Mountaineer Magazine

Mountaineer Magazine

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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…

Go Big With Member Benefits

Now more than ever, our small businesses need your support. They’re the ones who help keep your bag dry on rainy nights, your spork full, and your puffies stuffed. If you’re doing any shopping, please consider going local and supporting one of our partners: Read more…

Conservation Currents | Speaking up for Public Lands: An Interview with Thomas O’Keefe

Thomas O’Keefe is a conservationist who is equally comfortable paddling a Class IV river as he is testifying before Congress (wearing his trademark bow tie). The longtime Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater, Tom has dedicated his life to protecting whitewater rivers. Tom works closely with The Mountaineers to advocate for our wild places and provides strategic advice as a member of the Advisory Council. Here, we get to know Tom and learn what sparked his passion for protecting and stewarding public lands. Plus, we learn a great trick for recruiting Mountaineers members! Read more…

Bookmarks | Frodo’s Birthday: An Excerpt from Journeys North

In Journeys North, legendary trail angel and thru-hiker Barney Scout Mann spins a compelling tale of six hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail on their trek from Mexico to Canada. This ensemble story unfolds as these half-dozen hikers — including Barney and his wife, Sandy (Frodo) — trod north, facing a once-in-a-generation drought and early severe winter storms that test their will. In fact, only a third of all hikers who set out on the trail that year would finish. Read more…

Failure and Growth, Courtesy of El Cap

In the past several years, climbing El Capitan in Yosemite National Park has blown up in the mainstream consciousness. With Free Solo winning an Oscar and the Dawn Wall ascent getting publicized in The New York Times, it seems as if everyone has a clear picture of what climbing El Cap is like. It is easy to imagine being up on the side of the wall when you see it on a high definition movie theater screen. But is it as easy as people make it look?  Read more…

Trail Talk | Revelations After More than 30,000 Miles on the Trail

As an outdoors writer and guidebook author, former backcountry ranger in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, former mountain guide in the Spanish and French Pyrenees, and dedicated adventurer, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the trail. It totals more than 30,000 miles hiking and backpacking, and who knows how many miles running. I’ve hiked on trails from Nova Scotia to Florida, Alaska to Argentina, and in Europe and Asia. I’ve seen a lot of spectacular natural places. And I’ve learned quite a bit along the way — some trivial, some life changing — about nature, humanity, and myself. In a stream of consciousness (just as my mind works while I’m hiking), here are a few of the things I’ve learned while putting thousands of miles on the trail: Read more…

Retro Rewind | Louise Marshall: Mountaineer, WTA Founder, and Pioneering Trail Advocate

An avid hiker, community organizer, and Mountaineers member, Louise Marshall was a passionate outdoorswoman and a key figure in Washington’s history. As a young woman I not only had the opportunity to meet Louise and hike with her, but reaped the benefits of all that she brought to the hiking community and the broader Washington outdoors community. I am excited to share with you the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that Louise experienced as a pioneer in the outdoor industry. Read more…

Peak Performance | Strengthen Postural Muscles in the Upper Back

In the last issue, we suggested home variations on the plank for developing the horizontal pushing muscles in our shoulders, chest, triceps and core. Below we offer several movements for the opposing muscle groups: the horizontal pulling muscles of the rhomboids and shoulders. Read more…

Out of the Ashes: Creating a New Life in the Mountains

Every night after putting my boys to bed, I ran. On dark nights my feet would thud against the pavement, headlamp shining through the rain. I did it because I had to – it pushed out the despondency and grief that had been following me for almost two years. I knew pushing my body would bring me closer to what I needed: self-confidence, a distraction from the pain, physical and emotional strength. I moved toward my goal, one foot at a time. Read more…

Did You Know? Birding Basics: Start a Lifelong Journey of Bird Watching

The Black-capped Chickadee flitted through the fir branches. It was about the size of two ping-pong balls, and nimble – it twisted, turned, and darted through my Seattle neighborhood. This bird is common across much of North America and always brings a sense of joy each time I see one. In fact, it may be one of the first birds I learned to identify when my mother caught me sitting in the kitchen sink, watching birds coming to her feeders. I was five, and she patiently stood behind me naming each species. Almost 65 years later I remain delighted by these incredible creatures, and I would like to share with you some of the lessons I have learned in my many (well-spent) years of birdwatching. Read more…

