Olympia Branch Blog Posts

Olympia Branch Blog Posts

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BeWild Speaker Series - Introducing the 2021 Lineup

For eight years, we've hosted the BeWild Speaker Series to bring you stories of passion and adventure. We're excited to announce this year's lineup, which includes award winning authors, not your average thru-hiker, and a world class alpinist. Read more…

Trip Report: Scenic Beach State Park

Scenic Beach State Park is a childhood favorite of mine. My grandparents often tucked us grandkids into their car with giant hampers filled with food, plastic bags for collecting shellfish, and binoculars for spying wildlife, boats, and the Olympic Mountains. This little hidden gem is worthy of an excursion amidst its shady trees, offering majestic views of Hood Canal. Our picnic was held in regal dining hall filled with cedar and Douglas fir, fit for little wild kings and queens. Read more…

Olympia Branch Winter Travel, Scrambling, and Skills Clinics - Dec 3-15

Interested in learning scrambling, winter travel, or other basic skills? Look no further than the upcoming Olympia Scrambling Course, Winter Travel Course, and clinics in avalanche safety, outdoor preparation, and more. Read more…

How To: Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Our National Forests

Did you know that our national forests issue permits each year to harvest your own Christmas tree? In years past, permits were issued at ranger stations but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you will now be able to purchase your Christmas tree permit online at recreation.gov. Search by state or browse the list of national forests to find the most convenient location for you. Read more…

Olympia Mountaineers Recognize Course Graduates & Leaders at 2020 Banquet

Every year, the Olympia Branch holds a banquet to celebrate committed leaders, volunteers, accomplishments, and actions that made a difference in the community. For 2020, the banquet was reimagined as a "zoomquet" so the celebrations could continue.  Read more…

Honoring Indigenous People Through Education

As a white person, my own education on Native history and culture is ongoing and largely self-directed, and I want to share a few things I've learned in the hopes that it will be helpful to others like me. Read more…

Volunteer Search & Rescue: Learn About These Everyday Heroes - Nov 18

The Pacific Northwest, especially the Puget Sound Area, is famous for its natural beauty and abundance of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Our combination of mountains, ocean, islands, rivers, and forests is unique, and has given rise over the decades to a vibrant outdoor scene that includes not just an enthusiastic community of individual adventurers, but a rich ecosystem of outdoor clubs, gear manufactures and shops, outfitters, guiding services, authors, publishers, WTA, NWAC, and of course The Mountaineers. Among the most amazing, yet least understood, contributors are the region's all volunteer Search and Rescue organizations. Read more…

CEO Update: Navigating 2020 & Looking Ahead to 2021

For most of us, putting 2020 in the rearview mirror is something we’re looking forward to. As I’ve shared before, the COVID-19 crisis has created significant challenges for organizations such as The Mountaineers. The biggest headwind we faced this year was the dramatic reduction of program revenue as we largely shut down. At the beginning of the crisis, we literally wondered if we’d have enough cash in the bank to get us through the summer because the courses, camps, lodges, and books retailers that traditionally support our organization had nearly ground to a halt. In what felt like the blink of an eye, we were facing a more than 25% revenue gap for the year. To successfully survive this COVID-induced storm, we’ve had to adapt to significant changes and redouble our commitment to our mission and core values. Read more…

Shook: Everest's Deadliest Day with Jennifer Hull & Dave Hahn - Nov 17

Join Jennifer Hull, author of Shook: An Earthquake, a Legendary Mountain Guide, and Everest's Deadliest Day, and mountain guide Dave Hahn for a virtual event to benefit the Juniper Fund, Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, and The Mountaineers. Read more…

New Branch Chair, Committee Chair, and Branch Officer Badges

In an effort to better recognize our club leadership, we’re excited to announce a new trio of badges to celebrate branch chairs, activity committee chairs, and branch officers! Read more…

Mountaineering and the Climate Crisis: A Recap of Events with Conrad Anker

The Mountaineers was honored to host legendary alpinist and environmental activist Conrad Anker for two recent events on the climate crisis. Conrad joined us on September 24, 2020, to share stories of adventures around the world and how wild places have been negatively impacted by the global climate crisis. The following evening, our Peak Society donors enjoyed a special discussion with Conrad and several other esteemed panelists. Read more…

Trip Report: Successful New Hybrid Navigation Course

Due to COVID-19, our Olympia Navigation course had to be postponed indefinitely. Following safety guidelines, we were able to hold the course using online tools, which led to great success. In an interview with Navigation Chair Mike Kretzler, he shared what tools and changes led to the new, successful course in September.  Read more…

E&I Update: 2020 Actions + New Steering Committee Members

More than two years ago The Mountaineers announced our intention to engage in equity & inclusion (E&I) work. This commitment stems from our belief that a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. We're grateful to all in our community who have been engaging and supportive, and we're excited to share the work we’ve done so far in 2020 and introduce you to our new steering committee members. Read more…

How To: Entertain Kids While Hiking & Backpacking

Backpacking with kids is an exciting and eye-opening experience for both parents and children. Sharing the love of nature, exploration, and adventure is special, but not always the easiest thing to get kids exited about. These activity ideas will help you have a great time the next time you head into the backcountry with kids. Read more…

How To: See Golden Larches This Fall

Crisp days and bright fall foliage call hikers out onto the trails each autumn, but few trees draw crowds like our much-loved larches. Located primarily on the sunny eastern slopes of the Cascades, larches are deciduous conifers whose needles turn a rich gold each year. Their stout frames and bristling branches dot hillsides with color each October, and make alpine scenes all the more magical. Read on to learn more about these unique trees and the best hikes to spy them on. Read more…

