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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…

Trip Report: Successful New Hybrid Navigation Course

Due to COVID-19, our Olympia Navigation course had to be postponed indefinitely. Following safety guidelines, we were able to hold the course using online tools, which led to great success. In an interview with Navigation Chair Mike Kretzler, he shared what tools and changes led to the new, successful course in September.  Read more…

How To: Plan Your Own Adventures with CalTopo

During my spring seclusion, I was planning a summer escape to hike the final section of the Sierra High Route. As the weeks passed, I used CalTopo’s weekly hi-resolution satellite images to watch the winter white recede from monolithic iceberg, to mosquito wonderland, to High Sierra drought. It was like I was watching the polar ice caps of Mars—before I landed at the trailhead I knew I would not need axe or crampons this year. Read more…

Free CalTopo Trip Planning Webinar – Aug 5

First among The Mountaineers Ten Essentials is navigation, and as technology has advanced that now includes both digital and physical maps. While physical maps can be customized for type, scale, coordinate markings, and personalized tracks and waypoints, digital maps have the benefit of GPS capability – allowing you to know where you are in the backcountry. Read more…

Hiking and Navigating (or Trying To) in Northern Thailand

For three Novembers in a row my husband and I have traveled to Asia, hoping to avoid the worst of the Seattle weather and a certain amount of election news hysteria, always with the goal of exploring by hiking rather than just hitting the classic tourist spots. We travel on our own, no tour group, just three nights booked ahead in a hotel and figure it out from there. We spent four weeks in Taiwan in 2016; three weeks in Hong Kong (no, it’s not just skyscrapers) in 2017; and this year three weeks in northern Thailand, starting in Chiang Mai. Read more…

Navigating in the Wilderness

We love exploring, especially the wild places that offer a serene tranquility away from it all. Sometimes, though, we get too far away. And that's when tranquility turns into bewilderment. So pack a map and take some tips from Wilderness Navigation by Mike and Robert Burns. Read more…

New Mountaineers Offering: Winter Navigation

The Foothills Navigation Committee is proud to offer a brand new clinic not offered by any other branch: Winter Navigation! This one night evening clinic is set for Thursday, Jan 25, 2018  at 6pm. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Jerry Logan

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Jerry Logan, a volunteer with the Kitsap Branch who takes pride and joy in helping new climbers achieve summits they didn't think were possible! Read more…

What is Progressive Outdoor Education?

The Mountaineers 'Vision 2022' Strategic Plan calls for us to invest in being “innovative leaders in outdoor education.” This means we need to respond to growing needs and address new century challenges in ways that are different from traditional  outdoor education. This includes investment in our volunteers – the greatest source of innovation and a priceless resource that is uniquely Mountaineers. We call this new approach "Progressive Outdoor Education."  Read more…

Free (or nearly) Navigation Apps for Smart Phones

The cell phone has become a popular navigation tool for the modern outdoor adventurer. In fact, these days there are so many apps available it can be hard to know where to start. But don't be deterred! Your friends on the Seattle Navigation Committee love this stuff, and we took the time to review several apps that are free or close to it. Read more…