Mountain Hardwear and American Mountain Guides Association Announce LGBTQIA2S+ Climbing Instructor Course

July 1, 2020

Richmond, Calif. (Julio 2, 2020)– Mountain Hardwear, in collaboration with American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and guidance from Lila Leatherman at Lamella Consulting has announced a three-day climbing course instructed by and in celebration of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. AMGA has offered the Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) rock climbing courses since 2008, but with financial backing from Mountain Hardwear, this will be the first course with a direct invitation to the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

The course will take place in Joshua Tree, California on October 2, 2020 through October 4, 2020 offering a unique opportunity for climbers to learn in a queer- and trans-centered environment. AMGA has been working to create more affinity spaces and programs, including the women’s SPI course, and identified a need for this community. From the provider to students, this course aims to create an entry point for future instructors and guides.

“We’re grateful to be partnering with the AMGA to offer this collaborative climbing course,” said Matt Burbach, Director of Brand Marketing at Mountain Hardwear. “Our mission with this course is to increase the visibility and mentorship of LGBTQIA2S+ guides and instructors, while providing a welcoming environment for the LGBTQIA2S+ community.”

The climbing course will be instructed by AMGA Rock Instructor and SPI Provider, Sean Taft-Morales. This three-day course will not only cover the traditional SPI curriculum but will include a facilitated evening with our community partner and MHW Ambassador, Nikki Smith.

“I started climbing in 1992, and went on to build an incredibly well-rounded career despite a tremendous amount of homophobic and transphobic comments from my climbing partners, consonant homophobia in guidebooks and route names, and an underlying sense that I’d never be accepted in the climbing world if I came out,” said Nikki Smith, Mountain Hardwear Ambassador. “It’s important to me to try to change things for those who are coming into our sport after me. I’m excited to be a part of this partnership between the AMGA and Mountain Hardwear to help support the LGBTQIA2S+ community by creating more visible role models in climbing.”

Along with serving as the sole sponsor for the course, Mountain Hardwear will cover fees for all participants in the inaugural program, not including travel expenses. There are four spots available and applications are open now through July 20, 2020. Current AMGA membership and two-part application are required to be considered.

To learn more about the course, visit https://amga.com/climbing-instructor-program/lgbtqia2s-spi/

To apply for the course, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScMoN5FkstKE4I-XD_lrgz6k9AGr81L1uZ8NMXaJWrfj9cFZQ/viewform

Press inquiries or for additional information on Mountain Hardwear, please contact Ashlee Peterson at APeterson@mountainhardwear.com

About Mountain Hardwear

Mountain Hardwear, Inc., founded in 1993 and based in Richmond, CA, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear Company that distributes its products through specialty outdoor retailers in the United States and 34 countries worldwide. We build essential equipment for climbers, mountaineers, and outdoor athletes and have supported expeditions on the world’s highest peaks. This level of technical precision continues to inspire everything we do. Our designers challenge every stitch and detail to continuously improve both function and comfort. www.mountainhardwear.com