Mountaineering Club of Alaska, Inc. The Mountaineering Club of Alaska, Inc. was formed in 1958 and currently has approximately 250 members. Membership is open to the general public. There are no prerequisites for membership.
The M.C.A. holds annual classes in rock climbing, mountaineering, ice climbing and glacier travel. The M.C.A. also conducts classes from time to time on subjects such as backcountry skiing, telemarking, winter camping, avalanche beacon searches, snow-shelter construction, stream crossings and orienteering. The club has also organized an avalanche safety course for club members in conjunction with the Alaska Mountain Safety Center and has organized public service projects such as trail clearings.
The club publishes a monthly newsletter, the Scree, which serves as an information source for climbers and hikers in Alaska. The Scree lists upcoming club trips, reports on completed trips, describes new routes and climbs, and reports on environmental and conservation issues of interest to club members. The club also maintains an extensive library of climbing related publications which is open to the public.
The club conducts monthly meetings, which are open to the public, at the Pioneer School House in Anchorage. In addition to the business portion of the meeting, the club hosts a slide presentation each month on a notable climb, trip or other topic of interest to the club. M.C.A. climbs and trips are often the subject of the monthly presentation. The topics can cover a broad range of subjects, however, and have included members’ climbs in South America and the Himalayas, a recent geographic survey expedition in the Alaska Range and the prevention and treatment of frostbite. The club has also sponsored public talks, an example of which is the November 30, 1989, presentation by club member David Staeheli on his first solo winter ascent of Denali’s West Rib.
The club organizes a broad range of club trips for all different skill levels. The trips are open to the general public. One need not be a M.C.A. member to participate in a club trip (although one must sign a club waiver form). The club does not charge for participation in club trips.
Over the past year, for example, the club has organized climbs of numerous peaks in the Anchorage area, numerous day and weekend hikes requiring no mountaineering skill, numerous day and weekend backcountry ski trips, a traverse of the Harding Icefield, a two-week traverse of the Aleutian Range from Shelikof Straits over Mount Katmai to the Valley of the 10,000 Smokes, a mountain-bike trip to the Kennecott Mine, a two-week hike in the Arrigetch Peaks area of the Brooks Range, and fly-in expeditions to the Tazlina and Matanuska Glaciers.
Noteworthy accomplishments of our members include a winter solo ascent of Denali’s West Rib by Dave Staeheli in March, an attempt on Mount Everest in April by George Rooney, and the first ascent of Nagishlamina Peak (11,068 feet) in the Tordrillos, one of the highest unclimbed peaks in North America, by Tom Meacham et al. Members also made first ascents of Hearth Mountain in the Kenai Range and of Greenland Peak, Devil’s Club Peak and Mountaineer’s Peak in the Chugach Range, and completed a glacier traverse of the Isthmus Icefield from Kenai Lake to Whittier. Three of our members also ascended Mount Foraker via the Sultana Ridge.
The M.C.A. membership fee is $10 annually. The club’s address is Mountaineering Club of Alaska, Inc., P.O. Box 102037, Anchorage, AK 99510.
Neil T. o’Donnell, President and Willy Hersman, Newsletter Editor