You know the old proverb: Give someone a mountain and they’ll have a mountain. Teach someone to mountain and they’ll…live forever! That’s how it goes, right?
Steve House’s Alpine Mentors program is the more eloquent and inspiring version of that idea: Connect experienced climbers with unexperienced climbers as an opportunity to teach and learn. Introduce young people to a challenging outdoor experience that they may not otherwise access. In this way, Alpine Mentors brings the next generation of passionate alpinists into the fold.
Climbing can be an intimidating community to enter without proper introduction: safety precautions to follow, gear to learn, instincts to build. (Also, carabiner jokes to hear). This kind of opportunity for young climbers offers immediate access to those resources, person to person.
The human connection mentoring provides is not just about passing on skills. This act of bringing others to the outdoor experience is a powerful tool.
We all have some nugget of wanderlust that brings us outside and continues to draw us there, whether it is to explore or exercise or smell the air. Or maybe find a good view for lunch. Usually that seed was planted by someone leading you into an early outdoor experience—it could have been a family member, friend, community leader. Someone literally (or figuratively) held your hand and guided you onto your first mountain, or into your first lake, or pointed out your first trail marker.
Mentoring also provides a chance to share philosophies and challenge first-time users to develop their own sense of the land. Alpine Mentors sounds like it will make good climbers, but also smart people who will care for their mountains, and themselves.
There are many opportunities to share your gifts with those around you. If you are an experienced alpinist, apply to be an Alpine Mentor. If you are an experienced anything, bring people with you the next time you go outside.