What makes a Western Mountaineer…

Posted by webmaster on June 7, 2009

Both boys and adults alike learn many things in Scouting. packard-mountains1

But, as a High Adventure Troop and located in Colorado, we might have a unique perspective on what it means to be an outdoorsman, an adventurer, a Mountaineer.

So with a bit of poetry, reflection, and wit, I offer the following.

And, I ask that the Scouts and Scouters of Troop 16 (past and present) send the scoutmaster at scoutmaster@bsa16.org or our Historians other thoughts, ideas, and additions.  This is a never-ending project       — Mr. Coleman

A Western Mountaineer…

  • Knows when to turn back – because when the Mountain Gods say “not today” he listens.
  • Knows why the tops of mesas remain, while the land around them erodes away.
  • Keeps his hands in his pockets when he finds Native American art and markings.
  • Understands on which side of the valley the lush trees grow and on which side grows the yucca.
  • Has learned that hiking on flat roads is much more strenuous than hiking on up-and down trail.
  • Knows what geologic uplift is and why its so cool.
  • Has a bag of Trailmix by his head when sleeping in a snow cave and takes a handful in the middle of the night.
  • Keeps his paddle in the water when he goes over rapids.
  • Plans his return from the mountains to avoid traffic on I-70 (–Mr. Florian)
  • Drinks enough water in the day so he feels good in the evening.
  • Never has stuff hanging off and rattling on the back of his backpack.
  • Realizes that you need alot less stuff in the outdoors than can fit in your pack.
  • Knows you get up early to climb mountains, or you don’t go at all.  (– Mr. Abell)
  • Knows you don’t set your tent up on the lush green grass of the flat washout, because that’s where the rain goes.  (– Mr. Abell)
  • Knows the best trails are the trails less traveled. (– Mr. Abell)
  • Tucks his groundcloth under so it doesn’t collect rain and send it under the tent.
  • Has learned that “sprint & rest” hiking is inherently slower than “slow & steady.”
  • Orients his map…orients his map…orients his map…
  • Wears layers and takes them on and off regularly – and none are made of cotton (particularly jeans)
  • Knows that sweating in sub-zero temperatures is worse than starting out cold
  • Sleeps in tomorrows clothes and never in today’s.
  • Never puts food in his tent in the spring, summer, and fall; and knows which water bottle has had Kool-aid in it.
  • Places his Bear Bag 8-12 feet above the ground.
  • Knows what the Bear-muda Triangle is, and how to set one up.
  • Realizes that when dumped into an icy lake his body will want to gasp and swallow water, so he prepares for it.
  • Makes sure there are no macaroni noodles in the water he “rainbows” after cleaning his pots.
  • Treats fire with immense respect, and knows it’s more scary than bears.
  • Leaves no trace of his passing, recognizing that so little rain falls in the west that it will be years before it wipes out his footprints.
  • Knows where he is on the map.
  • Stays on the top of the mountain for less than an hour.
  • Reads the weather.
  • Climbs the mountain as a team, not just as an individual.
  • Realizes that Baden Powell put Cheerful into the Scout Law for a solid military team-effectiveness reason.
  • Rolls up his pad, stuffs his sleeping bag, and cleans out his tent – before he gets out of it in the morning.
  • Your idea…(in one sentence)



Troop 16 - Parker's High Adventure Troop