10 Essential Questions: Jean Walkinshaw

Meet Jean Walkinshaw, a lifetime adventurer with a family legacy in The Mountaineers who - at 89 years young - proves it's never too late to become a member.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
August 28, 2015
10 Essential Questions: Jean Walkinshaw

For our member profile this week we talked to ...

Name: Jean Walkinshaw
Member Since: December 2014
Occupation: TV Producer
Favorite Activities: Hiking and Biking

10 Essential Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Finally at 89 years of age, I joined the Mountaineers. My father-in-law was an early member and climbed many Northwest peaks. Mt. Walkinshaw in Royal Basin in Olympics was named after him.

My husband  was  an active out-of-doors enthusiast. We always supported the organization, but we were so busy being lone mountaineers, we never joined. Your recent Breakthrough fundraiser  and realizing your positive impact on young people encouraged me to join. I have also been impressed with your wild flower garden, climbing wall, and fine bookstore and library at Magnuson Park.

Note from the editor: The 'Walkinshaw' name appears in numerous editions of our Mountaineer Annual, dating back as far as 1920, when Jean's Father-In-Law, Robert Walkinshaw, first joined The Mountaineers and became a member of the 1920 Outing Committee. In 1921, Dome Peak had been considered for a possible climb as part of the summer outing, yet "the knapsack trip to Dome Peak was considered unfeasible on account of the distance, and so was abandoned," wrote Robert in the 1921 annual. Dome peak would not be successfully climbed by Mountaineers until 1936. 


What motivates you to get outside with us?

Sanity. Since my husband died, I have found that regularly getting outside helps the pain of grief. He and I had spent most every week end in the mountains or by the sea.We started our three children camping at the age of six months and as they grew, we spent most winter week ends skiing at Crystal Mt or in the summer fly fishing and backpacking. Holidays were spent  biking in Europe or living in our Tipi on San Juan Island. For me, nothing can equal the challenges of the outside and the joy and inspiration from living fully in nature.  

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

Although I never was a high mountain climber, I did so vicariously. For public television I was fortunate to produce Rainer THE Mountain and a number of documentaries featuring mountain climbers and Mountaineers. Adventures told by such people as Jim Wickwire, Dianne Roberts and Jim Whittaker, Mike Gautier, Tom Hornbein and then editing and combining their words with superb imagery often provided by talented  photographer Steve Marts gave me powerful memories resulting from being immersed in creating programs with such subject matter. 

Who/What inspires you?

First, my husband who in his law practice and with his true devotion to the out-of-doors  was able to encourage several clients to dedicate their lands to open space such the Nisqually Delta which is now a national wildlife refuge. Second was Floyd Schmoe, first naturalist on Rainier - an author, (Year in Paradise, For Love of Some Island) and a Quaker who combined his love of nature with his concern for people. In 1951 he sent me to Hiroshima to build houses of good will after the bomb.

What does adventure mean to you?

Being willing to risk it, living in the moment and keeping a sense of awe for all things living.



Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
Smile or game face? Smile.
Superpower? To live longer.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Potato chips.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be?  The generation gap is too great, can't answer. 


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Lowell Skoog
Lowell Skoog says:
Sep 01, 2015 08:15 AM

Thanks for this nice article. Jean is a delight.

Minor correction: The first ascent of Dome Peak was in 1936, when the two summits climbed by separate parties from the Seattle and Everett branches of the Mountaineers. They vigorously disputed which party had climbed the higher peak. Probably not the first friendly rivalry to emerge in the club.

Kristina Ciari
Kristina Ciari says:
Nov 21, 2016 09:26 AM

Thanks for the correction Lowell. Updated!