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A.A.C., New York Section

AAC, New York Section. The New York Section, in the interest of serving its rapidly growing membership, continued to expand the number and frequency of its activities in 1997. After hosting the December 1996 Annual Meeting of the Club, the section began the year with a January ice climbing outing in the Adirondacks, where good weather and excellent conditions prevailed. Winter activities continued through February with a cross-country ski weekend (also in the Adirondacks) organized by Duncan and Nancy Burke. Two more climbing events followed in June: the 20th Annual Spring Climbing Weekend at the Ausable Club in upstate New York and, in August, the Second Annual Indoor Speed Climbing Competition at Ralph Erenzo’s Extra Vertical Climbing Center in mid-Manhattan. Strictly a fun event, the competition featured prizes according to gender and age group, followed by an awards dinner at Joey’s Paesano Restaurant in Lincoln Center.

The section’s social activities also provided members with the opportunity to meet, mingle and forge new friendships. In May, Alpinfilm ‘97, now in its eighth year of co-sponsorship by the section, attracted the usual capacity throng of 400 climbers and film buffs. Alpinfilm, the New York International Mountain Film Festival, is a juried competition offering cash awards to winning filmmakers. The Best of Festival Award went to Godfrey Reggio’s Anima Mundi (with a score by Philip Glass) celebrating the planet’s biodiversity. The Best Film on Climbing Award was won by Diamonds in the Rough, a humorous look at the world of bouldering, produced, directed and introduced by Todd Skinner. Finally, the People’s Choice Award went to Bill Noble of Canada for his documentary on veteran British Columbia climber John Clarke. Other significant films included Alison’s Last Mountain, the story of Alison Hargreave’s last climb on K2 and a subsequent visit by her family to base camp. The event helped benefit the American Alpine Journal.

In September, repeating a popular event held a few years before, Olaf Soot hosted a section cocktail party and barbecue at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut. On hand were demonstrations of the latest developments in portable satellite telephone as well as global positioning system technology.

Finally, in October, the section hosted its 18th Annual Dinner featuring Kurt Diemberger, the legendary Himalayan climber, as the special guest. Kurt’s memorable show was on “K2: Mountain of Dreams and Destiny.” A short talk was also given by Stephen Koch on his attempt to be the first person to snowboard all seven summits. The black-tie event raised more than $5,000 for the new clubhouse in Golden. At the Dinner, 17 new members, including four women, were introduced to the membership.

On the expedition front, section member William Rom, M.D., participated in an ascent of Mount Geladaintong (6621m) in Tibet’s remote Kun Lun Range, the source of the Yangtze River. Finally, as of December, a group of 14 section members and their guests were busy planning a trekking and climbing expedition to New Zealand, details of which will appear in next year’s Journal.

All in all, 1997 was a vintage year in every respect. Thanks to numerous volunteers, the section was able to do good and have fun.

Philip Erard, Chairman