Courses & Activities

Courses & Activities

All posts

Volunteers needed to help our Global Adventures Committee

Mountaineers Global Adventures (GA) gets members out on exciting multi-day adventures across North America and worldwide. We have several new leaders and trips in process, but keeping the program running smoothly and efficiently - including the increasing load of amazing trips to review and leaders looking to certify - requires more time than our current small committee can handle. We have identified a number of support roles that individually don't take much time but, if we could get willing volunteers to take them on, would assure that our program can continue to grow and thrive.  Read more…

How to Get Involved with Branch and Committee Leadership

Our mission to help people explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond is driven and executed by over 2,000 highly skilled volunteers serving our community of over 16,000 members. Each year, our volunteers teach hundreds of courses, lead thousands of trips, and dedicate thousands of hours to regional stewardship and conservation advocacy efforts to help ensure our members can get outside safely and responsibly. All of this work happens through our seven branches. Read more…

Retro Rewind | Changing Climate, Changing Climbs

Alan Kearney and his posse of bell-bottom clad buddies are obsessed with buildering. All the rage in 1973, ‘buildering’ is the art of bouldering on urban infrastructure, or in lay terms, climbing up a building. Inspired by the emerging ice climbers in the Alps, Alan and crew want to take their new passion a step further by buildering on ice. They look for ice anywhere they can find it, and stumble across a 15-foot frozen wall behind a local meat market in the dark of night. Ice axes in hand, they anchor a top-rope to a fence post and begin to climb. To call them “ice climbers” would be an overstatement, but they have a blast regardless. Ice buildering, as it turns out, is just as fun as they had imagined. Read more…

Climb Like A Mother

A five-hundred-foot wall of loose rock loomed above me—the final five hundred feet between me and my first glacier summit, Clark Mountain. Someone on my climbing team drew a line through the air to map out our path. “Shouldn’t be more than thirty minutes,” our trip leader said. I flinched at the cheer in her voice. We’d left camp almost six hours earlier, and it felt like a lifetime away. My lungs and legs burned. I was hungry—no, thirsty. “Maybe I’ll just wait for you guys here,” I said, fishing for encouragement from our leader. “I think you can do it,” she said. “But it’s your decision.” Read more…

Endurance Training for Mountaineering

Mountains present many challenges that are out of our control, but of all the factors we can control, fitness is arguably the most important when it comes to our safety, success and enjoyment. Whether climbing a Cascade volcano or attempting an 8000-meter peak, mountaineering demands a varied set of fitness components. If you climb mountains, you’re an athlete. No matter what your level, training for the specific demands of climbing mountains can make for a more fun and even safer experience. Read more…

A Journey Through Cancer & Resilience

Given my strong family history, it’s not a matter of if I’ll get cancer, but when. Read more…

Make the most of winter by visiting Washington Sno-parks

Venturing into nature during winter can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. The cold and snow require more technical gear to keep you safe and warm in such low temperatures. But there are ways you can get outside, even if you are short on experience or gear. If you are curious about exploring Washington in winter but don’t know where you should go, check out one of Washington’s Sno-parks!  Read more…

How to Get Involved as a Trip Leader

 At The Mountaineers, leadership plays an integral part in every facet of our organization. We have a wide variety of leaders in many different roles - from Branch Treasurer, to Qualified Youth Leader, to Committee Chair. The term "leader" also specifically refers to a volunteer who has been vetted by an activity committee to lead a Mountaineers activity. These trips leaders have fulfilled the technical and interpersonal skill requirements included in our Club-wide Activity Standards. By leading hundreds of trips each month, trip leaders play a fundamental role within our organization.  Read more…

Engaging with History Through Urban Navigation

It seemed important two years ago to better know Seattle’s Central District (CD). After leading more than 50 Urban Night Walks (then known as “Night Hikes”) on Seattle Stairway Walks (2013) routes, a keener feel for the CD was in order. Nothing beats walking a neighborhood and soaking in the casual interactions with people and places. Active navigation with many turns sharpens attention to landmarks and the shape of the land. Read more…

