Mountaineer Magazine

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Conservation Currents | Getting Your Hands Dirty With Satisfying Stewardship

There's something about digging in the dirt. I always know my kid's had an especially good day when he’s in outfit number three or there's dirt in his ears. As adults, or even young adults, our dirt ‘play’ changes significantly. I hike and climb and get dirty that way for sure, but there's something about getting dirt under-the-nails through good, old-fashioned dirt digging and rock moving. I started participating in trail-work events as a way to give back to the places I played. And kept doing it in part because it because it was so satisfying to see what impact a group of volunteers could make in a day’s work, and in part because it continues to be… simply fun. Read more…

Plate Tectonics and the North Cascades

Traveling along the North Cascade Scenic Highway (State Highway 20) between Marblemount and Mazama, one can’t help but be awed by the views of jagged peaks towering on every side. It is just as awe-inspiring to realize that the North Cascades began to be formed only about 90 million years ago, a blink of an eye in geologic time, through many collisions of fragments of the Earth’s lithosphere, called plates. The region has additionally been fine-tuned by ice-sheet and valley glaciers over the past two plus million years.  Read more…

Life rises from ash at Mount St. Helens

Even after 34 years, the process of plant recolonization is still going on at Mount St. Helens. To go from moonscape to
forested landscape is a long process, and scientist John Bishop finds it “wondrous.” John, an ecologist and professor at Washington State University’s School of Biological Sciences, Vancouver, has been conducting research at the national monument for 25 years, starting as a grad student. He says his initial focus was evolutionary genetics. What better place to study than a landscape that was almost biblical: it was ripe for any kind of evolution. Read more…

Secret Rainier: A Monument and Some Columns

This installment of Our Secret Rainier guides you to a monument and some amazing basalt columns in the national park. With extra effort, one can continue on to two scrambles in a remote part of the park.  Read more…

The Hills are Alive with The Sound of Music And I'm Not Happy About It

There’s nothing like that rush of exhilaration you feel upon cresting a high ridge bursting with wildflowers and surrounded by snow-capped craggy peaks. You stand upon your heavenly perch and gaze out with utter astonishment on how breathtakingly beautiful the natural world is; from the glistening glaciers before you to the fluttering butterflies among a carpet of brilliant blossoms below you. With senses completely overloaded, who among us hasn’t felt the urge to twirl amid the lupines and pull a Julie Andrews?  Read more…

Retro Rewind: Conservationist Helen Engle

Meet Helen Engle, a 64-year Mountaineers member and lifelong conservationist. She has devoted her life to protecting the places she loves, and is truly and inspiration to our community of explorers. Read more…

My Old Man and the Mountain - An interview with Leif Whittaker

I first dreamed of writing books when I was twelve years old, stuck on my family’s sailboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Writing was an antidote to boredom, but as I grew up, it became a true passion. When I followed in my father’s footsteps to the summit of Mount Everest, the story was too good not to write about. Read more…

Habits for Good Nutrition

Atkins. Paleo. Zone. Low-carb. Low-fat. Gluten-free. There are as many eating plans out there as there are individuals, and just as much confusing information about which is best for the active outdoors enthusiast. The following habits recommended by Precision Nutrition require no calorie counting or food weighing, yet provide you with a healthy, functioning body that will get you where you want to go. Read more…

The Doug Walker I Knew

Life is full of people you don’t know for long, but who have a profound impact on your life and work. I met a guy like that a little more than a year ago. It was at the REI flagship in Seattle, for an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Read more…

Bookmarks | A Wild Idea

One of the stories from The Wild Edge that resonates strongly with me is from Baja California, of gray whales approaching boats and trusting people to touch their bodies and stroke their newborn calves. People who experience these intimate encounters with whales describe them as among the most stirring moments of their lives--a connection of heart and spirit. Read more…