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A.A.C., Southern California Section

A.A.C. Southern California Section. The Section was active during the year on two fronts in terms of access and climbing regulation. The A.A.C. was invited to participate in the Climbers Advisory Committee, which is working with Joshua Tree National Park officials in the development of a backcountry management plan. Member Gail Wilts joined the Section chair in attending meetings. Section members will be alerted when the draft plan is available for public comment so that a broad cross-section of the climbing community in Southern California can have input.

Jon Inskeep was active in attending the far-flung meetings of a U.S. Forest Service task force developing a coordinated management plan for four wilderness areas along the crest of the Sierra Nevada. Jon began the effort as president of the California Mountaineering Club. As decision time neared, he coordinated efforts with the A.A.C. so there could be a joint response when a plan draft is circulated for public comment. In both these efforts, however, the emphasis has been on the need to get important, accurate information on climbing impact to the land managers before decisions became fixed in their minds.

Mountaineers Books published R.J. Secor’s Aconcagua: A Climbing Guide. The 144-page guide outlines 27 routes on the mountain, contains 50 black- and-white photos, sketches and seven maps and lots of general information on this South American giant. R.J. also was at work on a second edition of his The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes and Trails, also published by The Mountaineers.

Joining Secor on one of his trips to Aconcagua was Kurt Wedberg of Bishop, son of John Wedberg, the Section treasurer. Kurt and Jennifer Herzig, also a Rainier mountain guide, were married at Lake Sabrina above Bishop in the fall. Both were invited to be involved in Expedition Inspiration, a team of breast-cancer survivors raising money for breast-cancer research through their climb of Aconcagua.

Following Aconcagua, Kurt was to serve as a climbing leader of the 1995 American Mount Everest Commemorative Expedition seeking to reach the summit via the North Col route of Mallory and Irvine. C. David Tollakson of Studio City was to have served as deputy leader and treasurer of the Everest expedition, led by Paul Pfau of Shadow Hills, California. However, Tollakson was killed in a fall of several hundred feet down an ice chute while nearing the summit of Mount San Jacinto east of Los Angeles in April 1994. Tollakson had climbed six of the Seven Summits and had hoped to complete the seven by climbing Everest in 1995. Tollakson’s wife, Lynn, requested that his ashes be scattered on Mount Everest by members of the 1995 expedition.

Ted Vaill of Malibu, chair of the A.A.C. Legal Committee, spent considerable time during 1994 in helping the A.A.C. Board overhaul and modernize the Club’s bylaws. The Section chair served on an ad hoc committee that drafted new membership standards that were adopted at the Annual Meeting at Snowbird, Utah.

Plans were being made at the end of 1994 to more formally organize the Section in order to get more members, including newer members, to participate in Section activities. With new membership qualifications that make it clear that all serious climbers are welcome to the A.A.C., with the new vigor of the Club nationally, with a Californian now as president, and with the 1995 meeting to be held in the Bay Area, this seemed to be a particularly appropriate time to inject new energy into the Southern California organization.

Bill Stall, Chair