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A.A.C., New York Section

New York Section. In February 2008 we launched an important new, Web-enhanced initiative. In conjunction with our partners, the Rubin Museum and our local PBS TV station, we videotaped and broadcast a symposium on contemporary climbing on Everest. Panelists focused on the general deterioration of ethical and behavioral standards, particularly on the north side, where access has been largely unregulated. Participants included Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Michael Kodas, author of High Crimes: The Fate of Everest In An Age of Greed, long- time New England guide and mountain rescue leader Rick Wilcox, and Randy Cohen, author and ethicist for the New York Times. This fascinating discussion with recommendations for the future may be downloaded on www.thirteen.org/forum/high-crimes. This initiative will enable us to retain the content of our presentations in a much more permanent fashion while making them available to a worldwide audience.

We, of course, did not ignore the traditional. Our two outings in the Adirondacks, one in the spring and the other in winter, sold out quickly. As New Yorkers do enjoy good food, wine, and entertainment following a hard day on the rocks or ice, all three are always part of the equation. Two excellent after-dinner presentations should be noted: one by Clif Maloney on his recent success on Mt. Vinson in Antarctica with partner Bob Street, and a delightful film by Fred Golomb recapitulating his 70-year climbing career with film footage dating back to the 1930’s.

Finally, despite Wall Street’s travails, our 29th Annual Black Tie Dinner, held at the Union Club on November 15, was one of our most successful ever, both artistically as well as financially. Special guest speakers Conrad Anker and his wife Jenni Lowe-Anker held the sold-out audience in rapt attention as they talked about how they both rebuilt their lives after Conrad lost Alex Lowe, his best friend and Jenni’s husband, in an avalanche. Their story of shared loss, romance, and subsequent marriage is beautifully told in Jenni’s best seller, Forget Me Not [reviewed in this AAJ]. At the dinner we also welcomed back Mark Richey, who had carried the New York Section flag on a number of hard first ascents in the Karakoram. We laughed a lot and held our breaths as Howard and Shayna Sebold tied the knot on Skytop in the Gunks after negotiating “Overhanging Overhang.” In addition, we introduced and gently roasted 12 new members.

Financially, a record amount was raised for the AAC Library and the Khumbu Climbing School, thanks to the generosity of our patrons and the talents of our volunteer auctioneers Steve Schofield and Dee Byers.

Sadly, at the Dinner, we noted the passing of our good friend and long- time member Bill Eldridge, who was killed in a climbing accident in the Gunks just a few weeks before. Bill is survived by his widow Rachel, son Ben, and a legion of friends.

None of the above would have been possible without the help of our indispensable volunteers, particularly Webmaster Vic Benes, Membership Chair Mike Barker, and other hard workers including Michael Lederer, Andrea Salerno, Martin Torresquintero, Howard Sebold, Jonathan Light, and our official chronicler Susan E.B. Schwartz.

Phil Erard, Chair