Courses & Activities

Courses & Activities

All posts

Retro Rewind | A Date on Mt. Rainier

We were the luckiest teenagers we knew. In the spring of 1953, my sister (16) and I (18) learned we would spend ten days that summer in the alpine world of Mt. Rainier with two other teenage climbing course graduates, as well as renowned photographer Ira Spring. How did this happen? Ira had a contract with the publisher of a new magazine, Sports Illustrated. Read more…

Measuring Personal Growth on Ruth & Icy

On a Friday night in late August, I headed north from Seattle with Iris, Phillip, and Jordan - three friends I’d made in the Everett Basic Climbing course. We were on our way to Ruth Mountain and Icy Peak to try what’s known as the Ruth and Icy Traverse - a linkup of two glaciated summits on the border of North Cascades National Park. Read more…

Magnuson Park: A Living History

When I was little my parents enrolled me in summer sailing camp. My mother told me it was a necessary life skill that would be useful later on, but I was skeptical. Next thing I knew I was on a small boat with three other kids, floating into the middle of Lake Washington. We were packed in shoulder to shoulder, our red regulation life jackets up to our ears, my stomach bobbing up and down in tandem with the waves. We looked at each other with the same expression. “You guys know how to do this, right?” None of us did. Read more…

Peak Performance | Food for Thought

But what do you eat? This is my students’ favorite question when I tell them I’m running a 100-mile race. More than anything, they want to know what’s in store for my stomach (they care deeply about my stomach when I talk about mountaineering, too). If you’re also curious, here are my insights from years of running and mountaineering. Read more…

A Costume Climbing Tradition: Anywhere, Anytime

The sweat pours from your brow as you trudge under the spring sun, a mere half-mile from the summit. You know you’re tired, but begin to question if you’re unwell when you see not one, but a dozen people bounding toward you, clad in all kinds of hiking-inappropriate garb. One man is in a hula skirt, followed by a woman dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. You sit down for safety and watch the apparitions get closer. You’re not hallucinating. You’ve just stumbled upon the elusive Mother’s Day hikers outside of their usual haunt. Read more…

Delve Deep: Explore Mammoth Cave National Park with Global Adventures

Calling all spelunkers and scramblers! This September, Global Adventures has a unique adventure planned for you: an unforgettable trip to Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky. This wonder is featured as one the “Top 10 Experiences” in Moon's USA National Park Guide – and for good reason. Read more…

Global Adventures | Going Home to a Place I’d Never Been

In 2019, I joined a Global Adventures trip – first to Torres del Paine in Chile and then to the Fitz Roy Massif in Argentina. I was 76 and rather long in the tooth for a backpack classified as “very strenuous.” But Fitz Roy was a mountain I’d wanted to see since my late teens. This was my first chance. Jump! Read more…

Mapping a Dream | Arctic Traverse

Summoning my life’s longest, most formative journey, I sometimes put the maps of my arctic traverse end to end. When I do, all the wilderness I could ever want spreads across my living room floor, a smorgasbord of possibilities. “You must walk like a camel,” Thoreau counseled, “which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking.” And I did. Read more…

The Big Call: Conversations With Big Snow Mountain

Squinting against the morning sun, I stab my pole into the steep east face of Wild Goat Peak and break loose a small snowball that quickly grows to the size of a man’s torso. Gaining speed as it travels downhill, the snowball finally topples where the mountain’s pitch shallows out. The test confirms my suspicions: this face is ripe for a wet avalanche. Read more…

Experience Cuba's Joie de Vivre with Global Adventures

Cuba’s inherent joie de vivre awaits Mountaineers in the upcoming Global Adventures Day Hiking and Naturalist trip (Nov 19 – Dec 4, 2024). The past six decades of Cuba’s political landscape has shaped a people who are generous, gracious, confident, and unreserved, and a landscape that has escaped heavy tourism impacts. Read more…

Introducing Relaxed Pace Trips - Foothills Backpacking Committee

The Foothills Backpacking Committee has an amazing community of leaders whose passion is to share their love of the outdoors and build community at the same time. In an effort to answer the call for more relaxed paced trips, our committee has launched an initiative for members who are looking for just these kinds of trips. Read more…

Learn How to Plan a Lightweight and Tasty Backpack Menu - Apr 9

It was day nine of an 11-day trip on the John Muir Trail when I hit a wall. I had packed too many bulky carbs and not enough calories in my bear can. At the time, this was the longest backpacking trip I had done. My spouse and I were able to make our “gorp” last until we were rescued from our plight by my sister who carried in our resupply, just in time. Enduring such slim pickings and operating on so few calories was a mentally exhausting and horribly demoralizing experience.  Read more…

Get in Shape for Backpacking With Pro Trekking Trainer Sheri Goodwin

It works great for many people to strap on a loaded pack and hike to get in shape for the upcoming season. However, for some – including many beginners – without a bit more structure and guidance, this approach can run the risk of injury, discouragement, and ultimately, slower progress than you had hoped for. What if you could develop a tailored strength-and-conditioning training plan aimed at reaching your trail goals safely and efficiently, with a progression of exercises and training activities? And what if you could build it with the guidance of a professional physical trainer who specializes in helping people get ready for life-list treks and backpacks? Read more…

BeWild: "Alpine Rising" - Bernadette McDonald, March 14

 The Mountaineers BeWild Speaker Series puts passion and adventure on center stage. Join us at BeWild with Bernadette McDonald on March 14 to learn more about the history and legacy of mountaineering in the Greater Ranges. Read more…

Learn How to Sail In Seattle's Basic Crew & Sailing Course

During the first student training sail of the 2023 Seattle Mountaineers Sailing Course, an orca decided to put on a show just north of Shilshole Bay Marina. The orca performed a “spy hop” to check out its surroundings. Students were thrilled! Read more…

