August 2009 Mountaineers Newsletter

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August, 2009 M2
Seeding the

The monthly publication of The Mountaineers

Volume 103, No. 8

environmental field with scientists A youth group revival afoot
Summit Savvy Conservation Currents Gear Grist Passages Off the Shelf
Brian Lewis photo

M4 M4 M6 M7 M7

Rainier safety program earns national praise
Mountaineers accident data put to use in seminar
By Brad Stracener

w w w. m o u n t a i n e e r s . o r g

“You can’t have zero risk in the mountains, but you can reduce the risks by being smart.”
—Ed Viesturs, forward to “The Zen of Mountains and Climbing”

Are you burning for answers about stoves? See Gear Grist on M6.

y applying their smarts, as gleaned from past experiences, partners in a safety program at Mt. Rainier have recently received national recognition for their success in reducing the chances of tragedy on the mountain. The past experience used as their teaching tool, though, is not always their own. In fact, one experience in particular—perhaps the most tragic incident to befall The Mountaineers fraternity in its history—was not shared by any of the initiators of the safety program, but served as the impetus for the program itself. Continued on M5

Conservation via ‘ground-truthing’

Ben McAllister photo

Discover The Mountaineers

If you are thinking of joining - or have joined and aren’t sure where to start - why not attend an information meeting? Check the Go Guide branch sections for times and locations. Are you ready to jump right in? Visit No computer? See pg. 22. Need to call? 206-521-6000.

Mountaineers Public Policy Associate Leesa Wright ascends the trail to Chiwaukum and Larch Lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. This summer The Mountaineers and others in a coalition of wilderness advocates are leading “ground-truthing” hikes, such as the one above, into wilderness areas of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The hiking teams are looking for signs of possible incursion by motorized vehicles. For more about the effort and attaining the list of hikes, see the article on M8.

Women alpinists hastened era of equality
Editor’s note: This is the final of a twopart article on the influence of women climbers, some Mountaineers, on the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century.


By Shanna Stevenson

he Mountaineers’ 1909 ascent of Mt. Rainier was more than a club achievement; it served as a bellwether for women’s rights nationally, while crowning a regional exposition that drew national attention. The club’s third annual outing, organized by noted photographer and Mountaineers founding member Asahel Curtis, followed its Olympics outing in 1907 to the top of Olympus and the 1908 outing to the eastern side of Mt. Baker. The prospectus for the climb depicted it as a cooperative venture with the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), which had begun two months earlier and was compared in stature to the omnipresent mountain. Indeed, the AYPE flag was planted atop Rainier by Curtis and his throng at the behest of AYPE Director James A.

Wood. The prospectus also clearly defined the protocol for the attire of what proved to be the gender majority in The Mountaineers and on the outing—women. This dress protocol would later be challenged by women climbers.

pennant to the flag post—a feat that was replicated by other women advocates on following climbs.

The evolution of attire

Moreover, in tandem with the AYPE flag, the 1909 outing afforded one of the women on the climb to attach a women’s-right-to-vote

August is for Junior Mountaineers! Families can find a host of summer outdoor activities while snagging a prize for their effort. See pg. 9 of the Go Guide for details about this new program.


The Mountaineers charged each participant in the 1909 climb a fee of $40. For this, climbers were provided with a commissary outfit that included provisions—stoves, cooking utensils, general assembly Continued on M3

The Mountaineers 7700 Sand Point Way N.E. Seattle, WA 98115

Meany Lodge Weekend: Hike your hearts out! See pg. 15 of the Go Guide.

Owls & Woodpeckers: Join author Paul Bannick for a fundraising event at Mountaineers headquarers. See the ad on M7 for details.

The Players’ summer production, “High Button Shoes,” kicks off Aug. 1 for a run of four consecutive weekends. See pg. 2 of the Go Guide for more details.

