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Cascade Section

Cascade Section. On April 8, with the Climbing Club of the University of Washington, we hosted a presentation by Hans Florine, speed climber extraordinaire, showcasing his record climb of the Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite with Yuji Hirayama (2hrs 49 mins) and his speed record climbing all legal California 14,000 footers (3 1/2 days). It was an impressive show, and Hans is an inspirational speaker. This was an opportunity for AAC members to meet student climbers and for us to let them know about the organization. Thanks to the UW Climbing Club for providing the space for this Section event and to Gary Ynge for his help in organizing it.

Later in the year we helped sponsor two events. The first was a film, In the Shadow of the Himalayas, featuring fifth-grade students at Hamilton Middle School, Seattle, who have a sister-school in the Kathmandu Valley, learning about Nepal. Throughout the film, the Hamilton students introduce different aspects of living in Nepal—geography, culture, religion, ethnic diversity, daily challenges, and play—while answering questions about their perceptions of what life is like in Nepal. The film’s profits support girls’ scholarships through www.room-toread.org. The funds are greatly needed since only 14 percent of girls over age 15 can read and write, and 50 percent of Nepalese students drop out of school by age six. After the film Stephen Bezruchka and others led a panel discussion about the current political conditions in Nepal and how they affect travel and work there.

The next event was a benefit slide show in Seattle by Steve Swenson to support the Central Asia Institute. The Institute is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Bozeman, Montana, which promotes and provides community-based education and literacy programs, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Central Asia. About 300 people attended this event and over $2,100 was raised for the Institute.

Steve Swenson is a well-known Northwest native who has climbed extensively throughout the world for over 35 years. He led and summited with the second American expedition to climb K2 in 1990, and in 1994 he made a solo ascent of Everest without the use of bottled oxygen. His December 2 show was about the past summer, when, following other first ascents in the Charakusa Valley of northern Pakistan, Doug Chabot and Swenson made the first ascent of the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat on August 12-18. It took two days of climbing to reach the crest of the Mazeno Ridge and then three more days along the ridge crest, which is 10 km long and almost entirely above 7,000 meters [see feature article in this Journal].

Peter Ackroyd, Chair