Honorary Members

Honorary Members

Honorary members are individuals whose philosophy and deeds uphold the spirit, ideals, and purposes of The Mountaineers in an outstanding manner.
This page uses text from The Mountaineers: A History by Jim Kjeldsen (Mountaineers Books, 1998).

In 1909 The Mountaineers began bestowing the title of honorary member on individuals who had made notable contributions to climbing, to preserving the wilderness, or to the organization itself. Honorary members range from a Supreme Court justice to a woman who began her twenty years of conservation work at the age of sixty-seven to the first American to climb Mount Everest. The reasons for bestowing honorary memberships have been as varied as our honorary members, and provide insight into The Mountaineers’ philosophies. Many of those who received the distinction were regular members of The Mountaineers, while others were not previously affiliated with the organization. Now you can read about our honorary members (listed below with the most recent honorees at the top).

Philip Henderson

Honorary Membership Awarded 2023

In his decades as an outdoor educator, including more than 20 years as an instructor for NOLS, Philip Henderson has had a profound impact on the outdoor community. In 2012, Philip was a member and team leader of the North Face/National Geographic Everest Education Expedition, and in 2013 he became one of only a few African Americans to summit Denali. He led an all-African American ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2018 and served as Expedition Leader of the successful Full Circle Everest Expedition, which saw the first all-Black team summit Mt. Everest in 2022. As a volunteer, he’s dedicated countless hours to support youth around the country in experiencing the power of nature. For these and other contributions to the outdoor community, Philip was recognized by Outdoor Afro in 2020 with a Lifetime Achievement Award. You can learn more about his current work through Full Circle Expeditions, SOS outreach, and the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation.

Reinhold Messner

Honorary Membership Awarded 2015

TIME  called Reinhold Messner “not only the greatest high-altitude mountaineer the world has ever known; he is probably the best it will ever know.” Born in the South Tyrol region of Italy, Messner has has over a hundred first ascents and was the first to climb all of the world's 8000 meter peaks. Messner was the first to reach the top of Mount Everest without oxygen support. He has crossed Greenland, Antarctica, Tibet, the Gobi and Takla Makan deserts all by foot.  He founded and continues to develop the Messner Mountain Museum project in South Tyrol. Mountaineers Books is the North American publisher of fourteen of his more than sixty authored works. His latest is My Life At the Limit.

Jim Wickwire

Honorary Membership Awarded 2010

In 1978, Jim Wickwire and his companion Louis Reichardt became the first two Americans to summit K2. During the expedition, he famously survived an overnight bivouac at 27,000 feet, the highest successful solo bivouac at the time. He completed the first alpine-style ascent of Denali, spending several nights without a tent in snowcaves, crevasses, and open bivouacs. He is the author of Addicted to Danger.

Conrad Anker

Honorary Membership Awarded in 2010

Conrad Anker is an American rock climber, mountaineer, and author. He is famous for his challenging ascents around the world, including mountains in the high Himalaya, Antarctica, Alaska, Baffin Island, and Patagonia. Travel and climbing have inspired his passion for exploring cultures and conservation. He is the leader of The North Face climbing team and the team leader of the Khumbu Climbing School.

Lou Whittaker

Honorary Membership Awarded in 2009

Lou Whittaker has been one of America's most respected climbers for more than four decades. He began his mountaineering career as a teenager in the Pacific Northwest, climbing with his twin brother, Jim. He earned spots on expeditions to formidable peaks in Alaska, the Himalaya, and the Karakoram, and went on to lead the expedition that made the first American ascent of the North Col on Everest in 1984. To Northwesterners, Lou’s name is synonymous with Mount Rainier, where he has guided thousands to its summit since his own first ascent of the mountain at the age of nineteen. Mountaineers Books published his biography Lou Whittaker: Memoirs of a Mountain Guide.

