American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Colorado Mountain Club

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1951

Colorado Mountain Club. “All aboard for the Great South Circle Trip! Great North Circle Trip and Hall’s Spires leave tomorrow at 7:29 A.M. promptly! Mt. Bonneville on Thursday, rain or shine.” No, not the announcer at Grand Central. This comes from the 37th Annual Outing of the C.M.C., held in the Wind Rivers of Wyoming from 22 July to 6 August 1950. Some 60 members and guests were there, from points as far away as Rochester, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Ohio and California. In age, they ranged from 15 months up. A fine camp—typical of the Club’s efforts to pioneer new areas—was established on Middlefork Lake. Floyd Bousman did a masterful job of guiding and packing up the 20 rugged miles from his Boulder Lake Ranch. Interesting glaciated terrain, plenty of walks, more than plenty of fish—added to menus already meant for gourmands. The outstanding climbs were of Mt. St. Michel, Mt. Bonneville, and N. and S. Clefts (first and second ascents).

Every week end from April to November, the Club walked and climbed all over Colorado’s peaks—“hours of exercise” for some 2200 people on 80 trips. It was a busy year and one of the safest, with more climbing done by more people, and no accidents on Club trips. This record is attributed to constant vigilance, to classification of members (which induces most to undertake only climbs within their powers), and to the “Technical Climbing School.” About 150 attended the classes, and 225 the trips, which were held, as last year, in April and May. The Beginning School was scheduled after the Advanced School, so that both could not be taken in the same season. Also, it was hoped (not in vain) that the advanced group would produce some leaders and instructors for the beginners. For those interested in mountain walking, a “Learn to Hike School” was inaugurated during the summer. An evening program that illustrated proper equipment and its use was offered to an audience of nearly a thousand. Subsequently, there was a supervised “hike,” under special leadership.

The winter program was also full. Ski and snowshoe trips, between December and May, attracted about 675 participants. The Winter Outing was held in April, as scheduled, at Naylor Lake near Georgetown; but an unscheduled early thaw precluded ski climbs of Mt. Evans and Bierstadt Peak. For the first time in winter, the C.M.C. used an air drop for supplies, supplementing with fresh frozen orange juice, etc., the stocks that had been cached at the cabins during the fall. The winter safety program continued, with a showing of the new Forest Service film, “Avalanches to Order,” and classes in first aid given by Red Cross-C.M.C. instructors.

Members in smaller parties climbed in many areas. A new route, “The Window,” was worked out on the E. face of Longs Peak (Trail and Timberline, Feb. 1951); and a snow and ice route, done perhaps only once before, on S. Maroon Peak. Some climbed in the Tetons; two or three parties climbed in Mexico; two members climbed the Devil’s Tower. Two members were in Canada, part of the time with the A.C.C.; they climbed Columbia and made two attempts on Mt. Robson. Two other members were in the Adamant Group, where they made first ascents of Black Widow and an unnamed peak which they called “Dortan”; second ascents of Gog, Colossal and Yellow; and third ascents of Damon and Pythias and Pioneer, on which they found Palmer’s original record.

Under the editorship of Robert Ormes, work on the guidebook is progressing. The hope is that it will be published in the early summer. Plans call for inclusion of geological and historical notes, to make the book more readable—more than just a climbing guide to the high peaks of Colorado.

Evelyn Runnette

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