Dear CMS students, clients and fans,
We’re beyond excited and extremely grateful to be back adventuring with you in the mountains.
We have special precautions in place for our guides and clients to manage the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. We invite you to read the details in our FAQ below, and join us in managing this risk.
We are excited for our next adventure in the mountains, where physical distancing is natural.
The Colorado Mountain School Team
All of us at Colorado Mountain School thank you for your continued patience, support and help in fighting this pandemic. This is a crisis we face together–as a community.
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Just like for you, it’s been a roller coaster of a year. We paused in-person experiences from mid-March to mid-May, during which we secured a loan through the Payroll Protection Program, putting our guides and administrative staff to work on a comprehensive COVID-19 operating plan.
Now, we’re excited to be back in the mountains with you adventuring and learning responsibly. We appreciate your patience and incredible demonstrations of support in getting us here.
Note: The Estes Park Adventure Hostel, operated by Colorado Mountain School, is open exclusively to private bookings (full facility) at this time.
The short answer is “yes.” The only way to fully limit your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 is complete isolation. To ensure all clients are aware and accepting of this risk, all clients must complete and sign an additional COVID-19-specific Acknowledgement of Risk / Release of Liability form before participating in one of our guided adventures or instructional courses.
By acknowledging we cannot eliminate risk, we turn our focus to managing it. It is our primary goal as professionals and recreationalists to manage our risk every time we play in the mountains. That means proper planning and decision-making.
We are professional risk managers and the wellbeing of our guests and guides is paramount. Whether it’s dealing with avalanche hazard, rockfall or COVID-19, we have frameworks, systems and controls in place to inform our risk management process.
Here’s what we can do to manage our risk together:
- CMS will limit the size of courses and private outings to reduce exposure.
- All guides and clients must participate in COVID-19 Medical Screenings before the outing. If you do not pass the screening, you may be subject to additional screening questions. If your participation in the outing is not recommended, you will be given the option to reschedule at no cost, or receive a guaranteed 100% credit or refund.
- We will meet and gear up outside, where studies show COVID-19 exposure is decreased. We strongly discourage carpooling with members outside of your household.
- Physical distancing will be enforced whenever possible, as will appropriate face coverings when guests can’t maintain six feet of physical distancing.
- Practice good hygiene. Sanitize hands often, especially when using shared gear.
- All shared gear provided by CMS, such as climbing ropes or avalanche kits, will be sanitized and/or quarantined between use.
These precautions have been reviewed by risk management experts and our Medical Advisor, Dr. Alan Oram, M.D. & IFMGA Guide.
If you have concerns that you’d like to discuss, please contact our Service Team and we would be happy to discuss them. We believe in transparency, so our entire COVID-19 Operations Plan is available upon request, but be warned, it’s over 25 pages!
Note: Risk management will be interactive leading up to, during and after your adventure. If you refuse to follow our risk management instructions, we will be forced to end the day prematurely. We appreciate your understanding and participation.
The dynamic nature of this pandemic requires us to be nimble and flexible in how we respond. Because some things are unpredictable and/or out of our control, there may be more pauses or adaptations to our field calendar to come. Our team will contact you if there are any reasons for postponing or altering your adventure.
Rest assured, we are committed to helping all of our clients through these uncertain times and have implemented worry-free reschedule and cancellation policies. If you do not pass a COVID-19 Medical Screening or Colorado Mountain School is forced to alter your program due to public health concerns, you will be given the option to reschedule at no cost, or receive a guaranteed 100% credit or refund.
For the 2020/21, you’ll likely see some changes to our course logistics, such as replacing indoor class time with e-learning and/or more field time. Rest assured that no matter what curveballs are thrown at us, you can count on us to ignite passionate living through mountain education and adventure.
General Frequently Asked Questions
No. We have numerous courses that can fit every ability level. If you are not interested in taking a group course, you can schedule a private outing.
What you bring varies based on what your climbing objective is. What you wear rock climbing in the summer is completely different than what you wear ice climbing in the winter. Everyone that works with us will receive a gear list at the time of registration. In general you are responsible for the soft goods (i.e. clothing). We have all the technical gear (i.e. harness, helmet, shoes, etc.) for rent if you don’t already have them.
As our acknowledgment of risk forms and every book on the topic will tell you, climbing has inherent dangers; it is an adventure sport. If you are well trained and are using the correct equipment and technique, then most of the risks of rock climbing can be managed. Risk management is the number one concern at the Colorado Mountain School. If you have questions or concerns, we are always happy to speak with you and answer any questions that you may have.
We offer custom guiding 365 days a year. Most of our courses fall on the weekends.
Yes. Just like most service industries, our guides do appreciate a gratuity as a way of showing your appreciation and enjoyment. Like all service industry work, 15-20% tip is standard.
Yes. All of our courses are based outdoors, but there are a few courses that do have classroom portions.
Yes. For group courses we ask that kids be accompanied by an adult. For private guiding we encourage an adult to be present.
Yes. We’ve worked with numerous companies and organizations. Climbing is a great way to build camaraderie and enjoy the outdoors.
Yes, for those that ask we offer a 5% discount for students and active or retired military on custom outings.
Yes. Our location in Estes Park has 16 beds spread over 3 separate rooms. It also has 3 showers, 3 restrooms, a full size kitchen, and lounge area. Our peak season is Memorial Day to Labor Day and December 1 through April 1. It is $44.22 (tax included) per person per night.
Main office: 633 S. Broadway St, Boulder, CO 80301 (inside Neptune Mountaineering)
Estes Park Lodge: 341 Moraine Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517