Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Prince of the Himalyas Movie Now at the Rubin

Rescued from film distribution limbo (Buddhists might see this as a form of movie bardo), Sherwood Hu’s high-altitude Hamlet gets its first US theatrical run at the Rubin starting this week. Shakespeare’s tale set in medieval Tibet was praised for its “sublime vision and originality” by Variety when it was showcased back in 2006. Now we all have the chance to see why.

“Prince of the Himalayas is that rara avis in the world of cinema – a film that is genuinely new and different.” – Hollywood Reporter

Make Prince of the Himalayas your holiday treat by ordering tickets here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Canadian Rockies Trip Report from AAC Members

Three AAC members, Janet Morgan, Matt Powell and Gregory Frux reunited for a third adventure of 2011, this time traveling to the Canadian Rockies for hiking, scrambling and painting during late August and September.

Powell and Frux’s original plan was to base climbs at the Alpine Club of Canada’s Neil Colgan Hut, the highest lodging in Canada. This program was sunk by weather on both coasts-- Hurricane Irene delayed a flight and then snow socked the Rockies. The team modified their program, basing themselves at a motel in lieu of the hut. They picked several 10,000 foot high peaks which could be hiked and scrambled as single day routes.

Their first mountain, Eiffel Peak (elev. 10,118 ft), was an adventure. Arriving early at the Moraine Lake trailhead they discovered a park service sign indicating that it was mandatory to travel in groups of four or more due to grizzly bear activity. Fortunately they were able to locate a couple in the parking lot that was also interested in the route. The climb started on good trails through deep forest above Moraine Lake. After climbing 1500 vertical feet they broke out of the forest and the cloud cover into alpine meadows for views of the lake and surrounding mountains. From this point they left the formal trail and began hiking up a gradual ridge into the sky. Only on the upper portion did it become a scramble. The last five hundred feet were a little sketchy because of snow covered rock, but careful route finding got them through a band of steeper rock via a gulley. A snowy system of ledges led the party to the summit, which yielded panoramic views of the range.

Matt Powell and Greg Frux next tagged Observation Peak (10,414 ft), which required nearly 4000 vertical feet of scrambling. A particular charm to the summit vista was the view of the Wapta Icefield, which the team had traversed two years earlier. Matt went on to climb the huge Mount Temple (11,624 ft.) solo, a route featuring a challenging 5600 feet of climbing, including class three and four terrain. Frux and Janet Morgan stayed at Lake Louise and did paintings of that massive mountain as well as Moraine Lake. The following day the team took a rest and visited Banff Hot Springs.
Mt. Temple, 9” x 12” oil on panel by Gregory Frux

Moraine Lake Glacier Top, watercolor by Janet Morgan

The last hike that the group did was up into the Little Yoho Valley, a location first explored by a party led by Edward Whymper in 1901. The route began at Takkakaw Falls, second highest waterfall in Canada, 1260 vertical feet of pulsing, bouncing cascades. The route was a gentle seven mile walk that climbed through primordial forests before gradually breaking out into alpine meadows surrounded by big peaks to the north and south, The team arrived at the ACC Stanley Mitchell Hut in early afternoon. Matt and Greg awoke at 4 AM and headed off to climb Mount President (10,296 ft). They reached the glacier at dawn and stood on top of the summit before ten a.m. It was another mountain with sweeping views up and down the Rockies and especially to the Wapta Ice Field. For Gregory Frux, this was his 65th summit over 10,000 feet and for Mr. Powell his 63rd. The descent was accomplished as rapidly as was safe, and after reuniting with Janet at the base of the climb, the group walked the seven miles out to the car, arriving at 6 PM.

At this point Matt Powell headed home. Janet and Greg stayed the ACC Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O’Hara for the next six days . This is a gem of the Canadian Rockies and Frux and Morgan were very fortunate to win a lottery to get lodging at the hut. They painted watercolor and oil paintings most days, and did two moderate hikes. The location is enhanced by superb trails, mostly constructed by Lawrence Grassi in the 1950s. He was a retired coal miner and alpinist who adored the place; he moved tons of rocks to create secure trails and even stairs along cliff sides and tops. Special thanks to the late Mr. Grassi and to the Alpine Club of Canada for their hospitality.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NYS Annual Dinner Recap

Susan Schwartz and John Harlin III at the Annual Dinner

Reprinted from Rock and Ice
John Harlin can cover a lot of ground--of all kinds. Three months ago he achieved an inventive and adventurous goal, to traverse the entire Swiss border by climbing, cycling and paddling.

