News and Events

MHC student starts rock climbing business

Dana McMahon named Entrepreneur of the Month by the Entrepreneur Development Centre

February 23, 2015

Dana McMahon has taken his passion for rock climbing and turned it into a full time company; OCD Adventures is geared towards providing climbers of all ages and abilities a chance to enjoy the less travelled paths of Crowsnest Pass.

“The people I’m looking to take climbing are not the hard core climbers typically found in the Bow Valley or the Banff mountains. I’m looking for families or friends that are seeking fun, and are interested in getting together and going climbing- it’s like an intro into the sport, where the experience is more important than the technical skills” says McMahon.

McMahon is a student of Medicine Hat College’s ecotourism and outdoor leadership program. He has been working closely with the Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC) and is participating in the Summer Company Program. The program is funded by JMH & Co. and helps students start a business by offering coaching and mentorship, while also facilitating access to financial aid and support services.

McMahon explains that it is a combination of a few things that has made him pursue entrepreneurship, one being his mentor and long-time friend Ralph Eckman.

“Ralph was the first person to introduce me to the sport and he continues to guide and mentor me. He was a founding member of the Medicine Hat Climbing Club over fifteen years ago and encouraged me to start rock climbing at the YMCA. Since then he has become my neighbour in Fernie as well as mentor,” says McMahon. “He and his wife have been climbing in Crowsnest Pass for over 10 years, they’ve really taken my wife and me under their wings and shown us the ethical side of the sport.”

McMahon says that he has learned a lot through his work with the EDC and has appreciated the help the college has provided him. When asked if he had any words of wisdom for others interested in pursuing entrepreneurship he says “follow your passion.”

“It’s helpful that the college has a program like the Summer Company and that there is a grant available to help someone like me get started,” says McMahon. “It has given me a framework to follow and has kept me organized and on task. I’ve really valued the mentorship I’m getting from it.”

McMahon feels the time is right for his venture as notable climbs are making their way into the news including Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson’s record-breaking climb up the Dawn Wall of El Capitan, and Will Gladd and Sarah Hueniken’s scale up Niagara Falls. He is eager to help those looking to get started in climbing.

For more information on the Entrepreneur Development Centre and the Summer Company program visit or contact Christie Dick at 403.502.8433 or