New England Section. In February our Section helped the International Mountain Climbing School sponsor the 18th annual Ice Fest in North Conway, New Hampshire. Our members answered the call for volunteers en masse. Tim Deroehn and Robert Castro manned a booth in the mornings at IME, providing coffee and donuts to students participating in the clinics. Friday night’s festivities at Cranmore Ski Area started with Jim Surrette’s film of Steve House soloing Recompence and Remission, two of Cathedral Ledge’s toughest mixed lines. Local hardman Freddie Wilkinson was the commentator for the indoor ice competition, which had to be seen to be believed. Saturday night’s Aprés-climbing party found Rick Merritt and Nancy Savickas passing out wine and AAC information upstairs at IME. The party raged on with a slideshow by Kelly Cordes and raffle at Cranmore, where our Section donated funds for appetizers.
We hosted our 15th annual dinner at the elegant Henderson House on March 19. Rick Wilcox provided a display of his climbing photography, which included the second ascent of the Black Dike on Cannon Mountain and several other retro-photographs, one of our own Mark Richey when he embarked on his climbing career as a 17-year-old lad. Our guest speaker was Kevin Mahoney, who treated us to a brilliant presentation entitled Risk, Reward and Responsibility. AAC past-president Mark Richey and two AAC Board members, Bruce Franks and John Kascenska, were on hand for the festivities, as were New Hampshire hardmen Paul Boissioneault and Tom Callaghan, and our former chair, Bill Atkinson.
The first of our two annual BBQs was held in June at my place in Albany, New Hampshire. In the fall Sarah Garlick, our Northeast Regional Coordinator, hosted the October BBQ at Echo Lake State Park near North Conway. John Bragg, the new team leader of the AAC coordinators, came out from Colorado to help. The event was a huge success with such notables present as Mark and Teresa Richey, Titoune Meunier, Freddie Wilkinson, and Doug Millen.
On November 5 Chad Hussey hosted our third annual “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” cragging day. Despite not having power for over a week due to the freak fall storm, Chad was up for the task of playing tour guide at one of his local crags. Connecticut was hit hard by the storm, with several trees downed and the sound of chain saws serenading us upon arrival. This year we climbed at the Owl’s Lair on Ragged Mountain near Southington. Our small group was joined by new AAC member Scott Doscher, who came all the way from Manhattan for the day. Typical of Connecticut, the climbing at Owl’s Lair was awesome!
Finally, a note from Bill Atkinson. Upon the re-assertion of an old shoulder injury, his 50-plus years of climbing has come to an end. He remembers not only his first climb in the ‘Gunks in 1956, but his last one there as well, an ascent in 2010 of Southern Pillar with John Reppy, accomplished with a combined age of 164 years.
Nancy Savickas, Chair