MEET THE TRIP LEADERS

CMC Adventure Travel Leaders are seasoned adventure travelers who are passionate about sharing their love for the world with others.  They volunteer their time to create active small-group adventures to inspiring destinations around the world.  Their hard work and dedication to the Colorado Mountain Club allows you to experience the world with other like minded, passionate, and friendly travelers, knowing that you have experienced and knowledgeable trip leaders.  Be sure to thank these amazing people when you meet them!

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KRIS ASHTON

Kris Ashton has been walking, hiking, climbing and snowshoeing in Colorado since she moved here in 1972. She joined the Colorado Mountain Club in 1984 and, over the years, has gone on Adventure Travel trips to Norway (where she met her husband Dennis), Bhutan, Vietnam, Mongolia, the Czech Republic and several llama treks in the U.S. before becoming a hike leader and Adventure Travel leader herself. Kris is trained and certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Kris frequently takes friends and family on hikes and often leads those hikes. She has organized a variety of trips all over the world for herself and others in which she takes the lead--organizing travel, accommodations, activities, etc. She has recently developed a fondness for long-distance and pilgrimage walks. Kris walked the Camino de Santiago each year for the past 5 years on a variety of routes, and has taken CMC AT groups there since 2014. In 2016 and again in 2017, Kris walked the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route in Japan, thereby earning the Dual Pilgrim designation.

Kris is a retired IT Consultant who now spends her time planning, organizing, and executing exciting Adventure Travel trips when she’s not walking the world herself. She loves the outdoors, travel, and adventure and loves to share those adventures with others. She also likes to teach or coach others who may be new to outdoor activities and adventure travel.

Kris attended the CMC Boulder Mountaineering School twice, simply because it was that much fun!

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JASON GROSS

It is a beautiful world and I love exploring it with others.  Every new place I visit makes the world feel a little smaller and further highlights how precious our planet truly is.  You can find me leading trips domestically and/or internationally along with instructing for a variety of Colorado Mountain Club schools, classes, and courses. 

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BILL BLAZEK

Bill Blazek has been enjoying the mountains of Colorado since long before moving here in 1981.   Bill has extensive experience hiking, rock/snow/ice climbing, backpacking, snowshoeing, and backcountry and downhill skiing throughout the Western U.S. and Alaska as well as the French and Swiss Alps, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and Aconcagua in Argentina.

Bill has been a member of CMC since 1986 and has been a trip leader since 1989.  He has been a senior instructor for the Basic Mountaineering School for many years and an assistant instructor in the High Altitude Mountaineering Section.  He is certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Successful summits Bill attained include Mont Blanc in France, Monte Rosa and The Dom in Switzerland, and Kilimanjaro in Kenya. In the U.S. Bill has summited Denali, Mt. Rainier, the Grand Teton, Granite Peak, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Muir, all of the Colorado 14ers, and many others.

Bill has also run over 50 marathon or longer races and has done many mountain trail runs. He has traversed the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, non-stop and unsupported in a single day, on 5 different occasions and by 3 different routes, as well as other long distance hikes in the Grand Canyon.

When not enjoying the outdoors Bill is a software engineer doing Quality Assurance Automation Development in telecommunications at CenturyLink in Denver.

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RENEE HOWBERT

Renée has been a volunteer in the Colorado Mountain Club since 1987.  She has instructed in the Wilderness Trekking School, the Basic Mountaineering School, and the Backcountry Ski Touring School (BSTS). Wanting others to have great experiences with the CMC too, she was a long-time member of the Adventure Travel Committee and still serves on the BSTS committee.

Hiking and cross-country skiing are her passions and she has summited all 54 of the Colorado Fourteeners and through-hiked the nearly 500 miles of the Colorado Trail.  She enjoys exploring the historic South Park region of Colorado where she and her husband own a cabin.  Her Adventure Travel trip leads and co-leads include winter trips to Yellowstone, Bryce Canyon, and Glacier National Parks, and also the Inca Trail in Peru, and Canyon de Chelly.

As a data analyst for a large hospital company, Renée enjoys “finding the story in the data”. She is now “semi-retired” to a half-time position, giving her more time to hike, bike, ski, travel, and enjoy other favorite activities such as reading, listening to American roots music, and enjoying live theater.

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ANNE KEIL

Anne Keil has been a Colorado Mountain Club trip leader for hiking, snowshoeing, biking and downhill skiing trips since the late 1990s, She has traveled and hiked throughout the United States and internationally since her years in college and just loves to explore the world. She is a semi-retired Physical Therapist now living in Western Colorado. She is a guide for Colorado Mountain Expeditions on sections of the Colorado Trail, Arizona Trail and in the Hermosa, Colorado area.