30 Before 30

Theresa Silveyra and Amber Chang are both accomplished climbers and mountaineers. They recently teamed up for Theresa’s #30Before30 project: an ambitious plan for Teresa to climb Wy’east (Mt. Hood) 30 times before Theresa turned 30. Amber joined Teresa for a celebratory summit number 31! Read more…

Life as a Trail Angel: The Reality of 1200 Houseguests

You quit your job, sublet your apartment, and sold your car. Standing on the curb at the San Diego airport, everything you know has been left behind. There’s just you and your backpack, and a dream so big you wonder again: Will it fit that five-month hole I’ve carved out of my life? You’re looking for a yellow pompom. Just like more than 6,000 others before you. Read more…

The Olympic Mountain Project

I always wondered what it would feel like to be in snow in the middle of August. Read more…

The Mountain is Out

Mount Rainier has always been a special place. I was born in Yakima over 70 years ago and saw the mountain from the eastside before my family moved to Buckley when I was very young. From Buckley, I had an unobstructed view of her every day she was visible. Even when she was hiding, it was always comforting to know she was there. I remember my father using the lenticular cloud cap on the summit to predict the weather during the summer haying season. My parents were avid Mountaineers and hikers, having hiked the length of the Wonderland Trail together and earned their Snoqualmie Second Ten Peak Pins. They instilled in me a love and respect for nature from a young age.  Read more…

Peak Performance | The Versatile Plank

March 2020 stunned us nationwide with national, state, and city park closures, school cancellations, Stay Home orders, and changes to our everyday freedoms. But that doesn’t mean our mental and physical wellness must shut down with it. To develop resilience and versatility in the comfort of your own home, include the plank. It is one of the most versatile upper body movements you can perform to develop core, triceps, shoulders, and chest strength. You can make it part of an anaerobic workout by adding a jump, or a meditative workout by adding a downward-facing dog. Pull out a mat and move! Read more…

Youth Outside | Favorite Moments with Mountaineers Youth

When my partner and I moved to Seattle two years ago, we both felt pretty lucky. Here we’d found a place with year-round outdoor activities, a cohort of adventure partners, and views of the mountains from every angle. I was warned that winters could be tough in the Pacific Northwest and to be prepared to go a while without seeing the sun. I steeled myself for this reality, checking the weather app every morning with my coffee to see how many minutes of daylight we’d be gifted that day. Read more…

More Than Adventure Partners: How the outdoors facilitates new friendships at every age

While I can feign ease at a party - and enjoy myself - I’m not a naturally social person. I choose to spend much of my free time alone reading books or knitting, and I’m content to see no one but my dog for days at a time. On paper, I read like someone who might struggle to make friends, but even though I’ve relocated to new cities several times in my adult life, I’ve been lucky to always find connections. I attribute my social success to the outdoor community rather than my own innate charm: the outdoors facilitates new and lasting adult friendships in a way that "normal life" does not. Read more…

Did You Know? | Mountain Rescue's Roots in The Mountaineers

Exposing ourselves to the most unforgiving elements of nature can be cathartic, electrifying – and dangerous. Uncertainty is a necessary part of her appeal, but when Mother Nature (or plain bad luck) starts baring her teeth, today we have measures in place to help you get home safely. Read more…

Embracing the Slower Side of Life

There’s something truly wonderful about not knowing what lies over the next ridge, or how to get there. If I climb down into the creek bed, will it connect? And if so, will I be able to climb back out? Or is it better to scramble up the talus and hope things aren’t too steep on the other side? Read more…

Secret Rainier | Goat Island Mountain

Many of the 100 peaks in Mount Rainier National Park are seldom visited and we believe under appreciated. In this sense they are “secrets” and worthy of being featured in this series. In this chapter of Secret Rainier we describe Goat Island Mountain, one of our favorite scrambles. Notable are the views of Little Tahoma looming above Rainier. It’s is a super summer scramble and a great destination to plan for in the midst of winter. Read more…

