American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Southwestern Mountaineers

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1958

Southwestern Mountaineers. During 1957, the Southwestern Mountaineers carried out a program of intensive rock climbing in the Organ Mountains of New Mexico. While most of the major peaks had been climbed already, many new routes were pioneered and some unclimbed pinnacles ascended. Among the more noteworthy ascents was the climb of the Tiger Fang, an inconspicuous pinnacle on the northeast wall of the Organ Needles. This climb was made by Harry Davis and Tom McCalla. A second ascent of the North Tower of Shiprock, May 28, by Harry Earle, Bernard Topp, and Harry Davis was marred by the death of Topp when a rappel point in the Great Bowl failed.

Because of the ruggedness of southwestern terrain, rescue operations in the Organs have been somewhat difficult, especially when a stretcher must be carried to the scene of an accident. Working with Army authorities at White Sands Proving Grounds, Club members, led by President Dave Waddington, designed a three-part stretcher, whose sections may be used as pack-boards for carrying equipment to the scene of an accident. Easily assembled, the stretcher is then used to carry the victim out of the mountains. The stretcher was built by the Army and is now stored at the White Sands Dispensary for use in an emergency or for training purposes.

Primarily a rock-climbing group in the past, the Southwestern Mountaineers is enlarging the scope of its program to provide hiking, caving, and other activities for its members. The Club invites participation in its programs by members of other mountaineering clubs.

Ronald A. Hahn

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