Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Meet The Mountaineers Board of Directors, view our governing documents, and learn about our "at large" committees.


The Mountaineers Board of Directors is responsible for determining the future direction of our organization, controlling finances, making rules, and determining policy for property and programs. 

Terms of office vary by position, and elections are held every October to fill vacancies. If you are interested in joining the Board or want more information, please contact our President.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS - 2021  Meeting schedule

Board meetings begin at 6pm and generally run until 9pm, and we will held via Zoom Video. We also host two Board Retreats every year (which are noted with an asterisk in the list below). Board meetings are not open to the public, but members of our community can ask to attend. If you have any questions regarding a Board Meeting please contact Ken Mullins for more information. 

New officer terms officially started March 7, 2020.

  • January 21
  • March 13*
  • May 20
  • August 19
  • October 21
  • November 12-14*

* Denotes Board Retreat, not open to the public

Vik SahneyVik3.jpg

President (2020-2022)

Member Since: 2010

Vik Sahney believes that an outdoor life is a life well lived and seeks to inspire and enable others to reach their outdoor potential.  Over the last 4 years Vik has held senior roles at REI Co-op leading overall strategy and sustainability.  Prior to REI, Vik was an Associate Principal in McKinsey & Company’s Seattle Office, where he spent 8 years consulting for global industrial clients including in China, Australia, and the UK. He holds multiple degrees in engineering and business from the University of Michigan and MIT.

Vik's outdoor adventures include high altitude mountaineering, where in 2011 he became one of ~350 people and the first Indian-American to complete the 7 Summits, summiting the tallest peak on each continent. Vik serves on the Board of Director's for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, The Mountaineers, and the American Alpine Club.  He is a graduate of the Mountaineers Intermediate Climbing and Climbing Self Rescue courses and is a Climb Leader.  His present outdoor interests include waterfall ice climbing, trad rock climbing, and he aspires to be a real trail runner.  He lives in Seattle with his wife and two young daughters.


Vice President (2020-2022)

Member Since: 2010

 Gabe Aeschliman is currently a Philanthropy Officer with The Wilderness Society helping develop relationships between people and their public lands. Previously, he was the Sr. Philanthropic Advisor with Seattle Foundation advising individuals, families and groups on effective philanthropic strategies, and leading the environmental grantmaking work. He received BA in History from California State University, Sacramento. With strong ties to California, he often finds himself hiking and climbing at destinations along the West Coast. 

peter hendricksonPeterHendrickson_Web.jpg

VP of Branches (2020-2022)

Member Since: 2005

A member since 2005, I’ve instructed navigation, snowshoe, hiking and scramble classes scores of times and served as Seattle Branch Chair, Navigation Chair, Secretary, and Branch Leadership Committee Secretary. I’ve scouted, led or co-led at least 40 hikes each of the past few years.

A Peak Society member, I am a 2014-2019 Super Volunteer. I have a life-long interest in outdoor pursuits and am an Eagle Scout and past Scoutmaster. Climbing days in the U.S. and South America are behind me, but scrambling, hiking, kayaking, and backpacking fill many days.

Founding editor of the online Navigation Northwest, a quarterly newsletter/journal, I was the content specialist for Mountaineers Books’ Wilderness Navigation eLearning project, and served on the Mountaineer magazine advisory board.

I am keen to strengthen branch/staff/board relationships and to support efforts to reach out to underserved members of the larger community who would find joy and fulfillment in outdoors activities. I also support greater efforts to provide professional development, recognition and reward to our volunteers, particularly their leaders.

In my professional life I am a UW Affiliate Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery where I research traumatic brain injury in the U.S. and Latin America. My earlier career in education focused on curriculum, instruction and assessment. A past president or chair of many professional and community organizations at the national and regional levels, I am a program evaluation contractor. 

My wife and I operate a small, grassfed beef farm in Redmond.  We travel extensively to Europe, Asia and South America for professional duties and to trek and scramble in the Alps, Andes and Himalaya. Cities intrigue me and I’m still walking my way around the NYC borough perimeters and have walked the Thames from source to barrier dam. We have seven children and 10 grandchildren—all hikers, some climbers. We build wooden kit boats and also volunteer with Washington Water Trails Association.    


