10 Essential Questions: Tom Lawler

Meet Tom Lawler, a conservationist from Louisiana who considers friendship to be his 11th essential!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 12, 2020

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

Name: Tom Lawler
Hometown: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Member Since: January 2016
Occupation: Conservationist
Favorite Activities: Mountaineering, bird watching, fishing, running, hiking, stewardship

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

After witnessing a fatal accident while scrambling in the United Kingdom during my graduate studies, I knew I needed more community and safer instruction to continue exploring the mountains. I took an AmeriCorps position in 2015 at a Seattle nonprofit next door to the Seattle Program Center in Magnuson Park. The following year I joined The Mountaineers to take the Compressed Alpine Scrambling Course. I also gave my time to help instruct Wilderness Navigation and help with first aid scenarios, which I still do today. I took Basic Alpine Climbing last year in Tacoma and try to be a regular face at that branch.

What motivates you to Get outside with us? 

I am a conservationist by trade and after spending all week outside working, I sometimes have no desire to be anywhere other than my couch on the weekends. But my friends and community in The Mountaineers continue to motivate me to get outside for fun! I am so grateful for these connections and this achingly beautiful region we call home. I love tapping into kindred mountain-spirits.

What's your favorite mountaineers memory?

My favorite Mountaineers memory was bagging Ingalls Peak last year. I attempted it in 2016 after a full summer season building the new trail on Mailbox Peak (over 100 nights spent on the mountain that summer!). Something was off that day and I bonked somewhere in the mist and rain. It was such a bummer and I vowed to make another attempt one day. It was my first summit after taking the Basic Alpine Course exam in 2019, three years later. It was incredible to send it, especially among new adventure buddies in the Tacoma Branch.

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 received a scholarship to complete both the Compressed Alpine Scrambling and Basic Alpine Climbing Course. I pay it back by volunteering for youth groups, navigation courses, and first aid scenarios at the Seattle and Tacoma clubhouses. I try to do it at least once a month. The Mountaineers is my community and I enjoy being part of it in stewardship.

What does adventure mean to you? 

For me, adventure is creativity and independence put into action. Especially if it gets you out of your comfort zone.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Other: early bedtime before an alpine start

Smile or game face? Other: victory dance
What's your 11th essential? Easy, it's friendship!
What's your happy place? The Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River. Anywhere back in there is beautiful. I've worked on many of the trails and enjoy the mountain views and big trees.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Sea Kayaking - I'd like to do the Inside Passage and take a side trip for Spirit Bears.

Lead Image: From the bayous of Louisiana to the summits of Washington. Courtesy of Tom Lawler.

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