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Backpackers' Pajama Parties Back by Popular Demand

We're back! The Foothills Backpacking Committee's Backpackers' Pajama Parties helped many of us stay sane during the early days of quarantine, and many of you have told us you want more. We're happy to announce our 2021 lineup, sure to keep you entertained while we wait for the summer season to arrive. Read more…

Backpacking Courses Spring 2021

Although we’re still in the heart of winter, it won’t be too long before the skies begin to lighten and we’re planning our spring and summer adventures. Get a head-start on your summer plans now by signing up for one of our upcoming introduction to backpacking courses, an excellent way to develop your skills and confidence on the trails before heading out on your first over-night or multi-night trip. Read more…

Trip Report: Windy Ridge at Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens is an exciting place to explore; a true-to-life science experiment, fun for both children and adults alike. My hiking partner and I decided to hike and explore the seldom traveled Windy Ridge Side of Mt. St. Helens. Here you get an up-close and personal view of the destruction done by the lateral blast that rolled over the landscape on May 18, 1980. Read more…

Upcoming Olympia Branch Courses and COVID-19 Accommodations

Rainy Season Tips for the Summer Hiker

I grabbed my antique wooden snowshoes and headed for the door. Growing up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, solo adventures every weekend were the norm as a kid. Winters were my favorite; a blanket of snow transformed the world into a black and white vintage photo from December through April. My brothers and I would skate on the lake and wander the empty woods surrounding our small cabin until dusk. Read more…

Adjusting for Conditions: Lessons from an Unexpected Year

This year was a hard one. I hit rock bottom mid-May when I unexpectedly found myself crying alone in a tent in the middle of my living room floor. The chasm between the person I had planned to be when I set goals for 2020 and the person I actually was felt insurmountable. My carefully made plans, proudly anticipated fitness milestones, and dreams of adventure were slipping through my fingers. Read more…

Running a Course in the Middle of a Pandemic

This story starts back in 2019 when, as the Hiking Chair for the Tacoma Hiking and Backpacking Committee, I had the idea of offering a Conditioning Hiking Series (CHS) in Tacoma. The goal of a series like this is to help casual or new hikers increase their mileage and elevation gain in a fun, community-oriented way, and I had a feeling it would be popular at our branch.  Read more…

Are We Open? Lodge and Program Centers Update

For many people in our Mountaineers community, spending time at our lodges is a winter and holiday tradition. During a normal year, many of our courses begin hosting lectures and practice sessions at our program centers in the winter months. And without a pandemic our Baker, Meany, and Stevens Lodges would be serving as home base for Mountaineers members and guests for snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, lift-serviced alpine skiing, and other winter adventures.  Read more…

Avalanche Safety | Making Safe Decisions in the Backcountry

The snow rushes past in a swift river of movement. The slough was kicked off by my turns above, and the loose powder is now flowing through a natural gully in the snow, no more than six inches wide. That’s not so bad. I think. It looks like a little creek; totally manageable. Without further hesitation, I turn my skis to cross the stream. Read more…

Different & Able | A profile of Kimber Cross

It’s a chilly March morning in Provo, Utah, 2020. Kimber Cross has been flown here by the outdoor meal brand Peak Refuel to shoot a short film about her journey into ice climbing. As the team walks down the snow-packed trail to a frozen waterfall, Kimber feels the eyes of passersby, and they’re staring. Maybe it’s because of the big, red cameras that stand in contrast to the stark landscape, but an old fear starts to creep into her psyche, a fear that tells her to hide. All eyes focus on the tool strapped to her pack. Read more…