Climbing for Life

Get to Know Us!

pic-belay-teamClimbing for Life, Inc. is a non-profit corporation committed to providing an experience that will deeply impact the self-image of young persons at risk, and to providing them with the building blocks to carry that image into creating a positive future for themselves and their community.

Over the years, CFL has served hundreds of youth and inspired over 100 volunteers to give back to their community. Our volunteers contribute a variety of professional skills, including: experiential education, accounting, law, business, computer science and emergency medicine. CFL is committed to benefiting the community through positive impact on youth and by providing an opportunity for volunteers to give their best.

CFL is not just a recreational program designed to teach basic rock climbing skills. Rather, the intent of the program is to combine the exposure to a new set of skills with a physical metaphor for handling challenges in other areas of life. This program provides an opportunity to apply the experience of overcoming fears, building trust and developing leadership qualities in order to achieve what seems impossible when rock climbing and in daily life.

Today, CFL presents programs centered on a conversation relating rock climbing and the challenges of the daily lives of the participants.


Inspired by the positive effect rock climbing has had in their own lives, a small group of friends founded CFL in February of 1994. They were determined to create an outdoor rock climbing program that taught youth how to face fears and challenges in their lives. Together, they successfully orchestrated CFL’s first weekend climbing programs during the summer of 1995. Since then, CFL operations have been run through the efforts of a core group of volunteers and the board of directors.


Tori Barnett Climbing for LifeTORI BARNETT
With more than 15 years experience working in the nonprofit sector, Tori is able to combine her personal and professional passion at Climbing for Life. During the week, she works for El Cap Climbing Gyms and on the weekends is a novice rock and ice climber that also enjoys many other activities in Colorado’s great outdoors with her family. Tori is also part-time faculty in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences at Regis University and holds a graduate degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University.

RyanCampbell_ClimbingForLife_BWRYAN CAMPBELL
Ryan Campbell is a native of Colorado and has been involved with Climbing for Life for the past 10 years in various capacities. He has worked on the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado for the past eight years instructing, guiding, and developing programs for the Outdoor Adventure Program. He was also instrumental in getting the first ever technical skills based outdoor education courses offered at Metropolitan State College of Denver. He is currently employed there as an adjunct faculty for the Recreation Professions Department teaching rock climbing, ice climbing, canyoneering, and outdoor leadership. He also works as a seasonal rock climbing guide for Acadia Mountain Guides based out of Bar Harbor, ME. Ryan is enthusiastic about giving back to the community and providing meaningful and lasting experiences to the individuals involved with this program.

TomWillardandsonClimbingforLife_BWTOM WILLARD – PRESIDENT
Tom began rock climbing in 1994 and since then has been fortunate enough to climb throughout the country and at many foreign destinations including Canada, Italy, Ireland and Thailand. He began by guiding friends and then started volunteering with Climbing for Life. Since becoming a board member in 2008 he continues to enjoy meeting new young adults and introducing them to the vertical world. He also works as a part-time climbing guide with APEX-EX and as a full-time fire fighter and instructor with the Thornton Fire Department’s technical rescue team. In his free time you’ll find him climbing the desert towers in Utah, scaling the frozen waterfalls in Vail, or simply spending time with his three children. He is a Colorado certified Basic Emergency Medical Technician and an American Mountain Guides Association certified Rock Instructor. He graduated from Oregon State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in Construction Engineering Management and Business Administration.


CFL has participated with strong community organizations including Goodwill, Make a Wish Foundation and Third Way Center.

Our programs would not be possible without generous gifts from our supporters.

Special thank you to Climbing for Life partners who help make a huge difference in the lives of the youth we serve.