10 Essential Questions: Kat Schonberg-Hamar

Meet Kat Schonberg-Hamar, a chef who loves exploring new things in the kitchen and in the mountains.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
October 08, 2021

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

Name: Kat Schonberg-Hamar
Pronouns: She/her or they/them. Either are fine.
Hometown: The west coast: born in Enumclaw, grew up in Santa Cruz, CA and Kailua-Kona, HI with summers in Petersburg, AK. I've really come full circle around the Pacific West.
Member Since: November 2018 
Occupation: Chef
Favorite Activities: Skiing, hiking, and scrambling

10 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

I sing in a couple of barbershop a cappella groups, and a chorus friend was always posting amazing photos of her mountain adventures. I told her that I wished I had the skills she does so I could go on epic adventures too, and she told me about the Mountaineers. I signed up for the Scrambling Course, and just keep taking courses. Now I’m a hike leader!

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET OUTSIDE WITH US?

Being outside recharges my batteries and makes my soul happy. And getting out with the Mountaineers ensures that I have the skills to be safe, and a group of supportive companions to help me do more than I ever dreamed I could.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOUNTAINEERS MEMORY?

This summer during CHS I got to hike with a small group of people I had gotten to know well up Sourdough Mountain on one of the hottest days. It was a huge challenge, the trail is very steep, and it was hard to stay hydrated with all the sweating on a hot day. I had doubts along the way whether I could make it to the top. But the payoffs were so worth the effort: juicy berries, wildflower meadows bursting forth, incredible views in every direction, and the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top. Sharing the experience with friends I made through CHS just made it that much more special.

Who/what inspires you?

Mountaineers volunteers! So many everyday heroes who work a regular job and then on the weekends keep pushing their limits, developing their skills, learning new things, and sharing their love of the outdoors with us. I have learned so much from the passionate and generous volunteers that give their time to this organization. It’s so inspirational that I decided I need to give back, which is why I became a hike leader.

AS A DONOR AND VOLUNTEER-SUPPORTED ORGANIZATION, THE MOUNTAINEERS IS BASED ON COMMUNITY SUPPORT. HOW HAVE YOU PAID IT FORWARD, OR HOW HAVE YOU BENEFITED FROM SOMEONE ELSE PAYING IT FORWARD? 

I have learned so much from the Mountaineers community. Navigation skills, how to identify the plants and animals I see outside, how to assess avalanche risk, how to use an ice ax, just to name a few. I'm very excited to become a hike leader and find more ways to give back.

WHAT DOES ADVENTURE MEAN TO YOU?

Adventure is about pushing myself a little bit beyond what’s comfortable, to do something something slightly scary or unknown. So much of life is predictable, it’s routine. For me the richest things in life are beyond predictability, the moments where I get to explore that which is new and fascinating. As a chef that could mean trying a new dish or flavor combination, and as a mountaineer that could be deciding which approach to take on a scramble. Maybe the flavor combination doesn’t work together, or the route you chose gets cliffed out, but you never know unless you try it out!

LIGHTNING ROUND!

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Smile or game face? Smile
What's your 11th Essential? Cheese! 
What’s your happy place? Ski slope, pow day! :) 
Post-adventure meal of choice?  Something cheesy! Pizza, Mac and cheese, cheeseburger. Just make sure there’s cheese.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Big mountain free skiing


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!