock climbed in numerous places in Thailand, South Africa, and Colorado. He most recently led a CMC trekking trip in central Iceland, and is currently scheduled to lead the Everest Base Camp trip to Nepal.

Peter is a volunteer field active member of the Alpine Rescue Team (ART) based in Evergreen, Colorado - one of the longest serving teams in the State. He has been active with the team for 10 years, and is certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid. 


Rick Pratt

Rick has been a member of the CMC for the last 10 years. His passions are peak bagging, hiking, mountain biking, sea kayaking, canyoneering and skiing. Rick has led the Yellowstone in Winter and Moab Mountain Bike & Hike Adventure for the Adventure Travel group.  For the past 40 years Rick has lead a number of different outings from mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering, backpacking for people of all ages and abilities and is very comfortable in the leadership and logistics management role. The MMBHA trip sometimes has as many as 60+ people and been led every year for the past 28 years.

Rick has taken the following CMC courses: Avalanche, Rock Trad & Seconding, Ski Mountaineering, Winter Camping, Basic Snow & Leadership courses. In addition, he is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) technician and a volunteer ski patroller at Arapahoe Basin. Rick manages his lifestyle so that he can travel and play outdoors more than 12 weeks a year. His part-time business as a Business Coach to entrepreneurs and business owners makes this possible.


M. Beatriz Silveira MD

M. Beatriz Silveira MD has been a leader at CMC for over 15 years. She has travelled extensively over this world, both in hiking trips and cultural excursions and, as of lately, as a solo traveller. She worked as a Board Certified ENT physician and after her retirement, she obtained a Fellowship in Wilderness Medicine. After her retirement, she has dedicated a large part of her time to traveling, be it in cross-country ski trips to Switzerland or hiking extensively in Europe, Nepal and South America. In Colorado she enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, classical music concerts, theater and taking classes at CU! She has taught multiple classes at CMC, in Wilderness First Aid as well as CPR. Being fluent in 5 languages and having lived overseas in her youth have given her a great appreciation for the ways of the world, which she is happy to share with all CMC members.



Joanne Young

Originally from New Hampshire, Joanne came to Colorado as a college student and decided to make the Centennial State her home.  As a trip leader who joined the CMC in 2012, Joanne specializes in cross-country skiing excursions and B hikes.  She is also an assistant instructor for the CMC Wilderness First Aid and BCTS schools. Joanne has organized many trips for family and friends to international destinations such as Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, France, Iceland, and Peru (in 2017). She also has experience planning travel within the United States (including Alaska). Joanne is a Registered Nurse practicing in critical care and cardiac cath lab, and she recently transitioned to a project management role for her hospital system.  She and her husband Chip are passionate about maintaining an active lifestyle, and their goal on the weekends is to never be home!