Mountaineer Magazine

Mountaineer Magazine

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Trail Talk | Morning on Mount Bonaparte

Eastern Washington’s third highest summit, 7,257-foot Mount Bonaparte rises all alone in the Okanogan Highlands. Bonaparte is a monadnock (also known as an inselberg) — a geological term taken from Mount Monadnock, a popular southern New Hampshire mountain memorialized by 19th century writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The word monadnock is of Abenaki origin translating to isolated mountain. Monadnocks are lone isolated mountains standing above their surroundings. They have fared better than their environs in surviving the agents of erosion. Broad lofty Mount Bonaparte indeed stands alone, and with a 3,500-foot prominence, is distinguishable from quite a distance away. Read more…

Peak Performance | Seven Steps to Vibrant Health

As a Mountaineer with summer objectives, you may already have a solid exercise program that includes a weekend adventure, weekday trainings, and weekly strength and flexibility workouts. But a healthy lifestyle is more than your exercise routine. If you’re like a lot of people I know, you may be cutting corners on sleep, stressing about work or school, eating in the car to fit everything in, and skipping social commitments with friends. Read more…

Life Skills: Reflections From Our Annual MAC Trip

I started climbing about twelve years ago, in the mountains of North Carolina in my mid-20s. Climbing did not come naturally to me, and I still constantly fight the cognitive dissonance of wanting to ascend higher and master moves while facing a petrifying fear of heights. Through the years I have experimented with ways to manage this fear, which has made room for this activity to make a positive impact on my life. I’ve used climbing as a vehicle for travel and exploration. My closest friends are those who’ve tied into a rope with me. And climbing is the activity I most enjoy teaching to new and aspiring Mountaineers. Read more…

Bookmarks | Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, A Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear

The wilderness was vast and seemingly empty, but as I motored along I was nestled in a glowing cocoon of technological magic. Not one but two Garmin GPS chart plotters silently communed with the satellites overhead. My radar system could penetrate the thickest of fogs, though the day’s clear skies and sunshine made the prospect unlikely. My depth-sounder pinged sonar pulses off the rocks below, and I even carried something called, in bureaucratese, an Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacon, or, more jauntily, an EPIRB. Supposedly it would, at the panicked touch of a button, supply my coordinates and credit card information to the nearest helicopter rescue service. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Stoke Is Exactly What Outdoor Conservation Needs

High Country News recently published an essay by Ethan Linck, “Your Stoke Won’t Save Us,” questioning the efficacy of outdoor recreationists and the outdoor industry as advocates for conservation. In a sense, Linck is right, stoke alone won’t save us, and the most unimpeachable personal conservation ethic won’t either. Read more…

Retro Rewind | Coming Full Circle

Judy Sterry remembers the exact day she joined The Mountaineers. It was her 14th birthday, the minimum age required to become a member at the time. By 16, she had climbed all six of Washington’s major Cascade volcanoes: Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Olympus, and Mount Rainier – 65,640 feet in total elevation. Read more…

Outside Insight | Making the Case for Outdoor Recreation

Ruth Nielsen has practiced law in Washington for 30 years, specializing primarily in sports-related personal injury defense and outdoor product liability defense. She has successfully defended claims involving many of the activities that we lead at The Mountaineers - including skiing, rock climbing, mountaineering, and backpacking - and she is a frequent presenter at The Mountaineers annual Leadership Conference. Read more…

Nature's Way | Rare Plants, Marine Birds, and a Warming Ocean

When worlds collide, it’s usually a bad thing. But when geology and botany come together for Mark Darrach, he’s as happy as a Polystichum lemmonii on an ultramafic substrate. Read more…

Trail Talk | Looking Beyond Stoke: It’s Time To Educate The Masses

It’s no surprise to any of us who have been hiking and adventuring in our wild places since the days of heavy luggedsole boots, knee high cotton socks, and external frames that in the words of conservationist Rick McGuire of the North Cascades Conservation Council and Alpine Lakes Protection Society: we are currently facing a human tsunami on our trails. And if we’re to stay true to this metaphor, a tsunami inundating our wild places isn’t going to leave them in good shape. Read more…

