Equity Blog

Equity Blog

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Joint Statement on Climbing Route Naming

The American Alpine Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Colorado Mountain Club, Mazamas, and The Mountaineers join with those speaking out and taking action against racist, sexist, and otherwise derogatory route names, and we welcome the conversation about how best to move forward as a community.  Read more…

Apply Now: Join Our Equity & Inclusion Committee

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL. In order to realize this aspiration, we must take a critical look at our internal systems and processes to identify and discuss barriers that keep The Mountaineers from being a community where all people can feel a sense of belonging and experience the outdoors.  Read more…

Speaking Up Regarding the Incident in Forks

On June 3, 2020, a multiracial family was harassed, intimidated, and trapped by intentionally felled logs over the road in a public forest camping area near Forks. Fortunately, other local residents and high school-age youth were in the area and had tools to clear the road, and sheriff deputies escorted the family safely back to the highway.  Read more…

Stuck Inside - Youth Edition, Episode 11: Anti-Racism Resources

Welcome back! Each week, The Mountaineers youth team is sharing ideas and activities for kids of all ages to stay engaged while also staying close to home and following your county’s phased guidelines. Last week's Stuck Inside celebrated the H20 (so fun!). This week, we are sharing youth-specific resources on racism to support Black Lives Matter.  Read more…

Fighting Racism In The Outdoors

All people should have equal opportunities and access to engage with nature. Our members, and the greater community at large, should be free to enjoy the outdoors without fear. They should be able to go birding (#ChristianCooper), go for a jog (#AhmaudArbery), walk to the store (#MikeBrown), walk with their family (#CliffordGlover), breathe (#EricGarner, #GeorgeFloyd), and live (#FreddieGray, #BreonnaTaylor) without being targeted for the color of their skin. Black lives matter, and we are committed to continuing to fight for equality. Read more…

3 Simple Steps to Get Started on Your Equity & Inclusion Journey

About a year and a half ago, The Mountaineers announced our intentions to formally engage in equity and inclusion (E&I) work. Guided by our Board of Directors, this commitment stems from our belief that a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. Studies also show that groups with better diversity make better decisions. In an organization where safety is so highly valued, investing in E&I will only make us stronger and more resilient. We’re grateful to all of you who have participated in making our community one where all people feel safe and respected. Read more…

My Profile: Pronouns & Optional Demographics

We believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love, and that's why we seek to provide opportunities for all. As a reflection of our Core Values and the strategic priorities of Vision 2022, we’ve invested in internal equity to be sure everyone feels a place of belonging in The Mountaineers. Recently, we invested in improvements to the My Profile page for you to share your pronouns and demographic information. Read more…

Where are you REALLY from?

The scene is one familiar to every Mountaineer: a full car on a long drive back from a successful outing. The conversation is flowing and everyone is at ease after having shared an inspiring time out in the wilderness. Then, inevitably, a fellow climber asks me the question: “Where are you from?” Read more…

Join Us at the 2019 Refuge Outdoor Festival

Refuge Outdoor Festival is a 3-day camping experience geared toward people of color. Introduced in 2018, Refuge is "centered on building community through outdoor recreation, conversations (community talks, workshops), music, and art that appeal to a diverse and inclusive audience." The Mountaineers signed on as a sponsor of Refuge because we know affinity spaces are important places to build connections with each other and the outdoors, and we'd like to invite you to participate in this year's festival on behalf of The Mountaineers. Read more…

Equity & Inclusion Working Sessions: Key Learnings

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL, and held two listening sessions in July 2019 to hear your feedback about how we should work to confront our internal systems of inequity. Thank you to everyone who participated in these sessions. Read more…

Equity & Inclusion Working Sessions - July 9 & 15

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL, and are seeking your feedback to confront our internal systems of inequity. Please join us for a July working session to share your thoughts and help be part of the solution. Read more…

Equity & Inclusion Update: Committee Charter, Working Group Sessions, & Resources

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL, and have assembled a board-chartered Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Committee to direct our strategy, priorities, and resourcing to make progress on this goal. We have recently completed our committee charter, and are planning our next town hall style listening session to gather your feedback and share some of the results of our committee work. Read more…

Plus Size Climbing Harnesses: Resources & Measurements

Climbing can be an intimidating sport. For plus size people it’s even more so. Worrying about whether or not a harness will fit your body is a huge barrier to so many. Many of you have told me that you’re scared or have felt uncomfortable trying a new sport when you’re surrounded by other straight sized folks. I really want to break down those barriers and offer a more comfortable space to learn in. Don’t worry, I’ll show you the ropes (pun intended)! Read more…

Language Matters: Let's Stop Using the Slang Word For Carabiner

Many people use an abbreviated slang word in climbing without consideration or afterthought. This word is frequently used alongside other words like rope, harness, and belay. If you search on the Internet for this word, the first 5-10 results would reference the term to describe a piece of standard climbing gear. Countless climbing websites recognize the slang word as a standard, and our basic climbing students are even indoctrinated with its common use. And all of us are wrong. Read more…

Equity & Inclusion Update: Meet Our Steering Committee

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL, and have assembled a board-chartered Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Steering Committee to direct our strategy and financial investments to become a place where, a century from now, future generations will recognize themselves in The Mountaineers. Read more…

