Mountaineer Magazine

Mountaineer Magazine

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Bookmarks | Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail

MudRocksBlazes_Cover_Final.jpgI went to the Pacific Crest Trail to find my limit. I’d imagined my fastest known time attempt ending with me on hands and knees — dry heaving — at my utmost breaking point. Yet that never happened. I started the hike with my little plastic trowel, intent on digging deep as I’d learned to do over many ultramarathons, but the PCT laughed at that, and within a few days had handed me a full-size shovel instead. Read more…

Outside Insights | Active Terrain Management

One of my first jaunts into the alpine was blindly following friends to the summit of Kaleetan Peak. As we climbed, rocks whizzed passed me, kicked off by my friends above. On the descent, my roommate slipped on a slick patch and was nearly swept down a steep chute that dropped a hundred feet below. Read more…

Peak Performance | Create Your Own Training Program

With summer around the corner, it’s time to train for upcoming outdoor goals. In this edition of Peak Performance, I hope to help you assess the components of your alpine sport, and describe how to put together a safe, suitable, and personalized training program. Read more…

Conservation Currents | The SOAR Act: Reimagining our Federal Permitting Processes

Teaching kayak self-rescue on a bleary Northwest day. Practicing crevasse rescue with a “fallen climber” twice your size. Encountering surprise sleet and snow on a backpacking trip. Of the many challenging situations they encounter, navigating federal permitting processes is one of the few that make our volunteer leaders groan. Read more…

Not Another Day at the Dog Park: Surviving a Cougar Attack at Cooper Lake

We’ve all experienced a moment of true fear. Your fingers grow cold and your stomach drops. Time slows while your mind and body prime to react, and all you can think is, “This is actually happening.” Read more…

Trail Talk | Love is in the Plein Air: Exploring the land with the ones you love

Reading the journals of many naturalists, outdoorspeople, and adventurers, you immediately feel their strong love for the land. You can sense how this love touched their souls and tantalized their emotions. But what about romantic, familial, or platonic love? Did they experience that too while out and about in the backcountry? Read more…

Impact Giving | Investing in the Future: A Conversation with Lily and Amber Walker

Sometimes a story asks to be told. As part of my role as Assistant Director of Development, I have the privilege of connecting with members to learn how Mountaineers philanthropy has positively impacted their lives. In last fall’s #GivingTuesday scholarship fundraising effort we introduced 18 year-old scholarship recipient Lily Walker, a five-year member of our year-round teen program, the Tacoma Mountaineers Adventure Club (MAC). Read more…

The Speed of Love: Going the Distance With Fred Beckey

While traveling solo to remote and wild places, I had been in some dicey situations. The risks were real, but I knew of no one else interested in exploring the nether regions of wilderness, nor the Himalayan front range from east to west, nor the ancient trade routes that connect Tibet to India through massive ranges, passes that cut deep, from north to south where borders often go unmarked – and so I had gone alone. Read more…

My Summer with The Mountaineers

This summer, I interned with The Mountaineers Mountain Workshop youth program. It taught me a lot about what it means to help a community. Getting people outdoors — especially those who don’t usually have the opportunity — can make all the difference in their day, week and even life. Read more…

What's Your Eleventh Essential? Celebrating the Ten Essentials

The last patch of shade disappears in a wavering blue line, distorted by the heat. I sit on the scorching sand in exasperation. We are still five miles from the car, and I feel like garbage. I’m dizzy, a bit nauseous, and have a headache. After a year of hiking in the Northwest, I’ve forgotten about the unrelenting desert sun and my 2.5 liters of water was not nearly enough... I am dehydrated, and badly. Read more…

Celebrating Love: A Ruth Mountain Elopement

Escape. Flee. Run away. Most likely derived from the 1500s Middle Dutch word lopen, the meaning of the word elope has shifted over time. From its origins describing a simple, non-romantic escape, elope morphed to mean a scandalous affair wherein a married woman ran off with her lover. The affair disappeared, but the scandal remained, when eloping changed once again to mean a secret marriage without parental consent. Read more…

10 Essential Questions: Natalia Martinez-Paz

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

Peak Performance | Bag Rows for Upper Body Strength

When training your upper body at home, it’s easy to train your pushing muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps) with pushups, and your core (abdominals, lower back, obliques) with various ab exercises such as planks. For your pulling muscles, however, more creativity is required. If you have a simple pull-up bar and you have the strength for pull-ups, great. If not, here are great pulling exercises you can do with items at home. Read more…

Did You Know? | Snow Facts

In the dark days of winter, one of the few reliefs we have from the gloomy weather is the promise of snow. Uncommon in the lowlands west of the Cascades, snow is a treat reserved for just a few days every year, blanketing the damp Northwest in a sheet of white. As a result, lowland snow days are a hectic delight. School is cancelled, roads are salted, snow plows deployed, and the Midwesterners shake their heads at our four inch dusting. Each year we act like it’s a surprise – and it may just be that it’s more fun that way. Read more…

Bookmarks | This Land of Snow

A passionate skier since he was a child, Anders Morley dreamed of going on a significant adventure, something bold and of his own design. And so one year in his early thirties, he decided to strap on cross-country skis to travel across Canada in the winter alone. Read more…

