Northern Pickets in winter. Photo © John Scurlock
  Issue 3, Summer 2006  


W he best things in life are free. Any mountaineer knows this. To spend a day in the mountains with family or friends is a gift that you can’t put a price tag on.

It’s easy to lose sight of this. Today we face proliferating user fees, soaring gas prices, and the siren call of the outdoor industry urging us to buy ever more expensive products. But what we get for free from mountaineering is only half of the picture. In recent years, I’ve grown to appreciate the importance of what we give to mountaineering for free.

2006 marks the centennial year of The Mountaineers, organized in 1906 “to explore, study, preserve and enjoy the natural beauty of the Northwest.” The Mountaineers have contributed many things to Northwest mountaineering, from climbing instruction to mountain rescue, conservation to book publishing, and much more. Ever since I started climbing (and probably long before) criticism of the The Mountaineers by non-members has been a parlor game. Free Spirits versus The Establishment and all of that.

But I’ve grown to appreciate that for their 100 year history, The Mountaineers have been an organization of volunteers. Everything the club has done for Northwest mountaineering has been done because club members volunteered their time to do it. When you consider the contributions the club has made, to mountain safety and rescue, the establishment of Parks and Wilderness Areas, and launching a publishing program that has grown into a major commercial enterprise, the record is impressive and honorable.

The Northwest Mountaineering Journal continues in that spirit. This journal is produced by volunteers — only a few of whom are members of The Mountaineers — who don’t make a dime for their efforts. Our editorial team members wouldn’t have it any other way. Without having to show a profit or even cover our minimal expenses, we can gather stories that would otherwise never be published.

We hope you enjoy the 2006 Northwest Mountaineering Journal. If you do, we hope you too may be inspired by the spirit of volunteerism. If you’d like to contribute to the journal, by writing, submitting photos, suggesting stories, or helping with the editing, please feel free to contact us at submissions@nwmj.org.

Lowell Skoog, editorial team leader

Issue 3 notes
Editorial Team
Ralph Bodenner
Steve Firebaugh
Paul Klenke
Alex Krawarik
Matt Perkins
Chris Simmons
Lowell Skoog
Gary Yngve
Special Thanks
The editors again thank Jon Ryan and Tim Crawford of CascadeClimbers.com for their continued and invaluable support of this journal, and for the resources that they and the message board have provided.

Special thanks also to John Scurlock, whose aerial photographs of the Cascades have inspired Northwest climbers and greatly enhanced this journal.