Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hueco Rock Ranch Reservations Now Open

The Hueco Rock Ranch is, hands down, the best place to stay if you're climbing in Hueco. Located just outside El Paso, Texas, and just a 3 miles from Hueco Tanks—the best bouldering on the planet—the Ranch is the perfect spot to set up shop and hang with your fellow climbers.
Since getting access to Hueco can be tricky, we've got all the info you'll need to be climbing in no time. Access to the park varies by location: North Mountain and the Backcountry (East Mountain, West Mountain, and the East Spur). The climbing is awesome in every area, so check out the access details to see which area you'd like to visit.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Recognition of Former Chair Philip Erard

At the Annual Dinner at the Union Club a few weeks ago, long-time Section Chair Phil Erard was recognized by members Vic Benes and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

Here is the text from the Congressional Record from the 114th Congress:


Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Phil Erard and his 35 years of service as the Chair of the New York Section of the American Alpine Club.

The Alpine Club, a nonprofit founded in 1902, is America's oldest and most prestigious national climbing club. Devoted to the issues facing rock climbers and mountaineers, it advocates for American climbers at home and abroad. The organization is dedicated to education and conservation and is a leader in supporting the study and scientific exploration of the high mountains of the world. The club now has over 14,000 members scattered throughout the U.S. This membership ranges from local rock and ice climbing enthusiasts to professionals including the first American ascensionists of Everest and K-2.

In 1980, Mr. Erard volunteered to chair the moribund New York Alpine Club chapter with the intention of reviving the club in this area. One of his first initiatives was to organize a dinner at one of New York's most prestigious clubs. It took quite a bit of salesmanship to get a respectable gathering together, as the local organization had withered due to the unfortunate loss of leadership. After a successful first year, Mr. Erard made the next dinner a black tie event and, to his surprise, a full house showed up. This dinner continues each year to this day, and under Mr. Erard's leadership it has
attracted such prominent attendees as Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Christian Bonington, Reinhold Messner, Peter Habeler, Brad and Barbara Washburn, Gaston Rebuffat, and Dick Bass.

Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Erard has successfully used his leadership to bring together an extraordinary group of New Yorkers, united by a shared passion for the mountains. He has cultivated an environment that promotes a myriad of outdoor adventures and encourages lifelong relationships.

Over the years, Mr. Erard has juggled his volunteer activities with his professional responsibilities as a senior investment banker. He was a partner at Loeb Rhoades & Co. and a senior officer at Wertheim & Co. Mr. Erard earned his B.A. and M.B.A. at Harvard University. He also served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War period.

On January 1st of this year, Mr. Erard retired as the New York Section Chair of the American Alpine Club, bequeathing a much larger and more vigorous organization than the one that predated his tenure. Today, Mr. Erard is a Managing Director with Bentley Associates and is still an active cross country ski marathoner and climber.

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring Mr. Erard for his service and dedication to uniting New Yorkers through the love of climbing.

-Carolyn Maloney

Also paying tribute to Phil was a touching tribute from fellow climbers, member, and friend Vic Benes:

Dear Phil:

Circumstances preclude my attendance at the 2015 Dinner, so these remarks on paper will replace my participation. They comprise the usual encomia, a mention of specific accomplishments, good wishes for the future, and a regret we never actually climbed on the same rope.

Your tenure as Chair of the NY Section AAC was remarkable no just for its length, but for its novelty and character. It is not an accident that the 2015 Dinner is the 35th such annual event. You built that event during your 35 years as Chair, using your international connections in the climbing world to give it wide compass, and making it a model for other Sections. You restored and maintained our special relationship (started by John Case) with the Ausable Club; our outings continue to find a welcome venue there. You urged the creation of a Section website, one of the first, which it was my pleasure to host for ten years. You brought the Section a touch of class, some of the flavor of the original (British) Alpine Club, but without the class-conscious trappings. And for years, keeping up the Section’s reputation for toughness, you were the man to beat in your age bracket at the Loppet. 
Three cheers for Phil Erard! Hip, hip…My very best to one of the best.

Vic Benes 

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Saturday November 14, 2015
Union Club, 101 East 69 Street at Park Avenue, NYC
Presenting Speaker, Melissa Arnot 
Special Tribute, Phil Erard
New Member Introductions  

Please click LINK to purchase tickets.

