American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Sierra Club

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1953

Sierra Club. The past year has proved a very active one for Sierra Club members. Besides the usual conducted trips to the High Sierra during the summer months, rock climbers and mountaineering members accomplished several climbs of note in the local area.

The Loma Prieta Climbing Section (San Jose-Los Gatos) explored the King’s Canyon region, making some excellent Class 5 and 6 ascents. More accurate knowledge of the area will be helpful in the completion of a Climbers Guide to King’s Canyon rock climbs, being written by Bob Smith of the Loma Prieta group. Climbers of the Southern Section completed new ascents of the final summit lead on the Lost Arrow in Yosemite Valley. Salathe and Nelson finished this unparalleled climb from the base of the spire in five days.* Wilts and Gorin made a third ascent of the needle in August.

This past March W. Dunmire, W. Siri, A. Steck, and P. Swift made a first ascent to El Capitan Tree, which grows on the sheer face of El Capitan, several hundred feet above the talus slope. In July Steck and Swift overcame severe difficulties to gain a first ascent of the Yosemite Point Buttress. Also in July, R. Long and J. Davis made a first ascent of one route on the North Face of Clouds Rest.

In addition to these local climbs, members of the Club engaged in three expeditions. W. Long, R. Long, and R. Skinner climbed in the Bella Coola area of British Columbia and in 21 days climbed Mt. Defiance (9600 ft.) and Mt. Nutsatum (9600 ft.). Bad weather prevented further climbing. Members of the Club also went on the 1952 expedition to the Cordillera Blanca in Peru and climbed two peaks above 19,000 feet. Will Siri led this group which included Oscar Cook, Allen Steck, Fletcher Hoyt, Leigh Ortenberger, Nat Berlin, Peter Hoessly. Seven Club members also took part in the 1952 West Buttress Climb on Mount McKinley, which reached 12,000 feet before bad weather finally forced them back. These included Dick and Mary Houston, Chet and Evelyn Errett, Phil Bettler, Fritz Lippmann, and Dick Irvin. The California Himalayan Committee was also still endeavoring to get its expedition under way.

C. Houston and A. Steck

* Sierra Club Bulletin, Vol. 32, May 1947, describes an ascent by roping down to the notch from the rim of the wall.

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