Mountaineer Magazine

Mountaineer Magazine

All posts

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…

A Mule, a Klutz, and a Pair of Skis: Learning to ski as an adult

Rain on the windshield distorted the headlights of other cars waiting in the dark parking lot. My older sister was in the backseat next to me, leaning against our dad’s headrest as she looked over his shoulder. He flipped on the windshield wipers just as a school bus pulled in. “Is that it?” my sister asked. Mom replied, her eyes intent on her husband. “Looks like it. They said the bus would be here at 6.” Read more…

Mountaineer Magazine Winter 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…

Bookmarks | All and Nothing: Inside Free Soloing

The following is an excerpt from All and Nothing: Inside Free Soloing by acclaimed author Jeff Smoot. Once considered a fringe activity, free soloing - climbing without a rope - has entered the mainstream consciousness. Yet climbers have been free soloing all along, motivated by reasons as varied as the climbers themselves. All and Nothing delves into the cultural history of free soloing and explores the interplay between climbing and risk, as well as psychological theories, evolving climbing ethics, and the effect of media coverage. With a complex personal connection to free soloing, Jeff Smoot examines our relationship with risk, how we perceive our sense of control, and what it means to consider our mortality. Read more…

Retro Rewind | The 1963 Mountaineers Summer Outing

It was 1963, and a group of 166 Mountaineers were embarking on a Summer Outing into what is known today as the North Cascades National Park. That day the park was still a dream; The Mountaineers and other partnering conservationists had been working for nearly 60 years to achieve a park designation. Mountaineers chairman Chet Powell chose “these wilderness alps” as the location for the year’s annual outing, believing that “as much of the area as possible should be seen by as many as possible” to advance efforts to protect the region. Read more…

Yoga for the Outdoors

Before I took my first class back in 1999, I associated yoga with lithe-limbed contortionists standing on their heads, chanting for hours. But as a frenzied young woman with a busy and stressful career, I was looking for a way to bring tranquility into my life, and I’d heard that holding these painful-looking postures could alleviate stress and anxiety. I didn’t understand how something that looked so uncomfortable could help me achieve inner peace, but despite my misgivings I was willing to give yoga a try. Read more…

Peak Performance | Avoid Becoming a Trip Report Statistic

Tricky trail conditions, iffy weather, and the adrenaline rush associated with epic adventures can all increase the likelihood of accidents. But with a little extra awareness and planning, you can avoid becoming a trip report statistic. To prevent accidents or injury during future trips, strive for good conditioning on urban terrain and work to learn from your leader. With help you will narrow the gap and increase your margin of safety in the mountains. Read more…

Falling

With my wrist in the strap of my trekking pole, I dangle over bright gray boulders bordering frothy water tumbling through the chasm. My brain is trying to comprehend what has happened. Just a few minutes ago I was hiking a wide, easy trail, and now I am hanging below it. Read more…

Conservation Currents | Why Conservation Matters to Mountaineers Members

After several years working on policy and advocacy campaigns to protect public lands and wildlife in Washington, D.C., I intimately understand how important recreationists can be in convincing lawmakers to invest in the outdoors. I moved home to Washington State in search of conservation work that allowed me to give back to the lands and waters that first connected me to nature. I saw The Mountaineers as exactly the kind of place where I could make an impact - a place where recreation and conservation converge, for adventure with purpose. Read more…

The Scariest Day of my Life: A Leader Fall on Guye Peak

I had a premonition. My partner was gone for the weekend and I was alone in bed, snuggled up with a stuffed sheep and an abundance of fear. I don’t know why I knew something bad was going to happen, I just had an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. I remember thinking I should wear better undergarments, as that was something I had heard long ago (maybe from a family member?) - “If you get in an accident, make sure you at least have decent underwear on!” I sent my boyfriend a snuggly selfie and went to bed early, but still couldn’t shake that ominous feeling. Looking back, I should have canceled the trip, but thought, who does that? based purely on a strange feeling. Read more…

Did You Know? The Fall Salmon Run

Starting in the summer and peaking in the fall, our local salmon embark on a lengthy and laborious journey from Puget Sound to their native rivers, streams, and lakes. These efforts, which will ultimately end in their death, is known as the salmon run. The reason for their fatal trek? Spawning time. Read more…

Outside Insights: Outdoor Leadership at The Mountaineers

As of 2022, The Mountaineers boasts a strong collective of over 3,000 volunteer leaders. From course instructors, to lodge hosts, to Board members, our volunteers’ skillsets are varied and far-reaching within our organization. By setting vision and direction, contributing to a shared vision, and creating sustainable and equitable programs, volunteers enable The Mountaineers to continue to grow and improve our programs. Often, volunteers are called the heart and soul of The Mountaineers, and this is certainly true in my experience! Read more…

The Nature of Belonging

Have you ever walked into a space, say a meeting room or a new bar, and known immediately that you were out of place? Read more…

Impact Giving | Celebrating the Memory of Barbara J. Allan (1927-2021)

In the summer of 2021, I received a phone call from lifetime Mountaineer MaryJane Steele delivering the difficult news that Barbara Jean Allan had recently passed away. A biochemist and researcher at the University of Washington, Barbara was a passionate outdoorswoman and environmental advocate. The lifetime she spent in the mountains inspired her to give back in many ways, and for her, that included protecting the legacy of outdoor education by planning for a bequest to benefit The Mountaineers. Read more…

How to Write a Top Trip Report

Our eNewsletter Routefinder, sent on the first of each month to over 30,000 individuals (including our 15,000 members), is one of our most important communications. Considered a “mini magazine,” each month we sift through dozens of blogs, events, and updates to select eight to ten of the most important items for you to read. This includes heartfelt magazine stories, key organizational updates, conservation and advocacy alerts, new courses, and more. And do you know what is often the most popular item, month after month? Read more…

Trail Talk | Sourdough Mountain Magic

It wasn’t my first hike in the North Cascades, but my second that had me forever hooked on this incredible range of craggy, glaciated mountains. A warm, sunny morning greeted me when I hit the trail to ascend Sourdough Mountain. The day would leave a deep impression on me, forever securing Sourdough as one of my absolute favorite places in the world. Read more…

Bonanza and Ben: A lifelong relationship with risk

Parental foolishness knows no bounds. When our son Ben was just an infant, we took him to Bonanza in an ill-advised attempt to climb the peak. Ben was an absolute terror and completely unmanageable at high camp – in other words, a classic 11-month-old, and we had to turn around. Read more…