Risk Management Committee

The Risk Management Committee assists the Board with oversight and strategy related to the Mountaineers’ framework for assessing, mitigating, and balancing our exposure to different types of risk.  This includes categorizing and quantifying risks, providing guidance on risk appetite or limits, and reviewing areas of concern where additional scrutiny is required.  Our activities consist of a blend of ongoing periodic review of club policies and practices as well as addressing unique concerns escalated from the board, branches, or other club members.

Core responsibilities include:

  • Assessing risk exposure and identifying areas of vulnerability in activities, policies, programs, properties, and crisis management, and recommending improvements and mitigations.
  • Benchmarking the club’s risk management practices with comparable peer organizations.
  • Defining, maintaining, and applying guidelines for acceptable risk tolerance levels within club activities
  • Reviewing policies, practices, and standards to identify potential risks.
  • Serving as an escalation point for review of activities with unique risk profiles, such as global adventures trips.
  • Periodic stress-testing of practices with regard to risk management 

Organizational Risk Statement

As risk is a key element of Mountaineers’ activities, and all outdoor recreation, it is important to frame the role and context of risk for the organization.   We will never achieve zero risks nor zero incidents, and risk tolerance needs to be balanced with learning objectives, club mission, and resource constraints.  Our organizational risk statement is intended to set the risk culture for The Mountaineers and provide a framework for making decisions as volunteers, leaders, staff, and participants.  

Activities with The Mountaineers are inherently subject to risk, including exposure to a variety of subjective and objective hazards. As an organization we understand and embrace risk as an integral part of the activities we enjoy, and we strive to teach methods and best practices for recognizing and mitigating that risk. We seek out and celebrate opportunities to learn from our collective experience, including incidents and near misses.  

In an effort to support the development of self-sufficient outdoor recreationists, we seek to empower participants with progressively increasing responsibility and autonomy. This carries additional risk, but is critical for learning, confidence, and growth.  Our leaders communicate and manage risk consistent with the objectives of the activity, but everyone’s risk tolerance is different. Participants assume responsibility for their own safety and must make their own decisions regarding acceptable risk when selecting and participating in courses and activities with The Mountaineers.


The Risk Management Committee seeks to include a diverse set of professional expertise and perspective.  In particular, we value members with experience in legal and insurance domains, crisis and disaster management, outdoor safety and risk management, and enterprise/financial risk management.  Further, we seek representation and input from all parts of the organization but especially including Global Adventures, the Board of Directors, Safety Committee, the Branch Leadership Committee, the staff, and a variety of Mountaineers activities across the climbing, water, and snow domains.  

Current Risk Management Committee members:

  • Alex Pratt
  • Takeo Kuraishi
  • Mark Walters
  • Mike Kretzler
  • Siana Wong
  • Mark Goodro
  • Patrick Mulaney
  • Bill Ashby (Safety Committee)
  • Becca Polglase (Staff)