Adventure with Purpose: A Recap of Our 2024 Gala

Mountaineers gathered in person and virtually for our biggest Gala yet on April 6. We raised $650,000 in support of mission-driven programming and publishing. Read on to relive the evening and celebrate everyone who made it a night to remember.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
April 10, 2024
Adventure with Purpose: A Recap of Our 2024 Gala
2024 Mountaineers Gala - April 6, 2024 - Fremont Studios.

Each year, our community gathers at our annual fundraising Gala, Adventure with Purpose, to make a difference for people and places through the mission and vision of The Mountaineers. The funds raised in this single night represent more than a third of our charitable revenue for the year, elevating  mission and values driven initiatives across all branches and activities. Your support is vital for some of our most impactful programs such as youth outreach, scholarships, volunteer leadership development, nonprofit publishing, conservation advocacy efforts, and more. At this year’s Gala, we raised an astonishing $650,000 elevating the way we LEAD innovation in outdoor education, ENGAGE a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts, and ADVOCATE on behalf of the natural world.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0423.jpgSally Jewell, Rue Mapp, Hilary Franz and others celebrate at the 2024 Mountaineers Gala.

On April 6, 2024, 550 guests – including members, volunteers, and donors from across the organization, as well as partners and sponsors – gathered for a memorable evening of joy and community. This year’s Gala was the talk of the town, with an additional 430 people tuning in to the virtual experience from across the country and around the world.

Watch the full livestream recording

2024 Gala Photo Gallery

2024 Gala Step & Repeat Gallery


Our online auction opened at the end of March, featuring dozens of packages to get our members outside and immersed in the outdoor community. Auction items included international vacation getaways, mushroom hunting experiences, local art, guided climbing packages, high-end gear, and more. Members bid fast and high for these unique packages, and had an opportunity before the reception to preview the eight live auction packages.   

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0188.jpgThe Gala silent and live auctions featured 55 packages. 

On April 6, the room was buzzing with excitement as folks arrived at Fremont Studios. VIP guests had the special opportunity to meet legendary mountaineer, author, adventurer, and keynote speaker Reinhold Messner for a photo and book signing, as well as our Adventure with Purpose Award recipient, Rue Mapp, of Outdoor Afro. To add to the fun, guests could Spin the Wheel in support of Mountaineers Books, receive a Tarot for the Great Outdoors reading by Julie Q. Gordon, commemorate the evening with a goofy costume in our Photo Booth, and – if guests were feeling especially dexterous – take a chance at our Wine Toss. 

20240406-Mountaineers_SR-0025.jpgDiane Messner and Reinhold Messner arriving at the Mountaineers Gala.

20240406-Mountaineers_SR-0043.jpgAdventure with Purpose Award Honoree, Rue Mapp, at the Gala.

Every corner of the room was glowing with smiles and vibrant photos and artwork inspired by the natural world. Meanwhile, auction competition remained fierce, with online and in-person bidders vying for packages until the last second.

20240406-Mountaineers_SR-0019.jpgSawyer Wolters, Quisha Asafaylo and Kai Davey, our 2024 Tyrolean Traverse racers.

2024-4-6-67502A.jpgGuests take turns having fun in our Photo Booth.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0232.jpgGuests gave donations via Tyrolean Traverse tickets to support The Mountaineers LEAD, ENGAGE & ADVOCATE priorities.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0042.jpgReinhold Messner signed books during the VIP Reception.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0155.jpgGuest tosses a ring as part of the Gala Wine Toss.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0291.jpgAll silent auction items were on display at the Gala Reception.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0264.jpgGuest check out the Outdoor Afro & REI Co-Op designed tent set up in the Gala Reception.


After everyone made their way to their seats for the main program, our hosts Fred Northup Jr. and Tiernan Madorno welcomed guests, followed by opening remarks from Manisha Powar, current President of the Board of Directors and co-chair of the event, who acknowledged that we gathered on the lands of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes who have lived on and stewarded these lands since time immemorial. Our in-person and online guests were eager for the excitement and inspiration the night held. 

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0358.jpgThe Gala was hosted from the stage by Fred Northup Jr. and Tiernan Madorno.

Manisha shared the heart of our mission with attendees, saying that she came here from India thinking she’d be here five years, max. Fast forward 20 years, and The Mountaineers has become her community and the Pacific Northwest her forever home.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0371.jpgManisha Powar gives a welcome.

