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New England Section

New England Section. The year began on a celebratory note when Bill Atkinson was honored at the home of Rich and Andrea Leonard on his 80th birthday January 13. The 90 guests, including representatives of both the Appalachian Mountain Club and the AAC, gathered to salute Bill, who is known to many as “the hub of the Boston climbing community.” Under his chairmanship since 1997, the New England Section has been one of the most active in the Club.

Seventy intrepid mountaineers braved the winter’s blast—seven inches of treacherous snow—to attend the Ninth Annual New England Section Dinner on March 12 at Northeastern University’s Henderson House in Weston. Our special guest was Kurt Diemberger of K2 renown. Kurt delivered a cultured and sympathetic presentation of his mountaineering life, his philosophical outlook, and especially his K2 experiences. In addition , AAC President Mark Richey gave a lively description of the successful annual meeting in March at Ouray, Colorado. Mark was accompanied by his wife Teresa, the second Peruvian woman to summit Huascaran Sur (6,746m), and daughter Natalia, who assisted with the door prizes.

We were especially graced by the presence of Brad and Barbara Washburn, who helped us get the annual dinner started 10 years ago by offering Brad’s stunning photographs for exhibit at the first dinner

Paul Dale, our accomplished auctioneer, succeeded in his fund raising efforts to benefit the Section by selling a day in the hills with President Mark Richey, another with guide Marc Chauvin, and a beautiful mountain photograph by our own reception area exhibitor Chris Dame.

Once again we met in June at Nancy Savickas’s alpine refuge in Albany, New Hampshire, to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow climbers and to sample the grill, snarf down Nancy’s excellent hors d’oeuvres, bite into some corn-on-the-cob, and share a glass of wine or a few beers. At least 30 guests attended from far and wide, including old timers Henry Barber, Ted Church, and Malcolm Moore.

Our Halloween gathering attracted more ghosts than expected owing to the threat of rain. However, the rain held off and several parties came in from climbs on the Cathedral Ledges and elsewhere on the cliffs of New Hampshire. In the evening more than 20 Halloween revelers showed up at Nancy’s place for her hors d’oeuvres, grilled food and refreshments, followed by Rick Merritt’s showing of summer slides of Africa and his ascent of Kilimanjaro.

Many of our members were active during the year climbing on five continents. Unfortunately, space limitations prevent a more detailed account of their accomplishments.

Bill Atkinson, Chair, and Nancy Savickas, Vice Chair