2023 Recap: A Year In Review

Happy New Year! As we move forward into 2024, we want to take some time to celebrate and reflect on our collective achievements during 2023.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 09, 2024
2023 Recap: A Year In Review
Photo by Luke Hollister.

The Mountaineers is an incredible community of outdoor enthusiasts, students, instructors, advocates, and leaders dedicated to fostering connections to the outdoors. As we close the door on 2023 and look ahead to 2024, we reflect on the core of our mission: to connect people to the natural world and to each other. Take a look back on our collective achievements and how our strategic goals – Lead, Engage, and Advocate – guided us this past fiscal year (Oct 1 - Sep 30.)


Last year, our community excelled as leaders of innovation in outdoor education. In early 2023, we launched the new Emotional Safety in the Outdoors course, designed to help leaders and instructors foster environments where all people feel belonging. In addition, we introduced The Mountaineers Equity & Inclusion Leader Toolkit, a resource that supports our volunteers in providing inclusive and accessible outdoor opportunities for people of all backgrounds and abilities.

Our engagement with thousands of members through new virtual and in-person programs provided exciting growth in our educational opportunities. We offered 346 seminars and clinics and 185 courses, altogether serving an impressive 9,781 individuals in our outdoor community!

We were thrilled to continue our ongoing leadership development opportunities for Mountaineers volunteers through our Leadership Development Series. During the past year, most of these seminars were offered remotely, enhancing accessibility for members across all branches. We hosted 32 seminars for our volunteer leaders, facilitated by nine new presenters from across the country and nine returning presenters, with a total of 347 attendees. Many of our webinars were recorded and can be viewed on our Leadership Development Series YouTube playlist.

We journeyed by foot and paddled across waters throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. From bikepacking to night sky watching to unique Global Adventures, 628 volunteer trip leaders led 3,033 participants on 2,895 trips, demonstrating our dedication to teaching outdoor skills. Together, we traveled 220,939 miles and climbed 49,820,615 feet!

Throughout the year, we released more than 30 new book titles designed to help people learn new skills, discover new places, and experience the transformative power of the outdoors. We are proud that one of our titles, Royal Robbins: The American Climber, won the Climbing Literature category at the 2023 Banff Mountain Book Competition.


We are committed to engaging a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts where every individual can find inspiration and belonging in the outdoors. Thanks to the dedication of volunteers, staff, and generous donors, Mountaineers programming had an extended reach on our community this year.

As we frequently emphasize, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our mission, delivering high-quality, community-focused outdoor programming. In almost every aspect of our work, volunteers are at the forefront. We are extremely grateful for the 2,417 members who volunteered their time this past year, as well as the many others who supported us from afar. All in all, our community recorded a whopping 169,012 volunteer hours this past year!

The Mountaineers provided a total of 922 youth activities, encompassing year-round clubs, day camps, and partner programs, resulting in over 15,000 youth experiences. Additionally, we conducted 159 Mountain Workshops in collaboration with 33 partner organizations, catering to 1,292 unique participants and delivering a total of 3,164 partnered youth experiences.

This past fiscal year, you raised over $1,713,287 in philanthropic contributions, elevating the way our outdoor community helps people overcome barriers to getting outside and supporting the ways people return to give back as volunteers, storytellers, conservationists, and community-builders.

We are grateful for the 2,740 individual members and volunteers who contributed over $1,106,194 in donations, as well as the $607,092 received in corporate and foundation support. We're excited to welcome 1,534 new donors who gave their first-ever gift to The Mountaineers, totaling over $150,513, and give a special shoutout to the 200 community members who raised an additional ​$217,185 by leveraging their employer benefits to match donations and volunteer hours.

Another great way donations support our outdoor community is through fiscal sponsorships. Celebrating our third year in partnership, Climbers of Color raised $91,284 in support of their mission to create more leaders of color in mountaineering. The Mountaineers also stewarded $15,000 as a fiscal sponsor of Mountain Education Alliance, working to establish nationally recognized volunteer-led climbing certifications.

Additionally, 11 new members joined Summit Society by pledging a legacy gift for The Mountaineers in their will. At the end of 2023, Summit Society had grown to honor 90 households. We continued to see record-breaking numbers (over 500 members) make a Peak Society-level donation of $1,000 or above in 2023, and launched a new Ridgeline membership to recognize donors who give $500 annually!

Through the creativity of both our volunteers and staff, we sustained the impact of our programming. We extend our gratitude to our committed volunteers for engaging the community in another year of impactful learning and transformative outdoor experiences.


As our region’s public lands experience booming visitation and land managers like the Forest Service remain chronically underfunded, it has becoming increasingly important for The Mountaineers to advocate at the intersection of conservation and sustainable outdoor access. In 2023, we made some meaningful strides in our advocacy for public lands and the outdoor experience.

Thanks to philanthropic support from our community, our Conservation & Advocacy team added additional capacity this year, deepening our ability to focus on solutions to the permitting and outdoor access challenges The Mountaineers and the wider recreation community face. The Mountaineers and our members spoke up in high numbers during public comment opportunities to help land managers plan for more sustainable visitor use in popular recreation destinations like Mount Rainier National Park and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We also convened a panel discussion on the need for equitable solutions to outdoor access issues at our 2023 An Evening of Advocacy event.

In 2023, we continued to amplify the importance of acknowledging and respecting Indigenous connections to the lands and waters where we recreate. We partnered with Sacred Lands Conservancy, an Indigenous-led nonprofit with strong ties to the Lummi Nation, to produce a series of educational pieces on the importance of mindful recreation and how we can develop deeper connections to the histories of our natural places. Lhaq’temish fisherwoman and enrolled Lummi Nation tribal member, Tah-Mahs Ellie Kinley, unpacked the practice of land acknowledgment and how you can acknowledge the land in a meaningful and impactful way, as well as take action beyond land acknowledgment.

One of the ways we advocate for public lands protections is by engaging with the Northwest Forest Plan, which directs Forest Service management of Pacific Northwest National Forests from Washington to Northern California. Last summer, Mountaineers Conservation & Advocacy Director, Betsy Robblee, was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to serve on a newly-created Federal Advisory Committee for sustainable, climate-adapted, wildfire-resilient landscapes.

As part of our updated, refreshed strategic plan, we shared our ambitious goal of becoming a net zero organization by achieving net zero carbon emissions from direct organizational impacts. Great progress was made on our Tacoma net zero project in 2023, and the Tacoma Program Center should reach net zero in early 2024.

Our members and volunteers are equally active in conservation and stewardship efforts. In the past year, we offered 132 stewardship activities, in which 184 unique participants volunteered over 6,263 hours. We also awarded 623 Low Impact Recreation badges this year.


In 2023, we experienced meaningful adventures, valuable learning opportunities, exceptional service, and inspiring dedication to our community. As we head into 2024, we are filled with anticipation for even greater opportunities and adventures. Our heartfelt thanks go out to every member, volunteer, donor, and reader for your steadfast commitment to The Mountaineers mission and your embodiment of our core values. We look forward to seeing you in 2024!

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