VP of Outdoor Centers (2018-2022)

Member Since: 1999

Carry’s love of the outdoors started with childhood hikes to the Paradise Ice Caves on Mount Rainier with her family. In 1999, she joined The Mountaineers to take the sea kayaking course through the Tacoma branch, and has gone on to graduate from the Seattle basic and intermediate climbing courses. She loves sharing the outdoors with people, which is why she is an active climb, scramble, ski, and photography leader.

"I am deeply inspired by the community of people in The Mountaineers - by their enthusiasm, accomplishments, friendships, and love of adventure. I am humbled by the opportunity to help the club continue to grow and thrive.”

When she is not volunteering with The Mountaineers, Carry is a practicing attorney. Prior to becoming an attorney she spent nine years working as a marketing executive for MSR, Cascade Designs, Cascade Bicycle Club, and other local companies.

Don heck

Treasurer (2019-2022)

Member Since: 1979

Photo and bio coming soon!

ROGER MELLEMRogerMellem_Web.jpg

Secretary (2020-2022)

Member Since: 1985

Roger Mellem is a longtime mountaineer, and Mountaineer. In 1974 he stood with the late Willi Unsoeld and two others on top of Laila Peak (Rupal Valley) in northern Pakistan. At 6,132 meters (20,118 feet) high, and with two ice falls each as large as the Nisqually ice fall on Mt. Rainier, this beautiful Himalayan peak had never before been climbed. In 1998, Roger passed Basic Equivalency and enrolled in our Intermediate Climbing course. A member of the Peak Society, Roger has been an active member of our event fundraising committees for the past several years. In 2018, he was appointed as an At Large Member of the Board, and currently serves on our Governance Committee and the Litigation Committee.

A former Outward Bound instructor, and later a member of the Northwest Outward Bound School’s Washington advisory board, Roger appreciates the value of outdoor education and supports The Mountaineers’ mission in this regard. An avid wilderness conservationist, Roger is past President and Board Member Emeritus of Washington Wild, a conservation organization with which The Mountaineers regularly partners to advocate for protection of our threatened public lands. He is also a member of the international Leadership Council of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Roger is a member of the Executive Committee of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, a Seattle law firm where he practices securities litigation. He earned a Master of Studies in Law Degree from Yale Law School, and a J.D. from the University of Oregon Law School. Roger’s combination of mountaineering, conservation, outdoor education, fundraising, legal, mediation, and board leadership experience should continue to benefit The Mountaineers.

RICH JOHNSTON Rich Johnson Formatted.jpg

At Large Director (2020-2023)

Member Since: 1994

Rich is the owner of the Vertical World, America’s First Indoor Climbing Gym. Rich has many years in non-profit organizations in the outdoor industry. He was a founding Board Member of the Climbing Wall Association, and Chairman for 17 years. He served as a Board Member for the Outdoor Industry Association from 1995-99. His combination of business experience and non-profit governance in the outdoor industry will be brought to The Mountaineers Board.

Rich has a strong relationship with The Mountaineers and believes in the heritage, legacy and values that the Mountaineers brings to our community.

Personal Statement: I was born in Seoul Korea, moved to Oregon in the sixties, and then on to the Puget Sound area in 1970. I graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a degree in Political Science and Economics. In 1981 I moved to Seattle and began an early career at a law-firm. It was at that time I found my passion for alpine climbing, and spent many years bush-whacking and climbing peaks in the Northwest. When I started the Vertical World in 1987 I developed a love for rock climbing and traveled around the country testing my amateur skills on everything from multi-pitch trad routes to sport routes and bouldering. I am honored that I have the potential to bring my outdoor business and non-profit knowledge to The Mountaineers, and to be with like-minded enthusiasts who have a passion for the outdoors.


At Large Director (2018-2021)

Member Since: 2016

Growing up in the PNW, Brynne Koscianski fondly remembers ascending to the top of a neighbor's basketball hoop via Texas prusik - practicing before a family climb of Mt Baker. A second generation Mountaineer, she recently graduated from the intermediate glacier travel course and is working to become a climb leader. Brynne enjoys climbing, trail running, skiing, and paddling around the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband Ryan, heeding the call of their family motto: "it doesn't have to be fun to be fun".

