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The mountains have a profound ability to make us feel alive. Colorado Mountain School exists to share the power of the mountains with adventurers who want to learn and explore.

We are more than a collective of guides. We’re a family of top-notch educators and mentors who care about your progression in the mountains, and in life. We’re dedicated to experiences that are educational, fun, challenging, and life-changing at times. We’re your partners who push you to go a little higher and a little farther—purely for the joy of discovering what’s over the next ridge.

Colorado Mountain School was founded in Estes Park, Colorado in 1981. Since then we’ve built a reputation on tens of thousands of days skiing, climbing, mountaineering, and teaching in our backyard—the spectacular Colorado Rockies—and across the globe in other world-class mountain ranges. Our team is highly trained and curates internationally respected courses and trips. CMS is Colorado’s largest mountain guide company, an accredited guide service of the American Mountain Guides Association, and the country’s #1 AIARE avalanche course provider.

We believe…

that what you accomplish is less important than how you accomplish it. As a result, we are industry leaders in:

  • Stewardship, treasuring and caring for our world’s magnificent landscapes
  • Professionalism, hiring only the most qualified staff, guides, educators, and mentors
  • Quality of Life, generously supporting and caring for our staff, guides, and customers

Our Mission

To ignite passionate living through mountain education and adventure.


Our Values

We Believe in Challenge & Adventure

The mountains are forces for change. Adventure, challenge, fun, and humble awe remind us how alive and connected we are to the natural world.

We Believe in Community

The mountains unite us. Our passion for exploring and learning is the foundation for trust, teamwork, and lifelong friendships.

We Believe in the Environment

The mountains deserve our care. Alpine terrain is both magnificent and fragile. As mindful visitors, we treasure and care for our world’s spectacular landscapes.

We Believe in Professionalism

The mountains command reverence. At times it’s sunny and warm; other times nature is unforgiving. With this in mind, we hire only the most respected and qualified professionals as guides, educators, and mentors.

We Believe in Quality of Life

The mountains reward us in many ways. We continue that tradition by ensuring our family of customers, guides, and staff are generously supported and cared for. Strengthened by happy and fit climbers and skiers, we are constantly forging a purpose-driven company that will evolve and endure for generations to come.

An instructor on an ice climbing course teaches a lesson about ice tools and how to use them properly to climb ice.What Sets Us Apart?


Colorado Mountain School employs professional mountain guides that are trained and certified by the American Mountain Guides Association.
  • Dedication: Our guides are career guides with a commitment to their craft, and have invested their resources into training to become highly qualified mountain guides.
  • Certification: Just over 100 guides in the US have earned certification from the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA).  We have more IFMGA guides on our roster than any other guide service in Colorado.  Our Guides are American Mountain Guide Association trained and/or certified.   All CMS guides have been First Aid or Wilderness First Responder and CPR certified.
  • Training: Anyone can call himself or herself a mountain guide in the United States, even without any training.  Demand that your guide have AMGA training.

Educational Advantage

Our guides offer more than just their technical skills—our team consists of some of the best educators in the game.
  • Teaching Experience: We aren’t just climbers and skiers. Many of our guides have extensive teaching backgrounds, ranging from high school and middle schools, to the National Outdoor Leadership School and Outward Bound.
  • Enthusiasm: We have a passion for teaching and working with people of all ages and backgrounds.  Our guides love what they do and are psyched to help you experience the environments that inspire them.
  • Comprehensive Knowledge: Learning with our guides will give you the confidence of knowing that the skills you have acquired have been taught on the cutting edge of preferred methods.  As educators, our guides are uniquely equipped to help you achieve a level of comprehension that even seasoned outdoorsmen lack.
  • Experience: These mountains are our office.  We spend everyday working on peaks and crags throughout the Front Range.  Our guides have literally written the books on local climbing areas.  We employ a large team of guides, which allows us to draw on a vast array of experience and skill sets.  Do you want to learn the intricacies of climbing Denali?  We have guides that have spent seasons there.  Are you training to climb El Capitan in a day, send 5.14, or ski Mount Rainier?  Our guides have done that too.
Our guides can introduce you to the world-class, vertical environments and backcountry of the Front Range. Whether you are a novice who has never climbed before or a seasoned alpinist looking to expand their skill set, our guides can work with you to create a custom outing in the incredible spaces that are our backyard. We provide unforgettable climbing experiences, and enable you to progress to new levels of adventure. Read more about areas we guide and get to know our guides.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  We look forward to our adventure together.

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