Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
At RMI, diversity and inclusion are central to our values. We are focused every day on offering the best climbing experience to all who wish to challenge themselves in the mountains. We have always seen nature, specifically the mountains, as the ultimate equalizer. The mountains do not care about your race, ethnicity, gender, economic background, sexuality, or disability. If the mountains do not want you to summit, no amount of wealth or privilege will get you to the top. But the mountains, and their equalizing power, come at the end of the approach, and what we often forget is that the approach is much longer for some of us than for others. So many of us take our privilege for granted, the privilege that allows us to simply put on our boots and start climbing. But for millions of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, there are countless barriers between them and the mountains. Economic restraints, media that show almost solely white people in the outdoors, a lack of outdoor education, subtle racism on trails and in parks, and many other issues conspire to keep BIPOC out of the outdoors.
According to a 2014 National Park Service Study, 91% of all national park visitors in the Pacific Northwest are white. This needs to change.
We are committed to educating ourselves and understanding the barriers faced by BIPOC in the outdoors. The need for this education can be seen as an indictment of our own complacency over the years. We want to use our voice and our capital in a meaningful way because this issue is endemic. To design and implement the kind of long-term, high-impact program we have in mind, we have created a DEI committee to steer our efforts. We also welcome your suggestions and ideas, as we still have a lot to learn about our privilege and how we can best help our BIPOC outdoor community.
The mountains can provide adventure, fulfillment, growth, and wonder to people of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities. It is high time we help BIPOC communities grasp that potential.
RMI Expeditions has created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee tasked with steering the company's efforts to build opportunity and inclusivity. The committee has identified several main goals for RMI:
- To actively recruit and hire qualified BIPOC, women, and LGTBQIA+ guides. We believe strongly in the unrivaled skill, knowledge, and compassion of our guides. Our goal is for our guide staff to lead the industry in its diversity so that all of our guests see themselves represented.
- Increase participation opportunities for BIPOC, women, and LGTBQIA+ community in the sports of mountaineering, skiing, and climbing. We aim to increase opportunities both through targeted programs as well as representative marketing and social media images of all of our programming so that our programs feel open and welcoming to all.
- Increase leadership opportunities for BIPOC, women, and LGTBQIA+ persons in the outdoors. Our guides are leaders in the outdoor industry and are excited to be a resource to train the next generation of leaders in the industry.
- Acknowledge the history and importance of the Indigenous land upon which we work and recreate. We acknowledge that Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) stands on the ancestral homelands of the Cowlitz, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, Suquamish, and Yakama nations. Indigenous peoples around the world were displaced from their homelands violently, and many if not all of the peaks we climb lie on lands that were wrested from native inhabitants. It is important to recognize this history.
A COMMITMENT TO A BETTER FUTURE
We recognize that realizing our stated goals will take time and patience, yet we also must act with urgency. We commit to the long-term work and improvement that is necessary and pledge to continue to seek knowledge, learn from our mistakes, and push onward towards a better collective future.