Mountaineer of the Week: Jacob Whitbeck

Meet Jacob Whitbeck, a volunteer scrambling and climbing instructor who is inspired by the growth he has witnessed in himself and other Mountaineers who never stop seeking adventure.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
July 08, 2022

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

Name: Jacob Whitbeck
Hometown: Holt, Michigan
Member Since: August 2018
Occupation: Program Manager
Favorite Activities: Scrambling, climbing

10 Essential Questions: 

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

When I first moved to Washington I didn't really have much experience hiking, especially not in mountains like the Cascades. I ended up doing a lot of solo day hikes along I-90 but not feeling confident to push myself farther. I heard about some Mountaineers courses from someone I met and it clicked - "Why am I not doing this?"

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET OUTSIDE WITH US?

There are two main things for me. First would be personal growth. It gives me great satisfaction to look back at where my hiking journey began and now look at all of the skills I've learned and places I've gone. Second would be watching the growth of others. Whether it be on a trip or helping instruct, there is something awesome about watching others gain confidence in themselves and watching them grow.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOUNTAINEERS MEMORY?

It's always tough to choose but one that always stands out for me is my first glacier climb which was Mt. Shuksan. As a student, I felt extremely lucky to have Shuksan as my first glacier. The first day things went great. We hiked in and set up camp. The next day, when we eventually reached the summit block, we found the conditions were a little spicier than we were hoping. However, the stoke was high so we decided to move forward. Things proved to be challenging and slow-moving but we eventually made it up and down. By the time we made it to the trailhead, we clocked in a 17 hour day. As students, we learned about risk, fear, perseverance, exhaustion... a real learning experience I won't ever forget!

WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

The people who have been most inspiring to me are the volunteers who help make this organization run. There are so many great people who go above and beyond to make sure others can have a great experience. There are some individuals who are so busy that volunteering has almost become their full-time job! Each day I continue to get more inspired by them.

AS A DONOR AND VOLUNTEER-SUPPORTED ORGANIZATION, THE MOUNTAINEERS IS BASED ON COMMUNITY SUPPORT. HOW HAVE YOU PAID IT FORWARD, OR HOW HAVE YOU BENEFITED FROM SOMEONE ELSE PAYING IT FORWARD?

My entire experience with The Mountaineers can be credited to the amazing supporters of The Mountaineers. I have been extremely fortunate to receive scholarships to help fund my climbing course experiences. Between the courses and the gear, mountaineering is extremely expensive. I could not have done it without the wonderful people helping out. Now, I am trying to do my part by giving back as an instructor and assistant leader for the scrambling and basic climbing courses.

WHAT DOES ADVENTURE MEAN TO YOU?

Adventure to me means growth. This can come in many different forms. Exploring a new place, trying a new skill, conditioning all winter to stay fit, pushing your comfort level on a trip. Adventure is never stopping - always seeking. There are experiences we can have every day so it's true what they say... adventure awaits!


LIGHTNING ROUND!

Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Smile or game face? Game face
What's your 11th Essential? Hiking poles. I'm a huge fan of them.
What’s your happy place? My tent!
Post-adventure meal of choice? Burrito bowl from Chipotle
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Ski mountaineering


Have you had a memorable experience with The Mountaineers you'd like to share, or know someone who should share their story? Submit your info for a chance to be featured!