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Devilish Trails for Halloween

Many hikers in Washington state have encountered – to their dismay – the prickly spines of devil's club, Oplopanax horridus, a shrub which grows in abundance in the Pacific Northwest as well as near Lake Superior. While the origins of the name of this bane of bushwhackers seem quite obvious given its notorious thorns, Washington state is home to many more "devils". In honor of Halloween, here is a sampling of the "Devils" in our state, from north to south. Read more…

Thirst to Belong

My thirst to belong outdoors started early. I was just in elementary school and I was being bussed across town from one district to another. I didn’t know why at the time, but I did notice that few students looked like me. My new school was awesome. It had everything I could hope for: musical instruments, better playgrounds, rad field tips, and cool teachers. We even had periodic visits from Mr. McFeely from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. My old school paled in comparison. Read more…

Alpine Ambassadors Squamish 2.0

Alpine Ambassadors,  a group of climbers looking to push their limits together, learn from the mentorship of guides and highly accomplished climbers, and mentor others, held our second “rock” trip in the world class climbing mecca of Squamish, BC in July 2019. Spending six days (in a row) climbing in Squamish exposed us all to new techniques, rope systems, and climbing areas in a truly contagious learning environment. Together we pushed our  limits, challenged our abilities, and progressed as climbers. Read more…

Impact Giving | One Good Idea, Many Great Adventures

A climb-a-thon. Now, that’s an idea. I can’t take all the credit though. Gavin Woody was president of the board in 2012 when he asked me if I’d thought about doing some sort of climb-a-thon as a fundraiser to give members a fun way to support our new youth programs. This made sense as Mountaineers put in a lot of vertical feet all year round, but at the time I had just completed my first year as director for a new development program. We were already in early-stage planning for our next “first ascent,” a fundraising dinner in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jim Whittaker’s historic summit of Mt. Everest. Read more…

PCE Communications Quarterly - Summer 2019

Progressive Climbing Education (PCE) is a strategic initiative to advance our Mountaineers climbing programs, make our suite of volunteer-led Climbing Programs more fun for volunteers to run, easier to recruit volunteers for, more attractive to new climbers (especially those coming out of the gym), and more advanced for our highly-skilled volunteers and students. This quarterly communication is intended to provide regular updates about each committees' projects, offer transparency, and ensure that all branches are able to provide feedback and input to proposed changes to the climbing programs. Read more…

American Team Makes First Ascent of Link Sar In Karakoram

Steve Swenson, a Mountaineers Books Author and member of The Mountaineers Board of Directors, along with alpinists Chris Wright, Graham Zimmerman, and Mark Richey, completed the first ascent of Link Sar (7,041m) in the Central Pakistani Karakoram via its 3400-meter Southeast Face. The object of at least nine previous expeditions, the first ascent of this peak has been a highly sought-after achievement for the climbing community. The team is calling their route the Southeast Face (M6+ WI4 90°, 2,300m), but the grade poorly portrays the challenge of this route that Steve, a Karakoram veteran, calls “one of the most complex and difficult routes I have ever climbed.” Read more…

From Auction to Alpinism: Climbing Rainier with Mike Gauthier & Tom Vogl

Every April, The Mountaineers hosts our Annual “Adventure with Purpose” Gala, a fundraising event that includes special guest speakers, dynamic programming, and a variety of live auction packages ranging from nature photography workshops to Everest Base Camp treks. This year, gala attendees had the opportunity to buy into a priceless trip up Mount Rainier with former lead climbing ranger and Mountaineers Books author, Mike Gauthier (who’s summited Washington’s famed mountain more than 180 times), and Mountaineers CEO, Tom Vogl. Read more…

100 Peaks: Individual Achievement Through Community Effort

Rugged. Imposing. Breathtakingly beautiful and big enough to create its own weather patterns, Mount Rainier is the defining icon of the Pacific Northwest. While Mount Rainier National Park is generally known for this massive stratovolcano, the park is also home to nearly 100 other peaks where off-the-beaten-path adventurers can climb, scramble, and hike. When one visionary Mountaineer crafted a list of these objectives, he also created a community willing to go the extra mile for each other, even after someone is gone. Read more…

Secret Rainier | The Spires of Mount Rainier

This installment of Our Secret Rainier takes you to the two spires of Mount Rainier – K Spire and Tokaloo Spire. We have visited both but have not climbed them, and we know only one individual who has climbed Tokaloo Spire. Fred Becky in his Cascade Alpine Climb, Volume 1, describes both as class 4 climbs. We include them in this installment of Our Secret Rainier because they are unique formations within the park and worthy of a visit – regardless of whether you stand on the top or not. Anyone contemplating climbing the spires should be an experienced climber and consult the Becky reference though details are sparse. Read more…

Outside Insight | That Could Never Happen To Me: When Luck Runs Out

I was lucky. In over 25 years of climbing, I was accident free. Friends have been injured. Others have died. I figured that I wasn’t better than them, just lucky. Read more…