Leader Spotlight: Henry Romer

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Henry Romer. He is a long-time leader and instructor who supports multiple activities ... and who just completed the 100 Peaks at Mt. Rainier list in July 2018!
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Education Manager
August 29, 2018

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Henry Romer, a volunteer leader and instructor with the Olympia Branch who leads for multiple activities and encourages new leaders to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge available within our Mountaineers community!

Name: Henry Romer
Branch: Olympia
Where do you live? Olympia, WA
How long have you been a leader? 20 years (member since 1976)
What activities do you lead? Sea Kayaking, Nordic Skiing, Alpine Scrambling

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to become a Leader for The Mountaineers?

Twenty years after graduating from Olympia's Basic Climbing course and primarily doing private climbs, I fell in love with sea kayaking. I was active with the Tacoma Branch Sea Kayaking activities and wanted to share South Sound trips with other paddlers.

What is your favorite trip that you've led for The Mountaineers?

Some 60 trips later, spread over 20 years and three activities, this is kind of hard to answer. But I would pick a recent one, Tumtum Peak in Mt. Rainer National Park. It is an unlikely, mostly off trail, forest scramble. I like it because it is a interesting navigation exercise. Done well, it is challenging and rewarding, as only the correct route avoids difficult terrain and gets to the top. There is not much in the way of views, but you know you climbed something. I let participants lead the navigation, but keep them on route.

How has your leadership style evolved as you've gained experience?

I think I am more collaborative and tend to lead from the middle of the group. I want the participants to be much more involved in the conduct of the trip and decisions required along the way.

What learning experiences you can share with us, such as take-aways from a close call or a near miss?

Respect the psychological impact that close calls, near misses, and even bad outcomes may have on yourself and others involved. Make sure you take the time during and after the trip to adequately deal with these events. Use after-event group discussions to help uncover and unwind issues. Get outside help if necessary.

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

Ask for help and tips. This community has an immense store of knowledge that's yours for the asking. Sharing is what we do.

Is there aNYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?

At an age when I should be winding down, I got sucked into Mickey Eisenberg and Gene Yore's 100 Peaks at Mt. Rainier National Park scheme. I had no intent on finishing the list when I started, but I had a successful early summer this year and I finished the last one, the Main peak of Cowlitz Chimneys, on July 25, 2018. The last 5 were all snow sensitive. We needed snow in some places, but snow melted out in others. We were able to hit all the conditions just right and they all went. It takes a village to finish the list and I have had a lot of help over the last 5 years from hiking, scrambling and climbing partners. On the last peak, John Dunlap who has been with me on over 30 of the peaks, surprised me with a big poster to mark the occasion.

Cowlitz Main was to have been the last peak for Tim Hagen, who died 3 years ago on a rappel off Sluskin Chief, his 99th. I had run into Tim and Kim Hall, his climbing partner, a few weeks before on Meany Crest. Last month on our way into our high camp below Cowlitz Main, we met Kim and a partner a bit below Panhandle Gap. He was just coming out from Cowlitz Main, having climbed it that morning to leave some of Tim's ashes on top. It was a special encounter for both of us.

is there Someone that you'd like to see in the spotlight?

Send an email to Sara Ramsay to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!