Olympia Branch Blog Posts

Olympia Branch Blog Posts

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Fighting Racism In The Outdoors

All people should have equal opportunities and access to engage with nature. Our members, and the greater community at large, should be free to enjoy the outdoors without fear. They should be able to go birding (#ChristianCooper), go for a jog (#AhmaudArbery), walk to the store (#MikeBrown), walk with their family (#CliffordGlover), breathe (#EricGarner, #GeorgeFloyd), and live (#FreddieGray, #BreonnaTaylor) without being targeted for the color of their skin. Black lives matter, and we are committed to continuing to fight for equality. Read more…

Stuck Inside - Youth Edition, Episode 10: H2Oh So Fun

Welcome back to Stuck Inside where we share ways to have fun and connect with the outdoors while also staying safe. Did you figure out all of the riddles from last week? If you didn’t and they’ve been rattling around your brain, check out these answers. Read more…

BeWild with Brendan Leonard - June 18

Brendan Leonard bought the url semi-rad.com for $29 in 2011, intending to write a weekly post about adventure for a year and see what happened. Almost nine years later, his writings on Semi-Rad.com are read by half a million people each year, and even more in his Semi-Rad column for Outside magazine. Read more…

Stuck Inside: Youth Edition, Episode 9 - Take a Brain Break!

Welcome back! Each week, The Mountaineers youth team is sharing ideas and activities for kids of all ages to stay engaged while also staying home and safe. Last week's Stuck Inside offered up some ideas to keep your body active while at home. This week, we are sharing some ways to keep your mind active too! Read more…

How To: Recreate Responsibly During COVID

Fighting the coronavirus pandemic is a community-wide effort, and thanks to the diligence of Washingtonians to Stay Home and Stay Healthy, public lands have begun to reopen. It's essential that we recreate responsibly to keep each other safe and public lands open. Read more…

Public Land Closures and Reopenings During COVID-19

We’re excited that public lands are beginning to reopen for recreation. While we’re all eager to get back to our favorite places, it’s critically important that we recreate responsibly to keep lands open for use. This is not a return to normal: COVID-19 is very much still a public health threat and we all need to make extra efforts to keep each other safe and public lands open. Please see our How To: Recreate Responsibly blog and  visit our COVID-19 blog and response page for more information. Read more…

Outside Insight | Charting New Waters: Creating a Cross-Branch Paddling Community

In the Pacific Northwest, year-round sea kayakers are a tight-knit community. These brave individuals don their drysuits in all conditions and relish in the opportunity to paddle big waves during winter storms. They seek adverse conditions to build their skills, growing more confident in their ability to explore wilder and more remote places. Read more…

Introducing The Mountaineers Statement on Climate Change

Since its earliest days, The Mountaineers has been committed to conservation and stewardship of wild places. That’s why we created our Carbon Footprint Reduction Committee, tasked with helping make sure that The Mountaineers and Mountaineers Books are doing our part to address the global climate crisis.  Read more…

What Does the Board of Directors Do At The Mountaineers?

The Mountaineers Board of Directors is the ultimate governing body responsible for overseeing the organization as dictated by our bylaws. This includes setting the strategic plan, approving the budget and tracking organizational financial performance, hiring the CEO, electing the board’s officers, and setting organizational policies and procedures. The board works with the CEO and staff to set the overall direction for the organization through the strategic plan (e.g., Vision 2022). The board also reviews and approves the annual budget and reviews performance to that budget. Read more…

CEO Update: Assumptions & Actions for Reopening The Mountaineers

I'm not certain what it was about this week, but it was a tough one. The cumulative impact of the Stay Home order, limited interactions with other people, and the realization that our "new normal" will be in place for a while seems to be weighing heavily on many. And, at the same time, as we near 50,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the US, we're reminded just how horrible this disease is and how important it is that we all continue to do our part to fight its spread. Read more…

We Are Mountaineers - Adventure With Purpose

At our 'Breakthrough' fundraising Gala in 2015, we unveiled a capstone video project documenting The Mountaineers rich history of exploration, education, and conservation. For our 2018 Gala, we celebrated the theme of Adventure With Purpose, and it felt appropriate to update our favorite video to reflect our efforts to transform lives and protect our wild places for generations to come. We updated our video again in 2020 to reflect our learnings around equity and inclusion, specifically with regards to erasure language of Indigenous peoples. Read more…

Birding in Quarantine | May 12-Jun 2

Is this quarantine starting to get to you? Are you watching birds out your windows and dreaming about what a birding trip might be like? Where might you go on your own during these Coronavirus times, and what might you find and identify? Our new course, Birding in Quarantine: Maximizing Your Fun and Relaxation, is here to help! Read more…

Introducing the Virtual Education Center & Calendar

While we’re all practicing social distancing and earning our Stayed Home badges for the greater good, we invite you to sharpen your skills and stay connected to the outdoors and each other with our new Virtual Education Center and Virtual Events & Activities Calendar. Build out your toolkit with new tips & tricks, read how to's, find online learning opportunities, and register for virtual events and activities to help you stay connected and engaged with your Mountaineers community. Read more…

196,000 Reasons to Say Thank You

Wow.