Mountaineers Books 60th Anniversary

Over the past sixty years, Mountaineers Books has built something incredible. Beginning with a single book, written and produced by volunteers, we have grown into a world-leading outdoors publisher with over 650 titles in print and nearly 17 million books sold since 1960. Today we sell books in print, online, and on-demand, around the world and in a dozen languages. Mountaineers Books are nearly as well traveled as Mountaineers members. Read more…

Seeking Belaytionship: One Woman's Search for True Love

One of the most important relationships of my life is not my husband. My (other) other half can complete my sentences, always knows just what to say, and somehow manages to love me before I’ve had my morning coffee. She catches me when I fall, keeps my spirts high, and ropes me into some of the best adventures I’ve ever had. Yes, my husband knows, and the three of us get along great. I’m talking, of course, about my climbing partner.  Read more…

Conservation Currents | A New Home for Our Goats: The Mountain Goat Translocation Plan

The Olympic Peninsula is one of the most incredible natural landscapes in the world, offering unrivaled opportunities to experience nature in its primal form. Biogeographically isolated in the Pacific Northwest, it’s been protected from the degradation that accompanies industry and population growth, becoming a popular destination for hiking, scrambling, climbing, paddling, and more. Read more…

Secret Rainier | Huckleberry Creek Trail

Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP) is filled with glorious places to visit. Its visitors justifiably flock to the well-known destinations: Sunrise, Paradise, Camp Muir, Summerland, Spray Park and Comet Falls to name just a handful. But there are dozens of other wonderful places — less well known and perhaps a bit more difficult to find — that have a beauty all their own. Longtime Mountaineers trip leaders, Gene Yore and Mickey Eisenberg, call these places “Our Secret Rainier.” This is the sixth of a periodic installment from Gene and Mickey on these gems in the park.  Read more…

Retro Rewind | An Olympic Summer, 100 Years Ago

The Spanish Flu swept the globe in 1918, just over 100 years ago. While we could find little reference of how this impacted Mountaineers at the time, we’re watching as a similar pandemic grinds our spring and summer plans to a halt. At the time of writing, the Stay Home, Stay Safe order is still in place, and we don’t know how and when getting outside will return to ’normal.’ So for this Retro Rewind, we decided to look back one century ago at the summer excursion of 1920, to see just what Mountaineers members were up to and find inspiration in their intrepid spirits.  Read more…

Trail Talk | Honoring a Guidebook Legacy: Carrying conservation and passion into the modern world

Hiking guidebooks and I go back a long time, long before I first set out with a notebook, pen, and camera to craft my own. In the early 1980s, after years as a road cycling fanatic (and fanatic I was, having biked across North America three times before my twenty-first birthday) I discovered the world of trails. A handful of hiking guidebooks helped me discover so many trails near and far: the AMC White Mountain Guide, 50 hikes in the White Mountains, and GMC’s Long Trail Guide, soon followed by many others. Read more…

Inside Insights: Innovative Outdoor Education in a Changing World

In the short span of several weeks, the coronavirus outbreak went from a small blip on our radar to something that, at times, feels all-consuming. Nearly every person, company, and organization on the planet is impacted by this crisis - and The Mountaineers is no exception.  Read more…

Raising Adventurous Kids: How We Survived the Early Years

The fourth time my 6-year-old fell down on the muddy trail and screamed like there was no tomorrow, I thought, “hmmm… maybe we should turn back.” Then I figured he’ll be fine - it’s all part of getting outside. To be fair, he kept falling because he was wearing his mom’s (giant for him) rain boots, because he’d forgotten his own boots. He also forgot his shoes, and we didn’t drive an hour to not go for a hike because our kid forgot his boots when we had a perfectly good pair of rain boots in the car. Lesson learned: double-check footwear for all family members. See also: socks, pants, gloves, hats… you get the idea. Read more…

Secret Rainier | Bald Rock

Bald Rock is infrequently visited but it makes for a lovely
forest hike with great views of Rainier and Little Tahoma.
The peak is named for it smooth treeless summit. Read more…

Canyoning in the PNW

In November of 2001, my friend Stacy and I began our regular journey eastward, heading home to our respective states of Tennessee and Connecticut after a season of teaching Outdoor Education in California. We were both excited to visit Zion National Park on the way home for a few weeks of exploration. Both climbers in our 20’s, Stacy and I hoped to rappel through a slot canyon. Read more…