American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

A.A.C., Oregon Section

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

AAC, Oregon Section. Jeff Alzner led the K2000 Expedition to the North Ridge of K2 in the summer. The climb was frustrated above 7350 meters by persistent bad weather and poor conditions. A succession of storms prevented the large team from making a summit attempt. On the plus side, the expedition was without mishap, and all returned safely.

Doug Hutchinson and Matt Sullivan climbed Mount Waddington by the Bravo Glacier in July. Conditions were good to excellent, and the climb went well, taking only two long days from base to base. As a follow-up to Waddington, they headed to Mount Robson, but were thwarted by dangerous conditions high on the mountain.

Jim Craig, 80, returned to Switzerland for a traverse of the Matterhorn. He completed two ascents with his lifelong climbing partner, Donald Eastman. The two of them have completed hundreds of mountain ascents together over the last 46 years.

Sean Bagshaw, Brock Rowley, and Mark Chin attempted Aconcagua in December, but were turned back by persistent high winds. The climb was notable for the effort to integrate a computer link with Brock’s fifth-grade class back in Ashland.

Vera Dafoe, a very active Section member who has made 350 ascents over the last 50 years, is busy with displays for the Mazama Museum. Creating a climbing museum has been as rewarding to Vera as any first ascent. Her striking displays are classic, with a completely computerized inventory of 2,500 items. These uniquely displayed rotating exhibits can be seen in the Mazama club room. Vera was recently honored by the Mazama explorer scout group led by our member Peter Green. Peter and members of his group made the first ascent of a peak in the Canadian Coast Range and named it in Vera’s honor.

Back from the Karakoram, Jeff Alzner, with Richard Bence, arranged a K2 presentation for a Madrone Wall Preservation Committee. Thanks to MWPC members Keith Dallenbach, Ian Caldwell (Access Fund), and others, there is hope for future access to the Madrone Wall, a proposed rim rock climbing park in the Clackamas River Valley.

During the winter, Doug Hutchinson, Richard Bence, and Bob McGown, along with a Mazama trail-building crew, replaced the nearly nonexistent trail to the north face of Broughton’s Bluff, a popular local crag, with a safe, accessible trail with belay platforms.

The other active trail work is on the railroad tie stairs at Rocky Butte, where stairs connect an old rock-and-dirt embankment to this popular traversing wall. The AAC Conservation Committee under Mike Lewis funded the project. Richard Bence, Ian Caldwell, Bob McGown, and others worked diligently on this improvement to the Rocky Butte.

Richard Bence, our Section webmaster, and others continue to collect and make available local climbing information in a “virtual” guidebook. This Web site gives new and visiting climbers access to accurate information about the many fine climbing areas in Oregon. Besides maintaining and developing the site, Richard also provides an AAC climbing Web search engine, bulletin boards, an e-mail message system, and opportunities for our Section members to “publish” their climbs and adventures. Our Section Web site is reached at http://ors.alpineclub.org/AAC/.

In addition to the virtual guide, the Web site has become a focal point for information and discussion about local access issues ranging from the Lava Caves sport climbs in central Oregon to Madrone Wall to Mount Hood and to Beacon Rock in Washington. Detailed local and national information from many sources is compiled on the site to help climbers understand management actions and how to react to them constructively.

These various activities have all led to more communication between the Section and other climbing groups, such as the Mazamas, the Access Fund, Friends of Climbing, and climbing-related businesses, including Portland Rock Gym and In-Climb in Bend. Keen interest is shown by unaffiliated climbers in this activism and volunteerism by the Section, and the opportunity for recruiting new members is enhanced significantly. A coalition of central Oregon climbers was formed to respond to concerns about climbers’ responsibility at the Lava Caves. In-Climb in Bend will serve as a clearing house to assure that climbers visiting the Caves are aware of the restrictions in sensitive areas and respectful of other users. This has gone a long way toward mitigating the somewhat draconian response first proposed by the Forest Service to effectively ban climbing in the Caves, although the issue has not been finally settled. In another context, the proposed wilderness solitude standards forwarded by the Forest Service for the Mount Hood area have been scrapped, and a stewardship and selfregulation policy has been adopted through the efforts of many groups and Section members. Now the challenge is to follow through and preserve the quality of experience in the Mount Hood wilderness through responsible climbing and continued participation.

Bob McGown, Chairman

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