American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The American Alpine Club 95th Annual Meeting, Bellevue, Washington, December 5-7, 1997

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  • Publication Year: 1998

The American Alpine Club 95th Annual Meeting, Bellevue, Washington, December 5-7, 1997. The energetic and diversified nature of world mountaineering was evident at the 95th Annual Meeting as the roughly 400 in attendance at the December weekend in Bellevue, Washington, were treated to a variety of illustrated programs on climbs and expeditions ranging from remote low-altitude peaks to daring adventures on the highest in the Himalaya. The first evening’s dinner was followed by Ed Viesturs’ rendition, “Endeavor 8000,” which portrayed his pursuit of the highest summits without the use of supplemental oxygen. His accomplishments are truly remarkable.

The Saturday schedule, which included a general membership and board meeting, ranged from lectures on mountain safety, the history of ski mountaineering in America, a glance at Smith Rock climbing, and a perspective by Piotr Pustelnik about Polish climbing achievements. The Yosemite master plan was discussed; in addition, there was a panel on the future of our public lands. The accomplishments of women rock climbers were framed in a video by Lee Goss, and Naoe Sakashita described his major climbs, including the Japanese ascents of K2 and Jannu. The Southern Hemisphere was not forgotten: an Emmy-award winning film by Dan Mannix showed sailing to, then climbing on, Mt. Foster in the South Shetland Islands. Gordon Wiltsie’s camera captured almost unknown peaks and a multi-day first ascent in Antarctica. The dinner program was brought into motion by an auction enlivened by Mike Clifford before the awards presentations began. Introductions and presentations underscoring the great worthiness of these special awards played out to applause from an appreciative audience. Awards were:

The Angelo Heilprin citation for honorable club service was given to George Ross Sainsbury, the Literary Award to Broughton Coburn, the Robert and Miriam Underhill Award to Steven J. Swenson, the David Brower Conservation Award to Louis French Reichardt, the Robert Bates Award to Stephanie Davis and Jeff Hollenbaugh, and the David Sowles Memorial Award to Anatoli Boukreev, Pete Athans and Todd Burleson.

After, when both audience and recipients had returned to their seats, renowned Polish alpinist Krzysztof Wielicki kept us spellbound with his epic accomplishments on the highest Himalayan summits in all seasons, reminding us with his slides of the risks, skill, endurance, and suffering encountered on such quests.

On the final day, a panel discussed climbing and the media. Greg Mortensen explained his efforts to build schools and provide public-health programs in Pakistan’s Baltoro region. Siri Moss overviewed ski mountaineering and alpinism in the Wrangell and St. Elias Mountains, then Charles Sassara illustrated the range’s potential with a slide show of his difficult new route with Carlos Buhler on University Peak. Mark Synnott portrayed a new multi-day climb on Shipton Spire in the Karakoram. Don Seri and Fred Beckey pictorialized Mt. Waddington and the glacierized British Columbia Coast Mountains, a region destined for an impetus in mountaineering.

Fred Beckey

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