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The Mountaineering Club of Alaska

The Mountaineering Club of Alaska. The Mountaineering Club of Alaska swelled to over 650 members in 2000. The club offered 34 hiking and climbing trips and over 20 different training courses to its members during the past year. The vast majority of trips were in the Chugach, Talkeetna, and Kenai mountains of south central Alaska. However, trips were also made to destinations in the Alaska Range, Brooks Range, and Wrangell-St. Elias Mountains, as well as to the Grand Canyon. Through the combined efforts of MCA members Steve Parry, Gary Runa, and other volunteer instructors, the club’s Training Committee offered instruction in ice climbing, winter camping and survival, glacier travel and crevasse rescue, snow climbing, knot-tying, orienteering, avalanche-hazard recognition, mountain rescue, basic mountaineering, and snow shelter construction.

Individual members of the MCA engaged in trips throughout Alaska and the world, including Africa, New Zealand, the Himalaya, South America, and Europe. In addition to other climbing activities reported in this volume, MCA members Dave Hart and Paul Barry, with Jeannie Wall and Dick Dorworth, made successful ascents of Mt. Steele (16,664') and Mt. Lucania (17,147') in the Wrangell-St. Elias Range in April. Dave Hart and Tim Thomas also summitted Mt. Wood (15,885') and Mt. Macaulay (15,387') during a five-day trip in mid-May.

As a result of increased membership, new activities and training, the MCA Board undertook efforts to address risk-management issues, including the need for insurance and improved leader training. The club updated its policy on club-sanctioned trips, revising leader qualification and trip rules, and adding detailed language on trip-leader responsibilities, as well as a trip-leader checklist. A “Leader Orientation Course” was established by the Board to familiarize all current and potential trip leaders of the Club’s trip policy and proper procedures, to ensure the safety of club trips. At the Board’s request, the Hiking and Climbing Committee, chaired by Matt Nedom and Paul Templeton, adopted written procedures for approving club-sanctioned trips, and established an MCA Leader database to assist in approving club trips and leaders. At the Board’s request, Bill Romberg attended the 2000 NOLS Wilderness Risk Management Conference in Anchorage to obtain information for the Board on a variety of topics related to risk management.

The club also undertook a number of efforts to improve services to its members. Under the superb guidance of our webpage editor, Willy Hersman, the club added a number of new features to its webpage (www.mcak.org), including posting of back issues of the club’s newsletter, an online bulletin board, an online membership database for password-protected access by club officers and club members for address updates. The club also recently established an e-mail listserv for its members to improve communication among members. The club produced a 2001 photo calendar, developed a series of MCA t-shirts, arranged for a bulk purchase of avalanche beacons, probes, and shovels at a discount for members, and purchased 16 new ropes, ten new helmets, and four radios for use at the club’s annual Ice Climbing School.

In terms of community involvement, the club entered discussions with Chugach State Park regarding the issuef ownership and liability of the three of the club’s mountain huts located along the Eklutna Glacier within the park. Club members Cory Hinds and Tom Choate organized trail-clearing activities in partnership with Alaska State Parks and succeeded in clearing brush from approximately one mile of the Gold Mint Trail before winter set in. Future trail-clearing efforts are planned. The club also solicited and received an $11,000 grant from the State of Alaska to complete the construction of a new public use cabin on Eklutna Lake under an arrangement with Chugach State Park.

Bill and Wendy Romberg