Preserving Public Access


The Telluride Mountain Club’s goal is to preserve and enhance public access to human powered activities including hiking, backcountry skiing and boarding, mountaineering, climbing and other mountain related recreation.

Personal responsibility, self sufficiency and environmental stewardship are core values, as well as preserving each citizen’s right to the “Freedom of the Hills.”

Originally conceived as an avalanche-education organization in 1986, the Telluride Mountain Club (TMtC) evolved towards access advocacy and promoting responsible, safe backcountry travel and recreation.

To advocate for Safe, Accessible, Enjoyable and Respectful opportunities for human-powered Recreational Activities in the Telluride region, through Education, Awareness and Collaboration.

Increased recreational opportunities, safety and environmental sensitivity of locals and visitors in our community.

A 501C-3 non-profit organization, TMtC serves many purposes in the Telluride and San Juan region, including:

  • Advocating for the education, appreciation, enjoyment and protection of human-powered, mountain-related activities.
  • Promoting personal responsibility, safety and self sufficiency while enjoying the backcountry.
  • Creating new and preserve existing access for human-powered backcountry recreation.

If you enjoy hiking, backcountry touring, climbing, and/or exploring the San Juan mountains, we encourage you to join us and help make our alpine community a stronger, better and more cohesive group.

Many thanks to our generous supporters & donors, we couldn’t do the things we love do without you!

2017 Support, Sponsors & Donors:
Grant Support: Telluride Foundation, Dalton Family Foundation, CCAASE, The Access Fund, The American Alpine Club, Patagonia

Sponsors: Jagged Edge Mountain Gear, Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride Properties- O’Neil/Stetina Group, Mountain Trip, Oak/Fat Alley, San Miguel Power Association, Telluride Adventures/San Juan Outdoor Adventures, Insurance of the San Juans

Donors: Stuart & Joanna Brown

Supporters: Onsight Builders Inc, Patagonia Telluride, Dragonfire Productions- Dean Rolley, True North Designworks, Viking Rentals

TMtC has assisted with many different issues in the Telluride region. Some of our past accomplishments have been…

  • 1986:  Started Telluride’s first formalized local avalanche education classes.
  • 2002:  Worked with the USFS, Telluride Ski Area and San Miguel County to insure that Backcountry Access Points be included in the ski area’s Prospect Basin expansion. These gates were open until 2010.  (See below).
  • 2004-07:  Assisted the Trust for Public Land and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in re-establishing public access to Silverpick Basin and Wilson Peak, one of Colorado’s most popular 14,000-foot peaks.
  • 2008:  Collaborated with San Miguel County and local guide services to create a successful ice climbing management plan for the world-famous Bridal Veil Falls, as well as lobbied climbing gear companies for donations of ropes and other rescue-related equipment.
  • Helped the Access Fund establish an easement and agreed to be the land steward for the Society Turn climbing area, a place where thousands of kids and adults rock climb for the very first time, developing their skills and a love of the worlds’ wild places.
  •  Again with San Miguel County, helped preserve the Bilk Creek climbing area and plan the addition of parking, trails and safe anchors.
  • Collaborated with the Telluride R-I School District and the Telluride Academy to re-open and manage Telluride’s public indoor climbing wall. Located in the high school building, adult access was complicated by a change in management and policy that we helped solve.
  • 2010-2014: Successfully re-opened access to the ski area’s Gold Hill backcountry access gates into Bear Creek. We worked with San Miguel County, USFS, the Town of Telluride and others to regain access to this popular backcountry skiing terrain. In 2010, the gates were closed by the ski area and USFS in reaction to a private mining claim owner’s request. This owner also requested closure of the Wasatch Trail through their property, one of Telluride’s most popular summer hikes and an official USFS trail. In spring of 2011, we persuaded the USFS to open an access gate on Palmyra Peak into upper Bear Creek, and in the spring of 2014 all other access gates into Bear Creek were officially reinstated. This process was very complicated and time-consuming.
  • Summer 2015: Surveyed Via Ferrata access points and advised San Miguel County on a new trail re-route system, in an effort to avoid conflicts with private land owners.
  • Summer 2015: Collaborated with San Miguel County, SMBA, USFS and private landowners to research and develop a plan to protect and reroute the popular Alta Lakes multi-use non-motorized trail system.
  • Summer 2015: Anchor & Protection Bolt replacements on Ophir Wall.
  • Fall 2015: Adopted the Ilium Boulders recreation area. Worked with the USFS and the Access Fund to restore the main access trail, and develop a plan for future restoration efforts to take place in 2016.
  • Fall 2015: Worked with local entities to push improved signage as skiers/boarders leave the ski resort and enter backcountry skiing in Bear Creek.
  • Fall 2015: Launched the Telluride Regional Trails System Vision Survey to collect data on the future vision of Telluride’s trails.
  • Summer 2016: Completed trail work on the Ilium Boulders recreation area in conjunction with the USFS and the Access Fund. Both trails have been restored to create a more sustainable trail system into the future.
  • Fall 2016: ISSW White Paper published on the use of radios in high-use backcountry ski zones. Paper written using Telluride’s backcountry radio program as the example.
  • Winter 2016-2017: With assistance from the Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund and Jagged Edge Mountain Gear, backcountry radios are now available for rent at Jagged Edge.
  • Spring 2017: Collaboration with the USFS, SMBA, San Miguel County and more to create long-term vision for the Alta Lakes recreation area.
  • Spring 2017: Initiation of an official engineering report for Telluride’s Via Ferrata to be submitted to the United States Forest Service.