Courses & Activities

Courses & Activities

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Bonanza and Ben: A lifelong relationship with risk

Parental foolishness knows no bounds. When our son Ben was just an infant, we took him to Bonanza in an ill-advised attempt to climb the peak. Ben was an absolute terror and completely unmanageable at high camp – in other words, a classic 11-month-old, and we had to turn around. Read more…

Seattle Youth Volunteer Orientation Dinner - Sep 29

Join us on Thursday, September 29 for an evening of good food, good company, and ample opportunities to support the next generation of climbers and outdoor explorers through our youth programs.  Read more…

Alma Wagen: The first female mountain guide at Mount Rainier National Park

In 1918, Alma Wagen, an early member of The Mountaineers, was declared the first woman to join Mount Rainier’s guide staff. Upon accepting this position, Alma knew her accomplishment was not just personally life-changing, but also an opportunity to bring other women into climbing. “At last I had found the time and the place to climb, and I climbed hills and mountains and learned everything I possibly could about climbing,” she told a journalist in a 1923 interview for American Magazine. “Then I looked for new fields to conquer and found my life's work. I wanted to teach other women the joy of climbing.” Read more…

Trip Report: Clear Creek Intra-Urban Trail

Clear Creek Trail is an intra-urban, family-friendly trail located in Silverdale, Washington that winds through riparian zones, wetlands, and dense forests. This trail is open for walking, running, biking, or strolling leisurely with your kids. The best time to walk the beach is in the early mornings during low tide when you can observe wildlife and the many birds fishing for lunch around the estuary. My most recent visit was a quick jaunt with my pops and Bilbo the Adventure Dog to see the wetlands and the interior forests. Read more…

How To Get Involved as a Volunteer

The Mountaineers began as a volunteer organization, and 116 years later we are still largely run by volunteers, with a small staff supporting administrative tasks. Whether your interests are in teaching, leading trips, helping at events, supporting stewardship efforts, or serving on a committee that orchestrates such activities, we have opportunities for you to pitch in and make a difference!  Read more…

Try Car-free Hiking in the Puget Sound

It can feel like access to a reliable vehicle is the eleventh essential for lovers of the outdoors. Summertime, however, brings with it more options for hitting the trails via public transit; an eco-friendly choice that's also kinder to your wallet given current high gas prices (not to mention eliminating the worry of dealing with a trailhead break-in.)  Read more…

Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth Nakashima

Meet Elizabeth Nakashima, a Foothills hike and urban walk leader, as well as the Treasurer of the Foothills Backpacking and Hiking Committee. Elizabeth joined The Mountaineers to train for a hike across the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and has been with us ever since! Read more…

Love on the Water

In continuation of our article "Belationships, Packmances, and Nature-Loves" from our spring 2022 edition, we thought it fitting for summer to showcase two stories from Mountaineers sailors who met their partners on the open water. After all, what’s more romantic than the Salish Sea? Read more…

Backpacking Tips from a Dietitian: The health benefits of herbs and spices

Herbs and spices have been used around the world for thousands of years to support human health. This still holds true today. Herbs and spices  can be incredibly helpful for the modern day adventurer, especially when out on the trail. Naturally occurring compounds in plants called phytochemicals, designed to protect the plant from infection and illness, have also shown health benefits for humans as well. Read more…

Six Must Do's to Stay Safe on Mt. Rainier

The weekend of July 8, I was helping lead a Mountaineers climb of the Emmons Route on Mt. Rainier. Our team was fortunate to have great weather and even better route conditions, and everyone on our two rope teams made it safely to the summit and back to the White River trailhead with no mishaps. Read more…

Where to Buy Affordable Gear

“Contrary to the examples that most blogs, magazines, and brand-name catalogs present, a backpacking hobby doesn’t have to be expensive, extremely arduous, or put on hold until you are at your goal weight.” Shared in the opening pages of How to Suffer Outside: A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking and Backpacking by Diana Helmuth, these wise words are written with backpacking in mind but apply to all things outdoor gear. Read more…

New Route Update: South Early Winter Spires (SEWS)

South Early Winters Spire (SEWS) is a popular climbing route in the North Cascades. The highest summit of the Liberty Bell Group, the climb offers outstanding views of Liberty Bell and the North Cascades. Climbers flock to SEWS as a great option for their first alpine climbing experience because of the quality of granite rock and the relatively easy climbing and great scrambling. Read more…

Looking for Seattle First Aid Volunteers

The Seattle First Aid Committee's role is to ensure that our members and leaders have access to classes that allow them to gain and maintain first aid skills. During the past two years, the committee has lost a few core members due to job changes or moves. The Seattle branch is grateful that we've retained Mary Panza as the chair, but she can't do it alone. We are looking for both in-person and remote volunteers to support our community's First Aid education.  Read more…

The Case for Geotagging

I took two years away from social media for a much-needed cleanse several years ago. Before going off the grid, I posted three times a day, intending to gain traction for my hiking blog. But as much as I enjoyed beautiful landscape photos, I found I needed a break from seeing evasive posts from the self-proclaimed "influencers" or "inspirers" with a large following on Instagram and Facebook. Read more…

How To Make a Backcountry Poop Kit

It took a lot of practice, but I finally learned how to poop directly into a dog bag. I’d been getting outside for years – crag climbing and backcountry skiing mostly – and I wasn’t a fan of carrying a trowel and digging a six-inch cat hole. Instead, I’d find a private space, answer the call of nature directly onto the ground/snow, then pick it up (double bag!) and pack it out (toilet paper too!). Read more…

Make Your Own Backpacking Meals: Comfort food alternatives to commercial freeze-dried backpacking meals

