Climbers of Color: A Partnership to Support More Leaders of Color

Last year, The Mountaineers signed on as fiscal sponsor for Climbers of Color in support of their mission to create more leaders of color in mountaineering.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
October 01, 2020

We're excited to be partnering with Climbers of Color in support of their mission to create more leaders of color in mountaineering. Established in 2017, Climbers of Color is a Washington State nonprofit that aims to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the climbing and mountaineering community by developing leaders of color. To accomplish its mission, Climbers of Color provides supportive mentorship, technical training from BIPOC professional guides, and access to key resources including gear and scholarships.

Last year, The Mountaineers signed on as fiscal sponsor for Climbers of Color. This allows CoC supporters to make tax-designated contributions through The Mountaineers. We pass 100% of the donations without charging any overhead or administrative fees. We believe that a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love, and we’re honored to be in a position to help promote the incredible work of Climbers of Color.

“We are excited to partner with The Mountaineers, they have a strong ethos of leadership, community and teaching,” said Don Nguyen, cofounder of Climbers of Color and an AMGA guide. As a Vietnamese American, he’s also one of the few outliers in the US guiding industry, a profession which consists mostly of Caucasian, cis-gendered males. His passion for the CoC mission is to remove the barriers he faced in becoming an AMGA guide to make it easier for other individuals with identities historically under-represented in the outdoors. This includes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) and members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. 

“Climbers of Color is doing exciting and important work to make climbing culture more inclusive, reducing barriers for people of color to become climb leaders,” said Tom Vogl, CEO of The Mountaineers. "We’re thrilled to be deepening our relationship to amplify their important mission, and we hope to continue supporting their efforts to help change the face of mountaineering and rock climbing leadership.”

Climbers of Color offers courses and events for the beginner to the advanced BIPOC climber. Offered mainly in the greater Seattle area, CoC hosts BIPOC climb nights in partnerships with local gyms, having grown from a handful of participants to more than fifty on a busy evening. CoC also hosts a wide range of courses on sport and trad climbing, rappelling, and ascending for photography. Their most popular course, and most critical for creating new leaders of color in mountaineering, is a two level Mountaineering Leadership course. 

As we well know at The Mountaineers, teamwork and a shared passion for the outdoors can produce incredible outcomes. Over the past few years, volunteers and staff at The Mountaineers have been invigorated by conversations with the CoC team and are inspired by the innovative ways their leadership is approaching alpine education. Making climb leader progression more transparent and rigorous is a top priority for The Mountaineers and CoC alike. We hope to continue to learn from one another as we deepen our partnership moving forward.

Looking Ahead

In the coming months, we will continue our conversations with the leaders at Climbers of Color to determine additional ways through which we can provide support and resources, including the use of our facilities and working with our partners and donors to help CoC grow their own gear library and leadership development program. Our hope is that our partnership will provide additional educational opportunities to both BIPOC Mountaineers members and CoC members.

Support Climbers of Color

You can support Climbers of Color by making a tax-deductible donation through The Mountaineers a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, tax ID #: 27-3009280. As the fiscal sponsor of Climbers of Color, The Mountaineers passes 100% of the donations to Climbers of Color for use in their mission to transform leadership in rock climbing and mountaineering. 


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Tess Wendel
Tess Wendel says:
Oct 01, 2020 09:07 AM

Neato! Climbers of Color does great work in our community- i particularly enjoyed their recent instagram campaign talking about the origins of "counterculture" and the intersection with the dirtbag climber narrative.