Our mission is to plan, resource, and execute mountaineering objectives across the globe by building small and cohesive teams of military veteran climbers.
Our vision is to:
Our goal is to establish a sustainable framework to actively pursue reconnaissance, planning, and logistics to support new objectives within the US and abroad while sustaining program offerings through veteran leader development.
Mountaineering echoes the rigorous physical and mental challenges that veterans have often faced within and outside of the military. By leveraging those unique experiences, we can climb unguided, self-supported, and self-resourced.
Whether operating as a small team of veteran mountaineers on Rainier or as an independent expedition team on Denali, together we assess risk, communicate effectively, set our objective, and work together to achieve our defined success.
We do not set limitations on ourselves or the veterans we climb with. Whether it be during the planning phase months prior, or the moments leading up to the summit, we rely on the unspoken trust established and the individual veteran’s skills to get our climbers safely to the top and back home.
We pride ourselves on an objective-focused mindset and mentality of placing The Team above all else, in every aspect of our climbs.
The Mountaineering Program has led 227 veterans on mountaineering expeditions with a 90% success rate.
Absolutely NOT! But, a healthy understanding of the conditions and the extreme environment you will be facing is mandatory. Altitude sickness, Extreme UV exposure, exhaustion, and fatigue have often plagued our climbers during the approach to our initial camps. Most of these issues could have been mitigated by experience and training in similar environments and knowledge of the route. Our Training Manager is here to help you during the planning and preparation phase to ensure that you have a baseline of the environment you will encounter and a training path to understand how your body will perform in those conditions.
As mentioned, what makes us unique is that we climb unguided and self-supported. Our trips are not guided and most of our leaders are not guides. We climb through years of experience in the mountains and knowledge gained through climbing with fellow veterans accomplishing mountaineering objectives. We feel this is an asset to both the program and the veteran community as it allows us to accomplish more in terms of training, meeting our objectives for the climb, and developing future veteran leaders. We operate as a team, assess risk as a team, and set our own objectives based on the conditions.
Gear and equipment, especially on high-altitude expeditions, can become a barrier to entry for many mountaineering objectives. We don't want that to be the case for our programs. Veterans Adventure Group assists the Mountaineering Program with a wide selection of equipment for use on our legacy climbs such as Rainier and Hood. This equipment is available and will coordinated during the planning phase prior to arrival. Many of our teams also seek sponsors on behalf of the group for equipment needed. Any equipment received through partnership or donation is maintained through Veterans Adventure Group and is retained in the group's gear closet for future climbs within the Mountaineering Program.
Each climb is different depending on the level of community support, climb format, and level of outreach efforts for sponsors and donations. In general, the mountaineering program will independently resource the climb for well below half of what a guided service would charge. The program and climber teams will work together within the constraints of funding and climber commitment to fulfill needed costs for equipment and monetary needs for any services.
This is both a very important question relevant to the safety and quality of training and experience. The answer is dependent on the mountain we are climbing, the conditions that year, and the composition of the individual teams. In general, we do our best to limit rope teams to no larger than four, with the rope team leader having previously completed that climb with Veterans Adventure Group or as a self-supported climb with the relevant necessary experience.
During training and instruction, we try and keep this ratio to at least one instructor or SME for every five climbers, to facilitate an ease of rotation through stations. Example: glacier movement, self-arrest, basic anchors. In general, this ratio improves to one SME per three climbers as we come together for crevasse rescue and rope system practical applications classes and PEs.
Fill out the ‘Join Us’ form at the bottom of the Mountaineering page. A member of the program team will reach out requesting additional information that will assist us in finding a climb that best fits your needs and availability. We will process the information in the order in which it was received and provide you with a POC for recommended climbs and opportunities.
In general, we build our advanced climbing teams from veterans we have worked with on Mount Rainier and/or Hood. Our advanced Hood climb is an excellent opportunity to get out with us to get to know each other! Regardless, when reaching out through the ‘Join Us’ link, please annotate that you're interested in an advanced climb. If we are currently in the process of building a roster for an advanced climb there is a potential of being considered. Should a spot open up, we will reach out to you directly.
That is what we are about, growing a community of veteran mountaineers, leaders, and small teams. Please join one of our climbs and get to know our program and where you can best fit. Understanding our mission, vision, and desire for future growth will help you understand how you can be a part of that. We are not only looking to expand our global reach and climbing portfolio but to also sustain our legacy climbs.