August 009

The Mountaineer
Purposes and mission
The club’s mission: To enrich the community by helping people explore, conserve, learn about and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest. The club’s charter lists its purposes as follows: —To explore and study the mountains, forests and other water courses of the Northwest and beyond. —To gather into permanent form the history and traditions of these regions and explorations. —To preserve by example, teaching and the encouragement of protective legislation or otherwise the natural beauty of the natural environment. —To make expeditions and provide educational opportunities in fulfillment of the above purposes. —To encourage a spirit of good fellowship among all lovers of outdoor life. —To hold real estate and personal property and to receive, hire, purchase, occupy, and maintain and manage suitable buildings and quarters for the furtherance of the purposes of the association, and to hold in trust or otherwise funds, received by bequest or gift or otherwise, to be devoted to the purposes of said association.

The Mountaineers is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1906 and dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and protection of natural areas. Board of Trustees Officers President Eric Linxweiler, 08-10 President Elect Tab Wilkins, 08-10 Past President Bill Deters, 08-09 VP Properties Dave Claar, 08-10 VP Publishing Don Heck, 08-10 Treasurer Mike Dean, 08-10 Secretary Steve Sears, 08-10 Trustees at large Kirk Alm, 07-10 Rich Draves, 08-11 Dale Flynn, 07-10 Ed Henderson, 08-11 Lynn Hyde, 08-11 Don Schaechtel, 06-09 Eva Schönleitner, 06-09 Dave Shema, 07-10 Mona West, 06-09

Also see us on the web at

Managing Editor Brad Stracener

Contributors, proofreaders: Barb Butler, John Edwards, Brian Futch, Jim Harvey, Dyche Kinder, Nancy Neyenhouse, Susan Pavlansky, Suzan Reiley, Brooke Spicher Photographers & Illustrators: Brian Lewis, Gala Lindvall, Ben McAllister

THE MOUNTAINEER is published monthly by: The Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E. Seattle, WA 98115; Ph. 206-521-6000; fax 206-5236763

Branch Trustees Bellingham, Steven Glenn Everett, Rob Simonsen Foothills, Gerry Haugen Kitsap, Jimmy James Olympia, John Flanagan Seattle, Mike Maude Tacoma, Tom Shimko Interim Executive Director Mona West

Volume 103, No. 8 The Mountaineer (ISSN 0027-2620) is published monthly by The Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98115. Members receive a subscription as part of their annual dues. Approximately $12.42 of each member’s annual membership dues is spent to print and mail this publication. Non-member subscriptions to The Mountaineer are $32. Periodicals postage paid at Seattle WA. Postmaster: send address changes to The Mountaineer, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98115. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of The Mountaineers.

Who ya gonna call? Your mentor, of course
Are you a new member wondering about the how-to, where-to and what-to-do with your club? There are a number of resources available to you, not the least our websites. Now there is also a real, live person. If you want to know about expected conditioning for a hike, what not to wear, how to sign up for events or whatever call or e-mail the “mentor of the month.” Mona West is this month’s mentor. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] with your questions or comments.

Foundation grant seeds the field with citizen scientists


he Mountaineers Foundation has been an ardent supporter of organizations that bring educational projects to its grant-proposal table. The foundation’s mission to promote the study, protection and enjoyment of natural areas is particularly suited to two recent projects.

slow the spread of the invasive vegetation.

In 2007, the McCall Outdoor Science School in Idaho asked the foundation to approve its proposal to partner with the McCall-Donnelly High School environmental science class. The ultimate goal was to empower high school students as citizen scientists to effect change in their community. How could the foundation resist? Both a new housing development and a golf course are located upstream from Shiner Creek. As a delta formed at the mouth of the creek, the local water advisory board chair became concerned. He brought those concerns to the McCall Outdoor Science School for further examination. The science school staff collaborated with the McCall-Donnelly High School environmental science program to create a high school project that would not only address issues in Shiner Creek, but also teach students the principles of using a scientific method through a community-based and hands-on study.

