10 Essential Questions: Andy Martin

Meet Andy Martin, a 9-year member who is legally blind, and feels there are few things in life as satisfying as discovering just how wrong you were about what you are capable of accomplishing.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 17, 2016
10 Essential Questions: Andy Martin
Photo courtesy of Andy.

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

Name: Andy Martin
Hometown: Freeland, WA
Member Since: September 2007
Occupation: Data Scientist
Favorite Activities: Hiking, backpacking, scrambling, and rock climbing

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I joined The Mountaineers after college when I was looking to get out and go hiking to cool places more often. Most of my friends back then weren't really interested in even a longer day hike. I went on my first two trial hikes with The Mountaineers in the spring of 2007. At the time, I was training for an attempt to day hike Mount Whitney and wanted to get out and hike every weekend in May and June.

As a legally blind individual who can’t drive, finding folks who wanted to get up early and drive out to some remote trailhead was a challenge. My first few hikes were with the Under the Hill Rovers groups and they were relaxed, social, and took me to amazing places I hadn’t been before. I was hooked on my third hike, a trip up to Ingalls Lake in the fall where we had a bluebird day with the larches in their full autumnal glory and Mt. Stewart as the backdrop. The next year I signed up for the Conditioning Hiking Series (CHS) and had such an amazing time I did it again in 2009.

Life took me out of Washington for a bit but I started getting interested in long distance backpacking and mountaineering while away and once I found my way back here in 2013 I took the Alpine Scramble course to get to more great views.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

Not only has The Mountaineers helped a legally blind guy get out and see amazing places, but it’s turned out to be full of great people who want to do the same things too. I’ve met many now good friends on Mountaineers hikes and scrambles and hope to keep making more friends too. It’s shocking to think how different my life would be without all the experiences and people that have come into it through this community.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I ever hiked up Cascasde Pass and Sahale Arm on a sunny warm August day with CHS 2 folks. The peaks and flower fields of Sahale Arm had me literally running with childlike glee. The whole day was just perfect – including the big group meal at the end.

Who/What inspires you?

The folks who year after year volunteer to keep the classes and community going. It’s inspired me to volunteer too as well and reminding me that there is still more I can do to pass on the good karma.

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure means you go out there and tackle something maybe just a bit epic – or maybe a lot epic. It means being open to situations where you have to "embrace the suck" as a fellow Mountaineer likes to say. There are few things in life as satisfying than discovering just how wrong you were about what you are capable of accomplishing.

Lightning Round

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Smile or game face? Game face.
What's your happy place? An alpine ridgewalk with views that go on forever.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Fajitas and Coke with free refills.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Trail running.

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