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Mother Tree

I watched in fascinated disgust as dozens of insects squirmed and wriggled towards the edges of the bark where it met the soft damp core, searching for darkness and safety. Just moments before, my mother in an effort to teach me about the wonders of nurse logs had wedged her fingernail between bark and wood and carefully pried off a chunk of bark the size of her hand. “All those insects make their home in the log. They eat the wood and make it into soil so other trees can grow.” Then she replaced the bark as carefully as she had removed it. “Let’s not disturb them any further.” Read more…

Retro Rewind | Mountaineers Books: Fulfilling Our Mission, 60 Years and Counting

A squabble over climbing styles nearly tore The Mountaineers apart in its early years. Choosing instead to put differences aside, that turmoil spawned a text so seminal that it would come to be read religiously by aspiring climbers around the world. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills is now seen by many as the pinnacle of climbing education material, and next to it since the beginning is the nonprofit publisher Mountaineers Books. Read more…

Peak Performance | Mountain Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become a popular practice in yoga and other therapies, but it also has its place in the mountains. To be “mindful” means paying complete attention to what’s going on, both inside your head and outside of yourself, and being fully present in the moment. If you are multi-tasking, you are likely not being mindful. Likewise, if you are rushing to get things done, or tag the summit and get back to the car, you probably don’t have a good chance of being mindful. The other component of mindfulness is accepting yourself exactly as you are, or treating yourself the way you would treat a good friend. Read more…

Tacoma Photography Committee 2020 Gallery Show

Join the Tacoma Branch Photography Committee as we celebrate our 2020 Gallery Show! Going on its 14th year, this show is typically only seen in person at Catholic Community Services in Tacoma. However, due to social distancing restrictions we are now offering it online for all members to see and enjoy. Read more…

Gear Love

Forget about that special someone – let’s focus on that special something! We all have the pieces of gear we love above the rest. Things that keep you warm, safe, and comfortable. Take a moment to think about that piece of equipment you just couldn’t live without, and enjoy these love letters written by Mountaineers to gear they adore the most. Read more…

Preparing for the Worst: A Chaplain’s Perspective

On August 14, 2018, I received the phone call. A climber had died, and my mountaineering friend had just gotten the news. He needed assistance with what to do next. In seven years as an emergency services chaplain, I’ve lost count of how many death notifications I’ve given, and I was the right person for my friend to call. Only, when I realized that the climber he was talking about was Stephen Kornbluth, my best friend and “mountain husband,” I felt my world shatter into a million pieces. None of my experience had prepared me for this moment. Read more…

Recommended Nature Reads

The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and it's clear that spring is upon us once again. The rhythms of nature bring comfort during difficult times, and remind us that in spite of everything the world keeps turning.  Read more…

Time on your hands? Help keep our community connected!

We’re entering uncharted territory. Mountaineers in-person programming is suspended until at least April 24 and a two-week minimum Stay Home, Stay Healthy order limits non-essential businesses and access to many of our favorite places. Schools are closed and many of us are at least temporarily out of work. These are big scary changes and we know that many of our members and volunteers will need to reprioritize their lives to care for their families. Others are finding themselves with endless free time and forbidden from doing the things they love outside.  Read more…

We’re Feeling the Pinch, Here’s How You Can Help

As a course leader, I deeply empathize with any volunteer who’s had to make the extremely difficult decision to cancel or alter a course that you spent months planning. I also empathize with the hundreds of volunteers who were looking forward to supporting these courses or continuing the operations of our lodges this spring. With at least 30 courses, all of our lodges, and nearly 1,000 volunteers and students affected by these changes, it’s clear that we are entering truly unprecedented times. Read more…

Did You Know? Washington's Wildflowers

We know spring has arrived in the northwest when the crocuses worm their violet heads and long green bodies out of the dirt every March, a harbinger of brighter days. Our walks to work and school are dotted by blasting spring rains, and hikers slowly start to fill the trails again as snow melts and our forests become plump with moss and ferns. Read more…