New York Section. New York Section members, like everyone else, love rituals, and one of our most enduring, second in longevity to our black tie dinner in the fall, is our Adirondack Winter Outing, now in its 16th year. Historically the weather in the third week of January is the coldest of the year, making the event an unusually invigorating exercise. Not in 2006, however, as January turned out to be the warmest on record in the Northeast. Thankfully, a cold snap just a few days before the event made the ice climbable, although not all routes were in condition. Anyhow, if the climbing wasn’t world class, the happy hour, dinner and slide show afterward definitely were top notch, making the trip worthwhile for the 36 members and guests. A special treat was Fritz Selby’s show on his expedition to Mongolia the summer before. In addition, a number of Club members and guests arrived early on Friday to take in Olaf Soot’s exhibit of Adirondack photos at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. These may be found in his new coffee table book, Adirondacks Alive, co-authored by Don Mellor, the well-known Adirondack climber and writer.
In February the Section launched a new collaboration with the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan. Housing an extraordinary collection of Himalayan art and artifacts, the Museum, in the Chelsea District of Manhattan, also has a first-class theater seating over 150 people. It was at this location in February that the Section co-sponsored a special tribute to Heinrich Harrer, who had passed away the month before. Hosted by David Breashears, with the participation of the U.S. representative of the Dalai Lama, the sold-out event featured a presentation of Harrer’s historic photographs of Lhasa in the late 1940s. In March we organized another lecture at the Rubin on Extreme Medicine, given by Dr. Ken Kamler. Ken, a high altitude climber himself, was high up on Everest when the 1996 disaster occurred and administered first aid to the injured climbers, who included Beck Weathers. Finally, in June the Section helped organize The Great Everest Sleepover of 2006, a simulated, overnight climb of Everest inside the Museum for 40 kids ages 11-14. Assisting Chief Guide Luis Benitez were five “guides” from the New York Section who instructed their young charges on basic mountain safety and techniques. Saturday night was spent in tents at “Camp Six” (the sixth floor) of the Museum. Nobody got much sleep, especially when the yeti arrived at midnight! This imaginative event got national publicity with a special report in The New Yorker.
Our Twenty-Seventh Annual Black Tie Dinner on November 11 featuring Dr. Charles Houston, M.D., was one of the most eagerly anticipated and the earliest sellout in Dinner history. The topic was the 1953 American Expedition to K2, best known for Pete Schoening’s miraculous ice-axe belay, which saved six lives including Houston’s. The selfless heroism of the team members in attempting to evacuate a fatally stricken Art Gilkey stood in sharp contrast to those recent Everest climbers who were reported to have bypassed a dying climber as they pursued their summit ambitions. Houston showed a film with historic footage aptly entitled The Brotherhood of the Rope. Other program highlights, included a nine-minute film, A Peak Experience, on The Great Everest Sleepover discussed above, and the introduction of 12 new members.
Special thanks go to Richard Ryan and Howard Sebold for creating this fun, imaginative and well-edited film which no doubt will do well at various mountain film festivals. The Dinner raised a record contribution for the Library. At the end of the evening, special plaques were awarded to Todd Fairbairn, Richard Ryan, and Holly Edelston recognizing the long hours they dedicated to soliciting, assembling and shipping much needed cold weather gear and supplies to Pakistan in connection with the Club’s Earthquake Relief Initiative. At the Dinner the New York Section Flag was introduced. This flag will accompany future expeditions or other significant ascents by New York Section members. The first such flag was awarded to Dr. Samuel Silverstein to accompany the 40th anniversary attempt on Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, scheduled for January 2007. Sam was a member of the AAC team that made the first ascent of all the significant peaks in the Ellsworth Range back in 1966. That original first ascent team included Nick Clinch and the late Pete Schoening, among others.
Section members were also busy in the summer months of 2006 climbing in far-flung places: Dan Lochner, with his old Everest partner Dan Meggitt, attempted 7,000-meter Khan Tegri in Kazakhstan, only to be thwarted by difficult logistics. As a consolation prize they climbed nearby Chapuyeva, a challenging 6,200-meter satellite peak. In September Fritz Selby led a group of section members to the rarely visited Minya Konka area in China’s Sichuan Province. Others in the group included Mark Kassner, Roland Puton, Joe diSaverio, and Carlo and Manuela Filiaci.
The New York Section is blessed with a number of active, inspired and hardworking volunteers without whom these ambitious undertakings would not be possible. Among those not already mentioned above who should be singled out are Mike Barker, who also chairs our membership committee, Martin Torresquintero, Michael Lederer, and Vic Benes, our webmaster.
Stay up to date on Section events at http://nysalpineclub.org.
Philip Erard, Chair