Wednesday, December 7, 2011
NYS Annual Dinner Recap
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.”