Foothills Volunteer Spotlight: Patti Polinsky and Michael Montgomery

Our Foothills volunteers and activity leaders are the heart and soul of our branch. This month we celebrate Patti Polinsky and Michael Montgomery.
Cheryl Talbert Cheryl Talbert
Foothills Branch Leader & Super Volunteer
July 11, 2018

Our branch wants to give a big shout out to Patti Polinsky and Michael Montgomery! Meet these awesome volunteers whose hard work is a huge asset to the Foothills branch community.

Patti Polinsky

Patti is the snow sports director at Meany Lodge, which is affiliated with the Foothills Branch. She’s been a tireless volunteer for decades, leading hikes, Global Adventures, and snow activities for kids and adults at Meany. Patti is a Level III downhill instructor and a Level II telemark instructor with the United States Snow Sports Instructor Association.

What brought you to the Pacific Northwest?  

I was born in Seattle. After traveling to the east coast, I decided the Seattle area is the most perfect place on the whole earth.

What brought you to The Mountaineers?

I have always loved being outside although my parents never  even went car camping. I joined The Mountaineers to learn how to sleep outside in the woods safely. I signed up for the basic climbing course which was the only outdoor course The Mountaineers offered at the time. I was planning on only staying in the course until they taught us how to safely sleep outside, but I ended up finishing the course and even went on to take and pass the Intermediate climbing course.

As a Mountaineer, I visited all the outdoor centers during ski season. The last one I visited was called Meany Hut (later renamed Meany Lodge). At Meany, I became part of a family in one weekend. On the slopes at Meany, I met people who wanted to ski the unpacked snow, but didn't know how. I was a ski instructor, so I started giving skiing seminars to adults which later became lessons for all ages and abilities. Soon after, Fran Troje wanted to start the Foothills Branch so I changed branches to support her efforts and help build the branch.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT VOLUNTEERING FOR THE MOUNTAINEERS? WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK?  

I love being able to give back to an organization which has been integral to my life since I finished college. I look at others who have given so much of their time to make my experience with The Mountaineers positive, enjoyable, and fun. I only hope I can share with others my love of our great northwest.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO ADVENTURING IN THE PNW?

I think it is the Kendall Ridge Katwalk. I hiked to Red Mountain before the Forest Service blasted a route through the ridge. It used to be a 6-hour trip, through a waterfall and up a 35o slope covered with marbles with no hand holds - I was scared!  When I go there now, I'm always amazed - it's a quick trip, close to Seattle, with an incredible view.

Michael Montgomery

Michael has been a member since 2004. At The Mountaineers, he sampled sailing, scrambling, naturalist trips, photography, and hiking, before discovering a love of backpacking. He’s begun to volunteer as a backpack leader with the Foothills B3 program!

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST?

I grew up in the Tri-Cities area on the eastside and moved to Seattle in 2000 to attend the University of Washington, where I got a degree in math.

WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THE MOUNTAINEERS?

I joined The Mountaineers a week after I graduated from UW. I don't remember the exact details, but I had been doing hiking and gym climbing at the university and I wanted to make the transition to outdoor climbing. Ironically climbing is the only Mountaineers class I did not finish - maybe someday after I've done more scrambling.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT VOLUNTEERING FOR THE MOUNTAINEERS?

The Mountaineers has been a very life-changing experience for me. I get to go outdoors and do all the things I dreamed of doing as a kid and see the most amazing places - and of course I met my wife Christy in the B3 course - and I'm very grateful for all the help I received along the way. Being outdoors is hard! Nobody is born knowing how to select a campsite or do backcountry navigation or plan a trip. These are all things you learn along the way, and if the experience I've gained over the years can help someone else's journey be a little more enjoyable then that's the least I can do.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO ADVENTURING IN THE PNW?

Oh, the Olympic coast for sure - although we are just about to spend three nights in The Enchantments so that may change! I still remember my first time stepping out onto the beach at Sand Point, it's like stepping onto another planet - the sea stacks are just otherworldly and the sunsets and stars are incredible.


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