Mountaineer Magazine

Mountaineer Magazine

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Conservation Currents | Stewarding Washington’s Lands and Waters With The Mountaineers

Growing up in Seattle, I wasn't fully aware of the human-caused impacts on our environment, nor did I understand our responsibility to give back to our shared home until an elementary school field trip taught me about the impact our stormwater systems have on local salmon populations. Picking up trash with my classmates and spray-painting stencils of salmon near storm drains around our local watershed remains imprinted in my mind, reminding me of the interconnectedness of nature and our charge to steward it. Read more…

Finding Confidence and Community in the Mountains

I’m standing on the Ptarmigan Ridge trail – a nine-mile day hike in the North Cascades lined with lupine, sedges, and patches of blueberries – seriously questioning my sanity. We’ve been hiking for over ten hours in the hot September sun. To make this route qualify as a Conditioning Hiking Series (CHS) graduation hike, we added the Chain Lakes Loop, another six miles through lush forests and alpine lakes. Coleman Pinnacle, Mt. Baker, and Goat Lake are just some of the incredible views we’ve observed so far. Read more…

Tying In | Summer 2024 Leadership Update

When my husband and I moved to Seattle from India, we thought we would stay here for about five years, then go back home. But a friend introduced us to The Mountaineers, and now 20 years have gone by. The Pacific Northwest has become our home thanks in large part to this Mountaineers community that embraced us and made us feel that we belong. Read more…

Mountaineer of the Week: Christy McKinney

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to.. Read more…

Mountaineer Magazine Summer 2024

Enjoy access to our quarterly Mountaineer magazine, keeping you up-to-date with everything our organization and community have been up to. Hear from regular contributors on topics from training exercises to trail tips, and read features from our members sharing stories from the outdoors. We encourage you to access all of our updates, stories, tips, and more in the tree free online magazine today. Read more…

Humility in Time: Thinking Like a Glacier in Sinlahekin Valley

North, the hill plunges over 600 feet. South, it drops a similar elevation in increments. The hilltop is maybe a hundred feet wide, flat, and stretches a hundred yards or more perpendicular to the valley’s western wall before descending in stair steps to the creek running north. My mind tries to comprehend time and what has happened to sculpt the amazing configuration of this valley. Read more…

Retro Rewind | A Date on Mt. Rainier

We were the luckiest teenagers we knew. In the spring of 1953, my sister (16) and I (18) learned we would spend ten days that summer in the alpine world of Mt. Rainier with two other teenage climbing course graduates, as well as renowned photographer Ira Spring. How did this happen? Ira had a contract with the publisher of a new magazine, Sports Illustrated. Read more…

Measuring Personal Growth on Ruth & Icy

On a Friday night in late August, I headed north from Seattle with Iris, Phillip, and Jordan - three friends I’d made in the Everett Basic Climbing course. We were on our way to Ruth Mountain and Icy Peak to try what’s known as the Ruth and Icy Traverse - a linkup of two glaciated summits on the border of North Cascades National Park. Read more…

Peak Performance | Food for Thought

But what do you eat? This is my students’ favorite question when I tell them I’m running a 100-mile race. More than anything, they want to know what’s in store for my stomach (they care deeply about my stomach when I talk about mountaineering, too). If you’re also curious, here are my insights from years of running and mountaineering. Read more…

A Costume Climbing Tradition: Anywhere, Anytime

The sweat pours from your brow as you trudge under the spring sun, a mere half-mile from the summit. You know you’re tired, but begin to question if you’re unwell when you see not one, but a dozen people bounding toward you, clad in all kinds of hiking-inappropriate garb. One man is in a hula skirt, followed by a woman dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. You sit down for safety and watch the apparitions get closer. You’re not hallucinating. You’ve just stumbled upon the elusive Mother’s Day hikers outside of their usual haunt. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Learn How to Advocate for Public Lands With Advocacy 101

It was a humid summer day in the other Washington, as I donned a sport coat and tie and met with fellow bird conservation advocates on Capitol Hill. As a budding conservation advocate, this was my first in-person lobby meeting – a short 15-minutes with a congressional staffer about a bill that would help make federal buildings safer for birds. Read more…

