AAC, New England Section. 1998 saw the beginning of a renewal of the Section as a more cohesive social entity and, perhaps in the future, a working entity as well. We have striven to gather the membership together more often than in the past and to field activities in more than one region of New England.
Our third Annual Dinner attracted 51 members and guests. Mark Synnott was guest speaker, and Henry Kendall assembled a remarkable exhibit of his “Climber’s Camera” mountain photographs. Bill Atkinson was voted Section Chair, replacing Barry Rugo, and Nancy Savickas Vice-Chair.
In April, A1 Stebbins, Eric Engberg and Fran Bennett went variously to Red Rocks (Nevada) and to Mount Lemmon, Queen Creek Canyon and side canyons of the Salt River-Cibeque Creek and Salome Jug (Arizona). Our June north country “Base Camp” attracted some 40 AAC and Appalachian Mountain Club climbers for an afternoon and evening at the North Conway grill and beer cooler of generous AAC board member Jim Ansara.
Mark Synnott joined a trip sponsored by the National Geographic Society to Baffin Island, where he took part in the first ascent of “Great Sail Peak” (see National Geographic, January 1999). Mark joined the NGS again in August to Iceland to explore volcanoes.
In the summer (after a crash healing regimen for Mark’s injured arm), Mark Richey and John Bouchard flew off to the Karakoram. There they made another attempt on Latok II (7108m), encountering dangerous conditions yet again. However, they were able to make the first ascent of an unnamed 6100-meter summit which they chose to call Harpoon Peak. Paul Dale and Bill Atkinson returned to Chamonix, where they ran into Yuki Fujita on Les Grands Charmoz and Bob Clark on the Aiguille de l’index at La Praz. Paul and Bill climbed Le Miroir d’Argentine at Villars in Switzerland, then traversed from Montenvers to the Torino hut via the Refuge du Requin with an attempt on the Dent du Geant. Yuki reports having climbed the Brenva Spur on Mont Blanc under heavy bombardment, as well as the Central Spur of the Aiguille du Midi, the Gervasutti Pillar on Mont Blanc du Tacul and the Grand Capucin by the Swiss route on the south face. In the fall, Rick Wilcox led a group into Nepal’s Mustagh Kingdom, a remote and seldom-visited comer of the world. Finally, our November “Camp I,” organized by Walt Hampton and Bob Clark in Connecticut, attracted a dozen or so climbers to top-rope and lead at Pinnacle Rock Ridge. Appropriately, since he discovered this crag years ago, Sam Streibert showed up to climb with A1 Rubin, our New England climbing historian, for the first time in many a moon. We repaired at day’s end to Steve Messina’s Prime Climb gym in Wallingford for dinner and slides.
Bill Atkinson, Chair