The Mountaineers formed in Seattle in 1906.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 12/25/2000
  • Essay 2903
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In 1906, The Mountaineers club is formed in Seattle. The purpose of the club is "to explore, study, preserve, and enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors."

The group was known initially as The Mountaineers, Auxiliary to the Mazamas, because many of the organizers were associated with the Mazamas mountaineering club of Oregon. The organization adopted a constitution in 1907, and that November the name was reduced to just "The Mountaineers." There were 150 charter members, including University of Washington geologist (and husband of future Seattle mayor Bertha Landes) Henry Landes, historian Edmond S. Meany (1862-1935), and the photographer Asahel Curtis (1874-1941). Climbers such as Jim Whittaker (b. 1929), the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest, got their training at Seattle's Mountaineers Club.

In 1909, the Everett Branch was formed, followed in 1912 by the Tacoma Branch. Then branches were formed in Olympia, Bellingham, and Wenatchee. Most recently, two new branches have been established on the Kitsap Peninsula and in the Snoqualmie foothills. In 2000, the central membership was officially declared the Seattle Branch. As of that year, the club had 15,000 members and was the third largest such organization in the United States. The administration headquarters for the entire club resides in Seattle.

The non-profit club sponsors activities such as hiking, backpacking, climbing, skiing and snowboarding, whitewater and sea kayaking, alpine scrambling, sailing, nature study, biking, snowshoeing, and foreign travel.

The club has a book publishing division, and also participates in lobbying for conservation efforts.


Jim Whittaker, A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1999), 27; The Mountaineers website accessed January 12, 2006 (; Lowell Skoog, The Mountaineers, email to Priscilla Long, January 31, 2013, in possession of Priscilla Long, Seattle, Washington.
Note: This essay was expanded on January 12, 2006, and corrected and expanded on February 4, 2013.

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