“I love the contrast [in the Alps] – going back and forth between the land of glaciers and rock, the verticality, and then down into the green, living world," says Harlin, who recently spoke at the New York section of the American Alpine Club. "This sense of joy comes from the transition.” Interrupted by a 35-foot fall on mountain terrain in which Harlin sustained a badly broken foot, the trip spanned a year.

It was a Swiss treat all the way for this year’s version, held November 12, of the perennially sold-out and stand-out black-tie dinner held by the New York section at the Union Club, New York.

Harlin spoke movingly of the climbing and emotional heritage that he had inherited from his father, the legendary climber John Harlin, Jr. John was 9 when his father had died in 1962 when his rope snapped 200 feet below the summit during an attempt of the first American ascent of the North Face of the Eiger.

John Harlin III’s presentation at the Section Dinner traced his legacy from his father through to the present day. It has shaped his life and has been chronicled in his book The Eiger Obsession, and the IMAX film The Alps.

Phil Erard, section leader, planned a Swiss-themed evening around Harlin’s presentation. Goody bags included sumptuous Swiss chocolates, the dinner menu was Swiss, and the live auction featured two business class tickets on Swiss Air. The “opening act” speaker before John Harlin was the longtime AAC member and surgeon Sherman Bull, who participated with a team of disabled combat veterans, led by the blind mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, training to climb Lobuche (20,075-feet).

Phil Erard had opened the festivities with this description of the New York Section: “Between socializing and drinking, we actually do some climbing.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Into the Silence : The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest - Monday December 12, 2011

The 1924 Everest expedition team, with (rear left and second left) Sandy Irvine and George Mallory, whose deaths left an enduring mystery. Photograph: The Times/Camera Press Digital

Please join members of the American Alpine Club's New York Section at the Explorers Club in New York on Monday December 12th, 2011 for this exciting presentation.

Reception: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Lecture: 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Optional Buffet Dinner: 8:00 p.m.
Wade Davis is a well known writer, lecturer, ethnographer and licensed river guide. He also holds the title of National Geographic Explorer in Residence.

In this magnificent book and illustrated talk, Davis shows the link between the British ascents of Everest in the 1920’s and the influence of imperialism and the aftereffects of WWI.

Tickets for the Reception and Lecture only are available for $20. While there may be seats available at the door, advance purchase is highly recommended. A post lecture buffet dinner, by advanced reservation and payment only, is available for an additional $35.
To reserve please call 212-628-8383 with credit card information.

Davis’s talks invariably sell out, so do not delay in putting this event on your calendar...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sophie Denis Summits Manaslu!

Sophie Denis, 32 years old French - born climber and a NY Section member, summited Manaslu on October 4th as an independent climber with no sherpa, no guide and without oxygen. This was her fourth 8000 meter Himalayan summit this year. Combined with a previous success on Everest, she is well on her way to achieving her goal of climbing all fourteen 8000 meter peaks and being one of the few women to do so.
In August she became the first woman to summit three 8000m peaks in 3 months in 3 different countries (Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Broad Peak) and made it to the shoulder on K-2, tuning back due to bad weather. K-2 remains unclimbed since 2008 the South Side.

We will welcome her back at the 32nd New York Section Black Tie Dinner on Saturday, November 12 and hope to see you there.
Read more on Sophie's endeavors: http://followtheclimb.blogspot.com

Our special guest this year is John Harlin in a special Swiss-themed Dinner focusing on the Eiger and his complete circumnavigation of Switzerland by its mountainous borders. A special report by Sherman Bull on his "Soldiers to the Summit" Himalayan expedition will complete the program.
Also attending are AAC former and present Presidents, Mark Richey and Steve Swenson, who just climbed Saser Kangri, the second highest unclimbed peak in the world.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Allamuchy Mountain State Park Top-Rope Social and Oktoberfest Celebration • October 22

Check out the superb stone of New Jersey's Allamuchy Mountain State Park and meet other climbers from the region. AAC member Barry Rusnock is graciously hosting this event. We’ll have top-ropes setup on climbs from 5.5 to 5.11 on the Main Wall—all abilities are welcome. After climbing join us for an Oktoberfest dinner, complete with Sauerbraten, Wienerschnitzel, Bratwurst, Red cabbage, Spaetzli. Free for AAC members.

Sunday, October 22, 12:00–6:00 p.m. at Allamuchy State Park
6:00–9:00 p.m. at Riverview Outdoor Adventures
See complete event details and directions at this link.

Sandy Hill Book Signing October 18


Please join us for a reception and book-signing event to mark the release of MOUNTAIN, by Sandy Hill. Author Sandy Hill and contributors Jack Tackle and Phil Powers will be present to personally sign Limited Edition copies of the book.

