Mountaineer Magazine

All posts

On the West Ridge of Golden Mount Stuart

With headlamps switched on, we started up the Ingalls Creek trail. The first rays of dawn followed behind, ready to bask the forest in gold, while our lamps illuminated the trail in front — guiding us up and over the pass.  Read more…

Sunshine, Smiles & Transformation

I arrived early on my first day at Junior Mountaineers Summer Camp, excited to meet all the kids and ready to learn how this camp worked and what to do. After meeting the other counselors, my co-counselor Christoph and I read through the forms for each of our campers. Read more…

Theater in the Wild

When I first learned The Mountaineers had a theater, I thought it was a bit strange. What does acting and drama have to do with mountaineering? The answer, in short, is community. Before forest access roads and rules that limit parties to 12, it was common for large groups of Mountaineers to spend days together just to get to where we now park our cars. To entertain each other in the evenings, animated camp-fire stories and performances, when organized with props, quickly became a type of theater. Read more…

Connections in the Sky: mount-top ham radio

You’ve reached the summit and the view is breathtaking: time for a “Summit-Selfie” to share your success with your friends...but there’s no cell coverage up here. You have a Personal Locator Beacon, but this doesn’t quite qualify as an emergency. Fortunately, you have a ham radio and can talk to the world. Read more…

Trail Talk: More than "because it's there"

The hair on my arms and back of my neck stood up straight. The summit rocks surrounding me buzzed like an electrical transformer. The fillings in my teeth hummed. A thick fog enveloped me. The sky lit up as thunder cracked. I stood in snow under a gray shroud at 14,000 feet preparing to die. I had gotten caught in an electrical storm on the summit of California’s Mount Shasta. Read more…

Turns All Year: A Personal Look at Backcountry Skiing

I consider myself one of the ‘lucky ones’. I learned to ski shortly after learning to walk, and remember a childhood of white Montana winters racing after my parents down the ski slopes. Winters get cold in Big Sky Country, but fueled on a steady stream of hot cocoa and M&Ms, my dad managed to teach not only me, but my younger twin-sisters, to be pretty darn good skiers. Read more…

Observable Differences: Glacier Recession in the North Cascades

The project measures a variety of glaciers across the North Cascades — from the south end of the range on Mount Daniel to the north end on Mount Shuksan; and from the West side on Kulshan (Mount Baker) to the dry East side on the Ice Worm Glacier (aka Hyas Creek Glacier). The glaciers are a critical resource in the region, providing water for farm and crop irrigation, hydropower, salmon and other wildlife, along with municipal supply. Read more…

Solace in Mountain Solitude

Every morning I wake to the heaviness of dread and scattered anxiety. Big life-shaking questions bombard me the minute I realize I’ve stopped dreaming. Every effort to create mental order in my overturned life is like opening closet doors only to have the contents of my life spill into a giant mess at my feet. Would I have to move away? Quit my job that I love? Leave the house that I built on eleven acres and leave behind my community and deep relationships in a giant dust-cloud of failure?  Read more…

Trail Talk: High Speed Wilderness

I vividly remember the first time I encountered runners on a backcountry trail. It was during the summer of 1985 and I was hiking in New Hampshire’s Pemigewasset Wilderness; New England’s largest wilderness area. I was wearing heavy boots and schlepping a pack complete with the 10 essentials-plus. The runners were carrying practically nothing — and their footwear and clothing were minimal too. My initial reactions were, those guys are crazy traveling through the backcounty with not much more than a water bottle — and how dare they breeze through this trail disrupting my wilderness experience! Read more…