Remembering Mountaineer Laurie Choate

We're devastated to report the tragic passing of beloved Mountaineer Laurie Choate, an active volunteer and community member with our Olympia Branch.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
September 10, 2018
Remembering Mountaineer Laurie Choate
Photo by Kathy Brooks.

We're devastated to share the news of the passing of Laurie Choate, an active member and volunteer leader with our Olympia Branch. She was hiking the Kendall Katwalk on a private trip on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, when she slipped and fell approximately 300ft. She did not survive.

Laurie was a beloved member of our community - a Mountaineer, Olympia branch member, backpack and hike leader, and a mother, teacher, nurse, and friend. 

Laurie joined our community in 2011, and was an experienced outdoors enthusiast. She loved hiking, running, and spending time on Mt. Rainier.

Laurie - Photo Credit Karen Baughman.jpg

Laurie doing what she loved. Photo by Karen Baughman.

She was passionate about the natural world, joining our Naturalist Committee and leading trips in partnership with expert ornithologists to better understand the local bird population. She was also an active member of the naturalist program and a graduate from Basic Navigation, Alpine Scrambling, Wilderness Skills, Mountaineering Oriented First Aid (MOFA), Smart Phone & Dedicated GPS, and Basic Nordic Skiing. She participated in or led more than 50 trips with us in the last two years alone.

Many of our Olympia Mountaineers will recall her inspiring presentation at a 2016 Adventure Speaker Series. Laurie and her daughter Katie hiked The Tour du Mont Blanc, a 110 mile circuit through the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps that rises and falls over 30,000 feet in elevation along the ever changing mountain panoramas. Over 10 days, the mother-daughter duo enjoyed mountain huts, alpine villages, snow capped peaks, and endless glaciers as they hiked through pristine valleys and over dramatic mountain passes. In her riveting presentation, Laurie shared this exciting, sometimes challenging, and very special experience with our Olympia community. 

Our deepest sympathies go out to Laurie's family and friends, her hiking partner, and the Olympia naturalist, hiking, and scrambling communities. We are all heartbroken over her passing, and recognize every member of our Olympia community has been affected by the devastating losses over the summer.

Laurie was a close friend and respected leader to many of us, and we will be offering support to those impacted as our community processes the grief of this traumatic event.

Olympia branch leaders are planning an informal memorial gathering on Wednesday, September 12, likely at the Friends Meeting House. More information to come. 

Public Memorial

A Celebration of Life will be held for Laurie over the weekend of October 6-7 at Paradise Park on Mt. Rainier. More details to come. 

Learn More 



Main image of laurie by Kathy Brooks.

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Jennifer Fortin
Jennifer Fortin says:
Sep 11, 2018 11:30 AM

You will be so missed Laurie! Loved the time we have gotten to know each other, hiked, laughed, climbed Mount Saint Helens, and enjoyed those wonderful wildflowers no matter where they popped up. Rest in peace, my wonderful friend.

Robert Jenner
Robert Jenner says:
Sep 12, 2018 09:47 AM

Laurie's passing is a great loss. She and I met at a Nordic skiing course several years ago and we became friends. We shared many conversations over coffee about the outdoors, family, work, and her excitement about retirement and a new chapter in her life. My heart goes out to her family whom she dearly loved. Your mother was a great human being and she will be missed greatly.

Jennifer Fortin
Jennifer Fortin says:
Sep 02, 2019 06:39 PM

As we come upon the 1 year anniversary of this horrific event, you are still so much on my mind, Laurie. I miss you so much. Hope there are hikes and flowers where you are now.