Citizen scientists: McCall, Idaho, science students collect Payette aquatic data. Students were given an introduction to watershed science at the local Payette River, within walking distance of the classroom. They then spent five months collecting chemical and aquatic insect data from Shiner Creek to be compared and analyzed ins respect to water quality. They presented their findings at the school science fair, and also in a public forum that included the largest public landowner on Shiner Creek, city government officials, the watershed advisory board, local press and community members. Students took the lead, from collection and analysis of data to the dissemination of the results to the community, thus empowering themselves as citizen scientists. Results of the research project indicated a decrease in water clarity and an increase in dissolved, solid load. The results were reported at the public forum, but a discussion also ensued on potential causes and possible next steps. Once the forum presentation was over, one student said, “We really did it, and they cared what we had to say.” The Townsend School District of Townsend, Montana, applied for a Mountaineers Foundation grant in 2008. The funds helped to support a continuing high school program that partners with the local county’s weed district. The project identified areas for mapping of an invasive plant species, spotted knapweed, and the addition of a bio-control agent, the root-boring weevil, to

Students spent an entire semester learning how to use a GPS/GIS ArcView unit and then applied for summer jobs with the county to map the infestation of spotted knapweed. The effort included monitoring and caring for insectaries, where root-boring weevils were raised and then released into the knapweed-infested areas. Students visited sites identified over the past several years, collected data from those sites, and identified new sites for bio-control agent releases. They also completed a progress report for community education on the success of the bio-control agent program. Students discovereda that a slowing of the spread of knapweed was evident on sites that received weevils a year ago, and other plant life was returning to the area. The report will be used to continue the placement of these bio-control agents during the summer and fall of 2009. Help The Mountaineers Foundation sustain its vision of “passing the best possible environmental legacy to ensuing generations.” Visit www. for granting information, guidelines and an application.


The Mountaineer
Continued from M1 tents and enough auxiliary tents to shelter the group in an emergency. The fee also included cooks, dishwashers, pack-train and packers, and round-trip rail fare to Fairfax from downtown Seattle. taineers but there were delegates from the Appalachian Club of Boston; Katherine Reed was from Washington, D. C.; and Freda Sanford was from Connecticut. One of the expedition members was from the Austrian Alpine Club.

August 009

Mountaineering attire reflected women’s changing role

Individuals were required to provide their own climbing outfit, including clothing and bedding. Women were directed to provide a short skirt, not below the knee, and bloomers, as well as “heavy veils to protect the face from burning when on the snow.” Additionally, participants had to apply to the climb leader, Curtis, to participate in the event. Dress for mountaineering women reflected their changing role, though women were to forge even more changes in mountaineering attire by the 1930s. Confining corsets could exert as much as 70 pounds of pressure on a hiker’s chest while long skirts could dangerously be caught on rocks or other structures. The weight of traditional clothing restricted women’s movements, thus impeding the skills necessary to climb. One author noted that skirts with bloomers underneath made of wool could weigh up to 15 pounds dry, let alone wet. Women often wore skirts at lower altitudes and discarded them once they attained higher elevations on the climb. “Slipping on and off” became the norm. Others simply hiked up their skirts and secured them with a ribbon. By the 1930s, women were finally free of these impositions on climbing attire, but until then, the bloomer costume was often associated with the women’s rights movement. Women advocated dress reform during the first Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848. One of the first women to wear bloomers for mountaineering was Julia Archibald Holmes who wore what was otherwise known as the “American Costume” when she became the first woman to climb Pike’s Peak in Colorado in 1858. A feminist, Holmes had come west wearing bloomers and was chafed at restrictions imposed by men. In photos of the 1909 Mt. Rainier expedition, it appears that women wore skirts in camp but shed them in favor of bloomers for climbing— per instructions in the “Washington Women’s Cook Book,” as written by the woman who posted the suffrage pennant atop Rainier, Dr. Cora Smith Eaton.