The room was full of warmth as friends, adventure partners, and family settled into their seats. While welcoming guests and viewers to the evening’s celebration, Manisha also paid tribute to past Gala luminaries who are no longer with us, such as Lou Whittaker, renowned mountaineer who recently passed, and Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Tom Hornbein

Watch Manisha’s Opening Remarks

She spoke about how The Mountaineers adventure with purpose. We seek places bigger than ourselves to uncover joy and seek the transformative power of nature. We advocate on behalf of our lands and waters. We teach responsible recreation and break down barriers to belonging in the outdoors. And we flourish thanks to a culture of giving back. Our volunteers empower others to confidently explore the Pacific Northwest and beyond. And our donors help us go farther. Donors provide resources that expand our impact, allowing us to inspire more people to enjoy and preserve the outdoor experience. Each act of giving strengthens our community and fortifies our bonds with the natural world.


This year’s Tyrolean Traverse was one for the books. Named for the Tyrol region in Europe and developed for approaching the spires of the Dolomites, the Tyrolean traverse is an advanced technique used by mountaineers around the world to navigate unique situations. In our case, we also use it to raise additional funding for Mountaineers strategic vision areas: Lead, Engage, and Advocate.

Racing in blue to support leading innovation in outdoor education was Kai Davey. Kai is a junior at Roosevelt High School who loves running, climbing, and hiking and wants to support volunteers as they share their love of the outdoors. Racing in red to support engaging a future of outdoor enthusiasts was Sawyer Wolters. Sawyer is a junior at West Seattle High School who avidly rock climbs, skis, mountain bikes, and runs, and wants to create a community of belonging in the outdoors. Racing in green to support advocating on behalf of the natural world was Quisha Asafaylo. Quisha is a senior at Roosevelt High School who enjoys climbing, backpacking, mountaineering, and trail running, and hopes to empower Mountaineers to protect the natural world. Guests had the opportunity to cheer on the racer of their choice with a $25-$250 donation to support our mission across all three of these strategic priorities. 


With excitement, the racers took to the ceiling to begin their traverse. Unbeknownst to them – and to everyone else in the room – this year’s traverse included a special (unplanned) surprise: a tangled curtain. Two out of three of our racers competed with the extra baggage of a heavy curtain hanging in front of their harness. Thankfully, as the racers sped to the other side of the room, guests were quick with support and laughter, lending a helping hand as they lifted the dangling curtains over their tables. A true Mountaineers community moment that made the Tyrolean a team event! Sawyer was able to unhook the curtain and quickly untangled himself at the start line, giving him an advantage as he rushed across the room and back to retrieve the winning flag. We’re grateful for all three racers who helped to raise more than $21,000 in unrestricted support for impact programs at The Mountaineers. 

Watch the Tyrolean Traverse Replay

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0384.jpgQuisha Asafaylo is introduced before the race.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0399.jpgTyrolean Traverse racers compete above the audience at Fremont Studios.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0066.jpgTyrolean Traverse racers are part of Seattle Mountain Adventure Club (MAC).


Our guests were full of the giving spirit as the first live auction item got things off to a competitive start. Paddles flew up to bid on a print of K2 photographed by Dianne Roberts and signed by Reinhold Messner and Jim Whittaker. Auctioneer Fred Northup, Jr. and emcee Tiernan Madorno kept the room full of life as folks in the room won one-in-a-lifetime packages and experiences. Folks online jumped in our online chat to share excitement as well for their own wins from the silent auction

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0448-2.jpgTiernan Madorno and Kristina Ciari show off the Dianne Robert's K2 Print in the live auction.

Winners of our live auction packages took home the opportunity to hike the Inca Trail, explore the heart of the French Alps in Chamonix, dine with Reinhold Messner and Rue Mapp, get away to the Tetons for five nights, trek to K2 Base Camp with Madison Mountaineering, fly Polaris business class to anywhere in the world with United Airlines, and enjoy a Super VIP experience for 10 at the 2025 Gala. 

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0464.jpgFred auctions off the Super VIP Table from stage.

Thanks to the 150 individual bidders and 63 silent and live auctions package winners we were able to raise $150,000 smashing our fundraising goal for the auction. 

Watch the excitement of the auction

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0491.jpg2024 Gala live auction.


20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0534.jpgAfter a successful auction, Mountaineers Equity & Inclusion Committee member, Esa Tilija,  took the stage to share her evolving relationship to the outdoors and the impact of The Mountaineers on her life. Esa credited a family visit to The Mountaineers Baker Lodge as her first transformative outdoor experience, where she learned not only how to ski, but how to “trust in the fall.” 

