Remembering Mountaineer Shari Hogshead

Family, friends, and fellow Mountaineers honor beloved Mountaineer and trip leader Shari Hogshead, who passed away this spring.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
October 19, 2020

This  spring, longtime Mountaineer, beloved friend, and trip leader Shari Hogshead passed away at the age of seventy-nine of an aortic aneurysm. At just 5'0" tall, she was still the biggest person you'd ever hope to meet.

Tribtue written by Shari's Husband Paul Gauthier and daughter Denise Lundy

Incredibly clever and funny, Shari lived every day to the fullest, lit up the lives of all who knew her, and approached life with zeal and joy. The end came much too soon when her aortic aneurysm finally failed after 40 years. She had lived as full a life as could be imagined, and still had plans for many more adventures and new friends to meet.

Many of those plans involved The Mountaineers, where she was a 48-year member. Together with her husband Paul Gauthier, she joined The Mountaineers in 1972. In her nearly half-century with us, she taught and led more than a hundred Nordic skiing, scrambling, climbing, and Global Adventures classes and trips, and she continued as an active member of our Global Adventures Committee, having recently led hiking trips to England and the Italian Dolomites, until her passing. She also earned the Seattle Branch Five Majors and Seattle Branch Teanawy Ten award badges, and graduated from Basic Sea Kayaking. Long before we had the designation of Super Volunteer, Shari personified what it was to lead and give back to our Mountaineers community.  

As part of this life together, Shari and Paul climbed most of the high peaks in the Northwest, led helicopter ski trips in Canada, kayaked the west coast of Vancouver Island, backpacked the mountains of Idaho, and trekked through Patagonia and Iceland. Having lived for 16 years in England, France, and Germany, they applied their in-depth knowledge of the best adventure locales in these countries to design and lead unique Mountaineers Global Adventures. Their trips took many Mountaineers to the Dolomites, Austrian Alps, Switzerland, North Wales, the Coast-to-Coast and Hadrian’s Wall routes in England, the West Highland Way and Isle of Skye in Scotland. And that's just Europe! They also traveled together to Patagonia, Iceland, Madeira, and the Azores.

In winter, skiing the extensive Nordic ski terrain in Europe was Shari's passion. She led many Mountaineers ski trips to the Dolomites, as well as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway. Her usual goal was to ski 100 days a year.

After she and Paul retired to Bend in 2005, Shari led skiing and hiking adventures for the Central Oregon Nordic Club.

Shari's ashes were interred in Pilot Butte Cemetery. Memorial services for Shari will be held when her Bend and Seattle communities can gather to celebrate her incredible life in person. Shari’s full obituary is available here.

11034372_10206277867010995_8576478314189890536_o.jpgShari in the Dolomites. Photo courtesy of Paul Gauthier.

Memories from Shari’s friends and trip participants

From Patti Polinsky, fellow Global Adventures Leader

“Shari was a great organizer but also a great addition to many trips that I led. She was always the “lift” for the group, but never in a disturbing way. She would make additional suggestions in a positive appreciative way on my downhill ski trips to Europe. I knew if Shari was on a trip I was leading the whole group would have very positive memories even if we had whiteout conditions for 2 weeks. Shari was the life of every trip whether the leader or the follower.”

From Nannie Volkersz, Mountaineers Skier

"Shari was upbeat, positive, and ignored pain/discomfort. She was well organized, a highly regarded and excellent leader, yet very diplomatic, loved by all and she loved everybody, had a keen interest in others. She was devoted to Paul who was always at her side, not to forget she was a proud grandmother. I have known Shari for many years and miss her dearly. The way she was always on the go, one tended to think she’d live forever."

From Koren Berggren, Global Adventures Hiker & Skier

“Shari made everything more fun than I even expected. Her planning was exceptional of course, and her willingness to sacrifice and support her trip participants was beyond reproach. But she was FUN! I just enjoyed her trips like no one else's. That was due to Shari and the joy she imparted to all her knew her. I will always cherish my memories of the time I spent with her.”

