Climbing

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Dawn Patrol: 5am is the Best Adventure Time

Borrowed from early military aviation’s dawn reconnaissance flights, the phrase “Dawn Patrol” was adopted by recreationists to describe 5am pre-work adventures, allowing you to fit two days into one. Pulling it off isn’t easy, but with an iron will and a few cups of coffee it can be done. Hear from three of our favorite Dawn Patrollers on what motivates them to roll out of bed long before sunrise, and why it’s so worth it. Read more…

Six Months in Nine Days: Life as an Intense Basic Student

Walking backward, on the roof of the Seattle Program Center, I made my way to the edge. I had doublechecked my rappel system: My anchor, rope, belay device, autoblock, and harness all looked good. Before I unclipped my personal anchor, my instructor gave my system a final sign off. Read more…

Silencing the Noise: Climbing Through an Anxiety Disorder

You’re climbing on a busy day at the crag, surrounded by incessant chatter and constant commotion. Sometimes you find this noise pleasantly engaging, but today you just want to tell everyone to be still – be quiet. The voices follow as you start your climb, continuing to echo in your brain even as you climb higher. They seem to be demanding your attention, and suddenly it feels like your mind is fighting between listening to the voices and trying to block them out. But the problem is that both options leave you unable to focus on the present moment. The “what-ifs” start to seep into your head, and before you know it, you fall. Read more…

Outdoor Leadership: Everyone Has A Place in the Mountains

Forest McBrian is an IFMGA Mountain Guide with over 15 years of experience in the mountains. Among his many notable achievements, in 2017, Forest and his partner Trevor Kostanich embarked on a 34-day ski traverse from Snoqualmie Pass to Canada. Forest instructs for the American Mountain Guide Association, and guides throughout the Pacific Northwest. Read more…

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…

Trip Report: 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…