The Mountaineers (club)

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Members of The Mountaineers during the club's first climb of Mount Rainier in 1909.

The Mountaineers is an alpine club serving the state of Washington. Founded in 1906, it is organized as an outdoor recreation, education, and conservation 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and is based in Seattle, Washington. The Mountaineers host a wide range of outdoor activities, primarily alpine mountain climbing and hikes. The club also hosts classes, training courses, and social events.

The club runs a publishing business, Mountaineers Books, which has several imprints and whose books are sold by major retailers. The manual, Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, is published by Mountaineers Books.

Organization and activities[edit]

The climbing wall outdoors at The Mountaineers building at Magnuson Park.

The Mountaineers has 7 branches in Western Washington, 3 mountain lodges, and 2 program centers, one in Magnuson Park in Seattle, and one in Tacoma. All classes and trips are organized and led by volunteers, and includes activities like hiking, climbing, scrambling, navigation skills, first aid, photography, sailing, kayaking, and skiing, as well as community activities like film festivals and potlucks. The Mountaineers also publishes books, ebooks and guides on outdoor education, recreation and conservation.

There are no restrictions on who may join.


Originally a Seattle-based part of the Mazamas, a Portland based group founded in 1894, The Mountaineers formed their own branch shortly after the 1906 Mazamas Mount Baker expedition and dubbed themselves "The Mountaineers" with 110 charter members—nearly half women. The club constitution was officially adopted in 1907 by a membership of 151. Among these original members were Henry Landes (University of Washington geology dean and later acting president), Edmond S. Meany (the father of the University of Washington Forestry school), the photographer Asahel Curtis, and Seattle photographer and North Cascades guide Lawrence Denny Lindsley.

The activities initially were local walks with the first trip being a hike through Fort Lawton to the West Point Lighthouse (now part of Discovery Park). The first mountain climbing trip was Mount Si. In 1907, 65 members made a group climb of Mount Olympus and exploration of the Olympic Mountains. The next year a summit of Mount Baker was organized, followed by Mount Rainier in 1909. In 1915, a club outing became the first sizable group to hike around Mount Rainier and established the route that would later become known as the Wonderland Trail. The club organizes thousands of trips per year, has a large library and historical archive, teaches instructional courses, and advocates access and environmental causes.

From 1907 to 1995, new climbs in the Cascades were reported in the Mountaineers Annual. Since 2004, the Northwest Mountaineering Journal (NWMJ), hosted by the Mountaineers, has recorded this information.

21st century[edit]

In the first 100 years since the club's founding it expanded to over 10,000 active members and expanded its offerings from a single annual alpine climb to over two dozen different types of activities occurring throughout the year including backpacking, biking, folk dancing, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, volleyball, and water sports. The organization provides a forum for members to organize their own trips and find partners for climbs. Many classes are offered beyond climbing skills including nature photography. navigation, and first aid. A thirty-hour wilderness first aid course called Mountaineering Oriented First Aid (MOFA) was produced by the organization. The organization is home to The Mountaineers Players which perform in the organization's Forest Theatre on the Kitsap Peninsula and The Mountaineers Books publishing which publishes outdoor related literature and guidebooks.

Magnuson Park facilities[edit]

In 2008, the Mountaineers moved from Lower Queen Anne to an old naval building in Magnuson Park, now leased from the City of Seattle.[1] The new facility features indoor and outdoor climbing walls, including an indoor ice climbing wall. The grounds also feature native plants and a rock amphitheater for practicing scrambling and rugged hiking.


The Mountaineers operates three rustic lodges in the mountains of Washington State. They are primarily used as base-camps for activities, classes, and personal recreation trips. All have commercial kitchens and hostel-style sleeping accommodations. They can be rented for private functions, such as weddings, and Meany Lodge has served as the filming location for a movie.


The Mountaineers Library was founded in 1915. As of 2011 it contains 6000 books and subscribes to 40 periodicals. It specializes in studies on climbing, environmental studies, biographies of mountaineers, the history of exploratory mountaineering, and natural history.[2]

Mountaineers Books[edit]

Mountaineers Books, based in Seattle, Washington, is the professional book publishing division of The Mountaineers. Mountaineers Books was informally started in 1955 when a volunteer committee was formed to create a mountaineering training text from the materials that the Club was using for its classes.

According to The Mountaineers: A History (Mountaineers Books, 1998), the committee was headed by member Harvey Manning, an accomplished climber who would go on to write more than 20 guidebooks during his association with the publishing business he helped found. The editorial committee created Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, which produced its ninth edition in 2017. The first edition of Freedom, as it is commonly called, was published in April 1960. The Club's editorial committee remained a unit and began additional publishing projects focusing on both outdoor recreation—such as hiking, climbing, and paddling—and on conservation topics—such as the preservation of wild places.

Mountaineers Books has produced more than 1,000 titles since its foundation in 1960. It shares the Club's 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. It also publishes conservation advocacy titles under the Braided River imprint, which is devoted to conservation education and is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.


  1. ^ City of Seattle (October 8, 2008). "Warren G. Magnuson Park Mountaineers". City of Seattle. Retrieved September 4, 2009.
  2. ^ American Library Directory. Vol. 2 (64th ed.). Information Today, Inc. 2011–2012. pp. 2568–2576. ISBN 978-1-57387-411-3.


  • Berner, Richard C. (1991). Seattle 1900–1920: From Boomtown, Urban Turbulence, to Restoration. Seattle: Charles Press. pp. 98–100. ISBN 0-9629889-0-1.
  • Cox, Steven M.; Fulsaas, Kris; The Mountaineers (2003). Mountaineering : the freedom of the hills. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-828-9.
  • Kjeldsen, Jim (2006). The Mountaineers: A History. Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. ISBN 0-89886-599-9.

External links[edit]