Small groups of young alpinists will train and climb with mentors with the aim of improving their climbing, and especially, their judgement in complex alpine environments. Participants will endeavor to communicate their experience with humility and integrity, will act to redress the environmental impacts of climbing, will respectfully give back to the communities that host them, and will foster an inclusive, supportive environment within local and international climbing communities at all levels.
We will not be conducting any more small-group mentorship programs through Alpine Mentors.
After seven years of Alpine Mentors it is my opinion that the model of small groups of alpinists mentored for 2-4 years, is inefficient and ineffective for more than half the participants. Furthermore it was highly time intensive. This is a 100% volunteer effort, and I was spending 8-12 weeks per year on this, which was not sustainable for me personally. It was also dangerous. In 2016 one of our participants lost her life during the final expedition.
We will continue to work on our mission to promote alpinism through mentorship, but how we deliver on that mission is about to change dramatically. Watch our blog in spring 2019.
Alpine Mentors is designed to operate on a two-year cycle where mentors help the group organize trips that advance their climbing skills with an eye towards being able to complete technical routes in the high mountains. Along the way we help connect them with different mentors. Our goal is not to build the best alpinists, but rather to help young climbers get the most from their climbing experience.
AM is organized as a non-profit group and currently the mentors and climbers fund all the program's operations from our own pockets and community donations.
Why we do Alpine Mentors
“Ultimately, Alpine Mentors is meant to become an open framework, one that can change with the people who come to fill it with energy, inspiration, and action. Alpine Mentors is a way for mentors to interact with younger, not-as experienced, climbers. Those of us who dedicated our lives to climbing mountains learned much. This is where we can share that knowledge.” - Steve House
Alpine Mentors is a federally recognized non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization - all donations are tax deductible.
is obvious." Says Steve House. "I had mentors of my own. As an exchange student in Slovenia in 1988 I joined the Kozjak Alpine Club. There older climbers selflessly took me under their collective wing, spending countless days climbing with me on the walls and ridges of the eastern Alps. The concept for Alpine Mentors’ structure traces it’s origins to a conversation that took place on the side of a mountain. Rolando Garibotti, then 25, told me, then 26 years old, about France’s club-funded young-alpinist program. (France now has two such programs. Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Slovenia each have their own.) At the time Rolo and I were camped below the Emperor Face of Mount Robson for seven nights in the rain in a small mountain tent. We lamented the fact that we had no financial support, not to mention more experienced climbers to coach us through (mis)adventures such as this.
Fifteen years later, I read a book, Boys Adrift. One thing that struck me was the authors’ observation that most human cultures have a coming of age ritual for young men, and that these rituals are facilitated by the older generation of the tribe. At the time I wondered why older climbers didn’t seek out younger ones and vice-versa.
Six months after I read that book I was convalescing, healing severe injuries sustained in a fall in the Canadian Rockies. I had nearly died on a ledge on the north face of Mount Temple after a 80-foot fall. For two hours I had waited for the helicopter that eventually saved my life, I felt my lung collapsing, felt my breath shortening. Thoughts raced through my head. At home I pondered the fact that I had not been wishing I had done more climbing, but rather I was repentant that I had not done more for my tribe. Alpine Mentors is born from my wish to give back to climbing, to provide for today’s climbing-youth a resource I did not have.”
...are volunteers who offer to share experiences with young climbers. Steve is organizing the initial phase of the program and coordinates with other mentors who climb with the group. During the first weeks of this program, Colorado-locals Vince Anderson and Bryan Gilmore generously spent their time with the group practicing self-rescue skills as well as simply climbing with the younger climbers.
Thank you for sharing your expertise with Alpine Mentors:
...to all who are contributing to Alpine Mentors. From the very beginning a few people believed in this project and helped to set it all up: Vince Anderson, Zoe Hart, Rowan Trollope, Ian Yurdin, Matt van Biene, Austin Siadak, Ethan Newman and Eva House each contributed ideas and energy to make this a reality.