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A.A.C., New York Section

AAC, New York Section. No other event has impacted the NY Section quite as severely as that which occurred on 9/11. As the year began there were constant reminders of the loss suffered by the City and so many people including our members and their families. Yet it served to bring the Section together as we all realized how fragile life is and how important are the friendships and camaraderie we make in organizations like the AAC. The Section contributed in a tangible way as well raising several thousand dollars for disaster relief at our Annual Dinner held the previous September.

The year began with a very successful get-acquainted dinner in Greenwich in January for our Connecticut members, many of whom are unable to join us at our weekday events in Manhattan. The organizer was Edgar Walsh. This was followed during the year by several slide shows and book signings here in the City arranged by Jack Reilly. Among the speakers were Ed Webster, Greg Mortensen, and Joe Blackburn. In June, thanks to David Breashears, members and their families were invited to a reception and special preview screening of his fine IMAX film “To The Roof of Africa.” Later that month John Ewbank, a new member from Australia, invited us all to a slide show and party at his loft in SOHO.

With all this socializing we did some climbing, too! In January our traditional Adirondack Winter Outing, a sell-out affair, was held in ideal, almost balmy conditions in what turned out to be perhaps the best winter weekend of the year. In May a large contingent gathered at Ralph Erenzo’s “Bunks in the Gunks,” after a day of climbing and hiking in the Gunks, to welcome the visiting AAC Board of Directors. Our traditional Adirondack Spring Outing was carried over to late September. With the fall foliage resplendent, about 25 members and guests participated in a memorable weekend at the Ausable Club trying out some new, “black-fly free” routes in the immediate area. Bob Hall was the organizer of this event, now in its third decade. For once there was no criticism of the Chairman’s wine selection, as this was professionally handled by Steve Miller, our fellow member and wine importer. Especially missed was Earlyn Dean, a longtime member and volunteer, who had passed away earlier in the year. Earlyn, a tireless volunteer, had for many years been the lady who whipped up our Sunday breakfast pancakes. Interspersed during the spring and fall were conditioning hikes in the Hudson Highlands organized by John Tiernan. Especially pleasant were the post-hike wine and cheese get-togethers at Chris and Mim Galligan's place in Garrison.

Finally, in November, our year concluded on a high note with Jim Wickwire’s presentation at our Annual Black Tie Dinner. About 150 members and guests, many from out of town, were on hand for the 23rd edition of this event, which raises much needed funds to expand the Library’s circulating collection. Besides Jim, two local members made short reports: John Ewbank on the rock climbing possibilities Down Under and Amy Cross on the attempt by her husband Will to ski to the South Pole. Will, a diabetic, is undertaking this 800-mile trek to raise funds for diabetes research. In his slide show Jim recounted his extraordinary life as a climber, its highs and lows and its significance to him. Only a few weeks before, tragedy once again struck on one of Jim’s climbs as his partner Ed Hommer was killed by rock fall on a training climb on Mt. Rainier. Accompanying Jim at the Dinner was his charming wife Mary Lou. Finally, we introduced 20 new members and presented them with their membership pins. Doing the honors in this department was Fritz Selby, our “ace” membership recruiter. Among these talented newcomers were recent newly weds Timi and Caroline Johnstone, who had just returned from their honeymoon in Yosemite. For an old timer like me, it's refreshing to see so many interesting, varied, and competent climbers be part of this organization. And we hope to see more of you, regardless of your past experience, at our various events. Included in our outings are professionally guided clinics for all levels of experience.

Our Section Web site, http://nys.alpineclub.org, is a colorful and highly useful directory of news and other events here in the Section. Thanks go to our webmaster Vic Benes for creating and maintaining this entertaining and valuable amenity. Ours is perhaps the only one in the world of climbing with quotations from the classics. Check it out!

Meanwhile, the Section abounds in volunteer opportunities, a great way to get into the “inner circle” as well as expanding your list of potential climbing partners and friends. If you'd like to help out in any of our indoor or outdoor activities, please let us know. And we are always interested in any slide shows you may be ready to produce. You can reach me at philiperard@hotmail.com.

Philip Erard, Chair