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Mountaineering Club of Alaska

Mountaineering Club of Alaska. The year 1971 was a successful yet heartbreaking one for the club. Disaster struck three of our most active members: Dr. Grace Hoeman, Hans Van der Laan, and Buddy Jai- dinger. Grace and Hans were killed on April 12 in an avalanche on Eklutna Glacier. They both had an impressive list of first ascents in Alaska and both had climbed McKinley. Their fellow climber, John Samuelson, was spared in this tragic accident. The third death occurred on August 18 when Buddy Jaidinger perished from complications from a fall at 16,000 feet on Mount McKinley s West Buttress. All three people were eager, active climbers who participated strongly in the M.C.A. Their presence and experience are greatly missed.

The winter mountaineering, rock safety, and glacier schools were held as usual. All were well attended and successful to the degree the weather would allow. The generally inclement summer weather foiled some of our first-ascent attempts, and the scheduled weekend climbs also suffered from frequent rain.

However, even with the weather persistence prevails, and our member, Betty Ivanoff Menard, became the first full Eskimo to reach Mount McKinley’s summit. One other member, Ludwig Ferche, also climbed the peak. A new M.C.A. cabin was built at 4250 feet in the Talkeetna Range. The club supported the Kenai Wilderness proposal and contributed its ideas to the Chugach State Park planning group. Members once again housed several foreign climbing teams who climbed in the state with varying degrees of success.

As the short and cold winter days approach, our members are planning winter school and winter ascents and are looking forward to next summer’s climbing season in a mountaineer’s Shangri-la — Alaska.