MountainLove | Wendell Brown & Roberta Spiro

In each issue of Mountaineer magazine, we feature two lovebirds who met through The Mountaineers and share a passion of the outdoors. In this column, we talked to Wendel Brown & Roberta Spiro, who met in 1980 and recently celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. Read more…

Voices Heard | We ARE Outside: Reframing What It Means to Be ‘Outdoorsy’

One of my favorite places in the outdoors has multiple trails, several different habitats, and offers spectacular views of a major snow-capped peak. There is an old-growth forest where, among the mossy trees, you are serenaded by the rat-ta-tat-tat of pileated woodpeckers, hoots from barred owls, and screeches of Stellar’s jays. There also is abundant shoreline, where rabbits bound, beavers sun, and bald eagles, kingfishers, great blue heron, osprey, and otters nab fish. Read more…

Impact Giving | The Mountaineers Goes Solar

Within five minutes of meeting Charlie and Carol Michel, it’s clear that they care very deeply about three things: sea kayaking, The Mountaineers, and our collective carbon footprint. Read more…

K2 40th Anniversary: Inspiration Through Generations

As a teenager in the 1950s, I was a voracious reader fascinated with several books that became the classic accounts of the so called “Golden Age” of Himalayan mountaineering. Among this treasure trove was K2: The Savage Mountain, the unforgettable story of the 1953 American K2 expedition. It stirred a fascination with K2 in me which has lasted a lifetime. Read more…

MountainLove | Sharon Dietrich and Chuck Potter

In each issue of Mountaineer magazine, we feature two lovebirds who met through The Mountaineers and share a passion of the outdoors. In this column, we interview Sharon Dietrich on her 37-year marriage with Chuck Potter, after meeting on a hike in 1978.  Read more…

10 Essential Questions: Melanie Stam

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to.... Read more…

Urban Speed Hiking With Liz Thomas

With the sun about to kiss the horizon, Liz Thomas, trail name: “Snorkel,” has places to go and needs the last rays of the day to illuminate her path. She is ascending and descending steps in Seattle, one of the hilliest and most publicly staircased cities in the country. This is not a task to be executed, at her pace, in complete darkness. Read more…

Leadership on the Water: An Interview with Tom Unger

Tom Unger has been hiking, climbing, skiing, paddling, and sailing up and down the west coast for 25 years. He’s widely praised by students and participants for his outstanding communications, group facilitation, instruction, and collaborative leadership. In the summer of 2017, Tom led a two-week trip with The Mountaineers around Cape Scott with Barney Bernhard, Esther Ladwig, Marty Mayock, Charlie Michel, and Karen Cramer. In this interview, Tom discusses how he intentionally brought his group together around common goals, expectations, and trip styles. Read more…

The Many Facets Of The Public Lands Heist And The Millions Rising Up To Stop It

"Protecting wild places has been a part of The Mountaineers DNA from the very beginning. Our members were foundational in the establishment of Olympic National Park and the passage of the National Wilderness Act. We published the book that inspired President Ford to designate the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and another that chronicled the removal of the ELWAH River Dam. For more than a century, we’ve helped generations fall in love with the outdoors. We get thousands of people outside every year, and in doing so we create strong, authentic connections to these landscapes. These personal connections empower us to defend our public lands." Read more…

Developing a Personal Training Program

To get the most out of your pre-season training program, think about the outdoor activity you would like to prepare for the most and the fitness components that are important for that activity. Below is a handy chart to help. Aerobic exercise works large groups of muscles over longer periods of time. Anaerobic exercise involves short bursts of 10-60 seconds hard work with longer recovery time of up to 3 minutes. Read more…

