Colorado Mountain College begins accepting applications for free youth outdoor leadership course

Corbin Finley of Breckenridge is pictured in 2019 while climbing as part of Colorado Mountain College’s First Ascent youth outdoor course.
Matt Lit/Courtesy photo

The First Ascent Youth Leadership program is now accepting applications for its free multiday course taking place at the Leadville campus of Colorado Mountain College.

The program took a hiatus the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but First Ascent will be back in full operation this summer. The course will run from June 19-24 and is for students who have completed eighth and ninth grades by spring 2022.

The program gives students the opportunity to develop and learn leadership skills — such as problem solving, consensus building, conflict resolution and communication — while rock climbing, hiking Mount Elbert and rafting the Arkansas River.

First Ascent will accept 35 students who show a potential to be leaders. Counselors and staff are former graduates of the program, and students who complete the program will have the opportunity to return to work as staff during future summers. All students will live in residential halls on Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville campus.

Applicants have until April 22 to apply. Prospective participants will need recommendations from a counselor, teacher or other adult in order to be considered.

Those interested in applying to the program can contact First Ascent program manager Carolyn Larsen at or visit

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