Staying healthy above the Oregon clouds

Craig Karls stays fit, active and community-focused with Mazamas

The Portland Clinic encourages and supports our doctors, nurses and staff in their effort to keep Portland healthy. As part of an ongoing blog series, we are sharing some of the ways our team members are doing their part to support our local community. Craig Karls, a reports writer with The Portland Clinic for nearly three years, has taken his interest in outdoor adventure and channeled it into volunteering his free time on the mountains with the Portland-based mountaineering education organization, Mazamas.

 By Craig Karls, Reports Writer

As a native of this great city, I’ve been hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest for as long as I can remember. I’ve always felt a connection with the outdoors, especially with all of the deep history unique to this area. A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the Mazamas as a student of its climbing programs. The more-than-a-century-old nonprofit mountaineering education organization offers more than 700 hikes and 350 climbs annually, plus a variety of classes and activities for every skill and fitness level.

I was highly impressed with the program because the information shared through Mazamas was so in-depth and motivational. Their enthusiasm, patience and dedication inspired me to volunteer my time, paying it forward to future climbers. While I currently assist with climbs, I’m now in the process of training to be a full-fledged instructor.

Craig Karls enjoys improved health and community connections through his work with Mazamas
Craig Karls enjoys improved health and community connections through his work with Mazamas

When you’re climbing, you need the support of a strong team, especially if the unexpected happens. Understanding all aspects of climbing and the abilities of your team could mean the difference between life and death. The teams on each Mazamas climb or hike have a wide variety of personalities—introvert, extrovert, analytical and take-charge. I see the same thing every day at The Portland Clinic in its patient- and internal-facing entities. My work with both organizations has helped me better understand how to better support each individual personality I encounter on a daily basis.

At the same time, both organizations place significant emphasis on health and wellness. Whether you’re watching someone in their 70s climb a mountain, or a young, inspired student tie a knot for the first time, the success of each member of the group is a testament to healthy living. Climbing safely literally keeps you healthy and alive. And as you know, The Portland Clinic is devoted to ensuring all patients receive optimal care in order to lead a healthy lifestyle.

We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful state and I encourage all of my neighbors to get out there, explore and enjoy everything our area has to offer. If you have any questions about joining Mazamas, please don’t hesitate to visit the organization’s website at

— Craig

As with any new fitness routine or lifestyle change, the doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic recommend speaking with your physician to discuss your health, fitness goals and any potential risk factors before participating in activities such as mountain climbing.