AAC, Northern Rockies Section. After receiving word in late 1996 of the Board’s decision to create this new section, we were not really sure what to do. The new section includes all of Montana, Idaho, Utah and Northeastern Nevada—quite a bit of wide open space! The idea we came up with was to start with creating chapters in some of the larger population areas throughout the section and let those chapters function as they wish. With input from the Club headquarters and other section chairs, we decided that Boise was a good place to start.
From February through April, several existing members of the club started meeting on a regular basis to discuss why we joined, what we wanted from our membership, how could we develop local activities and how we could create additional value to assist us in “marketing” the new chapter. Being the insurance guy, I had to get over the fact that our member benefit insurance coverage was not the reason everyone else joined! We decided that we should plan an event in conjunction with the local Boise Chapter members, Boise State University Climbing Club, local outdoor equipment retailers and local manufacturing reps for a combination climbing area clean-up day, equipment demo day, an interactive safety discussion, membership dinner and slide show.
Susan Bernatus, Bob Moseley, Scott MCleish, Brian and Karen Wright and I formed the nucleus of the Boise Chapter. Together with the B.S.U. Climbing Club, we had a successful clean-up day at the local Black Cliffs. The clean-up activities were followed by a demo day with equipment supplied by Five Ten, Metolius, La Sportiva, Scarpa and Black Diamond. More than 100 people of all ages, shapes and sizes participated with a smile on their face. During this time, several members and non-members discussed climbing communication techniques, belaying etiquette and general guidelines of safe cragging. Many people of all different skills levels were involved. This was followed by a membership dinner, at which we signed up several new members. Immediately following was an outstanding slide show graciously given by AAC Board Member Carlos Buhler. What a day! For the Boise Chapter, success was measured by the broad diversity of activities and skill levels of those participating.
In July, the Boise Chapter hosted the First Annual Northern Rockies Section Moondance at the City of Rocks in south-central Idaho. More than 50 people attended the non-host BBQ at a group campsite reserved by the chapter. Friends were made, lies were told and everyone agreed that we should do it again. Each year this event will occur as an annual gathering on the July weekend of or following the full moon. Everyone is invited.
Throughout these activities, many members commented that they enjoyed meeting fellow members in their area for the purpose of learning more of the local areas, hearing of new routes and meeting new climbing partners. Having just returned from a long weekend ice climbing in the Wind Rivers with several of the Boise Chapter folks I would not otherwise have known, I can personally attest to the value of meeting new people in my home town. Based on this success, I would like to see other chapters develop in Salt Lake City, Bozeman, Missoula and perhaps Eastern Idaho in conjunction with Jackson Hole. As the Section Chair, I offer my energy and assistance in organizing new activities or chapters and truly look forward to serving all members of the Northern Rockies Section. I can only do so with your input! Give me a call, e-mail me (email@example.com) or drop me a line with your comments, suggestions or ideas.
Doug Colwell, Northern Rockies Section Chair