Change of Venue to: Top of the Standard - 848 Washington Street (Above High Line)

Tuesday, October 18, 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Adirondacks Community Pot-Luck, Oct. 9, Lake Placid, NY

Do you love the Adirondacks? Show your support for the Adirondacks climbing community by joining us for a pot-luck dinner at the beautiful Guide House in Lake Placid, NY. Longtime AAC member and supporter Brian Delaney of High Peaks Cyclery and Mountain Adventure Center is generously hosting this event and looks forward to seeing you in Lake Placid.

What: Community Pot-Luck

When: Sunday, October 9, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Where: The Guide House

High Peaks Cyclery and Mountain Adventure Center

2733 Main Street

Lake Placid NY 12946

Monday, September 26, 2011


Three AAC members, Janet Morgan, Matt Powell and Gregory Frux travelled to Peru’s Cordillera Blanca for a trekking, climbing and painting trip in August 2011. The program was ably supported by the team from Ted Alexander’s Huaraz-based company, Skyline Adventures.
Frux and Morgan arrived early, acclimatizing in Huaraz (elev. 10,000 ft) and at the Lazy Dog Inn (elev. 12,000 ft.). They were delighted to witness the harvesting of quinoa, as well as the traditional methods of threshing wheat by having horses trample the grain. While at the inn, Frux and Morgan painted various views of the Cordillera, including views up the Llaca Valley.

After Mr. Powell arrived the trio undertook a trek up the Cojup Valley. Enroute they witnessed teams of porters carrying in 100 pound pipe sections, up valley for 9 miles. The project the porters are working on is an attempt to lower the level of a rising glacial lake at the top of the valley. Increasing water level and instability of the glacier above are due to dramatic warming of the region. The program is an attempt to make the valley and area downstream less vulnerable to cataclysmic flooding.

After reaching the head of the valley, Powell and Frux continued climbing for two days and crossed over a pass, which included glacier travel, to reach the Ishinca Valley. The high point of the route was 17,200 ft., and involved bypassing a small cornice on the descent. The next day Matt Powell climbed Nevado Ishinca (18,143 ft) with guide Alejo Lazzati. The main technical difficulties were at the summit block, where the team had to cross a bergshrund and climb a short vertical pitch. Greg, who was feeling the altitude stayed at Ishinca high camp. While at this camp he painted an oil painting of massive face of Ranrapalca (20,211 ft).

The team descended to the main Ishinca camp and met up with Janet Morgan who had descended the Cojup Valley and hiked up the Ishinca Valley. The team stayed at this dramatic location several days, with Frux and Morgan doing additional paintings of the surrounding peaks, waterfalls and indigenous forest.

Matt Powell descended first and travelled to the Llanganuco Valley. He made an attempt on Nevado Chopicalqui, reaching high camp at 18,200’ after two days. He reported that the upper mountain conditions have changed dramatically in the last three years, with a great increase in crevasses en route to high camp.

Janet and Greg returned to Huaraz. The following day Greg Frux drove into the Llaca Valley and began his climb from a very high trailhead at 14,500 ft. In the meantime, Janet painted at the dam above Lago Llaca. From the trailhead Greg climbed to high camp at the glacier’s edge at 16,120 ft. in about three hours. At 2:30am, Frux and guide “Nacho” Espinosa set out for the summit of Vallunaraju (18,655 ft.). The mild route was spiced by a field of nevado penitentes and one steep pitch to reach the summit block. In a perfectly choreographed ascent the summit was reached as the sun touched the peak. Climbers were back in Huaraz at mid day and the team safely returned to the USA after a very happy adventure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Save the Date : 2011 Annual Dinner

32nd Annual Dinner: American Alpine Club, New York Section—Save the Date


Union Club, New York City
Special Guest: John Harlin
Invitations to this black tie gala will be in the mail and on line in late September

“In My Father’s Footsteps—Swiss Border Adventures”

Raised in Switzerland, John, then only 6 years old, lost his father, one of the best American climbers of the '60s, in an accident on the notorious North Face of the Eiger. John returned, a few years ago, to repeat and complete his father’s attempt in an IMAX Feature Film. Always enamored by Switzerland, the birthplace of Alpinism, John conceived, planned, and has just completed another audacious Swiss adventure: to climb, paddle and cycle the entire 2000 km. of Switzerland’s border with Germany, Austria, Italy and France. The hardest part of this 2- year project, interrupted by a serious climbing accident last year, entailed 220,000 meters of vertical climbing including planned ascents and descents of several 4000 meter peaks. These include the Monte Rosa, Lyskamm, Matterhorn, etc. John’s trek, aided by precise GPS coordinates, daily videos and on line reports on www.swissinfo.ch/harlin, was followed by over 50,000 Facebook subscribers.

