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About Us

The mission of the Northern Colorado Climber’s Coalition is to promote and preserve climbing in Northern Colorado.

What we do:

The Northern Colorado Climber’s Coalition (NCCC) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving climbing areas and fostering strong community awareness through education and activism. We recognize that access Front Range climbing areas is a privilege and that it comes with the obligation to act as stewards of the lands we use to preserve their natural beauty for future generations. In order to accomplish our goals, we promote positive resource stewardship through regular public service projects at local climbing areas, in addition to a variety of community building educational programs.

Who We Are:

  • President -- Ben Scott
  • Board Member -- Nathan McBride
  • Board Member -- Mike Engelstad
  • Board Member -- Craig DeMartino
  • Board Member -- Ryan Nelson
  • Board Member -- Ken Klein
  • Board Member -- Lisa Melhem

Contact Us:

Is there something you would like us to know about? Have questions about the site or other NC3 happenings? We welcome all feedback and comments. Please just drop us a line at

Meet The Board:


Ben Scott

I have lived around Fort Collins for over 12 years now. Rock climbing is my true passion in life, and Northern Colorado is easily my favorite playground. I took over as President in 2011 from my friend Reed Woodford and am doing my best to fill those big shoes.

When I'm not looking for new rocks to climb, I work as a Graphic Designer for Citizen Printing here in town. I'm excited to help preserve the amazing climbing resource's we have here in Northern Colorado for many years to come.

Nathan McBride

I'm from Upstate New York, and have been living in Colorado for more than 6 years. I study Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, and helped create the climbing facility at the Campus Rec Center. I love all areas of climbing, however, nothing provides the full spectrum like Alpine, a style that encompasses every possibility between sunrise and sunset, and then some. Lately, I can't get enough of Poudre Canyon sport, and can often be found at a canyon wall with my four legged partner, Charlie. I love this Town for it's sense of community; good food, good people, good beer.....and bike lanes.

Mike Engelstad

I was first exposed to climbing by a friends brother, who worked as a guide in Seneca Rocks, WV.  He invited us to come out and stay with him and climb for a week at the end of our summer break.  On that trip, I experienced sensory overload.  I have never been so suddenly consumed by any activity ever in my life!  I left West Virginia knowing what I wanted to do and have never looked back.

I love how climbing takes me to places few rarely see, and the intimate awareness I experience while high on a mountain clinging to ice tools, sinking a solid jam after a stretch of unprotected climbing, figuring a sequence onsight as the pump clock ticks, or bearing down on the crux of a boulder problem.   The constant stimulation creates a level of focus that I do not experience in other facets of life.  

Climbing is intrinsically satisfying for me, but I love the shared experiences most.  The preparation for a big alpine day in RMNP with my partner, a brief examination of the pitch ahead at the belay ledge, or a reflection of some crazy route back at the car (or better, the bar!).  It wouldn't be the same for me without the other people!  I have spent time over the past few years taking people on various trips and outings around the country, exposing many to climbing (of all sorts) and other outdoor leisure experiences; and I feel pleased to have done so.  Hopefully someone else enjoyed a similar “eye opening” experience, as was provided to me be back in WV.  

Currently, when not climbing, I can be found working at JAX Outdoor Gear as the Assistant Camping Department Manager.  It's a great way to spend my off days, talking with others who love to do the same things as me, all day!  One of my favorite interactions takes place when people bring back BC Ski rental gear and they tell us about their wild experiences up at Cameron Pass or RMNP, two of my favorite places in the world!  The excitement is contagious.  

The climbing, community and culture in Northern Colorado are amazing things.  I am happy to be a part of it, and hope to preserve the past, make many new friends, along the way, and together shape the future in a positive way! Cheers.

Craig DeMartino

Craig DeMartino’s love of climbing began 22 years ago when he learned to climb at a friend’s unconventional bachelor party in Pennsylvania.  Since then Craig has traveled and climbed all around the world..  

After an accident in 2002, through a miscommunication with his partner that resulted in being dropped 100 feet to the ground in Colorado, Craig suffered a shattered right and left heels, broken back that had to be fused for three levels, shattered ankles, broken neck, ribs, punctured lung, and a rare nerve disorder called RSD brought on by the trauma.  After multiple surgeries, Craig chose to amputate his shattered right leg below the knee in hopes of returning to climbing and getting his life back.  

