May 16, 2013

2013 Irwin Outdoor Leadership Program


Words by Billy Rankin:

2013 Irwin Outdoor Leadership Program

The Goal of the outdoor leadership program is to challenge, inspire, and empower teenagers while engaging in fun backcountry adventures.  Participants will not only partake in the adventure, but also go behind the scenes of the outdoor education, recreation, and guiding world.  Participants will not just be guided but rather be learning the pertinent technical skills involved with the specific adventures, such as; trip planning, Leave no Trace, navigation, map & compass, risk management, hazard identification (mountain & river), lightning, knots, belaying, rappelling, first aid, communication, and Leadership.  Participants are encouraged to partake in multiple outings to build on previous experiences to gain a comprehensive skill set.  The four-day backpacking expedition is meant to be a pinnacle trip to bring together all of the skills while traversing the Elk Mountains.

The Irwin Outdoor Leadership Program has been designed by Billy Rankin an experienced guide, wilderness EMT, and a 15-year Outward Bound Instructor.  All Irwin guides are medically certified with exemplary safety skills and have extensive experience working with young adults.  This program is partnered with Crested Butte Mountain Guides, Scenic River Tours, and the Adaptive Sports Center.

irwinIrwin will provide transportation from the town of Crested Butte and provide all technical equipment for the activities.  Participants will need to have appropriate personal clothing and footwear for the activity, a small day backpack, 2 water bottles, Lunch, and snacks.  After signing up for trips more information will be sent out including a personal information sheet, a waiver, and a more detailed personal packing list.

All trips will meet at the Irwin Building at 330 Belleview ave in Crested Butte at 8:00 am.  For Peak Climbs meeting times may be earlier depending on weather patterns.  Most day’s will wrap up between 4:00-5:00 pm.

  • Prices range from $60-$80 / day.  Discounts available for signing up for multiple days or the entire series.
  • We have the ability to create custom trips outside of the existing dates for groups of at least 4 or more.
  • Jr. Guide opportunities are possible for experienced or older participants.
  • Scholarship’s available for the full series or backpacking trip


Wednesday June 26th Stand Up Paddle Board Skills Clinic: Lake & River Trip

Wednesday July 3rd Whitewater Rafting / Inflatable Kayaking: Upper Taylor River

Wednesday July 10th Hike Scarp Ridge, Lake Irwin Boating (Canoe, Kayak, SUP)

Wednesday July 17th  Peak Climb: Ruby Mountain

Wednesday July 24th  Rock Climbing & Skills Clinic

Wednesday July 31st Peak Climb: Mt Owen or Purple Peak to Mt. Owen Traverse

August 6th – 9th   Four-day Elk Mt. Backpacking Expedition

Wednesday August 7th Introduction to Fly Fishing Skills Clinic  *Must have valid Colorado fishing License

Wednesday August 14th Peak Climb: Mt. Crested Butte: Technical climb on the Guides Ridge  *Must have participated in a prior rock climbing day or Peak Climb

* Trip locations and activities may vary depending on weather, conditions, group age, skills, fitness, and desires.


For more information or to sign up contact:

Billy Rankin


To learn more about Irwin Outfitting and The Eleven Check out our websites:


About the Author

1. Ed Dujardin
After moving out west for college, Ed took summer school so he could spend winters in Crested Butte. These days, he coaches the Western State Colorado University Freeride Team, and spends as much time as he can fishing the incredible rivers of the area.