Most of us have done it more than once in our backpacking lives – tear open a foil packet, pour in steaming water from the camp stove, wait ten minutes, then shovel the contents into our mouths in the hope that the quantity is right, the food is palatable, and the salt content doesn’t cause congestive heart failure. Then we rinse and haul the bulky foil packets back out to the trailhead. Read more…

New Course – Yoga for Hikers, Backpackers, and Trail Runners

You’re invited to participate in the Foothills branch’s newest course, Yoga for Hikers, Backpackers, and Trail Runners. Designed for outdoor athletes, this course will cover the fundamentals of yoga, how to utilize the practice for athletic recovery, and how to utilize the practice for strength. Read more…

Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Susan Conbere

Meet Susan Conbere, a Foothills backpack, hike, and snowshoe leader. Susan also leads the Staying Found course and is an active member of the Foothills Backpacking and Hiking Committee. Susan earned Super Volunteer and Key badges in 2020 and 2021 in recognition of all she does for The Mountaineers!  Read more…

Ananth's Rainier 100: A collection of thoughts on 100 peaks

Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP) is one of the oldest national parks in the country, and also one of the most visited. Home to the highest volcanic peak in the contiguous United States and the largest alpine glacial system outside of Alaska, it’s no wonder that people come from near and far to appreciate its beauty. Read more…

Remembering Mountaineer Jeremy Fuerst

Jeremy Fuerst was a more fruitful and accomplished climber than most of us would be in five lifetimes. He was an avid peakbagger, county high pointer, state high pointer, and an active member with the Seattle branch. Jeremy passed away in a climbing accident on September 9, 2021, in the Sangre de Cristo range in Colorado. Read more…

Update Your Volunteer Profile

As a 15,000 person community, our membership has a wide variety of skills, talents, and volunteer interests. But as a large and decentralized organization, one challenge we face is connecting interested volunteers with our many different volunteer opportunities. Read more…

Global Adventures | Exploring History and Alpine Peaks in Japan

It was 2019 and I had just arrived in Tokyo. Looking for the hotel where I was to meet our group of Mountaineers, I felt like a lost child. Maneuvering to avoid people with my big suitcase, my senses were in overload as I paused to take a picture of the tight flow of humanity passing me in every direction. A visit to Japan combines modern life with ancient traditions and incredible outdoor opportunities. The juxtaposition was jarring and thrilling. Read more…

30 in 30: Climbing Mailbox Peak 30 Times in 30 Days

Gaining 4,000 feet of vertical elevation in only 2.5 miles, Mailbox Peak definitely stands out among the more challenging hikes of the PNW. I am a regular in a crew of Mailbox enthusiasts who have visited the mountain hundreds of times over the past several years. In that time, I've witnessed droves of hikers suffer through great pains to reach the top. I've watched them rejoice as the summit first came into their view, and their eyes light up as they took their first picture next to the iconic mailbox. It has been an honor and a privilege to share in their experiences. For me, there would be no other mountain more fitting for my endeavor.  Read more…

Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Phoebe Smith

Meet Phoebe Smith, a Foothills hike leader, active member of the Foothills Hiking Committee, and secretary of the Navigation Committee. Phoebe earned Super Volunteer and Key Leader badges in 2021 in recognition of all she does for The Mountaineers!  Read more…

10 Essential Questions: Dhanya Raghu

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to... Read more…

Bookmarks | Valley of Giants

Lauren DeLaunay Miller is the editor of a new anthology that shares the stories, famed and previously untold, of the remarkable women who have shaped Yosemite climbing history. Valley of Giants, published by Mountaineers Books, is a first-of-its-kind collection that gathers stories from journal excerpts, original essays, interviews, and archival materials from almost 40 contributors, including legends like Lynn Hill, Steph Davis, Kate Rutherford, Beth Rodden, Chelsea Griffie, and more. Lauren has worked for Yosemite Search and Rescue, served as Vice President of the Bishop Area Climbers Coalition, and as event coordinator for the American Alpine Club’s Bishop Craggin’ Classic festival. Read on as Lauren discusses her inspiration for this book, what it taught her, and more. Read more…

Happy Meals, Happy Paddling: A Guide to Food Planning for Sea Kayaking Trips

My partner Barbara and I were experienced campers and backpackers when we moved to Seattle in 2000, but we didn’t have much experience kayaking. We owned sea kayaks, had taken classes in San Francisco Bay, and we’d even done a kayak camping trip for a week in Prince William Sound, Alaska in the 80s. But we knew that Puget Sound was both fabulous and challenging for sea kayaking, and we’d better have more training before heading out there. As soon as we joined The Mountaineers, we signed up for the Basic Sea Kayaking course. Read more…

Learn About the Olympic National Forest Sustainable Recreation Survey | May 4

Join the Olympia Branch on May 4 to learn about the new Sustainable Recreation Study being conducted by the Olympic National Forest (ONF). Ranger Jai Lust, ONF Wilderness and Trails Coordinator, will be presenting on the study, designed to engage the public in the care of trails and gather feedback on individual trail management. Read more…

Half Moon Bouldering: Cultivating a New Kind of Climbing Community

Streaks of glue are glistening in our hair and work overalls from another late night working on the bouldering gym’s construction. My life partner Daniel is putting up wall paneling while I assist, a wet rag in my hands to wipe away residue from the installation. We’re exhausted and elated at the same time. It seems surreal to be putting the finishing touches on a project that has absorbed the last five years of our lives. In building Half Moon Bouldering, our family start-up and the first bouldering gym in Greenwood, we feel like we’ve been aiming for the moon, and now it seems we’re actually close to landing. Read more…

Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Brian Talbert

Meet Brian Talbert, a Foothills backpacking leader and a mentor for the Foothills Backpacking Building Blocks course. As an active member of the Foothills Hiking and Backpacking Committee, Brian manages leadership development and certification for the committee. Read more…