Courses & Activities

Courses & Activities

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Trail Talk | How to Plan the Best Hike Ever: Or at least a pretty darn good one

I’ve been hiking and backpacking for more than 40 years now. Along the way I’ve learned a few things from research, the guidance of others, the trials of my own errors, and random luck. It’s not only helped make me a successful guidebook author, but a confident hiker, backpacker, and trail runner. Below are a few of my hard-earned, trail-tested tips on how to have a pretty darn good hiking adventure. Read more…

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…

Safety Stories: Unable to Arrest Above a 30-Foot Cliff

We make our way across a questionable snow bridge perched precariously near a waterfall of melting snowpack. Our team of three snow scrambling students and two course leaders move slowly, taking turns crossing the snow bridge one at a time. When the last person steps off the bridge, we share a collective sigh of relief that our group decision was a safe one. I’m grateful to have my helmet on and ice axe in hand. 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…

Safety Stories: Earl-Bean Traverse – A rock bulge broke loose, sending me backwards

As Mountaineers, we are committed to learning from our experiences. We examine every incident that happens on a Mountaineers trip for opportunities to improve the ways we explore and teach. Our volunteer safety committee reviews every incident report and picks a few each month to share as examples of ‘Lessons Learned’. The trip report below describes what happened on this trip, in the leader’s own words, and outlines the lessons the leader has identified. In some cases, we offer additional key learnings from the incident. Read more…

Youth Volunteers Needed - Make a Difference this Spring and Summer

As we continue to reopen and restart our programs, we’re excited to welcome back our Seattle Mountain Workshop partners after nearly a year of hiatus - and we need your help! Read more…

Safety Stories: Near Miss – Unable to Arrest on Snowy Descent of Kangaroo Temple

As Mountaineers, we are committed to learning from our experiences. We examine every incident that happens on a Mountaineers trip for opportunities to improve the ways we explore and teach. Our volunteer safety committee reviews every incident report and picks a few each month to share as examples of ‘Lessons Learned’. The trip report below describes what happened on this trip, in the leader’s own words, and outlines the lessons the leader has identified. In some cases, we offer additional key learnings from the incident. 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…

Dawn over Japan's Northern Alps

It was 4am in the Yarigatake Hut, nestled high in the snowy mountains of Japan. All who had persevered through the previous day's steep trek up to the hut  (elevation 9,908ft) started stirring in the large open sleeping quarters, struggling to fold the futon beds by our feet as silently as possible. The numbering system posted above the sleeping positions were very close together - one wonders during the crowded season how anyone can sleep without disturbing their neighbors!   Read more…

New Wilderness Pooping Course

Everybody poops... but not everyone knows how to poop in the wilderness in an environmentally friendly way. The Mountaineers are addressing this challenge with a new course launching April 1, 2021, just in time for summer: Wilderness Pooping.   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…

The Speed of Love: Going the Distance With Fred Beckey

While traveling solo to remote and wild places, I had been in some dicey situations. The risks were real, but I knew of no one else interested in exploring the nether regions of wilderness, nor the Himalayan front range from east to west, nor the ancient trade routes that connect Tibet to India through massive ranges, passes that cut deep, from north to south where borders often go unmarked – and so I had gone alone. Read more…

What's Your Eleventh Essential? Celebrating the Ten Essentials

The last patch of shade disappears in a wavering blue line, distorted by the heat. I sit on the scorching sand in exasperation. We are still five miles from the car, and I feel like garbage. I’m dizzy, a bit nauseous, and have a headache. After a year of hiking in the Northwest, I’ve forgotten about the unrelenting desert sun and my 2.5 liters of water was not nearly enough... I am dehydrated, and badly. Read more…

Celebrating Love: A Ruth Mountain Elopement

Escape. Flee. Run away. Most likely derived from the 1500s Middle Dutch word lopen, the meaning of the word elope has shifted over time. From its origins describing a simple, non-romantic escape, elope morphed to mean a scandalous affair wherein a married woman ran off with her lover. The affair disappeared, but the scandal remained, when eloping changed once again to mean a secret marriage without parental consent. Read more…

Safety Stories: Little Tahoma - The Route is Known for Rockfall

As Mountaineers, we are committed to learning from our experiences. We examine every incident that happens on a Mountaineers trip for opportunities to improve the ways we explore and teach. Our volunteer safety committee reviews every incident report and picks a few each month to share as examples of ‘Lessons Learned’. The trip report below describes what happened on this trip, in the leader’s own words, and outlines the lessons the leader has identified. In some cases, we offer additional key learnings from the incident. Read more…

Trip Report: Carter Falls Snowshoe Adventure

The night before our snowshoe trip to Mount Rainier, I was a tad nervous reading the weather forecasts. I had been diligently reading them for a week prior, because a winter storm advisory was in effect. In addition, the avalanche danger had increased with all the new snow and slight warming trend. The next day, the expected weather forecast stated we were in for 90% precipitation, rain at lower elevations and snow higher. I was uneasy, and kept hoping that the road to Paradise would be closed. My backup plan for our adventure was to stay low and safe with a short snowshoe around Longmire. 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…

"Staying Found" On-Trail Navigation Course - Begins Mar 3

Is there a nagging little voice in the back of your head saying that you really should learn how to read a map and use a compass on your next hike or backpack trip, but you haven't quite gotten around to it?  Are you a bit intimidated by it all but haven't wanted to admit it? Or are you ready to take the next step in your personal preparedness to plan and carry out a safe on-trail adventure? 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…

Bookmarks | This Land of Snow

A passionate skier since he was a child, Anders Morley dreamed of going on a significant adventure, something bold and of his own design. And so one year in his early thirties, he decided to strap on cross-country skis to travel across Canada in the winter alone. Read more…

Trip Report: Winter Recreation at Paradise, Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier offers many winter recreational opportunities at Paradise, including family sledding areas, Ranger-guided snow walks and talks, backcountry skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and winter camping. 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…