Tickets sellout, so reserve early for this not-to-be-missed event. Any new members attending the dinner for the first time will be introduced and receive their membership pin (please indicate when purchasing tickets). Our program includes a special tribute to former Metro NY Section Chair Phil Erard. Professional Mountain Guide Melissa Arnot, who most famously de-escalated the volatile situation on Everest in 2013, will share her story of learning the ropes, taking us from Mount Rainier to the summit of Everest five times. Live Your Dream Grant recipient, Dominic Metcalf will start things off with a presentation on his climbing trip in preparation to attempt all six of the great North Faces of the Alps. Proceeds this year benefit the Juniper Fund and the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway (Gunks) Campground.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Metro NY Section, Gunks Camping & Climbing Weekend, September 26-27

It was a beautiful early fall weekend and a small group of Metro NY Section members gathered at the Gunks campground for socializing and climbing. The bulk of our group took the bus up from Port Authority early Saturday morning and cabbed it to the campground. This is a great way to go if you don't have a car. Our group included new members Caryn Johansen, a recent west coast transplant and Venezuelans Andres & Carlotta Monsalve. Andres told us about his planned trip to Angel Falls. He is going to hike up Auyantepui mountain and rap the full 979 m (3,212 ft) of the falls. Long-time members Andrea Salerno and Michael Schlenker joined as well. Michael gave us a report on his spring trip to Alaska and his attempt of the Cassin Ridge. On Sunday everyone teamed up for climbing, while the kids and I waited for Shayna to finish the 10 mile Pfalz Point Trail Challenge. After the race we returned to the cliffs to join others for some family climbing. I even got in a grown-up route late in the day before heading back to NYC.

We are planning another weekend over October 17-18. It is a great way to meet new friends & climbing partners and take advantage of the newest AAC lodging facility.

- Howard Sebold

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Save the Date : 2015 Annual Dinner

Save-The-Date, Please join us for the Metro NY Annual Dinner, Saturday, November 14, 2015

Invitations will be mailed and online registration will open in early October. Tickets sellout, so reserve early for this not-to-be-missed event. We have made some tweaks to the format this year that are sure to be crowd pleasers. Our program includes a tribute to former Metro NY Section Chair Phil Erard for his years of dedicated service to the Club. Professional Mountain Guide Melissa Arnot will share her story of learning the ropes, taking us on a journey from Mount Rainier to the summit of Everest five times. Proceeds this year benefit the Juniper Fund and the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway (Gunks) Campground. Come catch-up with old friends and make new ones. Inquires please email

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

AAC Craggin' Classic on September 17-20

The AAC's Craggin' Classic Series is a premier gathering of the tribe celebrating our traditions, culture, and craft. The components of the Craggin' Classic Series include community fellowship, competency and education, stewardship of our resources, and fundraising for critical programs such as the AAC's Live Your Dream Grant. Our aim is to gather the tribe in iconic climbing destinations nationwide and deliver on these components. Each weekend-long celebration is made possible through the partnership and leadership of our local businesses, volunteers, local climber coalitions, and industry partners.

Working with local guides and professional athletes, the Craggin' Classic Series is fast becoming the nation's premier resource for technical clinics on a wide range of topics for climbers at every level. The clinics are designed to deliver something far beyond what most climbers are able to learn in a gym. Expect to find clinics focused on Alpinism & Mountaineering, Trad/Multi-Pitch Climbing, and Physical Conditioning & Technique. A plethora of safety response skills and certifications are also available at most events.

We support healthy climbing landscapes; it's part of the AAC mission. Working with local climbing organizations and land managers, each event involves a stewardship component where climbers can put some of our brawn and brains into efforts aimed at conservation, sustainability and access.

Gathering together with a purpose is the heart and soul of our club. We share ideas, pass along knowledge, help improve the landscapes, and we care. Our social events celebrate our past, our recent achievements, and our future. We provide the best gear sales and games and even raise substantial dollars to benefit climbing grants and conservation projects. When we gather, we make a difference.

For more information and to register, please visit: 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Metro NY Gunks Camping Weekend September 26-27

Join the Metro NY Section for a early fall weekend in the Gunks. Swampy weather is behind us and the rock is cool, dry and oh so climbable. We will be staying at the new Gunks campground and enjoying the sunny days and cool bonfire perfect nights. This is an unstructured communal event and each member/party is responsible for reserving a site, providing their own food, camping & climbing gear. Family participation is welcome and we will have a bonfire with s'mores Saturday night. For those interested this is also the weekend of the Mohonk Preserve Pfalz Point Trail Challenge, a 10 mile trail run through Preserve lands, Public transportation to New Paltz is available and we will assist with setting up ride-shares where possible. If interested please reply to Metro NY Section Chair for more details and event registration. 

NYC Film Premier - Everest - September 17th

Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Co-Produced by AAC Member David Breashears

Join the Metro NY Section for the NYC premier of the film and gather for drinks and socializing after. Unfortunately ticket discounts are not available for IMAX film. Please purchase your tickets directly from the theater.

Date: Sept. 17
Time: 7:00pm Showing
Place: AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 & IMAX
Please RSVP to Metro NY Section Chair for info and to confirm participation.

