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A.A.C., New York Section

AAC, New York Section. The new millennium began inauspiciously. Unseasonably warm weather in early January threatened to make our 15th Annual Winter Outing a total washout. Miraculously, a quick succession of winter storms changed all that, and by the end of January, mid-winter conditions returned, along with most of the classic ice routes in Keene Valley. As a result, 34 Section members and guests enjoyed perhaps the best weekend of the winter. After a day of cramponing and skiing came cocktails and a delicious dinner followed by a Don Mellor slide show, “American Rock.” Earlier in the day, Don’s seminar on “Steep Ice” attracted a large group of ice-climbing devotees. All things considered, this was one of our best outings ever.

In February, Ed Viesturs came to town and spoke before a packed house on his 8000-meter odyssey. The Section collaborated with Outside Magazine on the event, which benefited the AAC national organization. Another significant social event followed in March, when the Section hosted legendary Himalayan climber, author, and filmmaker Kurt Diemberger in a standing-room only lecture, cocktail party, and book signing at the Explorers Club. Kurt, as usual, confirmed his reputation as one of the most dramatic and engaging speakers on the circuit.

May featured Alpinfilm, the New York International Mountain Film Festival, now in its 11th year. Cosponsored by the Section, the event, a juried competition of international renown, features a variety of films vying for cash prizes and recognition in the world’s media capital. Among the prize-winning films were Sons of the Mountaineers, a poignant film about John Harlin III and Peter Hillary, reflecting on their famous fathers’ legacies. Premiering was John Wilcox’s Shishapangma: A Celebration of Life, the story of the tragic expedition that took the lives of Alex Lowe and Dave Bridges, and Vision Man, a haunting film on an elderly Inuit hunter’s memories of a disappearing way of life in northern Greenland. The screenings were preceded by a cocktail reception and dinner at a local restaurant. In June, the Section returned to the Adirondacks for a weekend of rock climbing, hiking, and partying at the Ausable Club. This has been a two-decade old tradition which began under the auspices of the late John Case, former President of the Club and a local climbing legend.

Finally, in October, the Section held its 21st Annual Black Tie Dinner, with a full house of 140 members and guests in attendance. The special guest speaker was long-time favorite Chris Bonington talking on his recent exploratory expeditions to Sepu Kangri, an unclimbed 7000-meter peak in central Tibet. Also presenting was Olaf Sööt on Climbin’ and Crusin’ with Zeus and Poseidon, a slide show on a recent trip to Olympus, the Meteora, and the Greek Islands. Once again, our official Section bagpiper, Dave Gelman, led the procession into the Dining Room. Dave often brings his pipes along on climbs: once they got stuck in a crack, necessitating a rescue! The Dinner was run as a benefit for the Club Library, specifically to help augment the guidebook collection.

The year’s events concluded with Cuba Libre, a slide show by Armando Menocal about rock climbing in Cuba.

The year was not without its tragedies. In February, the shocking news reached us that Guy Waterman, a former New York climbing leader and legend, had taken his life on Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire. Our sympathies go to his widow Laura and his son.

Finally, our Section Web site blossomed as never before, thanks to the creative hand and hard work of Vic Benes, our webmaster. Keep posted on goings-on in the Big Apple by loggin’ on: http://nys.alpineclub.org.

Phil Erard, Chairman