10 Essential Questions: Meredith Trainor

Meet Meredith Trainor, a 8-year member and the Executive Director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, in Juneau, who keeps her connection to The Mountaineers alive by recruiting our members, one by one, to move to Alaska. And we love her for it!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
February 09, 2018
10 Essential Questions: Meredith Trainor
Photo courtesy of Meredith.

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

Name: Meredith Trainor
Hometown: Glen Rock, New Jersey, but Seattle was the first place that really felt like home
Member Since: October 2010
Occupation: Executive Director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC), a conservation nonprofit based in Juneau, AK 
Favorite Activities: Mountaineering, cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, rowing, running, and mushrooming and fishing (these days)! When I lived in Washington I was completely devoted to glacier climbing, and often said snow is my medium. I love all snowsports, and, as a climber, trust snow and ice in a way that I never learned to trust rock.

Editor's Note: Meredith will be in Seattle on February 22, 2018 for the  premiere of SEACC's new film, "Irreparable Harm". Join her.

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I moved to Washington from the east coast in 2010, and was surprised to find that the high points of mountains were covered in ice and snow even in summer. I had gotten pretty into backpacking and hiking back east, but couldn't safely summit here without knowing more and, being new to town, didn't have anyone to teach me, so I started looking around for classes. I found The Mountaineers the day after Basic Climbing applications were due my first year here, to my great disappointment. So instead, I took the snowshoeing class, and did a weekend-long course in cross-country skiing at Meany Lodge. The rest, as they say, is history.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

I love The Mountaineers more than I can really explain - I met my partner and three of my four best friends through the climbing program, both in the capacity of student, and as instructor of a Basic SIG. I love how the climbing program gradually increases in difficulty, while providing students with appropriately experienced mentors until they themselves become instructors. I appreciate the way the incrementalism of our programming allows each volunteer to find the right level at which to instruct. Personally I loved being a Basic Instructor. I found it particularly gratifiying to watch people become strong, and I enjoyed guiding my students as they took risk assessment and decision-making skills learned in the outdoors into the office. If life is defined by the people with whom we surround ourselves, then my life today has substantially been shaped and defined by The Mountaineers.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

Oh man, there are so many: 

  • On my first attempt of Clark Mountain, I was the Mentored Leader to John Bell (who is marvelous) and we were climbing with my then-climbing student and now close friend Claire Mitchell. We laughed ourselves to sleep while sopping wet and deliriously tired in our sleeping bags.
  • My climbing partner and sister-from-another-mother Leigh Ann Wolfe and I crying with laughter while dousing our tent in Gold Bond foot powder (till the stuff was floating in the air) on our successful, all-woman Denali ascent in 2015, after we decided that pretty much everything could stand to smell a bit better, 20 days in.
  • When Leigh Ann, my now-boyfriend Chuck, and I did a mid-winter road-trip to Ouray to ice climb in 2016. Every single thing about it was epic, and we're doing a repeat this month for the ice festival in Valdez, AK! 
  • My last climb in Washington before moving to Alaska - Mt. Olympus, which we climbed on the 4th of July in 2016, as a close friends climb. Leigh Ann, Chuck, Claire, and Bryn Fluharty (who also lives in Juneau now, and works with me) were all there, and are all friends I made through The Mountaineers. Claire's boyfriend (Chuck's childhood friend, and now my friend) Chase climbed it as his first-ever climb - if he's not in the climbing program yet, I am sure he will be soon!

Who/What inspires you?

Women climbers from the past: women who climbed in hoop skirts, or hob-nailed boots, who menstruated on big mountains while climbing in men's clothes and still kept up with (or exceeded) the achievements of the men they climbed with. Those who traversed Asia in disguise like Alexandra David-Neel, early female big mountain climbers like Annie Smith Peck and Fanny Bullock Workman, and recent ones like Arlene Blum, who was told she could come on a big mountain expedition only as cook staff because she might distract the men, despite having a stronger and better-developed climbing resume. Every foremother who put a crack in the icy-ceiling of expeditionary climbing. Plus a healthy dose of Mardi Murie, Lynsey Dyer, Lynn Hill, and Sheryl Sandberg.

What does adventure mean to you?

My people, the smell of a forest, alpine starts, laughter, healthy stress, leaning in, the breath-taking blue of a glacier, little luxuries like wine in a bladder or fancy chocolate, and the exhaustion of sinking into bed at the end of a weekend with the satisfaction of having lived fully in your body.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
Smile or game face? Game Face.
What's your happy place? On snow, on top of ice, with clouds and the rest of the world below and the sun up high.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato, and French fries. I don't eat burgers and I don't really like beer, so you gotta work with what you've got. That's why I always like to pack a wine or whisky bladder. Let's be real. There's nothing like a bit of whisky while you wait for the couscous to boil.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Backcountry skiing. Holy cannoli. I could go up all day but down is a disaster! How is it so hard?!

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