Mountaineer Magazine

All posts

Bookmarks | All and Nothing: Inside Free Soloing

The following is an excerpt from All and Nothing: Inside Free Soloing by acclaimed author Jeff Smoot. Once considered a fringe activity, free soloing - climbing without a rope - has entered the mainstream consciousness. Yet climbers have been free soloing all along, motivated by reasons as varied as the climbers themselves. All and Nothing delves into the cultural history of free soloing and explores the interplay between climbing and risk, as well as psychological theories, evolving climbing ethics, and the effect of media coverage. With a complex personal connection to free soloing, Jeff Smoot examines our relationship with risk, how we perceive our sense of control, and what it means to consider our mortality. Read more…

Retro Rewind | The 1963 Mountaineers Summer Outing

It was 1963, and a group of 166 Mountaineers were embarking on a Summer Outing into what is known today as the North Cascades National Park. That day the park was still a dream; The Mountaineers and other partnering conservationists had been working for nearly 60 years to achieve a park designation. Mountaineers chairman Chet Powell chose “these wilderness alps” as the location for the year’s annual outing, believing that “as much of the area as possible should be seen by as many as possible” to advance efforts to protect the region. Read more…

Yoga for the Outdoors

Before I took my first class back in 1999, I associated yoga with lithe-limbed contortionists standing on their heads, chanting for hours. But as a frenzied young woman with a busy and stressful career, I was looking for a way to bring tranquility into my life, and I’d heard that holding these painful-looking postures could alleviate stress and anxiety. I didn’t understand how something that looked so uncomfortable could help me achieve inner peace, but despite my misgivings I was willing to give yoga a try. Read more…

Peak Performance | Avoid Becoming a Trip Report Statistic

Tricky trail conditions, iffy weather, and the adrenaline rush associated with epic adventures can all increase the likelihood of accidents. But with a little extra awareness and planning, you can avoid becoming a trip report statistic. To prevent accidents or injury during future trips, strive for good conditioning on urban terrain and work to learn from your leader. With help you will narrow the gap and increase your margin of safety in the mountains. Read more…

Falling

With my wrist in the strap of my trekking pole, I dangle over bright gray boulders bordering frothy water tumbling through the chasm. My brain is trying to comprehend what has happened. Just a few minutes ago I was hiking a wide, easy trail, and now I am hanging below it. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Why Conservation Matters to Mountaineers Members

After several years working on policy and advocacy campaigns to protect public lands and wildlife in Washington, D.C., I intimately understand how important recreationists can be in convincing lawmakers to invest in the outdoors. I moved home to Washington State in search of conservation work that allowed me to give back to the lands and waters that first connected me to nature. I saw The Mountaineers as exactly the kind of place where I could make an impact - a place where recreation and conservation converge, for adventure with purpose. Read more…

The Scariest Day of my Life: A Leader Fall on Guye Peak

I had a premonition. My partner was gone for the weekend and I was alone in bed, snuggled up with a stuffed sheep and an abundance of fear. I don’t know why I knew something bad was going to happen, I just had an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. I remember thinking I should wear better undergarments, as that was something I had heard long ago (maybe from a family member?) - “If you get in an accident, make sure you at least have decent underwear on!” I sent my boyfriend a snuggly selfie and went to bed early, but still couldn’t shake that ominous feeling. Looking back, I should have canceled the trip, but thought, who does that? based purely on a strange feeling. Read more…

Did You Know? The Fall Salmon Run

Starting in the summer and peaking in the fall, our local salmon embark on a lengthy and laborious journey from Puget Sound to their native rivers, streams, and lakes. These efforts, which will ultimately end in their death, is known as the salmon run. The reason for their fatal trek? Spawning time. Read more…

Outside Insights: Outdoor Leadership at The Mountaineers

As of 2022, The Mountaineers boasts a strong collective of over 3,000 volunteer leaders. From course instructors, to lodge hosts, to Board members, our volunteers’ skillsets are varied and far-reaching within our organization. By setting vision and direction, contributing to a shared vision, and creating sustainable and equitable programs, volunteers enable The Mountaineers to continue to grow and improve our programs. Often, volunteers are called the heart and soul of The Mountaineers, and this is certainly true in my experience! Read more…

The Nature of Belonging

Have you ever walked into a space, say a meeting room or a new bar, and known immediately that you were out of place? Read more…