Below you’ll find a list of most frequently asked questions.
If you can’t find the answers to your questions here, please don’t hesitate to call (720) 408-4569 and/or email Rachel, our Summit for Someone Program Manager.
What is a “benefit climb,” and who does it help?
Summit for Someone™ is a fundraising program owned by and to benefit Big City Mountaineers. Summit for Someone is the #1 mountaineering fundraiser in the country, climbing the world’s premiere mountains.
Big City Mountaineers (BCM), a 501(c)(3) non-profit, transforms the lives of under-served youth through wilderness mentoring expeditions that instill critical life skills. We partner with community-based youth organizations and caring adult volunteers who act as mentors in the field to help young people realize their potential. Our curriculum improves integrity, self- esteem, responsibility, decision-making abilities and communication skills in close to 1,000 youth annually. BCM has a proven track record of improving young peoples’ lives with:
• Increased likeliness to stay in school
• Reduction in violence
• Reduction in drug use
Funds raised by Summit For Someone helped provide life-changing wilderness mentoring expedition to teens from youth agencies across the country.
BCM Communities include:
- Denver, CO
- Bay Area, CA
- Portland, OR
- Seattle, WA
- Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
- Miami, FL
- Boston, MA
Who leads/guides the Summit for Someone climbs?
All climbs are led by certified guides/professional guide services who are permitted with perspective land management agencies. Our guide partners for 2017 include: Sierra Mountaineering International, Shasta Mountain Guides, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, Mooney Mountain Guides, International Mountain Guides, Colorado Mountain School, Mountain Professionals and Timberline Mountain Guides.
We choose our guide partners through careful evaluation. Our guide partners are some of the best in the industry with long histories of guiding on their respective mountains.
How much is the minimum pledge amount?
The minimum pledge amount depends on which climb you choose. Pledge requirements range from $1,800 to $8,800 depending on the climb. Check here for pledge amounts for each climb.
Why do the pledge requirements vary?
The pledge amounts vary due to the different cost of each trip. Some are two days, some are four days, some are eleven days, etc. The amount of the pledge is based on the number of days and the cost to run the trip.
Is a deposit required?
You will make your own initial donation of $150 to your climb. This will reserve your spot on your climb and also count towards your fundraising goal. This also makes it easy to ask your supporters to join you with a gift of their own.
What do I get if I raise more than the minimum pledge amount?
You can receive even more gear from our sponsors for going over your minimum pledge amounts. In past years, climbers were sent CamelBak packs, First Ascent jackets, and Sole Footwear for going above and beyond their goal.
When is my fundraising deadline?
All fundraising deadlines are 30 days prior to each climb. If you have not raised your minimum by that point, we will charge you the remaining balance. You are able to continue raising money up to 30 days after your climb. At that point, we will revisit your account and refund any money that you raised in that period (up to your initial donation amount).
How do I get donations and what are some fundraising ideas?
You will be linked in to a “Fundraising Tools” GoogleDrive Account. Feel free to join it now! This Drive includes tips and best practices that climbers have implemented over the years as well as ways to connect with previous and fellow SFS climbers. There are several forums on the Drive to throw in suggestions for improvement and fundraising ideas that are working well for you this can be a collaborative effort. As always, our Summit for Someone Program Manager is just a phone call away for immediate help and suggestions.
How do I get donations?
Ask everyone for help! Throw a fundraising party or raffle with co-workers, friends, and family. Send a personalized pledge letter. Do an email and Facebook campaign. Remember, All solicited donations can be submitted online or by check/money order. Your supporters will receive a tax-deductible receipt with their gift whether they make it on your donation page or send in a check.
Do you accept company match donations?
Your donations as a climber are not eligible for matches since climbers receive goods/services in return. Exception: any donation made by a climber which exceeds a climbers’ minimum pledge obligation is eligible for a match.
Most companies have a match program in place for their employees. The donor will normally need to submit a form, along with their tax-deductible receipt from BCM, to their company to receive a matching gift. We are always more than welcome to help out with any necessary documents. Plus, you receive double for the company match!
Can I raise money after my climb?
Yes. You have 30 days post-climb to continue raising money for your climb. This can be a crucial fundraising period, as you will have pictures and stories from your climb to share- like standing on top with the Summit for Someone Flag!
How do I track my donation totals?
Crowdrise makes it easy to track donations. You will also receive an email every time a donation is made to your climb with the donation amount and donor’s contact information.
What gear will I need to climb?
Gear required varies per climb. Please check specific climbs for a list of necessary gear. It is the responsibility of each participant to make sure they are properly outfitted for their climb. Refer to the Climbs section of here to view required gear lists for each climb. Many guide services will provide most if not all of the technical gear you will need for your climb and you will also receive a great package of climbing gear from our sponsors like Black Diamond and First Ascent.
