Alaska Section

Publication Year: 2008.

Alaska Section. It was a busy year in the most northern of AAC sections. We officially purchased and signed the lease agreement with the State for the Snowbird Hut on the lateral moraine of the Snowbird Glacier in the Talkeetna Mountains—the first hut for the AAC. Originally built for backcountry skiing access, the hut is also situated in close proximity to multipitch alpine climbs, but is in dire need of a rebuild. To finance a new hut, the Section hosted a slideshow at the Bear Tooth, a favorite local theater pub, which generously donated the proceeds from the door. With good attendance from the Anchorage outdoor scene, the event not only raised needed monies but also provided good exposure to the Alaska AAC. The rebuild of the hut is slated for summer 2009.

The slideshows in Anchorage have been a great way to bring our members and others from the outdoor community together and provide an excellent forum for networking and public outreach. In 2007 we hosted a diverse series of shows that ranged from the Marmolata in Italy to remote Aleutian peaks, from Kyrgyzstan to Patagonia, and even included a mountain geology lesson!

Kicking off our spring series, we enjoyed an artful slideshow from club ember/biologist/photographer James Brady on climbing in Croatia, the Italian Dolomites, and the Tien Shan range of Kyrgyzstan. Joe Stock lectured on the first ski traverse of the Neacola Mountains (Aleutian Range), which encompassed over 100 miles and 20,000 vertical feet through whiteouts, icefalls, and deep powder. In March, Club member/geologist Peter Haeussler delivered a fascinating presentation on the mountain forming processes of the Alaska Range, the 7.9 earthquake that rocked the Denali area, as well as other active faults and earthquake activity in the Alaska Range. In April we had a showing of “Fun Hogs,” a classic 1968 film featuring Yvon Chouinard and cohorts on their adventure from Ventura, California, in a Ford Econoline van to Patagonia in three-and-a-half months and 16,500 miles. In our fall series, Scott Darsney gave a captivating presentation on his climb of Manaslu (8,163m) in Nepal, followed by an interesting adventure climbing and exploring in the Aleutian chain via sailboat. Our November slideshow was the benefit for the Snowbird Hut, with Jim Donini and Freddie Wilkinson presenting “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” which awed the sold-out theater by contrasting young and old, modern and traditional, Alaska and Patagonia. In December local climbing legend Carl Tobin gave an inspirational presentation titled “Climbing with My Mentor,” featuring images of his climbs with George Lowe from the East Face of Everest to the Dolomites. The Alaska Section gratefully acknowledges the BP Energy Center for providing the modern facility for our slideshows.

In 2008 our goals are to organize more fund-raisers for the Snowbird Hut rebuild, to design another hut, to co-sponsor climbing events, and to increase conservation efforts and public outreach.

Harry Hunt, Chair