Trip Report: Lake Ingalls

Lake Ingalls in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is one of the most striking hikes for fall foliage. In fact, this area is stunning no matter what time of the year you go. In the spring the blooming flowers make a striking contrast against the craggy mountains, and in the fall the huckleberries are ripe, juicy, and delicious. Do not wait to hike this trail! Read more…

Climbers of Color: A Partnership to Support More Leaders of Color

We're excited to be partnering with Climbers of Color in support of their mission to create more leaders of color in mountaineering. Established in 2017, Climbers of Color is a Washington State nonprofit that aims to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the climbing and mountaineering community by developing leaders of color. To accomplish its mission, Climbers of Color provides supportive mentorship, technical training from BIPOC professional guides, and access to key resources including gear and scholarships. Read more…

2021 Basic Alpine Climbing Courses

Fall is here, and with fall comes registration for new courses, including our popular Basic Alpine Climbing course. With the widespread effects of the pandemic, our capacity and format will be different for the 2021 courses, and we’ve tried our best to outline those changes below. We hope that you’ll still be able to find a course that piques your interest for the coming year! Read more…

Leave No Trace Tips for New Hikers

Hiking is a wonderful way to get outside, stretch your legs, and see the best of what the Northwest has to offer. However, it’s important to be mindful of the impacts that we can have on our public lands by doing our best to keep the places we visit wild and pristine. Read more…

Share Your Forest Use Data - Help Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Do you hike, climb, bike, hunt, picnic, or otherwise spend time outdoors in Washington? We need your help! Our partners are working to help the US Forest Service improve their data collection related to visitor use in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Information about outdoor recreation is critical for maintaining and advocating for recreational opportunities on public lands. Read more…

Trip Report: Successful 4th Annual Olympia Mountaineers/WTA Stewardship Weekend

Over the weekend of August 29-30, our Olympia Branch Stewardship Committee co-sponsored Wynoochee Trail maitenence activities in partnership with Washington Trails Association. I sat down with Ginger Sarver - a Stewardship Leader, 4-time Super Volunteer, and the Event Organizer - to hear more about the impact of this fun weekend. Read more…

Mountainfilm on Tour - Oct 1-3, 2020

Mountainfilm on Tour showcases a selection of culturally rich, adventure-packed, and incredibly inspiring documentary films curated from the annual Mountainfilm festival held in Telluride, Colorado. In lieu of a traditional in-person gathering, The Mountaineers will be hosting a virtual screening of Mountainfilm on Tour with an inspiring program of films that explore themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of using the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world. Films can be viewed from Oct 1-3, 2020 Read more…

Wildfire Closures and Resources

Wildfires are burning across our region and smoke is causing extremely poor air quality. Our hearts are heavy with concern for those affected by fires in Washington State and beyond. We ask our community to practice good decision-making skills, respect public land closures, and consider staying home. Here is a list of current closures and guidance from land managers (Note: this information was current as of September 11, 2020. Please check current conditions on land manager websites before venturing out.): Read more…

Trip Report: Mt. Rainier: Sunrise, Sourdough Ridge, and More

Mt. Rainier’s Yakima Park, aka Sunrise, is the highest drive-able point in the national park at 6,400 ft. Sunrise is second to Paradise when it comes to popularity, but Sunrise offers a drier, sunnier climate, impressive views, and plenty of opportunity for adventure. Read more…

National Public Lands Day - Sep 26

National Public Lands Day is an important day to celebrate. Established in 1994, it is the largest single-day volunteer effort generated around preserving and connecting with nature. It not only celebrates the connection of people to green spaces, but it also encourages and inspires environmental stewardship. While we adjust to our “new normal,” it’s important that we continue to support our public lands and waters. Demands on land and water are a continual threat to the spaces we cherish and value. Read more…

Olympia Virtual Awards Ceremony & Banquet - Oct 24

The annual Recognition and Awards Banquet has been a feature of the Olympia Branch for many years. Members meet at the end of October to greet old friends, celebrate successes, learn what has been happening, and get an idea of what to look forward to in the next year.   Read more…

CEO Update: COVID-19 Challenges and Financial Health Review

Since our last organization-wide COVID-19 update, we’ve settled into a new normal of mask-wearing, smaller group and lower-risk activities, and virtual programs in place of larger, in-person gatherings. We’ve demonstrated resilience and creativity as a community, and although we know the year ahead will likely throw many challenges at us, more and more, we have confidence that The Mountaineers will survive. Here's an overview of some of the challenges we’ve overcome this summer and the plans we’re building for the coming year to ensure we continue to support our community and the mission of The Mountaineers.  Read more…

BeWild with Vik Sahney - Sep 10

Join us on September 10 for a virtual BeWild event with avid mountaineer, climber of the 7-summits, and Mountaineers board president, Vik Sahney. Read more…

Joint Statement on Climbing Route Naming

The American Alpine Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Colorado Mountain Club, Mazamas, and The Mountaineers join with those speaking out and taking action against racist, sexist, and otherwise derogatory route names, and we welcome the conversation about how best to move forward as a community.  Read more…

What Does the Great American Outdoors Act Mean for Washington?

On August 4, 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) was signed into law. This historic victory was the result of years of work by the conservation and recreation community, including The Mountaineers. What does the Great American Outdoors Act mean for Washington state and the places we love to explore? The answer is both “a lot” and “we’re not quite sure yet.” The Mountaineers will be working hard over the coming months to make sure that communities and outdoor spaces in Washington maximally benefit from this new infusion of funding.  Read more…