Where Are They Now? Following Up With Former MAC Leaders, Katy And Isabel

In August of 2017, our sixth class of Mountaineers Adventure Club (MAC) reached graduation. MAC is a year-round outdoor club for teenagers in The Mountaineers. With about 30 participants a year, many join in 8th grade or as freshmen, and grow into outdoor leaders through their senior year in High School. Some of our MAC kids come up through Explorers, our middle-school outdoor club. Looking ahead to our seventh year, we now have 26 alumni who are in college, or have graduated from college, who still come back to visit and volunteer. They are using their Mountaineers outdoor and leadership skills to do amazing things. We asked two of our past MAC presidents to tell us about what they’re doing now. Here’s what they had to say: Read more…

An Epic Climb of Mount Rainier Via the Willis Wall

The wind is howling; it’s pitch dark, and heavy snow is blowing sideways. I stagger, trying to stay on my feet while Jim shouts at me from the bivouac to get in. Struggling in the gale, I lift one leg, try to step into the sack, and am blown flat on my side. I get up and try again. “If you don’t get into the sack, you’re going to die,” I think. Read more…

Peak Fitness: Preventing Stiffness Post Outings

Imagine returning to the car after hiking double-digit miles into triple-digit temperatures, finally pitching your heavy pack into the back of the car. Before you take off to the local pub that serves nachos, pizza, and beer, consider how you’ll feel after an hour or more in the car.  Read more…

Make the Most of Your Mountaineers Donation

The Mountaineers rely on the generosity of its donors to fulfill our mission. While revenues such as book sales, course fees, and membership dues contribute greatly to our success, philanthropic donations support about 15% of our annual budget. Individuals, foundations, and companies give to The Mountaineers because they’re inspired by our deep commitment to connecting people to the transformative power of wild places. You can make the most of your donations by understanding the ins and outs of tax rules for donations to nonprofits. Read more…

Olympia Stewardship Challenge

Jim French, a 20-year Mountaineers stewardship trip leader, has noticed a familiar refrain from new participants. After a long day clearing trails, removing invasive species, or seeding native plants, they exclaim, “Wow, that was great! I would have never done that if it hadn’t been required as part of The Mountaineers course I’m taking. I’d like to do it again.” Read more…

Legendary Ice Ax: Bid a New Home

More than four hundred Mountaineers members, friends, and family will not soon forget the evening of April 14, 2018. The 2018 Mountaineers Gala, our single most important fundraising event of the year, brought our community together in celebration of all the things that make it so very special. Read more…

2,000 Miles to Summer Camp: One Counselor's Journey

Here at the Seattle Program Center, we look forward to the start of summer and are busily preparing ourselves for the hive to once again be buzzing with activity from our younger Mountaineers members. For eight weeks we will have around 65 students per week participating in Mountaineers Summer Camp. During this time, students will get a chance to climb, sail, kayak, explore the local parks around Seattle, and participate in two separate overnight camping trips. After the successful trip to Mount Rainier last summer, we have added a second overnight up to our lodge at Mount Baker. Read more…

Post-Surgery Summits: The Resilience of Body and Brain

Every explorer needs a few essentials to survive. Some might even say ten. But what does a person do when one of their essentials breaks? Say… their compass stops pointing north? They’re still on their journey and need it to survive. The answer: the best they can with the tools they have. This is the essence of resilience.  Read more…

Modern Outdoor Romance - Finding Love in The Mountaineers

I’m a sucker for a good love story, especially one that includes meeting in the great out-of-doors. My maternal grandparents met in the Sierra Club. They fell in love at a trail work party while bridge-building in Butano State Park, California. My parents met in in the aspen trees of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where my dad was a ski instructor. For years I’ve shied away from online dating, preferring to meet new people through activity groups like running and climbing. You could say it’s in my blood. Read more…

Complacency in the Outdoors

On September 7, 2014, just after 5pm, Ross Halverson and his climbing partner were preparing to rappel from the summit of Garfield Mountain. Ross had just finished climbing Infinite Bliss, a twenty-three pitch bolted route ascending the south side of Garfield Mountain. As the late summer sun sunk toward the horizon, it became apparent that both climbers would need to move quickly and efficiently to descend before dark.  Read more…

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…