Stanley Engle

Honorary Membership Awarded in 2009

Stanley Engle was a lifelong member of The Mountaineers. He climbed the six major glaciated peaks of Washington and ascended Mount Rainier more than twenty times by many routes, once bivouacking in the summit crater on a winter climb. He helped build the Quonset hut at Camp Schurman on Mount Rainier and was active in Mountain Rescue. He organized many Cascade mountain climbing adventures, summited Alaska’s Denali in 1969, and climbed in the Alps, Kilimanjaro, and the Andes. Stan was also an avid backpacker, runner, cyclist, and kite-flyer, and he served in leadership roles in many citizen organizations advocating for wilderness, parks, and trails.

Tom Hornbein

Honorary Membership Awarded in 2001

Tom Hornbein has been an avid mountaineer since his early teens, and his climbing adventures range from Washington and Colorado to Pakistan, Nepal, China, and Africa. Roughly two weeks after Jim Whittaker became the first American to reach Everest’s summit, Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld, on the same expedition, became the first climbers to summit the world’s highest peak via the dangerous and forbidding West Ridge—a route on which only a handful of climbers have repeated. Hornbein is the author of the highly acclaimed book Everest: The West Ridge.

Ira Spring

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1997

Ira Spring joined The Mountaineers in 1941. His wilderness photographs have influenced thousands of people to enjoy and respect the environment. He is co-author of the well-known and beloved 100 Hikes and Footsore series of guidebooks published by Mountaineers Books, which for more than three decades introduced people to the glories of backcountry travel in the Northwest.

Pete Schoening

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1996

Pete Schoening became a member of The Mountaineers in 1947. He became a mountaineering legend after saving a rope team of six men with his single-handed belay on the sheer slope of K2, the world’s second-highest peak. In 1958 he and Andy Kauffman made the first ascent of Hidden Peak in the Karakoram Range, the only Americans to make the first ascent of an 8,000-meter mountain.

Polly Dyer

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1994

Polly Dyer has been one of the most influential environmentalists in Washington State for more than forty years. Dyer, who joined The Mountaineers in 1950, led the fight in the 1970s to add Shi Shi Beach and Point of the Arches to Olympic National Park, as well as the successful effort to prevent a proposed highway along the wilderness coast.

Maynard Miller

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1993

Maynard Miller, who joined The Mountaineers in Tacoma in 1938, has been on expeditions ranging from Bradford Washburn’s 1940 venture to the Fairweather Range of Southeast Alaska to glacier and geological studies in the Himalayas. His principal focus over the past fifty years has been the relationship between worldwide climatic trends and glaciers.

Dee Molenaar

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1993

Dee Molenaar, who became a Mountaineers member in 1942, has climbed in the United States, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Antarctica, and the Himalayas. His book The Challenge of Rainier, first published by The Mountaineers in 1971 and now in its fourth edition, is the definitive work on the mountain’s history.

Fred W. Beckey

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1992

Fred W. Beckey, a living legend among Northwest mountaineers, is a climber, naturalist, historian, and author. Beckey’s astonishingly prolific climbing career had spanned over 70 years. Beckey has amassed more first ascents than perhaps anyone else on Earth, ranging from the North Cascades to the Himalayas. He is the author of numerous books, including three volumes of the Cascade Alpine Guide (Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3), The Challenge of the North Cascades, and Mount McKinley: Icy Crown of North America.

James W. Whittaker

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1990

James W. Whittaker joined The Mountaineers in 1944. In 1963 he became the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He went on to pioneer the use of climbing to promote world peace, organizing and leading the 1990 Mount Everest Peace Climb in which rope teams that included one American, one Russian, and one Chinese successfully reached the summit. Mountaineers Books published his autobiography A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond.

Jesse Epstein

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1988

Jesse Epstein joined The Mountaineers in 1958 and became one of the most creative leaders in its history. He served on ten major committees from 1958 through 1967 and, as club president in 1968, was primarily responsible for reorganizing its financial structure. He was the guiding spirit behind The Mountaineers Foundation and also helped establish the literary fund, which led to The Mountaineers’ book-publishing program.

