Denver Technical Mentor Leader Standards and Approval Process


Technical Mentor Leaders (TMLs) are a critical component of the CMC technical climbing program. TMLs approve and mentor new Technical Trip Leaders (TTLs) in the various technical climbing disciplines. Approval of TTLs is described in the Activity Standards for each of the disciplines.

Mentoring is an important part of being a TML and can take many forms. It may involve encouraging a student to gain more experience and volunteer as an assistant instructor, co-leading trips, leading trips to develop other leaders’ skills, or it may involve helping a leader pick appropriate objectives or help with the process of posting and leading trips.

Becoming a Technical Mentor Leader

There is no hard and fast process for becoming a TML. Often, candidates will be invited to apply based on observation over time of their technical proficiency and ability to teach and assess students’ abilities in schools. Others who possess the required skills are encouraged to seek out a discussion with a current TML and develop a plan for being approved.

If you are interested, talk to a school director, an experienced TTL, or one of the TMLs. Any of them would be happy to help get you on track.

Qualifications and Experience

Senior instructors for a Denver Technical Climbing School class, who are approved leaders in a CMC Group, may be approved as a TML in the corresponding discipline by the school director. Another path to becoming a TML is by becoming a TTL, leading a substantial number of trips in the object discipline, and demonstrating mastery of the required skills while climbing with an approved TML or by serving as an instructor in a school that covers the skills and being approved by the school director.

A successful TML candidate rarely has less than one year of experience as a TTL in the discipline he or she is mentoring, and more than one year is strongly preferred. He or she has been an active leader (e.g. ca. 12 trips per year, or equivalent instructional activity) in the discipline. Additionally, a TML must demonstrate mastery and teaching ability in every required skill for becoming a TTL, including self-rescue skills and preferred but not mandatory skills. As with TTL approval, approval for multi pitch automatically qualifies for approval for single pitch and top rope.

The CMC recognizes that there are many avenues to climbing education, such as informal mentorship, professional instruction, or volunteer peer-based instruction (via organizations like the CMC, Mountaineers, Mazamas, etc.). Candidates that meet these activity standards are encouraged to become Technical Mentor Leaders, too.