Mountaineer Magazine

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No Hiker Left Behind: A Personal Perspective on the Importance of Belonging

My success as a climber was far from guaranteed.

Growing up Jewish, an ethnicity stereotyped as bookish and non-athletic, I struggled with scoliosis, a lazy eye, orthotic shoes, and a disability that impairs hand-eye (brain) coordination. In my urban Los Angeles elementary school, our “special” PE class endured taunts of “Retard PE!” from the “normal” kids. Add on teenaged depression/anxiety, an eating disorder, lifelong PTSD - in part from childhood bullying - and a bit of confusion (self-judgment) around gender and orientation, and I felt like a freak. Read more…

Bookmarks | Excerpt from The Sharp End of Life: A Mother’s Story

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So it’s not hard to imagine that the mother of the world’s most audacious rock climber would be an interesting person herself. In The Sharp End of Life, Alex Honnold’s mom, Dierdre Wolownick, recounts her upbringing in an immigrant household, a difficult marriage, raising her children as a single mom, teaching in multiple languages, succeeding as a musician and children’s book author, and then, late in life, taking on the physical challenges of marathon running and learning to climb. Read more…

Youth Outside | Becoming the Leaders Our World Needs

A hush spread over the crowd of 500 well-dressed Mountaineers, all eyes on the stage in anticipation. From behind the curtain emerged Jaydalen Blossom, a 14-year old outdoor enthusiast and participant with Young Women Empowered (Y-WE), a youth-serving mentorship and empowerment organization we partner with as part of our Mountain Workshops program. Jaydalen joined us to speak about the connection to people and place she feels in being outside, and to offer a fresh perspective on why protecting these places and experiences is more important than ever. Read more…

Impact Giving | Ghostfish Brewing and The Mountaineers: A Sustainable Partnership

Leave it to a Mountaineer to find a mountain!

This was my thought as I finished reading an email from Web Chang, a staff member at Mountaineers Books. Web’s message arrived shortly after Ghostfish released our third packaged beer of 2015: Shrouded Summit Belgian White Ale. In this case, the mountain Web had found was on the side of our can, which vibrantly depicts two trekkers stopping for a moment to take in a majestic view of cloud covered Mt. Rainer (designed locally by Kevin LeDoux). Read more…

After the Fall: Moving Past Injury and Living a Life Outdoors

Jon Luthanen is a climber, mountaineer, and active member in our Bellingham Branch. He was on a climbing trip in southern Utah in May 2017 when he experienced a traumatic ankle injury while bouldering outside. He needed major surgery, and now requires a carbon fiber leg brace to pursue his outdoor passions. In this interview, Jon shares the story of his injury, his recovery, and why he chose our Basic Alpine Climbing Course to support his reentry into the outdoors. Read more…

Did you know? Snafflehounds

One of the more unusual pieces of climbing jargon, the word ‘snafflehound’ fails to strike fear into the heart of the uninitiated. However, snafflehounds have ruined more than a few climbers’ days, and for good reason. Read more…

Safety Stories | Beware of Slugs

Last May, what started out as a straight forward backpacking trip turned into a harrowing ordeal for Mountaineer member Michael Kelly. With humor and grace, she recounts the good, the bad, and the downright ridiculousness of having to travel five miles without the use of her right leg. Read more…

Trail Talk | Welcoming 50: How I Became An Ultra Runner

Some folks age gracefully, some don’t, and others futilely fight it - or worse, struggle to even accept it. I tend to be one of the latter. Blame it on my Baby Boomer upbringing. My generation worshipped youth, redefined aging, and still refuses to let something like growing old get in the way of doing what we want. Heck, if it still feels good, we do it! Now that the youngest of us has passed 55, I guess we weren’t really serious when we belted out “Hope I die before I get old". Read more…

Peak Performance | Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

In terms of conditioning, "going the extra mile" means working to get stronger, faster, and fitter than you think you need to be for your trips. Many novices start training programs too late, thinking you can "cram" like you might for a test, or worse, "get by” without the proper preparation. Hurrying fitness will only result in sore or strained muscles, failure to reach your objectives, or worse, injury. Read more…

Adventure Hacks for the Over-Stoked and Under-Prepared

Luxuries that we take for granted in our homes – the convenience of a kitchen, the comfort of a light switch – are nonexistent once you’re off-grid. The need for self-sufficiency is part of the appeal of the outdoors, but it also offers the opportunity to find yourself in a position where you didn’t pack as efficiently or appropriately as you should have. The time will come when you open your pack and realize that you forgot an item integral to your comfort or sanity. It’s happened to all of us, and is often a sign that your stoke outweighed your preparation. Read more…