Foothills Backpacking Committee

Foothills Backpacking Committee

Join our committed group of backpacking enthusiasts as we build programs, support our dedicated leaders, and develop new leaders to support the growing Mountaineers backpacking community!

The Foothills Backpacking Committee is a thriving 'center of excellence' for backpacking in the club, offering a broad array of trips across the state and beyond, courses to improve your backpacking skills,conditioning and gear (including the popular B3 Backpacking Building Blocks course), and strong support, training, resources and recognition for anyone who would like to broaden their leadership skills and 'give back' by becoming a backpack leader.

Our Backpacking TRIPs and courses

Our dedicated Foothills  backpack leaders delivered 61 backpack trips from October 2017 through October 2018, out of 102 total offered across the club - covering a wide variety of destinations, level of physical challenge and emphasis, from easy beginner overnights to challenging multi-day adventures to remote destinations. Check out our upcoming backpack trips at Mountaineers Backpacking Trips Coming Up!

We also put on several courses, clinics and seminars to help new and seasoned backpackers gain new skills and refresh existing ones, build their conditioning, and find out about the latest gear to have a safe, comfortable trip with the lightest possible pack weight. The more comprehensive courses are usually offered just once a year (signups in early winter to early spring).   Our popular flagship program, Backpacking Building Blocks (B3), is a season-long course organized to:

  • Provide new and experienced backpackers with the latest knowledge, gear info and practical experience to be skilled, safe and successful on overnight or longer trips; 
  • Teach participants to pack light by balancing camp comfort with pack weight and trail comfort;
  • Providing participants with information about the latest backpacking gear and food choices; and
  • Connect you with trusted trip leaders and compatible companions, by offering an array of trips of varying intensity in the fabulous Northwest backcountry.   Our backpack trips offered through the B3 course provide an additional component of coaching and hands-on demonstration to help students gain confidence and try out different gear options.
  • The large majority of our backpacking trips are open to all qualified Mountaineers members, to build a strong backpacking community and connect students with experienced backpackers.
In 2017, we launched a new Backpacking with Kids course (thanks to a number of very dedicated backpacking-parents and volunteers led by one of the best of them all, Lorelei Felchlin!) This course consists of a parents-only information session, a practice overnight in a local park to get everyone used to the idea of camping, and then two backpack trips with distances and activities tailored to different ages of kids. We also offer Mountaineers members a range of backpacking and related skills classes including: These classes and seminars are offered just once or twice a year, with signups beginning in the early spring. We also host a lively Foothills Mountaineers Backpacking Facebook Group where backpackers inside and outside the club share trip photos, ask one another for input about gear, methods and destination options, and stay connected with our growing community of Mountaineers Backpackers.  Check it out here!


Even if you aren't currently a member of Foothills Branch, the Foothills Backpacking Committee is a great home for anyone who would like to 'give back', learn valuable outdoor leadership skills, connect up with compatible backpacking companions, and gain greater control over where and when their Mountaineers backpack trips will go.  We do this by:
  • Offering a regular New Hike/Backpack Leader Seminar  where you can learn the expectations and procedures for being a Mountaineers backpack leader and learn from experienced leaders in a small-group discussion format how to handle some of the most common leadership challenges on hikes; 
  • Providing mentors and other assistance for new leaders as they set up and lead their first Mountaineers backpack; 
  • Offering a wide range of  Backpack Leader Resources and regular updates on skills and tools; and 
  • Providing generous rewards for our active leaders including free and subsidized core-skills training and REI gift cards.


Our combined hiking/backpacking committee meets once or twice a year, usually at a library or eatery on the eastside, to review our programs for the past year and brainstorm how we can improve past offerings and add more value for members with new offerings. This is a very creative, dynamic and committed group of fun people, and everyone's ideas count.  Join us, and help us shape the programs we deliver to members in the future!  Contact Foothills Backpack Committee chair Cheryl Talbert at to find out how you can get involved!