Your Name? Hi, my name is Becky Browning and I have a climbing addiction.
Where do you live? Estes Park, CO (moved here from Texas four years ago)
How long have you been climbing with CMS? Three years
How did you find out about CMS? Our family has vacationed in RMNP since 1959 so I’d heard about CMS over the years. When I needed a guide, CMS was who immediately came to mind.
What guide do you climb with? The most awesome guide ever, Mark Hammond.
What was your first experience like with CMS? I called CMS for a guide to hike me up Mt. Meeker and I asked for someone patient. I didn’t even know at the time how lucky I was that Mark Hammond was assigned to me. Our first attempt was aborted due to weather. I was afraid that it must be a real drag for a professional guide to spend 12 hours schlepping a 50+ year old woman on a hike so I asked Mark if he’d prefer that someone else guide me on my second attempt. He was adamant that he wanted to be there to see me succeed. And succeed I did! It was a thrill to summit what, for me, was a challenging peak. Mark encouraged me every step of the way and his enthusiasm when I topped out was completely genuine. On the ascent through the “cliff section”, Mark commented that I must be a rock climber. I wasn’t but with his encouragement, I gave it a try a few weeks later. I was certain beforehand that I wouldn’t like it. Boy, was I ever wrong and a passion was born!
How has CMS/your guide helped you with your climbing? Mark has literally taught me everything I know about climbing. I knew nothing other than that I’d seen crazy (but really cool) people climbing up cliffs generic plavix. I’ll never be a 5.14 climber but with Mark’s coaching, my skills are continually improving. Not only am I climbing more challenging grades, but I recently led my first sport climb and have been doing mock trad leads. I didn’t even know those words three years ago! It’s amazing to see how the skills we’ve worked on build upon one another.
What is a highlight (or two) of your climbing career with CMS? Honestly, I have a blast and I learn something every time I go climbing. That being said, the two climbs that really stand out for me are my hike up Mt. Meeker (in RMNP) and climbing Icarus (in Eldorado Canyon). Meeker was my big goal for the summer of 2010 and I trained very hard for it. I knew it would be a long, challenging day and I didn’t want to fail. When Mark and I reached the summit, I confess that I burst in to tears. It was a huge accomplishment for me.
Icarus is memorable because, at that point in my climbing career, the final pitch had the most exposure that I had ever experienced. Technically speaking, it wasn’t hard climbing but my fear was palpable. “Exhilaration” isn’t a strong enough word to describe how I felt at having overcome such fear! I felt like I was on top of the world! Mark was with me every step of the way and I never would have been in either of those places without him.
Where do you see yourself going with climbing and CMS? My goal is to see just how far I can take this climbing thing and it will all be with the guidance of Mark Hammond and CMS.
Would you recommend hiring a guide to your friends and family? I already have! On separate occasions, three family members and a friend have tried climbing for the first time through CMS.