This article was first posted on ‘Education at Elevation,” CMC Leadville’s blog site. By Lauren Swanson, CMC Leadville Social Media Coordinator.
Three Colorado Mountain College Leadville alumni, Ryan Edwards, Eric Crosby and Michael Elges, are participating in a fundraising expedition to the Alaska Range with the Boulder Mountain Institute. All three are graduates of the Outdoor Recreation Leadership (ORL) program in Leadville who entered the program in 2007 or 2008.
The group has been climbing together since they met at CMC and have built a strong partnership climbing routes in Red Rocks, NV, the Cordillera Blanca range in Peru, and El Capitan.
Ryan, Eric and Michael are all employed in the outdoor industry. Eric Crosby is the Lead Instructor and Staff Trainer at the YMCA Bold school in Seattle, WA. Mike Elges is the Program Director and Lead Guide at Apex Ex Guide Service in Golden, CO. Ryan Edwards holds a position with Colorado Outward Bound School, also based in Leadville.
“I learned judgement and the technical skills to help guide me on my path of self exploration. The instructors take pride in their work, and seek to mentor students while fostering their development in the industry. The time in the field was invaluable for me,” says Edwards. In addition to his work at the Colorado Outward Bound School, Edwards has been an Adjunct Field Instructor at Colorado Mountain College since 2009.
This May, the three ORL grads will be joining other experienced climbers from the Boulder Mountain Institute on a fundraising expedition to the Alaska Range. They seek to raise money and awareness for Paradox Sports while attempting to climb some long routes in the mountains around the Kahiltna Base Camp.
Paradox Sports is a Boulder based non-profit that that seeks to recognize and foster an individual’s potential and strength, defying the assumption that people with a physical disability can’t lead a life of excellence. They provide inspiration, opportunities, and specialized adaptive equipment so that anyone is able to be an active participant in human powered sports. Paradox also runs a veteran’s program to help soldiers returning from service discover new strengths.
The team looks forward to increasing their knowledge base of the terrain, learning from other experienced expedition members, and adding to the solid foundation of technical skills that began with the Outdoor Recreation Leadership program.
“My advice for ORL students is to be patient. Much of what we need to know to be good outdoor educators and leaders takes a lot of time and guidance through mentorship. Finding the right mentors and seeking both directed and un-directed experiences was very important to my development in the outdoors.”
Learn more about the expedition and make a donation at the GoFundMe page.