Monday, July 27, 2015

AAC NYS Member and First to Climb the Seven Summits Passes Away

I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Dick Bass. Dick was a good friend and inspiration to many, an honorary member of the NY Section and fixture at our annual fall dinner. He was an influential member of the climbing/outdoor community and his legacy will be felt by generations. Our condolences go out to Dick's many friends and family.

Howard Sebold
American Alpine Cub
Metro NY Section Chair

Richard Daniel “Dick” Bass, the first person to climb the highest point on each of the seven continents, passed away Sunday, July 26, 2015 at the age of 85 surrounded by family in Dallas, Texas.

Born Dec. 21, 1929 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Bass completed the “Seven Summits” at age 55 in 1985 when he summited Mt. Everest on his fourth attempt with guide and lifelong friend David Breashears. Bass co-founded Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in 1971 with Ted Johnson and maintained sole ownership of the Utah resort for four decades until the Bass family sold majority interest in Snowbird to Ian Cumming in May 2014. Bass suffered from pulmonary fibrosis.

“The Snowbird family is mourning the loss of a great man who changed so many of our lives for the better,” said Snowbird President Bob Bonar, who worked for Bass since before the resort opened.

Bass is survived by wife Alice, four children and 13 grandchildren as well as five stephchildren and 11 step grandchildren.

Bass was known for his love of poetry, art, travel, literature and people. A conversation with Bass was never brief but always entertaining with his homespun aphorisms he called “Bassisms.”

Funeral services will be Friday, July 31, 4 p.m., at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.


Richard D. Bass (Dick) was partner and Chairman of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, located at Snowbird, Utah, only 25 miles southeast of the center of Salt Lake City.  He spent the last 44 years building Snowbird into a world-renowned, year-round destination mountain resort, dedicated to the enhancement of Body, Mind and Spirit.

Dick was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in December 1929, moved with his family to Dallas, Texas in October 1932, and had his legal residence there ever since.  His father, Harry W. Bass, was a true pioneer and industry leader in the independent oil and gas world, having been the developer of the first portable drilling rig (today’s industry standard), the first person to create a producing petroleum field unitization of ownership interests on a reservoir acre-foot basis, and the largest independent processor of natural gas in the United States during the late 1950's and early 1960's. Dick always said, "I picked my father very carefully. He gave me a great launching pad.

At age 20 Dick received a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Yale University in June 1950, and then did graduate work at the University of Texas in geology and petroleum engineering prior to being called into active duty in June 1951 for two years during the Korean War.  He was an officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex in Task Force 77 in the Sea of Japan, which naval action was well portrayed by James Michener in his book, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, and later made into a stirring movie with William Holden and Grace Kelly.  Upon discharge in July 1953 he joined the family oil and gas business and ranching operations.

In 1962 he invested as one of the original limited partners in the Vail Ski Resort development in Colorado, and joined the Board of Directors of Vail Associates Inc. in 1965.   In the mid 1970's, Dick's family acquired 58% of Vail Associates and this led to Vail's then developing the Beaver Creek Ski Resort under his brother, Harry Jr., during the 1980's.  The Bass family's Vail stockholdings were sold in 1985.  In addition to Vail, Dick and his brother were 10% stockholders in the Aspen Ski Corporation until it was purchased by Twentieth Century Fox in 1977.  Until recently Dick was also an owner of 10% of the Alta Ski Lifts Company, adjacent to Snowbird.

The above involvements gave Dick a varied and significant degree of experience and understanding of the ski industry in particular and recreation business in general.

Dick Bass was, in his own words, “not super strong, not super smart and not super courageous, but I am super curious and super enthusiastic.”  As others have said, “to know Dick Bass is to know a human dynamo, an individual full of energy and dreams.  He was a multi-dimensional, human perpetual-motion machine, always striving toward lofty goals - goals not just for himself, but for the betterment of everyone.  Snowbird is living testimony to Dick Bass's unflagging optimism, energy and determination.”

In October 1969, after visiting the site of Ted Johnson’s vision for a year-round mountain resort in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, Bass undertook the pursuit of a new and lifelong quest - and Snowbird was hatched.  “If man had sent God a request for the perfect potential place for skiing, Snowbird is what He would have sent back,” says Bass.  “No other ski area in the whole world gets the quantity and quality of snow and has the variety and scale of skiable terrain in one package!”

After a year and a half of extreme weather obstacles and cost overruns, Snowbird opened in December 1971.  In spite of financial and regulatory roadblocks and setbacks that would have deterred those less committed, Bass oversaw the continued growth of Snowbird into a world-class destination ski and summer resort.

While pursuing his dreams, Bass discovered through climbing major mountains an effective outlet for his frustrations and anxieties.  “Mountain climbing,” said Bass, “recharged me with a greater sense of self-confidence and self-respect, and enabled me to put my troubles and pressures into better perspective by more fully realizing, ‘If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me!’”

