Mountaineer Magazine

Mountaineer Magazine

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Learning to Backpack as an Adult

As a San Francisco-born and raised city girl, I used to dread backpacking. My love of the outdoors inspired me to move to the Pacific Northwest in 2016, but backpacking remained a beast I feared to tackle. Read more…

Summiting at Seventy: A septuagenarian's dedication to the alpine

Neal Kirby and his sprightly crew were the first to attempt Mt. Baker via Coleman Glacier last season after a washout added nearly ten miles to the climb. Being the first, they had the coveted and grueling responsibility of kick stepping and trail breaking through miles of fresh, untraveled snow. Black Buttes basecamp — their intended resting stop for the night — was just in sight when ominous clouds enveloped the mountain. With the warning flashes of fast-approaching lightning, no one was in the mood to become a hillside’s electrical conductor. They retreated to treeline and set up camp for the night. Read more…

Mountaineer Magazine Summer 2023

As a Mountaineers member, you receive free access to our quarterly Mountaineer magazine, keeping you up-to-date with everything our organization and community have been up to. Hear from regular contributors on topics from training exercises to trail tips, and read features from our members sharing stories from the outdoors. We encourage you to access all of our updates, stories, tips, and more in the tree free online magazine today. Read more…

Bike Touring the San Juan Islands

Western Washington is spectacular in the summer. After eight months of wet, overcast weather, July brings sunshine and boosts morale just when we need it most. But between seasonal residents and tourists, and the desire to squeeze a year’s worth of adventures into three dry months, our state gets busy. Lines of cars wind up Mount Rainier, campsites are booked for months, and good luck getting Enchantments permits. Worst of all is the dreaded ferry line. Ferries themselves can be enjoyable, but if you don't have the foresight to book your ferry reservation in advance, you may find yourself waiting all day in a hot parking lot for the next open spot. Read more…

Retro Rewind | Changing Climate, Changing Climbs

Alan Kearney and his posse of bell-bottom clad buddies are obsessed with buildering. All the rage in 1973, ‘buildering’ is the art of bouldering on urban infrastructure, or in lay terms, climbing up a building. Inspired by the emerging ice climbers in the Alps, Alan and crew want to take their new passion a step further by buildering on ice. They look for ice anywhere they can find it, and stumble across a 15-foot frozen wall behind a local meat market in the dark of night. Ice axes in hand, they anchor a top-rope to a fence post and begin to climb. To call them “ice climbers” would be an overstatement, but they have a blast regardless. Ice buildering, as it turns out, is just as fun as they had imagined. Read more…

Climb Like A Mother

A five-hundred-foot wall of loose rock loomed above me—the final five hundred feet between me and my first glacier summit, Clark Mountain. Someone on my climbing team drew a line through the air to map out our path. “Shouldn’t be more than thirty minutes,” our trip leader said. I flinched at the cheer in her voice. We’d left camp almost six hours earlier, and it felt like a lifetime away. My lungs and legs burned. I was hungry—no, thirsty. “Maybe I’ll just wait for you guys here,” I said, fishing for encouragement from our leader. “I think you can do it,” she said. “But it’s your decision.” Read more…

Peak Performance | Allowing Sufficient Training Time

If you haven’t been hiking for several months but want to prepare for a multi-day backpacking trip, can you get ready in four weeks? Possibly, but your body may not be very happy. Tendons, ligaments, tissues, joints, and muscles all need time to adapt to exercise. To avoid the common “too much, too fast” issues ranging from pulls and strains to bursitis, tendonitis, or illness, allow sufficient training time to prepare for your summer goals. Read more…

A Journey Through Cancer & Resilience

Given my strong family history, it’s not a matter of if I’ll get cancer, but when. Read more…

Did You Know | How Songbirds Learn to Sing

One of the telling markers of spring is the trilling of birds gradually filing our newly-cerulean skies. To humans, birdsong is a welcomed reminder of the sunny days and warm-weathered adventures ahead. To the birds, these songs are an earnest attempt to captivate a mate and charm them into the breeding season. Luckily for us, birds have remarkably good voices, and although it may seem that songbirds come out of the nest ready to serenade, baby birds undergo quite a bit of training before being awarded their solos. Read more…

Trail Talk | The Perils and Joys of the Backcountry

Hiking has always been my refuge from the craziness of the world. I find solace and peace of mind in the wilderness. I know that the natural world can be as unforgiving as the civilized world, but I find wilderness far easier to negotiate. Perhaps it’s my illusion that when taking off for the backcountry, I need only worry about my actions and not the actions of others. In the human world there are far too many people making decisions that will affect me—and often not in a positive way. Read more…

