Top 10 Mountaineers of Instagram: Inspiration for 2022

In this piece from Mountaineer magazine, we spotlight our ten favorite Mountaineers of Instagram - here to inspire your next year of adventure.
Issy Steckel Issy Steckel
Communications Associate
January 01, 2022

Photos have the power to transport us to a feeling. Often, we are brought back to a specific time, place, and emotion. Like the sunrise shot that reminds you of the pride, gratitude, and exhaustion of an early morning alpine scramble. Or the snapshot of frosted evergreens that takes you back to skiing on a crisp bluebird day. Sharing photos with others also gives them access to these small moments of magic we find in the outdoors. It can offer inspiration to the experienced outdoorsperson to take on a new feat, or reassurance to the novice that they can tackle it, too.

The Mountaineers launched our Instagram (@mountaineersorg) back in November 2014 as a platform for our dedicated community of outdoor advocates, volunteers, and adventurers to find inspiration, meet new people, and connect with the world around us. Since then, more than 150,000 photos have been tagged with The Mountaineers hashtag #OurPNW, spotlighting the natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest and the incredible energy of those who play here.

To celebrate our ever-growing digital community, we chose our top inspirational Mountaineers for 2022. Their humble and awe-inspired shots of the natural world invite us to pause, look closer, and double-down on our commitment to protect and advocate for the places we love. Read on to find your new favorite feed.

Komal Sanjeev: @komal_sanjeev_

Lead image by Komal Sanjeev.

When Komal first visited Seattle in 2015, a friend casually suggested they go on a hike. She has been inseparable from the mountains since. Joining The Mountaineers in 2018, Komal has taken the Alpine Scrambling, Basic Glacier Travel, Trail Running, and Winter Camping Courses (to name a few).

“I'm extremely grateful for all the wonderful leaders and fellow climbers I met along the way who helped me become who I am today. I go back every year to help instruct the scrambling course to give back to the community. I love watching students learn new skills, get out of their comfort zone, and discover more ways to enjoy the outdoors.” Komal's favorite thing to do in the mountains is backpacking. “I love the feeling of waking up in the morning to a clear mind and a beautiful sunrise. There are no notifications waiting to grab my attention, no mundane chores to attend to. The mountains constantly remind me how insignificant we are in nature, and how little we need to be happy. I try to bottle those feelings into a picture and narrate my story, hoping I can connect with people who share the same joy.”

Jason Griffith: @hikingsoul

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.16.43 PM.pngJason is a seven-year member with the Everett Branch, a Basic graduate, and a leader for Mt. Pilchuck’s lookout maintenance and snow/scramble trips.

“I look for the ‘magic moment’ that captures the mood of the day, whether it's an unadulterated nature scene or a landscape that humans have engaged with. I also prefer a good snow slog over a hot summer day just about always.”

Theresa Silveyra: @theresasilveyra

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.16.53 PM.pngTheresa is based in Portland, Oregon, and can frequently be found climbing, skiing, or trail running at her favorite local mountain, Mount Hood, or in the North Cascades.

“I divide my time teaching music lessons at a small after-school academy and, as of this year, working as a mountaineering instructor for the nonprofit organization Climbers of Color. I had the honor of co-instructing the first all-women of color mountaineering course on Mount Baker this past summer for Climbers of Color and Trail Mixed Collective. I also volunteer with Portland Mountain Rescue and am currently working towards my AMGA Alpine Guide certification.”

Brendan Moore-Penaskovic: @obi_wan_brendobi

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.20.45 PM.pngBrendan is an Intermediate student with the Kitsap Mountaineers and an avid amateur photographer.

“Me, my wife, and our Australian cattle dog Winnie moved from New Hampshire six years ago to Washington, where we now live on Agate Pass in Suquamish. I’m a software developer by day, but try to make it into the mountains as much as possible. My favorite peak in Washington is El Dorado in the North Cascades, although skiing Mt. Baker is a close second.”

Erynn Allen: @erynnallen

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.21.02 PM.pngWhen Erynn took our Basic Alpine Climbing Course, it forever changed her relationship with the outdoors.

