Mountaineer of the Week: Christina Black

Meet Christina, a trail run trip leader, climber, and scrambler who is inspired by all the badass women she meets in the mountains and enjoys helping students feel more comfortable and confident in the outdoors.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
July 14, 2023
Mountaineer of the Week: Christina Black

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

Name: Christina Black
Hometown: Northville, MI
Member Since: May 2021
Occupation: I'm an antitrust attorney and I work for the State of Washington
Favorite Activities: Climbing, scrambling, road cycling, trail running, cross country skiing, downhill skiing... should I go on?


WHAT first brought you to the mountaineers?

I had recently moved to Washington and was enjoying getting more into hiking through a local meetup group. However, as I started getting into more challenging hikes involving snow travel, I decided that I wanted to get involved in a more formal group that would have additional safety precautions in place. I attended the "Meet the Mountaineers" session, liked what I heard, and also had another friend joining around the same time. So it was a no brainer for me at that point to join.

Why do you like getting OUTSIDE WITH US?

I appreciate The Mountaineers focus on safety and the amount of planning and organization that goes into every trip. I also appreciate that everyone on the trip is focused on the end goal (although we might stop to identify some flora and fauna along the way!). After spending a year going out with the Mountaineers, I found I could no longer enjoy trips with other groups that started at 10am, stopped for coffee along the way, and didn't have a turnaround time! I enjoy volunteering and mentoring those who are just coming up in a new activity, so I have really enjoyed coming back after taking a course and helping the newer students get up to speed.


My favorite memory is a scramble I did in July 2022 to Volcanic Neck in the Teanaways. I had been scheduled to do this scramble during our final Experience Field Trip for the scrambling class, but my trip was cancelled due to weather. They rescheduled the students to another date, but Volcanic Neck was not offered on the new date. I was disappointed, although still had fun on a different trip. Then, about a month later, one of my instructors posted Volcanic Neck again as a scramble trip. I really wanted to get a second chance to go on the trip but only got to #1 on the waitlist by the time registration closed. I reached out to the leader to reaffirm my interest in attending if anyone cancelled, and he was kind enough to expand the roster and add me to the trip, even though no one canceled. In his email to the rest of the group, he mentioned that he was adding me and I was one of his best students from the class. I wasn't always the most confident about my abilities, so it was gratifying to see that one of my instructors noticed the work I was putting in. It ended up being just as fun and educational as I had expected and I still love going to the Teanaways.


In a field that is often dominated by men, I'm inspired by the badass women I've met who are leading trips and planning amazing courses. In particular, I've been impressed by how much work went into my Cross-Country Skiing, Scrambling, Bikepacking, and Basic Alpine Climbing Courses, and how well organized those courses were - all primarily by women. And seeing other women going through the process of becoming a Scramble Trip Leader has opened my eyes to the possibility of taking on that role, even though I'm not always the fastest or strongest trip member out there.


For me, adventure means stepping away from my desk job and doing something totally opposite. My day job is extremely intellectual and I live in a crowded city, so when it comes to my free time, I want to do something physical in a remote location, preferably with no cell phone signal. That way I can reconnect with the natural world that I feel so disconnected from during the week, and challenge myself in a different way.


Sunrise or sunset? Sunset
What's your 11th Essential? Hand warmers have saved me many times on a winter outing.
What’s your happy place? Locally, I'd say Carkeek Park or the Burke-Gilman Trail. Outside Seattle, anywhere I can bike, climb, or ski!
Post-adventure meal of choice? Tacos!
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Carrying a heavy bag up the mountain. I've been working hard on conditioning for the Basic Alpine Climbing class, but it would be nice if I could skip all the Mt. Si hikes and instantly succeed at any trip I wanted to do. 


Mountaineers come in all shapes and sizes, varying widely in age, outdoor experience, and length of time involved in The Mountaineers. Part of what makes our community so unique is the broad diversity of our membership, and we hope these weekly features highlight who we are and why our community plays an important part in feeling belonging in the outdoors. We are always seeking self-nominations for our Mountaineer of the Week, and we invite you to share your story. Trust us, we want to hear from you!


Want to nominate a friend? Email Skye Michel to make a recommendation.