Once back on the rocks in 2004, Craig became the first amputee to climb El Capitan in Yosemite in under 24 hours, climbing the route Lurking Fear, which is about 3,000 feet in 14 hours.  The following June, he became the first amputee to climb the Nose , which is the front part of El Capitan and the longest route of 3,100 feet in 13 hours.

Also in Yosemite he lead the first All disabled Ascent of El Capitan via Zodiac with Pete Davis and Jarem Frye.

He also competes through USA Climbing and placed third in the Paraclimbing World Championships in Paris in 2012.

He is also the 2014/15 Paraclimbing National Champion, and placed first in the GoPro Games Paraclimbing Division.

Living in Northern CO with his wife of 18 years Cyndy and they’re two kids Mayah 15 and Will 13, all of whom are climbers, we travel and climb around the world but always love coming back to the front range and our home crags and boulders .

Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson

A farm boy from Nebraska who transplanted himself to Colorado after finishing college. My eyes were quickly open to the climbing world, after my first Colorado summer of hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I knew rock climbing was something I needed to pursue. Lighting grind boxes on fire in my dad's quonset, trying to do 50-50's and boardslides on my skateboard didn't seem as cool anymore. I caught the bug, and climbed everyday, no matter what my skin said. Bought a rope off of craigslist that was coreshot in 10 - 12 places and started teaching myself everything there is to know about climbing. Thank god I quickly realized how big of a death trap that rope was, and bought a proper rope a few months later. I quickly started ticking off the Horsetooth Classics, and eventually got bored with the normal circuit. A friend and I started to run around the reservoir cleaning old bouldering problems, and claiming we were the first ascents. A serious hay day of climbing for me. I grew up, got stronger, wiser, and most importantly kept cleaning rocks. Developing new routes taught me the important rope skills, that lead me to where I'm at now. One day I wrote a serious Anchor Replacement Initiative for Horsetooth Rock, and when Ben Scott saw that he immediately threw me on the NCCC Board. Since then I've ticked off some hard climbs, developed new crags around Northern Colorado, and have done first ascents of big walls around the world.

Ken Klein

I moved to Fort Collins back in 2003, literally the day I graduated college and haven’t looked back since.  Snowboarding initially brought me to CO while in school, but, after getting a job at the University of Northern Iowa’s climbing wall, a trip to the Needles in South Dakota and a jaunt up Devil’s tower, I was hooked on climbing.

A few things will forever be engrained in my memory about my first years climbing in and around Fort Collins.  The first being how awe struck this farm kid from Iowa was by the mountains and how working at Inner Strength my first year in town, I met so many talented, friendly climbers, most of whom I still call friends today.  Secondly, meeting this curly haired dude from Oklahoma who had forearms the size of Louisville Sluggers who would go on to show me just how little I knew about climbing and would be the first person to show me what would end up becoming one of my favorite bouldering areas up the Poudre Canyon.  And finally, the countless hours I spent up at Horsetooth trying to send the amazing classics the area has to offer. 

I love climbing for many reasons; the movement, the physical nature of it, the focus it requires, the crisp temps on a fall day, the places it brings me, but above all, it’s the people, the community that I enjoy the most.  There are many climbers from Fort Collins who were, and still are influential in making me the climber I am today and I hope through the NCCC I can give back a sliver of what they have done for me. 

Lisa Melhem

I moved to Fort Collins in 2007, but did not discover climbing until late 2009.  Once I started climbing, I knew that I had found not only a new sport, but a new way of life.  At first, I admittedly was a “gym rat” for about a year before I started climbing outside consistently. 

Since I have started climbing outside, I have seen a huge progression, not only in my climbing skills, but in my knowledge of the outdoors, my attitude, and my relationships.  Climbing has helped shaped my life into what it is today.  My passion is bouldering, and the two main places I love to be are RMNP and the Poudre Canyon!    

One of the many reasons that I am psyched to work with the NCCC, is because I am fairly new to climbing outdoors, so I am very aware that there is a learning curve to the etiquette and best practices of climbing outside, and I strongly believe that education is essential to the sustainability of climbing on the Front Range (and everywhere)!