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Sierra Club

Sierra Club. Mountaineering activities continued on many fronts during 1955. Group outings during the summer included High Trips or Base Camps in the Tetons, Glacier National Park, Mount Rainer, northern Yosemite National Park, and the Minarets and upper Kern River in the central and southern Sierra. A considerable amount of climbing was done on all these trips. In the Tetons ascents were made of Mt. Bannon, Buck Mountain, South Teton, and the Grand Teton. A large group from the Rainier trip climbed Mt. Hood. In the Sierra new ascents were made on the Sawtooth Ridge and elsewhere. Knapsack trips, smaller than the High Trips, also ranged far and wide. One visited the Franklin Glacier in British Columbia, where an ascent of Mt. Vigilant was made. Others went to the Cascades in Washington, to the southern and central Sierra, and to the Marble Mountains of California.

Individual trips by Sierra Club members covered many regions. Popocatepetl was climbed by Floyd Burnette, Ray deSaussure, Glenn Cushman, Mary Ann Corthell, and Bob Swift. Jim Wilson, George Whitmore, and Dave Rynin visited the Bella Coola region. Dirk Irvin participated in an ascent of Mt. Robson. Rynin, Irvin, Mark Powell, and Mike Sherrick were in the Bugaboos. A number of climbs was made in the northern Selkirks by Mary Ann Matthews, Dick Irvin, Don Goodrich, Dave Rynin, and Mary Kay Pottinger. Sully Cooper, John Ohrenschall, Mark Powell, and Merle Alley made a second ascent of Brussels Peak in the Canadian Rockies. Many other parties climbed in the Tetons and in the High Sierra.

Rock climbing continues a favorite sport of Californians. In Yosemite Valley many famous ascents were repeated, including the Lost Arrow and the north face of Sentinel Rock. New climbs included a traverse across the face of Middle Cathedral Rock by Dick Long, Bob Skinner, Jack Davis, and George Mandatory, and the east buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock by Warren Harding, Jack Davis, and Bob Swift. A new route on the Higher Cathedral Spire was made by Dick Long and Jim Wilson. A serious attempt was made on the vertical northwest face of Half Dome by Jerry Gallwas, Warren Harding, Royal Robbins, and Don Wilson. Some fine rock climbing was done on the towers of the Monarch Divide in Kings Canyon National Park. Other interesting climbs have been found along Highway 50, near Lake Tahoe.

The Sierra Club has published a number of items of interest to climbers. In 1954 A Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra was published as a memorial to William Shand, Jr. A Climber’s Guide to Pinnacles National Monument was issued in pamphlet form in 1955. The club plans to publish a new guide to the Tetons, by Leigh Ortenburger, in the future. A popular reprint, Belaying the Leader, by Richard M. Leonard and Arnold Wexler will soon be out in a new edition. Other reprints of interest are: Safety Last? by Morgan Harris, and A Rope Length from Eternity, by William Siri.

In view of a considerable number of accidents or near-accidents, the Mountaineering Committee has recently increased safety activities. These have comprised frank discussions among climbers, articles in the monthly Sierra Club Bulletin and the biweekly news sheet, distribution of the A.A.C. Accident Report to all climbers, follow-up on accidents, and better training methods. One important problem is that of reaching climbers who do not belong to clubs.

A Mountain Rescue Service, designed to offer help to public agencies when class 4, 5, or 6 climbing is involved, has been set up by the Sierra Club in the San Francisco area. About 30 climbers are participating, under the leadership of A. W. Baxter, Larry Williams, and Ron Hahn. Arrangements have been made with the National Park Service, National Forest Service, and State Park Department for the routing of calls to a group of key personnel in case of need. The Rescue Service has, we are glad to say, had very few calls as yet. Members have continued the gathering of suitable equipment, and have carried on a program of practicing various rescue techniques. Climbing groups in Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Jose have also been active in rescue practice.

Hervey H. Voge, Chairman, Mountaineering Committee