American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

A.A.C., Sierra Nevada Section

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

AAC, Sierra Nevada Section. It was an active year as usual for our members, starting with an April 6 fundraiser, complete with donated prizes from sponsors for raffle or auction, at the Berkeley Ironworks Gym. I premiered “Driven Crazy,” a slide show about my recent escapades in Chile: a solo traverse of the Tower of Paine. Royal Robbins, Bob Schneider, and Brock Wagstaff were among those donating generously to the cause, and Bob even won the rope in the raffle. About 75 people attended, and we raised almost $1,500 in support of the Section’s activities.

Shortly thereafter, supported by a Lyman Spitzer Climbing Grant, I had the opportunity to go exploring in Mongolia. Joining me were members Sean Chartrand and Heather Baer, my wife. We scored the first ascent of a 2000-foot granite arête in remote central Mongolia that checked in at 5.11d. We also climbed with the Mongolian national team in Terelj, a picturesque climbing area just 90 minutes from the capital city of Ulaan Bataar. We made several first ascents, both sport and trad, enjoying our time in this land of friendly people.

In May our clan gathered at Hans Florine's base camp (i.e., three-story house) in Yosemite for a barbeque, trading slander and sandbags around a slew of brews and burgers.

September brought our second (and annual?) Pinecrest weekend with climbing at the Gianelli Edges, where none other than Royal Robbins could be seen enjoying the fine granite and later hosting a shindig at his cabin on the lake. Also in September Brock Wagstaff organized a trip to Lover's Leap, an old haunt for our Section.

Our annual dinner, organized by Paul Romero, was held at Zazoo’s Restaurant in Oakland, where we watched boats cruise by as we dined with our comrades. We imported Tim O’Neill from Colorado to give his program on speed climbing in Yosemite and alpine-style climbing in Patagonia. We laughed from the edge of our seats at his comic stand-up performance about his audacious climbs.

Finally, we were all saddened to lose some of our most well known members in 2002. RD Caughran passed on first, high on the slopes of Makalu. Warren Harding was the next to go, sipping wine to the finish. Barb and Galen Rowell’s plane accident was so sudden, so fast. They were all great people, active in the Section over many years, and will be sorely missed.

Thanks to all who helped make our events happen, with special thanks to Paul Romero for holding us all together with his e-mails and newsletters.

Steve Schneider, Chair

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