The Mountaineers. The Mountaineers continues to offer well-received and popular courses in fundamental to intermediate mountaineering instruction, with the same emphasis as before in the “leave no trace” wilderness ethic. Land managers give the club praise in providing manpower through our course participants to help in restoration and trail maintenance activities. Two new pilot courses were offered this past year. An aid and big wall climbing course provided instruction to advanced rock climbers through field trips and climbing on short walls leading up to multi-day climbs. Classic Yosemite techniques were learned and practiced both on local walls and in Yosemite. A small-party self-rescue seminar provided instruction in high-angle self-rescue techniques for parties of two on rock or ice. Practice was accomplished through field trips to local rock and ice climbing areas. In addition, a new bolted demonstration wall constructed on the exterior of The Mountaineers Seattle clubroom greatly facilitated instruction for the self-rescue and aid courses.
The Mountaineers have solicited detailed comments and input from mountaineering clubs and noted climbers from around the world to create a new edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. It is this extensive involvement of so many climbers from such varied backgrounds that gives authority to the principles and techniques described in this leading mountaineering text. Because they take an active role in preparing “Freedom,” many climbers feel a deep sense of ownership and refer to the text as “the climber's bible.” Volunteer contributors and subject matter experts under the leadership of Steven M. Cox are compiling the input in preparing the seventh edition of Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills.
The history of The Mountaineers in particular, and northwest mountaineering in general, is preserved by The Mountaineers History Committee. A current project of this Committee is preserving historic films. In 1996, Dwight Watson, a pioneer Washington skier and climber, donated to the club several high quality mountaineering and nature films made before World War II. The Committee has preserved these films on broadcast quality digital videotape and is working to acquire and preserve other professional quality films, covering rock climbing, alpine mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and wilderness conservation, most dating from the 1950s.
Lowell Skoog, a long-time Northwest ski mountaineer, is independently writing a book on the history of ski mountaineering in Washington. Lowell’s project is unique in that he is conducting open research. His research findings have been published on his Web site, www.alpenglow.org/ski-history. The Web site has generated feedback and leads to make Lowell’s book as complete and accurate as possible. Lowell has completed the bulk of his research and is now writing the book.
In 2002 The Mountaineers Books produced numerous titles for their outdoor readers, and the climbing community in particular. The mountaineering titles includeed Detectives on Everest, the sequel to the nationally recognized Ghosts of Everest. Written by Jochen Hemmleb and Eric Simonson, the book reveals insights into the challenges of conducting high-altitude archeological research. The Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition did not locate the body of Sandy Irvine, but discovered more clues for future detectives on Everest. The question of whether George Mallory and Sandy Irvine were the first to summit Everest remains a mystery.
Donna Price, Trustee