The Mountaineers is involved in so many different types of activities, it can be hard to know where to begin. If you are interested in trying a new activity, you can sign up for any of the Getting Started Series courses or trips. If you are interested in joining other Mountaineers members in an activity in which you have significant experience, contact the Committee Chair to find out how to get involved. We also encourage you to join a New Member night to learn more about all of your membership benefits.
There are a variety of activities at the Mountaineers. Here is a glossary to help you navigate through our many offerings!
- Course – Open to all members who meet age and skill prerequisites, courses are skills-based programs that usually involve a combination of lectures and field trips (Some courses in the Getting Started Series are exceptions to this).
- Seminar/Clinic – Open to all members who meet age and skill prerequisites, seminars and clinics are skilled training usually comprised of three or fewer individual sessions.
- Trip – Open to all members who meet the age and skill prerequisites, trips are short (several-hour to three-day) activity-based excursions. Some examples are hikes, climbs, kayak trips or ski outings.
- Field Trip – Field Trips are components of courses that involve hands-on training, and are therefore only open to students enrolled in the corresponding course.
- Lecture – Also open only to students enrolled in the corresponding course, a lecture is an element of a course or seminar that involves training inside at an in-town location (lecture, workshop, discussion, etc.).
- Meeting/Event – This category is used for committee meetings and other activities that do not fit any of the other categories. Click on the description to discover whether the meeting/event is open to all members or just to members of a specific committee.
- Outing – a flexible “umbrella” category for activities that are usually week-long or longer and will ultimately be comprised of several individual activities. For example, a week-long climb outing to Yosemite National Park is scheduled. Click on the description to discover whether the meeting/event is open to all members or just to members of a specific committee.
- Social Activity – an in-town activity that is mostly for socializing (movie nights, parties, course graduation/reunion, etc.) Click on the description to discover whether the Social Activity is open to all members or just to members of a specific committee.
- Weekly Social Activity – a category for use by social activity committees to more easily find and track their weekly activities (e.g. Green Lake walk, volleyball and tennis, etc.).
All of our easy, non-technical trips are open to all abilities and have no prerequisites. This includes all Hikes, easy Snowshoes and any Nordic (classic or skate) Ski. All trips, courses and other events that have prerequisites are noted as such in the course description.
All courses, trips and other events are open to adults ages 18 and up. Many non-technical outings are open to members ages 14 and up, and we also offer family programs, which include adults with younger children. Oftentimes courses are open to youth ages 14-17 with special parent permission. Please contact the committee chair to arrange this!
We do offer equivalency certification for our courses in many cases. To ensure the safety of all participants we expect that everyone has the necessary skills. To gain equivalency, you may be asked to demonstrate your proficiency with certain skills.
To find about more about how to request equivalency, start a new discussion on help.mountaineers.org and we'll get you started. Be sure to include the that course or activity that you are interested in if you know it.
The Mountaineers does not rent gear. However, we have close relationships with many local vendors who do, and our staff and volunteers can point you in the right direction. Many of our Getting Started Series programs include Mountaineers gear that you can borrow. Mountaineers members also receive discounts on gear rental and purchase from Outdoor Research and backcountry.com. For more information, see our Member Discounts page.
Absolutely! Mountaineers members can participate in activities at any Mountaineers branch.
The Mountaineers is proud of our tradition of helping outdoor enthusiasts of all ages develop into excellent outdoor leaders. Leading trips is not only a great way to get involved, but it gives members an opportunity to keep their skills fresh. Each committee has its own leadership development structure because each activity has a unique skill set needed. To become a trip leader, start by attending some easy trips in your area of interest and get to know the committee members. You can always contact the committee chair with specific questions.
We welcome guests to join all activities and courses that do not have prerequisites. (on occasion there will be members-only events and courses, but these are noted in the description) Enrollment is easy: your guest can obtain a guest membership online for free, and enroll just like a member would. Fee-based courses will list a member fee and a non-member fee. Guests are welcome to try two Mountaineers activities, whether they are courses, trips or seminars. We hope that our visitors will enjoy their time as Mountaineers guests so much that they will sign up for a membership!
Great! Talk to your activity leader or the relevant subcommittee chair. They are always interested in hearing about how to improve courses and encourage participation.
Check the activity description on the website or in the GoGuide. Trip leaders will explain the activity, as well as note any prerequisite courses or certifications you’ll need to participate. When browsing our trips, note that they are rated for their difficulty. If you are unsure what the best fit is for you, start easy! Because these outings are free, you can attend as many as you like. So start easy to get a feel for our outings, and that will help you gauge which type of trip is best for you. If you still have questions, contact the trip leader!
While we do our best to keep out course names consistent across branches, sometimes there are slight variations. If you run into this, please contact the Program Center.