“As a community, you have shown me that 99% of falls result in laughter, by picking myself up, or by being lent a helping hand.”

By trusting in the fall, Esa felt equipped to become the first in her Nepali community to leave home for college in the East Coast, to become the first from her Indigenous group to pursue business, and to help make outdoor recreation more accessible at The Mountaineers and beyond. She remains involved in the Baker Lodge community, and just recently helped host 62 people of Himalayan descent. 

“It’s not just Baker Lodge. All of our lodges, branches, and outdoor centers hold similar magic as a community gathering space for so many. It is heartwarming to know that youth and families from my community will return to Mt. Baker for years to come.”

Acknowledging the threats to our special places and the community that is formed there, Esa invited the room to join her as an advocate for a sustainable future where future generations can continue adventuring with purpose. 

“To ensure this type of future is possible, I’m grateful The Mountaineers serve as a leader in stewardship efforts to address climate change. Glacial lakes are flooding in the Cascades and in the high-mountains of Nepal causing landslides so catastrophic they could wipe out entire villages. Even the beautiful rhododendron flowers, which are Washington State’s and Nepal’s national flower, are not blooming as fully as they used to.

“You have supported my ‘trust in the fall’, but even more importantly, you support the steps that each one of us takes forward in the collective mission, truly powering a vision for the future that I cannot wait for.”

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0537.jpgEsa Tilija speaks from the stage.

Our community responded and raised our paddles high. With contributions ranging from $10 to $25,000, in the span of 20 minutes, 237 donors raised more than $319,390 to Adventure with Purpose

Watch Esa’s Heartfelt Appeal

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0561-2.jpgGuests raise their paddle at the Gala.


This year was the first we awarded our Adventure with Purpose Award. At past Galas, we recognized honorees with The Mountaineers Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2024, we pivoted to, the Adventure with Purpose Award, our highest recognition of those whose life work embodies our organizational priorities to LEAD Innovation in Outdoor Education, ENGAGE a Vibrant Community of Outdoor Enthusiasts, and ADVOCATE on Behalf of the Natural World.

Our inaugural Adventure with Purpose Award recipient, Rue Mapp is the founder and CEO of the national nonprofit Outdoor Afro and founder and gear designer of Outdoor Afro Inc. She’s committed her personal and professional life to championing outdoor access and conservation of public lands across the U.S. When founding Outdoor Afro, Rue’s vision was simple: reconnect Black people with the outdoors through community-based programs and visual representation. She has been one of the most courageous and impactful leaders in recent history to make the outdoors more accessible to people of color. Rue was introduced by Sally Jewell, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and lifelong outdoor enthusiast and friend of Rue’s and The Mountaineers.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0586.jpgRue Mapp with Sally Jewell and the Adventure with Purpose Award.

Rue leaned into the theme of trust this evening, encouraging us to trust our feet, and reflected on the value of fostering agency and connection among one another and the natural world. 

“When we are out in nature, the trees do not know what color you are. The flowers still bloom, no matter how much money is in your account, and the birds continue to sing their song, no matter who you vote for. Therefore, in nature’s eyes, our differences fade, and our shared humanity emerges. Through intentional nature experiences, we can discover the agency to bridge divides and unite as a human family.”

Everyone stood in appreciation as Rue received her award.

Watch Rue’s Award and Acceptance Speech 

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0588-2.jpgRue Mapp accepting the 2024 Adventure with Purpose Award.



The evening wrapped up with a long-anticipated talk from Keynote Speaker, Reinhold Messner. The crowd was ecstatic as Graham Zimmerman introduced Reinhold and he took the stage. 

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0617.jpgGraham Zimmerman, Piolet d'or winning alpinist and President of the American Alpine Club, introduces Reinhold Messner.

20240406-Mountaineers_Gala-0620.jpgReinhold Messner takes the stage for his Keynote Address.

Reinhold is a world-renowned high-altitude mountaineer, climber, adventurer, and author. Foremost among his many achievements, he has climbed all fourteen of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks, all without the use of supplemental oxygen, and many of the solo and unassisted. He is the founder of the Messner Mountain Foundation and Messner Mountain Museum, both of which seek to pass on values and heritage of mountain culture, raise awareness around sustainable mountaineering and support the people of high-altitude mountain communities. Reinhold is the author of dozens of books about his adventures. Thanks to Mountaineers Books many of his titles are translated into English

Reinhold’s talk centered around the evolution of mountaineering and its guiding philosophies. Growing up at the feet of the Italian Dolomites, mountaineering is practically in Reinhold’s genes. He spent his childhood roaming the jagged peaks and spires of his backyard, finding himself among the absolute silence and infinite space of the backcountry. Seemingly averse to trepidation, Reinhold’s mountaineering feats were a continuous conversation with risk, averted only if you can come to know the mountain well enough.

