10 Essential Questions: Bill Ashby

Meet Bill Ashby, a 9-year member and 2013's Volunteer of the Year, who just joined our Mountaineers staff. You could say this guy is committed to our mission.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 23, 2016
10 Essential Questions: Bill Ashby
Photo courtesy of Bill.

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

Name: Bill Ashby
Hometown: Baytown, Texas
Member Since: January 2008
Occupation: Operations Executive
Favorite Activities: Sailing, kayaking, off-trail snowshoeing, scrambling, and climbing

10 Essentials: Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

I've been an outdoors person since my early youth. My father, brother, and I used to go sailing on the weekends. Our vacations were to the mountains where we would car camp and go for day trips (in the Rockies) or multi-day back-country backpacking trips (mostly in the Sierras).

When my wife Marijane and I moved to the Puget Sound area, I wanted an introduction to the mountains and the Sound. The Mountaineers seemed like the perfect organization to do it. I started with the scrambling course, then I took the kayaking and sailing courses. Eventually I took the basic climbing and intermediate climbing courses as well.

The Mountaineers lived up to their reputation for providing excellent training to keep people safe while adventuring in our beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years I have volunteered with the navigation committee and as a sail, snowshoe, scramble, and climb leader. I am convinced that The Mountaineers organization is unique in the world for their volunteer ethic. It still amazes me how many hours volunteers give as committee members, course instructors, and trip leaders.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

Adventuring on our beautiful waters and in our majestic mountains is simply a part of who I am, and sharing this passion with other like-minded outdoors people makes these adventures even more special. The Mountaineers enables vibrant, fun-filled communities to come together, to learn from one another, and to accompany each other along the road of our outdoor journeys.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

The first course I took with The Mountaineers was the scramble course, and to graduate you need to to complete the Navigation course as well. After participating in the Heybrook Ridge navigation field trip I decided to volunteer with navigation committee to peek behind the curtain and learn how they produce such well-run and well-organized field trips.

On an autumn field trip at Heybrook Ridge we were sweeping behind the students on the final problem and the sweep line had stopped yet again to give students ahead of us adequate space. I found a comfortable place and lay down to look up through the sun dappled forest to the blue sky above and I realized there weren't too many other places more beautiful than this.

A senior scramble leader was resting five yards to one side.  We began talking about favorite scramble destinations, and I started a mental list of all the wonderful places I had yet to discover. I felt as though I had found my tribe and was especially grateful knowing that super experienced and considerate volunteers would lead trips to these beautiful places.

Who/What inspires you?

I am inspired by the thousands of Mountaineers volunteers who give countless hours as committee members, instructors, and trip leaders. As a friend recently said, "The Mountaineers is Mountaineers," meaning that our organization is nothing without its people. Our culture of volunteerism is exceptional and is well worth being a part of, helping others connect with our alpine and Sound, just as those before us helped us along our outdoor journey of discovery.

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure is all about teamwork and coming together to prepare for and then execute a plan to achieve a challenging objective. Adventure starts with researching an objective and learning the critical navigation features that must be accounted for. Adventure continues with working through the logistical details to ensure the team has the right equipment and has a solid expectation of an anticipated timeline from the starting point to the trips completion. Adventure is realized when the plan is put into place and the team heads out into the unknown fully prepared to make adjustments as needed to overcome unanticipated obstructions and challenges. Adventure does not necessarily require achieving the objective. It is far more about the process of moving forward together toward the objective, and most importantly it is about getting home safe and getting home friends.

Editor's Note: Bill recently experienced a significant climbing accident and has been blogging about the experience at allswry.blogspot.com.  His blog is intended to be a cautionary tale about the consequences of a moment's inattention, and the resulting detour through surgeries, hospitals, convalescence, physical therapy, and ultimately rehabilitation. The story continues to unfold, and is still very fresh. We encourage you to follow Bill's journey.  


Lightning Round

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
Smile or game face? Smiling game face!
What's your 11th essential? Salty crunch and an ice-cold beverage back at the trailhead.
What's your happy place? A frigid 1am alpine start just about anywhere.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Given my recent climbing gym accident being an expert glider pilot with skills at executing soft landings sounds really nice.

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