Leader Spotlight: Peter Tran

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Peter Tran. Peter is our 2021 Mountaineers Service Award recipient and current chair of the Foothills Climbing Committee.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Associate Volunteer Development Manager
February 25, 2022

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Peter Tran, current Climbing Chair with the Foothills Branch. Peter is the 2021 Mountaineers Service Award recipient and favors the chipotle breakfast burrito from Safeway as his go-to trail snack.

Name: Peter Tran 
Branch: Foothills 
How long have you been a leader? 7 years
What activities do you lead? Climbing, Scrambling, Backcountry Skiing

Leadership Questions

WHAT IS THE BEST, FAVORITE, OR MOST MEMORABLE experience YOU'VE HAD WITH THE CLUB?

 My first summit of Sahale when I was a Basic student. I remember coming down Sahale Arm and the wildflowers were blooming - it was like I was in the Sound of Music. I'd never seen anything so beautiful.

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

As a new leader I wanted to be responsible for every aspect of the climb - planning, route finding, setting up rappels, etc. As I've become more confident as a leader, it's become easier to delegate roles and responsibilities to assistant leaders and participants, especially as I've realized that those roles and responsibilities help develop/provide great practice in leadership.

What is one thing you do on trips to create positive experience for people of all skills and backgrounds?

I try to make sure I give space for everyone to be heard. I'll take more time during breaks and transitions to talk about the route ahead and make sure everyone provides some input/thoughts/concerns.

IT'S OFTEN SAID: "GOOD JUDGEMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE; EXPERIENCE COMES FROM BAD JUDGEMENT." ANY LEARNING EXPERIENCES YOU CAN SHARE TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY BUILD THEIR GOOD JUDGEMENT?

 On one ascent, there was a transition from snow to ice to rock, which we did in crampons. What seemed like an easy move for me was a challenging crux for others. As folks progress through Intermediate and develop their skills, they should reflect on their experiences as basic student to remind them what their current students or partners may be feeling.

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

I needed 9 mentored leads before I felt ready to lead a climb on my own. With each mentored lead I took on more and more responsibility. One lead I planned the climb but had a lot of help executing the climb; on another I focused more on route finding. I did one climb where I focused on teaching and coaching. Take as many mentored leads as you need until you are confident as the leader.

What do you wish other members knew about volunteering with The Mountaineers?

Don't be shy! If you're passionate about something and want to pursue that in the club, just go for it!

Lightning Round

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal?  First open drive through (usually Burger King)
How about your best trail snack? Chipotle breakfast burrito from Safeway
What's your favorite close-to-home adventure? Endless laps on Hyak
Who is your Mountaineers hero? John Ohlson
What 11th Essential do you bring on most trips? Clean clothes for the ride home (especially funny t-shirts)
What's next on your bucket list? Ski from the summit of Mt Rainier

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

We are always seeking nominations for an impactful leader of our community to spotlight! Send an email to Michelle Song to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!