Hiking & Backpacking

Hiking & Backpacking

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9 Ways to Explore Washington This Summer

It's officially summer in Washington and we're so lucky to live in a state full of a never-ending bucket list of things to do. We put together this list of just a few ways to explore the area and get the most out of your summer!  Read more…

Global Adventures | An Unexpected Adventure in New Zealand

As we neared the ridge crest, the wind blasted snow pellets into my face like hot shrapnel. Just ahead of me, Bob’s blue pack cover snapped once, hard, then blew off his pack and into the white. Read more…

Unseen Danger: Navigating Snow Bridge Hazards

Last Sunday, search and rescue teams responded to an emergency call from a popular early-season climb in the Olympic mountains. Two climbers slipped on a steep snowy slope while climbing The Brothers. One fell “into an opening in the snow and over a rock face with running melt water,” and sadly did not survive. This tragic accident has brought an annually recurring hazard back into the thoughts of everyone within the outdoor community: the danger posed by snow bridges.  Read more…

Trip Report | Oregon Winter Adventure: Ecola State Park, Haystack Rock (Cannon Beach), and Hug Point

What I find fascinating about the Oregon Coast is that geological events helped shape what we see today. The Colombia River Basalt Group is a series of flood basalts similar to what is found in Hawaii, where large amounts of basalt erupt and cover an extensive area. Read more…

Gala Auction Items: Climbing in Canmore, Adventure Van Trip, and More

Family vacations, unique experiences, adventures near and far - good things are coming in 2021!

The sun is shining again in the Pacific Northwest and our community is itching to travel beyond their backyards. There is hope on the horizon for new experiences and adventure travel! And there is no better way to kickstart your plans than through The Mountaineers Annual Gala: Adventure with Purpose. With over 50 auction packages, including adventurous getaways, beautiful artwork, and awesome outdoor gear, you can feel great knowing that your next vacation or new swag benefits a cause you care about! Read more…

Trail Talk | Love is in the Plein Air: Exploring the land with the ones you love

Reading the journals of many naturalists, outdoorspeople, and adventurers, you immediately feel their strong love for the land. You can sense how this love touched their souls and tantalized their emotions. But what about romantic, familial, or platonic love? Did they experience that too while out and about in the backcountry? Read more…

Introduction to Hiking Seminar - March 30

Ready to get out and explore all those amazing places you’ve seen photos of, but not sure how to get started? Join us for our virtual Introduction to Hiking seminar, which will provide you with the basic knowledge necessary to enjoy outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest and return home safely. Read more…

Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Luis Zuniga

This month, the Foothills Mountaineers would like to recognize the contributions of Luis Zuniga! Luis is a new Mountaineer who, with his wife Karla, has developed a passion for the outdoors and all things Mountaineers. He quickly became a Foothills hike leader, is already seeking his backpack leader badge, and has volunteered to be a mentor for the Backpacking Building Blocks course. We're thrilled to have Luis on the Foothills volunteer team! Read more…

Upcoming Olympia Clinics and Seminars

It's exciting to see our courses and events opening up this year to give new members and students the experiences that we all enjoy. If you would like  to brush up on your skills and start planning your summer hikes, join Olympia Mountaineers leaders for one of our upcoming clinics or seminars. Read more…

March Releases: Mud, Rocks, Blazes & Urban Trails: Sacramento

It's new release day for two very different trail-centered titles. Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail by Heather "Anish" Anderson is a memoir about her deeply internal yet highly physical journey on the 2,180 miles of Appalachian Trail. Urban Trails: Sacramento is a handy trail guidebook for hikers of all types wanting to explore the Sacramento, California area.  Read more…

New Year, New Activity!

It sounds like clickbait - “I rucked a mile a day for 31 days, and here’s what happened!” But I did indeed ruck at least a mile each day in January 2021. Here’s what happened. Read more…

Start your hiking life in 2021 with the GoHike Beginning Hiking series!

