AAC, New York Section. Much of the Section’s energy and focus in 1996 centered around helping to organize the 94th Annual Meeting of the Club. This was the first time the event was held in Manhattan since the 1985 meeting. As was the case 11 years earlier, the event was staged at two venues: Florence Gould Hall on Friday evening, December 6, and the Annual Meeting, Programs, Awards Dinner and Silent Auction at the Crowne Plaza in Times Square on Saturday, December 7. Featured speakers, both witty and engaging, were famed Austrian mountaineer Peter Habeler, and Steven Venables, Britain’s leading exponent of alpine-style climbing in the Himalaya. Local presenters included Russ Clune on the history, legends and personalities of the Gunks and Susan Schwartz in a moving tribute to the late Dr. Hans Kraus. Several additional concurrent slide shows and a symposia on high-altitude guided climbing and competition climbing kept the 500-person audience informed, entertained and busy moving from room to room at the Crowne Plaza. Finally, an impressive display of alpine photography by Olaf Soot lent a great deal of color to the proceedings. A silent auction of numerous valuable items helped to generate record revenues for the Club’s programs.
In addition to the December festivities, the Section hosted two climbing outings in the Adirondacks, one in February and the other in June, as well as sponsoring Alpinfilm ‘96, the Seventh Annual New York International Mountaineering Festival. The event helped benefit the New England Ski Museum. Prize winning films were “ A Glorious Way to Die,” from Australia, “Alps of Wyoming,” by our own Olaf Soot, and “Avalanche,” a National Geographic documentary. The February outing was held amidst the best ice climbing conditions seen in more than two decades.
Finally, in a benefit for the Access Fund in November, Armando Menocal presented an intriguing and challenging slide show: “Has Shangri La Been Loved to Death?”, about the clash between Nepal’s fragile environment and trekking and climbing, which are nevertheless important mainstays to the economy.
All in all, 1996 will be remembered as a busy, productive and fun.
Philip Erard, Section Chairman