A graduate of Yale University, Brynne is a product development leader at Amazon where she leverages customer-centric design to develop and launch new products. Passionate about advocating for women and girls in the outdoors, Brynne has also served on an advisory council for Girls on the Run, a non-profit organization inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident through running.

"My favorite Mountaineers photo is from 1911, showing a group of men and women climbing Paradise Glacier in Mount Rainer National Park. Balancing on a high heeled boot, a woman jumps across a ridge in the snow - her long wool skirt pulled taught mid-stride. As thankful as this photo makes me for modern climbing gear, it also reflects something I love about The Mountaineers: from the beginning, this community has been formed with the values of equality. 16 years before women had the right to vote in Washington State, we made up nearly half of the 110 founding members of The Mountaineers. I'm proud to follow in the footsteps of these female adventures, risk-takers, and leaders, and appreciate the power of the outdoors to generate meaningful connections across a diverse community. We come together through the common language of exploration, perseverance, and love for our wild places."

Mark kroeseKroesebyKroese.jpg

At Large Director (2018-2022)

Member Since: 1998

Mark Kroese has been exploring the high and wild for 40 years. He thrives in the confluence of outdoor adventure, visual storytelling and environmental goodness. Mark has travelled extensively — from Chamonix to Madagascar — and considers himself lucky to have seen some of this planet’s most exotic and pristine places. His idea of a good time is a well-planned adventure gone awry.
Mark began his career in the ad agency business, and then spent twenty years at Microsoft. Post Microsoft, he has worked at several tech start-ups, consulted with growth companies in the outdoor and active lifestyle space, and spearheaded a large “REDD+” land conversation project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  
Mark has climbed a lot of mountains, his book, Fifty Favorite Climbs in North America, was published by Mountaineers Books, and he recently completed a term as President of the American Alpine Club, an organization that supports climbers and the conservation of mountains landscapes. Mark has also served as Vice President of the Access Fund, and is an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University, and has served on The Mountaineers Books Governance Board.
Mark believes we are at a unique point in history – one where we have unprecedented technology and tools to develop innovative solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Mark resides in Bothell, WA, but he spends as much time as he can in the mountains.

Maya Magarati Maya Magarati Formatted.jpg

At Large Director (2020-2023)

Member Since: 2004

When I traveled from the Himalayas to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of higher education under a Fulbright sponsorship, little did I know that I would make the Cascades my new home and raise my family here. I was born to the indigenous Magar community in a remote mountain village in the Baglung district of Nepal from where the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges stand tall in the distance. Seeking formal education opportunities took me to Kathmandu valley (Jesuit-run St. Mary’s girls’ school), Australia (University of Newcastle, Bachelor of Health Sciences in Nutrition) and the United States (University of Washington, PhD in Sociology).

Before attending the UW, I worked with UNICEF Nepal as a consultant to the Nutrition program, and as a program officer at Rural Reconstruction Nepal, a NGO.

Currently, I serve as an affiliate Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Research Scientist at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute in the School of Social Work, and Seven Directions: A Center for Indigenous Public Health Institute in the School of Medicine. I am also an affiliate faculty member in the UW’s Nepal Studies Initiative. My scholarship intersects sociology and public health in addressing social inequities by examining social and environmental determinants of health, with an intention of fostering knowledge democracy.

I believe that as an integral part of the local, regional and global eco-systems, we have the responsibility and the agency to take care of the places we live and recreate in: the trails we hike or wheelchair; the mountains we climb; the rivers/lakes/seas we swim, fish, and boat; the forests we forage and the air we breathe. In Nepal, I served as a camp counselor raising awareness about environmental conservation among middle school children in different parts of the country. In 2015, I co-founded Nepal Seattle Hiking Community and have organized and led many hikes and outdoor activities introducing hundreds of multi-generational families of Nepali heritage to the beautiful wild places in Washington State with the ultimate goal of inspiring environmental conservation awareness and actions. The last three years, I have also had the honor of serving on The Mountaineers’ Advisory Council. In addition to hiking and backpacking in state and national parks, forests, coasts and islands, I enjoy helping my partner take care of the plants and vegetables that we grow organically right in our backyard which provide food not only to us but also to the bees, butterflies and birds.

