10 Essential Questions: Claire Mitchell

Meet Claire Mitchell, a 4 year member from Queens, NY, who came out west to discover nature and found inspiration in the strong, fierce women she met in The Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
April 28, 2017
10 Essential Questions: Claire Mitchell
Photo courtesy of Claire.

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to ....

Name: Claire Mitchell
Hometown: Queens, NY
Member Since: October 2013
Occupation: Attorney at Stoel Rives LLP
Favorite Activities: Climbing glaciers, hiking in the Cascades, backpacking on long weekends, snowshoeing on blue sky days, photographing the natural world, drinking beers around a campfire

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Growing up in the very urban Queens, New York, exploring the wild outdoors was not a fundamental part of my childhood. But after moving here in 2011, I quickly realized the fun to be had while on trails, in the mountains, and surrounded by nature. After two years of hiking, I was ready for a greater challenge and an opportunity to learn new skills. I signed up for the Basic Alpine Climbing course in 2013, and the rest is history.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

It really depends on the day. Sometimes being outdoors is my time to reset and restore after a trying week at work. Nothing heals the spirit quite like a quiet, rainy forest. Sometimes I want to meet new people and I sign up for a hike or scramble or a more social outing with the Mountaineers. And sometimes I just want to get out my ice axe and crampons and show the mountains what I can do.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

There have been so many! Can I do my top three? (1) Being completely exhausted and yet laughing until I cried with Meredith Trainor in a tent in the wettest snow ever on the way up the Walrus Glacier on Clark Mountain after a day of slogging through slide alder, mud, and hail only to be turned around the next day due to even worse weather. (2) Grabbing burgers and beers at the North Bend Bar & Grill with my Basic Alpine Climbing SIG after our Thursday night conditioners and eating most (all) of Chuck Sidlinger's tater tots. (3) Kissing my boyfriend after we successfully summited Mount Olympus (it was our first glacier climb together!).

Who/What inspires you?

I am particularly inspired by the strong, fierce women I've met through The Mountaineers. They are my climb leaders, my hiking partners, my instructors, and my friends. Over the years they have pushed me to get comfortable being out of my comfort zone, to not give up, and to develop a whole new appreciation for "Type 2" fun.

What does adventure mean to you?

To me, adventure starts in a huddle of cold Mountaineers at the 65th Street Park and Ride or at 2:00 am by headlamp on the side of a mountain or at a trailhead with a heavy pack loaded with gear. It's this feeling of exhilaration you get knowing that there are challenges ahead, but that those challenges will take you to magical places.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
Smile or game face? Smile.
What's your 11th essential?  Ear plugs! Listening to a flapping rain fly all night or a snoring climbing partner before an alpine start does not make for a pleasant night's sleep. I always bring a pair when I'm camping so I can get some solid rest.
What's your happy place? Inside my zero degree bag after a day in the alpine.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Navigating with a map and compass. It's such an important skill and one that tends to deteriorate due to lack of use. I would love to always be able to find my way without relying on any electronics.

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