So you’ve lived in Colorado for a few years now. You have even climbed to the top of several fourteeners and gone backcountry ski touring to escape the crowds at the Summit County resorts. But now, halfway up the Black Cloud Trail to the summit of Mt. Elbert, your buddy from out of state twists his ankle. Dark clouds are rolling in. Hail pelts your rain jacket as you scramble to make a plan. What do you do?
Or maybe you’ve just arrived, traveling through the Rocky Mountain West in your tricked-out Sprinter van, looking for the most remote and difficult trad climbs. How will you build solid anchors and manage risk for the posse of less-experienced belayers you just met at the trailhead?
If you’re a whitewater kayaker, likely you’ve had the experience of swimming out of your boat in a rapid. Another seasoned paddler deftly towed your kayak to shore and emptied it out while you caught your breath after the long swim. Now you’re confidently paddling Class IV and want to take a friend out for their first kayaking trip at the lake or local playpark. What do you need to know to make it a fun and safe time on the water?
The Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, conveniently located just outside Buena Vista, Colorado, certifies instructors, guides, and wilderness leaders. With on-site riverside camping included in any certification course, RMOC is the perfect place to gain new knowledge and network with other high-level paddlers, climbers, and skiers during a certification course.
Wilderness First Aid, a two-day intensive class that includes CPR for adults, children, and infants, is a great course for anyone who wants to get off the beaten path with friends or family. Learn the basics of the Red Cross patient assessment system, how to treat minor injuries or illnesses in the backcountry, and when to call for help.
Swiftwater Rescue is for those with Class 3 paddling ability who want to plan their first multi-day raft trip or start leading others on the water. The two-day course covers quick, low-resource techniques like swimming, wading, and throwing a rope for swimmer rescue as well as learning basic mechanical advantage to recover pinned crafts.
If you’re looking to level up your river skills, an American Canoe Association (ACA) Whitewater Kayak Instructor or Stand-up Paddleboard Instructor course will help you analyze your strokes and on-water technique. These two- to five-day courses also cover teaching theory and learning styles to prepare instructor candidates to teach lessons for an outfitter or lead trips for the local whitewater club. RMOC’s 11-day raft guide training is geared toward rookie guides or private boaters preparing to take a paddle crew down the stunning local Class III, Browns Canyon, and beyond.
On land, the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor course readies climbers to manage risk and present skills such as belaying or movement on rock in the single-pitch, top-rope environment. An American Institute for Avalance Education (AIARE) course is perfect for new backcountry skiers and snowboarders looking to avoid avalanche terrain but be prepared to perform a basic rescue.
From the Denver parent looking to row the family in a raft to the aspiring backcountry ski guide, RMOC has a program to help proficient outdoor adventurers take their skills to the next level. See course offerings and book a spot in a course at rmoc.com/certification-courses/
All photos courtesy of RMOC