On the night of Saturday, November 12, John will premier this adventure of a lifetime at the Alpine Club Dinner. John is an author, writer and lecturer and is the current editor of the American Alpine Journal.

In addition, a special report “Soldiers to the Summit” will be given by Sherman Bull, who, with a team of fellow Everest climbers, guided several injured vets to the 20,075 ft. summit of Lobuche East last year in an Erik Weihenmayer-led expedition

Invitations to this black tie gala will be in the mail and on line in late September


Olaf's Outing

By popular demand—and thanks to the generosity of long time AAC members Olaf and Gitta Soot—we will do a repeat of a long time favorite!

Please reach out to Phil Erard if you're planning on coming for a reservation form and liability waiver if you're climbing.

When: Sunday, September 25 from 3 - 8 p.m.
Where: The Soot Estate
9 Tomahawk Lane
Greenwich, CT 06830

Tomahawk is off Rustic View, which is off Stanwich. Please refer to Google Maps or Mapquest for specifics.
By Train: MetroNorth to Greenwich, then take a cab. Look for other AAC types and share.

Who's Invited?: AAC Members & Guests
Dress: Very Casual
What's Happening?:
All Sorts of Sports:
• Tree Diving & Swimming in the huge circular pool (please bring bathing suit and towel—watch a short video from the titular Olaf Soot of the tree diving on YouTube).
• Rock Climbing on the premises. Routes range from 5.3 to 5.11 with top ropes (please bring harness & shoes).
• Volleyball in the back yard.
• Socializing and schmoozing! Hey New Members, here's a great chance for you to meet the rest of the crew and for Old Timers, a chance to renew acquaintances and tell tall tales...
• Food & Drink. We know, climbers are always hungry and thirsty. Volunteer bartenders appreciated. Buffet dinner.
• Slide Show. Please bring ten interesting slides of your summer adventures on a USB stick or disk. Also, Olaf will have a short show of his own at dark (For Mature Audiences, he says).

An Important Question: How Much?: In advance: $25/adult, $10/kid. After 9/22 or at the door: $35/adult, $10/kid. Again, please reach out to Phil Erard if you're planning on attending for the reservation form and release form.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Calling All AAC Members - Urgent Help Needed in Catskills Post Hurricane!

Dear Members:

24,000 people in Ulster County are still with out electricity. Two prime ice and summer climbing towns, Phoenicia and Tannersville have basically been destroyed. They need immediate help. To volunteer contact: (518) 458-8111 to register or email zimmerman@redcrossneny.org for 4 hour fast-track disaster relief training sessions. More information is also available on the Facebook page.

Click here to view a quick video of the destruction.

Also, donations can be sent to the following locations:

Shelter Donations: Family of New Paltz 51 N. Chestnut St New Paltz, 845-255-8801 accepts clothing donations. School clothes needed, in addition to clothes for hurricane victims.
FAMILY of Woodstock, Inc. 39 John Street Kingston (845) 331-7080
Contact the Red Cross directly to ask about clothing donations. Dutchess County Chapter: (845) 471-0200
North Country Chapter: (518) 561-7280
Northeastern NY Chapter: (518) 458-8111
Ulster County Chapter: (845) 338-7020

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New AAC Facebook Page!

Please update your Facebook memberships and links to the new AAC Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Alpine-Club-Northeast-Region/219526988098336

Why the change? The new page covers the entire Northeast and is being maintained by the American Alpine Club. This way, we can keep all the members of the New York Section posted with the latest events and happenings throughout the Northeast.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Please Join Robert Walljasper for the Annual Picnic Sunday, September 11, 2011

Robert Walljasper, a NY Section Member and Professional Chef, cordially invites fellow alpinists and gourmets to his annual picnic in New Paltz at the Culinarian's Home Foundation.

This is quite an amazing and jolly event: 500 people or more at a seated and served Lunch a la Francaise under a big tent. All for an exceptionally low price: $45 per person including wine. For another $25 there is round trip bus transporation from New York. Close your eyes and you'd swear you were in Provence. Casual Attire.

We will be forming an AAC table so if you do decide to go, please let philiperard@nysalpineclub.org know.

So, why not climb on Saturday and/or Sunday morning and then join the festivities?

The event is being held at 71 Old Tschirky Road in New Paltz. Directions are on the bus form. Lunch is served at 1:30 PM, but coffee and danish are available for early arrivers.

Please e-mail Phil Erard if you are interested in going and having a sign-up form e-mailed to you.

