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Advice on finding an adventure mentor? From: an eager to learn solo hiker

Hey there! My name is Shelby, and I love to adventure (mainly hiking, backpacking, fishing, kayaking, and I recently picked up climbing and biking). I moved to Colorado 2.5 years ago solely for my love of the mountains and the outdoors. I do majority of my hiking/camping/backpacking alone (not really alone, I usually have my furry adventurous companion with me) because my friends are not interested in waking up at 4am to go on a 10 mile day hike or spending more nights in their tent than a bed. Their loss, right? However, there is so much I want to learn and experience, and while I love my alone time in the backcountry, I feel I could really benefit from having a mountain mentor to learn from their experiences. Does anyone in this community have any tips on finding someone like this? In the age of Covid it definitely seems to make it a bit more difficult. Thank you so much for your time in advance!

17 Replies

Ryan van Duzer is probably the nicest/friendliest person I have ever talked to, and is always looking for adventure buddies. Hit him up on Instagram 

Thank you!

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Welcome! What exactly are you looking for? Hiking and backpacking tips or mountaineering training? Someone to hike with or just info? I’m in SoCal and could help with info and tips. 

Hey there! I'm looking for a little of everything honestly. I would love to get deeper into mountaineering training at some point but don't think I'm there yet. Would love to chat with you about backpacking info/tips! 

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Those 4am wake-up calls are a hard sell for a lot of folks! I haven't yet found a consistent hiking buddy/mountain mentor, but these are the things that I'm currently doing:

  • Bribes. Beg your closest friends to get up early anyway and bring coffee, trail snacks, surprise them with a cooler full of cold beer, etc etc. You'll be the mentor here, but at least you're getting outdoors!
  • Aggressively follow through when you meet someone like-minded. Text them frequently, ask about their adventures, and be persistent until they agree to hike with you!
  • Join your local trail community! Washington state has WTA.org, where hikers often post trip reports. I'm starting to match hikers that I met on the trail with their trip reports, and this is where I'm learning the most from more seasoned hikers. This is a long con toward finding a mentor, but will hopefully pay off! 

Best of luck finding the advice and company that you're looking for. It's definitely a challenge!

Thank you ChelsE, these are awesome tips! I like the mentality of being your own mentor through helping others and self-teaching while we look for mentors for ourselves. Its also hard to make new friends in the time of covid, so I appreciate your advice to "aggressively follow through" 😂 thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to me. Appreciate you and wishing you the best of luck as you look for one too!

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Start on small trails and maybe you will meet someone out there. Ask people you know to go on simple hikes- maybe they will begin to love the outdoors. I am on instagram and here under the same name and willing to help out anyone! And if none of those ideas work, there's no shame in finding someone you admire and asking them for outdoor advice.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out, I appreciate this advice! I may be reaching out to you on IG to discuss further, thank you again 🙂 

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Seasoned mentor seeking mentees - and I will be in your general area June - mid-July.

I will explore the Pecos Wilderness near Santa Fe and Las Vegas New Mexico for about 3 weeks and then I will head into Colorado to climb the Buffalo Peaks and then Mount Sopris near Carbondale.

In answer to your main question, I have sought mentoring over the years and have found good mentorship rare. I have found some powerful mentors however. There doesn't seem to be a particular pathway to finding mentorship that has been successful for me. Seems hit and miss. Good luck.