Our Core Values

First Ascenders’ core values guide and shape our program, from the curricular decisions we make to the relationships we build. We strive to instill these values in our participants as they progress through our program, and we also believe in the importance of modeling these values ourselves. Our pursuit of ambitious, life-changing results requires that we actively live out these values in every aspect of our organization.

WE         CLIMB          T.         R.         A.         D.

Traditional, or “trad”, climbing “is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers places all gear required to protect against falls [...] and removes it when a passage is complete. Important features of trad climbing are a strong focus on exploration, and a strict dedication to leaving nature unblemished.”¹ Though we at First Ascenders employ a different style of climbing for the purposes of gradually and safely introducing our participants to the world of rock climbing, we believe the “trad” approach highlights the respect for our natural environment that we strive to inspire in our climbers.


T – Trust and Teamwork
Climbing demands that individuals entrust their safety to one another. Participants learn the value of building a community of cooperation in which such trust can develop and grow. They come to embrace this value as they overcome the emotional and physical risks of climbing and as they begin to set other goals for their lives.

R – Responsibility and Respect
Relationships provide the platform that sustains and encourages individual and group achievement. We build that platform on the foundations of mutual understanding, owning one’s actions and abilities, and valuing the assets and contributions of others.

A – Adventure and Achievement
Passion and drive sustain us through challenges and keep us focused on our goals.  Participants learn the habits of mind and spirit that will help them act courageously in the face of the unknown – first in climbing and then in life – and continuously strive for improvement.

D – Discipline and Dedication
On a climbing route and in life, the ability to control one’s self — physically, mentally and emotionally – is critical to managing problems and to meeting one’s goals.  Building this discipline and dedication is a process requiring tireless and continuous effort, particularly when one faces daunting challenges.  We model this value and help the participants incorporate it into their lives.