Backcountry Buddy

Discover new partners for outdoor pursuits


Research, Ideate, Design, Prototype

January - March 2021




Backcountry sports, such as ice climbing, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering require a specific set of skills, mental fortitude, and problem-solving abilities. These aren't sports that you (normally) want to do alone, which is why it’s imperative to find a partner with a set of skills, risk-assessment, and experience that aligns with your values.

Problem Statement

Backcountry enthusiasts need a way to connect with partners of similar skill and risk level, so they can achieve their outdoor pursuits confidently and safely.

Design Process

Using the Double Diamond Framework, I divided my design process into four segments:

  1. Discover: User interviews to explore problem statement.

  2. Define: Identify pain points and areas of opportunity.

  3. Design: Ideation to explore potential solutions.

  4. Deliver: Design prototypes to test and iterate.



I conducted interviews with 5 users who were all backcountry enthusiasts with varying ages, locations and backgrounds.


My interview goals were to:

  • Discover how backcountry enthusiasts currently identify partners.

  • Understand which partner criteria is important to them.


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“I think there needs to be a network to bring outdoor communities together. Something other than Facebook... I deleted my account because it became too toxic.”

“There is something missing to connect people together for shared experiences. Sure, I can meet people through an REI class... but how can I vet out people that aren’t aligned with my interests and values?

“My backcountry partner selection process depends on the sport, but: experience, similar risk profile, eagerness and someone who won't quit.”

From my user interviews, I found that my initial hypothesis was correct by confirming that individuals:

  1. Want to connect with partners based on factors, such as: values, risk level, and skill level.

  2. Have difficulty connecting with other backcountry enthusiasts.

  3. Prefer to participate in outdoor activities with another person due to social and safety needs.



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