Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Darryl Olson and Rich Leggett

Our Foothills volunteers and activity leaders are the heart and soul of our branch. This month we celebrate Darryl Olson and Rich Leggett.
Cheryl Talbert Cheryl Talbert
Foothills Branch Chair & Super Volunteer
September 11, 2018

Have you ever wondered who's devoting all the time and energy to run our courses and activities? How did they do it and why? Our volunteer leaders are the unsung heroes who have laid the groundwork for the programs we enjoy. This month we feature two exceptional volunteers: Darryl Olson and Rich Leggett!

Darryl Olson

Darryl is one of Foothills’ most dedicated volunteers. He has been a member of The Mountaineers since 1979 and has probably contributed more to The Mountaineers glacier travel and crevasse rescue course for skiers and snowboarders than any other single individual.

He has played a key role with the course for 25 years. He ran it for about 10 or 15 years and continued on as a lead instructor year in and year out after that. All our leaders can always count on Darryl to help improve experiences for participants.

He is also lead belay and top rope belay certified and is a trip Key Leader and AIARE instructor. In addition to his tireless efforts with The Mountaineers, he regularly spends a day or two a week volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and served as a Big Brother, devoting one day a week to mentoring a young man for over ten years. Thank you, Darryl!

Rich Leggett

Rich has been volunteering with The Mountaineers for years, with badges in just about every course the club offers and leader badges for scrambling, climbing, hiking, and trail running. He was awarded The Mountaineers Super Volunteer badge in 2016 and 2017 for his contributions to courses and activity programs. He jumped into our new Foothills Trail Running committee from its outset and has been instrumental in its growth and success. Thanks Rich!

Find out more about this Rich:

What brought you to the Northwest and what led you to the Mountaineers? 

I was born and raised in the Northwest, but didn't really find my way to the mountains in a true sense until later in life. After a 10-year stint in the San Francisco Bay Area, I returned to the PNW and joined The Mountaineers to meet some like-minded folks. A year later an old friend asked me to join him on the Ptarmingan Traverse. I joined the Seattle basic climbing course in order to have skills to do the trip and haven't looked back since.


What do you find most satisfying about volunteering for the Mountaineers? What has been your most memorable volunteering experience? 

I come from a family of teachers so I really love helping people learn how to have fun and be safe in the mountains. My most memorable volunteer experience happens (hopefully!) on every trip: it's the look that some folks get on their face when you get back from a trip that maybe pushed their limits a bit; the look that says "that was awesome!" and "I really can do this!" Sometimes they tell you but you can always see it on their face - I can't get enough of that.


What's your favorite outdoor activity and favorite place to do it? 

Late last year, I was getting burned out and needed new inspiration. A friend suggested trail running as a natural extension of what I already do. It was a bit of a mind shift for me, but also a game changer, allowing me to cover way more ground in a day than I'd be able to do otherwise. I trail run all over the state and beyond, but my favorite place, by far, is Teanaway.