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Nominate An Outstanding Leader for the Olympia Branch Service Award

Our volunteer leaders are a huge part of what makes the Olympia Branch such an inspiring, fun, and impactful community. Each year we honor the hard work and dedication of one Olympia volunteer by presenting them with the Branch Service Award. To help with this process, we ask our branch members to submit nominations for those they believe go above and beyond their volunteer responsibilities to enhance the courses, activities and spirit of The Mountaineers. Read more…

Safety Stories: They Asked for Directions, and We Said, "Just Follow Us”.

As Mountaineers, we are committed to learning from our experiences. We examine every incident that happens on a Mountaineers trip for opportunities to improve the ways we explore and teach. Our volunteer safety committee reviews every incident report and picks a few each month to share as examples of ‘Lessons Learned’. The trip report below describes what happened on this trip, in the leader’s own words, and outlines the lessons the leader has identified. In some cases, we offer additional key learnings from the incident. Read more…

Congratulations to Steve Swenson On His 2020 Piolet d'Or Award

Eighteen years after his first attempt to reach the summit of Link Sar, Steve Swenson, legendary alpinist, Mountaineers Board Director, Mountaineers Books author, and past president of the American Alpine Club, finally stood atop the notoriously technical peak in Pakistan’s Karakoram. He was joined by alpinists Mark Richey, 61; expedition leader Graham Zimmerman, 33; and Chris Wright, 36. “The climbers succeeded because they were persistent, used their 126 years of combined climbing experience, and understood what partnership meant,” and for this they are being awarded the prestigious 2020 Piolet d’Or. Read more…

There’s Something Different About Summer Camp

A typical Seattle Summer Camp day at Magnuson Park has always included swimming in the lake, making nature art near the tennis courts, and taking breaks from walking to savor blackberries. This year, however, we spread out in the water, make individual nature art projects, and sanitize our hands thoroughly before and after foraging. Seattle Day Camp, like everything else in our lives, has reorganized to keep campers, counselors, and their loved ones safe and yet the camp traditions and fun remain the same. Read more…

How To: Dispersed Camping 101

Camping in designated campgrounds can be tough on short notice. With the growing popularity of outdoor recreation, many areas book up months in advance. Dispersed camping is a fantastic alternative to staying in campgrounds, and can be a great way to explore new areas and get further off the beaten path.  Read more…

Trip Report: Bench Lake, Snow Lake, and Box Canyon Overlook

There is so much to see an explore in Mount Rainier National Park that sometimes it's temping to trail hop. That's exactly what we decided to do one hot summer day, and I'm happy to share with you a detailed report of our adventures so that you can plan your own trip to this gorgeous part of the park.  Read more…

Dispatches from the Summer Quest

This summer, Mountaineers members are finding safe and creative ways to get out into the natural world to learn, explore, and generally have a good time. For some, that means small group activities with the requisite 11th essential, a mask, and for others, it means the pursuit of a new badge by completing the Youth Summer Quest Challenge! The Mountaineers Youth Education team has loved the creative and thoughtful submissions we’ve received so far and we are excited to share them with you. Read more…

Overcoming Student Stress with Empowerment & Control

When you’re hanging on a rope, upside-down in a waterfall, 50’ off the deck, you’re not doing a lot of thinking. It’s disorienting, the pummeling of ice-cold water. Despite the fact that the vertical momentum of the water very clearly indicates the way down, you can’t keep track of whether you cartwheeled left or right or flipped backwards and it’s not like you can look around to get your bearings. Read more…

Embracing the Slower Side of Life

There’s something truly wonderful about not knowing what lies over the next ridge, or how to get there. If I climb down into the creek bed, will it connect? And if so, will I be able to climb back out? Or is it better to scramble up the talus and hope things aren’t too steep on the other side? Read more…

Secret Rainier | Goat Island Mountain

Many of the 100 peaks in Mount Rainier National Park are seldom visited and we believe under appreciated. In this sense they are “secrets” and worthy of being featured in this series. In this chapter of Secret Rainier we describe Goat Island Mountain, one of our favorite scrambles. Notable are the views of Little Tahoma looming above Rainier. It’s is a super summer scramble and a great destination to plan for in the midst of winter. Read more…