Woman, 17 Scouts scale Mount Adams

October 25, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

Maria Faires, with members of Troop 636 in the background, stands at the summit of Mount Adams. Contributed

Personal trainer, registered dietician and clinical exercise specialist Maria Faires seems a natural to also just happen to be a mountain climber.

However, what might not seem as natural is that Faires also is a leader of Boy Scout Troop 636 of Issaquah.

In late summer, Faires led 17 members of the troop to the summit of Mount Adams, which at 12,276 feet is the second highest peak in the state.

“It was 17 guys and one girl,” said Faires, who added this is not the first time she has taken Scouts up local mountainsides. On her own, Faires said she has reached the top of every major Washington summit.

“It was really the culmination of a lot of work,” Troop 636 Committee Chairman Ed Steenman said.

He added he always was pretty sure his troop of 13- to 15-year-old boys would make it to the top. As a self-professed member of the “over 50 crowd,” he said he wasn’t too sure he personally would be with them when they did.

Running her fitness business out of her home in Sammamish, Faires has been active with the Boy Scouts for some time. She started as a den mother and is currently an assistant Scoutmaster. Her oldest son, 20, is an Eagle Scout. Although it might seem unusual to some to see a woman helping with a Boy Scout troop, Faires said it has become relatively common.

“They’re happy for anybody who is willing to help,” she said.

To qualify for the Mount Adams climb, Faires said Scouts had to take part in 12 previous hikes. She added she was looking for maturity as much as physical ability.

“I needed to know they were going to listen and behave,” she said.

The Mount Adams climb began with what Faires described as a strenuous two-hour hike with each person carrying a full pack of gear. Steenman said the group camped on the hillside overnight, then took off for the summit the following morning.

The actual climb took about eight hours, Faires said. She added that the troop took the southern route up the mountain. The route is considered a nontechnical climb, but that doesn’t mean it’s a proverbial walk in the park, Faires added. Scouts used pick axes and other equipment along the way.

“You’re in the snow most of the time,” Steenman said.

On the Web

Go to Maria Faires’ website at www.myactivenutrition.com.

Learn more about Boy Scout Troop 636 at www.troop636.net.

He added that reaching the summit might not have been life changing for him, but he decidedly believes it was an accomplishment. So apparently did the members of Troop 636. Steenman said that on the ride home, one boy told him the climb was the coolest thing he’d ever done in Scouting.

Judging from Faires’ comments, coming down the mountain was nothing short of a blast. Essentially, Faires, Steenman and the Scouts slid down the mountain on their backsides. Faires called it “glissading.” Faires said so many other hikers have done it, there are paths in the snow to follow virtually all the way down.

“It’s just about the most fun thing you’ve ever done,” she added.

In her private practice, Faires said she gets very involved in the lives of her clients. Her favorite right now is a 12-year-old girl.

“We laughed and giggled through the workouts,” Faires said.

Steenman noted the Boy Scouts put on a recruiting drive near the start of every school year.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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