Mountaineer of the Week: Deborah Anderson

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

How to Train for High Altitude Trips

As the pandemic ebbed in 2022, five of us Mountaineers decided it was time to finally travel again. Our goal: the Ausangate Loop in Peru, a 60-mile, weeklong trek that ambles between 13,600 and 17,200 feet. We ranged in age from 43 to 68 and all identified as female-bodied. So, basically, we were five middle-aged ladies on a high-altitude adventure. Read more…

Bookmarks | Cascadia Field Guide

Unlike a traditional field guide, Cascadia Field Guide blends art and science to celebrate our diverse region through cultural histories, poetry, and artwork depicting many of the plants and animals who call Cascadia home. Bringing together a wide spectrum of writers and artists, Cascadia Field Guide invites readers to explore their relationship to the region from a whole new perspective. Read more…

Mountaineer Magazine Spring 2023

As a Mountaineers member, you receive free access to our quarterly Mountaineer magazine, keeping you up-to-date with everything our organization and community have been up to. Hear from regular contributors on topics from training exercises to trail tips, and read features from our members sharing stories from the outdoors. We encourage you to access all of our updates, stories, tips, and more in the tree free online magazine today. Read more…

Celebrating 10 Years of The Mountaineers Gala

For 10 years, The Mountaineers has come together at the Gala to celebrate and honor the remarkable achievements of our community. One such achievement gained historical recognition when, in 1963, Mountaineers member Jim Whittaker made a groundbreaking climb. Challenging the odds, he became the first American to reach Everest’s 29,028-foot summit. He was only 34. The success of that climb, made possible thanks to the tireless work of the Sherpa supporters, launched Jim into the upper echelon of the climbing world. He has worked tirelessly since to give back to the outdoor community, including leading the first-ever Everest cleanup efforts. Read more…

Youth Outside | Exploring the Magic of Winter with the Mini Mountaineers

Growing up, my family had an off-grid cabin in the woods off Mountain Loop Highway. When my folks bought it, a faded wooden sign hung above the door that read “Scotty’s Castle.” The name stuck. Scotty’s Castle was an unassuming wood-frame cabin with no electricity or running water, but despite its lack of amenities, winter was my favorite time of year to visit the cabin. When the door creaked open to let us in, it would be so cold inside we could see our breath. We’d start a fire, light the gas lamps, and sweep out a few dead mice before unpacking. Read more…

Seasons of Change: A 30-year member reflects on a life outdoors

In the fall of 1990, my parents drove with me from Asheville to Seattle in Ol’ Red, our ancient family station wagon. I’d heard only positive things about the Emerald City, except for one: would it really be as rainy as people said? As we drove west across Washington, I spotted Mt. Rainier in all her splendor and drew in a sharp breath. I must climb that mountain. Read more…

Peak Performance | Shoulder Rolls

Remember how wonderful it felt to tumble or sled down a steep slope laughing so hard you fell off your saucer? As an adult, there is no better way to recapture those moments than by practicing rolling safely. Different than somersaults, shoulder rolls are the practice of going head-over-heels from shoulder to opposite hip, safely tucking the head. A wonderful way to improve your vestibular system – the sensory system in our bodies that gives us our balance and spatial awareness – they are fun as well as practical. This winter, you may find yourself spending some time in the snow on your belly, side, or back. Learn how to roll safely and have fun doing it. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Year One of Outdoor Alliance Washington

Whether you prefer backcountry skiing the North Cascades, climbing in Tieton, or day hiking along the Snoqualmie River, as Mountaineers you’ve likely experienced how policy and management decisions impact our public lands. Many of us have seen hazardous roads, decrepit facilities, and closed trailheads as funding falls shy year after year. But this frustration can – and has – produced change. The experiences of recreationists like you translate into compelling advocacy for conservation and recreation. Read more…

Did You Know? The Sound of Silence: Why Snow Brings Quiet

The most exciting moment of winter is the season’s first snowfall. Sometimes snow falls at opportune moments when you can witness small flakes gently speckling the sidewalks. Other years you wake up to the world carpeted in a perfect blanket of white. You step outside and marvel at the winter wonderland while scouring for the best place to have an epic snowball fight. Standing there, one of the first things you notice is a serene silence almost as breathtaking as the snow itself. You aren’t imagining things – the world actually is quieter when it snows. Read more…

