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Advice on finding an adventure mentor? From: an eager to learn solo hiker

Hey there! My name is Shelby, and I love to adventure (mainly hiking, backpacking, fishing, kayaking, and I recently picked up climbing and biking). I moved to Colorado 2.5 years ago solely for my love of the mountains and the outdoors. I do majority of my hiking/camping/backpacking alone (not really alone, I usually have my furry adventurous companion with me) because my friends are not interested in waking up at 4am to go on a 10 mile day hike or spending more nights in their tent than a bed. Their loss, right? However, there is so much I want to learn and experience, and while I love my alone time in the backcountry, I feel I could really benefit from having a mountain mentor to learn from their experiences. Does anyone in this community have any tips on finding someone like this? In the age of Covid it definitely seems to make it a bit more difficult. Thank you so much for your time in advance!

17 Replies

Hey SolaceEasy - thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to me. If you are seeking mentees and are up for another hiker to join you, even for a day, I would love to partake if able. Regardless, I appreciate your info and will not give up my quest to find mentor(s) to advance through this journey. Thank you again and best of luck on your endeavors this summer!

The good news is that such mentors exist. The bad news is that it can be hard to distinguish between claims and real competence. All too many people overstate their qualifications.

I'd suggest that you see if you can find a club in your area that specializes in your interests. Such clubs are often law-suit wary so they screen their leaders/instructors carefully. REI also often sponsors trips with competent leaders.

This is super helpful and a great place to start. Thank you so much for your help and taking the time to reach out!

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I'm agreeing 4am is the Real killer of your fun my friend.   But as a 10yr transplant here are some things that have worked for me:  Meetups -plentiful if you are living in a frontrange area (Ft. Collins to Co Springs).  CMC -Colorado Mtn Club can be a cumbersome learning tool but goes deeper (offers training).  Volunteer/ Become an expert - work in a shop, ski area, volunteer with a ranger station.   

Joining a hiking group is probably a pretty good idea.  You will most likely met someone with the knowledge and skills you crave.  That is how I learned, as a witless newbie in a new environment.

There is a lot of literature available.  Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills is outstanding source of valuable information.  The American Alpine Club's annual summary of accidents is also valuable.  Pay less attention to media accounts since, being breaking news, they rarely include any sort of in depth analysis.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

This is great advice, thank you so much!

Thank you Cecilia, this is great advice! I looked into volunteering at a ranger station last year during COVID, but haven't checked back to see if they are accepting volunteers again, thanks for that reminder! Appreciate you taking the time to reach out!

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Hello! I just wanted to say that I read this and was shocked...this sounds exactly like me and I have the same question!!! Also I think that is wicked cool that you moved to CO for the outdoors - what an amazing life choice!