About Earth Treks
Our Mission is to share our passion for climbing.
Our Core Values
- Partnership: The team comes first. We treasure the opportunity to work together and know that by building relationships, we can overcome great challenges.
- Passion: We are self-driven. We chase experiences, improvements, interactions and wisdom with adventurous hunger. Passion fuels our confidence, creates excitement and is most importantly contagious.
- Perseverance: There is no destination—only the journey. Success is achieved by bringing the very best of our physical, emotional and intellectual gifts to every challenge and every relationship.
- Vision: We strive to see ahead and see the whole. Insatiable curiosity fuels our search for wisdom and ensures we never stop evolving.
Climbing and community go hand in hand.
A climbing gym is the perfect place to build a community. As the Earth Treks tribe has grown, we’ve been able to open more gyms across the country. And by bringing the mountains to the people, climbing is having a bigger impact on the world. Staying true to our mission and core values after nearly thirty years in business has helped us build a company that we’re proud of.
We built our foundation on blood, sweat—and toilet paper.
Earth Treks was launched in 1990 by Chris Warner. He had just returned from climbing new routes on peaks in the Himalaya and wanted to share the power of climbing with as many people as he could. He emptied his bank account ($592), grabbed an old rope and a duffel bag full of gear and began the entrepreneurial adventure. With the help of friends (Earth Treks’ first guides), we dreamt of building not just a guide service but a community of climbers who pushed each other to be the very best people (and climbers) they could be.
Earth Treks started by taking people to the mountains. In the early 90’s we were guiding a few hundred customers on three continents. Sharing our passion for climbing was literally changing people’s lives. But it was when climbers figured out how to take the mountains to the people that things got really exciting. Trapped in a blizzard at 14,000 feet on Denali, Chris and a client worked on a business plan for a climbing gym.
The only paper they had was toilet paper, so they scribbled numbers on that. On the sixth day of the storm, the client made a deal: “get me off this mountain and I will lend you the money for a gym.” The next day the clouds parted and a year later we were building the Columbia, Maryland gym. That gym was opened in 1997. Today there are five Earth Treks Climbing and Fitness Centers, in three states. While we were building the gyms, Chris kept climbing. He was the 9th American to summit Everest and K2. He was the 1st American to solo an 8000 meter peak (a non-stop 34 hour ascent and descent of the South Face of Shisha Pangma). In total he has summited five of the 8000 meter peaks and more than one hundred peaks above 19,000 feet. He has lead over two hundred international expeditions, guided the first ever reality TV show on Everest and produced an Emmy nominated film of his K2 expedition for NBC.
After 25 years of leading mountaineering trips (the team guided over 250 international expeditions on five continents) Earth Treks shut down the international business to focus on growing a national chain of climbing gyms. But we will never lose the inspiration that the big mountains give us: it is in our DNA. We still believe that the secret to life is to climb, play and grow.
We believe in the transformational power of climbing. And our mission is to share that passion with our communities. Since our inception, Earth Treks has helped raise over one million dollars for cancer research and treatment. We’ve given over $300,000 in charitable donations to climbing nonprofits. And we’ve donated to thousands of local fund raisers.
More importantly, members of our team have served on committees, participated on boards and volunteered time. If the impact is greatest through service, we will sweat for the cause. Our charitable priorities are driven by this formula: serving the greatest number of people, while targeting the causes we feel most passionate about.
Causes we support:
- National nonprofit climbing organizations, including The American Alpine Club, The Access Fund (and regional affiliates), Paradox Sports, Big City Mountaineers and Outward Bound
- Cancer-based nonprofit organizations that bring people outdoors like First Descents, Survivor Summit, Climb for Hope, Livestrong, and Pelotonia
We also support the growth of our staff through climbing adventures with the Earth Treks Avi Sengupta Climbing Scholarship. This scholarship honors the life and memory of beloved ET employee, Avishek “Avi” Sengupta. From a young age, Avi understood the incredible impact climbing can have, and shared his passion with everyone he met. We hope to continue to pass on that spirit.