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Spokane Mountaineers

Spokane Mountaineers. Club membership peaked at 400 during the year. We voted a new ski tow for our Mount Spokane property and now sponsor a ski team under mentor Mark Pinch. We have an effective expedition fund, and our Himalayan library is extensive. The club will offer a basic mountaineering course in 1974. The following will provide some continuity back to our last AAJ report in 1969 with comments on peaks and climbers, expeditions and leaders.

Repeat climbs by our members in the Cascades have included Rainier, Glacier Peak, Baker, Shuksan, Stuart, Bonanza, and Liberty Bell. Pete Van Gelder and a “Senior Group” have bagged state high points Hood, Borah, King, Granite, and Gannett. In the Selkirks we visit Kokanee, Spyglass, Trout, and Sir Donald. Other Canadian favorites include Edith Cavell, Bugaboo Spire, and the east face of Stanley. The past year began and ended with ascents of Athabaska, a site for our testing of winter and ice techniques. In 1971 Athabaska was a climbing school graduation summit for 48 of our members. Our “rock laboratory” is Chimney Rock, Idaho (see Off Belay, December 1972). President Chris Kopczynski led veteran Joe Collins to a third club climb of Mount Robson in 80 hours, and in 1971 he was teamed with John Roskelley on the east face of Cephren.

Dhaulagiri has drawn three members. Vin Hoeman went from Spokane to Alaska to the tragedy on the southeast ridge in 1969. Terry Bech has spent most of nine years in Nepal. With his wife, Cherie, and soon-to-be-born daughter, Annapurna, Terry reached 25,000 feet on Dhaulagiri in 1971. John Roskelley progressed from Mount Moran in 1965 to El Capitan by two routes to the north face of Dag in the Valhallas. On May 12, 1973, he reached the summit of Dhaulagiri, the third 8000-meter peak to be climbed by Americans. Jack Miller has ranged from Spokane to Greenland and Tierra del Fuego, while Joe Gnagey hopped from the Selkirks to the Antarctic. Our youngest leader, Dave Coombs, past president of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, led a group of eight to Charybdis in the Battle Range in 1972.

The Spokane Mountaineers attracts and builds leaders. We now resist full disclosure of our pet playgrounds. We keep looking for what is “lost behind the ranges.”

William C. Fix