10 Essential Questions: Karen Wallace

Meet Karen Wallace, a 2-year member from Bellevue whose favorite memory involves a hike where no amount of weatherproofing could keep her dry. She loved it.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
October 01, 2018
10 Essential Questions: Karen Wallace
Photo courtesy of Karen Wallace.

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

Name: Karen Wallace
Hometown: Lake Hills neighborhood in Bellevue, WA
Member Since: September 2016
Occupation: Managing Broker with Windermere Real Estate
Favorite Activities: Scrambling, skiing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, and exploring new places

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

A friend suggested I join. While scoping out Mountaineers.org on a guest membership and deciding whether to join or not, a friend and I decided to “hike” Kaleetan Peak. Once we got past Melakwa Lakes, there were a few challenging maneuvers, but my friend and I agreed to continue. Right before the final ascent of Kaleetan, a group of Mountaineers appeared, what seemed like, out of no-where. (It was Stevie, Eunice, Vineeth, Keith, and Turner ascending the infamous White Ledges!) They noticed that my friend was a little nervous, so on that final ascent, they smoothly guided her up, had lunch with us at the top, and then smoothly guided her down. How cool was that?! The clouds even cleared long enough for views. I officially joined The Mountaineers the week that followed.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

What motivates me is the commitment of the leaders, volunteers, and participants who share a wealth of valuable knowledge and experiences to make us better and smarter on our outings. Thank you everyone! Also motivating is the variety of opportunities available for getting outside and staying active.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

There are many to choose from; however, my favorite memory was walking down West Tiger Mountain #3 on a dark, rainy, winter evening with a group of fellow scramble students during a conditioning hike. The weather was super crummy and wet. In fact, just that afternoon, my boss glanced out the window, looked at me like I was crazy, and said to me, “You’re going hiking today?”. I still went and on the top portion of the trail there was wet, heavy snow. The snow had slimy traction and was full of puddles so all the weatherproofing in the world did not keep feet dry. Our group was totally soaked to the bone. When we got back down to the bottom half of the trail, I ended up a few yards ahead of the group. What I heard behind me as we walked through the calm darkness of the woods with our headlamps shining was happy chatter among the others and, of course, mention of food. I knew I was hanging out with the right people!

Who/What inspires you?

Our amazing group of volunteers and leaders who patiently teach us skills, best practices (don’t point that ice ax!”), and have a willingness to answer lots of questions is the “who inspires me” part of the question. As for what inspires me, it would be standing or sitting atop of a rock, peak, or mountain with an amazing view especially when some extra effort went into being there.

What does adventure mean to you?

To me, adventure means taking on or trying something new or different. It is not routine and excites the senses.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Not that I am a morning person, but hiking or climbing in the dark morning hours for a sunrise is pretty cool, so sunrise!
Smile or game face? The moment someone’s game face turns into a smile.
What's your happy place? It’s when I stop in the present during an adventure, smile and feel both joy and gratitude for just being out there. There’s usually an amazing view too, but sometimes it is the physical act of doing something new or different like summiting a mountain after putting on snowshoes for the first time.
Post-adventure meal of choice? If near North Bend, I like to start with a hot fudge milkshake from Scott’s Dairy Freeze before moving onto a main course.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? A rock climber or extreme skier like in the Warren Miller movies I grew up watching.

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    Heather Rein
    Heather Rein says:
    Oct 05, 2018 08:15 AM

    Karen is a great hike leader. She is positive and upbeat and treats you as if you belong even if you are slow. She makes a point to talk to everyone on each hike and to get to know them.

    Louise Kornreich
    Louise Kornreich says:
    Jun 29, 2019 12:55 PM

    Karen is the most enthusiastic person I've ever met! Happy we have her as a Mountaineers leader.