Top 10 Mountaineers of Instagram: Inspiration for 2019

In this piece from Mountaineer magazine, we have our 10 favorite Mountaineers of Instagram - here to inspire your next year of adventure.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 01, 2019

Mountaineers seem to be in constant motion: skiing, hiking, climbing, paddling, scrambling, and exploring. Yet moments of stillness can bring equal restoration to our restless souls. Capturing all of these moments in wild places is a legacy many adventurers share, and today it’s easier than ever to bring others along on our trips through social media. Instagram is an incredible place to find inspiration, meet new people, and connect with the world around us.

The core of our organization is an incredible community of outdoor advocates, volunteers, and adventurers. Since its inception in November 2014, our Mountaineers Instagram (@mountaineersorg) has become a new place for our community to coalesce and collaborate. In that time over 74,000 photos have been tagged with The Mountaineers hashtag #OurPNW, putting on display the natural splendor of the Northwest and the incredible energy and enthusiasm of those who inhabit it. We are grateful to have this opportunity to share in your expeditions, big and small.

To celebrate our community, we chose our favorite inspirational Mounties for 2019. We encourage you to follow their adventures – not only are they engaging, passionate Mountaineers, they take some pretty stunning pictures too.

On the Cover | Sarina Clark: @sarina_clark

Sarina joined The Mountaineers in October of 2017 and is already a graduate of our Wilderness First Aid and Basic Navigation courses. “When I joined The Mountaineers, I gained the confidence to lead my own adventures, and that has been truly priceless. The photo featured is of me snowshoeing in fresh snow near Source Lake – a pure joy after a day outside with friends. The mountains stir something deep in my soul and make me feel alive like nothing else. My hope is that this translates in my photos so that others may feel the joy of the mountains too.

Being on the cover is a meaningful experience for me. It shows that we value representation. Representation of someone that doesn't always fit the ‘outdoor person' narrative. Representation of someone who has depression and anxiety, fear and doubt, always questioning if she belongs in this space and community. It means validation that we all belong and that there is more than enough space for all of us to enjoy the outdoors. I hope other women can look at me and be inspired, and feel that they too have validation to go outside and pursue the activities they love.”

Ananth Manaim: @ananth_manaim

Ananth grew up in Chennai, India, moving to the US in November of 2016 and joining The Mountaineers just two months later. With the infamous ‘Seattle freeze’ as a looming threat, Ananth thought The Mountaineers would be his home in Seattle, and “it truly came to be one… I grew up with the lessons to ‘always give what you have to others who don’t have’ and ‘always show things which others can’t afford to see’. These words inspire me to give back, so I became a hike and scramble leader in 2018 and have led over 15 trips!” Ananth has been on 69 Mountaineers trips so far and completed over 100 ascents without a car in his first year in Seattle. Read more about Ananth on his 10 Essential Questions profile at mountaineers.org/ananth.


Lucas Wyman: @lucas.wyman

Lucas grew up in the Pacific Northwest, developing a passion for hiking, backpacking, and backcountry snowboarding from a young age. After a lapse in outdoor adventures, Lucas decided to dive back in through The Mountaineers. “Photography has allowed me to capture the amazing moments that occur so quickly during outdoor pursuits. After a hiatus from these activities, I decided to once again become more involved and joined The Mountaineers in October 2017. Since then I have been actively learning as much as possible so that I can give back to this wonderful community.” Lucas has another adventure coming up: he recently proposed at Colchuck Lake – check out his Instagram to see this photo and more from his outdoor pursuits.


Madeline Mundt: @leavingsealevel

Madeline joined The Mountaineers in 2016 upon moving home to Seattle from Switzerland. She’s since taken Basic Snowshoeing and Introduction to the Natural World courses. “On our first INW field trip, our leader Gordie told me I would discover ‘a different way to hike’, and he was right... learning about nature on the trail has changed how I see the world around me. As a Queer woman and also as someone who benefits from a lot of privilege in other ways on the trail, the movement for diversity, equity, and inclusion in outdoor recreation is really important to me. I’m excited to see how The Mountaineers contribute to these efforts going forward, and I am excited to be participating in the new Inclusion Committee.”


