American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

A.A.C., Oregon Section

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003

AAC, Oregon Section. Many of our members achieved noteworthy goals or honors this past year. John Harlin III was appointed Editor of the American Alpine Journal. Jill Kellog was elected President of Cascades Mountaineers. Bob Speik organized Traditional Mountaineering as a local organization with the aim of introducing people of all ages and experience levels to mountaineering in the Cascades. Greg Orton published an excellent guide covering 18 areas, Climb SW Oregon. At The Mazamas club rooms Bennett Barthelemy showed his slides of climbing in Joshua Tree National Park. His photograph of the I Can’t Believe It’s a Girdle traverse (5.10R) on Freak Brothers domes was featured on the cover of Accidents in North American Mountaineering-2002.

In late spring Section members, in collaboration with the Cascades Mountaineers and Traditional Mountaineering in Bend, installed the first of three rescue litters and shelters donated to Smith Rock State Park, thanks to fund raising led by Jeff Alzner. Not long after, the project was touched by tragedy. Mike Bearzi, who gave an outstanding talk on his first free ascent of Cerro Torre to benefit the Smith Rock litter project, was killed climbing in Tibet. In his honor and recognition of his contribution, the Section has dedicated the rescue litters to his memory.

The efforts of Neale Creamer and the Friends of Silcox Hut were noteworthy. In the fall they along with Timberline Lodge installed a new snow tunnel for winter access to Silcox Hut, the 1933 WPA structure at 7,000' on Mt. Hood. This provides an excellent base camp for emergency rescue on the mountain’s south side.

Tom Bennett delivered a slide show at the Talkeetna Ranger Station in April on the historic 1910 Mazamas-C. E. Rusk McKinley Expedition. The slides were reproduced from the original lantern glass slides (from Mazamas archives) taken during the expedition. Rusk, who was a founding member of the AAC, went to McKinley a Cook supporter, but returned a Cook doubter. The Talkeetna Historical Society, The Mazamas, and the NPS Talkeetna rangers are collaborating on identifying locations for the Rusk images and further documenting the expedition.

New and continuing initiatives being pursued by the Section include: planning additional trail and access improvements in southern and central Oregon climbing areas; coordination with statewide groups on overall access issues and developments of interest to climbers in Oregon’s many climbing venues; and raising interest in Madrone Wall, one of the state's best crags, and support for efforts to permit climbing there. A major new issue is addressing the planned expanded development of Cooper spur ski area into a destination resort and its potential impact on the wilderness of Mt. Hood’s northern slopes.

June Hackett, Bill Hackett’s widow, and Conrad Anker published Bill’s climbing biography including exploits with the 10th Mountain Division and the 1958 K2 expedition. The book is well laid out as a historical piece with comments by Charlie Shimanski, Dee Molenaar, and Bradford Washburn. It covers Bill’s expedition notes and will be an excellent reference document.

Bob McGown, Chair

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