American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Mazamas

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1970

The Mazamas. The year 1969 was the year that The Mazamas of Portland, Oregon, took a nostalgic backward look to July 19, 1894, when two large parties climbed Mount Hood by the north-side Cooper Spur route and by the south side. Meeting at the summit, they incorporated The Mazamas. To celebrate this diamond anniversary, these routes on Mount Hood were retraced. Several parties led by past presidents of the club converged on the summit. An hour before midnight the summit was illuminated by hundreds of flares, reminiscent of a similar illumination 75 years ago. The light could be seen from over 50 miles away in the clear July night. In such a celebration in memory of days past, one must bring to mind the climbers long dead, of the men who wore clothing ill suited to alpine storms and sun and who negotiated steep glaciers with alpenstocks and no crampons. We chuckle at the old photos of women climbers in ankle-length skirts and floppy, long-brimmed hats tied on with scarves. The trip from Portland to the base of the mountain took three hard days by horse and wagon. Today it takes but one hour by auto to Timberline Lodge. To accentuate the contrast with the past, as our parties climbed Mount Hood on this July 19, our astronauts were far aloft, only 24 hours from their historic first touchdown on the moon.

A total of 219 climbs was scheduled by The Mazamas for 1969. A few were cancelled, and bad weather took a large toll. Nevertheless, 149 climbs were successful with 2156 individual summit ascents. In addition, 37 climbs made on club outings resulted in another 228 individuals making ascents. On outings the weather was uncooperative in the Assiniboine area, precluding success on that big peak, but still allowing climbs of some of the surrounding mountains. The Canadian Border Peaks outing and the Olympus-Bailey Range outing also encountered adverse weather. The Alpine Lakes area in Washington, the Wallowas in Oregon, and Cascade Pass in the northern Cascades were all more hospitable in their weather, and sunshine was plentiful.

Climbing school, an old institution with The Mazamas, steamrolled through the year with great momentum. Roy Kinzie headed the Basic Climbing School, which enrolled 395 and graduated 146 people. Ed Johan’s Intermediate School enrolled 71, graduating 20, while Advanced School under Charles Jensen and Jack Henry graduated six of the 36 people who enrolled. The 1970 Basic Climbing School will be under the leadership of Dick Laird. Great changes are being considered. Although the school is not publicized in any way, the enrollment limit of 400 is always strained. Many basic students quickly decide that mountaineering is not really their field. However, as they are already registered in the course, they complete it and then drift away into trail hiking or backpacking. It is believed that registration after the first lecture will divert a good many, thus assuring the remaining diehards a better concentration of instruction than has been available before. Such a change will probably lead to a backpack and camping school, similar to that run by The Mountaineers. Here in the Pacific Northwest the backpack is an integral part of most climbs because few of them are made directly from the car.

In international alpine activity Ed Johan joined the Iowa Mountaineers in Peru to climb Huascarán and several lesser Andean peaks. A1 Coombs and Jack Henry led one expedition to the base of Mount Everest; Luther Jerstad led another. Thyrza Pelling and Hank Lewis were members of these trips.

John Salisbury succeeded Chad Kar as president of The Mazamas. Don Eastman stays for another year as chairman of the Climbing Committee.

Jack Grauer

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