Impact Giving | Ascending to New Heights: South Sound Youth Programs

On a wintry Saturday in Olympia, Claire Edwards, Mountaineers Youth Program Associate Manager, is getting kids and families stoked on snowshoeing during the “Ice Days” event at the Hands On Children’s Museum. It’s equal parts wonder, chaos, and pure delight as participants attempt walking in snowshoes on top of makeshift “snow.” While most participants have never snowshoed before, many leave excited to try this new activity with their family in real snow. Read more…

Global Adventures | Going Home to a Place I’d Never Been

In 2019, I joined a Global Adventures trip – first to Torres del Paine in Chile and then to the Fitz Roy Massif in Argentina. I was 76 and rather long in the tooth for a backpack classified as “very strenuous.” But Fitz Roy was a mountain I’d wanted to see since my late teens. This was my first chance. Jump! Read more…

Youth Outside | Meet the Members of Our Youth Team

Nearly thirteen years ago, The Mountaineers made a strategic investment in Youth Programs to offer more programming for our younger members. Since then, we’ve expanded youth programming in all branches and outdoor centers. With the help of volunteers, families, and staff, we now have opportunities for youth to explore the Pacific Northwest throughout the year. This year, we’ll have offered over 100,000 total youth experiences since the inception of these programs. Read more…

The Big Call: Conversations With Big Snow Mountain

Squinting against the morning sun, I stab my pole into the steep east face of Wild Goat Peak and break loose a small snowball that quickly grows to the size of a man’s torso. Gaining speed as it travels downhill, the snowball finally topples where the mountain’s pitch shallows out. The test confirms my suspicions: this face is ripe for a wet avalanche. Read more…

Trail Talk | Oh to Live on Bear Mountain

I wasn’t born into a family of hikers or a lineage of outdoorspeople. I was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut — a largely industrial, multi-ethnic city on Long Island Sound in the greater New York City Metropolitan Area. My neighborhood consisted of two and three family homes in the city’s Little Italy north end. Bridgeport, which had once attracted waves of immigrants, began its decline in the late 60s, prompting thousands to leave for the suburbs. We would eventually leave too, and to a place less disconnected from nature; but living in a dense metropolis didn’t stop me from discovering my love for wild places. Read more…

Did You Know? Petrichor

Winter is mostly gone. The ground is thawing. You watch as sunshine comes, then goes and dark clouds rumble in the distance. As the clouds move closer, the air changes and you smell the earth. The scent is sweet and almost savory, like honeysuckle flavored olive oil or carrot flavored cake. Breathe it in. Remember, as a child, playing in the rain? Breathe it out. It didn’t matter how wet you were, you kept playing as the earth reminded you it was spring with that delicate, thick, familiar scent: petrichor. Read more…

Tying In | Spring 2024 Leadership Update

About a year ago, we unveiled our recently-updated strategic plan, Adventure with Purpose. We have shared the implementation plan details and progress toward our goals with our community in various ways, including at our Annual Meeting, at the State of the Organization presentation, and through blog posts. We’ve also been doing Adventure with Purpose updates at each of our board meetings, highlighting one of our three strategic priorities: Lead Innovation in Outdoor Education, Engage a Vibrant Community of Outdoor Enthusiasts, and Advocate on Behalf of the Natural World. Read more…

Mountaineer of the Week: Jason Naranjo

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to... Read more…

Mountaineer Magazine Spring 2024

Enjoy access to our quarterly Mountaineer magazine, keeping you up-to-date with everything our organization and community have been up to. Hear from regular contributors on topics from training exercises to trail tips, and read features from our members sharing stories from the outdoors. We encourage you to access all of our updates, stories, tips, and more in the tree free online magazine today. Read more…

