Mountaineer Magazine

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The Little Things: Moss Blankets and Raining Lichen

As the mountains brighten with a blanket of fresh white on its highest hills, and evening alpenglow illuminates the distance with shades of pink and orange, we are allured by snow: tossing on snowshoes and skis to venture into the fantastic. Naturalists, searching for flora and fauna, turn to the foothills — and their manuals. We flip past the names of flowering meadow plants, summer mammals and autumn berries. We're reminded of the little things that flourish year-round in the temperate rainforest that makes up the Pacific Northwest — and especially in its wettest seasons — moss and lichen. Read more…

Nature's Way | Orcas of the Salish Sea

Resident orcas of the Salish Sea may be wild creatures, but satellite tags, drone images and individual health profiles are making them as familiar as family to researchers. The distinctively marked, largest members of the dolphin family that comprise the J, K, and L pods, also known as killer whales, are being studied inside and out. While scientists monitor the whales’ whereabouts, new babies, and what’s happening with food sources, they’re also analyzing the whales’ feces and blubber to better understand the health of individuals. Read more…

Celebrating Cancer Freedom: An Adventure in the North Cascades

When Hannah Grage was four years old, she found herself face to face with a cancer diagnosis. Life stopped for Hannah, her mom Carrie, and the rest of her family. Thanks to a heroic fighting spirit and modern medicine, after three brutal years she beat it! 2017 marked Hannah’s five-year anniversary of being cancer-free. Read more…

Last Word | Awe

An American Dipper does her dance on a rock on the bank of the Cowlitz River. High above, Mount Rainier shreds the winter clouds. This tiny bird and this looming massif are connected. They are awesome. Read more…

Staying Prepared For the Best Kind of Adventures

Unprepared adventurers, if they’re not lucky, can find themselves struggling out in the dark, under deteriorating conditions — or worse. Perhaps they leave without appropriate clothing or gear. Or they go without being cognizant of weather or available daylight. A few face difficulty because they chose an objective they were not physically ready for. And some expose themselves and others to risk because they decide to continue the climb even though objective information suggests they would be safer turning around or choosing another destination. Read more…

The Big Beach Cleanup

The breeze on my face contained the chill of an early spring day, sunny warmth trying to shaking off the last of winter. On this day, with the task at hand, the chill was welcome. I rested on a bleached log long stripped of bark, the waves filling my ears with swaying sound. A member of my Mountaineers group came into view along the water-line, his body bent as he dragged a line of buoys behind him. Smiling, I picked up my garbage sack and started looking for that piece of plastic I noticed earlier. Today was turning out to be a good day. Read more…

Family Playtime At Kitsap Forest Theater

Last spring, I saw The Wizard of Oz at the Kistsap Forest Theater. When the first notes of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” hit, I was floored at the depth and talent coming out of the young woman singing. Everyone in the show impressed me, but the person playing Dorothy was so young and yet so professional. Where did she get her training, I thought? Where did she get her confidence to be on stage in front of hundreds of people? I learned a lesson I’ve learned many times in The Mountaineers: never underestimate the skill and dedication of volunteers. Yes, the Kitsap Forest Theater is run entirely by volunteers and is a part of The Mountaineers. Read more…

Mount Rainier Valor Memorial: Recognizing the Sacrifices of Fallen Rangers

Friday, August 25, 2017 marked the 101st anniversary of the National Park Service. It was also the date of a very special and moving ceremony dedicating a new memorial at Longmire in Mount Rainier National Park. Read more…

100 Peaks: Individual Achievement Through Community Effort

Rugged. Imposing. Breathtakingly beautiful and big enough to create its own weather patterns, Mount Rainier is the defining icon of the Pacific Northwest. While Mount Rainier National Park is generally known for this massive stratovolcano, the park is also home to nearly 100 other peaks where off-the-beaten-path adventurers can climb, scramble, and hike. When one visionary Mountaineer crafted a list of these objectives, he also created a community willing to go the extra mile for each other, even after someone is gone. Read more…

Secret Rainier | The Spires of Mount Rainier

This installment of Our Secret Rainier takes you to the two spires of Mount Rainier – K Spire and Tokaloo Spire. We have visited both but have not climbed them, and we know only one individual who has climbed Tokaloo Spire. Fred Becky in his Cascade Alpine Climb, Volume 1, describes both as class 4 climbs. We include them in this installment of Our Secret Rainier because they are unique formations within the park and worthy of a visit – regardless of whether you stand on the top or not. Anyone contemplating climbing the spires should be an experienced climber and consult the Becky reference though details are sparse. Read more…