Get Involved with Family Backpacking

100 backpacks with kids and teens and counting! And at least that many trail meltdowns… but also thousands of smiles and expressions of awe at the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, interesting trail conversations, unplugged spontaneous games (think fresh mud burgers served on flat rocks), and watching skills and confidence grow with each trip. Read more…

Global Adventures | Medieval Babies and Overstuffed Ski Bags

In the winter of 1205, two Norwegian Birkebeiner warriors donned crude plank skis and shuffled off into severely cold, windy weather to cross a snowy mountain, one of them carrying a swaddled baby on his back. Their mission? To safely transport the baby 54 kilometers from Lillehammer to Rena as a civil war raged. The child was heir to the throne and being targeted by a faction competing with the more dominant Birkebeiners, to whom he belonged. Read more…

Mount Rainier National Park Announces Timed Entry Reservations for Summer 2024

Note: The Park's timed entry FAQ webpage is the best resource with the most up to date information on how to visit Mount Rainier National Park  during summer 2024.

Last week, Mount Rainier National Park announced that many visitors will need reservations to access the park through popular entrances during peak hours this summer. From May 24 through Labor Day, most visitors entering through the Nisqually and Stevens entrances between 7am and 3pm will need to make an online or phone reservation ahead of time. Reservations will also be required at the White River entrance beginning July 3 and lasting through Labor Day.  Read more…

Discovering Picos de Europa in Spain's Green Heart

Join the upcoming May 2024 Mountaineers Global Adventure  for moderate day hikes among dramatic limestone peaks and lush valleys of the third highest mountain range in Spain. Our destination, Picos de Europa National Park, is in the heart of Green Spain. Trip leader, Roseanne Lorenzana, visited there in May 2023 and declares it a “must-see” for all who love tranquil mountain hikes, spring flowers, local history, and food culture. Read more…

Did You Know? DIY Snowshoes

Getting new winter gear is usually great for the ego and painful for the bank account... but it doesn’t have to be. Did you know you can make your own snowshoes? And for quite cheap, too. Read more…

BeWild: Salmon, Cedar, Rock & Rain - Feb 15

The Mountaineers BeWild Speaker Series puts passion and adventure on center stage. Join us at BeWild with Salmon, Cedar, Rock & Rain: Washington's Olympic Peninsula contributors on February 15 to unlock inspiration, seek adventure, connect with nature, and work to protect the wild places we cherish. Read more…

Top 10 Mountaineers of Instagram: Inspiration for 2024

The Mountaineers launched our Instagram (@mountaineersorg) in 2014 as a way to celebrate the adventurous spirit of our community, the beauty of our natural landscapes, and the myriad types of outdoor experiences we have access to in the Pacific Northwest. From star-lit campsites to sun-kissed summits to smile-filled stewardship, Mountaineers are eager to share their photo-rich trip reports and inspire others to appreciate and protect the special places that we’re lucky enough to call home. Read more…

Learn to Ski at Meany Lodge This Winter

Downhill ski, snowboard, and telemark lessons are now open for registration at Meany Lodge. We offer single-day lessons almost every Saturday, as well as multi-week classes (4 days total) during the winter season. Check out our Meany Lodge webpage and register for one of our ski courses!  Read more…

Speak Up Now to Protect Access to Peaks and Canyons

Note, this public comment period has closed. We'll keep our community updated on future developments in this process.

For many Mountaineers students, the South Face of the Tooth in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is their first foray into the world of alpine climbing. Considering its close proximity to the Seattle area, wide ledges for belaying, and grippy holds, it’s no wonder that the South Face is a classic teaching space for our alpine programs. Unfortunately, our community’s ability to safely access critical teaching spaces like the South Face of the Tooth is in jeopardy due to recently released National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) proposals. Read more…

A Message from Board Member Maya Magarati

Namaste! Imagine you are in a brand new place, and you know no one. When we moved to the Pacific Northwest 23 years ago, that was us. Read more…

Global Adventures | Hiking Through History: The Jordan Trail

Toiling up a dry mountain shoulder in desert heat, I briefly question why I signed on to hike the highlights of Jordan’s national trail on a Mountaineers Global Adventures trip. Then I crest the shoulder of Jordan’s Grand Canyon and see the Dead Sea glimmering in the hot haze. I remember that this place has history. Jordan encompasses the biblical land of Moab. Nearby Mt. Nebo, above the Dead Sea, is where Moses saw the Promised Land. To the south, where we’re headed, lies Edom,  abled site of Sodom and Gomorrah. Visiting the desiccated salt flats around the Dead Sea, I can see these stories come to life. Read more…

Bookmarks | Royal Robbins: The American Climber

From essentially inventing modern Yosemite big wall climbing in the 1960s to pioneering a philosophy of climbing and conservation that continues to reverberate today, Royal Robbins is a legend by any measure. Now for the first time, award-winning author David Smart illuminates the full story of the man who the New York Times deemed the “conscience of rock climbers” — in all its soulful ambition, rivalry, and romance. Published by Mountaineers Books, Royal Robbins: The American Climber is the definitive biography of one of history’s most influential climbers, from a hardscrabble youth to the heights of Yosemite and beyond. Read more…

Heads Up: My Encounters with Owls as a Trail Runner

Lore has it that owls are wise creatures. So, what does it mean when, as a runner, barred owls repeatedly attack me? This is not a joke.  Read more…

Breakups and Breakthroughs: Finding my Independence in the Outdoors

It was November 2018, and I was sobbing in my car at the Seattle Bouldering Project (SBP). David had just broken up with me. He was a skier, mountaineer, and climber I’d met six weeks prior. I’d fallen head over heels with both him and the rock climbing hobby he introduced me to. Read more…