American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Mazamas

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

The Mazamas. We Mazamas of Portland, Oregon, sat down to our 97th Annual Banquet in November at the Lloyd Center Red Lion Hotel, an event attended by about 400 of our 2,700 members.

Although we are a local outdoor club, we nevertheless have members in most states and in many foreign countries, most with the fervent hope that they will soon return to the Northwest and climbing and hiking. As our fiscal year ended on October 1, we can now reflect the activities of the past year.

Climbing: Dr. Joe Siemenczuk chaired our overworked committee through this stressful year in which we put our 107 climb leaders through a schedule of 237 climbs. Most of our activity lay in Oregon and Washington, although a few ascents were made on other peaks of the West and Canada.

Basic Climbing School: Jan Schmidt stepped onto the Climbing Committee and took the staggering job of managing this large schooling operation in which 270 beginning climbers enrolled. Most of the students are non-members, who attend five lecture sessions on Monday evenings. Groups of 15 students, supervised by five or more instructors then do field sessions in knots and belaying, rock climbing, self-arrest on snow, and graduate after a climb of Mount Hood or Mount St. Helens.

Intermediate School enrolled 40 who sharpened their skills above the basic level. Advanced School had 18 students who worked on high-angle rock at Horsethief Butte on the Columbia River, at Smith Rocks on the Crooked River, and at Yosemite.

Leadership continues as the severe bottleneck in Mazama operations, with too few leaders and far too much demand for climbs. Seven new leaders were brought on stream in 1990. A Leadership Update Weekend at Mazama Lodge was attended by 42.

Advanced Ice Climbing program entered its third year, with emphasis placed on French technique. Winter Climbing scheduled 28 climbs, but stormy Northwest weather took its usual toll, and only five parties reached the summit. Many climbers began to look at ski mountaineering as a viable winter sport.

Trail Trips Committee turned in a record performance of 352 scheduled events, totaling 2,266 miles of hiking and 3,947 hiker trips. Most trail hiking or snow shoeing is done within an easy drive of Portland, and the Tuesday evening hike in Portland parks and streets has become the most heavily attended event. Fees have been increased to 50 cents for members and $1 for others.

Outings: Nine were domestic and five foreign: January: Hiking in Arizona; February: Yucatan, climbing Mexico’s Popocatepetl, skiing at Yellowstone; May: hiking on the Rogue River; June: climbing in the Olympic Sawtooth Range, hiking in the Yukon; July: Hiking in Enhancement Lakes, backpacking in Glacier Park; August: climbing at Monte Cristo, hiking the Italian Dolomites, climbing at Cascade Pass, backpacking the Olympic Bailey Range, hiking the Dachstein Alps.

Expedition Committee provided sponsorship and funding for two ventures. The 1990 Manaslu Expedition, a Seattle team led by Donald Goodman left on February 24 to attempt the Northeast Face via Manaslu Glacier. On March 27, Nancy Jackson, Dr. Charles Schertz, and Sherpa Nima Wanchuk were buried in an avalanche and died; the operation was then abandoned. The 1990 Arrigetch Expedition succeeded on first ascents of granite spires of the Arrigetch Peaks of Alaska’s Brooks Range. The committee raised $3,000 with its annual biathlon at Vancouver Lake, drawing 325 participants.

First Aid Committee has changed its training course to a module system for mountaineers. Climb High Explorer Post 936, under the direction of Sam Nebel, ran six climbs, five of which were successful. Nordic Ski and Whitewater activities shared the same ongoing problem: good school—few trips. Both committees are working hard to correct the imbalance.

Conservation continues its large role in the Mazama organization. We participated in the annual plastic waste cleanup on the Oregon beaches, had much to say about timber cutting practices, and cast a jaundiced eye at Mount Hood Meadows, a mega-bucks ski operation that apparently has proved that money can buy everything, including government disregard of the mountain environment on government lands.

Program Committee, our front line of representation with the community, has done an excellent job under Mark Hanschka and Klindt Vielbig in presenting Wednesday evening lectures and film shows. The photographic artist and Mazama member, Ray Atkeson, showed treasured slides and advised the audience about camera settings, only about three months before his death.

Publications Committee: In spite of the current trend to eliminate annual journals, the Mazamas have continued to publish an excellent Mazama Annual, as well as informative monthly bulletins. Vera Dafoe continued as chair of the committee.

Mazama affairs are supervised by the nine-member Executive Council, from which Dr. Christine Mackert was elected to serve as president. She also held the position in 1981.

Jack Grauer, Past President

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