Global Adventures | Cross-Country Skiing in Yellowstone National Park

Ten Mountaineers were fortunate to have plentiful sunshine and no winds for last February’s Global Adventure to Yellowstone National Park. We spent a week cross-country skiing in three sections of the park – Mammoth, North, and Old Faithful – which provided ample opportunities to experience the magic of winter in Yellowstone. Read more…

Winter Hiking: It's The Bomb

Olympia Hiking and Backpacking Committee Co-Chairs Carla Jonientz and Donna Krueger listened to Olympia hikers when they expressed interest in getting out, staying in shape, exercising, and socializing during the winter/early spring months. Read more…

Bookmarks | The Art of Shralpinism

Widely regarded as one of the world’s most legendary alpinists, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jeremy Jones is an award-winning snowboarder, environmentalist, and entrepreneur. The founder of climate nonprofit Protect Our Winters (POW) and owner of Jones Snowboards, Jones has starred in dozens of snowboard films, including his highly acclaimed trilogy Deeper, Further, and Higher, and received 11 “Big Mountain Rider of the Year” awards from Snowboarder Magazine. His first book The Art of Shralpinism: Lessons from the Mountains (Mountaineers Books, 2022) explores the life-changing power of time in the mountains, the value of stoke, and how beauty and openness underscore all outdoor adventure. Please enjoy the following excerpt. Read more…

Relative Merits of Different Sledding Apparatus

My hometown of Bozeman, Montana, has four seasons: summer, fall, snow, and mud. Snow season is the longest. While the climate crisis has changed things, as a child I remember planning Halloween costumes based on what would pair well with my snowsuit, and I often celebrated my mid-May birthday in a snowstorm. I spent many a weekend at the local sledding hill sweating my way up (often quitting halfway) and squealing my way down. As such, I consider myself a connoisseur of fun in freezing season. Read more…

Top 10 Mountaineers of Instagram: Inspiration for 2023

One of the first impulses we have while recreating outdoors is to take a photo. We want to share the exhilaration of our alpine scrambles, the warmth of alpenglow on an early morning snowshoe, or the unexpected wildlife dotting our hiking trails. We photograph because we have a deep connection to these natural places and we want others to experience that connection, too. Read more…

How To: Discover the Joys of Winter Camping

Many years ago, I spent my first snow camping trip on the Skyline Lake Trail opposite Stevens Pass Ski Resort. As we settled in for the night, I could see the slopes across the valley light up for night skiing and hear alpine music playing. Our side of the mountains was quiet and dark. I was a downhill skier at the time, and was charmed by the difference. Read more…

Top 5 Beginner Ski Tours

You’ve got the gear, taken the avalanche classes, found some friends, and are ready to hit the slopes. But where do you go for your first self-directed backcountry ski tour? Finding a safe place to explore, especially when you’re new to touring, can feel overwhelming. To help you on your way, here are five favorite ski (and splitboard!) tours for beginners, from our enthusiastic backcountry-loving staff. Be sure to check the local weather and NWAC forecast before you go, always pick tours within your ability level, and of course carry a beacon, shovel, and probe (and know how to use them). Read more…

A Mule, a Klutz, and a Pair of Skis: Learning to ski as an adult

Rain on the windshield distorted the headlights of other cars waiting in the dark parking lot. My older sister was in the backseat next to me, leaning against our dad’s headrest as she looked over his shoulder. He flipped on the windshield wipers just as a school bus pulled in. “Is that it?” my sister asked. Mom replied, her eyes intent on her husband. “Looks like it. They said the bus would be here at 6.” Read more…

Sign Up Now for the 2023 Meany Lodge Patrol Race

The Meany Patrol Race is back and open for registration with racers lining up on Saturday, March 18, 2023. Steeped in the rich history of Mountaineers winter backcountry exploration and the nearly one hundred year old Meany Lodge, The Patrol Race remains the backcountry ski touring race in the Pacific Northwest. Sign up to race or to cheer the racers on as they cross the finish line at Meany Lodge.   Read more…

My Life in Tents

When I reflect upon my life of 74 years, many treasured memories are of nights in tents. What is it about the little nylon-framed shelter that offers so much? It provides protection from the elements, yet allows us to be closer to nature and the world around us. When in tents, we can hear rain pelting off tent walls, owls hooting in the night, ice breaking off glaciers, rivers rushing, waves lapping, and sometimes the sounds of bears and wolves coming into camp. Read more…