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GREG LONG

Greg Long has been a CMC member since 1992 and trip leader since 1994. He is a long time member of the Pikes Peak Group council and has taught many of their schools, including BMS and HAMS. He started leading adventure travel trips in 2006 and has led 11 HAMS graduation climbs of Mt. Rainier as well as trips to South America and the Alps.


Greg enjoys everything from easy day hikes to multi-day backpacks to long distance cycling to technical mountaineering expeditions. He has thru-hiked both the Appalachian Trail and Colorado Trail and summited Mt. ShishaPangma (8,016M) in Tibet. He considers one of his finest trips to be a failed summit bid on Denali’s West Rib route because the team worked together well to overcome many challenges. 


Sharing challenging experiences with other adventurous people is what makes a great trip for Greg, and he looks forward to many more AT trips.

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DEBBIE MARKHAM

Debbie is an active CMC Trip Leader, Adventure Travel Leader, and Sr. Instructor for the Technical Climbing
School (TCS). She has previously been the State Chair, Co-Director, and Sr. Instructor for the High Altitude
Mountaineering School (HAMS). She led the 110+ mile trek around Mont Blanc in 2019 for the CMC’s
Adventure Travel program.


Debbie grew up in Wisconsin, where she enjoyed camping, fishing, and dog shows with her family. A job
brought her to Houston where her activities included road cycling, triathlons, and rock climbing. Her vacations
involved cycling MS 150s, climbing Longs Peak and Mt. Rainier, and backpacking trips in the Northwest.
Eventually she transferred to Denver so she could live in the mountains, and soon developed a passion for
climbing 14ers, mountaineering, rock & ice climbing, and cross-country & telemark skiing.


Debbie has summited Mt Fairweather & Denali in Alaska, has climbed multiple peaks in South America, and
attempted Cho Oyu on the Tibet/Nepal border, climbing to over 7,300m / 24,000’. She continues to instruct
and mentor novice climbers in the various technical climbing disciplines, and enjoys seeing them grow their
technical skills and confidence. She loves to travel and experience a myriad of people and cultures.


Debbie is retired from McKesson (a Fortune 5 healthcare company), having worked in software development
focusing on patient bedside software, risk and population management, analytics, and process efficiencies.

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SHERRY RICHARDSON

Sherry is a 25-year CMC member.  She became a trip leader after taking WTS and became the director of BMS.  Sherry was the Denver Group new member chair for several years, chair of the annual dinner, CMC president twice, and now is on the CMC Foundation.  In her professional life, she is a court reporter who freelances in Denver.

 

Sherry takes great pride in the work she has done for the CMC and is one of its strongest supporters.  She welcomes the opportunity to lead the  In State Outing and looks forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

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RICK PRATT

Rick has been a member of the CMC for the last 10 years. His passions are peak bagging, hiking, mountain biking, sea kayaking, canyoneering and skiing. Rick has led the Yellowstone in Winter and Moab Mountain Bike & Hike Adventure for the Adventure Travel group.  For the past 40 years Rick has lead a number of different outings from mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering, backpacking for people of all ages and abilities and is very comfortable in the leadership and logistics management role. The MMBHA trip sometimes has as many as 60+ people and been led every year for the past 28 years.

Rick has taken the following CMC courses: Avalanche, Rock Trad & Seconding, Ski Mountaineering, Winter Camping, Basic Snow & Leadership courses. In addition, he is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and Outdoor Emergency Care (OEC) technician and a volunteer ski patroller at Arapahoe Basin. Rick manages his lifestyle so that he can travel and play outdoors more than 12 weeks a year. His part-time business as a Business Coach to entrepreneurs and business owners makes this possible.

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CARRIE SIMON

Carrie Simon joined CMC 2007 to learn some new rock climbing skills. The graduation climb was indelible and she will cherish those first memories of CMC camaraderie for life.

She spent a lot of time climbing with her new friends, then decided to join the local chapter council as the marketing chair. In addition, Carrie is a trip leader, international trip leader, instructor.

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JOANNE YOUNG

Originally from New Hampshire, Joanne came to Colorado as a college student and decided to make the Centennial State her home.  As a trip leader who joined the CMC in 2012, and has led trips to Bryce Canyon and Glacier National Parks in Winter. She is an assistant instructor for the CMC Backcountry Ski Touring School. Joanne has organized many trips for family and friends to international destinations such as Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, France, Iceland, and Peru.  Joanne is a Registered Nurse with critical care and is certified in WFA, BCLS and ACLS. She and her husband Chip are passionate about maintaining an active lifestyle and their goal on the weekends is to never be home!