Oregon Section

Publication Year: 2006.

Oregon Section. The Oregon section has had a very busy year. Richard Bence Oregon section web master has kept the section in touch and working with Jeff Alzner and others to organize functions. Richard Bence hosts the Oregon section web site (http://ors.alpineclub.org) and as well as the Madrone Wall web site, (www.savemadrone.org).

We had big ice year in the Columbia River Gorge during mid December and mid February with two incredible ice formations, a rare occurrence. See Climbs & Expeditions for more information. Wayne Wallace along with Mike Layton gave a good talk about their escapades in the North Cascades for the Oregon Section and Access Fund. This took place at the Old Market Pub as a benefit for the Madrone Wall. Keith Daellenbach has published important newspaper articles in the local publications to help save the Madrone Wall. Kellie Rice of the Access Fund continues to be an important figure in the fight to save Madrone. I coordinated with the Ice Age Flood Institute and Mark Buser of the Columbia River Chapter to help create an ice age flood corridor, which includes the Madrone wall. There has also been renewed interest by Congress because of the nearby impact site of the Willamette meteorite. Richard Bence and I of the Oregon section, Kelly Rice of the Access Fund, and the Lewis and Clark College Outdoor Program, together completed the installation of a rescue cache at Broughtons Bluff. The AAC Oregon section donated the rescue litter.

Neale Creamer, Jim Onstott, and Friends of Silcox Hut, along with Timberline, continue to perform difficult maintenance tasks on Silcox Hut, an excellent base camp for emergency south side rescue operations. Oregon section member Jeff Sheets, of the Friends of Silcox Hut, is also on the safety committee for Accidents in North American Mountaineering.

Ruth Henneburger, a Ph.D. student, searches for extremophiles (www.astrobiology.com/ extreme.html). Ruth wanted to sample at specific depths from the 40-meter cliff of the Hot Rocks Fumerole on Mt. Hood. Because of the strong sulfur gases, Ruth and I carried two 3,000 psi aluminum cylinders of nitrox, along with diving gear to the Devil’s Kitchen for a one-hour descent into the “Devil’s Hole.” Dr. Steve Boyer belayed off two pickets. The steep rock-hard sulfur mud slope was slippery and at the limit of free climbing without crampons. Although we had on glacier glasses, the hydrogen sulfide stream badly burned our eyes and exposed areas of skin. Ruth published a paper, Hunting Extremophiles in the Devils Kitchen, producing the phylogenetic trees from the DNA analyses and cultures of her previous 2004 samples.

Oregon section member, Bob Speik hosted Royal Robbins at the Tower Theater in Bend. Robert is the president of the Traditional Mountaineering and raised funds with the Robbins lecture for a central Oregon land trust (www.traditionalmountaineering.org). Oregon Section members were active in many other ways as well. Doug Hutchinson, Tom Bowman, and pilot Pete Pupator climbed in Alaska during March, completing first ski descents in the Talkeetna range. Jeff Alzner’s trip to the North Cascades and Canada yielded lots of climbing; Jeff is presently working on a Mike Bearzi biographical movie in Colorado. John Harlin climbed the north face of the Eiger and worked on an upcoming Imax movie that centers around the climb and his father’s life called Alps: Giants of Nature. It is scheduled for release in March 2007, when his book, An Eiger Obsession: In the Shadow of Dad's Mountain, should also appear. And I spent two months in Namibia and South Africa running the Sossusvlei desert observatory and making a number of ascents on the Mesas in the Sossusvlei desert region. Bob Lockerby, Klindt Vielbig, Tom Bennett, and I are volunteering with the construction of the new Mazamas headquarters in an old church.

The Oregon section also raised money, tents, and clothing that was shipped to Pakistan by the AAC. In total the section has now raised $7,500 for the Alpine Club of Pakistan for earthquake victims. Among the fundraising tools were The Cascade Mountain Film Festival, a local effort organized by Jeff Alzner and Richard Bence, and the traveling version of the Banff Film Festival. For these events we had over a dozen volunteers from the AAC and the Mazamas.

Bob McGown, Chair