Mountaineer of the Week: Robert White

Meet Robert, a member of our Equity & Inclusion Committee whose favorite Mountaineers memory is watching his friend twirl to "The Sound of Music" on the Sahale Arm Trail.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 16, 2023
Mountaineer of the Week: Robert White
Robert exploring the spirit and beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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

Name: Robert White
Hometown: I was born on Mountain Home Air Force Base
and grew up in Okinawa, Germany, and Virginia

Member Since: 2016
Occupation: Climate and Equity Planner for FEMA
Favorite Activities: Mountaineering, backpacking, and


How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Originally, I was not involved with The Mountaineers my first three years. Being a person of color who presents white and a disabled veteran, I really didn’t see “myself” being represented within The Mountaineers membership. When I received an invitation to join the Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Working Group, I was hesitant at first. I then remembered my experiences of how outdoor recreation and organizations like The Mountaineers have historically excluded people of color. I felt I had a responsibility to use this opportunity and my white privilege to improve access to the outdoors through The Mountaineers for our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities. This eventually led me to apply and join The Mountaineers Equity & Inclusion Committee where I have worked on initiatives to improve our scholarship process, review and update our Land Acknowledgement, and incorporate equity and inclusion principles into the 2023-2028 Mountaineers Strategic Plan.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

The authentic connection and reverence given to the land we recreate on.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

It would have to be when I climbed Sahale Peak last year for the Basic Alpine Climbing Course. Two of my friends, Sam Benefiel and Dave Foong, were on the climb and it was superb to complete my first glacier climb with them. What made the trip even more memorable was Sam being video recorded to The Sound of Music as he twirled in a meadow on the Sahale Arm Trail. Priceless!

Who/What inspires you?

The nomadic spirit that connects us to the past of the land is what inspires me. Being in the outdoors, I am humbled knowing that in the past, someone was there for their first time as well. I ponder why they were there, what they were doing, and where they were going. In the future, I will get to experience every past climb, backpack, hike, and camping trip again but for the very first time with my daughter.

What does adventure mean to you?

Experiencing life boldly! And stretching myself to the limit of my emotional and/or physical safety.

Lightning round

Smile or game face? Of course, smile! Everyone knows I have a big smile.
We all know about the Ten Essentials. What's your 11th essential? My 11th essential is not a physical object. It is building a spiritual connection to where I recreate and thanking the traditional stewards of that land.
What’s your happy place? Along the Pacific Coast, watching the sunset meet the edge of the ocean.
Post-adventure meal of choice? Chicken strips with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard.
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Sea kayaking — it involves a whole new level of self-preservation.


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.