#LoveInTheMountains Instagram Challenge Winners

In honor of Valentine's day and in association with the release of 5 Ways To Love In The Mountains, we announced the #LoveInTheMountains Instagram Challenge. Over 1,600 people participated by posting a photo of themself and their significant other together in the mountains, captioning the post with a heartfelt thank you to that person. And speaking of thanks, we'd like to give one to each and every one of you who particpated. It really made this idea come to life. Without your many incredible photos and heartfelt writing, this wouldn't have been possible. Thanks!

Now, after looking at each and every posts, we're stoked to announce our three winners. 

Best Caption: For clever wordplay and whimsically inventive first person hashtag use (#IMarriedMyBest Friend and #ImWearingTheSameSweater), we nominate this post by @aeonjones.


I picked her then and I pick her now. #valentines #imarriedmybestfriend #loveinthemountains #imwearingthesamesweater

A photo posted by Aeon Jones (@aeonjones) on


Best Photo: For the raw affection, happiness and relief emanating from these two after 24 hours of climbing, we nominate this photo by @wbreilly.


Best Overall: For how much fun they're having, for how outlandishly staged the photo is, and for how earnestly thankful and well thought-out the caption is, we nominate this photo by @katie.the.archer. 


When you can't find snow, it is wise to have a best friend and sense of humor! #rolemodels Here's my take-me-back Valentines Shout Out Number TWO: The 'Rents �� . Both born and raised in sunny southern California, these two wildcards decided to hit the open road in 1972 and take on the big adventure that is Alaska. #NorthernExposure . I could not have asked for a more fun playground to grow up in. It is where I learned to fish and become a forever ski bunny. Drive a stick shift and fly my dad's plane. Work hard and of COURSE how to take ridiculously staged photos. #whysoSERIOUS ?? . In September 2002, my parents flew with me down to Seattle, where I was starting college at the University of Washington. #goDawgs After we finished moving me into the dorms, the three of us hugged a grand goodbye. I watched them walk away into the darkness....until they disappeared from view. As they were crossing the road, without looking at each other, I saw them both reach for each other's hand in an act of support. . I had been selfishly thinking about myself during this big life change. But in that stolen moment, I realized just how significant this was for them. As the youngest, I was the last to leave the "nest", and their lives would be starting a new chapter too. . In three short weeks, 13 years later, I will be moving back to Alaska, where it all started. And I'm looking forward to spending some quality time once again with these two love birds. . #AlaskaGrown #ValentinesShoutOut #throwback #happyplace #lovebirds #tripdownmemorylane #OptOutside #exploreeverything #partnerincrime #bestiesforlife #homewardbound #LifeBeyondWalls #OutdoorResearch #LoveInTheMountains #getlostnow #findyourtruenorth #passionpassport #theoutbound #Goatworthy #shoutout #alifewelllived #skibunnies #NEVERSTOPexploring #findingwinter #alaskabound

A photo posted by Katie Archer (@katie.the.archer) on


Honorary Mentions:








What does #LoveInTheMountains mean to me? That anything is possible. That you can take one incredibly motivated boy and one fairly inexperienced girl and put them on the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States and have them not only summit, but come down engaged. Getting married seems like it'll be a lot like climbing Whitney in early May. Freezing at times, filled with unforeseen challenges, forging our own path in the snow, and marmots that will steal our spare socks. Maybe not that last one - yea, I'm still not over it. But on this mountain we'll call our marriage we'll have the choice to turn around when the air gets thin or trust in the partner we chose to start the trek with. I hope we always choose each other. I would've turned around that day without you so thank you for pushing me, both in life and to the summit.

A photo posted by Marilyn (@bananamarilyn) on