Please note that no reservations will be accepted after August 29. No Exceptions.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

K2 Summit Push Aborted

After reaching Camp IV and waiting for high winds to calm, Sophie and the rest of the K-2 team aborted their attempt and are descending to Base Camp after cleaing the route. A valiant try, but with no prospect of the winds diminishing, K-2 will remain unclimbed this year. No one has reached the summit since 2008 when 11 climbers died.

More news when the climbers reach Base Camp.

For more details, visit the Field Touring Alpine Blog: www.fieldtouring.blogspot.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sophie and the K-2 Summit Push is Beginning Now!

Sophie is part of a 15 person group,now at Camp 3, hoping to summit on Friday winds permitting.
No person has stood on the summit of K-2 since 2008 when 11 persons died.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sophie on K2 - Hoping for a Summit Bid on August 5th!

After summitting Broad Peak last week, her third 8000 meter peak this year, NY Section Member Sophie Denis is now on K-2's Cesen Route, hoping for a weather window this Friday that will take her to the top. You may follow her daily progress on:


Monday, July 25, 2011

Sophie Denis Summits Broad Peak!

Sophie at the AAC NYS Annual Dinner with Bo Parfet and Dick Bass.

Click here to listen to the radio broadcast of the announcement.

Sophie Denis, 30-year old French Born NY Section Member, summitted Broad Peak this weekend with a Field Touring Alpine Group.
This is after a delay of almost a week because of high winds and avalanche conditions. This is the third 8000 meter peak she has climbed this year, the others being Cho Oyu and Lhotse in Pre-Monsoon, all done speedily and in good form. She climbed Everest a couple of years ago.

Next on her agenda is K-2 which she expects to tackle in August.

Her goal is to do an unprecedented six 8000 meter peaks in a single calendar year.

Felicitations Sophie!

You may follow her progress on the link to her blog in the right hand corner of this website or on www.fieldtouring.blogspot.com.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

AAC Expands Community Programs Team

Today marks an important milestone in the AAC’s implementation of their Strategic Five-year Plan [read more about the plan here: http://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/5-year-plan ]. The Club is pleased to welcome John Bragg as the new Community Programs Director and Sarah Garlick as the new Northeast Regional Coordinator. Later this summer, the pair join Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator Eddie Espinosa.

As part of the AAC’s Strategic Plan, The Club will deliver ever more AAC programs at the local level. Specifically, through more social gatherings, advocacy for local crags, initiatives such as mentorship and skills education, and conservation work—identified by local climbing communities and supported by AAC grant funding [like the new Cornerstone grant, more info here: http://www.americanalpineclub.org/grants/g/16/Cornerstone-Grant

John Bragg will be directing these efforts from the national office in Golden, CO and Sarah Garlick will coordinate events and programs at a regional level in New England and the Eastern Seaboard.

John Bragg was one of the pioneers of the free climbing revolution in the U.S. during the 1970s, establishing classics in the Shawangunks and Eldorado Canyon. John was also one of the leaders of the ‘70s ice climbing revolution in New Hampshire—establishing such modern test-pieces as the Black Dike and Repentance. Bragg then took these new rock and ice techniques and standards to the Fitzroy area of Patagonia, where during 1976 and 1977, he was on the first ascent team for Torre Egger and the first alpine-style ascent of Cerro Torre. He has since taken this experience even further afield with expeditions around the world, many in the Karakoram. After graduating from Harvard, among other things, Bragg was the president of the Franconia Group, representing Marmot, Scarpa, and many other major brands. He was also an Exum guide and served numerous non-profits, including North Conway Mountain Rescue, Western Massachusetts Climbers’ Coalition, and the Gunks Climbers’ Coalition. John and his wife of over 30 years are excited to be moving to Colorado next month.

Sarah Garlick is a climber based out of North Conway, New Hampshire. Originally from North Carolina, Sarah learned to climb in New England as a college student, getting her start bouldering in Lincoln Woods, RI in the late Nineties. She’s since explored mountains and crags around the world, from the walls of Yosemite to the alpine peaks of Patagonia. Last year, Sarah led an expedition to Greenland, where she and her teammates established a new free route up a remote granite wall. Trained as a geologist and writer, Sarah’s book, Flakes, Jugs & Splitters: A Rock Climber’s Guide to Geology, won the 2009 Banff Mountain Book Award. Sarah has been deeply involved in the Northeast climbing community for many years. She served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kismet Rock Foundation, and she’s been the director of the Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival and International Mountain Climbing School’s Women’s Rock Weekend. Sarah lives in North Conway with her husband, climber and filmmaker Jim Surette.

