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Since he started guiding here in 1997, Mark has used his calm, composed style and rock-solid skills to provide motivated clients of all skill levels with unforgettable climbing experiences. He’s guided classic routes in Eldorado Canyon and RMNP as well as climbs in Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico (he speaks Spanish), and on Kilimanjaro. Though he loves climbing anywhere, his favorite destination is probably the Utah desert, where he guides many of our trips, from tower ascents to lead and aid climbing clinics. Mark has more than a dozen years of experience in the desert and over 100 tower ascents, including several first ascents.

Originally from the flatlands of Iowa, after moving to Boulder he noticed people climbing on the cliffs of Boulder Canyon. “THAT is what I want to do,” he immediately said to himself. He now walks to some of the finest climbs in the country from the front door of his home in Eldorado Canyon.

In addition to guiding, he helps oversee the technical and safety aspects of many BRC programs. He holds AMGA Rock Guide certification, teaches AMGA courses, and has instructed for the Colorado Mountain Club and Climbing for Life. His varied work background includes stints as a motorcycle racer and mechanic, fashion model (he knows the movie Zoolander by heart), small business manager, photographer, and political activist. When he’s not climbing, Mark enjoys playing guitar, mountain biking, skiing, photography, hot springs, margaritas, and playing with his two sons.

From high-altitude South American peaks to desert towers and countless local rock and ice climbs, Mark instills confidence in his clients, and it shows: “I guide to have a positive impact on people’s lives and to share magical moments with new friends.”


“I Learned So Much”

Spent this last week with First Descents and CMS, The Guides, Again, Little Bit, Double, Hans, (Bob Chase, Rainbow Weinstock, Mark Hammond, Andy Hansen) were absolutely amazing. I learned so much from these guys not only about mountain climbing but also about persistence and overcoming obstacles. They are the most professional, talented patient, skilled and fun people that I have met in many years. The guides are just amazing (yes I am repeating myself). As I reflect on an awesome week of climbing in Moab, UT, I keep coming back to what I learned from these guys. They have an absolute love and passion for what they do, and it comes out in the instruction and time and individual attention to each of the students separate skills sets. Everything they showed us was tailored to each student. (Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!) I have always had a love of mountains and after this week I also have a great appreciation of them as well. Thank you SO Much!

- CMS Client (Anonymous)

“Safety, Professionalism, and Fun”

- Becky Browning

“Learn to do it Correctly, Safely, and Have Fun”

My experience is based on a long-term relationship with Colorado Mountain School beginning in 2006 and continuing thereafter. During this 8 year period, I’ve regularly used CMS guides on my climbing outings and specialized classes, such as self-rescue. All trips have been to current AMGA standards for safety, techniques and equipment, and mainly – fun! Rock climbing is a complex endeavor, especially multi-pitch traditional climbing. If you want to learn to do it correctly, safely, and have fun in the process, you will not go wrong by using CMS guides.

- Tom Stocker

“I Consider Myself to be CMS’ #1 Fan!”

“The summer of 2010 changed my life. I had the great fortune to meet Colorado Mountain School Head Guide, Mark Hammond, the first time I went rock-rocking. Although I was almost 53 the first time I put on a pair of climbing shoes, I found a passion for the sport like none other. Since then, I have been climbing with Colorado Mountain School innumerable times and Mark has been my guide, instructor and coach ever since.

I have been thrilled at the progress I have made, and that is solely attributable to Mark’s coaching skills. He has an innate ability to know when to encourage and when to challenge. Mark is a skilled and dedicated professional and safety is always first. Shortly behind that is fun! Mark’s enthusiasm for the sport shows in everything he does and he gladly shares that with anyone who is interested. In case you can’t tell, I consider myself to be CMS’ #1 fan!! I mean every word in my testimonial. My problem was toning it down! You guys are the best!!”

- Becky Browning​

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