Leader Spotlight: Peter Hendrickson

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Peter Hendrickson. He is a 15-year member with a love for wilderness navigation who has served in numerous trip, course, and branch leadership capacities.
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Volunteer Development Manager
March 26, 2020
Leader Spotlight: Peter Hendrickson

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Peter Hendrickson, a volunteer leader with the Seattle Branch who loves night hikes and encourages everyone to take a leadership role on his trips.

Name: Peter Hendrickson
Branch: Seattle
Where do you live? Redmond, WA
How long have you been a leader? 10 years (member since 2005)
What activities do you lead? Day Hikes, Navigation Courses, Seattle Branch Council, VP of Branches (Board of Directors)

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to lead trips for The Mountaineers?

I began leading trips as a Boy Scout in the 50's. I never stopped with hikes, backpacks, treks (US and abroad), paddles, climbs, scrambles, cycling, and urban adventures! I eventually became a scout leader, and between that and 40 years as a public and private schoolteacher, principal, and program administrator, I developed and led all kinds of outings. As a measurement professional, I also crafted and led numerous night hikes during scientific conferences. The Mountaineers came much later and the late Mike Sweeney urged me to start formally volunteering upon completion of the scramble class.

What is the best, favorite, or most memorable trip you've led for The Mountaineers?

Most recently I mentored a new hike leader on a night hike up Poo Poo Point. We had the mountain to ourselves (excepting for the owls) and hiking into and through a snow storm with peek-a-boo views of the moon was magic.

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

I love wrapping trip leadership habits and skills into wilderness navigation field trips. While students are learning and practicing the technical navigation skills, they also take turns leading the small group. And they support each other as learners in pairs. I promote the idea that the teachers are also learners, too, and that mistakes are wonderful, even critical, elements of learning.

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

Every time a student exits one of the off-trail components of the wilderness navigation field trip without their partner is opportunity to remind each other that safety is the first concern. And the root of safety is looking out for our partners (and instructors) as they look after us. This shared concern for and attention to our partners is foundational to managing risk.

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

Offer to assist. If something needs to be done, do it. No one has all the knowledge and many of our students have both experience and training in certain fields that transcends the nominal instructor. Invite their experience and expertise in the leadership mix.


We have 7 kids, 10 grandkids, and a small herd of beef cattle on our farm. My wife Nancy and I hike and scramble frequently in Europe and South America through our collective work as traumatic brain injury researchers. And we build wooden kit boats.

Lightning Round

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal? La Hacienda in Gold Bar.
How about your best trail snack? Chocolate coated mango.
Who is your Mountaineers hero? Every Mountaineers climber who leads a SIG.
What "luxury item" do you bring on most trips? A paperback in a 1 gal Ziploc bag.
What's next on your bucket list? Ilniza Norte (5000+ meters) in Ecuador. My eldest daughter is named Ilinisa.

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!