Youth Outside | Reimagining Camp Magic

Despite summer 2020 being the tenth year of summer camp, it was a year of firsts in more ways than one. With the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in March, by June safety was a primary concern for both campers and staff. It led us to wonder – can we still provide summer camp? And if so, what can be done to preserve that classic camp feeling? Sitting shoulder-to shoulder eating s’mores was off the table, but there had to be a way to reclaim the spark that only camp can bring. Read more…

Impact Giving | Ending the Year on a High Note

Every winter I warm a kettle of cinnamon and cloves and sit down to write holiday cards to friends and family who supported me throughout the year. This personal ritual is something we practice as an organization as well. Read more…

Outside Insights | Taking Care of the Basics: Setting your students up for successful learning

Volunteer-led outdoor education is the heart and soul of The Mountaineers. Our instructors are passionate about sharing their love of the outdoors with others, and many of our students choose to play an important role in our community as volunteer instructors after graduation. Read more…

Conservation Currents | At Capacity: Getting outside in the age of COVID-19

Like many aspects of our lives, 2020 has been a roller coaster of a year for public lands. During the initial weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, public lands in Washington State closed as a result of Governor Inslee’s ”Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Read more…

Rainy Season Tips for the Summer Hiker

I grabbed my antique wooden snowshoes and headed for the door. Growing up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, solo adventures every weekend were the norm as a kid. Winters were my favorite; a blanket of snow transformed the world into a black and white vintage photo from December through April. My brothers and I would skate on the lake and wander the empty woods surrounding our small cabin until dusk. Read more…

Trail Talk | Pandemic Ponderings: The significance and shortcomings of our Public Lands

The emptiness of Northeastern Washington’s Salmo-Priest Wilderness has never felt more comforting. I stand alone on a ridge gazing out over waves of emerald ridges, shadowed by processions of white puffy clouds. Soft, warm breezes whistle through silver snags, prompting boughs of bear grass to delicately sway. I haven’t encountered another human all day; out in all of that wildness before me, some of Washington’s last grizzlies still roam. I finally feel safe and relieved from the ravages of the pandemic sweeping the world outside my wilderness. Read more…

Retro Rewind | Marge Mueller: Pioneering Illustrator and Guidebook Artist

Marge Mueller, author, co-author, book designer, mapmaker, illustrator, and lifetime member of The Mountaineers, passed away in September at the age of 84.

Many think of Mountaineers Books as synonymous with outdoor legends like Fred Beckey, Harvey Manning, Ira Spring, and others whose guidebooks were published to much acclaim and who inspired a new generation of writers and photographers. There is, however, one woman—an established Pacific Northwest author in her own right—who helped make so much of the success of their work possible. Read more…

How To Watercolor In Winter

At 5:30am the arctic sun illuminates icebergs with delicate bands of yellow light. My Zodiac ride to explore Disko Bay leaves in 30 minutes, and I need to find vodka, fast. Read more…

Avalanche Safety | Making Safe Decisions in the Backcountry

The snow rushes past in a swift river of movement. The slough was kicked off by my turns above, and the loose powder is now flowing through a natural gully in the snow, no more than six inches wide. That’s not so bad. I think. It looks like a little creek; totally manageable. Without further hesitation, I turn my skis to cross the stream. Read more…

An Indirect Path to Flexibility

By the time Mercedes Pollmeier arrived at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), she’d lived in Australia, China, Mauritius, and had spent considerable time in Germany with her grandma. The daughter of a German father and an Indian South African mum, Mercedes had seen a lot of the world already when a full-ride tennis scholarship brought her to the U.S. at 17. A multilingual world citizen, the starry-eyed teen had her eyes keenly set on one thing: the Olympics. Little did she know that she’d soon meet a strength coach who would forever change the course of her life. Read more…

Different & Able | A profile of Kimber Cross

It’s a chilly March morning in Provo, Utah, 2020. Kimber Cross has been flown here by the outdoor meal brand Peak Refuel to shoot a short film about her journey into ice climbing. As the team walks down the snow-packed trail to a frozen waterfall, Kimber feels the eyes of passersby, and they’re staring. Maybe it’s because of the big, red cameras that stand in contrast to the stark landscape, but an old fear starts to creep into her psyche, a fear that tells her to hide. All eyes focus on the tool strapped to her pack. Read more…

10 Essential Questions: Douglas Gillan

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

Youth Outside | The Power of Community

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to take a group of incoming college freshmen on a rafting trip in Arizona. I scrambled to get all my gear together before we launched, and that first night I realized that I had forgotten to pack my tent. Thankfully we were in the desert, and I was sleeping on my boat, so I didn’t have to worry about insects and other critters on the beach. The first night I lucked out with a light breeze coming off the water and a crystal clear sky. I slept like a rock. Read more…

Global Adventures | Among the Nomads of Lycia

Chunks of rough rock covered our trail in the dry, scrubby foothills of the Taurus Mountains. The Mediterranean Sea glittered below us as we climbed, 85 miles into our 115-mile, 14-day journey. Read more…

Outside Insight | Trial by Ice

It was a bitterly cold day in early November, and our small group of four canyoneers had just donned our wetsuits on the hillside above the canyon. The cold weather meant water levels in the glacier-fed river were at their lowest for the year, a key consideration when descending a deep, narrow slot canyon that has never been explored before. Read more…