Terris Moore

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1979

Terris Moore was a pioneer in mountaineering, credited with first ascents of Minya Konka on the Chinese–Tibetan border, Sangay in Ecuador, and Bona, Fairweather, and Sanford Peaks in Alaska.

Bradford Washburn

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1973

Bradford Washburn headed the National Geographic expedition to explore and map the St. Elias Range in Alaska, but he is best known in mountaineering circles for his exploits on Mount McKinley. In 1951 he was on the first ascent of McKinley’s West Buttress route; his magnificent photos of the mountain drew climbers from all over the world to McKinley.

Emily Haig

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1972

Emily Haig joined The Mountaineers in 1958 at the age of sixty-seven, and for the next twenty years left her mark in the conservation field. She was a founding member of the North Cascades Conservation Council and served on the board of trustees for Olympic Park Associates.

Patrick Goldsworthy

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1969

Patrick Goldsworthy became a Mountaineers member in 1953 and quickly became involved in environmental activism, particularly the establishment of North Cascades National Park. In 1969, the director of the National Park Service appointed Goldsworthy the sole citizen member of the North Cascades National Park master plan team, which planned the park and the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas.

William O. Douglas

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1967

William O. Douglas championed many environmental causes as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. In August 1958, when The Mountaineers and Olympic Park Associates were fighting an effort to build a road along the Olympic National Park ocean wilderness strip from the Hoh River to Cape Alava, Douglas led some seventy hikers down twenty-two miles of beach to protest the action. The road was never built.

David R. Brower

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1967

David R. Brower has been a major figure in the conservation and environmental movement for more than forty years. As the first executive director of the Sierra Club, he brought the organization back to the passion of its most prominent founding member, John Muir. He joined The Mountaineers in 1960.

Wolf Bauer

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1966

Wolf Bauer joined The Mountaineers as a Boy Scout member in 1929 and taught the first climbing course in 1935. Bauer made significant contributions in every area of his expertise: mountaineering, skiing, mountain rescue, kayaking, and conservation engineering.

Howard Zahniser

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1962

Howard Zahniser, who was executive secretary of The Wilderness Society, is considered the “father of the Wilderness Act.” Zahniser established the concept and design of the National Wilderness Act of 1964 and was noted for encouraging organizations such as The Mountaineers to pursue their own goals in establishing wilderness areas.

Edward W. Allen

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1961

Edward W. Allen joined The Mountaineers in 1910 and was a key figure in getting Moran State Park established on Orcas Island. In 1920, as secretary of the state’s Board of Park Commissioners, he was able to push through acceptance of the deed to the property despite the objections of Governor Louis Hart. Allen’s action revived interest in state parks, which had been languishing for years.

W. Montelius Price

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1960

W. Montelius Price was the charter member who first discussed formation of a Seattle mountaineering club with Asahel Curtis during the 1906 Mazamas outing to Mount Baker. Along with Curtis, he is credited with the 1906 first ascent of Mount Shuksan. Price was on the first ascent of Mount Olympus with The Mountaineers in 1907.

Leo Gallagher

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1960

Leo Gallagher joined The Mountaineers in 1919 and devoted himself to the organization. He was chairman of the Tacoma branch, chairman of Tacoma’s Irish Cabin, and headed The Mountaineers’ summer outings on three occasions. In addition, he was a pioneer in nearly every major conservation effort of the time.

John Osseward

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1954

John Osseward set the pattern of factual presentation that was to become a hallmark of effective environmentalism. During World War II, the timber industry wanted to cut lowland forests in Olympic National Park on the pretense that Sitka spruce was needed for manufacturing airplanes. Osseward’s arsenal of facts demolished industry arguments at a hearing before U.S. Representative Henry Jackson of Washington State.

