One AMGA guide's home following the Marshall Fire outside of Boulder; (photo/AMGA)
One AMGA guide's home following the Marshall Fire outside of Boulder; (photo/AMGA)

Fundraiser Helps Climbing Guides Who Lost Livelihoods in Marshall Fire

A number of drives, GoFundMes, and donation centers have been established to help victims of the blaze that leveled over 1,000 homes 2 weeks ago. The American Mountain Guide Association is focused on helping the area’s climbing guides get back on their feet.

Several words come to mind when thinking of how to describe the Marshall Fire: unseasonable, devastating, tragic. In less than a day, the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history scorched suburban and rural communities between Boulder and Denver, Colorado, destroying 1,084 homes.

AMGA Steps in With Marshall Fire Relief for Guides

Eldorado Canyon, Boulder County, Colo. is one of many climbing destinations in the region scorched by the Marshall Fire; (photo/Shutterstock)
Eldorado Canyon, Boulder County, Colo., is one of many climbing destinations located near the region scorched by the Marshall Fire; (photo/Shutterstock)

The Front Range is steeped in climbing culture, and one of the great destinations for all ilks of climber — Longs Peak calls to the high-altitude mountaineers, Eldorado Canyon draws the world’s best trad specialists, the Flatirons pull in the slab runners, and Boulder Canyon beckons day craggers and crash padders.

It’s therefore not surprising that climbing guides are among those whose homes and livelihoods have been impacted. That’s why the American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) has set up a fund for AMGA guides affected by the Marshall Fire, which anyone can contribute to. According to the donation page:

“We have been in touch with guides who have lost their entire house, vehicles, and all possessions in a storage unit. Others who were fortunate not to lose their homes are displaced and dealing with the after-effects such as smoke and water damage.”

The funds will be directly distributed to those AMGA members to manage any expenses resulting from the disaster. Should there be any excess donations, the AMGA will direct them to the Boulder Community Foundation’s Marshall Fire relief fund.

One of Many Guides Impacted

One of the most prominent legends in the region, AMGA guide Josh Gross was among those who lost their homes. A recent article by Climbing states that Gross has established hundreds of routes in the area. And together with his partner, Madoline Wallace-Gross, Gross has bolted and maintained 60 to 100 routes across the Western Slope.

Their home in Louisville, Colorado, was completely lost to the blaze on December 30.

“The gear is not really the big thing; it’s my guidebooks from all over the world. It’s not the GORE-TEX jacket or the puffy or the cams; it’s the pictures and irreplaceable items,” Gross told Climbing.

Donating to the AMGA Fund

AMGA accepts monetary donations in any amount through its donation page. It encourages guides affected by the Marshall Fire to contact the AMGA office if they have not already done so at

Other Ways You Can Help

Car burned in the Marshall Fire near Superior, Colo.; (photo/Greg Birkett)
Car burned in the Marshall Fire near Superior, Colo.; (photo/Greg Birkett)

The AMGA fund is but one of many fundraising efforts that have arisen to support specific groups, families, or individuals since the Marshall Fire tore through the region.

In a press conference held on January 11, Governor Jared Polis indicated that community donations will prove essential to helping victims move forward.

“The average FEMA payout for a Marshall Fire survivor is only $6,000,” he stated. “Insurance takes a long time. Many people are underinsured relative to cost. It takes a while to process. There might even be some that don’t have it if they were renters.”

Fortunately, it seems that the community — and even donors outside of the area — have heeded the call. As of Tuesday, January 11, the Boulder Country Wildfire Fund had received $19.5 million in donations and distributed $3.8 million to nearly 1,400 victims.

But according to Community Foundation president Tatiana Hernandez, estimates indicate that $19.5 million won’t scratch the surface of what people will need to rebuild their lives. Continued assistance — in the form of money, goods, and volunteered time — is essential.

Here’s how and where you can provide support to people and animals affected by the fire.

Monetary Donations

The Boulder County Community Foundation manages the majority of monetary donations for people and animals.* Donations of all sizes can be made through the Boulder County Wildfire Fund.

*If you would like to donate to animal relief, indicate that your contribution is for animal response and recovery in the donation note.

Animal Relief

Additional ways to support animals displaced by the Marshall Fire include donating supplies, food, and hay, and by offering fostering services.

See for additional information and links.

Marshall Fire Donations Center

As of January 11, local donations can be made 7 days a week at the Marshall Fire Donations Center.

Additional information is available at the Community Foundation website.

Boulder County Disaster Assistance Center

The Boulder County Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) has been established to collect and distribute relief funding to those impacted by the Marshall Fire. The Boulder Office of Emergency Management encourages all those affected to visit the DAC regardless of whether they are in financial need or not.

The DAC provides consultation on property loss and claim filing, short- and long-term housing resources, vital records assistance, mental health services, personal finance referrals, food and transportation aid, and emergency shelter referrals. Services are available in both English and Spanish.

Funds distributed by the DAC are taken from donations made to the Wildfire Fund of Boulder County.

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.