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A.A.C., Sierra Nevada Section

A.A.C., Siena Nevada Section. The year 1979 was an active one for our section’s 196 members. Sixteen section-sponsored events were held, including three traditional section meetings, seven organizational meetings, three outings, one service project, one new-membership program, and a national directors’ meeting.

The section meetings were family-style gatherings with over 70 members at each meeting. The winter meeting was in Palo Alto at the home of Nick and Betsy Clinch. The program featured Dick Irvin’s narration of his recent ascent of Mount St. Elias. The section met in June at the home of Gus and Emily Benner. In addition to a fine steak dinner, Marge Farquhar, Jules Eichorn, Lewis Clark, Hermann Ulrichs, Eleanor Bartlett, and Raffi Bedayn entertained the gathering with tales of their early climbing adventures in the Sierra and Canada. In October we met at the Orinda home of Raffi and Barbara Bedayn, and the program included slides of the summer activities of many of the members. These enjoyable meetings raise money for the section’s projects. Business announcements are brief, as organizational details are handled in monthly meetings attended by about 10 members.

Money raised at the meetings helped to make possible three outings and two service projects. In February Brock Wagstaff led 12 ice climbers to Lee Vining Canyon and June Lake on the east side of the Sierra. Thanks to Brock, we learned about waterfall ice climbing without injury. In March Gene and Betsy White led a group of 40 nordic ski mountaineers of all ages on the ascent and descent of Mount Tallac and Rubicon Peak overlooking Lake Tahoe. In July Tom Higgins guided 15 of the chosen few to climb and enjoy themselves at a climbing area near Yosem- ite called “The Balls.” These trips enable members to become better acquainted with one another in mountain activities. At least one expedition which climbed four peaks in Peru was a direct result of such activity.

Our service project, led by Greg Donaldson in September, was a clean-up of the base of the northwest face of Half Dome in Yosemite. Seventeen large trash bags were filled and later removed by the Park Service, thanks to Hal Grover and John Dill of the Yosemite Search and Rescue Group. This trip was especially satisfying as it was the result of a section-sponsored program moderated by Chris Jones during the April meeting of the Club’s directors in Yosemite. At the meeting a number of issues were discussed with Greg Donaldson, John Dill, President Jim Henriot, and Park Superintendent Les Arnberger on the panel. Club members and Park Service officials agreed to begin working to solve problems in which both are concerned, such as litter at the base of climbs. Confirming Raffi Bedayn’s previous efforts, the section is now advertising that problems can be tackled through joint efforts and hopes to contact other government agencies with similar concerns.

Another successful event was our new-membership program, which was held at the College of Marin in March. Thanks to Bruce McCubbrey and Mary Strudwick, over 175 persons came to see slides of K2, Latok, and Annapurna, narrated respectively by Lou Reichardt, George Lowe, and Irene Beardsley. It was an opportunity for the Section to make known the Club’s membership requirements and to inform the interested public of the nature of the A.A.C., its services, and activities.

Other accomplishments by our members involved the Club’s response to the Yosemite Masterplan prepared by Armando Menocal and his committee; a section survey on honorary membership conducted by Tom Higgins; and an endowment drive “second effort” by Leigh Ortenburger, which has brought our Section’s participation of members to 70%. Extraordinary personal contributions to the Section’s activities were made by Mary Strudwick, Gene and Betsy White, and Bev Belanger, as well as many relatives and friends of members who gave freely of their time and talent when needed.

As for the year’s climbing report, our members were active on every continent except Antarctica. At the annual dinner in Portland, Oregon, members appeared as participants in every climb highlighted in the slide programs.

On a sadder note, the Section regrets the loss of its active members and good friends, Margaret Young, Toby O’Brien, Phil Bettler, and Rick Mosher.

R.D. Caughron, Chairman