After their arrival, some of the party built a trail across Carbon Glacier and a horse pack-train went to Moraine Park on the east side of Carbon Glacier where the outing directors established a permanent camp that they dubbed, “Camp Moraine.” Advance parties tried various hikes and were later joined by 62 (out of a first group of 77, some of whom turned back) hikers who camped between Inter Glacier and main White Glacier on a volcanic ash area. They used rocks in their sleeping bags to keep from rolling down the mountain. Life in the camp featured such diversions as raising the AYPE flag, foot races, tug-of-war contests, a “fatman race,” shoe-lacing contests and a lemon contest. By July 30, the climbers started their climb to the summit of Rainier along the White Glacier. After an eightand-one-half hour climb of the northeastern side of Rainier, they reached the summit in a gale. The Seattle Times noted that the party of 62 (Dr. Eaton counted 63) was the largest to ever reach Rainier’s summit. It reported that some of the men had to be “revived with snow” but that none of the women gave out. It was one of the very first times the route had been tried and the first time women had taken it.

Washington State Historical Society photo

This Asahel Curtis photo captures the Rainier summit group at dinner in camp. Pfaff said he was with five other climbers at the summit on Aug. 6 and did not see the AYPE flag or the “Votes for Women” pennant. He also didn’t see the climbers’ names in the summit registry. Curtis countered Pfaff’s allegation by noting the summit group could not find the Paradise Valley Club registry that Pfaff cited and instead inscribed their names in another book. Furthermore, Curtis retorted that the 45-mile-an-hour gale precluded the banners from flying and were, therefore, placed inside the crater. first allied with fellow Spokane suffragist May Arkwright Hutton. Later, however, Baker’s insistence on employing suffrage campaigns of a higher public profile, like those she had witnessed in England, irked Hutton. Baker disappeared from the Washington scene in 1910 but was shown campaigning in Portland during the 1912 Oregon suffrage campaign when she wrote her book, “Race Improvement or Eugenics; A Little Book on a Great Subject.”

Eaton atop Glacier

Suffragist-climbers aplenty

Summit fanfare

At the summit, Curtis—suffering from a broken collarbone incurred at a baseball game at Camp Moraine—unfurled the AYPE flag while being accompanied by bugler F. Ormond Morrill. The Times reported, “As a finale to the brief ceremony, Dr. Eaton attached a pennant to the flagstaff bearing the words, ‘Votes for Women.’” Curtis said that the flagstaff broke and “Maj. Ingram (sic) brought another staff and set it firmly in the rocks at the crater,” for neither the AYPE or suffrage flags could withstand the wind at the summit. After its ascent the party stayed on the mountain another week, hiking to Spray Park and other destinations accessible from camp. They returned to Seattle by a special train from Fairfax on Aug. 7, and were greeted by a large crowd. As part of the climb, a four-inch mirror was used to flash a message to Signal Corps men stationed on the AYPE grounds. However, only an M and W were discernible. Though historic, the party’s feat was challenged when W. C. Pfaff of the Mt. Rainier Club claimed the group had not reached the summit.

The bloomer-clad Holmes of the 19th century, Dr. Eaton and the other women of the 1909 Rainier outing were not the only mountaineering suffragists. Spokane suffragist, LaReine Helen McKenzie Baker, planted “Votes for Women” flags on several peaks. Baker, described as “one of the wealthiest women in the West and the largest taxpayer in Washington,” was married to Albert Baker, owner of the Last Chance lead mine in Northport, Stevens County. She had traveled to Europe and was a delegate to the International Suffrage Alliance Convention in 1909 with the Kangley sisters who had attempted a 1908 climb of Rainier. Baker said she wanted to plant “Votes for Women” flags—in yellow, a traditional suffrage color—atop both Pikes Peak and Mt. Rainier. She climbed Rainier on Aug. 27, 1909, via the route from Longmire Springs to Gibraltar Rock. ”I never lost sight of the fact that I was going to plant the little flag on the topmost peak,” she stated. The flag Baker planted atop Pike’s Peak in November, 1909 was given to her by Alva E. Belmont of New York, with whom she attended the International Convention of Women in London in 1909. Baker announced plans to climb California’s Mt. Shasta in February of 1910 and she climbed to California’s Mt. Lowe Observatory in April of 1910. Besides being a daring mountaineer and suffragist, Baker also advocated for limiting the size of families and for eugenics. She was active in the 1909-10 Washington women’s suffrage campaign, at

Dr. Eaton continued her mountaineering exploits as well. During the 1910 annual Mountaineers outing, Votes for Women, a suffrage newspaper of the time, reported: “In their annual outing, Dr. Cora Smith Eaton wrote ‘Votes for Women’ after her name in the record box, which reposes in a cairn of rock at the summit of Glacier Peak, an elevation of 10,436 feet. This splendid peak is very inaccessible and this is the first time in its history that a white woman has set foot upon its glistening glaciers and snow fields.” There were 25 women and 32 men that scaled the peak on Aug. 5.

