Mountaineer of the Week: Hannah Karbarz

Meet Hannah, a five-year Mountaineer who is passionate about providing equitable and non-hierarchical learning experiences for our members.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Associate Volunteer Development Manager
July 29, 2022

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

Name: Hannah Karbarz
Branch: Tacoma
How long have you been volunteering with The Mountaineers? 5 years
What activities do you participate in with The Mountaineers? Climbing, Hiking

VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP QUESTIONS

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO VOLUNTEER WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

I love the community of The Mountaineers and wanted to be a part of it ever since I took my first course.

WHAT IS THE BEST, FAVORITE, OR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE YOU'VE HAD WITH THE CLUB?

I have had many memorable trips with The Mountaineers but one that stands out was a multi-day climb of Glacier Peak. Our leader made us all bring a potluck meal for after the climb - and though I wasn't thrilled about carting that much food the 13 miles to camp - I did enjoy my post-climb charcuterie board with friends!

HOW HAS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE EVOLVED AS YOU'VE GAINED EXPERIENCE?

I'm learning to embrace that everyone brings something to the table, so I'm enjoying trying to make teaching and leading less hierarchical and more cooperative.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU DO ON TRIPS TO CREATE AN INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE FOR PEOPLE OF ALL SKILLS AND BACKGROUNDS?

Everyone comes to an event or a climb with a different "tool box" of experience and motivation. My goal is to meet people where they are at and encourage their growth from there. Sometimes that means making sure everyone has a chance to speak, or that we can differentiate instruction based on people's needs.

IT'S OFTEN SAID: "GOOD JUDGEMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE; EXPERIENCE COMES FROM BAD JUDGEMENT." CAN YOU DESCRIBE A LEARNING EXPERIENCE TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY BUILD THEIR GOOD JUDGEMENT?

I was fortunate to be able to walk away from an injury on Yellow Jacket Tower where a loose rock the size of a mini-fridge rolled over my foot. That experience has given me a significant respect for the loose scree fields we may find ourselves in on climbs, and a strong inclination for wearing my helmet in those places!

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING LEADERS IN THE MOUNTAINEERS COMMUNITY?

There is a place for you! You don't have to be the fastest and strongest, and in fact your experience and struggles make you a more compassionate leader in the end.

WHAT IS ONE SURPRISING THING YOU'VE LEARNED OR GAINED THROUGH VOLUNTEERING WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

Well, for one I met my husband through the Mountaineers – that was a bit of a surprise! Other than that, I've been so encouraged by the strong, compassionate women I've met on this journey. They continue to inspire me and remind me that this isn't just for the boys.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I'm the Mentorship Chair for our local climbing committee, a nurse, a sappy pet owner, and very passionate that Tacoma is the best city in Washington.

LIGHTNING ROUND

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal?  Blackberry Pie at the Copper Creek Inn near Mount Rainier
How about your best trail snack? Cheez-its!
What's your favorite close-to-home adventure? I love a long bike ride to Point Defiance
What "luxury item" do you bring on most trips? An inflatable pillow
What's next on your bucket list? Weather and blisters have kept me from Mount Rainier (I know, how could I call myself a Mountaineer without doing it?!) but another year, another try!

IS THERE A VOLUNTEER LEADER THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SEE AS MOUNTAINEER OF THE WEEK?

Send an email to Michelle Song to make a recommendation.

Lead image of Hannah Karbarz on The Tooth at Snoqualmie Pass