From Rick Rutz, Fellow Global Adventures Leader

“Shari loved the Alps. I went on many Mountaineers trips with Shari and her husband Paul to their favorite destinations in Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria and the Dolomites. Shari was always energetic and excited to hike on high trails and was greeted as an old friend in many villages. I miss her.”

From Rick Johnsen, Global Adventures Hiker

“Shari was an ambassador for America and The Mountaineers without peer. We were on a winter cross country trip at the end of the day, Shari asked the group walking back to public transportation to stop in to say hi to a hotel that she used on her summer walking trips. “It’s Shari, it’s Shari”! All the staff and owners descended on us in an instant and then plied us all with hot drinks and a vast selection of sweets and refused repeatedly our various offers to pay. We all felt like second hand royalty. Amazing hospitality for a group not even using the hotel. Only Shari.”

From Nancy Brett, Mountaineers Hiker

“My sense of Shari is inextricably linked to the wonder and the beauty of the outdoors, in the Pacific Northwest, in England, Ireland, the Cinque Terre, and the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. Her generosity, hospitality, and skilled leadership made it possible for me, and so many others, to explore these areas. One vignette typifies her positive, enthusiastic approach to life. She and I biked the southwest coast of Ireland as she scouted it for The Mountaineers trip she was to lead there. After one of our most rainy days of biking, I commented on how wet it was. Shari replied, "What do you mean 'rain'? It was lovely!!" Thank you, Shari, for so freely giving of your love of life, and your leadership skills, to us. And thank you, Paul, for sharing her with us.”

Shari Dolmites.jpgShari in the Dolomites. Photo courtesy of Paul Gauthier.

From Chuck Gustafson, Mountaineers Leader

“I met Shari sometime in the mid-80’s. She was an expert in all types of skiing. If it had snow, she had skied it in North America and Europe. Besides leading numerous ski trips, she gave detailed information to others leading private or Mountaineer trips. When asking for help from Shari, you got an avalanche of material and ideas within hours or days. We skied with Shari and Paul on one of their many trips to Italy. The trip was run like a Swiss clock, with wonderful skiing and a great group. Before the trip we mentioned to Shari that we were going to ski in Austria after her trip ended. Did she have any thoughts? Of course she had led several ski trips to Austria, and a few days later we learned that she had contacted the hotels in Austria that she usually used and they would love to have Shari’s friends stay there. We’ll miss bombing down the ski slopes behind Shari.”

From John & Judy Christensen, Global Adventures Hikers

“My husband John and I first came to know Shari when we both worked in the Administration Office of the Issaquah School District before she and Paul left for England and Germany. As we became closer friends, we soon saw what an excellent outdoors-woman she was, what a wonderful leader and inspiration to so many and what an exemplary team she and Paul were. During early morning chats at the office, the highlight of our conversations were an overview of the adventures she and others had enjoyed that weekend. She was so enthusiastic, such an excellent storyteller and I looked forward to being her sole audience as she relayed the details of those past days. We followed her and Paul to Patagonia and to the Dolomites and those 3-4 week trips have been some of our most cherished memories.”

From Cindy Hoover, Fellow Global Adventures Leader

“It was Shari who first got me involved in Seattle’s Backcountry Ski Committee, which eventually led to many years developing and administering our Nordic Ski Courses. She then introduced me to my groomed track skiing….in the Alps! It became a lifelong passion. That lead to becoming involved in the club’s Global Adventures. We always called her the “energizer bunny,” and in addition to energy, her enthusiasm, generosity and patience were also limitless. If only we all could lead such exemplary lives!”

From Christian Zobel, Mountaineers Hiker

“She was a joy, we all know that. But, let’s consider Shari when in Munich leading her group to a restaurant. You don’t want to fall behind and get lost. She walked briskly, often not a short distance. Why did I have to almost run to keep up with that short lady? “

From Barb Courtney, Hiking Partner

“My husband Mel and I were invited to Shari and Paul's Bend home for dinner. Throughout the tour of their home, dinner prep with happy hour, followed by the meal Shari was all the way “live.” She hosted, took phone calls, cooked, and entertained, such a dynamo. I'm certain Shari lived enough for three. Ride on, Shari!”

