Mountaineer Magazine

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A Hiker's Guide to Trail Architecture

Whenever you set out on a trail, take time to appreciate its construction. A a complimentary piece to "Lightly on the Land" published our summer 2019 magazine, here we share some key trail features to look out for courtesy of stewardship expert and Mountaineers Books author Bob Birkby: Read more…

Happy Birthday To The Mountaineers Gear Library

The Mountaineers Gear Library recently turned one, and looking back it’s hard to believe a full year has passed since we started gearing up with youth organizations. Our hope with the library was to work with youth-serving organizations to reduce barriers to outdoor access. Since launching in August 2018, we’ve outfitted over 350 young people to explore and recreate in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying activities like hiking, snowshoeing, backpacking, and camping. Notably, we had an especially active winter season, sending out the most snowshoes in youth program history. We’re so lucky to be able to share our love of adventure with the future leaders of tomorrow. Read more…

Active Academics: A Student’s Back-To-School Guide To Staying Fit

As a nearly 30-year-old PhD student, I’ve become a master at balancing academics — and their drain on finances and time — with a life outdoors, a lifestyle that often demands a large amount of temporal and monetary privilege. I’ve found that with some prioritization and mental reframing, it’s always possible to play outdoors, regardless of your budget or schedule. So as we head back to school this fall, I’m sharing what I’ve learned so that my fellow students (or anyone who is just plain busy) can spend more time outside. Read more…

Caribou Rainforest: From Heartbreak to Hope

Few know that hidden in the lower 48 states is a rainforest where mountain caribou live. For the past few years, Washington biologist, outdoorsman, and photographer David Moskowitz has been studying these animals on the cusp of extinction. Following is an excerpt from his new book, Caribou Rainforest, published by Mountaineers Books. Read more…

Mount Rainier Infinity Loop: Bringing a Vision to Life

“You’re doing what?!” I gasped. It was a typical Monday evening in July and we were sitting at the Elliot Bay Brewery for the launch party of The Mountaineers first peer-to-peer adventure based fundraising campaign, Our Parks | Your Adventure. Being the year of the National Park Centennial, we hoped our campaign would inspire individuals to seek an adventure of their choosing in a National Park while fundraising for The Mountaineers youth programs. Read more…

Peak Fitness | Gamify Your Hikes: Making Family Adventures Fun for Everyone

Our twelve-year-old daughter loves to pester us with, “Are we there yet?”, “How much longer?” and “Can we take a break?” when we go on hikes. The solution? Bring a friend her age. If that strategy fails, we try to include a cool distraction like having a scavenger hunt, finding a geocache, playing in a snow patch, or identifying birds or plants. I recently stumbled on another technique you can add to your repertoire of distractions that can also work great on your pack carrying workouts. I call it “Gamify.” All it requires is a pair of dice and some creativity. Read more…

Secret Rainier | Wonders of Wonderland

This issue of Secret Rainier describes four wonders of the Wonderland (just off the main trail), each well worth a short detour to visit. The Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier is aptly named: the entire 96-mile trail is a feast to behold. Though the trail doesn’t fully open up until July and become snow free until late July, now is a good time to plan a trip and make reservations via the Mount Rainier National Park web site. Read more…

Impact Giving | One Good Idea, Many Great Adventures

A climb-a-thon. Now, that’s an idea. I can’t take all the credit though. Gavin Woody was president of the board in 2012 when he asked me if I’d thought about doing some sort of climb-a-thon as a fundraiser to give members a fun way to support our new youth programs. This made sense as Mountaineers put in a lot of vertical feet all year round, but at the time I had just completed my first year as director for a new development program. We were already in early-stage planning for our next “first ascent,” a fundraising dinner in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jim Whittaker’s historic summit of Mt. Everest. Read more…

The Little Things: Moss Blankets and Raining Lichen

As the mountains brighten with a blanket of fresh white on its highest hills, and evening alpenglow illuminates the distance with shades of pink and orange, we are allured by snow: tossing on snowshoes and skis to venture into the fantastic. Naturalists, searching for flora and fauna, turn to the foothills — and their manuals. We flip past the names of flowering meadow plants, summer mammals and autumn berries. We're reminded of the little things that flourish year-round in the temperate rainforest that makes up the Pacific Northwest — and especially in its wettest seasons — moss and lichen. Read more…

Nature's Way | Orcas of the Salish Sea

Resident orcas of the Salish Sea may be wild creatures, but satellite tags, drone images and individual health profiles are making them as familiar as family to researchers. The distinctively marked, largest members of the dolphin family that comprise the J, K, and L pods, also known as killer whales, are being studied inside and out. While scientists monitor the whales’ whereabouts, new babies, and what’s happening with food sources, they’re also analyzing the whales’ feces and blubber to better understand the health of individuals. Read more…