Mountaineer of the Week: Kathy Biever

Meet Kathy, who leads creative urban walks and hopes that her donations will continue to help kids and families get outside.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 05, 2024
Mountaineer of the Week: Kathy Biever

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

Name: Kathy Biever
Hometown: I was born in Geddes, South Dakota. After Pearl Harbor, when Dad was activated into the Army, my mother, little brother, and I lived in many places in the United States: Missouri, Texas, California, South Carolina. When World War II ended, we moved to Brookings, South Dakota, where I grew up (if I ever did!). Living in so many places as a young impressionable child is likely when the travel bug bit me. Since then I’ve been privileged to have visited almost 100 countries. My husband Keith and I moved to Seattle from Nebraska in June, 1961 – the same year ground was broken on the Space Needle. We’re so appreciative of what a grand ride living in Seattle has been. 
Branch: Seattle

Member since:  1993
Occupation: Retired now from several consecutive occupations including: English teacher, Spanish teacher, Kathy’s Klaythings pottery business, and owner/operator of Travel Designers travel agency.

10 essentail questions:


Walking is in my DNA. My parents were both strong walkers, although products they were of the Depression, their walks were always utilitarian: to run errands, to return library books, to grocery shop, to walk to work, etc. I never knew them to take a walk just for fun, just to watch a sunset. My great aunt, after graduating from nursing school in the 1920s in South Dakota, walked with a friend across the state. Afterward, she gave her boots to my mother. By the time Mother told me about her Aunt Nora, Nora and the boots were long gone. Pity. I would have loved to have heard more about that adventure.

So why did I join The Mountaineers? Because I enjoy walking/hiking - always have. But The Mountaineers is so much more than just a be-active-in-the-out-of-doors club. As for many, it’s where I’ve met many of my now life-long friends.


There were very few urban hikes were offered when I first joined The Mountaineers, except for Emmett Miller’s wonderful creative city hikes. Emmett (RIP), whether he knew it or not, really was my mentor when I started leading hikes. Theme hikes were/still are my favorites. I led a series of five hikes to the 27 Seattle Public Libraries, three hikes to visit public clocks, four hikes to find sun dials, etc. After Emmett died too young in 2005, his wife Julie and I started leading hikes together. Since the Seward Park to Dim Sum was one of Emmett’s most popular hikes, we began with the First Annual Emmett Miller Memorial Seward Park to Dim Sum in February 2006 and continued leading it yearly until Covid. Our last Dim Sum hike on March 2, 2020 was just under the wire! Prior to Covid, Julie and I led themed hikes together. Over a four-year period, we led/organized hikes on 23 islands. Another two and a half years, we led walks to 16 lighthouses. We circumambulated Lake Washington in series of seven consecutive walks. And more.


Favorite or most memorable? Many memories, but hiking the 20 miles in the Enchantments in one day was memorable! (Although we seven were all Mountaineers members, this was a private hike.) Limping into our car camp after dark (wearing lighted headlamps, of course) after 15 hours on the trail was certainly memorable. This wonderful scenic hike didn’t morph into a favorite until the memory of our aching exhausted bodies had faded!


Before I lead a hike, I check the profile of everyone who has signed up. (My secret is out!) At the beginning of the walk/hike when we’re in our circle to say our names and introduce ourselves, I ask three questions. Is this your first Mountaineers hike? Is this your first time doing this hike? How long have you lived here and why and from where did you move? And then the connecting begins. The “frosting on the cake” of any Mountaineers event is when participants find connections and forge new friendships and/or renew old ones. Yay! It warms my cockles when people answer the question of How did you meet so and so? with “on a Mountaineers hike.”


Just do it! Take the required courses for whatever your interest is. Get yourself a good mentor. Lead your mentored event and then go with it. When I started leading hikes with what was then the Midweek Hikers Committee (so most of us were retired) there weren’t any structured steps in place for becoming a leader. If we said we’d like to lead hikes, we added ourselves to the leaders’ list and started leading... Kudos to all the new blood (as in the past 20+ years) on The Mountaineers staff for, first of all, computerizing. And for organizing a database of all our hikes. And for greatly expanding the badges program. And for taking a bolder, more vigorous approach to fundraising. Good stuff and thank you.

Back to advice for the aspiring leaders: Make your event interesting, interactive, safe, and, most of all, FUN.

What inspires you to donate to the Mountaineers?

Donations will keep this wonderful organization viable for years and years. Especially important and life-changing is the program for youth. This is just an aside, but when I see parents in the mountains hiking with young children, I make a point to tell them, “You’re raising your kids right. They’ll thank you some day. I think!”


Smile or game face? Smile, of course. What’s a “game face” anyway? Ha
What's your favorite close-to-home outdoor activity? Walking my friend Mindy’s sweet dog Sadie through neighborhoods of my beloved adopted city
Post-adventure meal of choice? Chocolate milk shake, Pepperidge Farm shortbread cookies, and a grilled cheese sandwich
What's next on your bucket list? Hmmmm. That’s a tough question since I’ve been incredibly fortunate to lead a fun-filled productive life with lots of friends, travels, and adventures. OK, here goes: last thing on my bucket list is to live actively in good health until I Kick the Bucket. But someone else will have to check the event off my bucket list! GO, MOUNTAINEERS!