It’s not often that I’m at a loss for what to say...but I find myself in awe as I reflect on last week and the groundswell of support we experienced from our community. Read more…

Jim Whittaker is All Dressed Up

As a Mountaineers member over the last 75 years, I have discovered that individual and communal learning takes place when we find ourselves at the edge of our comfort zone. Being out on the edge is where we learn and grow the most. The skills, education, and experiences we receive through The Mountaineers take us to that edge, guide us to uncover our unique leadership styles, teach us what it takes to protect our planet, and inspire us to give back to the communities that shape us. Read more…

CEO Update: The Mountaineers Response to COVID-19

It’s hard to believe that almost exactly a month ago I was on the phone with Mitsu Iwasaki, my counterpart and the Executive Director of the Mazamas, discussing their response to a relatively new thing called the novel coronavirus. The Mazamas were issuing new guidance on best practices for hygiene in groups, and Mitsu kindly let The Mountaineers borrow his language for our first public post on COVID-19. The message at that time was essentially, ‘don’t panic and be sure to wash your hands frequently’. An incredible amount has changed since then. Read more…

Preparing for the Worst: A Chaplain’s Perspective

On August 14, 2018, I received the phone call. A climber had died, and my mountaineering friend had just gotten the news. He needed assistance with what to do next. In seven years as an emergency services chaplain, I’ve lost count of how many death notifications I’ve given, and I was the right person for my friend to call. Only, when I realized that the climber he was talking about was Stephen Kornbluth, my best friend and “mountain husband,” I felt my world shatter into a million pieces. None of my experience had prepared me for this moment. Read more…

How To: Stay Home, Stay Healthy

On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee issued a stay home, stay healthy order for Washington state. The goal of this order is to help slow the spread of COVID-19 to “flatten the curve.”

We are being asked/ordered to stay at home with the exception of essential activities. These activities include going out for groceries, medical care, and approved work in an essential business. We are also being asked to observe strict social distancing protocol and hygiene measures when we do leave the house. Read more…

How To: Stay Connected to the Outdoors While Practicing Social Distancing

Our Mountaineers outdoor community is lucky in that we often de-stress by getting outside. As social distancing becomes the new norm for the next month or so, de-stressing is more important than ever. With many of us working from home right now, fresh air, physical activity, and a break from the digital world can make a huge difference and improve mental health. Here are some tips to practice social distancing in the places we already love to play. Read more…

COVID-19 and Trip Planning

While we fully understand the desire to get outside right now, we want to urge caution and preparation. Many of the towns and communities that are gateways to the outdoors are more rural, with limited access to groceries, fuel, and medical supplies. They’re already being hit hard with visitors, as are parks where rangers and administrators are also sick and having a hard time managing the off season crowds. Read more…

Mountaineers Silent Auction Goes Online

Earlier this week we had to make a hard decision in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and our commitment to the health and safety of our community. In partnership with our Gala Co-Chairs and Event Committee, we officially rescheduled The Mountaineers Gala: Adventure with Purpose to July 23, 2020Read more…

Backpack in the Patagonian Summer - In February 2021

Backpack for eight days far off the beaten track across the Andes through Argentina’s 'Switzerland'. Join us to explore  Nahuel Huapi National Park in northern Patagonia as part of a Mountaineers Global Adventures trip in Feburary 2021. It'll be winter here, but you can enjoy the sunshine of the summer in the southern hemisphere! Read more…

The Mountaineers Gala Rescheduled and Reimagined

I am writing to update you about our response to the COVID-19 outbreak and actions related to our annual Gala. A lot has changed since last week, and we are committed to keeping our community healthy and to responding to public health recommendations in a way that allows us to best sustain our mission. In partnership with our Gala Co-Chairs and Event Committee, who are diligently keeping the health and safety of our community at front of mind, we are rescheduling The Mountaineers Gala to July 23, 2020.  Read more…

Hit the Trail With a Day Hiking Course - Begins March 30

With spring around the corner, we want to help you get ready to hit the trail with the Olympia Branch's new Day Hiking Course! Are you new to hiking, or haven't been out in a while? Do you wonder about gear, clothing, or backpack weight? Want to get better acquainted with our local area? This course is for you!  Read more…

CEO Update on the Keta Legacy Foundation Lawsuit

You may have heard recently that Keta Legacy Foundation, formerly known as The Mountaineers Foundation, filed a federal lawsuit against The Mountaineers. We were saddened by Keta’s action in suing us. And we were stunned to learn that Keta was not only demanding that the court allow it to continue to use the name “The Mountaineers” but also that the court prohibit us from using our own name for charitable fund‐raising activities. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Dee Ann Kline

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Dee Ann Kline, a volunteer leader with the Olympia Branch who enjoys leading easy paced hikes with plenty of time for photos and berry picking. Read more…

Sign Up For Olympia Summer Youth Camps - June 22-July 24

This summer, our Olympia Branch of The Mountaineers is offering four weeks of unique and exciting summer camp adventures. With a combination of day camps and overnight camps (both cabin and camping opportunities), we have opportunities everyone will enjoy. See what we have planned and find a week (or four!) that works for your family. Read more…

Leadership at the Top: Seeking Candidates for the Olympia Branch Council

The Olympia Branch is a vibrant, growing community with quality volunteer leaders. The Branch Council supports this great community of volunteers. The council is recruiting applicants for the Branch Council elections that will be held this summer. Read more…

Olympia Conservation Stewardship Development Meeting - Feb 27

According to Olympia Mountaineer Jim French: "as Mountaineers, we may have been the first to see changes in our environment and they have been catastrophic. The signs aren't good. Well, the smart gambler says, 'let's not take that chance. Maybe we should be doing something.'" Read more…

Mountaineers Backpacking Courses for 2020

Backpacking season will be upon us before we know it, and we have more options than ever to help you kick-start your backcountry dreams. Courses are available for adults at all skill and experience levels, as well as for families who want to take kids out on the trail. And, you're welcome to take a course with any branch regardless of your branch affiliation. Be sure to sign up for courses while you can, they fill up quickly!   Read more…