Bass' infectious energy and enthusiasm  enabled him to summit the highest mountain on each continent, and is chronicled in the book,  Seven Summits, authored together with his climbing partner  Frank Wells, former President of Warner Brothers and then Disney.  On April 30, 1985, Bass at 55 became the oldest person by 5 years (at that time) to reach the top of Mt. Everest and the first to climb the seven continental highs.

Frank Wells perhaps best summed up his friend by saying, “Dick is a Renaissance Man in the ultimate sense of the word, with an inherent, insatiable curiosity about everything and everyone around him.  That fascination with ideas, and especially people, becomes infectious.

In 2006 Dick was awarded the National Ski Area Association (NSAA) Lifetime Achievement Award  and in 2009 he was inducted in the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame.

Dick Bass and his family sold a majority interest in Snowbird to the Ian Cumming family in May of 2014.

In June of 2014, as a tribute to Dick Bass, the cofounder of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, the state of Utah proclaimed June 18 as “Dick Bass Day”.

Dick had a “third time’s the charm” wife, “Sweet Alice from Dallas”, and between them they are blessed to have 5 daughters and 4 sons from former marriages, who in turn have doubly blessed them with 14 granddaughters and 10 grandsons.

Despite all his achievements, Bass never rested on his laurels.  His life continued at a frantic pace, seeking new horizons, more mountains to climb, literally and figuratively.   He was an undaunted optimist who believed: “To participate is to live; spectators only exist.  Nothing in the world can take the place of determination and persistence... they are omnipotent.  If we never stop we can't get stuck.  You’re not a champion ’til you come up off the mat.”  As he often said, “I have this abiding faith that someday I'll finish everything I've started.”

Saturday, July 25, 2015

K2 Summit Bids Abandoned for 2015

From Madison Mountaineering:

During the last few days the weather and route conditions have deteriorated significantly on K2, causing many avalanches and also rock fall. The climate here has warmed up dramatically, and as a result snow slides down to the glacial ice have peeled off K2 and the surrounding peaks, in once case the snow avalanches buried another team’s advanced base camp, fortunately no one was there at the time. The weather forecast has much snow ahead as well as continued warm temperatures, so without any indication that conditions may improve we are abandoning our climb of K2. Yesterday, one member of our Sherpa team was injured by a falling rock, we flew him by helicopter this morning to Skardu where he is being attended to. We will close up our base camp over the next few days and then plan to head out, there is still a chance we will make a Broad Peak attempt, weather and route conditions permitting. We look forward to coming back for K2 next year!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cornerstone Conservation Grant Application Period Opens June 15

Does your local crag need some love? Partner with your local climbing organization and apply for the Cornerstone Conservation Grant powered by REI.

The application period starts June 15:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Call For Volunteers

The Metro NY Section is looking for dedicated community-minded volunteers to serve as climbing mentors and committee members for our pilot "Climb Like a Girl” program. This initiative is to provide an indoor rock climbing summer mentorship at The Cliffs in Queens to low-income teenage girls from the Long Island City community (via Urban Upbound). Mentors would be required to commit three (3) two-hour weekend morning sessions per month at the The Cliffs from June through August. Mentors will also regularly work alongside Urban Upbound advisors to tie climbing with their life-skills curriculum. This program is an opportunity to expose climbing and its benefits to a population that is not normally reached by our sport. Female climbers are strongly encouraged to apply as mentors. We are also looking for a few members to assist the program founder in continuing its development. For more information and to get involved please email the Metro NY Section Chair at

Metro NY Section Ausable Club Outing, May 29-31, 2015

A long-standing New York Section tradition is our Annual Adirondack Outing at the exclusive Ausable Club near Keene Valley. Activities include: rock climbing (including backcountry routes on Gothics or cragging at the nearby Beer Walls), hiking in the adjacent High Peaks, canoeing on the private and pristine Ausable Lakes, golf, tennis and lawn bowls on the property. On Saturday we host a cocktail party, sit-down dinner and slideshow at the Club. We have privileges to drive the gated Lake Road, permitting speedy access via the lakes to some High Peaks classics such as Marcy and Haystack, and shorter hiking routes to Gothics and Indian Head.

Group size is limited to 40 people first come, first served. The all-inclusive price for the weekend includes lodging for Fri/Sat nights, 2 self-serve cottage breakfasts (including the Sunday Pancake Fest), Saturday cocktails and dinner. Please email the Metro NY Section Chair at for registration information. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

NY Section at the Gunks

The Metro New York Section helped out at the new AAC campground in the Gunks last weekend.  32 dedicated volunteers came out to climb, test out camping and get stuff done.  They did everything from staining office counters to leveling bear boxes and finishing the bathhouse interior.