How To

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Unseen Danger: Navigating Snow Bridge Hazards

Last Sunday, search and rescue teams responded to an emergency call from a popular early-season climb in the Olympic mountains. Two climbers slipped on a steep snowy slope while climbing The Brothers. One fell “into an opening in the snow and over a rock face with running melt water,” and sadly did not survive. This tragic accident has brought an annually recurring hazard back into the thoughts of everyone within the outdoor community: the danger posed by snow bridges.  Read more…

Running a Course in the Middle of a Pandemic

This story starts back in 2019 when, as the Hiking Chair for the Tacoma Hiking and Backpacking Committee, I had the idea of offering a Conditioning Hiking Series (CHS) in Tacoma. The goal of a series like this is to help casual or new hikers increase their mileage and elevation gain in a fun, community-oriented way, and I had a feeling it would be popular at our branch.  Read more…

How To Watercolor In Winter

At 5:30am the arctic sun illuminates icebergs with delicate bands of yellow light. My Zodiac ride to explore Disko Bay leaves in 30 minutes, and I need to find vodka, fast. Read more…

An Indirect Path to Flexibility

By the time Mercedes Pollmeier arrived at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), she’d lived in Australia, China, Mauritius, and had spent considerable time in Germany with her grandma. The daughter of a German father and an Indian South African mum, Mercedes had seen a lot of the world already when a full-ride tennis scholarship brought her to the U.S. at 17. A multilingual world citizen, the starry-eyed teen had her eyes keenly set on one thing: the Olympics. Little did she know that she’d soon meet a strength coach who would forever change the course of her life. Read more…

How To: Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Our National Forests

Did you know that our national forests issue permits each year to harvest your own Christmas tree? In years past, permits were issued at ranger stations but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you will now be able to purchase your Christmas tree permit online at recreation.gov. Search by state or browse the list of national forests to find the most convenient location for you. Read more…

What Are The Ten Essentials?

The Mountaineers Ten Essentials™ dates back to our climbing courses of the 1930s. This widely respected safety and packing system was formalized in the third edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, released in 1974. Each of the nine editions of Freedom, as it is affectionately known, was written entirely by volunteers and reflects the collective wisdom of hundreds of outdoor skills instructors. The list has always sought to answer two basic questions: Read more…

How To: Entertain Kids While Hiking & Backpacking

Backpacking with kids is an exciting and eye-opening experience for both parents and children. Sharing the love of nature, exploration, and adventure is special, but not always the easiest thing to get kids exited about. These activity ideas will help you have a great time the next time you head into the backcountry with kids. Read more…

How To: See Golden Larches This Fall

Crisp days and bright fall foliage call hikers out onto the trails each autumn, but few trees draw crowds like our much-loved larches. Located primarily on the sunny eastern slopes of the Cascades, larches are deciduous conifers whose needles turn a rich gold each year. Their stout frames and bristling branches dot hillsides with color each October, and make alpine scenes all the more magical. Read on to learn more about these unique trees and the best hikes to spy them on. Read more…

Leave No Trace Tips for New Hikers

Hiking is a wonderful way to get outside, stretch your legs, and see the best of what the Northwest has to offer. However, it’s important to be mindful of the impacts that we can have on our public lands by doing our best to keep the places we visit wild and pristine. Read more…

How To: Mask Hacks for Recreating Responsibly

As we adapt to the new normal of COVID, a face mask has become everyone’s 11th Essential. We bring masks on every trip, and they’re required on all Mountaineers programs. We’re proud of our community for the commitment you’ve shown to recreating responsibly, and to celebrate you and your knowledge, here are your best adventure-mask-wearing tips developed this spring and summer. Read more…