Retro Rewind | The 1934 Silver Skis Race

Enjoy an excerpt below from Written in the Snows, written by renowned local skiing historian Lowell Skoog and published by Mountaineers Books. In it, we read the account of the first slalom ski race in the Pacific Northwest, an event characterized by equal parts thrill and chaos. Read more…

Global Adventures | Cross-Country Skiing in Yellowstone National Park

Ten Mountaineers were fortunate to have plentiful sunshine and no winds for last February’s Global Adventure to Yellowstone National Park. We spent a week cross-country skiing in three sections of the park – Mammoth, North, and Old Faithful – which provided ample opportunities to experience the magic of winter in Yellowstone. Read more…

Bookmarks | The Art of Shralpinism

Widely regarded as one of the world’s most legendary alpinists, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jeremy Jones is an award-winning snowboarder, environmentalist, and entrepreneur. The founder of climate nonprofit Protect Our Winters (POW) and owner of Jones Snowboards, Jones has starred in dozens of snowboard films, including his highly acclaimed trilogy Deeper, Further, and Higher, and received 11 “Big Mountain Rider of the Year” awards from Snowboarder Magazine. His first book The Art of Shralpinism: Lessons from the Mountains (Mountaineers Books, 2022) explores the life-changing power of time in the mountains, the value of stoke, and how beauty and openness underscore all outdoor adventure. Please enjoy the following excerpt. Read more…

Relative Merits of Different Sledding Apparatus

My hometown of Bozeman, Montana, has four seasons: summer, fall, snow, and mud. Snow season is the longest. While the climate crisis has changed things, as a child I remember planning Halloween costumes based on what would pair well with my snowsuit, and I often celebrated my mid-May birthday in a snowstorm. I spent many a weekend at the local sledding hill sweating my way up (often quitting halfway) and squealing my way down. As such, I consider myself a connoisseur of fun in freezing season. Read more…

Snow-Free Activities to Keep You Outdoors All Winter Long

Although snow-capped mountains and freshly-groomed trails dominate the public imagination this time of year, not all winter activities are snow-centered. This is especially true in the Pacific Northwest, where we have an abundance of activities to enjoy year-round with just a few modifications. In celebration of The Mountaineers diverse offerings throughout all four seasons, we connected with a few of our volunteers to learn how they continue to stay active throughout the chilliest months. Read more…

Impact Giving | We Go Beyond Fun

Like all Mountaineers, our Super Volunteers delight in small moments of frivolity. A cold beverage shared between a paddler and a powerboat. Playing lighthearted pranks during an Urban Walk. Watching the magnificent, performative hunt of a short-eared owl. Community-based fun is the heartbeat of The Mountaineers. Read more…

Top 10 Mountaineers of Instagram: Inspiration for 2023

One of the first impulses we have while recreating outdoors is to take a photo. We want to share the exhilaration of our alpine scrambles, the warmth of alpenglow on an early morning snowshoe, or the unexpected wildlife dotting our hiking trails. We photograph because we have a deep connection to these natural places and we want others to experience that connection, too. Read more…

How To: Discover the Joys of Winter Camping

Many years ago, I spent my first snow camping trip on the Skyline Lake Trail opposite Stevens Pass Ski Resort. As we settled in for the night, I could see the slopes across the valley light up for night skiing and hear alpine music playing. Our side of the mountains was quiet and dark. I was a downhill skier at the time, and was charmed by the difference. Read more…

Trail Talk | Embracing Winter: Finding Joy in the lowlands during Washington's wetter months

I grew up in New Hampshire, a state not known for agreeable weather. An old local saying boasts that in New Hampshire we have 11 months of winter and one month of damn poor sledding. While the climate has changed and winters have become milder (the winters of my youth were truly much colder, snowier, and longer), an abundance of snowy and cold days continue to make New Hampshire and other northern states tough places to live. Read more…

Top 5 Beginner Ski Tours

You’ve got the gear, taken the avalanche classes, found some friends, and are ready to hit the slopes. But where do you go for your first self-directed backcountry ski tour? Finding a safe place to explore, especially when you’re new to touring, can feel overwhelming. To help you on your way, here are five favorite ski (and splitboard!) tours for beginners, from our enthusiastic backcountry-loving staff. Be sure to check the local weather and NWAC forecast before you go, always pick tours within your ability level, and of course carry a beacon, shovel, and probe (and know how to use them). Read more…