Spencer Kirk: @spencer.kirk

Spencer is a student at The Evergreen State College, studying ecological economics and land use planning. He is a part of our Tacoma branch, graduating from the Basic Climbing Course last year. He grew up in the outdoors, spending much of his youth backpacking the Olympics, the Wonderland Trail, and sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. “Somewhere along the way I started carrying a camera and simply never stopped. At first I focused on landscapes, but as time has gone by I’ve fallen in love with creating images which meld the grandeur of alpine spaces with the people who occupy them.”


Stephanie Moe: @gratefulginger

Stephanie spends her time adventuring across the Pacific Northwest and organizing treks to Nepal to raise money for children with disabilities. “Nature is my happy place where I find peace and am continually overwhelmed with gratitude. Whether it’s a simple walk at sunrise, climbing a mountain peak, jumping in an icy alpine lake, or snowboarding a black diamond descent, I’ve got a giant smile and am feeling incredibly thankful for the beauty we have around us. Life doesn’t have to be complicated. I truly believe the more you learn to lean into simplicity and gratitude, the happier and more fulfilled your life becomes.”


Christian Fuchs: @fuchsmedia

Christian moved to the Pacific Northwest from Washington D.C. in 2017. Though he was raised in Florida on sunshine and warm beaches, Christian has embraced the mountains since moving. “I hike several times a month, and I joined The Mountaineers to learn more about the mountains and how to explore the trails safely. I’ve taken part in several photo committee outings at Mount Baker, and I really enjoyed the Intro to Map & Compass course. I’m looking forward to learning more about navigation so I can get into the backcountry. There’s so much to see. It’s great having hundreds of trails of adventure.”


Sam Ortiz: @samortizphoto

Sam has been a member of the Tacoma branch since 2016. She is a graduate of no less than six of our courses and loves climbing, backpacking, and hiking. “I grew up admiring climbers at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, and never considered I might be able to that myself one day - as a plussize Hispanic woman, I rarely saw any role models who I could look up to. The Mountaineers has given me the training and skills I needed to join others on tall red wells and glaciers. Through my photography, I’m trying to be the role model that my younger self always wanted and needed.” To learn more about Sam and her path to the outdoors, read her article on overcoming imposter syndrome at www.mountaineers.org/ imposter-syndrome.


Chi Tran: @chi_tran823

Chi is an avid outdoor enthusiast, but that wasn’t always the case. She grew up in Philly, and only after arriving in Seattle in 2007 did she begin to explore the outdoors. Her first hike was to Mason Lake, a two-hour hike that left her so tired she napped on a boulder once she arrived. Over the past decade she has gotten into every activity she could – skiing, backpacking, trail running, and rock and ice climbing. “Through the Mountaineers community I have met and continue to meet people I consider close friends and climbing partners for many years to come. Whether it is skiing in Revelstoke, hiking in Yellowstone, ice climbing in Ouray, or rock climbing in Red Rocks, as long as I am in the mountains I am happy.”


Heather Reed: @foxandthegremlin

Heather is a new Mountaineers member who joined in September 2018. She loves hiking and backpacking with her dogs, Ellie and Kato. “My love for the outdoors has always been there, but it wasn’t until adopting my dogs that my appreciation for nature and all its beauty really took form. They have shown endless enthusiasm for hitting the trails no matter the weather forecast. Now I enjoy capturing their individual personalities through photography while also sharing some pretty epic views. As our comfort zone has evolved to more than day hikes, I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge through the numerous courses offered at The Mountaineers.”


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: Limit Geo-Tagging.

Tagging locations (or geo-tagging) can result in increased traffic to areas that are delicate and unable to sustain large numbers of people. Limit your geo tagging to large regions, if at all.

Tip #2: Practice LNT in Your Photos.

You value Leave No Trace 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 habits in our outdoors community. Bonus points if you post pictures of stewardship activities!

Tip #3: Encourage LNT Principles in your Posts.

Many of your followers may not be familiar with LNT principles. 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 our low-impact recreation videos at mountaineers.org/low-impact-recreation.


This article originally appeared in our Winter 2019 issue of Mountaineer  Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, click here.