Mountaineer Magazine

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Love & Loss

 I knew something was wrong. I could feel it. I was out on a solo hike and had stopped for a break when a small voice in my head propelled me into motion with a sudden sense of urgency. Get back down the trail, it said. Now. Go carefully and take the easy route. Get home quickly and take a shower. Keep your phone close. Somehow my subconscious knew before I did that Tyler’s life had ended. It would be hours before I got the call that changed my life forever. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Underfunded: Why Our Public Lands Need Your Help

One sunny summer weekend in 2019, Becca Polglase was driving with three friends to the Dingford Creek Trailhead for a brisk day hike. As they wove through the forest, the conversation flitted between adventure goals and gear, eventually landing on the topic of public lands. Her friends lamented closures, access limitations, and much-needed maintenance. “You know”, Becca said, “permits are confusing, roads are bad, and trailheads aren’t being serviced because of a lack of funding.” Read more…

Safety Stories | A Fall on Cutthroat Peak

Everything about this climb was perfect, until it wasn’t. Read more…

Backcountry Hygiene 101: You Don't Have to Smell Bad to Smell Better

Hello gorgeous! You - yes, you! With the messy hair, dirty legs, and that certain wilderness glow about you. You look fabulous! Read more…

Bookmarks | Peak Nutrition: Smart Fuel for Outdoor Adventure. An interview with Chef Maria Hines

Most people know Maria Hines for her culinary accomplishments. In 2005, she was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 10 Best New Chefs, in 2006 she went on to open her first restaurant, Tilth, in Wallingford, and in 2009 she won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest. Read more…

Outside Insight | Charting New Waters: Creating a Cross-Branch Paddling Community

In the Pacific Northwest, year-round sea kayakers are a tight-knit community. These brave individuals don their drysuits in all conditions and relish in the opportunity to paddle big waves during winter storms. They seek adverse conditions to build their skills, growing more confident in their ability to explore wilder and more remote places. Read more…

Youth Outside | The Meaning of Mountain Workshops

Growing up, I counted down the days to when the Activity Bus would roll into our parking lot with my class on its roster. The air static with excitement, we would board the bus in single file, sitting side-by-side on cracked bench seats with backpacks at our feet. Short of a snow day, we were about to embark on one of the single greatest grade school events: a field trip. Read more…

Trail Talk | As Goes the Caribou

One of the most beautiful and wild places on the eastern seaboard, the Chic-Choc Traverse was placed on Peter Potterfield’s 25 Classic Hikes of North America with good reason. In May 2000, my wife Heather and I did a recon trip to Quebec’s Chic-Choc Mountains in the 200,000-acre Parc National de la Gaspésie. Three months later we returned to backpack the 50-mile Chic Choc Traverse – one of the most stunning stretches of the International Appalachian Trail. We were hooked. Read more…

Mother Tree

I watched in fascinated disgust as dozens of insects squirmed and wriggled towards the edges of the bark where it met the soft damp core, searching for darkness and safety. Just moments before, my mother in an effort to teach me about the wonders of nurse logs had wedged her fingernail between bark and wood and carefully pried off a chunk of bark the size of her hand. “All those insects make their home in the log. They eat the wood and make it into soil so other trees can grow.” Then she replaced the bark as carefully as she had removed it. “Let’s not disturb them any further.” Read more…

Retro Rewind | Mountaineers Books: Fulfilling Our Mission, 60 Years and Counting

A squabble over climbing styles nearly tore The Mountaineers apart in its early years. Choosing instead to put differences aside, that turmoil spawned a text so seminal that it would come to be read religiously by aspiring climbers around the world. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills is now seen by many as the pinnacle of climbing education material, and next to it since the beginning is the nonprofit publisher Mountaineers Books. Read more…