Sarah wrote to the Club upon her acceptance: “One of the things I love most about climbing is its community. We’re a tight-knit bunch, especially in the Northeast. I’m thrilled to be able to dedicate my time to strengthening and growing that sense of community, and supporting my fellow climbers. For me, that’s what the American Alpine Club is all about.”

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tuesday July 12, 2011 - Tribeca Cinemas - Skiing Everest

Mike Marolt and Montezuma Basin Productions partners with a cast of sponsors and volunteers
to host a private film screening event to benefit the JIMMIE HEUGA CENTER ENDOWMENT.


For more info and tickets, please visit their website.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rubin Museum of Art : Peak Experience VI

Climbing at the Rubin. Note Mallory at the bottom of the Hillary Step.

If you are the parent or guardian of an adventurous 9-year-old, and you would relish a night off in the middle of July, read on.

On July 23 your child could be the youngest person to reach the peak of the highest mountain in the world. Without leaving Manhattan.

Guided by some of the world’s top mountaineers and experienced Sherpas, 40 kids ages 9-12 will have the chance to experience a fully simulated ascent of Mount Everest right here from the foothills of Chelsea, replete with avalanches, icefalls, daring rescues, precarious ladder crossings, and the ever-present possibility of a yeti sighting. It’s an overnight. Kids only. No parents! More information and tickets here.


Peak Experience
Climb Mount Everest without leaving Manhattan!

Saturday, July 23–
7:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 24
8:00 a.m.
$175 per child/
$157.50 for members

Tickets and registration available online at www.rmanyc.org/sleepovers or by calling the Box Office: 212-620-5000 x344

“We said goodbye to our families, strapped on harnesses, and used carabiners and ropes to climb the spiral staircase, which had been transformed into Mt. Everest” – Rose Goodman, age 9, and Lila Colet, age 10, Time Out New York Kids

July 23-24, 2011, will mark the Rubin Museum of Art's sixth Peak Experience. During this sleepover adventure forty children, ages nine to twelve, simulate an ascent of the tallest mountain in the world.
Sherpas, museum guides, and some of the world’s most experienced Mount Everest climbers will lead these young climbers through the basic camping, safety, teamwork, and leadership skills necessary for high altitude climbing. Led by Robert Anderson (see below), a veteran of nine Everest expeditions, they will explore Himalayan art, Sherpa culture and food, and mountaineering etiquette. In order to reach the summit, participants must overcome the challenges climbers face, such as tying knots with mittens on, negotiating the notorious Hillary Step, and rescuing a frozen climber. Anderson will rappel straight down the center of the museum’s spiral staircase, hooked into a rope suspended from the museum’s 90-foot high atrium. At nightfall the climbers will descend to base camp to enjoy a hearty tsampa dinner, exchange stories of the mysterious yeti that roam the slopes of Everest, and fall asleep under the mighty mountain’s peak in order to prepare for the assault of the top before dawn...

Registration is complete only when the waiver and information sheet along with payment have been received by RMA.

This program is presented in association with the American Alpine Club (New York Chapter)
www.rmanyc.org/sleepovers Ÿ 212.620.5000 x344

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Invitation: 2011 AAC Climbers Meet Yosemite: Sept 26-Oct 1, 2011

Come Join the Fun: 4th International AAC Climbers Meet in Yosemite. All levels of experience welcome. Transportation from Fresno, catered meals and campground fees included in the $435 price for the whole week.

Details for this high season event and an application form are attached.

Let's have a strong New York showing!

More details available on the NY Section website at www.nysalpineclub.org

Two Up and Coming Alpinists

Ayla (1 Year Old) on the Beer Walls

Juliet Giving Ayla a Belay Lesson

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Photos from the Summer Outing!

Andrea on Pegasus

The Historic Ausable Club

Howard and Shayna

Michael on Pegasus

New Members Adrian and Kat

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More Photos from the AAC Ausable Summer Outing

Noonmark Mountain

Noonmark Mountain

Noonmark Mountain

Noonmark Mountain

Noonmark Mountain

Pitchoff Mountain

Pitchoff Mountain

Pitchoff Mountain

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First Group of Photos In from the Ausable Retreat

6-4-11 Slide Report
On Saturday, June 4th, Tony & Martha Stauffer, Wayne Wilson, and I climbed Bottle Slide on Giant Mountain. Though my plan was to take advantage of prime conditions to climb Eagle Slide, the directions to the herd path weren’t complete and we ended up to the left of Eagle. I’d done Eagle some 15 years ago by boulder-hopping up Roaring Brook to its base. The route suggested this time took us instead up Roaring Brook trail for an hour to the right side of the brook, with a left turn at a cairn. But after 200 yards or so, what seemed to be the herd path turned uphill sharply and had us bashing and clawing our way up a spruce/alder tangle till we finally spotted open air on our left. Getting into the open put us onto Bottle Slide rather than Eagle, so we made that our day’s adventure.

