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Get to Know…Ryan Hammes, Director of Outdoor Education

Ryan Hammes has what many would consider a dream job: director of outdoor education at Colorado College. His resume is unlike most others, listing certifications (CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Top Rope Site Manager, Single Pitch Guide, High/Low Angle Rescue Training); professional development (Association of Challenge Course Technology, Bioneers National Conference, Winter Injury Sports Symposium); and a nine-page experiential transcript that includes multi-pitch rock climbing, whitewater rafting, sea kayaking and canoeing, alpine and ski mountaineering, caving, and backpacking.

As a child growing up in Onalaska, Wis., Hammes (pronounced "ham" and "mess," snapped together tightly like a carabiner) enjoyed the outdoors but never considered that as a profession. Instead, he earned a B.S. in geology with an emphasis in environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, but eventually came to the realization that he did not enjoy the mapping fieldwork as much as he thought he would. He returned to school, earning an M.S. in physical education teaching with an emphasis in adventure education.

Prior to joining CC in July, Hammes was the coordinator of outdoor recreation at Sonoma State University, an 8,000-student school located in Sonoma Valley. Hammes and his wife had always said it would take a lot for them to leave the California wine country; however, Hammes had been an Outward Bound instructor in Leadville, Colo., for four years, and was willing to leave Sonoma for the opportunity to return to Colorado.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020