Mountaineer of the Week: Ben Witten

Meet Ben, who loves climbing with his daughter and hopes that his donations lower the barrier of entry to outdoor rock climbing for her and other youth.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
October 06, 2023
Mountaineer of the Week: Ben Witten

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to...

Name: Ben Witten
Hometown: Olympia, Washington  
Member since: 2018 
Occupation: Senior Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management 
Favorite Activities: Rock climbing 

10 Essential Questions

What first brought you to the Mountaineers?  

I was interested in connecting with like-minded people who enjoy exploring the Pacific NW. 

What’s your favorite Mountaineers memory? 

Crag climbing with my daughter and her rock climbing buddies at Smith Rock State Park. 

How did you get started as a volunteer? 

I wanted a "family friendly" rock climbing outlet and The Mountaineers helped me create that niche.  

What inspires you to donate to the Mountaineers?  

My firm gives grants to The Mountaineers when I volunteer and I get to climb so everyone has a smile on their face.  

What impact do you hope to have in our community through your donations?  

The grants from my firm, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, have helped The Mountaineers purchase rock climbing gear to share cragging experiences with our youth. I hope to inspire them and lower the barrier of entry to youth outdoor rock climbing. As a young teenager (before the internet), I didn't have access to the plethora of information and climbing routes there are today such as mountain project, guide books, local crags, etc. As an adult, I have great climbing experiences by helping others (including young people) do the same.  

Lightning Round 

Smile or game face? Game face, then smile. 
What’s your favorite outdoor activity close-to-home? Cragging at Vantage, Smith, or Marymoor Park. 
What’s your 11th Essential? A sun umbrella because it gets hot out there! 
What’s next on your bucket list? Monkey Face - Pioneer Route. 
If you could be adept at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Overhanging crimps - see picture.