10 Essential Questions: Courtenay Schurman

Meet Courtenay Schurman, a 25-year member from Seattle who you may recognize from our quarterly Peak Fitness features. She believes adventure means "being present and challenging ourselves to be the best we can..."
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
July 01, 2017
10 Essential Questions: Courtenay Schurman
Photo courtesy of Courtenay.

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

Name: Courtenay Schurman
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member Since: June 1992
Occupation: Conditioning Coach, Author, Mom, Volunteer
Favorite Activities: Scrambling, hiking, climbing, walking with my dog, bird-watching, and geocaching with my daughter

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

It was 1992 and I had just completed my first climb of Mt. Rainier with friends through the UW Oceanography program. One of them pointed me to The Mountaineers as a way to get outside more often. In 1999, my husband and I decided to take the Basic climbing course so we could climb without relying on guide services. That led to taking Intermediate in 2000, getting on the climb leader list in 2003, running a few mentor groups for Basic, and leading our own graduation ice climb on Adams Glacier. In 2004, our daughter was born, so we transitioned to Family Activities and Photography, as well as getting our kid involved in family hikes and eventually, summer camps.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

Initially it was to find like-minded people who wanted to explore cool climbs and be involved in giving back through teaching. Then, with a young daughter, sometimes it was hard to find other families who are into the outdoors. Our daughter’s friends are all into music or sports, so we try to hook up with a family or two who have daughters and who like hiking. 

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

When I think “Mountaineers,” I think of the wonderful mentors who generously shared their time and abilities year after year; people like Dave Shema, John and Debbie Wick, Cebe Wallace, and Timmy Williams (to name only a few) who taught me during my Basic and Intermediate years. They share their skills and experience with people who will be the next generation of leaders. So while I love the mountains and what they provide, I also have fond memories of those individuals who taught me to love the mountains and treat climbing with respect. And who can beat seeing young kids (2-5 year olds) falling in love with slugs, nurse logs, butterflies, caterpillars, and moss? Running Family Activities was as rewarding as it was challenging.

Who/What inspires you?

I get inspired by my clients, daughter, or anyone who struggles to overcome some hurdle or obstacle. By beautiful music. And by beauty in nature. I’ve come to savor beauty, struggle, and solitude more as I get older. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s it was more about “getting to the top.” Now it seems to be morphing into “what unique vista can I see? What wildlife will I be able to learn something from? What can nature teach me on this trip? How can I learn from my mistakes?” It’s ironic but there really is something to mindfulness and paying attention, and maybe age, grace, and wisdom bring them about.

I would also say that my husband is my anchor who is constantly striving to improve both himself and to help those he loves improve as well. He inspires me to find my way past whatever obstacle I face and come out a better and stronger person on the other side.

What does adventure mean to you?

Being present and challenging ourselves to be the best we can while respecting those around us, from people with different views and life experiences, to the animals we encounter, to the landscape we travel through. My family and I will be heading to Madagascar this summer and I want to savor the three weeks as an adventure of a lifetime.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
Smile or game face? Smile.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Froyo.
What's your happy place? Backyard hammock.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Wildlife photography.

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    Anita Elder
    Anita Elder says:
    Jul 07, 2017 09:17 AM

    I love learning more about you, Courtenay! I didn't realize that you and Doug were members long before you came to the Photography Committee potlucks. I hope we see all you back sometime soon (though I know that you live very active, busy lives).