|Previous award winner Jean Aschenbrenner presents the
Ellingwood award to Charlie
The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) announced the 2013 recipient of its prestigious Ellingwood Award for mountaineering excellence, recognizing Charlie Winger for his accomplishments as a climber over the past thirty-eight years as well as his outstanding role as a volunteer instructor. The award is named for Albert R. Ellingwood, one of the pioneering mountaineers in Colorado and Wyoming of the early 20th century. It is given to the recipient for reflecting the club’s climbing ethics, demonstrating and teaching strong climbing skills, and pushing the boundaries of climbing accomplishments in Colorado and around the world.
Winger has an impressive resume of climbs under his belt – or in his case, under his climbing boots. Here in Colorado, he not only climbed all the “Fourteeners” (peaks of 14,000 feet elevation and higher), but went on to summit the 200 highest mountains in our state. He is fond of lists of peaks, and has climbed each of the highpoints of the 50 states; the highpoints of every county in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada; over 100 peaks in Death Valley; a list of 99 desert peaks identified by the Desert Peak section of the Sierra Club; over 100 peaks in the Sierras of California; and the list goes on.
Outside of the U.S., Winger has climbed in other parts of North America (Canada and Mexico), South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Well-known peaks he has completed include the Matterhorn (Switzerland), Aconcagua (Argentina), Mt. Elbrus (Russia), and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania). In addition to mountain climbing, Winger enjoys rock climbing and ice climbing, especially at the Ouray Ice Park.
Winger is a “Lifetime” member of the Colorado Mountain Club, joining the organization in 1976. He has served in the club as a volunteer instructor for most of the courses offered by the Denver Group, including rock climbing, technical ice climbing, basic mountaineering, winter camping, high-altitude mountaineering, telemark skiing, and first aid. Hundreds of club members have been taught and inspired by Winger to go beyond their perceived limitations. A number of his former students have gone on to become notable mountaineers themselves, crediting Winger for getting them excited and prepared for their climbing goals.
At age 76, Winger keeps up a level of activity that many would envy. He ice climbs 20 to 30 days during the winter season. In 2013, he climbed fifty-two peaks, went on rock climbing trips for fourteen days, enjoyed a six-day trek along the Pacific Crest Trail in California, cross-country skied, snowshoed, and volunteered with the Ouray Trail Group doing trail work.
Charlie Winger is an author of three outdoor recreational guidebooks (co-authored with his wife, Diane). He has also written an autobiography, Two Shadows – the inspirational story of one man’s triumph over adversity, which describes many of his mountaineering adventures.