Open letter to the outdoor industry: Support diversity, grow participation, and have fun doing it

Open letter to the outdoor industry: Support diversity, grow participation, and have fun doing it

Bryan Martin, executive director of Big City Mountaineers invites us all to Summit For Someone in 2017. Sign up for your own guided “bucket list” trip which will help BCM get more underprivileged kids outside.

Big City Mountaineers

BCM youth prepping for their Boundary Waters Expedition // Photo: Big City Mountaineers

Even though Big City Mountaineers is not an actively political organization, our vision for a diverse and inclusive society – one that accepts multi-culturalism and values the conservation of our natural resources has taken a hit the past few months. Understanding that there are more challenges still to come, we know that our work is as relevant today as it was when we were founded in 1990. The team at BCM is going to wake up tomorrow, next month, and next year driven to support experiences for diverse audiences in the outdoors so we can begin to close difficult divisions, open dialogues, and work towards equity.

The outdoor industry is a special place. We are a community who inherently understand the importance of outdoor experiences and natural places. I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of us didn’t get into the outdoor industry because we had dollar signs in our eyes but rather because we loved getting outside. Still, we are very fortunate to enjoy our careers and we all have it better than the kids we’re engaging every year at BCM. To be sure, a lot of them are waking up these days with more reasons to be worried than we are.

Because of this, BCM is asking you (the employees, athletes, and leaders of the outdoor industry) to get involved and engage in the important work we are doing to ensure underserved and under-represented communities have access to transformational experiences on our public lands. Now more than ever, we must consciously turn to these outdoor spaces for community, solidarity, and teaching. Providing access to outdoor spaces and activities has the power to heal racial, cultural, generational, and gender divides. We know this intuitively as an industry and it’s increasingly backed up by research, but most importantly we see it happen every year on our trips.

One great way to do your part, connect to nature, and support the mission of Big City Mountaineers is to register for one of our Summit for Someone (SFS) Climbs. SFS is a series of charity climbs around the world that has become BCM’s signature fundraiser. Every year over 100 climbers and trekkers take on “bucket list” adventures while fundraising on behalf of BCM’s Youth Programs. This year, we want to reach 200 climbers!

Big City Mountaineers

BCM 2016 Summit For Someone climbers on top of Mt. Rainer // Photo: Big City Mountaineers

It’s a great win-win. Participants get a free guided climb up a peak they would not otherwise do on their own and BCM receives critical funds to run our youth expeditions. Moreover, it’s a great way to build culture inside your company, connect with clients, and promote your products.

In 2017, we are offering the following climbs: Pico de Orizaba, Mt. Hood, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Rainier, the Grand Teton, Mt. Olympus, Mt. Shasta, the Presidential Traverse, Longs Peak, Kilimanjaro, and Everest Base Camp. In addition, if a company wants to create their own “retreat-style” climb we are happy to customize a trip with enough lead time. To learn more visit email, or call (303) 271-9200. We welcome your participation.


Jeff and Justin Wiguna

"Diversity breeds innovation."

Diversifying the outdoor industry is critical, says Jeff Wiguna—not only to sell more gear, but ultimately to expand the reach of its environmentally friendly, sustainable, and healthy-living philosophies. That’s the goal for Wiguna’s newly established Outdoor Diversity more