10 Essential Questions: Ben Leininger

Meet Ben Leininger, a new member from Ohio, whose search for solitude and peace of mind takes him outside nearly every weekend and who has already decided he wants to be a forever member.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 30, 2016
10 Essential Questions: Ben Leininger
Photo courtesy of Gwen.

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

Name: Ben Leininger
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Member Since: January 2016
Occupation: Barista working in specialty coffee, nearby the Pike Place Market
Favorite Activities: First and foremost, I love mountaineering! I am a big time scrambler, with a deep heart for grueling day trips. I also enjoy day hiking, trail running, or occasionally getting mixed up in a light backpacking trip, as these activities are frequently a more relaxed alternative for me to enjoy exploring new areas year round.

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I was introduced to the club a couple of years ago by my outdoorsy Aunt. She encouraged me to join and learn more about safe wilderness travel as my outdoor exploits were beginning to shift more toward alpine scrambling and climbing rather than day hiking. Having no previous navigation or mountaineering experience, a couple of really raw summit successes and long distance day hikes in the Olympics nearly pushed me over the edge. The next year I joined the Seattle branch in order to gain more of the skills necessary to continue doing what I was learning to love, only this time around more sustainably and safely, with the increased prospect of meeting new people and building friendships.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

The reasons that put me outside now are still the same as when I began: the search for solitude and peace of mind. Learning to walk without the intense noise and societal complexity of city life around you, every ounce of your being is stripped down to it's natural elements in the wild. It's about learning to begin trusting and accepting yourself, putting previous judgments behind. By thrusting myself into the task at hand, be it ocean or summit, I am very easily able to forget about any of my previous worries or petty entitlements from back home. Suddenly, everything begins to make sense. The sheer power and stunning beauty of nature draws me closer every time.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

One of my favorite moments with The Mountaineers was when I made it through the final problem of the Nav field trip at Heybrook Ridge. I remember how pleased I was to realize I was fully understanding the content of the course. Now, everywhere I go I know that I am always found - and that is truly empowering to this off-trail nut head.

Who/What inspires you?

I am deeply inspired by The Mountaineers volunteers, particularly those who selflessly instruct and lead countless activities through out their adult lives. I couldn't imagine a world without lovely people like them.

I have had a lot of fun in the Mountaineers thus far. I've decided that I want to be a member forever. Even long from now, when perhaps my knees have given way, I hope to be enjoying the outdoors continually in a way that will inspire others.

What does adventure mean to you?

To me, adventure means that no matter what your plan is, where you are going, or who's coming along, you always bring happiness, excitement, acceptance, and humility. With those kinds of qualities, I think that anything is possible!

Lightning Round

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Smile or game face? Smile.
What's your 11th essential? An Aeropress coffee maker!
What's your happy place? When you're nailing a traverse or climb: everything around you is going just right, and the feeling that you get looking around at all of the beauty in your midst is just awesome.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Ice Climbing.

    Know someone who should be featured?

    Have you had a memorable experience with The Mountaineers you'd like to share, or know someone who should share their story? Submit your info for a chance to be featured!