10 Essential Questions: Erik Swanson

Read about Erik Swanson, a snowshoer, hiker, scrambler, and electrical engineer, on why he's inspired by his fellow Mountaineers.
Kristina Ciari Kristina Ciari
February 27, 2015

For our member profile this week we spoke to Erik Swanson, a bsnowshoer, hiker, scrambler, and electrical engineer, on why he's inspired by his fellow Mountaineers. 

Name: Erik Swanson
Hometown: Poulsbo, WA
Member Since: 2007
Occupation: Consulting electrical engineer
Favorite Activities: Snowshoeing, Hiking, Scrambling

10 Essential Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I had been thinking about joining for a couple years. (And in fact had been involved with the Players while I was in college. I think I remember Johnny Jeans stopping by a rehearsal in the late 1980s to extoll the virtues of joining and taking Alpine Scrambling!). What finally motivated me to join was that I was really enjoying snowshoeing, but I wanted more people to snowshoe with who were willing to gain some elevation in the process. So I joined in order to take the snowshoe courses. 

I instructed on snowshoe course field trips a few times after that. But the big step came when my friend SuJ'n Chon asked me to co-chair the Snowshoe Committee with her. I knew it was going to be a big job, but having a solid co-chair made it so much easier.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

The friendships I've made is a big part of it. But I really enjoy leading trips and instructing because those give me the opportunity to make a big difference in individual and group
safety; helping people learn how to take care of themselves and others, particularly in the winter environment.

Favorite Mountaineers memory?

Successfully constructing and spending the night in a snow cave on the Winter Camping field trip in February 2008. That experience is what convinced me to come back to instruct. I'd had so much fun learning the skill that I wanted to come back and use it again!

Who/What inspires you?

As an instructor, I've been inspired by the type of instructor who is very patient and welcoming to participants who are new to the outdoors and unsure of themselves, creating an environment where the instruction is not about the ego of the instructor, but rather about the progress of the student. We have lots of great instructors like that; Mike Sweeney and Richard Burt come to mind in particular, but there are many others.

What does adventure mean to you?

Using the skills and techniques you've learned, to get out and explore, knowing that you can safely navigate, travel, and deal with an emergency situation. That knowledge yields a confidence that allows one to push out a little farther, to reach for that summit.


Lightning Round

Sunrise or sunset? Other: Midnight sun.
Superpower?  That I want? The strength to bound up 4000 feet of gain with a heavy pack and carry on a
conversation at the same time.
Smile or game face? Smile
Post-adventure meal of choice? Cheeseburger please.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Speedy, strong, and surefooted scrambler.

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