Progressive Climbing Education - Simplifying the message

Our review showed the many goals for our climbing program are in need of simplification. Our vision for the climbing program can be summarized in three tenets: Develop Safe Climbers, Develop Good Stewards, and Create a Welcoming Community.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
August 29, 2016
Progressive Climbing Education - Simplifying the message

At our July Climbing Education Advisory Council (CEAC) meeting, we were advised to simplify our goals to make them easier to articulate and understand and so they can serve as anchors for his project moving forward.

The Mountaineers Progressive Climbing Education initiative began by gathering information about our programs and doing a comprehensive review. The next phase for the initiative is taking that information and establishing goals.

To help us simplify our goals, we asked ourselves:

“What is the unique role The Mountaineers should play in the greater climbing community?”  


From a nonprofit perspective, The Mountaineers needs to envision how - if successful - this project will change our climbing  universe. We think when all climbers in the Pacific Northwest have the physical fitness, technical proficiency, and decision-making skills to be safe, have an awareness and ethos of good stewardship toward other climbers and to our natural resources, and contribute to a welcoming community of climbers, we will have achieved our purpose as a climbing education organization.

After many hours of brainstorming, we developed the Tenets of Mountaineers Climbing Education. These three overall goals serve as umbrellas for the many objectives that came out of our listening sessions, interviews, and surveys.

Tenets of The Mountaineers Climbing Education:

  1. Develop Safe Climbers – We will educate as many climbers as possible, striving not to turn away potential students. We will teach current techniques, while matching our standards with other organizations, teaching good decision-making skills, and helping climbers grow and develop at all levels, including leadership.
  2. Develop Good Stewards – We will reach as many climbers as possible, holding our leaders and instructors to high standards for modeling stewardship, while teaching climbers to minimize their impact, and promoting small party size.
  3. Create a Welcoming Community – We will welcome new climbers and climbers new to the area, facilitating mentorship at all levels, and helping all climbers enter the community regardless of their climbing background. We will also welcome new techniques and new perspectives on climbing.

These tenets will help guide our decisions and priorities as we move forward.

What we've learned

Through our listening sessions, interviews, and survey, we learned:

  • We are developing safe climbers,
  • We are developing good stewards,
  • We are creating a welcoming community, but nevertheless
  • We could be doing all of these things much better.

The purpose of the Progressive Climbing Education initiative is to take a hard look at how we can achieve these things more effectively and to re-imagine our climbing program design to maximize our delivery on these three tenets.

Meet the Climbing Education Advisory Council

From the greater climbing community

  • Dave Haavik, Petzl/Washington Climbers Coalition
  • Melanie Hodgman, REI
  • Rich Johnston, Vertical World
  • Forest McBrian, AMGA guide
  • Joe Sambataro, Access Fund
  • Steve Smith, Student Conservation Association and Outward Bound
  • Martin Volken, AMGA guide
  • Andy Wyatt, Seattle Bouldering Project


Stay tuned for more blog posts as we move forward.  Follow us at If you have ideas, questions or concerns, please share them! We invite you to contact The Mountaineers CEAC members.

Join us!

Three town hall meetings are scheduled for:

North Sound - Tuesday, October 11
South Sound - Wednesday, October 12
Please join us and invite others. We want as much input as possible.

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