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New England Section

As noted elsewhere in this Journal, Section member Mark Richey, with Steve Swenson and Doug Chabot, achieved the summit of Latok II (7,108m) in Pakistan in August, for the first time in alpine style. On a somewhat lesser scale, Nancy Savickas climbed ice in Cogne, Italy, with British friends and also climbed in Zion National Park and the Verdon Gorge in France. In February many of us made it to the AAC Annual Meeting, held at the Grand Summit Hotel at Attitash in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Longtime Section Chair Bill Atkinson was awarded the Angelo Heilprin Citation for service to the Club.

On March 18 we staged what many have agreed was the best New England Section dinner ever. It was our tenth and featured the legacy of Kenneth Henderson, whose climbing films of the 1930s have been a continuing inspiration for our efforts. Seventy members and guests attended, among them Ken's son-in-law, Harold Frost, and his two grandchildren, William and Josephine Frost. AAC President Jim Donini came all the way from Ouray, Colorado, to provide some inspirational remarks. We screened one of the best of the Henderson reels: a 10-minute film of a 1930s ascent of Old Cannon on the 1,200-foot Cannon cliff in New Hampshire, for which notes and background music had been arranged by Bill Clack. Germane to the theme, Ed Webster followed the film with a marvelous hour-long pictorial tribute to Ken and the early pioneers of New England mountaineering, with many images seeing the projection light for the first time. Among those in the van were Ken himself, Bob and Miriam O’Brien Underhill, Lincoln O’Brien, Bill House, and Fritz Wiessner. Bill reported that an archival repository for Ken’s footage has been found in Maine, the same facility that houses Charlie Houston’s film records.

Club pins were presented to three new members: Zak Hampton, Jake Stabile, and Justus Zimmerman. At the reception AAC artist and Canadian Rockies legend Glen Boles of Alberta exhibited six of his beautiful and detailed ink-and-pencil drawings of selected Canadian peaks.

Basecamp at Nancy Savickas’s alpine refuge in Albany, New Hampshire, has become a tradition. At our annual gathering in June, 23 members showed up. Some were returning from serious climbs that day, while others came up from wherever they call home. Notably, we had the honor of meeting Anne Parmenter, who had reached the summit of Everest a few weeks earlier.

On August 5, at the end of a nasty heat wave, Bob Clark, Chad Hussey, and Bill Atkinson hosted a day of climbing and camaraderie at the Traprock crags in central Connecticut. On Ragged Mountain the climbers enjoyed excellent weather for ascents of area classics that included Wiessner Slab, Broadway, YMC, and Unconquerable Crack.

Post-climb we arrived at Chads remote outback station. Slides under the stars featured Bill Atkinson’s climbs in the Shawangunks from the 1950s, followed by his ascent years ago of the East Ridge of the Grand Teton. Chuck Boyd treated the audience to an overview of backcountry rock climbs in the Adirondacks; rock climbing in Montserrat and Siurana, Spain; and an excellent DVD of the 2004 Connecticut Everest Expedition. Chuck summitted Everest on May 20, 2004. Finally, Bob Clark gave a multimedia presentation featuring images of New England rock climbing in Connecticut, the ‘Gunks, and the White Mountains by Bob Clark and Chad Hussey.

The year’s final event was the by-now annual fall gathering at Nancy’s alpine refuge. Eighteen people gathered to enjoy her Halloween hospitality and elegant hors d’oeuvres after a day of climbing the nearby cliffs in New Hampshire.

Bill Atkinson, Chair, and Nancy Savickas, Vice Chair