Some committees do offer refresher courses, however one of the best ways to brush up on a skill is to offer to assistant teach. You’ll find that the skills come back to you quickly, and teaching under lead instructor mentorship allows you to further your understanding of the skills. You can find out how to brush up on the skill you’re looking for by contacting the chair of the respective committee.
The Mountaineers are committed to helping our families and communities enjoy the outdoors together, and instilling in our children a passion for responsible recreation and stewardship. While many of our trips are designed for adults who can be responsible for their own safety, we also offer a variety of family outings and youth programs. To find a kid-friendly outing or a youth program, check out our Youth and Family page on the website.
Although many of us at The Mountaineers love dogs, we ask that you leave Fido at home when you join the Mountaineers for courses, trips or other activities. Because many of our programs happen in remote areas that have rules prohibiting dogs, or requiring dogs to count toward the maximum party size, we find that our programs are more successful without the responsibility of a dog, cat, iguana, ferret, or whatever pet you may have. However, we do occasionally offer hikes with dogs, and they are noted in the trip listing. Service animals are always welcome, and we ask that you notify the trip leader in advance if you plan to bring a service animal.
The 10 Essentials are items that The Mountaineers recommends everyone have with them at all times on any trip. The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place that can be very wild and unpredictable at times. Part of taking responsibility for your own safety is being prepared with the 10 Essentials all the time. This is equally true on short, local trips as it is on long backcountry trips. People have a higher tendency to forget first aid kits, warm layers and other important items on shorter trips, but a short trip can quickly turn to a long trip if the party gets lost. The best rule of thumb is to remember your 10 Essentials at all times. If you are missing one of the 10 Essentials or have questions about them, contact your trip leader before the trip.
The Mountaineers has a long history of high quality training for all of their leaders. Mountaineers Leaders go through rigorous training and are required to have significant experience in whatever activity they are leading. We have a history and reputation for extremely safe courses, and our Safety Committee examines our procedures annually. We are not a guide service, and we expect participants to come ready to learn and ready to accept responsibility for their own safety and that of their team. This model of team responsibility is time tested and has proven to create an extremely safe environment in all of our activity areas. Additionally, it helps students and novice participants understand how to play safely on their own, when they are not with the Mountaineers.
Typically, no. Most trips, or outings, are free for members. Participants are expected to pay for their own transportation, food and personal gear.
Most courses that qualify members to participate in technically skilled outings charge a participant fee. We are able to keep our fees much lower than what is typically charged in the industry because they are run by volunteers. The fees cover overhead and equipment costs. There are many introductory seminars that are offered free to our members, and most of our outings are free for members.
Easy! Check our bi-monthly publication, the Mountaineer, or search our website. Occasionally, activities are added after the Mountaineer is published, so the website will have the most up-to-date schedule of Mountaineers activities.
When registering for a trip online or over the phone, you will be given the option to carpool (it's not mandatory, but is recommended - and good for the planet!). You can specify whether you prefer to be a rider, driver, either or neither. Carpool assignments are usually done the day before a trip, or Fridays for the weekend outings. These assigments are available after 1:30 pm by calling, checking your profile online, or visiting the office.
We try to arrange carpools according to proximity of driver and rider (you designate your carpool area on your profile page), but sometimes there are circumstances which make this difficult. If this is the case, we will then try to put you in a carpool that still makes sense and is relatively convenient. Often, riders and drivers will pick a meeting spot, such as a Park & Ride or a restaurant parking lot.
Carpoolers are asked to inform us (via their online profile or calling the office) of any changes in their status (cancellation, arranging their own rides, etc) prior to the time we assign riders. Riders and drivers are also expected to share the costs of gas.
To check on your carpooling assignment, start at your account page. Everything you are signed up for is located under "Upcoming Activities". Find the correct activity and click on the "Carpool" link. This will remind you of carpooling preferences for this particular activity. After carpooling is assigned (Fridays after 1:30 p.m.), you'll be able to see your driver/rider status and the contact information for those members in your carpool.
Currently, members are welcome to use the climbing walls during Open Climb Nights (typically every Friday night from 6-9:30pm). Ropes are provided, but members must bring their own harnesses, belay devices and climbing shoes. Members who are not experienced belayers are encouraged to sign up for our Learn to Belay class prior to attending a club climbing night. Members who are interested in using the wall at a time other than a club climbing night should call the program center to inquire about permission and scheduling.
All of our courses are planned and led by experienced and knowledgeable volunteers. They design schedules that they believe will work best for the largest number of participants, and which don’t conflict with related courses. Often, courses have multiple meeting dates to accommodate different schedules. And certain courses require specific weather conditions to run, and so can only be offered at specific times of the year. Committees are always happy to have feedback on how they can improve their course offerings; consider contacting the relevant committee or sub-committee chair if you have suggestions.