Mountaineer Magazine

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Global Adventures | Why Costa Rica Keeps Calling Me

A trip to Costa Rica is an all-sensory experience. The various fragrances are more pleasing, and different, than any you experience here in the US. The sounds are unique too, with wildlife chattering in preserves and an entertaining hum buzzing through the towns and villages. The sights are raved about, and it’s easy to see why; you’ll find tree-top bridges, great sand beaches, vibrant farms growing flowers shipped to local shops, stunning volcanoes, aromatic coffee farms, and, of course, rainforests teeming with life. Read more…

Peak Performance | 90-90 Heel Digs with Pelvic Tilt

Though it’s easy to become focused on major muscle groups, it’s important to remind ourselves to take a look at those parts of our bodies that sometimes go unnoticed. Read more…

Did You Know? Ski Equipment of the 1930s

The 1930s were a decade of firsts for skiers. New technologies, techniques, and ski areas were opening possibilities for the sport that used to be associated only with the European elite. With the introduction of the rope tow, those unwilling to climb were able to enjoy the same downhill thrill, and its popularity exploded. The number of skiers doubled between the late 1920s and the early 1930s, with an estimated one million American skiers in 1936. This, paired with new types of skis, methods of instruction, and options for gear, catapulted the sport into the American consciousness, and skiing as we know it today began to take shape. Read more…

Citizen Science: White-Tailed Ptarmigan, Ghost Birds of the Winter Cascades

Washington is a haven for birders, and yet we still have huge gaps in our understanding of some of our most iconic wildlife. Take the White-tailed Ptarmigan for example. Many of you have likely spotted ptarmigan in the Cascades in their summer plumage, blending in with their rocky alpine habitat, but reports of these beautiful birds in their all-white winter plumage are few and far between. As a result, our knowledge of White-tailed Ptarmigan winter habitats in the Pacific Northwest are meager. Read more…

Youth Outside: Discover the Magic of Winter with Olympia Youth Programs

As a child, do you remember anything more exciting than a snow day? The magic of waking up to a blanket of crisp white snow, the world outside your door transformed into something new and seemingly boundless, was unlike anything else. You’d grab your coat, tug on boots, and run outside to dive headfirst into winter, making snowballs, swooshing your arms into a snow angels, and grinning ear-to-ear at the snow-capped trees. On snow days, the cold didn’t seem quite as bitter and your cheeks didn’t feel quite as red. The world was a whole new place to be explored. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Conservation and Advocacy, Together

In the six years I’ve served as The Mountaineers Conservation and Advocacy Director, I’ve watched our community come together time and again to speak up for the places we hold dear. Together, we’ve enjoyed a number of successes, and suffered a few setbacks. Threats to our public lands, including the climate crisis, are mounting, and as someone whose life has been formed by adventuring in nature, I am concerned about what our planet will be like for future generations. Read more…

Trail Talk: Peril in the Pyrenees

I had hiked the route from the Col de Tentes over the 7,450- foot Port de Boucharo, straddling the French and Spanish border to the medieval town of Torla in Aragon, a half dozen times. It was one of my favorite hikes to bring folks along on when I worked as a hiking guide in the Pyrenees for Portland-based Mountain Hiking Holidays. I loved looking for edelweiss, pointing out izards (a chamois native to the Pyrenees), explaining the fascinating history of the route (used by pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago and refugees during the Spanish Civil War), and highlighting so many other facets of this fascinating route to the folks I was guiding. Read more…

Wobble Your Way Through Ski Season: Finding Fun as a First-Time Skier

So you want to shred some gnar. Welcome. And congratulations on your willingness to look silly as a grown-up in the pursuit of a new skill. Many of your friends have likely been skiing since they were kids, and have no idea what it’s like to learn as an adult. They forget that white-knuckling your way down a ski slope with a waistband full of snow isn’t always stoke-inducing. So here’s a guide from another new skier based on my first season - tools I found useful, things I wish I’d known, and why you should accept and enjoy being an awful skier. Read more…

Mountain Education Alliance: A National Partnership of Mountain Clubs

As we well know at The Mountaineers, teamwork and a shared passion for the outdoors can produce some incredible things. Over the past few years, volunteers and staff at The Mountaineers have enjoyed deepening our relationships with our partners at the American Alpine Club, Colorado Mountain Club, and the Mazamas as we work together to develop national climbing education standards for volunteer clubs. Through this work, relationships and friendships have formed, new climbing partners were found, and we all quickly realized how much we have in common. Today, The Mountaineers is proud to be a part of the newly-named Mountain Education Alliance (MEA) - a formalized partnership between our organizations, and we’re excited to be a part of a new program to recognize volunteer educators, both in the United States and worldwide. Read more…

Dawn Patrol: 5am is the Best Adventure Time

Borrowed from early military aviation’s dawn reconnaissance flights, the phrase “Dawn Patrol” was adopted by recreationists to describe 5am pre-work adventures, allowing you to fit two days into one. Pulling it off isn’t easy, but with an iron will and a few cups of coffee it can be done. Hear from three of our favorite Dawn Patrollers on what motivates them to roll out of bed long before sunrise, and why it’s so worth it. Read more…