STEVE MCCLUREBoard of Directors Steve McClure

At Large Director (2016-2022)

Member Since: 2010

After growing up with the 2nd edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, Steve was honored to be given the opportunity to extensively rewrite three chapters for the 9th edition of Freedom released in 2017. He also contributed to the Mountaineers' new Crevasse Rescue Pocket Guide: A Field Reference. Steve has been an instructor for Scrambling, Climbing, Wilderness Navigation, and GPS courses. He was the Co-Chair of the Intense Basic Alpine Climbing course, and is active with the Navigation, Alpine Scrambles, and Climbing Committees. With the Seattle Navigation committee, Steve is deeply engaged in modernizing our Wilderness Navigation course, following the blueprint in Freedom 9. In 2019, Steve completed the fourth and final leg of the cross-country "Sierra High Route," first publicized in The Mountaineers title of the same name.

Steve is a CPA and has served as CFO or Controller for several companies including Esterline Technologies (aerospace), Valve Corporation (video games), and Cascade Designs (outdoor equipment manufacturer). He served on the finance committee from 2010-16 and was Board Treasurer from 2012-2016.

Personal Statement: “Growing up in Seattle I gained an early love of our wild spaces from Scouts and from being in a family of hikers and skiers. The first ‘peak’ I aspired to summit was the top of the Snoqualmie’s Thunderbird ski lift which looked formidable from the rope tows below. In addition to hiking trails all over the western US, I’ve always been intrigued by the spaces between the trails where few venture. Being part of The Mountaineers has given me the skills and confidence to visit those spaces while also igniting a passion for sharing and teaching outdoor skills to others.”

JOHN OHLSONBoard of Directors member John Ohlson

At Large Director (2014 - 2022)

Member Since: 1999

John started his service as a director in 2009 and served a term as Board Secretary. He has chaired the Building Operations Committee, served as a Seattle Branch Safety officer for several years and has taken on multiple responsibilities within the Seattle Climbing Committee where he is a Climb Leader. He also keeps his Mountaineers burner going at other levels, as a  Freedom 8 & 9 author and Part 1 Chair, and with his involvement in the program center renovation and construction of the center’s climbing walls. He holds electrical engineering degrees from MIT (SB) and Stanford University (MS, PhD).

"I grew up in Seattle, learned to climb with the Sierra Club, was a Professor and telecommunications executive, then retired and returned 17 years ago, embraced our courses and learned much. I enjoy volunteering for The Mountaineers as a payback. I consider us an activities-based organization with vital educational and conservation roles, which I embrace and support."

"I offer my corporate skills in decision-making, marketing, negotiations and consensus management. I have an unyielding view of budgets (every operation’s true cost must be visible), many years of managing multi-million dollar budgets, plus a fervent belief that leadership is action, not just a job title."

"Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory."    --Ed Viesturs, No Shortcut to the Top.


Manisha PowarManisha1.jpg

At Large Director (2020-2023)

Member Since: 2008

Manisha moved to the Pacific Northwest to live here and fell in love with the mountains. Over the last few years, she has instructed many courses, led trips and served as the Secretary on the Board of Directors of The Mountaineers. Manisha believes in empowering everyone to pursue outdoor activities. Having made lifelong friends at The Mountaineers, she loves sharing her experiences with other students and community members. In addition to outdoor education and activities, Manisha loves food, travel and learning new skills.

paul stevensonPaul Stevenson Formatted.jpg

At Large Director (2020-2023)

Member Since: 1990

Paul initially joined The Mountaineers to enroll in the sailing classes taught out of Shilshole Bay. Paul admitted he had no boating skills - so felt it was time to learn from the experts. One fun outing led to another, and soon Paul was going out on basic climbs. But there were so many cool more technical climbs Paul was soon immersed in the Intermediate Alpine Climbing program. Eventually Paul was leading both basic and intermediate level climbs, plus helping to teach in the climbing programs where needed.  His involvement as a climb leader was a continuation of a life-long desire to give back to the community in areas or activities Paul is passionate about.

