American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Mazamas

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1969

The Mazamas. Obviously, The Mazamas found a few sunny days in 1968. Out of 215 climbs originally scheduled by Climbing and Outing Committees in March, 143 climbing parties actually left Base Camp, 32 of which failed to reach the summit. This represented 2605 individual starts and 2017 successful individuals to reach the summit. Don Eastman led an outing in June to the Methow Range in the northeastern Cascades in Washington. There a second ascent of Half-Moon was led by Jim Nieland, whose technical ability and quiet assurance has gained him considerable reputation in the climbing community, although he is still of high school age. Dr. Russ Maynard was ticked by a flying boulder, which sliced his boot and broke a small foot bone. This very close call occurred in the west couloir of Early Winter Spire as a climbing party was rigging a rappel on the descent. Silver Star and other minor peaks were climbed before bad weather chopped off the end of the outing. Washington’s Monte Cristo area was the scene of a Mazama car-camp commissary-type outing. Outing leader Ray Sheldon delegated climb leaders for forays onto the peaks of this remarkable alpine area, which swarmed with miners a half century ago. Now only occasional hikers or climbers follow the overgrown trails en route to the summits. Infrequent reminders of the mining era remain: a collapsed cabin; a rotting sluice box, an isolated bit of road in the valley, or a rusted stretch of water pipe lying by the trail. An outing to the Beartooth Wilderness gave a number of Mazamas the chance to ascend Granite Peak, the highest in Montana. However, bad weather and the demise of Mazama Don Shellhart by heart attack cast a pall on the outing. John Neal led a small outing on the Ptarmigan Traverse from Cascade Pass to Glacier Peak, a classic trip often made by the club. In January a group of five made another trip to climb the great volcanoes of Mexico.

The Basic Climbing School was directed by Jack Grauer. The series of lectures and field trips in April and May was limited to 400. It was oversubscribed, even though there was no advertising, merely a notice in the monthly bulletin. Advanced School was directed by Charles Jensen and Jack Henry, an outstanding training opportunity for those few who participated. Roy Kinzie conducted Intermediate School. The club has consistently had little success in graduating over 10% of Intermediate School enrollees. Though this has caused the Climbing Committee much concern, soul-searching, and re-evaluation, no better answer has been derived than to just keep on trying.

Mazama presidency passed from James Angell to Chad Karr. Al Weese succeeded John Salisbury as chairman of the Climbing Committee.

Jack Grauer

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