10 Essential Questions: Hong Shen

Meet Hong Shen, a 2-year member from China whose first trip with The Mountaineers was on a "random walk" up Tiger Mountain. She finds inspiration in mountains waiting to be explored.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
May 04, 2018
10 Essential Questions: Hong Shen
Photo courtesy of Hong Shen.

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

Name: Hong Shen
Hometown: I grew up in a little town in Chongqing, China
Member Since: October 2016
Occupation: Consultant
Favorite Activities: I love hiking, scrambling, climbing and backpacking. I would like to do more water-related outdoor when I am better at surviving in the water.

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I hiked with a group of friends. One friend mentioned The Mountaineers to me. I checked it out immediately and fell in love what The Mountaineers offers to outdoor lovers. Without hesitation, I joined.

I have to admit that I might have been interested in mountaineering since I was a kid. My first rope experience was when I was in elementary school. I took my cousins up to a bump (I thought it was a mountain as a kid). I climbed up to the bump myself first, and then tied a rope around the tree (I believe it was a live and big tree), and then roped up my cousins to the bump. A lot of my non-mountaineering friends did not understand that why I loved climbing mountains so much. I guess this story would tell it all.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

What motivates me to get outside with The Mountaineers is the group of volunteers who instruct all the courses and lead trips, the group of people who are in love with nature, exploration, and adventures, and the training programs that empower different skill levels of people to venture out into the nature, and the volunteering opportunities.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

There are so many fond memories since I have joined The Mountaineers. If I must choose, I would choose my first outing with The Mountaineers members. It was a hiking trip on Dec. 23, 2016, led by Barbara Motteler. That is her famous and traditional random walk trip (I found it out later). It was a rainy day before Christmas. I did not know what to expect. Barbara said that everyone would help with navigation. I was a little nervous since I had no clue on navigation. At the trail head, I met Barbara, Sue Shih, Bill Borom, Mark Eiselt, Linda Kuramoto and others. We had usual Mountaineers introduction. It was rainy, but Barbara always has extras for the weather. The little introduction relieved some of my anxieties. Everyone was very nice and easy going.

The random walk meant that everyone got an opportunity to choose their route at a junction. As much as I wanted to delay my turn, I had to choose. I knew so little about the map and the routes, and many thoughts ran through my head. As I looked at the map and hesitated, the rest of team asked "which one would you like, shorter or longer ones?" I said, "short ones". They pointed out one route to me, that was "cableline." I did not know that would be a steep one. Cableline may not be the best route for a rainy and snowy day. Well, the team respected my choice and we went on. They knew what they got into, of course.

Along the way, I chatted with each of them, and tried to remember all the peaks they climbed and scrambled. And more, I learned about the scrambling course, which led to my next level of mountaineering adventure-scrambling. I signed up the scrambling course right after I got back home from the trip. At the summit, Barbara magically took out treats. We enjoyed the treats and hiked back to the trail head from different routes. As boring as anyone would think about Tiger mountain, I was so glad that I went to that trip and met this group of amazing people before Christmas. Each of them has inspired me and mentored me since then. I subsequently went on many trips with them and other leaders, and met many friends and mentors. I graduated from the scrambling course last year, and now, I am a basic climbing student. I would say, " going on a trip in a non-ideal weather is a guarantee that a group of amazing people will be there."

Who/What inspires you?

People who summit the mountains and mountains which await to be explored inspire me.

What does adventure mean to you?

To me, an adventure means going out of our comfortable zones, familiar places and routes. Sometimes, I choose to go to the same mountain, but maybe take a different route or with a different group of people or take in different surroundings. Sometimes, I choose to go to a complete new mountain. The nature offers a lot of magical combinations.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Both sunrise and sunset!
Smile or game face? Smile. 
What's your 11th essential? My kids' baby gloves, perfect for capping the spike of ice axe, and a reminder that mountains will always be there and it is okay to go back later.
Post adventure meal of choice? Wonton soup with the spicy sauce.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Scrambling and climbing.

    Know someone who should be featured?

    Have you had a memorable experience with The Mountaineers you'd like to share, or know someone who should share their story? Submit your info for a chance to be featured!

    Add a comment

    Log in to add comments.
    Ananth Maniam
    Ananth Maniam says:
    May 04, 2018 02:55 PM

    Hong is one of those scramblers, who is always smiling and having fun! Been on a few trips with her. She is cautious and yet adventurous and also accommodating!