Leader Resources Blog

Leader Resources Blog

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Language Matters: Let's Stop Using the Slang Word For Carabiner

Many people use an abbreviated slang word in climbing without consideration or afterthought. This word is frequently used alongside other words like rope, harness, and belay. If you search on the Internet for this word, the first 5-10 results would reference the term to describe a piece of standard climbing gear. Countless climbing websites recognize the slang word as a standard, and our basic climbing students are even indoctrinated with its common use. And all of us are wrong. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Lisa Hayek

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Lisa Hayek, a hike and backpack leader with the Tacoma Branch who loves getting to know members with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. Read more…

Join Us for a Leadership Development Series Seminar

As a part of our Vision 2022 strategic plan, The Mountaineers is committed to leading innovation in outdoor education. A key component of this initiative is investing in our volunteer leaders, the heart and soul of our vibrant organization. Read more…

How To: Deal With A Smash and Grab

On Monday, February 11, a quick jaunt to a local park in the Issaquah Alps to enjoy the fresh snow on skis had a less-than-happy ending. The snow itself was delightfully powdery, and the skiing was memorable and fun! But when the fun ended, we came back to a smashed car window, with items stolen from the vehicle, and yet another nasty surprise awaiting us: our home had been burglarized as well. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Krissy Fagan

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Krissy Fagan, a climb leader with the Bellingham Branch who is learning to appreciate the many different speeds of mountaineering ... but who still prefers a good sufferfest! Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Debbee Lynn Straub

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Debbee Lynn Straub, a volunteer leader with the Kitsap Branch who co-chairs the Basic Climbing course and believes that outdoor adventure is all about camaraderie. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Karen Wallace

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Karen Wallace, a volunteer leader with the Foothills Branch who is inspired to get newer members out on the trail, encouraging them to become advocates for the outdoors! Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Ginger Sarver

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Ginger Sarver, a volunteer leader with the Olympia Branch who loves hiking and dove head-first into leading stewardship activities with The Mountaineers! Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Atsuko Yamaguchi

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Atsuko Yamaguchi, a volunteer leader with the Everett Branch who encourages all group members to be active participants! Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Lonny Moore

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Lonny Moore, a volunteer leader with the Kitsap Branch who loves to sing 80's medleys and wear Leader Yellow. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Lisa Loper

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Lisa Loper, a volunteer leader with the Everett Branch who believes that every person you meet in the mountains has something to teach you. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Nancy Lloyd

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Nancy Lloyd, a volunteer leader with the Olympia Branch who loves spending time in the mountains and encourages leaders to set the right tone for their trip through thorough communication! Read more…

2018 Recap: A Year In Review

It is no secret that volunteers are at the absolute core of The Mountaineers success. Nearly everything we do is driven by volunteer initiative and support, and it’s humbling to dive into our annual numbers and take a look at our collective impact. Read more…

Impact Giving | Building a Culture of Philanthropy: One Pie at a Time

For Mountaineers member Matt Ray, the most transformational experiences of his life happened at a summer camp in the North Woods of Wisconsin. Part traditional sports camp and part old-fashioned sleepaway camp, PorterCamp offers a safe space for campers and staff to build a better understanding of who they are, while learning to develop healthy relationships and having a lot of fun in the process. Matt attended as a boy, and has since committed over half of his life volunteering to ensure today’s young campers experience the same magic he did more than three decades ago. Read more…

2018 Leadership Conference - It’s a Wrap!

The Mountaineers hosted our fifth annual Leadership Conference on Saturday, December 1 at the Seattle Program Center. It was an outstanding day of leadership development for our volunteer community - thank you to everyone joined us! Read more…

Wilderness Risk Management Conference Recap - 2018

The Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) is an annual gathering of outdoor professionals that creates an unparalleled opportunity for experts from throughout the industry to share knowledge and best practices. We were lucky that this year's conference was so close to home - just down the road in Portland, OR - which allowed us the opportunity to send a group of fourteen staff and volunteers to learn and share on behalf of our organization. Read more…