Can I rent gear?
Most of the guide services offer free rentals to our climbers. If you are in need of gear rentals, please check with the respective guide service a minimum of 30 days in advance of your climb date for gear pricing and/or reservations. Check specific climbs for a list of necessary gear.
Am I qualified to participate in the event?
Each of our climbs requires a varied level of mountaineering experience ranging from beginner to advanced. Please go to The Climbs section of to learn more about qualification requirements. BCM reserves the right to turn down any applicant based on skill level and fitness requirements. Your skills will also be gauged by our guides throughout the Summit for Someone experience. In the event that you pose a risk to yourself or other participants, our guides reserve the right to intervene and reassess your participation in the event. If you have more questions on whether or not you are qualified, please give us a call at 720-408-4569
Are travel and accommodations included in my minimum pledge amount?
No, travel and accommodations are not included and are the responsibility of each climber. BCM will not make accommodations/travel arrangements nor will be responsible for costs and liability involved. It is recommended that climbers arrive at least one day prior to their climb and depart one day post climb. You will be given your specific climb’s travel information upon registration.
Am I guaranteed to summit?
Summiting cannot be guaranteed due to many different reasons which may include, but are not limited to: adverse weather conditions, climber health, snow/ice conditions, experience level of group, etc. Each guide service, however, will do their best to provide every opportunity for the group to summit.
What happens if not enough people sign up for my climb?
Three months prior to each climb, Big City Mountaineers has the right to ask SFS participants to move to another climb of their choice if the climb has 2 or fewer spots filled. The participant must choose a climb that has available spots and is within the skill level of the participant. BCM will reimburse participants non-refundable or transfer costs incurred as a result of airline and/or hotel reservations. All reimbursement requests must be submitted in writing by the participant to BCM and participant must provide proof of their incurred costs. If the participant declines, they have the option to cancel their participation.
What are the major differences between glacier, alpine rock, and expeditions?
Glacier involves snow travel and the use of crampons, ice axe, and rope. Alpine rock is scrambling over boulders/rocks and may include technical rock climbing, depending on the designated skill level of the climb. Expeditions are longer climbs consisting of 5 days or more in length and may include rock and/or snow travel as well. Give Rachel a call at 720-408-4569 and we can talk about the different types of climbs and specifics of the terrain involved.
Do the youth I’m supporting climb with me?
No, the teens do not climb with you. You are strictly raising funds to sponsor a youth agency to participate in a BCM program later this year. We highly encourage you to familiarize yourself with Big City Mountaineers and inspire yourself with stories of our youth expeditions, which you are helping to provide. You are also encouraged to become an adult volunteer and attend one of our weeklong expeditions with teens in your region and witness the effect you are having yourself.
What is your cancellation policy?
There is no guarantee we can backfill your spot should you need to cancel. Consequently, you are still obligated to pay the entire financial commitment of your pre-arranged trip. Your deposit and/or pledges are also NON-refundable. If your pledges fall short at the time of your cancellation, your credit card will also be charged the balance due. If you need to cancel for any circumstance, you will remain obligated to the financial commitment up to your pledge amount. Under no circumstances will any exceptions be made. We recommend you purchase travel insurance through Travel Guard (www.travelguard.com, 800-826-1300) to cover the fundraising goal of your climb should you be unable to participate for any reason outlined in Travel Guard policies. Travel Guard’s Cancel for Any Reason coverage will cover up to 75% of the cost of my trip in case you need to cancel.
Can I climb with my friends?
Yes, you will have the opportunity to sign up to climb with your friends. To be eligible, you must list your climbing partner’s name during the application process. You may also set up your own custom climb with a group of friends or colleagues. We can discuss which mountain you would all like to climb and set up an exclusive climb with our guide service partners for your group.
How many fellow climbers will be on my climb? Will I be in contact with them before the climb?
The group sizes vary depending on the climb. 60 days prior to your climb, you will be introduced to your fellow climbers via email and conference calls and have many opportunities to connect with them in the GoogleDrive. You will also be invited to attend a conference call led by your climb’s guide service a month before your climb. Many climbers arrange travel and accommodations together.
I don’t live in the States. Can I participate in Summit for Someone?
Absolutely. We’ve had many international climbers participate in Summit For Someone climbs. Shoot us an e-mail to learn more!
Are donations made to my own climb tax deductible?
If we are providing a guide, then part of your donation may be tax deductible, depending on the value of the service provided to you and the amount of your donation. To be consistent with IRS requirements, we advise participants that the amount of the contribution deductible for federal tax purposes is limited to the excess over the value of goods and services received by the donor. We provide a good-faith estimate of the value of goods and services received in exchange for your donation. For more information, see IRS Publication 1771.