Outside Insights | The Return of The Mountaineers Leadership Conference

As part of The Mountaineers leadership development team, I have the privilege of supporting our impressive collective of 3000+ volunteers. The dedication of our volunteers is incredible, to say the least. The list of their contributions to our community and the greater outdoors has grown significantly over our 117-year history. From planning and guiding activities, to mentoring new Mountaineers, to managing our lodges, it’s clear that our volunteers are generous with their time. While they share a common passion for the outdoors, our volunteers are driven by a range of motivations, such as paying it forward or expanding their adventure partner network. Our leadership development programs enhance these intrinsic rewards and invest back into our volunteers. Read more…

Trail Talk | Accepting Change in Life and on the Trail

The only thing constant in life is change. You can never go home again. All things must pass. These thoughts continuously run through my mind as I progress further along my life journey. I’ve always had a strong sense of time and place, which leaves me melancholically longing for the past and lamenting the passing of moments which I perceive as being more favorable than the present. The world is changing rapidly, and often not in ways I welcome. Constant change can be exciting or, if you’re wired like me, a source of anxiety. To counter the barrage of forces I can’t control, I often seek the solace of wilderness, where I expect insulation from the rapid transformations of the outside world. Read more…

The Winter Solace of Birds

It was early February 2021, and Seattle had been darkened by overcast and rainy skies for weeks. Even worse, we were eleven months into the pandemic, and I was feeling isolated. Birds in my yard had been my only physical companions throughout Covid. Other than my two sisters I’d visited in Pennsylvania, I’d not been hugged or, for that matter, even had a handshake since the previous March. I generally don’t mind solitude, but that degree of isolation felt far different. Read more…

Global Adventures | Medieval Babies and Overstuffed Ski Bags

In the winter of 1205, two Norwegian Birkebeiner warriors donned crude plank skis and shuffled off into severely cold, windy weather to cross a snowy mountain, one of them carrying a swaddled baby on his back. Their mission? To safely transport the baby 54 kilometers from Lillehammer to Rena as a civil war raged. The child was heir to the throne and being targeted by a faction competing with the more dominant Birkebeiners, to whom he belonged. Read more…

From ATVs to Nordic Skis: How Alaska Shaped My Love for the Outdoors

I got my first snowmachine when I was two, my first ATV when I was four, and my first gun when I was nine. My snowmachine was an Arctic Cat “Kitty Cat,” a real, gas-drinking motorized vehicle, miniaturized with a 90s brand of teal and purple striping on black casing. The ATV – four wheels for four years – was a zippy red Suzuki. My first gun was a BB. Read more…

Peak Performance | Incorporating Recovery Into Your Training Routine

Living a modern lifestyle means keeping up with a lot, especially if you want to fit everything in. When it comes to trips outdoors, how do you balance training hard to perform while feeling rested enough so you can be your best? How do you avoid the risk of burnout, injury, and exhaustion? The answer is recovery. Read more…

Youth Outside | Unlocking Adventure: The Seattle Day Camp Lottery

Being someone who hasn't yet experienced parenthood, I'm unfamiliar with the most challenging aspects of raising children. However, as a summer camp professional, I do have a backstage pass to what appears to be one of the more stressful parts of being a Seattle area guardian: camp registration. For camps in the Seattle region, summer camp enrollment can begin as early as January. In the thick of winter, with summer far behind, families play scheduling Tetris to guarantee childcare and transformative summer experiences for their kids. Read more…

Did You Know? DIY Snowshoes

Getting new winter gear is usually great for the ego and painful for the bank account... but it doesn’t have to be. Did you know you can make your own snowshoes? And for quite cheap, too. Read more…

Top 10 Mountaineers of Instagram: Inspiration for 2024

The Mountaineers launched our Instagram (@mountaineersorg) in 2014 as a way to celebrate the adventurous spirit of our community, the beauty of our natural landscapes, and the myriad types of outdoor experiences we have access to in the Pacific Northwest. From star-lit campsites to sun-kissed summits to smile-filled stewardship, Mountaineers are eager to share their photo-rich trip reports and inspire others to appreciate and protect the special places that we’re lucky enough to call home. Read more…

Impact Giving | A Classroom With a View

In a North Seattle public school, 65 miles from Mt. Rainier, Kelsey Hoffman’s classroom is engaged in an unusual last-day-of-school activity. Read more…