American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing


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  • Publication Year: 1971

Mountaineers. The year 1970 was a good one for the Seattle Mountaineers’ Climbing Program. Favorable weather provided a high percentage of climbs successfully completed; enthusiasm of students and instructors alike resulted in a high number of graduates from the three climbing courses; and upgrading of course material resulted in a high degree ot proficiency and safety among the participants of the climbing program. There were no serious accidents on any of the scheduled climbs, and more than one climb leader commented on the improved capability of the basic students, particularly in rappelling. The Mountaineers’ climbing course program, one of the oldest and finest in the nation, has been conducted over the past 36 years for the purpose of equipping the student with the knowledge and technical skills necessary to probe and enjoy the natural wonders of mountain country to the fullest in a safe, rational manner,. Three courses are presently offered: alpine travel, basic, and intermediate. During 1970, 201 enrolled and 87 graduated from the alpine travel course; 285 enrolled and 115 graduated from the basic climbing course; and 84 enrolled in the five-year intermediate climbing course with 24 graduates in 1970. Twenty-two climbers were awarded the Six Major Peak Pin award for successfully completing the climbs of Mounts Rainier, Adams, Baker, St. Helens, Olympus, and Glacier Peak. Among the climbs successfully completed there were 79 basic experience climbs out of 96 scheduled, with only six of that number weathered out, for a total of 1090 man-summits. Twenty out of 26 scheduled intermediate climbs were successfully completed (only two were weathered out) with 164 man-summits. Fifteen out of 20 scheduled roped climbs were successfully completed (with only one weathered out) for a total of 137 man-summits. Features introduced into the climbing courses include a 53-page basic climbing manual, which supplements the standard reference text, Freedom of the Hills, by providing information on field trips and techniques that were formerly provided as miscellaneous handouts. Safety was also given high priority. The aspect of self-arrest and team-arrest on hard snow was given particular attention. Many stringent safety guidelines were also developed in cooperation with the Safety Committee. In conjunction with the American Red Cross a series of first-aid courses was initiated with primary emphasis on mountaineering accidents in remote locations. In addition to the climbing activities, 11 seminars were conducted attracting some 400 participants on subjects ranging from glacier research to winter bivouac, from high-angle rock climbing to hypothermia. By Nature’s Rules, an excellent 30-minute movie on hypothermia produced by the Seattle Unit of the Mountain Rescue Council, was shown to 560 students and other Mountaineers.

SAMUEL Fry, Climbing Committee Chairman

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