Safety Stories

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Backpacking Blunder: Headlamp-less in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

When my fiancé Chelsea and I moved to Seattle, we were thrilled to enjoy the amazing hiking and backpacking opportunities the Pacific Northwest has to offer. We decided to explore the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, having purchased the map shortly after moving. Our plan was to start near Stevens Pass, ascend along Surprise Creek, then join up with the Pacific Crest Trail to Deception Pass. We would then head up to either Marmot or Jade Lakes to camp. Read more…

Nanga Parbat, Hermann Buhl and Our Physical Peaks and Valleys

When I suffered a bicycle injury recently, Mountaineers Books Senior Editor Mary Metz sent me an excerpt from Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage, by the late, great Austrian alpinist Hermann Buhl, the first person to solo an 8,000-meter peak. It was a reminder that even our heroes get injured. (Nanga Parbat Pilgrimage is a classic of mountaineering lore and is being reissued in Mountaineers Books "Legends & Lore" series in September 2018.) Read more…

The Importance of Turnaround Times

Decision-making as a leader is hard and inevitable. There are times when you are forced to face these epic inner battles rivaling Middle-Earth wars and can choose to retreat or be defeated. Retreat equates to loss of pride, but you live to die another day. Defeat may bring you to the ultimate destination but may also ensure delicious victory in the clenching teeth of the Sauron of Summit Fever. Read more…

Join us at the 2018 Wilderness Risk Management Conference!

How do industry trends affect, shape, and impact our programs at The Mountaineers? If this is a question that you've ever considered – and a conversation that you're interested in being a part of – we invite you to join The Mountaineers at this year's Wilderness Risk Management Conference in Portland, Oregon. Read more…

Why Developing a Routine Could be Your Most Important Water Safety Precaution

I have been a recreational kayaker for twenty five years and paddle often.   I kayak on slow moving rivers, ponds, lakes, and protected salt water coves. I continue to improve my skills as I gain even more experience and become involved with various paddling communities.  I have learned that most of what you can do to stay safe while paddling happens off the water. Read more…

Lessons Learned – Spring Avalanche on Colchuck NBC

With the recent stint of sun and warm spring conditions has come the annual cycle of wet avalanches in the Cascades. Mountaineers Sherrie Trecker and Nicole Cederblom were on a private climb and shared this close call with us. The two were roping up to begin an attempt on the North Buttress Couloir route on Colchuck Peak on May 24, 2018, when the lower half of their descent route was consumed in a massive wet avalanche. Read more…

Forbidden Peak Incident - Summary Incident Report

In July of last year, The Mountaineers community experienced the tragic loss of Sue Bennett, a cherished super volunteer and extraordinary leader of the Bellingham climbing community. As a result of the incident, which occurred on a Mountaineers trip, The Mountaineers initiated a critical response process including the formation of an incident review committee. Read more…

Complacency in the Outdoors

On September 7, 2014, just after 5pm, Ross Halverson and his climbing partner were preparing to rappel from the summit of Garfield Mountain. Ross had just finished climbing Infinite Bliss, a twenty-three pitch bolted route ascending the south side of Garfield Mountain. As the late summer sun sunk toward the horizon, it became apparent that both climbers would need to move quickly and efficiently to descend before dark.  Read more…

Hikes, Bears & Brews: Playing Smart in WA's Bear Country

Did you know that Washington state is home to more than 25,000 black bears and two small populations of grizzlies? Spring is a great time to explore the natural beauty of our state and it’s also prime time to practice your bear awareness skills. Bears are highly active this time of year, waking from hibernation and looking for food. Read more…

2018 Safety Incidents Through Apr 2

The first 3 months of 2018  have been typical when it comes to the number of safety incidents reported by activity leaders and participants. Read more…