Voices Heard | POC-in-Chief: A Legacy Living On

In Tucson, a large Latino community abuts Saguaro National Park but seldom visits it. It was there that I met Cam Juárez through work that Barack Obama made possible. Juárez was a planner and project manager outside the Park Service when he agreed to take on the challenge of connecting his community with Saguaro. Juárez is a miracle, really. He has birth defects that caused shortened upper limbs and missing digits, and a cardiac condition. His mother was a single parent and a migrant farm worker in California’s Central Valley, where she likely was exposed to pesticides associated with defects suffered by her son and now her grandson as well. Read more…

Equity & Inclusion Update: Community Feedback and Steering Committee

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. As we aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL, we are assembling a board-chartered Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Steering Committee to lead our efforts to become a place where, a century from now, future generations will recognize themselves in The Mountaineers. Read more…

Wilderness Risk Management Conference Recap - 2018

The Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) is an annual gathering of outdoor professionals that creates an unparalleled opportunity for experts from throughout the industry to share knowledge and best practices. We were lucky that this year's conference was so close to home - just down the road in Portland, OR - which allowed us the opportunity to send a group of fourteen staff and volunteers to learn and share on behalf of our organization. Read more…

Introducing a New Affinity Group: Mountain-Queers

The first outing of the Mountain-Queers took place in September – a scramble trip to Three Way Peak, led by Louise Suhr. The group is looking forward to scheduling more trips and events soon, and wants to hear from folks who are interested in getting involved! Read more…

Three Days at Refuge Outdoor Festival

It's autumn in the Pacific Northwest yet sunshine still warms a constellation of colorful tents. Black, brown, Asian, and indigenous folks sit around a bonfire by a grassy meadow along the banks of the Snoqualmie River. Some have traveled across the region and some across the country by car, bicycle and plane. Read more…

Volunteers Needed! Recruiting for Inclusion Committee

The storied legacy and history of our 112-year old organization is our biggest asset, and our biggest weakness. Like all great mountains, The Mountaineers has a shadow side; a largely untold story where people have been excluded from or marginalized in the outdoors because of their skin color or gender or available resources or sexual orientation. It's time to change. Read more…

Building A Safe and Respectful Culture

One of our Core Values is Community. We provide opportunities for all because we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. To be true to this value, our commitment to treating one another respectfully must be iron-clad. When we do this consistently, day in and day out, we build the kind of culture where all people feel safe and can enjoy outdoor experiences to their fullest. Read more…

Voices Heard | We ARE Outside: Reframing What It Means to Be ‘Outdoorsy’

One of my favorite places in the outdoors has multiple trails, several different habitats, and offers spectacular views of a major snow-capped peak. There is an old-growth forest where, among the mossy trees, you are serenaded by the rat-ta-tat-tat of pileated woodpeckers, hoots from barred owls, and screeches of Stellar’s jays. There also is abundant shoreline, where rabbits bound, beavers sun, and bald eagles, kingfishers, great blue heron, osprey, and otters nab fish. Read more…

1,000 Words: The Worth of a Picture

My first time as a photographer “in the field” is stored in a place in my memory banks reserved for other indelible firsts — kiss, published story, time I set my eyes upon my daughters. I remember slogging along in a flooded farm field with a small group led by Paul Bannick, the renowned owl expert and photographer and Mountaineers Books author. Well, I was slogging at least; I’m sure Bannick was prepared, as usual, wearing some sort of waders. I was stepping daintily in my duck boots, fearful of sinking to my thighs in water and mud that smelled faintly of rotten eggs.  Read more…

Becoming Backwoods Barbie

A cold silver padlock is pressed against my hand as my fingers stumble to regain dexterity. Clumsily, I align a set of small white numbers with a red and unforgiving arrow; the lock clicks open. I feel my face grow warm and my palms clammy. The cool touch of steel presses against my wet skin as I lean against a row of metal lockers. Nervously, I begin to undress.  Read more…

"Imposter Syndrome" in the Outdoors

As The Mountaineers Membership & Communications Director, I spend a lot of time thinking about and interacting with the outdoor community. People are drawn to the outdoors by a sense of curiosity, but not everyone feels welcome in this space - either because of the actions of others or by the unwritten "rules" of who belongs in the outdoors. I'm here today to say: you belong here. Read more…

"Get Out: Nurturing A Bond Between Black People And Nature" - Podcast Summary

More and more each year, The Mountaineers receives questions about how to make our programs more accessible to diverse communities. 1A’s Joshua Johnson explores this question is his podcast Get Out: Nurturing A Bond Between Black People And Nature. Read more…

What Does Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Mean For The Mountaineers?

In November, a subset of The Mountaineers Leadership Team attended a seminar on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) offered by the Bridgespan Group. The seminar brought together leaders from nearly 50 different local nonprofits to share experiences and insights into the important work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Read more…

Outdoor Stories from Women Over 50

We're crazy for stories -- campfire stories, stories in books, stories told at organized events, podcast stories and . . . well you get the idea. Recently we heard an inspirational podcast from She-Explores about how women over 50 are participating in the outdoors. We thought we'd share it with you. Read more…

Introduction to Kai Lightner - See Him at BeWild Feb 20

In this era of the perpetual run-up in sports, when the next trend or wunderkind can be spied, not just a mile but often an entire continent away, Kai Lightner has been an under-the-radar, champion-in-waiting for so long, he’s literally had “next” before his sport had a recognized competitive outlet. Read more…