American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Mazamas

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

The Mazamas. The Climbing Committee, chaired by Lynette Zuercher, scheduled 243 summer season ascents, which included 38 Basic School climbs and 10 Ski Mountaineering climbs. After enduring the attrition of inclement Northwest weather, 179 successful climbs yielded a total of 1,522 individual summit ascents. Mazama climbers participate in an award program, and the results for 1995-1996 were: nine Guardian Peaks; one Oregon Cascades (Three Fingered Jack, Washington, Three Sisters); 16 major peaks (all of the above plus Olympus, Baker, Shuksan, Glacier, Stuart, Shasta); and the Leuthold Award, to Larry Stadler (for leading all 16 major peaks). The club now requires every party going above tree line on Mount Hood to carry a Mountain Locator Unit. These radio devices have been made available to the public because of the mountain’s treacherous, fast weather changes.

Climbing education continues as a major effort of the Climbing Committee, with 24 groups of 10 students enrolled in the Basic Program. A quota of 40 was set for the Intermediate Program; Advanced Rock enrolled 21. Advanced Snow and Ice dwindled to only five students because of early snows that filled crevasses in the Eliot Glacier on Mount Hood.

Access has become an increasingly greater problem, with the U. S. Forest Service placing limitations on party size and requiring advance sign-up to climb many peaks. An Access Sub- Committee, headed by Candy Morgan, has spent much time resolving this problem. Private mountain guides have spurred the Forest Service and state agencies to push the Mazamas and other mountain clubs into a new Outfitter-Guide status. Mountaineering in the United States has been led traditionally by volunteer leaders, with no remuneration. Destruction of that volunteer structure by governmental agencies poses a severe threat to the very existence of mountaineering clubs.

The Trail Trips Committee was chaired by Mary Stadler. This year-round activity of the Mazamas resulted in 436 hikes with 4,801 participants. A hike leader program was initiated under the direction of Monty Smith. Winter storms in February, 1996, wreaked catastrophic damage on Northwest trails, especially in the Columbia River Gorge. Under the direction of Bus Gibson, the Trail Tenders mobilized Mazama and community effort to repair some of the damage. In addition, Ray Sheldon continued the reconstruction of the Mazama Trail on the northwest comer of Mount Hood. In its third year, this project involved many club members throughout the summer.

The Outing Committee, chaired by Joan Mosser, presented domestic outings to Yellowstone for cross-country skiing, Hart Mountain, Steens Mountains, Wallowa Mountains, Grand Gulch in Utah and a climbing outing in the Monte Cristo Range of Washington. Overseas outings included the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, and hiking trails in the Devon Somerset/Lakes District in England, Guatamala and the Japanese Alps.

The Expeditions Committee, chaired by Stacey Williams, endorsed and provided grants to an expedition to Bolivia. Support was also given to the Cerro Aconcagua Northwest Expedition, which reached 21,400 feet before being turned back by high winds and low temperatures.

George Stonecliffe ended a distinguished year as president of the Mazamas and turned his gavel to Robert Hyslop, who joined the club in 1968 and served as president in 1977.

The Annual Banquet, held at Portland’s Melody Ballroom, featured a presentation by Dee Molenaar, a classic figure in Northwest mountaineering, especially on Mount Rainier. Old-timers William and Margaret Oberteuffer were named Honorary Members during the banquet ceremonies.

Mazama Lodge was faced with the resignation of Manager Jean Korte. Jason and Louise Star were chosen to replace her, with hopes for an excellent year at the old structure at Government Camp, Mount Hood.

Jack Grauer, Historian

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