American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Colorado Mountain Club

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1957

Colorado Mountain Club. For the third successive year the Colorado Mountain Club held two outings. The out-of-state outing, under Carl Blaurock, traveled to the Sierra Nevada for two weeks with the hope of climbing the 14,000-foot peaks in the Palisade Group and the mountains to the south. Owing to rainy weather, however, only six high peaks were climbed by the 22 club members who participated in the outing. The Colorado camp was held for one week at the abandoned mining town of Pittsburgh, in the West Elk Mountains. It was a "drive- to” camp and proved its popularity by attracting a group of 90 people under the leadership of Glenn Gebhardt. An enjoyable feature was the trip to West Maroon Pass to meet 22 members of the Appalachian Mountain Club who had hiked over from their Maroon Lake Camp.

The technical climbing schools sponsored by the various groups of the C.M.C. continue to be among the most popular activities. William E. Davis reports that 94 members registered in the Denver school. He calls attention to the need for the development of qualified leaders; the total pool of 14 leaders was not sufficient to provide intensive training for intermediate candidates, as it barely met the demand for beginners. His committee believes that in teaching safety measures and elementary rock techniques the school has filled a definite need in the club.

The fourth and easternmost of the Chessmen, the Knight, east of Buffalo Creek, was ascended for the first time, in August 1956, by Stanley Rickard and Don Spaulding, who used pitons and three drive studs. The second ascent, September 15, was made by Cary Huston and Dale Johnson by the south crack, using wooden wedges. Following the same route as the August party, Allen Auten, Phil Johnson, and Bill Rathbun made the third ascent, October 20. The route followed the western ledge to the shelf, with a southern horizontal traverse and short rappel to the base of the 80-foot east chimney. Descent was made by a 60-foot and a 40-foot rappel.

For the second time C.M.C. climbers were called upon by United Air Lines to assist in the recovery of bodies and wreckage at the site of a crash. Allen Auten, Charles Pavlik, and Fred Welch, all experienced C.M.C. technical climbers, and David Lewis and Ray Batson, of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group at Boulder, were flown on July 3 and 4 to the site of the wreck of the UAL-TWA collision which occurred June 30 over the Grand Canyon. Colorado climbers worked together with eight Swiss mountaineers, who were flown to this country by Swissair as a goodwill gesture of the Swiss airline. C.M.C. climbers remained in the area until Sunday, July 8, helping with the salvage operations.

With further surveying completed by the U.S.G.S. on the Buena Vista 2 Quadrangle, Huron Peak, in the Swatch Range, was announced as the 54th Colorado peak over 14,000 feet in altitude. During the summer many parties were organized to climb this peak, and on Huron's busiest day 40 people climbed to the top. Another result of the survey showed that Mount Harvard exceeds both Mount Massive and Mount Rainier in height. The official order of the five highest peaks in the United States is now: Whitney, in California; Elbert, Harvard, and Massive, in Colorado; and Rainier, in Washington.

Programs for annual group meetings were enlivened by the movies and color slides of the 16 club members who in early May rode the Colorado River with Bus Hatch from Lees Ferry to Lake Mead. Club members also attended three lectures in Boulder: an account of the 1954 French ascent of Aconcagua’s South Face, by Edmond Denis; a talk by Noel Odell, of the Alpine Club; and an account of the first traverse of Mount McKinley, in the spring of 1954, by Leslie Vierch.

The Board of Directors took great pleasure in presenting every C.M.C. member with a copy of the club’s latest publication, "Notes on Mountaineering in the Elk Mountains of Colorado, 1908-1910,” by Percy Hagerman. Publication of this manuscript, which was prepared for the club by Mr. Hagerman in 1912, has long been hoped for and was made possible by a gift from United Air Lines and with the cooperation of the Denver Posse of The Westerners.

Anne B. Kenyon, Executive Secretary

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