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Adventure Profiles

Leader Spotlight: Gretchen Ta

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Gretchen Ta, the Chair Elect for the Kitsap Branch Council, and Kitsap First Aid and Conservation & Stewardship Committee Chair. Gretchen also serves as a Volunteer Leader for the Kitsap Branch Climbing Program!  Read more…

A Path to Healing: Treating Combat Veteran Trauma in Nature

Cindy Ross is the author of nine books, including her first, A Woman’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail, which has been in print for nearly 40 years and has become a hiking classic. A former contributing editor for Backpacker Magazine, her column “Everyday Wisdom” was one of the publication’s most popular features. In April 2021, Mountaineers Books published her 9th book, Walking Toward Peace: Veterans Healing on America’s Trails, featuring stories of veterans who have struggled with PTSD and their journeys toward healing. This article includes excerpts from her most recent book in italics. Read more…

Remembering Mountaineer Patti Polinsky

With great sadness we share the news of the passing of Patti Polinsky, a 56-year member of The Mountaineers, long-time volunteer with Meany Lodge and the Foothills Branch, ski instructor, and Global Adventures Leader. Patti passed away after a long battle with cancer on June 15, 2021. She was comfortable and surrounded by loved ones, including her husband of 45 years, Dave Claar. Read more…

9 Ways to Explore Washington This Summer

It's officially summer in Washington and we're so lucky to live in a state full of a never-ending bucket list of things to do. We put together this list of just a few ways to explore the area and get the most out of your summer!  Read more…

Announcing the Tacoma Program Center Net-Zero Energy Project

The Mountaineers made a commitment to reduce our organization’s carbon footprint as part of Vision 2022. Since 2018, we have made significant progress in reducing the carbon footprint of Mountaineers buildings, including installing a solar panel system at our Seattle Program Center and replacing over 500 lightbulbs in four buildings with LED retrofits. Now, The Mountaineers Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee is excited to announce the Tacoma Program Center Net-Zero Energy Project.  Read more…

A Mountaineers Legend: Recognizing John Ohlson

The word “legend” often evokes tall tales, stories whose veracity is less relevant than our collective belief in the incredible. Amidst the giant lumberjacks, sea monsters, and ‘there be dragons’ marks on the map, however, there do exist flesh-and-blood legends. Their footsteps are a little smaller and their voices a little softer, but they are there, crafting history. Read more…

10 Essential Questions: Tom Eng

Each week we bring you a personal story from one of our members. For our member profile this week we talked to... Read more…

The Mountaineers Testifies Before Congress

We were incredibly honored to bring The Mountaineers mission and priorities to a national stage last week. Conservation and Advocacy Director Betsy Robblee was invited to testify before a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on increasing access to the outdoors by improving the federal recreational permitting process. We’ve been working for years on legislation to improve the current inefficient, unpredictable recreational permitting system, and were grateful for the opportunity to share our ideas with Congress.  Read more…

Olympia's Annual Picnic and Banquet - Aug 4

Picnics and northwest summer evenings are made for each other, and they're even even better when the picnic offers your first chance to gather in person with other Olympia Branch members in over a year.  We invite you to join us for our summer picnic on August 4.  Read more…

Trip Report: Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Seal Rock

The Oregon coast is known for its stunning geography and charming seaside towns. In a winter trip along the coast I had the joy of visiting two delightful locations on the coast: Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Seal Rock. Read on to learn about these remarkable places, and to find tips so that you might plan your own trip. Read more…

It all adds up! $45,000 raised for our programs and publishing

The many ways our community works together to accomplish big goals never ceases to amaze me. On the heels of our Virtual Gala last month, we launched our annual spring fundraising drive with a goal of reaching 300 donors and raising $30,000 in unrestricted donations to support our outdoor education and conservation mission. This grassroots-style fundraising campaign asked members and donors to consider making a gift of any size - it all adds up to big change! Read more…

Foothills Branch Members - Get Involved at a Leadership Level

The Foothills branch is looking for a few good leaders at every level! Read more…

Safety Stories: Unable to Arrest Above a 30-Foot Cliff

We make our way across a questionable snow bridge perched precariously near a waterfall of melting snowpack. Our team of three snow scrambling students and two course leaders move slowly, taking turns crossing the snow bridge one at a time. When the last person steps off the bridge, we share a collective sigh of relief that our group decision was a safe one. I’m grateful to have my helmet on and ice axe in hand. Read more…

Did You Know? | Owls in Washington

Have you ever been hiking alone and felt like you were being watched? It’s quite possible you were under observation - by a stealthy owl, perched above you in a tree. Often heard but not seen in our forests, these amazing birds of prey can swoop down silently, blending in with the trees they inhabit. Read more…

Nominate an Outstanding Leader for the Olympia Branch Service Award

Our volunteer leaders are a huge part of what makes the Olympia Branch such an inspiring, fun, and impactful community. Each year we honor the hard work and dedication of one Olympia volunteer by presenting them with the Branch Service Award. To help with this process, we ask our branch members to submit nominations for those they believe go above and beyond their volunteer responsibilities to enhance the courses, activities and spirit of The Mountaineers. Read more…

Impact Giving | Announcing New Estate Planning Resources

It's estimated that 50-60% of Americans do not have a will in place. While not often a topic of public conversation, we have heard from many members that they are interested in setting up their first will but aren’t quite sure where to start. For this reason The Mountaineers has invested in a new resource for members, providing the latest information about estate planning and tax-smart ways to plan for your future. This online support will be available at any time of day, so that you can find the educational resources you need at a time that makes the most sense for you. Read more…

