Anyone who has spent time in the backcountry knows how transformative a wilderness experience can be. For over 20 years, the Big City Mountaineers have used wilderness mentoring expeditions to transform the lives of underserved urban youth, instilling critical life skills through backcountry experiences. In July, MSR category director Chris Barchet took some time off work to volunteer as a mentor and guide, and share his passion for the outdoors with those who wouldn’t have access to it otherwise. For some youth, the five-day backpacking trips are their first glimpse into the backcountry. “They want to be there,” says Chris, “but they have to learn to commit to the responsibilities of it all.
Mountaineering can be a selfish endeavor but there are programs out there that help combine one’s love for the summit with aiding a noble cause. Big City Mountaineer’s program, ‘Summit for Someone’ aims to improve the lives of under-served urban youth. Funds that are raised through SFS climbs allow Big City Mountaineers’ to lead transformational wilderness mentoring expeditions to thousands of urban youth across the country in need of “positive adult guidance in challenging and restorative environments.”