Tacoma Branch Blog Posts

Tacoma Branch Blog Posts

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CEO Update: State of the Organization Recap - Feb 2021

Reflecting back on the last year, it’s fair to say that it’s been one of the most challenging years in Mountaineers history. In March 2020, COVID-19 related shutdowns caused nearly every aspect of Mountaineers operations to grind to a halt. Our program centers and lodges had to close their doors, we were unable to ship books to retailers and parks, volunteers had to postpone or cancel courses, trips, and events, and youth programs were put on pause. In addition to severely impacting our mission delivery, these program closures created a financial crisis that threatened our very existence. Without taking immediate and aggressive actions, we ran the risk of running out of operational cash reserves by the end of May.  Read more…

Beat Zoom Fatigue: How To Make Your Virtual Course More Engaging

It’s been nearly a year since COVID-19 changed so much in our lives  - including The Mountaineers. As we dive into the 2021 course season, many of us are thinking about how to improve and refine the experiences we’re designing within the confines of Zoom and Google. Pandemic or not, hybrid and virtual courses are here to stay and we have a great opportunity to make them as accessible, interactive, and fun as possible. Read more…

Action Alert! House to Vote on Wild Olympics and Public Lands Protections

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will take up a lands package which includes additional protections for the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act here in Washington State. This bill will protect over 126,000 acres around the Olympic National Park where we hike, camp, and explore. We need your support to get this important bill passed this year! Read more…

Action Alert! Advocate for the Outdoors in Washington State’s Budget

Every two years, the Washington State Legislature passes a budget that funds state operations like education, human services, transportation, and public lands. Lawmakers are currently negotiating this year’s funding package. The Mountaineers is working with other conservation and recreation groups to advocate for funding for our state land management agencies and outdoor programs. Now more than ever, our state public lands need sufficient funding to ensure sustainable and equitable access to the outdoors.  Read more…

Become a Trailhead Ambassador

We’re excited to announce Trailhead Ambassadors, a new program launching this summer to help promote responsible recreation and environmental stewardship in the Snoqualmie Corridor area. Volunteer Trailhead Ambassadors will serve as a welcoming entity at popular trailheads along the I-90 corridor and help educate and empower trail users. The program is currently recruiting volunteers.  Read more…

BeWild with Elsye "Chardonnay" Walker - Feb 11

For eight years, we've hosted the BeWild Speaker Series to bring  you stories of passion and adventure. On February 11, we're excited to host Elsye "Chardonnay" Walker, who in 2018 became the first African American woman to complete the "Triple Crown of Hiking" - trekking 7,900 miles along the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide trails. Read more…

Speak up for Wilderness and Recreation in the Enchantments

One of Washington State’s most beloved wild places - the Enchantments, located in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness - could be impacted by a proposal to replace an aging dam. The Washington State Department of Ecology recently announced plans to replace the Eightmile Lake Dam in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The plans raise concerns about appropriate actions in a protected wilderness area and impacts on recreation. Read more…

What a New Congress and a New Administration Means for Public Lands

Outdoor advocates enter 2021 with a vastly different federal landscape to navigate than we saw in 2020. With a new Congress and a new Administration, we have exciting opportunities to protect our public lands, outdoor experiences, and climate. Here is a summary of some of the key changes that will affect our work to conserve the public lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond: Read more…

Backpacking Courses Spring 2021

Although we’re still in the heart of winter, it won’t be too long before the skies begin to lighten and we’re planning our spring and summer adventures. Get a head-start on your summer plans now by signing up for one of our upcoming introduction to backpacking courses, an excellent way to develop your skills and confidence on the trails before heading out on your first over-night or multi-night trip. Read more…

2020 Recap: A Year in Review

The Mountaineers is an incredible community of adventurers, students, instructors, advocates, and leaders. As we close the door on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we reflect on our core values and how they’ve guided us through the past nine months of this pandemic.  Read more…

BeWild with Bernadette McDonald - Jan 14

For eight years, we've hosted the BeWild Speaker Series to bring  you stories of passion and adventure. We're excited to kick the 2021 season off with historian, founder of the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture, and author of the new Mountaineers Books title Winter 8000, Bernadette McDonald.  Read more…

Running a Course in the Middle of a Pandemic

This story starts back in 2019 when, as the Hiking Chair for the Tacoma Hiking and Backpacking Committee, I had the idea of offering a Conditioning Hiking Series (CHS) in Tacoma. The goal of a series like this is to help casual or new hikers increase their mileage and elevation gain in a fun, community-oriented way, and I had a feeling it would be popular at our branch.  Read more…

Outdoor Alliance’s Adam Cramer on the Outdoor Advocacy “Superpowers” of The Mountaineers

For almost six years, The Mountaineers has been a proud member of Outdoor Alliance, a nonprofit organization that unites the voices of outdoor enthusiasts in order to protect the human-powered outdoor recreation experience and conserve America’s public lands. Our membership in Outdoor Alliance amplifies our ability to weigh in on national policy issues and bring regional issues to national attention. Read more…

Are We Open? Lodge and Program Centers Update

For many people in our Mountaineers community, spending time at our lodges is a winter and holiday tradition. During a normal year, many of our courses begin hosting lectures and practice sessions at our program centers in the winter months. And without a pandemic our Baker, Meany, and Stevens Lodges would be serving as home base for Mountaineers members and guests for snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, lift-serviced alpine skiing, and other winter adventures.  Read more…

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…

Different & Able | A profile of Kimber Cross

It’s a chilly March morning in Provo, Utah, 2020. Kimber Cross has been flown here by the outdoor meal brand Peak Refuel to shoot a short film about her journey into ice climbing. As the team walks down the snow-packed trail to a frozen waterfall, Kimber feels the eyes of passersby, and they’re staring. Maybe it’s because of the big, red cameras that stand in contrast to the stark landscape, but an old fear starts to creep into her psyche, a fear that tells her to hide. All eyes focus on the tool strapped to her pack. Read more…

Solar Energy For Our Tacoma Program Center

Voting is live for Evergreen Options participants! If you're an EVO customer, you should have received an email announcing the two grant applicants on Tuesday, December 8. Please be sure to cast your vote by 5pm on December 14 to help The Mountaineers receive a $50,000 grant that will support a new solar PV system on the roof of the Tacoma Program Center! 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…

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…

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…

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…