Paul loves to spend as much time outside as possible, which started with numerous family skiing, camping, fly fishing and hiking trips. Paul learned to climb at the early age of 15 when he enrolled in the Spokane Mountaineers basic climbing program. His passion for climbing eventually opened up two opportunities for Paul as the “rock jock” member for the American Alpine Club sponsored expeditions to Pumori in Nepal and Broad Peak in Pakistan.

Paul has an undergraduate degree in Finance from Washington State University, plus an Executive MBA from the University of Washington. Paul enhanced his financial analytical skills by pursuing the 3-year CFA designation. Paul’s love for investments, soon lead to a successful career managing bond investment portfolios. Eventually he led a highly talented team overseeing over approximately $22 billion in investments. 

Paul currently serves on The Mountaineers Finance Committee, plus enjoys helping volunteering with the local Trout Unlimited chapter with fish rescue and stream restoration efforts.    

Paul now resides in Sun Valley, Idaho with his high school sweetheart plus their hound dog Maggie. Paul is still very involved with all his lifetime outdoor pursuits, but now they are just outside his door.

KARA STONEBoard of Directors Kara Stone

At Large Director (2014 - 2021)

Member Since: 2012

"For all of us that consider time outdoors essential to life and have found assurance and stability in the unpredictable environs of the mountains; there has likely been an influential person or organization that has connected us to the outdoor lifestyle. After a childhood filled with camping in Michigan; for me it was my sister, Krista, who introduced me to the joys of skiing, backpacking, climbing, and biking in the mountains. It was this foundational influence that also fueled my career choice to link millions of co-op members to the outdoors via my role as the REI Flagship General Manager here in Seattle.

"For over 100 years; through remarkable volunteer leaders, the very best in outdoor books, and the endless array of classes and programs, The Mountaineers have provided the vital influence for countless adults, children, and families to safely connect with the outdoors and even more importantly, to each other! I am thrilled and extremely honored to be a granted the opportunity to serve The Mountaineers members and the outdoor community on the board of directors. It is serendipitous; as REI and The Mountaineers have a long history of affiliation that dates back almost 75 years. I am proud to be a part that strong history of partnership; as both organizations have been fixated on getting people outside and protecting our wild places for future generations. I am excited to contribute to the continued health of The Mountaineers; as our capacity and potential to deliver on our core purpose is profoundly important to me as an avid outdoor enthusiast as well as an outdoor industry professional."

STEVE SWENSONSteve Swenson Profile

At Large Director (2014- 2021)

Member Since: 2010

Steve has been climbing all over the world for 46 years and retired from a 35-year career as a water resources consulting engineer.  He joined The Mountaineers in 2012 when he was the President of the American Alpine Club in order to better coordinate climbing related issues and programs on both a national and regional level.

"I joined the board because I’m interested in the challenges facing The Mountaineers to provide instruction to the new generation of climbers who start out in indoor gyms.  I’m also interested in addressing the challenges of building a younger and more diverse membership."

'The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.' Pablo Picasso

siana wongsianaWong_Web.jpg

At Large Director (2019-2022)

Member Since: 2014

Siana Wong joined The Mountaineers in 2014. She has since completed Olympia’s Basic Climbing, Beyond Basic Rock, and Backcountry Ski courses, Tacoma’s Sailing course, and Seattle’s multi-pitch course. Siana is currently an Olympia Intermediate Climbing student and volunteers with Olympia’s Basic Climbing and Winter Travel programs. In 2017/2018, Siana served as the Olympia Branch Chair. 

Siana is from the great state of Oklahoma, and earned her B.S. in Environmental Science at the University of Oklahoma. She earned an M.S. in Environmental Science at Western Washington University. For a few years between her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Siana worked for the National Park Service at Yellowstone, Crater Lake, and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, and later for The Nature Conservancy in southern Oregon. Siana currently is an environmental scientist at the Washington State Department of Ecology in Olympia, a career which allows her to travel and study in all parts of Washington State. For the past several years, she has served as a board member of the Washington State Lakes Protection Association. Siana’s diverse professional interests in the environmental field have inspired her passion for the outdoors, and vice versa.