Clark E. Schurman

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1950

Clark E. Schurman joined The Mountaineers in 1936. He was chief guide at Mount Rainier from 1939 through 1942. After his wife died, he devoted his energies to Scouting and to developing mountaineering techniques and a safety-oriented climbing philosophy. Mount Rainier’s Camp Schurman is named after him.

Peter M. McGregor

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1946

Peter M. McGregor was a charter member, an unofficial member of the first six summer outing committees, and on the board of trustees for more than fifteen years. He served as club treasurer and chairman for local walks and was instrumental in helping secure the Kitsap Rhododendron Preserve.

Charles M. Farrer

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1944

Charles M. Farrer joined The Mountaineers in 1907 and was club secretary during the critical period of 1908–14. He was still attending summer outings in 1959, at the age of ninety-three.

Owen A. Tomlinson

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1942

Owen A. Tomlinson, superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park in the 1920s and 1930s, often allied with The Mountaineers in its conservation battles. Mountaineers members and Tomlinson worked together in 1928 to defeat a proposal to build a tramway from the snout of the Nisqually Glacier to the upper bluffs of Paradise Valley.

Harry B. Hinman

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1940

Harry B. Hinman established the first Mountaineers branch, in Everett, in 1910. At the time, there was no provision in the bylaws to allow a branch, but due to Hinman’s efforts The Mountaineer’s constitution was changed to allow them. Mount Hinman in the Cascades is named for him.

Charles Albertson

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1940

Charles Albertson was one of the most active and powerful climbers in the Pacific Northwest in the early days of The Mountaineers. He participated in his first summer outing in 1909, during which he climbed Mount Rainier with the first large party to ascend by way of Camp Curtis.

Asahel Holmes Denman

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1938

Asahel Holmes Denman was largely responsible for the formation of the Tacoma branch of The Mountaineers in 1912. Under his leadership, the branch pioneered winter outings to Mount Rainier and arguably led the way to winter sports in the Northwest. Denman Peak and Denman Falls in Mount Rainier National Park are named for him.

Mary Estelle Wright

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1936

Mary Estelle Wright was a charter member who, with her husband, Seattle lawyer George E. Wright, championed many environmental causes. She had a hand in efforts to build a climbers hut at Camp Muir on Mount Rainier, promote construction of trails, and raise funds for the original Snoqualmie Lodge.

William B. Greeley

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1929

William B. Greeley was chief of the U.S. Forest Service from 1920 until 1928. Greeley promoted the concept of the tree farm, and as Forest Service chief he was sufficiently concerned about the environment that he drew the praise of The Mountaineers.

Samuel Hall Young

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1926

Samuel Hall Young, a Presbyterian minister known as the “mushing parson” for his dogsled travel in Alaska in the late nineteenth century, accompanied John Muir on his explorations of Alaska’s Glacier Bay area and was himself an explorer and naturalist.

John B. Flett

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1922

John B. Flett was a charter member and one of the great early Northwest climbers. In 1894 he led the first ascent of Little Tahoma and, in 1907, he was among the group that claimed the first ascent of Mount Olympus. He eventually became a National Park Service ranger. After retiring he devoted himself to The Mountaineers’ Rhododendron Preserve.

S. Edward Paschall

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1921

S. Edward Paschall was so inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Explorer” that he left Pennsylvania and his life as editor of a country newspaper to head west. His quest led him to Hidden Valley near Chico on the western shore of Puget Sound in 1907. He helped The Mountaineers to acquire the adjoining property, which became the Kitsap Rhododendron Preserve, and fought numerous early environmental battles alongside The Mountaineers.

Major Edward Sturgis Ingraham

Honorary Membership Awarded in 1909

Major Edward Sturgis Ingraham, a charter member, moved to Washington territory from Maine in 1875 at age twenty-three, became an explorer, and was involved in early climbs of Mount Rainier. Ingraham was the source of many of the best-known place names in Mount Rainier National Park, including Camp Muir (the site of an overnight encampment with John Muir), Summerland, and Elysian Fields. Ingraham Glacier is named after him.