American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Mazamas

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

The Mazamas. Problems with governmental agencies proliferated in 1998. The Oregon State Marine Board continued its vendetta to classify, regulate and tax the Mazamas as a commercial guide. The U.S. Forest Service took the same stance toward the Mazama Climbing Education Programs and caused the club to abandon the graduation climb as a part of Basic Climbing School. The USFS also began to sell season permits for parking at trailheads and stressed the size of parties in wilderness areas. Two Mazama climb leaders were fined for having a party of 13, one person over the limit, near the summit of Mount Hood. The fact that one of the leaders had picked up an unattached climber to provide for his safety gave no amelioration to the fine. The USFS declared a policy of not allowing climbing hardware, even rappel slings, in Wilderness areas. This presented mountaineers with an agonizing decision of whether to halt the use of prudent mountain safety practices in order to obey the law. Meanwhile, the USFS continued the policy of permitting unlimited expansion at Mount Hood Meadows Ski Area, which inflicts permanent damage on the wild east side of that peak. It would seem that dollars in the coffers of the government are the real issue, not the preservation of wilderness. The Access Committee of the Mazamas, originally considered an effort to solve temporary problems, is now being considered as a permanent committee necessary to cope with access in USFS lands.

Recipients in the Mazama Awards Program numbered: (8) Three Guardian Peaks (Hood, St. Helens, Adams), (1) Seven Oregon Cascades (Jefferson, Three-Fingered Jack, Washington, Three Sisters plus Three Guardian Peaks), (5) 16 Major Peaks (all of the above plus Olympus, Baker, Shuksan, Glacier, Stuart, Shasta), (1) 15-point Leadership Award.

The Outing Committee, chaired by Barbara Parker, conducted international trips to Belize, Peru, Tuscany, Ireland, the Dolomites, and Siberia’s Lake Baikal. There were western trips to Crater Lake, a float trip of the Grand Canyon and hiking the Oregon coast. The committee annually presents its programs at the Festival of Outings as well as at the New Member Fair. They also present many Wednesday evening slide shows and lectures to inform the members of past activity.

The Trail Trips Committee, chaired by Richard Getgen, again increased its enthusiastic participation with 555 trips and a total of 5,253 participant-days. The trend of interest in weekday in-city hiking made the 1990s the decade of the “Street Rambles,” which accounted for 33% participation of all Mazama hiking. The Trail Tenders subcommittee continued its program of weekend trail improvement with volunteer labor. Getgen, by the way, hiked his 10,000th mile in July along the north rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The Expedition Committee, under the leadership of Shirley Welch, conducted two major activities. One was the Mazama Annual Decathlon at Vancouver Lake, which attracted 300 competitors on April 19. The second was the development of an Expedition Training Course for the winter and spring of 1999. This course plans a series of four lectures on trip organization and expedition ethics, three slide shows and panel discussions of potential areas of the world, and three weekend field sessions to practice expedition skills and procedures.

President Robert Hyslop retired from the Executive Council after two years as president. He was succeeded in October by Christine Mackert for the 1998-’99 fiscal year.

Jack Grauer, Historian

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