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A.A.C., New York Section

New York Section. The beginning of any new decade brings with it a moment of reflection and analysis. During the 2000’s the New York Section Alpine Club Community almost doubled in size. Perhaps more important than membership growth, however, was a heightened spirit of community and brotherhood, manifested in consistently sold out events and a high degree of volunteerism. We reached several milestones: Our Adirondack winter outing, where good conditions seem to be the norm, is a year short of its 20th anniversary, while the June Ausable Club weekend, which began around 1980, is now close to celebrating its 30th anniversary. Meanwhile, an active program of slideshows, films, and other indoor events continues as in the past.

Of note, our Annual Black Tie Dinner in November is now known throughout the climbing world, gathers members from the far reaches of the country, consistently sells out, and makes a meaningful contribution to the Club’s financial well being. Since its start 30 years ago, the Dinner has raised over $250,000 for the Library and Journal. It is also a family reunion, with old faces celebrating their friendships and newcomers being welcomed to the Brotherhood of the Rope, to Charlie Houston would say.

Some of the highlights of 2009 were the launch of Olaf Soot’s new book, Alpine Americas, with page after page of the most beautiful and inspired photographs of peaks from Barrow to Cape Horn. Also, Fritz Selby published a fine memoir of his postings and adventures in Nepal in the 1960’s in his “Postcards from Kathmandu.” As the first Section to have its own Web site, we took a major step forward with the creation of a Section blog, where members are invited to post trip reports, photos and videos. Our thanks go to Vic Benes for years of dedicated editorship and to Conor Moran for revamping the site and creating http://nysaac. blogspot.com.

At the Dinner our two Mikes, Michael Lederer and Mike Barker, returned the Section flag from a winter exploratory mountaineering expedition to the English Mountains of Labrador. The main event, however, was our special guest speaker, Stephen Venables, who, in his droll, witty and Oxonian accent, took the audience back to the 1988 Kangshung Face Everest Expedition with a small, lightweight team; to Sarmiento with John Roskelley; and to South Georgia with Reinhold Messner and Conrad Anker.

Just a month before, however, the Section suffered a tragic loss. Clif Maloney, after summiting Cho Oyu and thus becoming, at age 71, the oldest American to climb an 8,000-meter peak, perished on the descent. Present at the Dinner and accepting our tribute were Clif’s widow Carolyn and their two daughters. Two weeks later about 30 of Clif’s close friends and family gathered for a memorial hike in the Hudson Highlands where he had spent so many hours training. Later that day we gathered for a sumptuous reception at the Galligan home in Garrison to reminisce and tell stories about our dear friend and brother.

Philip Erard, Chair