The GoHike: Beginning Hiking Series, opening for registration January 25, is your gateway to breaking through the hurdles that have kept you from realizing your hiking dreams! Join a compatible, low-pressure community that lets you start from where you are. Read more…

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

As we navigate COVID-19, our priority is to keep our members safe and engaged in the outdoors. The Olympia branch is excited to offer three upcoming courses in January and February; hear from the course chairs on the safety adjustments made, and what you can expect to learn.  Read more…

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…

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…

Trip Report: Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Zion is a national treasure that begs to be explored. It is not only famous for its many hiking trails, including the most dangerous, Angels Landing, but for the milky green Virgin River that shapes what we see today. Read more…

What Are The Ten Essentials?

The Mountaineers Ten Essentials™ dates back to our climbing courses of the 1930s. This widely respected safety and packing system was formalized in the third edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, released in 1974. Each of the nine editions of Freedom, as it is affectionately known, was written entirely by volunteers and reflects the collective wisdom of hundreds of outdoor skills instructors. The list has always sought to answer two basic questions: Read more…

Trail Talk | Revelations After More than 30,000 Miles on the Trail

As an outdoors writer and guidebook author, former backcountry ranger in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, former mountain guide in the Spanish and French Pyrenees, and dedicated adventurer, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the trail. It totals more than 30,000 miles hiking and backpacking, and who knows how many miles running. I’ve hiked on trails from Nova Scotia to Florida, Alaska to Argentina, and in Europe and Asia. I’ve seen a lot of spectacular natural places. And I’ve learned quite a bit along the way — some trivial, some life changing — about nature, humanity, and myself. In a stream of consciousness (just as my mind works while I’m hiking), here are a few of the things I’ve learned while putting thousands of miles on the trail: Read more…

How To: Entertain Kids While Hiking & Backpacking

Backpacking with kids is an exciting and eye-opening experience for both parents and children. Sharing the love of nature, exploration, and adventure is special, but not always the easiest thing to get kids exited about. These activity ideas will help you have a great time the next time you head into the backcountry with kids. Read more…

How To: See Golden Larches This Fall

Crisp days and bright fall foliage call hikers out onto the trails each autumn, but few trees draw crowds like our much-loved larches. Located primarily on the sunny eastern slopes of the Cascades, larches are deciduous conifers whose needles turn a rich gold each year. Their stout frames and bristling branches dot hillsides with color each October, and make alpine scenes all the more magical. Read on to learn more about these unique trees and the best hikes to spy them on. Read more…

Trip Report: Lake Ingalls

Lake Ingalls in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is one of the most striking hikes for fall foliage. In fact, this area is stunning no matter what time of the year you go. In the spring the blooming flowers make a striking contrast against the craggy mountains, and in the fall the huckleberries are ripe, juicy, and delicious. Do not wait to hike this trail! Read more…

Leave No Trace Tips for New Hikers

Hiking is a wonderful way to get outside, stretch your legs, and see the best of what the Northwest has to offer. However, it’s important to be mindful of the impacts that we can have on our public lands by doing our best to keep the places we visit wild and pristine. Read more…

Life as a Trail Angel: The Reality of 1200 Houseguests

You quit your job, sublet your apartment, and sold your car. Standing on the curb at the San Diego airport, everything you know has been left behind. There’s just you and your backpack, and a dream so big you wonder again: Will it fit that five-month hole I’ve carved out of my life? You’re looking for a yellow pompom. Just like more than 6,000 others before you. Read more…

The Olympic Mountain Project

I always wondered what it would feel like to be in snow in the middle of August. Read more…

Trip Report: Mt. Rainier: Sunrise, Sourdough Ridge, and More

Mt. Rainier’s Yakima Park, aka Sunrise, is the highest drive-able point in the national park at 6,400 ft. Sunrise is second to Paradise when it comes to popularity, but Sunrise offers a drier, sunnier climate, impressive views, and plenty of opportunity for adventure. 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…

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…