International thread

Two famous international women climbers immortalized the tradition of planting “Votes for Women” flags and similar materials on mountaintops. In 1911, Annie Smith Peck, who had scaled several peaks in South America, planted a yellow banner reading “Votes for Women of the Joan of Arc Suffrage League” on the summit of Nevado Coropuna, a 21,000-foot peak in Peru. Likewise, Fanny Bullock Workman had a photograph taken of herself reading a paper entitled, “Votes for Woman,” when she was atop Karakorum of the Himalayan range in 1910 or 1911. Whether the feats of these two women helped the cause of women’s suffrage in Washington or nationally is unknown, but the accomplishments of women alpinists of that time were certainly part of the effort to take women into a new era of activism and equality with men, according to author M. Deborah Bialeschki. A professor at Continued on M6

The climb

The Mountaineers group left Seattle on July 17 by train and arrived at Fairfax, near present-day Carbonado, then hiked to the first camp on the Carbon River trail, a distance of 11 miles. There were some 93 people in camp. Most of the climbers were from The Moun-


August 009
Can you identify the summit in
the foreground here? Send your answer (by Aug. 10) to: Summit Savvy, The Mountaineer, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98115. If you guess correctly, you’ll receive $10 of Mountaineers Money, good for Mountaineers Bookstore merchandise, and we’ll publish your name in next month’s column. (In case of a tie, one winner will be chosen at random.) Club employees or persons shown in the photograph are not eligible. Each month we’ll publish a new mystery summit and identification of the previous one.

The Mountaineer
■ Send your photographs (or slides) for possible publication as a mystery summit (include identification for our benefit). If we use your photo, you will get $10 of Mountaineers Money as well. ■ At the end of each year, all correct respondents’ names are placed in a hat and the winner of that drawing will receive $50 of Mountaineers Money good for purchases at The Mountaineers Bookstore. ■ No one correctly guessed last month’s mystery summit, Mt. Deception, as photographed by Curt Baxstrom.

Summit Savvy

conservation CURRENTS
State listing of endangered species: hits and misses
Editor’s note: This is the second of a series of articles examining species recovery in the Northwest as it relates to the Endangered Species Act. By Dyche Kinder

only modest results. Sometimes, however, significant success is achieved after only a few years of implementing recovery strategies. According to the WDFW, recovery strategies include monitoring and protecting known populations of a species and may include population management practices, such as reintroductions or augmentation of existing populations. Some methods entail the moving of a particular population of a species to another part of the state, while some involve augmenting or establishing populations from outside the state borders. Other methods may include captive breeding of a listed species and then reintroducing it to its healthy habitat. The most prolific success with recovery so far in Washington has been the reintroduction of the fisher to the Olympic Peninsula. Pacific fisher It started in January of 2008 at five sites in the Olympic National Park with the release of 49 animals from Canada. Another 45 are planned for augmentation this fall and winter. WDFW is pleased with the survival rate: only 14 have died. It is not as pleased with the reproduction rate, though there have been two verified cases of reproduction and three suspected cases. The fishers have dispersed over a broad range as far away as Neah Bay to the north and Ocean Shores to the south. The western pond turtle is another example of success in Washington. The WDFW reports that “headstarting” and “overwintering” young hatchlings to a size large enough to escape bullfrog predation is “showing good results” once the turtles are reintroduced. Efforts to help the pond turtle date back to the 1980s and have resulted in the establish-