Though the biggest difficulty was route finding in that tangle, we next encountered steep scree fields with 100-lb boulders moving when stepped upon. Past that was sharp, nubbly conglomorate slabs approaching 40-degree pitch for between 600 and 1,000 ft and ending in a smooth vertical granite wall. The last effort required route finding in dense thickets clinging to the base of the cliff, locating a break in the face, and scrambling up a few pitches until coming out on the ridge trail. Overall a good workout and adventure.

--Submitted by John Tiernan

Friday, June 3, 2011

AAC NYS Member Jim Clash Details Training for Cho Oyu Climb

Thinking of climbing Cho Oyu? NY Section Member and journalist, Jim Clash, is hard at work training and planning. Here's his story:

Clif Maloney, a seasoned amateur climber married to New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, reached the top of Tibet’s 26,906-foot Cho Oyu in 2009. It had long been a dream, and because the 71-year-old investment banker had tried before and failed, the moment was especially sweet.

“I’m the happiest man in the world,” he said to his guide.

On his way down, though, an exhausted Maloney stopped at high camp (23,000 feet) and died.

That’s the world of elite peaks: one minute jubilation, the next shock and sadness.

I understand Maloney’s love of heights, and the rollercoaster of risk involved in attaining them. I’ve wanted to climb in the Himalayas, the highest peaks on earth, all my life.

Cho Oyu is a logical choice. Amateurs like it not just for its stunning beauty, but because it’s one of only 14 peaks in the world above 8,000 meters (26,250 feet). And, while it is the sixth-highest overall, it’s considered easier than some of its lower siblings like Annapurna (26,547 feet), because of relative accessibility and forgiving terrain.

But you don’t just go out and climb something like Cho Oyu without training -- and experience.

There are two types of mountain climbing: rock climbing and mountaineering. The first, spidering up vertical walls with ropes, harnesses and rock shoes, is what one does on Yosemite’s Half Dome. Falling is the obvious risk. Mountaineering, what Cho Oyu is about, involves snow and cold-weather camping, often at extreme altitude. Weather, avalanche and mountain sickness are often more the danger than falling.

Getting Into Shape
For any mountaineering effort, the first step is getting into shape -- and not just to reach the top. Most problems occur on the descent, when climbers are tired and clumsy.

To build leg strength for Cho Oyu, I’ve become the building eccentric, marching up and down the stairs of my Manhattan apartment complex three times a week with a 50-pound (23- kilogram) pack. During each session, I lose five pounds to perspiration.

To strengthen my cardiovascular system, I run 6 miles at an 8-minute pace in Riverside Park, along the Hudson River. The thinner air at altitude combined with long climbing days -- often more than 10 hours -- means plenty of heavy breathing. I also lift weights to strengthen my upper body for ferrying heavy packs between camps on the mountain.

As for a climbing resume, it takes a while to build it. A good introduction is provided by Rainier Mountaineering Inc., which offers year-round training and a climb of Washington’s heavily glaciated, 14,411-foot Mt. Rainier. My classes covered the basics of snow-climbing: travel in roped teams, use of an ice axe for self-arrest in case of a fall, use of crampons (spikes strapped to boots) for traction on snow, and crevasse rescue.

Altitude Exposure
After Rainier, my next step was some high-altitude exposure. It’s impossible to overstate how difficult it is to do anything -- including think -- above 18,000 feet, where oxygen is less than half what it is at sea level. I went to Mexico and climbed volcanoes, 17,887-foot Popocatepetl and 18,851-foot Orizaba. While they are difficult physically, the summits are doable in one day from high huts, and thus don’t require camping. For that, and even more altitude, Aconcagua was recommended as a final test.

At 22,834 feet (about 7,000 meters), Aconcagua is the highest peak in the world outside of Asia. Its extreme weather, altitude and short acclimatization time probably best simulate conditions on an 8,000-meter peak.

Higher Camps
Like Cho Oyu, it also requires building a series of higher and higher camps to slowly acclimate the body to thinner air. If a climber ascends too quickly, he develops mountain sickness or, worse, the more extreme HAPE (high-altitude pulmonary edema) and HACE (high-altitude cerebral edema). Untreated, both can lead quickly to death.

In the course of two weeks our group built four ever-higher camps on Aconcagua, each time suffering initially from lower oxygen levels at the higher altitude, then gradually becoming acclimated. Finally, from our high camp at 19,300 feet we set out for the top early one morning in below-zero weather.

