American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

A.A.C., Alaska Section

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986

A.A.C., Alaska Section. This was a most rewarding, productive year for the Section. Many members worked closely together to insure the success of several activities, which were highlighted by the first formal climbing exchange between an A.A.C. section and climbers from a foreign country, Japan. This was accomplished under the auspices of the A. A.C. as a pilot program.

We coordinated the arrival of the Japanese climbers with the annual Ice Climbing Festival in Valdez in February. Ernie Borjon, Steve Davis, and Ned Lewis were particularly involved in making this successful exchange happen. Great times were had by the nearly 50 ice climbers who came to meet the Japanese and to climb the ice with them. We tipped a few with the Japanese lads, and we climbed a lot of ice with them. They were certainly our equal, if not our betters, in both departments. They were excellent climbers, like ice spiders, and enjoyable to be with. Three of the four Japanese were Himalayan veterans, one each having climbed Dhaulagiri (Masaki Matsumoto), Annapurna (Yuwa Yamasaki), and Kangchenjunga and Everest without oxygen (Shomi Suzuki). Before climbing in Valdez they made some ice climbs on waterfalls in the Eklutna, Eagle River, and Portage River valleys.

The second stage of the exchange occurred in October. Andrew Embick (leader), Rosie Andrews, Glen Dickinson, John Weiland, and Mark Wilford comprised the American team. After being feted by the Japanese Alpine Club in Tokyo, they began a schedule of rigorous climbs at Ogawayama, Mattan Hekai, the sea cliffs of Jogasaki, and Mitusome.

Our members were also busy in the Alps, the Pamirs, and the Alaska Range. Mount Hesperus in the Revelation Mountains west of Anchorage fell prey to some of our members who made a 34-hour summit push.

The annual meeting of the Section was held in November. New officers plus a foreign exchange committee were designated. Club President Bob Craig has notified us that a Russian group will visit Alaska in 1986. We have also recently exchanged letters with the Polish Alpine Union, which is interested in establishing relations and possibly having an exchange of climbers.

Ernie Borjon, Chairman

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