ment of new populations while increasing the numbers in pre-existing populations. In other efforts of recovery by the state, the picture is mixed or even bleak. The northern spotted owl was federally listed in 1990. Despite massive expenditures and efforts to restore its population, it continues to steeply decline. Its numbers inside Washington have been halved since its listing. Federal officials have described the species as on life support with the plug in the wall sticking halfway out. The leopard frog is nearly extinct in Eastern Washington. Habitat manipulation, captive breeding and reintroduction are currently being examined to stem a decline that no one has yet been able to abate. Meanwhile, the Oregon spotted frog recovery program of rearing wild eggs from the wild is surprisingly successful but, like the leopard frog, it is suffering from the disappearance of suitable wetland habitat. The Oregon silverspot butterfly is extinct in Washington. Habitat restoration has proven difficult and takes many years. A captive breeding program begun from 14 wild pygmy rabbits has proven unsuccessful to reintroduce that species in Washington. Translocation from outside the state may be considered next. The captive population has already been intercrossed with rabbits from Idaho to help overcome genetic problems in the captive-bred population. Efforts to augment the Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou in an ecosystem that stretches from the Canadian province of British Columbia to Washington and Idaho has prevented extinction of a very small existing population, but has not resulted in large population increases. Continuation of this effort is on hold, however, because of difficulties with transplanting these caribou in British Columbia, according to the WDFW. Dyche Kinder is the fish and wildlife representative for The Mountaineers Conservation Division.

Mercifully, the high levels of political meddling that have plagued implementation of the federal ESA have proved nearly non-existent here. Examples of state efforts The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has adopted approaches in policy, such as the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy that aims to keep common species just that— common. However, deleterious factors, such as habitat destruction as with the spotted owl or hunting in relation to the sea otter or fisher, make listing by the state unavoidable. Recovery efforts for those species are then developed and implemented by the state. Washington’s listing provisions are similar to those of the ESA. A state listing triggers a process that culminates in attempts to recover the listed species. The state’s study, data and analysis can prove useful to federal authorities in making their decisions on a federal listing. Examples of this in the Northwest include the orca or killer whale, the spotted owl and the pygmy rabbit. To date, 28 species are listed by the state as endangered, 10 threatened and 8 sensitive. Similar to the federal ESA, the state declares a list of candidate species which currently numbers 113. So, with roughly 150 species to worry about, the state’s wildlife officials are charged with much to do with limited resources. Therefore, it enters into partnerships with many other entities, governmental and private, whose help can prove critical. In most cases, it takes a long time for species to become endangered and usually decades to achieve recovery, sometimes with


f protecting endangered or threatened species is viewed as a battlefield, the state government could accurately be called the frontline. If it fails to protect a species, then the federal government takes command. Dramatic battles over the future of species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA)— those that breach the state’s frontline, such as the northern spotted owl or snail darter—can shift the public’s attention from the critical role state agencies must play in protecting species to the immensely complicated arena of federal protection via the ESA. Suites of species are being reduced in numbers and distribution in Washington as habitats such as prairies, coastal dunes, shrub steppe, oak woodlands, forested habitat, wetland and marine systems are being lost, fragmented and degraded. Other factors, such as disease, non-indigenous predators and competitors, toxic contamination and human-caused mortality can decimate a species. In other cases, so little may be known about a species that factors causing declines may take years to determine. A variety of factors determine whether states succeed or fail in meeting their objectives of managing healthy populations of animals. Washington State has succeeded in varying degrees with its efforts to protect species it has listed as sensitive, threatened or endangered.


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service photo

The Mountaineer

August 009
“In the three years since the program started,” noted Gauthier, who now works for the park service in Washington, D.C., “the accident rate dropped drastically, as did the fatalities.” There has not been a climbing fatality on Rainier since 2005. The climbing search-and-rescue rate decreased by more than 50 percent from 2006-08. Injury rates decreased by more than 65 percent during the same period.

