American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Harvard Mountaineering Club

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Harvard Mountaineering Club. The last four years have been active ones for the Harvard Mountaineering club, both in local climbing and in small expeditions. A new issue (Number 21) of the club’s journal, Harvard Mountaineering, has just been published.

The club has been at the forefront of the explosion in ice climbing in New England, particularly on the cliffs overlooking Lake Willoughby in Vermont. This activity has culminated in a Lake Willoughby ice climbing guide which appeared in the club journal. We were also active in winter mountaineering on Mount Katahdin in Maine, making three week-long trips there, and in New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. Club members have been active as always in rock climbing at crags in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New York, but in addition there has been an increase in interest in climbing walls and top-roping in the Boston area. In the age of the gas shortage, we have ranged further afield to just about every major cliff in the country. Rainsford Rounder and others climbed the Salathé Wall and Wall of Early Morning Light, to name a few. Bob Palais was seen over the lip of Foops as well as on long climbs in Eldorado and Devil’s Tower.

The club has sponsored about eight slide shows each year, and it continues to run the cabin in Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington. The club will be publishing a guidebook to central Connecticut rock climbing in conjunction with Ken Nichols. This should be available in August.

During the last four years, the Harvard Mountaineering Club has established an impressive list of failures on large climbs. In our eagerness to apply techniques learned in New England’s rock and ice to more sustained challenges, members have failed (twice) on Mount Robson’s north face, Mount Silverthrone in the Alaska Range, Mont Blanc (although the climbers did accomplish the Brenva Spur, but were not able to walk to the summit), and Mount Deborah’s north face (which convinced the climbers to ascend Mount Hess). Occasionally members put their desire for personal gratification over their loyalty to the club policy of failure and succeeded in an ascent. Gus Brillembourg, Nancy Kerrebrock, and others accomplished the first ascent of the southwest face of Nevado Chinchey in 1976. Also that year, David Coombs, John Imbrie, and George West climbed the Carpe ridge of Mount Fairweather in Alaska; Carl, Michael and Peter Lehner made several early ascents in McKinley Park and in the Arrigetch Valley. Andrew Embick, Alan Long, and others made several trips to the Kichatna Spires from 1976-79. A few of their climbs include Middle Triple Peak, Citadel, and Kichatna Spire. Alan Rubin and others climbed in the Cirque of the Unclimbables in the Northwest Territory. Also far north, William Graham and others accomplished ascents on Ellesmere Island during the spring of 1979. Last summer, Carl, Michael and Peter Lehner, Karen Messer, James Wuest, and Brinton Young made the first ascent of the west face of Nevado Huantsân in Peru (see elsewhere in this journal for details of this climb).

John Imbrie and Peter Lehner

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