Mountaineer Magazine

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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…

Peak Performance | Mountain Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become a popular practice in yoga and other therapies, but it also has its place in the mountains. To be “mindful” means paying complete attention to what’s going on, both inside your head and outside of yourself, and being fully present in the moment. If you are multi-tasking, you are likely not being mindful. Likewise, if you are rushing to get things done, or tag the summit and get back to the car, you probably don’t have a good chance of being mindful. The other component of mindfulness is accepting yourself exactly as you are, or treating yourself the way you would treat a good friend. Read more…

Why Hornbein Gives: The Importance of Philanthropy in Nonprofit Publishing

When I asked Tom Hornbein about his relationship with reading over his 89-year lifespan, he didn’t answer, he simply rotated his computer forty-five degrees so I could see the room behind him on our Skype call. What was revealed was an entire wall of books, most of them about outdoor adventures, many of which were Mountaineers Books titles. Buried in his stack is surely his own book, Everest: The West Ridge, which follows his and partner Willie Unsoeld’s groundbreaking 1963 first ascent of Mt. Everest via the treacherous West Ridge. It doesn’t take a bibliophile to recognize that this collection is the mark of fervor; his ice axe long stowed, Hornbein now sits on a mountain of literature.  Read more…

Gear Love

Forget about that special someone – let’s focus on that special something! We all have the pieces of gear we love above the rest. Things that keep you warm, safe, and comfortable. Take a moment to think about that piece of equipment you just couldn’t live without, and enjoy these love letters written by Mountaineers to gear they adore the most. Read more…

Preparing for the Worst: A Chaplain’s Perspective

On August 14, 2018, I received the phone call. A climber had died, and my mountaineering friend had just gotten the news. He needed assistance with what to do next. In seven years as an emergency services chaplain, I’ve lost count of how many death notifications I’ve given, and I was the right person for my friend to call. Only, when I realized that the climber he was talking about was Stephen Kornbluth, my best friend and “mountain husband,” I felt my world shatter into a million pieces. None of my experience had prepared me for this moment. Read more…

Did You Know? Washington's Wildflowers

We know spring has arrived in the northwest when the crocuses worm their violet heads and long green bodies out of the dirt every March, a harbinger of brighter days. Our walks to work and school are dotted by blasting spring rains, and hikers slowly start to fill the trails again as snow melts and our forests become plump with moss and ferns. Read more…

Out, Outside

My Mountaineers climbing team is at the summit block of Mt. Olympus, and the clouds are coming in. It’s July 2018, and this is our second climb of the week. My muscles constantly remind me of the miles and elevation I’ve required of them so far, and the distance I still have to go. To finish this ascent we have a short pitch of rock, and we’re doing our best to get up there and see the mythical views before getting completely socked in. Read more…

Tying In: Progress on Vision 2022

Lead innovation in outdoor education, engage future Mountaineers, and advocate for wild places: these are the three strategic initiatives at the foundation of our current strategic plan, Vision 2022. It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the midpoint of the plan that has guided our priorities and investments over the last two years.  Read more…

Ouside Insight | Alpine Ambassadors: Professional Training to Grow Our Programs

In mid-2016, The Mountaineers Board of Directors voted to allocate funds to begin an initiative called Progressive Climbing Education (PCE). The goal was to dedicate resources to advance the goals and initiatives of our passionate volunteers. Read more…

Nature's Way | Pigeon Guillemots: Indicating the Health of the Salish Sea

The black bird flew around the dock, showing long, white patches on its wings, and dropped its fire-engine red feet to land on the water with hardly a splash. The pigeon guillemot then looked both directions before diving. Its stubby wings flapped gently under the water as it headed to the shallow bottom in search of food. I caught glimpses of other guillemots coming and going while standing on the dock in Langley on Whidbey Island – some were nesting and may have had nestlings to feed – but the one below me disappeared entirely into the depths. Read more…