Serious accidents down since initiation of safety education


ccording to Gauthier, Mt. Rainier National Park’s partnership with parties outside of the park, including The Mountaineers, was part of the reason the park service presented the Rainier program with the Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award, the park service’s highest honor for public safety. Noted climbing guides Eric Simonson and Paul Baugher helped The Mountaineers with the investigation and suggestions regarding Sharkfin, as did Tacoma Mountain Rescue. The cadre of climbing rangers under Gauthier’s helm assisted as well with the education program. Gauthier also credits an increase in electronic reporting for the decline in tragedies on the mountain. “Three years ago, we lost our website (at the park),” Gauthier stated, “so I started my own interim blog just on climbing issues. It ended up being a superior medium to communicate. At first people just started giving climbing reports on it. People then started communicating things like, ‘have you heard about that crevasse at 16,000 feet?’ It just skyrocketed from there.” Tacoma Mountaineers Mindy Roberts and Jim Feltus pose with the public safety achievement award, granted by the National Park Service. Continued from M1 In 2005, three experienced alpinists and members of The Mountaineers died on a climb of Sharkfin Tower. Among the group was a longtime Tacoma Branch member and climb leader, a leader from the Seattle Branch and a mentored leader. They died from a rock fall and what proved to be a faulty belay. However, as one of the Rainier safety program’s founders puts it, “It was the type of accident, which so many are, in which the reason for it was not just technical knowledge or a fatal flaw in an anchor, but a series of decisions.” It is through the assiduous work of The Mountaineers Climbing Safety Committee that the Rainier group was able to benefit from the unraveling of an outing on Sharkfin that shook the club’s climbing community. The Safety Committee, as it is charged to do, presents reports on all serious accidents that occur during club-sponsored climbs. It interviews those in the party who survive the accident, it documents the interviews, reads the accident reports and pores over all other input it can glean. It then issues suggestions on how the accident possibly could have been avoided. He added, “Even people outside the climbing community started using it. I started giving safety messages on it and started to see a decline in my budget on the amount of money being spent on rescues.” He would like to see the safety curriculum at Rainier implemented as a model for mountaineering courses in other institutions, such as community colleges. Lauren concurs. “We’d like to replicate it,” he said, “but each branch and group is distinct.” So some tailoring is needed, he indicated. Backcountry skiing and kayaking first come to mind, he said. “They can use these reallife scenarios and reports from their respective committees to customize their own program from the original climbing model.” He noted that one or two leaders from these activities actually attended the Rainier seminar. Lauren credits the increase in “near-miss” reports for bolstering awareness about accident prevention. Initiators of the Rainier accident-prevention class, held at the Tacoma Branch Clubhouse, all agree that it is the widely-shared information from those who either make the mistakes or witness them that make the school successful. At first the curriculum focused on snow travel and self-arrest on falls, Lauren noted, but the focus shifts as the program evolves. “It seems that now it is shifting to party separation,” he noted, those incidents when a participant on a hike or climb becomes separated from the group. He said the near-miss reports will become extremely critical in resolving the party separation dilemma, a topic to be examined in next month’s Mountaineer. Brad Stracener is managing editor of The Mountaineer.


he Sharkfin report tells a tale of decisions made, noted Mindy Roberts, an avid climb leader for The Mountaineers and former chair of the Tacoma Branch Climbing Committee. “Decisions made in emergency conditions,” she added. The first decision was to move the victim of a rock fall from one location on the slope to another. The next decision was to belay her in order to bring her down the slope. Underlying both decisions was a route-finding decision by two leaders that proved to be in error and integral to the dislodging of a rock that created the emergency. According to Roberts and Mountaineers Safety Committee Chair Dan Lauren, the Sharkfin incident, as tragic as it was, is one that serves well in terms of understanding how a chain of decisions can lead to fatal results— what Roberts calls “the human factors.” These are factors that can surface even among the most experienced and adroit climbers, such as those who fell victim at Sharkfin. But one report does not make a curriculum. Roberts, Lauren and then-chief climbing ranger at Rainier, Mike Gauthier, tapped a number of accident reports from The Mountaineers committee as well as reports on near misses, incidents that the committee only began examining a couple of years ago. “We can see patterns in these reports,” noted Roberts, who was recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Interior for her work on accident prevention at Rainier. The patterns are not just related to decisions. The abdication of expertise is a common culprit. “Some members of a team may be more experienced or a member of the club longer than others. They may talk more than the others—the less experienced who assume that the one doing most of the talking knows more than they do.” She noted that everyone brings a little of their own expertise to a team but unfortunately not all of the expertise reaches the communication stage of the decision-making process. “To prevent tragedies we must recognize when we begin to fall into these patterns,” stated Roberts, who remembered cancelling her Ptarmigan Traverse trip when hearing about the shocking news at Sharkfin. With a doctorate in engineering, Roberts is used to methodically examining conditions over a long period of time, and “stakes are high, so there are parallels between my work and climbing.” This proclivity is likely instrumental to her success in teaching the accident prevention program.


