Bringing the Mountains’ Stories to Life

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

Mother, nursing student, mountain climber, author, search-and-rescue leader … the list of job titles for Bree Loewen gets longer the more one gets to know her. This month, Olympia community members can listen as Loewen interweaves these skills at an author reading at Browsers Bookshop. She’ll present her newest book, Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue.

“There are so many different elements to each of our lives,” said Loewen. “I’m going to school full-time, I’m doing things for this book, I’m a mother, I’m with SMR (Seattle Mountain Rescue) … It’s really hard to balance it all. It takes a lot of caring in other areas of my life to get away with it. I still haven’t found that perfect balance yet.”

Loewen will read from Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue to give audience members insight into her experiences as a leader of SMR, a volunteer search-and-rescue organization that keeps her on call 24/7, 365 days a year. “Some of the (SMR) events were traumatic,” Loewen continued, “and there are definitely a lot of events where I was the only person left with the story of what happened. But I didn’t want to be alone with those stories. They belong to the community. The things that happen in the mountains are our shared history.”

Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue is Loewen’s second book. It was published in May 2017 and offers readers an honest, darkly humorous account of her struggle to build comradery among her peers and juggle volunteer work with being a full-time mother. It also brings the beautiful but deadly landscapes of Washington state’s wilderness to life for readers. Her first book, Pickets and Dead Men, is a personal account of her arduous journey to gain respect in the male-dominated field of search and rescue as she worked on Mount Rainier during her early 20s. Impressively, Loewen has over 100 rescues under her belt. In addition to volunteering with SMR, she attends the nursing program at Shoreline Community College.

What: Bree Loewen author reading

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, July 20

Where: Browsers Bookshop,
1007 Capitol Way N, Olympia

How much: free

Learn more: 360-357-7462 | Browsers Books

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