CMS Blog

The Holiday Gift Guide to Holistic Avalanche Gear

Holistic Avalanche Gear The holiday season coincides with dark and cold winter days. At this time of year, I don’t dream of sugar plums. I dream of cold, light fluffy snow sparkling in low- angle sunbeams on still mornings. It’s…

Pro-Rec Split

The American Avalanche Association together with avalanche educators has revised the guidelines for safety training in the USA. Beginning with the 2017-18 season there will be different course progressions for recreational riders and professionals. The new recreational courses are still…

Field Report (November 22, 2017)

It’s important to know the history of the layered mountain snowpack if we want to understand the avalanche problems that threaten us and recognize the ever changing danger we face travelling in the backcountry. I’d like to be out on…

Avalanche Airbags

The avalanche airbag pack may be the most effective piece of safety equipment developed in the last 25 years. In our AIARE 1 and AIARE Avalanche Rescue we focus on training students to use beacons, probe and shovels to execute…

RMNP Field Report: November 11, 2017

During October the Front range zone got snow from a series of small storms. However, as last week’s Election Day storm began moving across the Front Range most of the snow from October had already melted out. The new snow…

Avalanche Beacon Check

Each year before the season starts I grab all of my beacons, insert a fresh set of batteries in each beacon and head to a nearby park. At the park I want to reactivate the avalanche rescue skills that I…

A Successful CMS Inaugural Summer Alps Climbing Program…

  This Summer the Colorado Mountain School decided to expand our climbing programs to the heart of the European Alps and offer alpine rock and mountaineering climbing trips based out of the birthplace of alpinism, Chamonix – France. This inaugural…

RAB Merino + 160 Hoody Review

RAB Merino + 160 Hoody I’ve worn a lot of fabrics against my skin over a long career in guiding and an even longer life in the outdoors. I’ve sweated in all of them. I still like cotton in some…

La Sportiva TX Approach Shoes Review

La Sportiva Approach Shoes Review For the last two years I’ve been wearing and abusing the La Sportiva TX3 & TX4 approach shoes to the best of my ability. It seems as though these two pairs of shoes are largely…

Which Avalanche Training Course is the Right Course for Me?

‘A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE UPCOMING AVALANCHE EDUCATION INDUSTRY COURSE ‘SPILT’ FOR RECREATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL AVALANCHE TRAINING AND CERTIFICATIONS…’ Over the past decade we have seen tremendous growth and demand in formal Avalanche Training Education and Certification processes for both…

RAB Boreas Pull-On Review

 RAB Boreas Pull-On From Rocky Mountain National Park, to the North Cascades National Park, to Denali National Park and beyond the RAB Boreas Pull-On is my go to piece for a wide range of activities. As a mountain guide I…

CAMP HMS Compact Lock Review

CAMP HMS Compact Lock The carabiner market is flooded with many different styles, brands, colors and intended uses.  So what makes a carabiner stand out in the hands of someone who has handled hundreds of different styles throughout their climbing…

CAMP Storm Helmet Review

CAMP Storm Helmet At Colorado Mountain School, we are big fans of CAMP/Cassin equipment. I’m going to take a bit of time in this review to first teach you something about the company. C.A.M.P. is an acronym, not just a…

Sterling Evolution Aero 9.2mm Rope Review

Sterling Evolution Aero 9.2mm Rope There is quite an impressive selection of climbing ropes on the market.  For a climber in Colorado, we require a long list of requirements for our ropes: to be able to perform well on rock,…

CAMP Flash Harness Review

Flash Harness Back in 1997 I bought my first climbing harness. It was a used (broke student) CAMP harness that I purchased from a colleague and was their lightweight offering at the time, fixed leg loops and lots of padding….

