Top 10 Inspirational Mountaineers of Instagram for 2018

Need outdoor inspiration? These 10 Mountaineers members are active outside AND on social media, and offer a daily dose of the outdoors.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 01, 2018
Top 10 Inspirational Mountaineers of Instagram for 2018
Photo by Surafel Mammo.

At The Mountaineers, we hike, ski, climb, paddle, sail, snowshoe, and scramble. We capture and savor. Sharing our wild places is a legacy all adventurers share, and today it's easier than ever to honor our special places through social media. Instagram is an incredible place to find inspiration, meet new people, and connect with the world around us. 

We launched a Mountaineers Instagram account in November 2014 and created a Mountaineers hashtag that we felt captured the essence of who we are and where we play. Today, over 52,000 photos have been tagged with #OurPNW, and each weekday, we share a favorite #OurPNW picture from our community. We're humbled to see Instagram being embraced by so many Mountaineers.

To celebrate this amazing digital community, we chose our favorite inspirational Mounties we think you should follow in 2018. If you have the nonstop desire to be outside or if you're seeking new bucket list ideas for the New Year, check out these 10 Mountaineers to get your fix: 

Kimberly Cross: @KIMBERBELLE 


Kimber posts stunning photos, like this one taken on Canon Beach this summer, nearly every day. Since joining The Mountaineers in January 2017, Kimber has graduated from Basic and stood on the summit of Silver King, Eldorado Peak, Mt Olympus, The Tooth, Mt Rainier, Glacier Peak, Ingalls Peak, Snoqualmie Mountain, and of course Mt Si. And she's done all of it with only one hand. "When life gives you mountains put on your boots and start hiking." Follow Kimber to see her forthcoming experience as an Intermediate climbing student, and for inspiration all year long. 

Luke Helgeson: @LUKEHELGESON


Luke is a "scientist and wilderness seeker who loves to take pictures of molecules and mountains." His active Instagram is full of stunning shots of the latter, and he shares the date and time of his climbs to help you plan your next trip. He started the 2017 off with a bluebird day on Mt. Rainier. "When you are given a pristine day on Mt. Rainier in the middle of January; you be sure to enjoy every moment." Follow Luke for more adventures in 2018. 



Rose climbs mountains with her piano and puts on concerts to create magical moments for those who pass. This summer, she climbed Mt Baker with The Mountaineers and experienced her own moment of magic. "As we neared the crater the light of sunrise danced with colors on the horizon....Walking across the flat top of Mount Baker to the true summit felt surreal as I looked down at Mount Shuksan and the other peaks below us. Once again, it felt like a dream, and it wasn’t the altitude. It’s amazing to see what you learn when you persevere and take one step at a time." Follow Rose for a glimpse into her world where music and the wild meet. 

Surafel Mammo: @surafelmammo


Surafel is a backpacker and climber on a mission to explore the great Pacific Northwest. His images are striking, especially in black and white, and his captions offer just-the-right-amount of snark. Like most Mountaineers, Surafel loves to get away. "Can't beat a couple of days disconnected from the world surround by great friends, good food, drinks and good music by the river." Follow Surafel for funny comments and stunning shots of #OurPNW.  

Skye Stoury: @SKYESTOURY


Skye is Hike Leader and an alumni of our Basic and Snowshoeing courses. She's excited to be a 2018 Intermediate student, and has a special place in her heart for glacier-silted mountain lakes. Skye offers this piece of (very sound) advice to her fellow travelers: "Sometimes you just have to take a sunny Friday off and run away to the mountains for good conversation, snowshoe adventures, lunch and beer at 5,200ft, and unplugging from the distractions of the outside world." Follow Skye for more escapes off the beaten path.

Rafael Godoi: @RAFAELGODOI


Rafael is a Tacoma branch climb leader who's feed shows a diversity of interests. From rock climbing and kayaking, to rope swinging and hammock-ing, to what can only be described as nature-springs-lounging, Rafael brings a sense of fun to every shot. His motto? "Life is better when you live it." What are you waiting for? Follow Rafael for reminders to get out there and do.



