• About Us

    About Us

About Us



    The Mountain Institute (TMI) was founded on the slopes of Spruce Knob Mountain—the highest point in West Virginia—in 1972. TMI has grown significantly since then and is now known for its innovative programs in the world’s highest and longest mountain chains: the Himalayas and Andes. TMI partners with mountain people to transform their livelihoods and protect their cultures which helps conserve vital natural resources for the planet. The Mountain Institute is the only international non-profit focused solely on mountains worldwide, and actively dedicated to mountain communities and their unique environments.

    We developed our signature approach to protecting mountain ecosystems and improving the lives of mountain people during our original focus in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. From the Appalachians, TMI expanded to work in the Himalayas and Andes, establishing regional programs in each. For over four decades, TMI has partnered with mountain communities in on-the-ground collaborations to help them develop greater self-reliance and a broader understanding of their resource-rich, mountain environments. Together we identify their most critical challenges, developing local solutions that help communities adapt and become more resilient, especially in the context of climate change. As a trusted partner with local communities, we advance programs focused on sustainable livelihoods for farmers, women, and remote villages. These improved livelihoods, in turn, help protect fragile mountain ecosystems.

    Our Institute’s headquarters office is in Washington D.C. with locally-staffed offices in Nepal and Peru. Our educational work in the Appalachians evolved into a new non-profit, Experience Learning.


    The Mountain Institute partners with mountain people to transform their livelihoods, protect their cultures and thus conserve vital natural resources for the planet.


    We are driven by an urgency to protect the value of mountain resources—human, natural, and cultural—in the face of the rapid pace of change in mountains globally. We envision a world in which mountain people strengthen their resilience to thrive economically, socially, and culturally, and are capable of conserving the mountain resources that help sustain them and millions of people at lower elevations.
Since 1972 The Mountain Institute has partnered with remote mountain communities in the highest, longest and oldest mountains of the world. We work together to conserve ecosystems, develop sustainable livelihoods and protect unique mountain cultures.