10 Essential Questions: Tom Robey

Meet Tom Robey, a Backpack Leader who enjoys planning easier trips for youth and families to experience backcountry overnights.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
December 17, 2021
10 Essential Questions: Tom Robey

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

Name: Tom Robey
Hometown: DC/Chicago suburb/Pittsburgh, but Seattle is “home”
Member Since: February 2017
Occupation: Emergency Physician
Favorite Activities: Backpacking, snowshoeing, natural history


How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Our family joined The Mountaineers when we signed my oldest son up for summer camp, but we didn't really get involved until we joined the Pathfinders youth program. We quickly found The Mountaineers to be a supportive place for kids to learn and challenge themselves. Connecting with this community opened up other opportunities to take classes, lead trips, and get outside in new ways I'd never considered.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

The Mountaineers has enabled my son and me to learn amazing skills and build strong relationships. I never imagined myself a climber, yet I've developed enough skill that at Vantage this month I cleaned the kids' routes. Whether climbing or summiting a tough route, there's just the right amount of supportive risk-taking to get me dreaming of the next crag or peak. I go places with The Mountaineers that I'd never go on my own.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

As we drifted off on an alpine backpacking trip, one of my sons told me that trip was the highlight of his life.

Who/what inspires you?

Definitively the backcountry! I am most at peace traversing lush fern gullies, inspecting tiny alpine florets, or taking in the majesty of cloud-shrouded peaks. Getting to these spots motivates my commitment to fitness and mindfulness. Photos capturing either recent or next year's summits on my workstations ground me during shifts and remind me of personal goals.

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'm excited to be part of community-building efforts that involve kids and families. I have been a backpack leader for two years and plan easier trips for youth and families. It's rewarding to be part of someone's first overnight backcountry trip. I'm looking forward to helping with the Backpacking with Kids workshop in the spring.

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure is the means to connect with nature, and helps me find myself.


Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Smile or game face? Smile
What's your 11th Essential? My top-secret fish seasonings
What’s your happy place? Gold Creek Valley on a clear day
Post-adventure meal of choice? Chicken Shawarma
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Scrambling

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2022 issue of Mountaineer Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our magazine archive.