The beginning of a legacy and our unwavering commitment to education, adventure, and conservation in Colorado.

History is everything to the Colorado Mountain Club. It’s not just about being of service for over 100 years. It’s about being legendary. Our trailblazers wrote a mission statement—a signature commitment to mountaincraft education, adventure, and conservation—that has remained unchanged for a century. Today, we apply its visionary relevance with a modern lens.




In 1912, a dedicated group of service-minded, outdoor-oriented people gathered in Denver to form the Colorado Mountain Club, led by attorney James Grafton Rogers, who would be integral to establishing Rocky Mountain National Park.  Other CMC originals included Enos Mills, whose efforts were influential in establishing Rocky Mountain National Park; Roger Toll, who held the prestigious positions of superintendent at Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, and Mount Rainier National Parks; and Carl Blaurock, who along with William Ervin was the first to climb all of Colorado’s known 14,000-foot peaks. The CMC took its inaugural group “trip” to Cheesman Park, now in the heart of Denver, followed by the first mountain excursion—a hike to the top of South Boulder Peak. Volunteers proceeded to lead 500 trips during the CMC’s first 16 years. In 1962, the Club celebrated its 50th anniversary by scheduling climbs for each of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. Today, CMC volunteers lead approximately 3,000 activities a year. 




Our pioneers faced great challenges just to take a hike: transportation was highly unreliable; clothing was cotton or wool, high hobnail boots, and long skirts for women; and sleeping bags were wool blankets. From 25 charter members, united in their love of the mountains, the CMC grew to 200 members just a year later. At the time, only “qualified” members—those who had climbed one Fourteener—could serve on the Board. Mountain enthusiasts all along the Front Range joined the CMC over the years: Pikes Peak Group (Colorado Springs) in 1919, followed by the Boulder Group, Fort Collins, Denver, the Western Slope, El Pueblo, Longs Peak, San Juan, and Friends of Colorado for out-of-staters. 




By 1939, realizing that every expert was once a beginner, but the beginner remains so unless taught, the CMC formed its first mountaineering techniques school, followed by regional group instruction along the Front Range. This peer-to-peer mentor model remains today.  Since its inception, the CMC volunteers have influenced environmental issues: opposing policy that threatened national parks and helping establish Rocky Mountain National Park. Members started planting trees in the 1940s, opposing the construction of more dams, supporting the federal Wilderness Act of 1964, and influencing policies on open space, timber sales, and water diversions. In 1974 the Club purchased its first permanent home on West Alameda Avenue in Denver. By 1993, the CMC partnered with the American Alpine Club to found the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado. The building houses the largest mountaineering library in the Western Hemisphere and the nation’s only museum dedicated to mountaineering history.