New This Month: June 2021 Book Releases

There's a lot to be excited about in June. It's orca month, the weather is warming up, and people are getting outside again. Get the most out of June - dive into Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home to learn all about the southern resident group of orca whales, head into the wild with Backpacking Washington, 2nd Edition, and explore Portland, Oregon with Discovering Portland Parks.   Read more…

Global Adventures | An Unexpected Adventure in New Zealand

As we neared the ridge crest, the wind blasted snow pellets into my face like hot shrapnel. Just ahead of me, Bob’s blue pack cover snapped once, hard, then blew off his pack and into the white. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: James Pierson

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to James Pierson, a volunteer leader with the Bellingham Branch who is also a guide at the American Alpine Institute! He credits the experience and skills he learned from The Mountaineers with landing that job and continues to volunteer with the club as a way to give back to the community. Read more…

Unseen Danger: Navigating Snow Bridge Hazards

Last Sunday, search and rescue teams responded to an emergency call from a popular early-season climb in the Olympic mountains. Two climbers slipped on a steep snowy slope while climbing The Brothers. One fell “into an opening in the snow and over a rock face with running melt water,” and sadly did not survive. This tragic accident has brought an annually recurring hazard back into the thoughts of everyone within the outdoor community: the danger posed by snow bridges.  Read more…

30 More Donors to Reach Our Spring Goal

In the final push of our spring fundraising drive, we’re beyond thankful to the 270 donors who joined the campaign to help us reach our goal of 300 donors. If you haven’t yet joined the fun, we are only 30 people away from reaching our third and final matching challenge! This challenge invites you to consider any gift size that is meaningful to you. It all adds up to educational and experiential opportunities that get more people outside. Read more…

No Resolution on the Keta Legacy Foundation Lawsuit Against The Mountaineers

More than two months ago, I shared an update summarizing our efforts to amicably resolve the lawsuit that Keta Legacy Foundation filed against The Mountaineers in September 2019. In an effort to be transparent with our community, we shared the proposed settlement agreement that we sent to Keta. I received a number of messages from Mountaineers members expressing their appreciation for being kept informed about the lawsuit and that the proposal itself seemed like a very reasonable way to resolve this dispute. Read more…

Seeking Proposals! Equity & Emotional Safety in the Outdoors Online Course

The Mountaineers, in partnership with the Mountain Education Alliance (MEA), is looking to develop an online Equity & Emotional Safety in the Outdoors training for our volunteers. We're seeking DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) curriculum experts to submit proposals for consideration. Please help us spread the word. Read more…

Youth Outside | On the Road: How our youth van helped us navigate COVID-19

A little over a year ago, a colleague and I ventured about an hour north of Seattle to the little seaside town of Anacortes. Although tempted by views of nearby Mount Erie State Park, we were on our way to pick up the newest addition to The Mountaineers: a 15-passenger van. The vehicle was fated to take Mountaineers youth to the lakes, trails, and mountains surrounding Puget Sound. Read more…

Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home Lauches June 1

Braided River author Lynda V. Mapes has traveled across the West Coast to give voice to the region’s orca whales, iconic to the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful—but ecologically imperiled—marine ecosystem. In this excerpt, she travels to OrcaLab in British Columbia, where passionate and determined volunteers are led by founder Paul Spong. Located on Cracroft Point, above Johnstone Strait in British Columbia, they have been documenting the daily lives of the more robust northern resident orca pods since 1970. Read more…

Climate Change Speaker Series Recap

During Earth Month, the Mountaineers Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee hosted a Climate Change Speaker Series to help our community learn more about the climate crisis. Mountaineers members and a Mountaineers Books author shared insights about how climate change will affect our world, our wild places, and our lives. The events were well attended and participants asked great questions of the presenters.  Read more…

Create Outdoor Connections for Life

Outdoor adventures offer us more than the simple reward of a beautiful view. Through time outside, we receive the gift of clarity and can discover a greater purpose. As we achieve our outdoor goals, we unlock the joy of feeling fully alive. The Mountaineers believes that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the beautiful infiniteness of nature, yet the keys to this kingdom are not found by simply walking out into the wilderness unprepared. Read more…

Bookmarks | Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail

MudRocksBlazes_Cover_Final.jpgI went to the Pacific Crest Trail to find my limit. I’d imagined my fastest known time attempt ending with me on hands and knees — dry heaving — at my utmost breaking point. Yet that never happened. I started the hike with my little plastic trowel, intent on digging deep as I’d learned to do over many ultramarathons, but the PCT laughed at that, and within a few days had handed me a full-size shovel instead. Read more…

Safety Stories: Earl-Bean Traverse – A rock bulge broke loose, sending me backwards

As Mountaineers, we are committed to learning from our experiences. We examine every incident that happens on a Mountaineers trip for opportunities to improve the ways we explore and teach. Our volunteer safety committee reviews every incident report and picks a few each month to share as examples of ‘Lessons Learned’. The trip report below describes what happened on this trip, in the leader’s own words, and outlines the lessons the leader has identified. In some cases, we offer additional key learnings from the incident. Read more…

Great News for the Outdoors in Washington State’s Budget

This winter, we shared our funding priorities for outdoor programs in Washington’s state budget. Hundreds of you took action to share those priorities with your state legislators - thank you! We’re excited to report that outdoor recreation and conservation received strong support from the Legislature this session.  Read more…