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Central Rockies Section

Central Rockies Section. On January 21 the Section hosted the debut showing of Skiing Mount Everest and the High Himalayas in the Foss Auditorium of the American Mountaineering Center in Golden. The movie was produced by Aspen resident and AAC member Mike Marolt. In May 2000 Mike and his twin brother Steve, along with lifelong friends, skied from the central summit of Shishapangma in Tibet, becoming the first Western Hemisphere skiers to ski from above 8,000m. In May 2003 under formidable conditions—ferocious wind, cold temperatures, no Sherpa porters, no supplemental oxygen—the same group took a giant leap toward the ultimate high altitude ski run, the north face of Mt. Everest. The team climbed the north ridge of Everest and proceeded to ski it, the first Americans to do so. The film provides the only known ski footage from these altitudes and shows what can happen when a group of friends set their sights high and work together to reach their goals.

In February the CRS, for the sixth consecutive year, sponsored and helped fund the Waterfall Ice Roundup in Cody, Wyoming. This year it partnered with AAC headquarters with Executive Director Phil Powers attending. Known as the “friendliest little ice festival in the Rockies,” the Roundup invites climbers to sample over 99 ice routes, demo equipment, and enjoy the catered food and the evening slide programs.

The Colorado 14ers Initiative (CFI) has been doing trail rehabilitation work for nearly a decade on the popular giant mountains throughout Colorado. This year s volunteers, including our members Fred Barth, Bill Oliver, Charlotte Fox, and Gerard Vanderbeek, continued work begun last year on Pyramid Peak (14,018') in the popular Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Vegetation trampling and subsequent erosion have resulted in several gullied areas up to four feet deep and 15 feet wide. A new, sustainable route combining new construction and restoration will provide climbers with access to the amphitheater, from which they can explore Pyramid’s crumbling rock face and complex network of couloirs and ridges.

October 15th marked the sixth consecutive year that the AAC has hosted the Lumpy Trails Day at Lumpy Ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park. This fine climbing destination in Estes Park, which offers high quality granite on one-to six-pitch long routes, has been selected as part of the Access Fund’s Adopt-a-Crag program. The volunteers, 49 in number, included Front Range climbers, Club members, locals, and Park Service employees, who collaborated to continue improving climber access trails. The access trail to the Pear received significant work with the addition of over 70 wood and rock steps and seven drains.

Finally, Greg Sievers, as one of the original members of the Hut Committee and its past Chairman, was excited that Bison Willy’s became the third AAC Hut in 1998. He now continues to work toward adding facilities to the “rustic” end of the options list. That bunkhouse is located in the heart of the Southfork Valley southwest of Cody, Wyoming. Opening in 1999, it became an instant hit with climbers coming to enjoy the world-class ice climbing. Its convenient location saves the arduous hour’s drive from Cody to the valley. Last year the bunkhouse was closed pending a lease with the new owners of the Double Diamond X Ranch, but is expected to re-open in 2008. Hutmaster, local climber and Section member, Kenny Gasch, and his late wife Carrie opened two other facilities—the Base Camp and Spike Camp—last year in downtown Cody to provide year-round service to travelers visiting the area. For more on Bison Willy’s Bunkhouse, check the Web site at www.bisonwillys.com.

Greg Sievers, Chair