American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Mazamas

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

The Mazamas. Climbing activities, the prime activity of The Mazamas, are planned and supervised under the Climbing Committee, this year chaired by Bruce Coorpender. The summer schedule, May through September, included 191 weekend activities and 25 on week days. Training programs continued as a major function of the Climbing Committee. Basic School began at the end of March, with 14 groups of 15 students each attending five Monday evening lectures, a session on knots and belay, a rock trip, a snow trip, and several difficult conditioning hikes on minor peaks of the Columbia River Gorge.

The Intermediate Climbing School admitted 40 students. It featured a day of high-angle snow, a snow bivouac, and trips to Horsethief Butte and Smith Rocks. Routes rated from 5.6 to 5.9 were used for training. The Advanced Rock Program took 22 of the 34 applicants, with 27 volunteer instructors supporting the course. The club embarked on a new Ice Climbing Program focusing on leads on high-angle ice and snow. Of 15 students, eight dropped out after the first session.

The Climbing Committee selected 16 candidates for new leaders, and seven became fully qualified. The Mazamas now have 108 active, qualified leaders. The early spring Leadership Update Weekend continued its effective maintenance program for all climb leaders. Stacy Allison, the first American woman to climb Mount Everest, was our guest speaker.

The Expeditions Committee, under chairman David Schermer, involves only a few active Mazama participants, but the results are impressive. Jim Lathrop led a party to Peru, placing four members on the summit of Huascarán. The club will sponsor a 1990 Manaslu Expedition, which has enlisted a strong climbing team from the Pacific Northwest, including Stacy Allison. The Mazamas will also sponsor a 1990 Arrigetch Expedition with attempts on several unclimbed faces of Alaska’s Brooks Range. The Committee has generated funds with an annual biathlon each April, and in January 1989 they featured Dick Bass as speaker for an evening program.

The Trail Trips Committee, chaired by Phyllis Towne, planned and appointed leaders for 325 hikes ranging in difficulty from “A” to “C,” and totalling 3,760 hiker-trips. Trail Trips create a friendly “melting pot” that helps to bond the club’s 2,700 members and their many friends of all skill and age levels into a more cohesive group. Activities range from evening hikes in the city, walks on nearby trails, snowshoe bivouacs, backpacks, and severe “man- killers” in the Northwest mountain areas.

The Outing Committee was created in the 1980s to manage The Annual Outing, a huge event involving most of the membership. It has evolved into managing many small outings, many traveling to other continents. Chairman Homer Brock’s committee planned and supervised 11 outings in 1989 with 193 participants, who ranged from Yellowstone, Mount Rainier, the Sierra Nevada, and Hawaii in the United States, the Yucatan in Mexico, and the mountains of France, Austria, and Italy.

No hiking and climbing club spends all of its time in the outdoors. The club’s Conservation Committee, chaired by Clarence Mershon, has shared the battle- front with the other outdoor clubs for generations, keeping firm pressure on government decision makers to preserve our environment. Recent focus has been on preservation of old-growth timber, but a real threat has emerged at Mount Hood, deserving the attention of all Americans who prize their wilderness. Mount Hood Meadows, having gained a toe-hold on the east slopes of Mount Hood two decades ago, now is planning disastrous expansion. The impetus now is for a “destination ski resort,” a euphemism for a new city sprawling across mountain meadows. This sort of development brings in megabucks for the resort operator, but it squeezes out ordinary, moderate-budget skiers.

The Research Committee, under Paul Staub, pursued its purpose of making grants to students of mountain-related studies. The process includes mailings to universities, organizations, and individuals, then evaluating the applicants for the final awards. In 1990 seven awardees shared $5,850 in assistance.

The Library Committee, chaired by Linda McNeil, entered its second year of active restructuring of the Mazama Library, one of the outstanding mountaineering collections of America. Some nature guide, geology, and weather books have been retired from the library because of advancing knowledge in these fields. Duplicate books have been sold or traded for volumes needed for a more complete mountaineering collection. Video tapes are to be added. The Mazama museum, under the direction of Vera Dafoe, is a library activity which has added greatly to the preservation of historically significant mountain equipment.

The Publications Committee, chaired by Vera Dafoe, publishes the monthly Bulletin to notify members of club events and activities, as well as an annual membership list. However, the noteworthy effort of this committee is the annual journal, Mazama, published sporadically since 1894 and continuously since 1913. Sentiment is strong to preserve this valued record of the club’s accomplishments, although some other large clubs have discontinued their annual publication. From an extended viewpoint, The Mazamas have found, just as has the American Alpine Club, that an annual journal is sometimes the only thread of continuity for the organization over long periods of time.

Jack Grauer

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