Mountaineer of the Week: Christy McKinney

Meet Christy, a Basic Alpine Climbing course student whose happy place is an alpine lake with friends and sunshine.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 01, 2024
Mountaineer of the Week: Christy McKinney
Christine bikepacking along Lake Crescent on the Olympic Adventure Route. Photo by Linzy Gaston.

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

Name Christy McKinney
Hometown Houston, TX
Member Since 2023
Occupation Field Manager for a Natural Foods Brokerage
Favorite Activities Mountain biking, gravel biking, bikepacking, backpacking, hiking, trail running (traipsing), paddleboarding, pickleballing, mountaineering, skiing, and ski touring

10 Essential Questions:

What first brought you to The Mountaineers?

I originally learned about The Mountaineers when I noticed the facility at Magnuson Park in Seattle. Upon moving to Bellingham and getting more into ski touring and hiking, I came upon the Basic Alpine Climbing course and was very interested in expanding my knowledge and gaining skills in the outdoors. We're currently a few months into the program and it's been wonderful, to say the least.

Why do you like getting outside with us?

My experiences so far have been incredibly inclusive, motivating, professionally run, and fun. All the folks I've met in the program and those affiliated with it have been extremely kind in sharing their time and energy with the class. I have left each class or field trip with renewed excitement and look forward to our next time together. Also - I have learned so much in just these few short months from hard skills like knots, climbing, and wilderness first aid to soft skills like group dynamics and advocating for your learning style. The passion in the Bellingham Branch is palpable and I'm so thankful to be a part of it.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

My favorite Mountaineers memory is from our Avalanche Awareness course at Mt. Baker this year. We'd just received about 100 inches of snow, so wading around practicing companion rescue was incredible and powdery. A few of us ended the day with a quick lap together and while I lost a ski in the deep stuff, my fellow classmates were quick to assist in its retrieval.

Who/What inspires you?

I'm inspired by all the women, trans/nonbinary, and queer folks who've paved the way before me in the outdoors space. I am also inspired by the planet we get to inhabit. I feel very lucky to have opportunities to play outside among the great abundance of life - big and small. I often think about how short life is and how much I’d like to see and experience. While that thought can be overwhelming, it is also inspiring and pushes me toward a lifestyle I much prefer over working a 9-5.

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure to me can be defined in many ways - it can be as simple as being open to what the universe has in store or as complex as a risky high mountain objective. What I do know is that I'm usually up for the adventure, however it presents itself.

Lightning round

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
What's your 11th Essential? Peanut butter
What's your happy place? An alpine lake with friends in the sun and the tailgate hangs after a big trip
Post-adventure meal of choice? Burrito and a margarita
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Sailing


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!

Share Your Experiences

Want to nominate a friend? Email Bayley Stejer to make a recommendation.

This article originally appeared in our summer 2024 issue of Mountaineer magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our magazine archive.