A Message from Board Member Maya Magarati

Maya first found belonging in The Mountaineers almost 20 years ago at a family weekend at Baker Lodge. Now she gives back to the community in many ways, and invites you to make a year-end donation to promote inclusion, volunteerism, and community-based advocacy.
Maya Magarati Maya Magarati
Board of Directors and Conservation & Advocacy Committee
December 12, 2023
A Message from Board Member Maya Magarati
Photo by Tim Nair.

Namaste! Imagine you are in a brand new place, and you know no one. When we moved to the Pacific Northwest 23 years ago, that was us.

My spouse Nil and I had arrived from Nepal for me to pursue graduate studies at UW. We lived in student housing, raising our small child without the extended family support we would have back in Nepal. While striving to ground ourselves in this new place, Nil discovered The Mountaineers. We decided to try our first overnight family trip to the mountains: a family weekend at Baker Lodge.

The host (long-time volunteer Judy Sterry) greeted us at the door with a warm smile … and a chore chart! Over the next couple of days, everyone made me and my family feel welcome, that we were meant to be there. Volunteers took the families on a long day hike. The kids picked wild blueberries. We cooked together and shared meals. It was a joy to simply be present in an inclusive community, all of us drawn to this place through our love for the outdoors.

Support an inclusive outdoor community

Through The Mountaineers, we discovered one thing that we needed most: connection with nature – fresh mountain air, the smell of wildflowers, the sounds of creeks and whistling marmots, the colors that change in season like they do in the mountains in Nepal. And it helped us start to feel grounded in a community - we are still friends with Judy today!

Richard Lawrence Baker Lodge 2016.jpgNew Years Eve at Baker Lodge in 2016. Photo by Richard Lawrence.

That first experience of finding belonging still inspires me to give back in ways unique to my values and experience. As a member of the Conservation & Advocacy Committee, I advocate for policies and practices informed by Traditional Ecological Knowledge and local knowledge, helping to foster the partnerships with communities that make this work possible. And I’m excited to help promote two upcoming Mountaineers Books titles featuring the stories and contributions of Sherpas and other Nepali climbers, an attempt to shift the narratives of mountaineering.

HeadstrapAlpineRising.pngMaya is excited to see Mountaineers Books shifting the narratives of mountaineering, such as in upcoming titles Alpine Rising (March 2024) and Headstrap (April 2024).

My dream is that anyone who plugs into a Mountaineers course, activity, book, or lodge feels the same sense of belonging that I did decades ago and still find today. I want people to bring their authentic selves to the outdoor community, and to be able to become leaders and advocates.

Invest in our volunteer-led community

This is why I also give back as a donor. Donations elevate the way our community helps people overcome barriers to getting outside and then support all the ways that people return to give back as volunteers, storytellers, conservationists, and community-builders.

Will you make a donation this month to support The Mountaineers mission and community?

We need to raise $200,000 by year end. You can help reach that goal by making your donation before December 31! The kind of community and belonging I felt 20 years ago is possible, and I hope you’ll join me in making it a reality for everyone.  


The Mountaineers® is a 501(c)(3) organization supported through earned revenue and elevated through charitable contributions. Our staff work to support our seven branches (Bellingham, Everett, Foothills, Kitsap, Olympia, Seattle, and Tacoma), three lodges (Baker, Meany, and Stevens), and our Kitsap Forest Theater. Tax ID: 27-3009280. 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.