Looming large over the Pacific Northwest, Mount Rainier is our iconic natural feature. For many of us who have grown up with the mountain in our backyard, her presence has been a constant reminder of the magnificence of the life in our region. For Mathias Eichler, Mount Rainier has become an inspiration for adventure, design and business.
Originally from the shadow of the Alps, Mathias has made it his mission to share his love of the mountains with his family and his community. Now living within a short drive of Rainier, he incorporates the snowy summits into his work as a designer, photographer and publisher. Mount Rainier has become his new land of daydreams and he wishes to share that destination with others.
For Mathias, the Alps were his family’s summer vacation playground, with nearly every vacation seeing trips to valleys in the Austrian Alps or the Dolomites in South Tyrol. Throughout adolescence, names of famous mountains he’d never dare climb were etched into his mind, but never Mount Rainier. That all changed when he moved to the United States.
“Seattle was my first home in the Pacific Northwest. I lived the urban life and, without a car, all I could see was the white ghost looming in the distance,” Mathias shared. “From so far away, that incredible mountain looked unreachable, inaccessible, scary even. The first time I drove up to Paradise, I wore shorts and it started snowing. I had no idea of the power of this dramatic landscape and it took me many visits to unlock its magnificent beauty.”
Less than a decade later, Mathias and his family moved south toward Mount Rainier, taking trips to the park and falling further in love with the majesty of our iconic mountain. It was after the move south that the numerous adventures in Rainier helped rekindle the love for the mountains that Mathias had as a child in the Alps. Mathias found himself drawn to the region again and again, even finding himself longing to use it in his design work. Influenced by the Swiss and German designers who favored clean lines, simple shapes, modern fonts and bold colors, Mathias found his medium working perfectly with the ruggedness and starkness of the glaciated summit rising in the distance.
For years, Mathias, with his wife and two kids, would return to Mount Rainier, taking hikes and discovering new (to them) destinations where they could create lifelong memories. Full of wanderlust and a desire to share the region with others, Mathias helped start The Outdoor Society, where he is the lead designer and one of the photographers helping to share the beauty of the public lands of the West. Literally shouting from the mountain tops, Mathias used his design skills to create a website and publishing company.
With Rainier as the backdrop, Mathias and The Outdoor Society quickly started creating content celebrating the mountain. From a dedicated page highlighting Mount Rainier, to numerous articles about incredible hikes and family-friendly experiences in the region, the website became a celebration of our natural beauty. In 2017, Mathias had a flash of inspiration and began working to create a 2018 calendar celebrating the wilderness beauty and trails of the mountain.
“The 2018 calendar was created in hopes to get you to dream and then to be inspired to head outdoors,” Mathias explained. “It also makes a beautiful gift for the person who might not be able to visit the park as often as we can. Homesick family from out of state and friends who’ve never seen the true wilderness of the American West can now be inspired by Mount Rainier each and every day.”
Mathias continued, “For 2018 we decided to honor the place that, like no other, defines the Pacific Northwest. Mount Rainier, the tallest of all the Cascade volcanoes, defines our skyline, graces our Washington State license plate, makes its own weather and draws people from all over the world to its vistas. As a mountain lover I can’t think of another image better representing who we are and can’t think of a better calendar to hang in my living room this coming year.”
For those of us that are lucky to be living in the shadow of Mount Rainier, we can be in the park in less than an hour, exploring and taking in the grandeur of this massive volcano. We can be breathing the clear mountain air and seeing the trees rise up into the sky, all overshadowed by the enormousness of Mount Rainier, which breathes life into the region and demands our respect. Many of us take the close proximity to the mountain for granted, which is why seeing someone like Mathias so excited about the mountain is so important. His excitement is contagious and his work is inspiring, helping to remind us to get outdoors and reconnect with the mountain that defines our region. You can order your calendar here.
“What I love the most about heading to our parks is seeing my children embrace the outdoors,” Mathias beamed. “They enjoy hiking, even if I sometimes have to coax them with some gummy bears or a bag of chips as a reward. With my work and with my celebration of Mount Rainier in my life, I am able to instill the same wonder and excitement into my children that I was lucky enough to receive as a young kid roaming the valleys and mountains of the Alps.”