Personal Statement: I joined the Mountaineers because I was attracted to the many courses offered by the club and the sense of community for people wanting to get outdoors. Serving as the Olympia Branch chair was an outstanding opportunity to learn about and help support the programs run by so many passionate volunteers, as well as learn more about the organization as a whole. I would be excited and honored to continue down this path by serving on the Mountaineers Board of Directors.

maura rendesMauraRendes_Web.jpg

Director - Bellingham (since 2019)

Member Since: 2017

Maura fell in love with the incredible Pacific Northwest outdoors when she moved here after growing up recreating in rural Northern California. After a first decade exploring from home bases in Seattle and Tacoma, she moved to the Bellingham area and joined The Mountaineers. Through the Basic Mountaineering Course and the Bellingham branch, she found instant community and a new backyard with seemingly endless potential for adventure. Now an Intermediate Mountaineering Course student, Maura is honored to represent the branch on the Board of Directors.

When she’s not climbing, trail running, mountain biking, skiing or traveling, Maura works in Communications for the Brand Stewardship and Impact division of REI Co-op. She believes strongly in the transformative power of the outdoors, and loves building strategies, telling stories and bringing people together for experiences that unlock this potential.

With the profound ties between the outdoors and physical and mental health, Maura believes that making the outdoors for all is an urgent opportunity. In service to this, she strives to apply lenses of conservation, access and inclusion to everything she does.

Matt Vadnal

Director - Everett (since 2016)

Member Since: 1980

Matt Vadnal first joined The Mountaineers in 1980 when he moved from Pittsburgh to explore the mountains and waters of the Pacific Northwest. Job and family obligations curtailed his outdoor activities until 2000 when he became a Co-Coordinator and Lead instructor for Everett’s Nordic Ski Course.

Currently, Matt leads hikes and cross-country ski trips.  He has completed the following courses:  Alpine Scrambling, Avalanche, Back Country Skiing, Basic Climbing, Sailing, Sea Kayaking and Snow Shoeing. From 2005 through 2016, Matt served three “tours of duty” as the Everett Branch Chair. 

During his legal career, Matt was a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Snohomish County and a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor. He also served as a Judge Advocate (JAG) officer in the Army Reserve attaining the rank of full colonel.

James hendersonJames Henderson Edited.jpg

Director - Foothills (since 2020)

Member Since: 2015

James is a native of the Pacific Northwest and was born and raised in Washington State. His earliest outdoor explorations were with his Dad and Grandfather hiking and scrambling in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and national parks.

James has been a member of The Mountaineers since 2015. He is grateful for the skills and support The Mountaineers staff and volunteers have provided to help him reach his mountaineering goals and is very excited about this opportunity to give back to the organization by serving on the Board representing the Foothills Branch. He strongly supports The Mountaineers vision and works to pass on those values to the next generation of Mountaineers. During his time outdoors, James enjoys hiking, backpacking, scrambling, and, most of all, backcountry skiing.

Professionally, James’ focus is working with communities to reach their economic and workforce development goals. Through this work he has gained experience in government and non-profit management, fiscal analysis, strategic planning and operational management. James has founded offices and programs in both city and county governments and nonprofits focused on economic and workforce development. He is passionate about working with local communities to help them define their goals, develop strategies, and implement projects for the betterment of the community.

James is married to his wife Melissa, a local stage and screen actor, and is a proud father of their daughter Madeleine and the family’s big Newfoundland dog, Guinness.

Jerry LoganJerry Logan_Web.jpg

Director - Kitsap (since 2019)

Member Since: 2013

Jerry Logan hails from South Dakota and served around the world in the United States Navy Submarine Force for 30 years, retiring from active duty in 2014. His command tours included submarines USS BREMERTON (SSN 698) and USS MICHIGAN (SSGN 727) and Submarine Squadron 19.

His first view of Mount Rainier was from the bridge of USS SAN FRANCISCO during an inbound transit of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. He and his wife Teresa moved to Bremerton in 2009 where he joined the crew of MICHIGAN as commanding officer and gained a truer appreciation of the Pacific Northwest.

Jerry joined The Mountaineers in 2013 to take the basic climbing course with the Kitsap branch to climb Mount Rainier without need of a guide. He has since completed the Intermediate climbing course, chaired Kitsap’s Wilderness Navigation committee from 2015 to 2018, served as the Kitsap Branch Chair from 2017 to 2019 and is part of the Alpine Ambassadors. Jerry has also been a member of Olympic Mountain Rescue since 2015 and is proud of the partnership he has helped develop between The Mountaineers and OMR that resulted in the Kitsap branch’s development of its program center that is shared with OMR.