Outside Insight | A Life of Adventure Education: An interview with Ken Wylie

A massive avalanche buried thirteen climbers below La Traviata peak near Revelstoke, British Columbia in 2003, killing seven in its wake. It made international headlines. Ken Wylie was among those buried; he escaped with guilt weighing heavily on his conscience, as he was one of the mountain guides responsible for decision-making on that trip. Ken wrote a popular book titled, Buried, about his experience surviving that avalanche, and the soul-searching life lessons which ensued. I have been learning from Ken for almost twenty years - starting at Outward Bound, then at the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, and most recently as a speaker at our Mountaineers Leadership Conference in 2017, where he gave a profoundly moving presentation about leadership, loss, and the healing that comes from courageous vulnerability. I sat down with him to learn more from his experience. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Rena Chinn

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Rena Chinn, a volunteer leader with the Seattle Branch who encourages others leaders to develop a clear sense of their capabilities and limitations, and to lead within the scope of their skill base. Read more…

Urban Speed Hiking With Liz Thomas

With the sun about to kiss the horizon, Liz Thomas, trail name: “Snorkel,” has places to go and needs the last rays of the day to illuminate her path. She is ascending and descending steps in Seattle, one of the hilliest and most publicly staircased cities in the country. This is not a task to be executed, at her pace, in complete darkness. Read more…

How To: Hike Healthy As You Age

On Monday, August 13, 2018, I attended a free presentation at REI by Dr. Michael Domingo, DPT, OCS entitled "Exercises for Healthy Hiking". I learned a lot about how to stay active in the outdoors as you enter your 'wiser years', and with Dr. Domingo's permission I want to share those tips with you. Read more…

Leadership on the Water: An Interview with Tom Unger

Tom Unger has been hiking, climbing, skiing, paddling, and sailing up and down the west coast for 25 years. He’s widely praised by students and participants for his outstanding communications, group facilitation, instruction, and collaborative leadership. In the summer of 2017, Tom led a two-week trip with The Mountaineers around Cape Scott with Barney Bernhard, Esther Ladwig, Marty Mayock, Charlie Michel, and Karen Cramer. In this interview, Tom discusses how he intentionally brought his group together around common goals, expectations, and trip styles. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Curtis Stock

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Curtis Stock, a volunteer leader with the Tacoma Branch who encourages our members to give trip leadership a try. If your committee thinks you're ready, you probably are! Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Tab Wilkins

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Tab Wilkins, a volunteer leader with the Foothills Branch who encourages our leaders to be more collaborative, to learn from and recognize near-misses, and to embrace opportunities for feedback. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Gordie Swartzman

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Gordie Swartzman, a naturalists leader with the Seattle Branch who encourages new leaders to lead out of their passion! Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Bill Coady

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Bill Coady, a volunteer leader with the Everett Branch who encourages others to lead because he enjoys helping other similarly-minded outdoor enthusiasts ... and because he loves it! Read more…

Clarifying Failure as a Path to Success

What happens if a student isn’t able to demonstrate proficiency in a skill? What if a student has demonstrated the skill, but fails to do so during a test? When is good enough good enough, and when is an error sufficient to fail a student? When we fail a student, what options does that student have to continue to pursue this activity with The Mountaineers? Read more…

Join us at the 2018 Wilderness Risk Management Conference!

How do industry trends affect, shape, and impact our programs at The Mountaineers? If this is a question that you've ever considered – and a conversation that you're interested in being a part of – we invite you to join The Mountaineers at this year's Wilderness Risk Management Conference in Portland, Oregon. Read more…

Leader Spotlight: Ted Miller

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Ted Miller, a volunteer leader with the Bellingham Branch who strives to provide a safe environment for students to learn from their mistakes. Read more…

The Communications Devices We Carry

On June 24, I will be leaving home - along with a group of three other Mountaineers sea kayakers - to paddle down the west coast of Vancouver Island. Our plan is to take three weeks, starting in Winter Harbor and ending in Tofino, paddling a distance of over 200 nautical miles of exposed and remote outer coastline.  As a part of our safety plan, we've included electronic signaling devices which we can use to call for emergency help. This blog describes the various options that I considered for our trip, an overview of what we decided to bring, and how we will use these devices throughout our journey.  Read more…

I Found My Trail Running Community at The Mountaineers – And You Can Too!

I am a proud trail running newbie! I first hit the trails in my street running shoes, carrying nothing but my car key. “No big deal,” I thought. “I’ve got this.” Then I watched my pace slow way down from my road pace and started debating whether the steep hills would kill me. “But I’m a runner, this shouldn’t be this hard!" Read more…