Revision 6/7/2023


Mentor Leaders (f/k/a Instructor Leaders) are active experienced trip leaders who volunteer to schedule and assess Trip Leader School students in their LIT (Leader in Training) hike or trip, as well provide advice and counseling as they start to lead CMC trips. They are a crucial part of Trip Leader School and a key to increasing the quantity and quality of new trip leaders for the CMC.   Following multiple recent discussions within the CMC, the title of this role was changed from Instructor Leader to Mentor Leader, since the title “Mentor Leader” better suits an expanded role of the experienced trip leader with the aspiring new trip leader – as in Mentor and Protégé – rather than just a one-time trip to assess their trip leadership skills.


These traits are compiled from interviews with new and prospective trip leaders.   Specific Mentor Leader qualifications will be discussed on the next page:

  • a person who is willing to be available for continued advice and counsel. 
  • gives frank and constructive feedback through all steps of the LIT trip  and future CMC activities.
  • a highly experienced trip leader who has practical experience teaching & counseling, not just someone who has led many hikes.
  • dedication through volunteerism to promote the core values and mission of the CMC.
  • good communicator, friendly, tolerant, patient, flexible, detail oriented, well prepared
  • the ability to listen to others, and the ability to be decisive when required.  They should know when to change their approach as conditions warrant.
  • common sense.


For What Types of Trips?

  • Specialty trip leaders lead fly fishing, biking, skiing, or adventure travel trips.  
  • Technical trip leaders lead top rope rock or ice climbing, sport climbing, traditional rock climbing, multi-pitch rock climbing, ice lead climbing, or alpine climbing trips  
  • General trip leaders lead trips that are not considered specialty or technical trips, such as hiking, snowshoeing, and backpacking trips.

The qualifications listed below apply to Mentor Leaders for general CMC trips, but also apply to Specialty and Technical Mentor Leaders.  Specialty and Technical trip leaders may need additional qualifications in order to become Mentor Leaders as established by CMC experts of those types of activities.

New specialty and technical trip leaders require no additional steps of Trip Leader School vs becoming a general Trip Leader, even though there may be additional training in order to lead specialty or technical trips.  The only difference is you must do your LIT trip in your specialty or technical activity of choice, instead of doing a general trip, such as a hike, for your LIT.  For example, if you plan to mostly lead ski trips as a CMC trip leader, do a ski trip as your LIT trip.  People seeking to become trip leaders should choose a Mentor Leader who is qualified to lead in their  chosen specialty or technical activity.  

In summary, an LIT is required to provide guidance, instruction and prove leadership skills. An LIT performed with a specialty or technical Mentor Leader in a specialty or technical activity will satisfy CMC’s Trip Leader LIT requirement and a separate general hiking trip LIT is then not required. 

Upon successful completion of the specialty or technical LIT, a new trip leader may also lead general trips within their ability level, provided they’ve met the training requirements for such trips, such as ATA and/or AIARE when required, and have the corresponding skills badges.  To lead trips for more than one type of technical or specialty trip, new trip leaders only need to do one LIT, but must have a skills badge for the type of trip and difficulty level.


  1. Is a current and active CMC trip leader 
  2. Has been an active CMC leader for at least two years
  3. Has been the primary leader for at least 12 CMC trips.  Trips as a co-leader do not count, and multi-day trips count as one trip, in this case  This qualification is for mentor leaders for general trips (hiking, etc.).  The number of required trips is likely to be different for technical and specialty trip types.
  4. Current on applicable Trip Leader training (WFA, ATA, AIARE, etc) and has a skills badge for the trip type in question.
  5. Familiar with CMC policies and procedures
  6. Has a good reputation as Trip Leader.  Is known for above average trip leadership, organization, communication, and teaching/coaching skills.

NOTE:  Specialty and Technical Mentor Leaders may have additional required qualifications


Trip Leaders who meet the above qualifications are welcome to volunteer or can be nominated by others to be a Mentor Leader, but they must submit an application form to the Denver Group Leadership Committee for approval.  The mentor leader application must contain an endorsement from at least one of the following to become an approved mentor leader.  

  • the Denver Group Leadership Committee (“DGLC”)
  • the Board of one of the CMC Denver Group Sections (RMOTHG, Bobcats, Trail Blazers, Backpacking, etc.)
  • the Schools Committee or the Director of one of the CMC schools
  • Endorsed by at least 5 active Denver Group Trip Leaders who are familiar with the individual’s trip leading skills.