From Lauren Arthur Barry, Global Adventures Hiker

“Shari has been dear to me since I first met her on her 2000 Seattle Mountaineers trip to Switzerland. She changed my life and opened up a new world to me, as she has done for so many others. What a wonderful woman! She cared for us all, taught us all many things, protected us all on the many of her trips throughout the world (7) that I had the pleasure of being a part of. I will never forget her and what she has done for me and for others. She will live on in our fond memories.”

From Margy Cottriel, Ski Partner

“When I think of Shari in these current times of social distancing, compounded with increased isolation as people hunker indoors away from wildfire smoke, I think this: Isolation is a word that was never in Shari’s dictionary. Aside from her amazing energy and skill at putting together awesome group travel trips, Shari was only and always and consistently all about sharing time together. She was honestly everyone’s best friend and is greatly missed.”

From Donna Kovich, Global Adventures Hiker

“My first experience with Shari was in the 80’s while I was a student in The Mountaineers Alpine Scrambling course. Her excellent leadership style of focusing on details and the safety of all students impacted me, as well as her genuine interest in getting to know her students well. I was fortunate to join her and others in 2011 on a 3-week Global Adventure hiking in the Italian Dolomites. I was so impressed with her trip organization, from the flights, customs, hiking details, to our excellent accommodations and non-hiking activities. It was here in Italy that I learned a most important lesson in life from Shari, which is “Now is the only time we have,” which has become my mantra going forward. I later joined her and Paul on a trip to the Azores and Madeira Islands, Portugal in 2016.

I knew of Shari’s medical history shortly after meeting her in the ‘80’s. Despite her diagnosis, her strong reserve to live life to the fullest, without regrets, reinforced her exuberance and enthusiasm to seize each day with a vengeance.”

From Janet Matson, Ski Partner

”My husband Al signed up for the Blackberry Bramble, a century biking event in Eugene, Oregon, thinking that his buddies would be riding too. I decided to come along on the 72 mile course - my longest distance ever! Then plans changed and no one else was going except us. Suddenly I would be riding alone on an unfamiliar course and I was very concerned. A few days before the race I was chatting with Shari and worrying about the upcoming ride. I knew Shari, but not well. Immediately she said, “I’ll go with you!” Shari became my new cycling partner and our new close friend. She traveled with us, staying overnight and sharing our hotel room, and we had a fantastic trip and a successful cycle experience. For many years afterward we have traveled with Shari and Paul to Europe and Sun Valley, especially loving their ski vacations. They know all the best places to xc ski, and excellent local restaurants and family run hotels. Shari was my special friend and I miss her so much. She cherished the meaning of friendship and practiced it daily with everyone. Someone once said that the only friend that Shari didn’t have was the one she hadn’t met yet! How true!”

From Lindy Bruce, Mountaineers Hiker

“As newcomers to Seattle and The Mountaineers, Jay and I signed up for a Christmas Eve day hike up Tiger Mtn. 3 with Shari and Paul. Shari immediately told the group that she was planning a fast pace because she had a turkey in the oven and 12 people coming over in a few hours. And that always defined Shari for me: active, organized, and always planning for the next trip - sometimes just hours away. We will always treasure the many overseas treks and biking adventures we took with Shari and Paul for her planning, her sense of adventure and the fun we had together.”

Shari  Group_2007 by Kovich.JPGShari with a few of her many friends. Photo by Tom Kovich.

Main image courtesy of Paul Gauthier.


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Louise Suhr
Louise Suhr says:
Oct 19, 2020 12:02 PM

Shari's love of skiing, snow culture and international travel was infectious. We count ourselves lucky to have met her and Paul, and to have been able to share the Dolomites with them. Beyond snow, her gifts of friendship and connecting others with similar interests have gifted me with many heartfelt connections that continue to multiply. What a gift!

Ann Marshall
Ann Marshall says:
Oct 22, 2020 07:06 PM

I met Shari when I was the editor of Signpost (now Washington Trails). She contributed to the magazine wonderful accounts of her travels and adventures from all over the world. When I became a leader for International Outings, she advised me how to organize and plan for a successful trip. I was sad to hear she is gone.