Mountaineer of the Week: Sarah MacGillivray

Meet Sarah, a three-year member whose favorite memory is walking on a glacier for the first time and feeling the crunch of snow beneath her crampons.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
December 22, 2023
Mountaineer of the Week: Sarah MacGillivray

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

Name: Sarah MacGillivray
Hometown: Fort Collins, CO
Member since: November 2020
Occupation: Corporate Partnerships, American Cancer Society
Favorite activities: Mountaineering, climbing, skiing, touring, hiking, backpacking, paddleboarding, snowshoeing


What first brought you to The Mountaineers?

The mountains have always been a part of me, and my desire to experience them in many different kinds of ways slowly progressed from hiking to snowshoeing to skiing to backpacking when I moved to Seattle in 2015. I did not feel confident enough in winter trip planning or travel or navigation, but had heard of The Mountaineers through a friend. I began taking courses to learn how to be more competent in some of my weaker spots. Eventually, it became more than just filling gaps in knowledge. I wanted to progress in skill and expertise. I wanted to see how far I could push my body and not let my not knowing be the barrier to being in awe.

Why do you like getting outside with us?

The first in-person course I took with The Mountaineers was scrambling in 2021 with the Everett branch. I loved the hands-on learning and grew to love the community that was equally as passionate about learning and growing and spending every free minute outside. One of my best friends came from that course and we have since taken the Basic Climbing and Sport Climbing courses together. The Mountaineers has opened up my world to new possibilities, new challenges, and new peaks in ways that I never thought I'd be capable of. Even a year ago, the words "I'm not a climber" came out of my mouth on more than one occasion... I just came back from a weekend of lead climbing in Vantage. The growth has been exponential and the community has been empowering.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

Easy. Walking on a glacier for the first time. Glaciers are powerful and rare and fleeting. We are lucky if we are able to see them from far away, even more lucky to see them up close, and beyond blessed to be able to experience them safely. Glacier travel was fascinating to me and opened up so many doors to so many different mountains. Taking the Basic Climbing course with Everett gave me the skills and confidence to be able to experience glacier travel. The first time I set foot on a glacier was the Easton Glacier in a C2C trip up Mt. Baker. Roping up for the first time in a real life scenario and feeling the crunch of the snow under my crampons... tears of joy, of awe, and a little bit of disbelief rolled down my cheeks. That and being lowered into a crevasse are memories that will be imprinted into my brain forever.

Who/What inspires you?

People are incredible. The capacity they have to push their skills and their bodies to the limit is inspirational. The mountains around us and their power, peace, and majesty are beautiful to behold. The community of Mountaineers around me that are wildly experienced and capable of accomplishing feats that blow my mind inspire me every day. I am constantly in awe, which is exactly where I want to be.

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure is anything past your comfort zone! Learning something new, trying something new, exploring somewhere outside, cooking something different, etc. Adventure is not exclusive and does not take one form. Adventure is anything and everything that pushes you beyond the familiar.


Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise
Smile or game face? Game face
What's your 11th Essential?? A glass half full
Post-adventure meal of choice? A crispy chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a root beer float!
If you could be a rockstar at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Big mountain heli-skiing


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.