Bookmarks | All and Nothing: Inside Free Soloing

The following is an excerpt from All and Nothing: Inside Free Soloing by acclaimed author Jeff Smoot. Once considered a fringe activity, free soloing - climbing without a rope - has entered the mainstream consciousness. Yet climbers have been free soloing all along, motivated by reasons as varied as the climbers themselves. All and Nothing delves into the cultural history of free soloing and explores the interplay between climbing and risk, as well as psychological theories, evolving climbing ethics, and the effect of media coverage. With a complex personal connection to free soloing, Jeff Smoot examines our relationship with risk, how we perceive our sense of control, and what it means to consider our mortality. Read more…

"What is a Raptor?" Free Seminar - Nov 16

In our upcoming November 16 seminar, "What is a Raptor?", we invite you to learn more about the birds we call raptors, their evolution, and where they live. This evening will take you on a world tour that covers 100 million years. The seminar will be both in person and over zoom; please register for the version you want.  Read more…

Falling

With my wrist in the strap of my trekking pole, I dangle over bright gray boulders bordering frothy water tumbling through the chasm. My brain is trying to comprehend what has happened. Just a few minutes ago I was hiking a wide, easy trail, and now I am hanging below it. Read more…

Olympia Basic Alpine Climbing 2023 Updates

When climbing courses were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Olympia Basic Alpine Climbing Committee began incorporating new virtual educational methods into the program. Learn more about how these changes will be applied to our course moving forward, and how you can get involved.  Read more…

The Scariest Day of my Life: A Leader Fall on Guye Peak

I had a premonition. My partner was gone for the weekend and I was alone in bed, snuggled up with a stuffed sheep and an abundance of fear. I don’t know why I knew something bad was going to happen, I just had an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. I remember thinking I should wear better undergarments, as that was something I had heard long ago (maybe from a family member?) - “If you get in an accident, make sure you at least have decent underwear on!” I sent my boyfriend a snuggly selfie and went to bed early, but still couldn’t shake that ominous feeling. Looking back, I should have canceled the trip, but thought, who does that? based purely on a strange feeling. Read more…

Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Colin Chapman

Meet Colin Chapman, a backpack, hike, and snowshoe leader, as well as a 2021 Super Volunteer. Colin joined The Mountaineers to participate in the Foothills Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) course and now he’s a leader for the course! Read more…

How to Get Involved as an Instructor

The Mountaineers has a long history of volunteer instructors sharing their knowledge and teaching the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists. Volunteer instructors take on a fundamental role in our organization by supporting, leading, and instructing our hundreds of monthly courses. As a volunteer-led organization, volunteer instructors are instrumental in carrying out our mission and upholding our core values. Read more…

Trip Planning Tools for The Weekend Warrior

I think one of the best and worst parts of working in Seattle is that the mountains are often visible reminder that the outdoors are right outside your office front door. Cascades to the east and Olympics to the west, the mountains are always out there waiting for the next adventure. Juggling the call of life's responsibilities with the call of the mountains starts with planning out your weekends to make sure you make the best of each opportunity. Read more…

Teton Gravity Research Backcountry Ski Film Slam - Nov 17

Join the new Seattle Backcountry Ski Committee at the Seattle Program Center for its inaugural event, a screening of two great ski films produced by Teton Gravity Research. Meet up with friends, have a beverage, and build the stoke for the upcoming ski season. Read more…

Remembering Mountaineer David Carrier

David Carrier was an admired and respected Everett Mountaineers and Mazama member, and a highly experienced and prolific mountaineer with an impressive climbing resume. In addition to being an active instructor at both the Basic and Intermediate level, he also befriended and accompanied many Everett members on a number of private and official Mountaineers climbs over the past several years.  Read more…

Bonanza and Ben: A lifelong relationship with risk

Parental foolishness knows no bounds. When our son Ben was just an infant, we took him to Bonanza in an ill-advised attempt to climb the peak. Ben was an absolute terror and completely unmanageable at high camp – in other words, a classic 11-month-old, and we had to turn around. Read more…