La Sportiva Partners with Colorado Mountain School

La Sportiva Partners with Colorado Mountain School June 13, 2017 (BOULDER, Colo.) – La Sportiva, makers of the finest mountain products for over 80 years, has inked an agreement with Boulder-based Colorado Mountain School (CMS), to be the official footwear provider…

Guide Gear Review: Scarpa Women’s Gea RS

This is my third pair of Scarpa Women’s Gea RS.  Again, I would emphasize that this is my “third” pair.  You are correct to think that I must really like them.  In each pair, I put in at least 150…

CAMP USA – Cassin X-All Mountain Ice Tool

It is very warm here in Colorado right now; a time when ice season is usually upon us. It’s a good season to be patient and think about upgrading some gear for when things do freeze up, maybe even those…

“Tech” Tips: Dynafit Tech Bindings

In 1984 Fritz Barthell patented the original frameless (tech) binding.  In the early 90’s Dynafit launched the Tourlite boot/binding combo revolutionizing the ski mountaineering industry and saving pounds off skiers’ feet. Over 30 years later, Dynafit still makes their bindings…

Guide Gear Review: CAMP HMS Compact Locker

A guide must be precise when making decisions in the high country.  Equipment choice is one of the first things on my mind when planning for a day of work.  What type of terrain will I be in?  How many…

Guide Gear Review: Scarpa Freedom RS Ski Boot Review

The new Freedom RS ski boot is the new stiffer version of one of my favorites, the Freedom SL. This new addition to the Scarpa line stands out immediately as it is bright orange and you can’t miss it. Besides…

Guide Gear Review: Wild Country “Rocks”

Back in the day when climbers were tying in around their waist and climbing in hobnail boots, their only protection was looping the rope around horns or chockstones wedged in cracks. This gave a British climber the idea of filling…

Guide Gear Review: Julbo Stunts

I’ve taken the Julbo Stunts on long alpine days in Rocky Mountain National Park and big rock climbing days in Red Rocks, Nevada.  The frames have held up well as did the lenses through the falling ice and blowing sand…

Guide Gear Review: Sterling Fusion Ion R

Rock season is here in the Colorado Front Range, so time to get outta the gym and get back on your outdoor project! Rope choice can play a major role in success or failure. My choice for multi pitch rock…

Classic Alpine Rock: The Cathedral Spires

Boasting some of the best alpine rock climbing in the United States, Rocky Mountain National Park is blessed with a lifetime worth of routes. Within this abundance of riches for the rock climber, including many classics lines and summits, the…

Hidden Gems in Rocky Mountain National Park

I’m often asked: what’s your favorite route in Rocky Mountain National Park? In all honesty I can usually say, “Whatever route I’m climbing today!” If you’ve done much climbing in Rocky, then you know there’s enough to keep you busy…

Guide Gear Review: Marmot Quasar Hoody

The Marmot Quasar hoody is 900 fill goose down with a lightweight pertex quantum shell material. It is super light and packable but due to the high fill down gives phenomenal warmth. I have worn this as a summer alpine…

Guide Gear Review: Dynafit Denali

IFMGA Guide Mike Soucy has given these skis a thorough testing this season: New for me this year is a sub-100mm waist ski that I’ve toured on all winter long and will continue to ski until June. Dynafit’s Denali is…

Guide Gear Review: Julbo Universe Goggles

For me, skiing the high country of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado requires having great eye protection due to the nature of the extreme elements that I travel and ski in. The Julbo Universe category 2-4 has become my go…

The Many Seasons of CMS

The Colorado Mountain School has available guides year-round for any and all objectives you can dream of that takes place in the Front Range. But just because there’s snow doesn’t necessarily mean rock climbing is out of the picture or…

The Art of Bailing

Many an alpine climber has asked themselves the question, “To bail or not to bail?” There are many times when it’s appropriate to take a chance and press on through what may end up to be just a burp in…

Single, Half or Twin Ropes, What Does it All Mean?

Single Rope Let’s start with the simplest and probably the most common system, single rope. As the name suggests you climb with a single rope clipping all your pieces of gear to the one rope. This is the system we…

Alpine Climbing: The Quick and the Bailing

Two weekends ago, my friend Whitney and I set out on our first Alpine climbing adventure.  Our journey to the summit of Spearhead was nothing short of magical. The Rocky Mountain gods were on our side and we knew that…

CMS Guide Mike Soucy’s Favorite Climb

Culp-Bossier, III 5.8+, Hallett Peak, RMNP Hallett Peak rises abruptly above Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. For decades, a large percentage of the climbers looking to tackle its North Buttress went straight to the Northcutt-Carter route, one of…