Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Kim Frasher

Our Foothills volunteers and activity leaders are the heart and soul of our branch. This month we celebrate Kim Frasher.
Lori Heath Lori Heath
Foothills Branch Super Volunteer
September 08, 2020

Meet Foothills Volunteer Kim Frasher. Kim initially jumped into volunteering as a way to give back after joining The Mountaineers, and has now been leading activities for over 12 years. Kim places a priority on supportive group dynamics and loves Bavarian Spicy Landjaegers and a good huckleberry milkshake. 

What inspired you to lead trips for The Mountaineers?

Becoming a Mountaineers trip leader was not a direct or easy path for me. I am grateful to the many Mountaineers instructors and trip leaders who gave their time to mentor me along the way. In addition to wanting to give back to The Mountaineers for all the time invested in me, I have a strong interest in leadership development. Being a trip leader enabled me to become an instructor for various outdoor activities including sea kayaking/canoeing, backpacking, and navigation. I also enjoy mentoring new trip leaders.

What is your favorite or most memorable trip you’ve led for The Mountaineers?

Multiday backpacking trips with a basecamp and time to explore a new area are my favorites. I especially enjoy leading trips to Royal Basin with a day to just relax and explore the upper basin. The most memorable part of any trip is when we work together as a team to accomplish more than we could individually – that might be in the form of the group supporting each other so everyone can be successful, or sharing their knowledge of the area, history, geology, etc., or keeping a good attitude on the long days when we know everyone is tired.

How has your leadership styled evolved as you’ve gained experience?

I enjoy team building and continually developing my skills by learning something new on every trip. When I first started leading trips, I might have thought the objective was to reach a particular destination, but now the trips have become much more about the journey, and the contributions of everyone in the group.

What’s a learning experience you had?

As a Basic climbing student, my biggest take-away was "don’t make it epic." It’s important to continually assess risk and group capabilities - and if there is a safer route, take it. I carry this lesson with me on every trip, and whether it is a tricky stream crossing on a backpacking trip, or navigating a rock garden while kayaking, I am always looking for the safest route - which in some cases might mean turning back and leaving it for another day.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in The Mountaineers community?

My recommendation for anyone interested in becoming a trip leader or an instructor is to participate in the many Mountaineers leadership training opportunities. That includes the annual leadership conference, training on trip leading, group management, and instructing, as well as the many seminars on various leadership-focus areas.

What’s your go-to place for a post-trip meal?

After a long backpacking trip, spinach salad sounds great, along with a huckleberry shake!

How about your favorite trail snack?

Bavarian Spicy Landjaegers!

What “luxury item” do you bring on most trips?

I love the simplicity of backpacking and making do with less, so I try to limit the luxury items. Taking care of my feet after a long day on the trails is important, so camp shoes are high on my list for multiday trips.

What’s next on your bucket list?

As a college student I spent a year studying and touring in France. The Haute-Savoie region, including Annecy and Chamonix, is one of my favorite places. Completing the Tour du Mont Blanc is my dream trip because it would be a great way to experience more of this region.