That day, I found out what altitude was all about. The last section, the Canaleta, is simply the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is 800 vertical feet of loose scree -- a kind of hell up near heaven. Three steps up, then a slide back, or a fall on my face -- over and over, like trying to climb a down escalator.

There was no concept of time. I just knew I had to put one foot in front of the other and soon I’d be standing on the highest patch of ground outside of Central Asia. My guides later told me it took a full 20 minutes to cover the last 50 feet. At the end, I was taking five gasps per step.

The Bad News
Fun, eh? My date with Cho Oyu is this fall or next spring, depending on my fitness progress and schedule. The bad news: Cho is 4,000 feet higher than Aconcagua. The good: I have an extra three weeks on the mountain to acclimate and will use supplemental oxygen above 24,000 feet.

The plan is to go with Jagged Globe Expeditions, a U.K. outfit that offers a quality program for $17,000. More important, though: Two-time Everest summiteer Robert Anderson will be my guide. He knows me as a friend and a client (we climbed virgin peaks in Greenland a few years back).

If anyone can get me to the top safely, it’s Anderson. And back down again, I hope.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Everest Day Event with H.E. Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya - May 29, 2011

On the occasion of the commemoration of "Everest Day," The Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations H.E. Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya requests the pleasure of your company at a Cultural Event and Reception from 6.30 – 8.30 p.m. on Sunday, May 29, 2011 at Sagarmatha Restaurant, 62 – 02, Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside, NY 11377, (7 Train – station 61 Street) (Many Everest climbers from Nepal and USA will be present at the event.)

RSVP: 212 370 3988/89 (Ms. Sangya Singh)
Email: nepalmissionusa@gmail.com

American Alpine Club Executive Director Injured in Climbing Accident

On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 17, American Alpine Club (AAC) Executive Director Phil Powers was injured in a climbing accident. He is presently in stable condition in the intensive care ward at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, CO.

When the accident occurred, Powers was climbing with a group near AAC headquarters in Clear Creek Canyon’s Highwire area outside of Golden, CO. Clear Creek Canyon is a popular and accessible sport climbing crag on public land.

The area where the group was climbing is directly above the highway and river. The rock formation at the site of the accident is overhanging making direct sight contact difficult. Due to communication difficulties, there was confusion amongst the party over Powers’ method of descent which resulted in Powers falling approximately 50 feet to the ground.

Powers landed on dirt mainly on the left side of his seat and torso and suffered a brief loss of consciousness. His companions immediately assessed him and began implementation of wilderness first aid and rescue preparation. Golden, CO Fire Department responded quickly and began a complicated evacuation procedure.

After being stabilized at the accident site, Powers was lowered on a litter by the Golden Fire Department to the riverbed, hauled up to a waiting ambulance, then driven one mile down the canyon where he was transferred to a Flight for Life helicopter. He was flown to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver where he immediately underwent a successful surgery to repair a punctured diaphragm and address a collapsed lung. Powers sustained multiple injuries to his torso region in the fall: including a broken arm, fractured ribs and vertebras, a punctured diaphragm, a collapsed lung, and substantial internal bruising. Powers was not wearing a helmet, but it does not appear that he suffered any head injury.

The American Alpine Club is focused on Phil, his family, and his recovery and is asking that well-wishers and concerned parties send their words of support to the AAC either via email at getwellphill@americanalpineclub.org or via mail to American Alpine Club 710 10th St, Golden, CO 80305. The AAC will make sure that they get to the family.

No other information is currently available. As soon as any new information becomes available it will be shared and posted on the AAC’s website at http://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/status. Please do not contact Phil’s family at this time as they are dealing with many details important to his recovery.

About Phil Powers:
Phil Powers joined the American Alpine Club as executive director in May of 2005. His previous experience in the non-profit world includes service as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Naropa University and seventeen years with the National Outdoor Leadership School as Chief Mountaineering Instructor and Development/Partnerships Director. He remains an owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Powers is author of Wilderness Mountaineering and Climbing: Expedition Planning. His essay, "The Importance of Pace", was aired on NPR's "This I Believe" in 2006. Powers has led dozens of expeditions to South America, Alaska and Pakistan's Karakoram Range, including ascents of K2 and Gasherbrum II without supplemental oxygen. He made the first ascent of the Washburn Face on Denali, naming it in recognition of the impact longtime AAC member Bradford Washburn's photos had in the planning and route research of many Alaska climbs. Powers also made the first ascent of Lukpilla Brakk's Western Edge in Pakistan, and the first winter traverse of the Tetons' Cathedral Peaks. He is an active climber and skier and lives with his wife and children in Denver, Colorado.