Jerry holds a BS Degree in Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a MA degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College. He consults with companies doing high risk and high consequence operations to improve performance and reliability based on the principles developed by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover and the U.S. Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program that have been key to the success of the U.S. submarine force for over 60 years.

“I am beginning to understand the beauty of The Mountaineers and look forward to learning more about all we do and contributing to our future success as a member of the board.”

mike kretzler

Director - Olympia (since 2020). Picture coming soon!

Member Since: 1998

I was introduced to the outdoors as a Boy Scout growing up in Seattle and inspired to go into the mountains by Fred Beckey’s “The Challenge of the North Cascades.” While I have left the climbing behind, I still use those skills to hike, backpack, snowshoe, and trek locally, around the West, and internationally.

I’ve been involved in the Olympia Branch as past council secretary and chair, and serve on the Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Risk Management Committee, and the Safety Committee. I founded Olympia’s current Basic Navigation course and teach basic navigation skills for the Wilderness Skills course. I lead hikes for the Conditioning Hiking Series, snowshoes for the Winter Travel course, and backpacks for the Backpacking course. Before the pandemic pre-empted international travel, I was gearing up to lead my first international trip for the Global Adventures program.

I retired from state service in 2017, after 30 years in information technology, working as a programmer, project manager, program manager, and enterprise architect. I look forward to helping to strengthen the bonds between volunteers in the branches, staff in the program center, and the board of directors.

alex cowenAlexCowen_Web.jpg

Director - Seattle (since 2019)

Member Since: 2016 

From being a student to an instructor and volunteer in the Seattle Branch, Alex has been grateful to The Mountaineers for so many opportunities to explore the Pacific Northwest while learning and helping others learn.

He’s been avidly hiking since elementary school, slowly venturing to nearly every notable summit in the Northeastern US. Along the way, he also volunteered with regional outdoors groups, including leading trips for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) and serving on the board of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK).

“The Mountaineers is such a great organization. It introduces new generations to the outdoors through its programs and publications, is actively working to make the wilderness accessible to everyone in the northwest and continues to protect our wild places through advocacy and outreach. I am honored to represent the Seattle Branch and to continue volunteering in support of the club overall.”

Mark KerrMark Kerr_Web.jpg

Director - Tacoma (since 2019)

Member Since: 1996

Mark E. Kerr is an avid lifelong outdoor enthusiast, constantly inspired by organizations which promote and educate individuals to enjoy unimpaired access to the natural world. In addition, he feels a particular kinship with experiencing the outdoors though human powered activities. In college he started working in outdoor education at Philmont Scout Ranch, the BSA’s premier High Adventure base and has spent the last 30 years traveling, learning, and exploring.  

His outdoor resume includes multiple personal trips both within the United States and internationally. He also credits a lifelong need to continually learn which has led to multiple classes and guided trips with: the Wilderness Education Association, Outward Bound, Wilderness Medicine Institute (now with NOLS), American Alpine Institute, American Sailing Association, and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education among others. 

Professionally he is a Registered Architect with the National Park Service (NPS) in the Western Pacific Regional Office, a Lieutenant Commander (LDCR) in the reserve component of the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, and a National Fellow of The Explorers Club.

Personal Statement: The older I get, the more I appreciate the simple things, like spending my free time, in a tent, with my wife of 23 years, three children, and our chocolate lab.  I joined the Mountaineers to feed my constant curiosity of learning to thrive in the outdoor environment and to give back for all the inspiration and knowledge I’ve received since I bought my first copy of ’Freedom of the Hills’ at the Denver REI store in the 1980s. (The brown, hardcover 4th edition edited by Ed Peters.) I still have my well-thumbed copy and have read and re-read it so many times I lost count. I’m thrilled to be the Tacoma Representative to The Mountaineers Board of Directors.


Youth Board Representative (2021-2022)


Board Fellow (2021-2022)


Board Fellow (2021-2022)


Chief Executive Officer

Please see the Staff page for details.





Tom HellebergTomH.jpg

Publisher and Director of Finance & Operations, Mountaineers Books

Please see the Staff page for details.