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A.A.C., New York Section

A.A.C., New York Section. Not every year is of vintage quality, but 1989 will surely rank as one of the most memorable in New York Section history. Our illustrated lectures continue a long tradition and give members the opportunity to hear outstanding speakers followed by a social hour where new friendships and climbing partners often are generated. The season featured three colorful and absorbing programs. Rick Sylvester, the well-known climber, raconteur, extreme skier and environmentalist discussed his “Climb of the Century,” or the first ascent of a dry Yosemite Falls, plus his career as a sometime stuntman in James Bond films. Jon Waterman, a former McKinley Park ranger and climbing editor, presented a visual version of his latest book, “High Alaska,” on the history of Denali climbing. In May a capacity audience was on hand to hear Steve Venables, Ed Webster and other members of the 1988 Everest East Face team talk about their exciting ascent of a difficult new route on the Kangshung Face. Another tradition is our “Members’ Night,” which showcases New York Section members’ accomplishments. This year’s show presented Cathy Gibson, Ken Bailey, Fred and Jamie Golomb, and Lawrence True and Linda Brown on climbing in the Pamirs, adventure filmmaking, extreme skiing safely, and trekking in the Karakoram, respectively. Held in the late spring, this event attempts to goad otherwise deskbound New Yorkers to “go out and do it.”

In June, after our annual outing at the Ausable Club in the Adirondacks, came the eagerly and long awaited first visit to New York of Reinhold Messner. During a whirlwind weekend, Reinhold was interviewed on the “Today” show, followed by a press conference, a reception for 135 members and guests at the Knickerbocker Club, a lecture on “All 8000ers” before a capacity audience of 400, and a benefactors’ dinner held at the apartment of David Koch. The event was run as a fundraiser for the “Mountain Wilderness” cause, with which Reinhold has been closely associated. With the proceeds the Section has formed an Environmental Fund designed to assist in financing clean-up operations in the United States and overseas. The first designated beneficiary is the Everest Environmental Expedition organized by Bob McConnell. The support of Rolex Watch, U.S.A., was particularly helpful in achieving our financial goals.

Finally, the social season concluded with the traditional black tie Annual Dinner, held the last Saturday of October. This year’s special guest was Doug Scott, who presented an absorbing retrospective of 30 years of climbing during the “Golden Age” of British mountaineering. The recipient of the John Case Award for accomplishment by a Section member was Jeremy Bernstein for his outstanding 20-year contribution to mountaineering literature. The event also featured a photographic exhibition and sale by Nathan Farb, the famed Adirondack photographer, proceeds from which were dedicated to the Library Fund. Twenty new members were introduced and presented with their membership pins to conclude the gala evening.

Club members from other Sections desirous of being placed on the New York Section’s mailing list or of receiving information on clean-up grants should write to P.O. Box 5475, Rockefeller Station, New York, NY 10185.

Philip Erard, Chairman