Nikki is a hiker with an incredible talent for watercolors. She can often be found on a peak in the Pacific Northwest, capturing the essence of our wild places in her artwork. Nikki is a dreamer, and encourages others to dream as well. "My whole life I heard messages about art being a backup plan, not worthwhile, or even one memorable professor in college who said my artwork would never amount to anything. I always kept making art because I didn't know how to stop. When I moved to Washington, I fell in love with the rugged mountains, but I also got lucky because of the amazing community I found. We live in a place that values art, risk taking, and adventure and that is so special. And even more special, we lift each other up." Follow Nikki to celebrate this amazing, risk-taking community.

Nate Brown: @NATEBROWN


Nate is an Olympia Mountaineer who just completed 12 years of service with the US Army, and he's already compiling a bucket list of peaks to climb and ski in 2018. He has some shoulder-season advice for his fellow travelers: "This time of year when the clouds are thick and mountain views are scarce, it’s nice to be reminded to look at what’s going on right in front of me, rather than the dramatic ridge line miles away." Follow Nate to get ideas for your own bucket list.

Taryn Simpson: @theptaryndactyl

Taryn.pngTaryn is a self-proclaimed nature lover and science nerd who grew up snowboarding the Pacific Northwest. Ten years ago she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and had to learn how to rehabilitate her body and control the pain to live a fulfilling life. Her positive attitude shines through every post. "I am so incredibly lucky to live somewhere with so much natural, year-round beauty to enjoy." Follow Taryn for a fresh dose of sunshine.

Bam Mendiola: @mynameisbam

Bam.pngBam is a graduate from 7 of our courses, including scrambling, snowshoeing, and conditioning hiking, and he's currently a student in Intermediate climbing. He hopes to inspire more queer and brown people to see their faces reflected in nature. "Learning to climb felt like breaking new trail; I didn't know any gay or Latino climbers and I doubted my place in the climbing community. Then I met Jeff--the first (and only) openly gay climber I've met in the backcountry--and knew I wasn't breaking trail alone." Follow Bam on a journey of discovery one peak at a time.


The Mountaineers have been helping people get outside for over 100 years, and we've been teaching people to capture those outdoor memories for as long as we've had cameras. From black & white to landscape to perfecting mobile phone techniques, check out our photography courses to take your skills to the next level.


Make the list next year!

Add a blog comment with a link to your Instagram and we'll add you to our running tally for next year's top 10 list. Remember to use our #OurPNW tag on Instagram every day for a chance to be featured on The Mountaineers feed (whether you're a member or not).

Here's our selection criteria:

  • Is a current Mountaineers member
  • Uses the hashtag #OurPNW
  • Shares high-quality photos showcasing the diversity of the Pacific Northwest landscape, activities, 
  • Posts, on average, at least three times a month
  • Offers inspirational stories in the captions

Looking for more inspiration? 

Be sure to check out the featured Mountaineers from 2017


Our staff, authors, and board members were really excited when we told them about this blog; then were devastated when we told them they were ineligible. The sad look on their faces was enough to convince us to reconsider, so if you're interested in getting to know our staff and board better, here are some bonus Instagrammers for you:

And, if you want even more, check out our Top 10 list from 2017.



Add a comment

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Kim Owen
Kim Owen says:
Jan 01, 2018 10:20 PM


Andru Brozovich
Andru Brozovich says:
Jan 02, 2018 07:32 AM


Andru Brozovich
Andru Brozovich says:
Jan 02, 2018 07:32 AM


Danielle Phillips
Danielle Phillips says:
Jan 02, 2018 12:22 PM

Jessica Powell
Jessica Powell says:
Jan 02, 2018 01:12 PM

Oh fun!!! I’m super active on IG.

Christian Fuchs
Christian Fuchs says:
Jan 02, 2018 02:50 PM

Thanks for sharing these ... here's mine:

KD (Krishna Dase)
KD (Krishna Dase) says:
Jan 02, 2018 05:41 PM


Alissa Feucht
Alissa Feucht says:
Jan 03, 2018 02:13 AM

Philip Huang
Philip Huang says:
Jan 03, 2018 11:46 PM

Thanks for highlighting these folks!

Patti Brooke
Patti Brooke says:
Jan 05, 2018 09:21 AM

I have been missing out following all these great feeds!
I will be using #ourPNW now. Thanks @mountaineersorg.

IG: pattibrooke

Ashley Reed
Ashley Reed says:
Jan 06, 2018 08:52 AM


Claire Gatenby
Claire Gatenby says:
Jan 10, 2018 11:49 AM


Stephanie Moe
Stephanie Moe says:
Jun 05, 2018 08:26 AM

I’m a bit late to the party...