“[Mountaineers] go in places where no normal human being goes. We go in places where death is a possibility. Mountaineering is an art because death is a possibility. If you cut out the possibility of dying, it’s not mountaineering. But those who think mountaineering is a deadly activity are not understanding the mountain at all.”


Over time, the reasons for mountaineering have changed, evolving from self discovery – climbing a mountain to better know oneself – to the challenge of conquership – climbing a mountain to prove you can. For Reinhold, the heart of mountaineering is about experiencing the transformative power of solitude in the wilderness – about connecting with the mountain on an intimate level and understanding its dimensions. 

“If we overcome our fears in wild places, we can know who we are.”

After Reinhold’s talk, in-person and virtual guests had the chance to ask questions. Folks asked Reinhold about the physical and mental challenges of his unassisted climbs, where he found his courage and motivation to take on the challenges of his adventures, and how he overcame fear of the risks of his expeditions. Reinhold ended with a call to protect our natural places: 

“I’m an adventurer. Wildness is our holy ground. We should defend it with all our possibilities.”

Watch Reinhold’s Keynote Address




At the end of the evening, Fred and Tiernan shared a preliminary total of $633,000 raised for The Mountaineers mission and strategic priorities, surpassing our goal of $620,000. After closer review, we’re thrilled to announce a record-smashing success of over $650,000 raised through this year’s event. 

Throughout our history, volunteerism has been at the core of The Mountaineers. Volunteers make it possible for us to carry on our legacy of outdoor education, integrity, and action. And we couldn’t have nearly the depth of impact without the generosity of donors like you. 

We are truly grateful for the generosity of this community– your time, your knowledge, your passion, and your donations. Each of you plays an important role in making the mission of The Mountaineers a reality and we thank you for supporting our work. And thank you, once again, for making this fun party one to remember!


We would like to thank Roger Mellem and Manisha Powar, our 2024 Gala Co-Chairs. Thanks to them we were able to fill the room with dedicated supporters. We also want to extend a huge thanks to our sponsors, without whom the Gala and auction would not have been possible. 

Gala Sponsors - Updated March.png

Thank you In-Kind Donors

We also want to thank all of our donors that generously donated their time, energy, expertise, artistic craft, beloved family vacation properties, and secret mushroom foraging locations, to this year’s live and silent auction. Thanks to their donations we raised $150,000 to directly support The Mountaineers mission and programs.

  • Baker Lodge
  • Andy Bassett & On Point Boards
  • Megan Bond & Walter Friesen
  • Bruce and Ann Blume
  • Rose Steller Burke
  • Lorna Corrigan & Windigo Lodge, LLC
  • Rich & Martha Draves
  • Tom Eng
  • Julie Q. Gordon
  • John Gussman
  • Molly Hashimoto
  • Sarah Kaizar
  • Brynne and Ryan Koscianski
  • Dixie & Dirk Havlak
  • Kitsap Forest Theater
  • Martha Kongsgaard and Peter Goldman
  • Charlie Lieu
  • Amelie Mabbutt and Edward Monrad
  • Meany Lodge
  • Rick Meade
  • Tim McNulty
  • Skye Michel & Family
  • Ian Nicholson
  • David Parent
  • Kasia Kate Pawluskiewicz
  • Carry Porter & Nick Brown
  • Alex Pratt
  • Dianne Roberts & Jim Whittaker
  • Bill Thorness
  • Tom Vogl
  • Vanessa Wheeler
  • Leif Whittaker
  • Oyuna Zandra

We also want to thank the dozens of businesses and partner groups that donated gift memberships, gear, books, training packages, and once in a lifetime experiences to our live and silent auctions. We consider these businesses close partners with shared missions to get people outside and protect our natural world. Some are small local businesses while others are large national retailers/brands. As a thank you please consider supporting them with your business knowing that they have shared values with The Mountaineers.

2024 Gala lead image design by Enjoli Izidor.

Photo credits for all 2024 Gala photography by Matt Hagen.

Watch the full livestream recording

2024 Gala Photo Gallery

2024 Gala Step & Repeat Gallery

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