“After taking star shots from basecamp on a climb, I resolved to always have my camera with me. It's worth the weight, I decided. I've learned so much as a member of The Mountaineers this past decade, from the Navigation Course where my relationship with my husband began, to the AIARE 1 Course we took together last winter. Our kid absolutely loves going on Mini Mountaineers outings. I find so much joy in sharing what I see as we tread with care in wild places. I hope how I post reveals an honest and humble approach to navigating the complex relationship that nature has with social media.”

Tom Eng: @nwwander

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.21.12 PM.pngTom describes his Instagram account as a photographic diary of his search for truth and beauty in the natural world.

“In my images, I try to reflect the emotion of being there and capture the joy and awe I find in the wilderness. To me, each outing is an adventure, an opportunity to see and experience something new and beautiful. Thanks for coming along on this journey! I’m a hiking, trail running, photography, and snowshoeing leader for The Mountaineers so please join me in real life too!”

Jonathan Foster: @joanthan.foster

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.21.24 PM.pngJonathan Foster is an instructor for the Tacoma Mountaineers Basic and Intermediate Alpine Climbing courses.

“Instructing for The Mountaineers has been a fantastic opportunity to meet climbing partners, share profoundly special experiences outdoors, and pass on what I've learned to others coming into the climbing scene. I am by no means the photographer I wish that I had time to be, but the fortunate byproduct of spending time in remarkable places occasionally means coming away with some special moments, and those are worth capturing. I am content to be a jack of most trades and master of none as long as that means being in the right place at the right time.”

Abbey Lee: @abbeyoutside

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.21.51 PM.pngAbbey is an outdoor enthusiast, user experience designer, and dog mom. She moved to Washington three years ago and has loved every second of living in and exploring this beautiful state.

“I spent the past year learning and scrambling with The Mountaineers, and have had a blast meeting such amazing, inspiring people in this community. I’m super excited to continue leveling up in the mountains, with hopes to continue to grow my technical alpine skills and outdoor photography!”

Darcy Barry: @darcyrbarry

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.17.32 PM.pngDarcy became interested in The Mountaineers due to our conservation partnerships and publications, attending our BeWild events to hear authors Joe Riis and David Moskowitz talk about their conservation work and photography. Then in 2018, she took our Intermediate Snowshoeing and Alpine Scrambling Courses.

“I have a lifelong love of nature and enjoy documenting naturalist observations through photography. I approach it as a contemplative process; I slow down to observe, marvel at something new, and experience mindfulness as I capture the moment. I am grateful for The Mountaineers community and the courses teaching skills for exploring wilderness areas safely and ethically.”

Scott Schopman: @mountainchop

Screen Shot 2021-12-29 at 12.21.35 PM.pngScott and his wife Lisa and moved from Maryland to Washington three years ago and have been in love with the landscape and outdoor opportunities ever since.

“This region has changed us, and a major catalyst to that change was joining The Mountaineers. We were fortunate to join the 2020 Basic Alpine Climbing Course where we went from barely knowing how to stake down a tent to walking across glaciers and standing atop peaks in places that previously only ever existed in fantasy stories. I’m so thankful to The Mountaineers for the heights I’ve reached and the people I've gone there with.”

Practice Leave No Trace

Social media can help us share knowledge and resources, but can also lead to overcrowding, damaging trails and delicate ecological areas. Keep LNT tips in mind as you share your adventures on Instagram and elsewhere. 

Tip #1: Practice LNT in Your Photos.

You value LNT principles, so be sure to reflect that in your photography. Clean campsites, packed trash, and avoiding delicate or off-limits areas all help to reinforce responsible recreation habits in our outdoors community. Bonus points if you post pictures of stewardship activities!

Tip #2: Encourage LNT Principles in your Posts.

Amplify people and organizations doing good work around public lands stewardship, education, and advocacy. Many of your followers may not be familiar with LNT principles, so take this opportunity to provide information on what LNT is and why it’s so important to the future of our wild places.

For more information on LNT, please visit LNT.org and check out these low-impact recreation tips on our blog


This article originally appeared in our Winter 2022 issue of Mountaineer Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, visit our magazine archive.

Lead image by Komal Sanjeev.