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The Mountaineers

The Mountaineers. The Seattle Mountaineers climbing program, under the leadership of Barbara McCann, expanded its traditionally alpine program by adding an introductory class on sport climbing. Enrollment in the alpine climbing courses has remained high, with demand exceeding capacity. The basic climbing course is a one-year program that teaches knots, belaying, rappelling, crevasse rescue, ice axe use, rock climbing and glacier travel. It is targeted for people new to climbing and those with limited experience. Of the 220 students enrolled, 74 graduated. The intermediate climbing course is a more extended program that requires from two to five years to complete. This course teaches leading on 5th class rock, winter mountaineering skills and ice climbing. The program accepted 70 students, and 14 others graduated from the multi-year intermediate course in 1997.

The advanced climbing experiences (ACE) program was initiated during the 1995-1996 climbing season. During 1996-1997, under the leadership of Myma Plum, this program offered a number of activities for the more experienced climber, including water ice climbing and aid climbing. Seminars on risk management, altitude and small-party rescue were available.

Club climbs in 1997 were predominately in the Washington Cascades and Olympics. Exceptions were a climb of the East Face of Mount Whitney and a week of climbing in Yosemite Valley. Two separate climbing parties attempted peaks in the Annapurna Himal (Tharpu Chuli and Singu Chuli), but were unsuccessful.

Two new seminar courses designed to enhance outdoor skills were presented by The Mountaineers. The first one, Fundamentals of Wilderness Travel, was aimed at the novice or aspiring backcountry traveler. Subjects covered were mountain weather, fitness, navigation, wilderness ethics, avalanche awareness, group dynamics, equipment, personal care and emergency response. About 25 volunteers taught or supported the course, including some of the most knowledgeable backcountry travelers in the region.

The second seminar course, Essentials of Leadership, focused on the soft skills of leadership. Some subjects included were leadership styles, team building, group dynamics and conflict resolution. Through applicable experiential activities and group discussion, participants explored the understanding of various types of leadership. Role playing in simulated outdoor group experiences encouraged a variety of different problem-solving methods.

In October, The Mountaineers Books published the sixth edition of Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, which is the standard textbook for rock, snow, ice and alpine climbing. During 1997 it also published Denali’s West Buttress: A Climber’s Guide, Kilimanjaro & Mount Kenya: A Climbing Guide and Climbing California’s Fourteeners, as well as 48 other books about climbing. The Mountaineers Books is now the exclusive distributor for American Alpine Club Press, which includes their highly regarded Journal and Accidents in North America. Free catalogs for Mountaineers Books are available at 800-553-4453.

Donna Price, Trustee