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...