Big City Mountaineers and Backpacker Magazine Raise over $280,000 in Mt. Whitney Mountaineering Fundraiser


(Golden, Colo.) – A group of dedicated climbers raised over $280,000 for Big City Mountaineers (BCM), through a series of Mt. Whitney Summit for Someone (SFS) fundraising climbs in California this spring. The funding enables BCM to help instill critical life skills in thousands of under-resourced urban youth across the country through wilderness mentoring expeditions.

The climb was spearheaded by Backpacker magazine editor-in-chief and longtime BCM board member, Jonathan Dorn, who invited readers in the August issue to submit a written entry explaining why they would like to join him on a climb of Mt. Whitney. After receiving 75 essays (some including photos and video), 60 readers committed to raising $4,000 each for BCM youth to join the climb.

SFS is a unique program that gives participants a chance to travel, climb the world’s premier mountains under the instruction of some of the world’s best guide services, and positively impact the lives of under-resourced urban youth simultaneously. BCM programs have a proven track record of improving integrity, self-esteem, decision-making abilities, and communication skills that keep kids healthy, active, in school, and motivated to strive for success.

“We really accomplished something special,” says Dorn. “The generosity of our climbers, their friends, families, and colleagues will make a real and lasting difference in the lives of the teens that BCM serves. I know this because I've seen proof in the research, but I've also witnessed the power of BCM's curriculum first-hand on mentoring trips.”

Dorn was joined by The North Face athletes Pete Athans and Cedar Wright. Wright has already raised over $10,000 for BCM through past SFS climbs. Additional partners include DeLorme, who sponsored the climb in addition to providing inReach satellite communicators with GPS, and Lowa, who provided mountaineering boots.


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In addition to these Whitney climbs, Shannon Davis, editor of Climbing Magazine, has similarly challenged his readers to climb with him for a week to benefit BCM in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. Other SFS climb opportunities include Mt. Rainier, The Grand Teton, and Mt. Kilimanjaro along with 15 other world-class mountains. To find the climb that is right for you including the Climbing Magazine climb, and to help even more youth experience BCM’s life-changing programs, please visit

About Big City Mountaineers
Big City Mountaineers (BCM), which serves youth in eight cities across the country, was founded in 1989 to instill critical life skills in underserved urban youth through transformative wilderness mentoring expeditions. BCM's model is to partner with a vibrant network of youth-based agencies that work with under-resourced, racially diverse young people who often have no experience outside of their neighborhoods. BCM expeditions provide under-resourced youth with the tools and positive reinforcement needed to overcome obstacles and strive for a better future. BCM leverages the challenges inherent in wilderness adventure with a one-to-one mentoring model and time-tested curriculum designed to teach and empower youth. For more information, please visit

Quick Facts

About Big City Mountaineers

BCM is one of the largest non-profits in the country devoted to working exclusively with under-resourced teens by using the outdoors as a transformational element in their lives. BCM runs its recreational mentoring program in selected major urban centers throughout the country, with its largest program areas in Denver and San Francisco. Learn more at