American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

New England Section

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2008

New England Section. In 2007 we lost Bob Bates, our famed AAC Honorary President, one of the great “Harvard Five” mountaineers (Bates, Carter, Houston, Moore, and Washburn) portrayed by David Roberts in his January 1981 Harvard Magazine article, “Five Who Made It to the Top.”

In February Bill Atkinson, Rick Merritt, John Kascenska, and others were at the Club’s annual meeting in Bend, Oregon. We hiked to the top of the cinder cone in Bend, where we happened to meet Dee Molenaar. At 82 and the oldest on the cliffs, Bill trailed rope-gun Tom Thrall up some 5.6s at Smith Rock.

Sixty-three members and guests attended the Section’s 11th annual gala dinner on March 24 in Weston at the Henderson House, a mansion now owned and operated by Northeastern University as a conference center. Here we shared conviviality and fine dining amid an exhibition of Jeff Botz’s large-format Himalayan photos. We learned of the accomplishments in Nepal of special guest Dan Mazur, who also gave a stirring account of the rescue of Lincoln Hall on Everest in 2006. Mark Richey delivered an elegant and heartfelt remembrance of our own late, great H. Bradford Washburn. Barbara Washburn was in attendance. Also at this meeting we welcomed our new member Jack Hadock.

The June Basecamp at Nancy Savickas’s refuge in Albany, New Hampshire, by now a tradition, brought out 28 of us to quaff, stoke the grill, and air outrageous falsehoods around the campfire. The Fall Outing, also at Nancy’s, was a great success and our biggest bash yet. Here for the first time were such notables as Jed Williamson, Bruce Franks, and Bob Hall.

Various individual activities: Mark Richey achieved the summit of Suma Brak (20,230') in Pakistan for a first in alpine style. Nancy Savickas and Yuki Fujita bearded the awesome ice at Rjukan, the site of the infamous Nazi heavy-water plant in Norway. To celebrate his 50th anniversary of joining the “NH 4,000-Footer Club,” Scott Skinner repeated all 48 summits in 2007. Ben Townsend and team climbed the five-pitch “Wild, Wild Life” (5.10) in Katahdin’s northwest basin. At the AAC Board meeting in Asheville, North Carolina, Sam Streibert reconnected with Dennis Merritt for climbing on Table and Looking Glass mountains. With a combined age of 110, Eric Engberg with Ed Ward bested several 5.10s in Tuolumne Meadows, and Eric climbed a 23-pitch 5.12 with his son Zeb at El Potrero, Mexico. In Yosemite Chad Hussey’s highlights were Cathedral’s “Mordor Wall” and “Crest Jewel,” and 10 pitches of desperation on North Dome. Dick Tucker, Dick Traverse, and Bob Dangel completed the noteworthy Ptarmigan Traverse and ascended Dome Peak (8,786') in Washington’s North Cascades. After 30 years unroped, Malcolm Moore returned to the rocks of the Cascades and also skied the backcountry of Italy’s Ortler group.

Bill Atkinson, Chair, and Nancy Savickas, Vice Chair

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