August 009

The Mountaineer

Gear Grist
By Brian Lewis

How low can your stove-weight go?
supply, the alcohol option can start out heavier (less efficient fuel). At some point in the journey you hit a break-even point, and the alcoholstove user will have the lighter load for the rest of the trip. For shorter trips of a few days or less, the alcohol stove option will be lighter from the start, depending on how much and how often you cook. Alcohol stove: Thrifty on the pocketbook and in the pack. can find more information about these and other referenced stove options via an internet search. Another possibility for the “keep-itlight” user is an Esbit solid (tablet) fuel stove. Like alcohol, Esbit is a less efficient fuel (lower heat output per fuel weight) and its use is generally limited to heating water. Some dislike the smell and residue on the cook pot, but it’s easy to use, and the combined stovefuel weight is low compared to an equivalent canister setup. Esbit tablets are harder to find than denatured alcohol, but they eliminate the issue of pouring out the correct amount of alcohol for each use. The stove for burning Esbit tablets can be very inexpensive (or, again, free if you make your own). Even lighter: Tablet fuel is light and so is its stove, but heating efficiency is sacrificed. A final option that’s an old but now improved choice is a small woodburning stove. The stove itself is heavier than a typical alcohol stove. For example, the Bush Buddy Ultra weighs about 5 oz., while my Brasslite alcohol stove weighs 1.6 oz. With the wood stove, however, you typically don’t carry any fuel—you find it near your cook site in the form of twigs, branches, or dry leaves (please don’t cut live trees for fuel). It’s more efficient and uses a lot less fuel than making a traditional campfire, yet offers some of the smoke smell, fire light, and “old time feel” of a campfire. A significant factor in using this relatively new option is whether your local forest management authority will consider this a stove or a fire—particularly in areas or seasons where campfires are not allowed. You also need some skill and perhaps extra gear to light a small fire when available fuel is damp. Whatever you choose, make sure you consider the total weight of stove + fuel + fuel container(s). And keep in mind there is a reason that canister stoves are so commonly seen on the trail—they’re easiest to use, they’re clean, they heat things up fast, and you can control the heat output. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my alcohol stove as the right balance of weight and other factors for me; the right answer for you may be different. Brian Lewis hiked the entire 2,663 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2008; find his trail journal at http:// He is also conducting a “Trekking Fast and Light” seminar for The Mountaineers (see pg. 8 of the Go Guide).


f you want to keep your pack weight low, one area to consider is your overall backcountry kitchen—stove, pot, etc. The weightconscious backpacker often sticks to simpler evening meals, most typically meals that require only the addition of hot water. Among long-distance hikers, the most popular stove option is one using denatured alcohol as a fuel. This fuel is readily available, not just in sporting goods stores but at hardware stores and sometimes gas stations. It’s a less efficient fuel than traditional stoves use, meaning that you need to carry a larger volume of fuel to produce an equivalent amount of heat. Alcohol stoves also typically take longer to produce the same amount of heat. Some alcohol stoves offer some degree of temperature control (to allow simmering food), others do not. In addition to the availability, however, a lightweight alcohol stove avoids the downsides of canister stoves. These include the carrying weight of the canister itself, disposing of the empty canister, accumulating partially full canisters, and determining how many canisters to bring on a trip. With an alcohol stove you can carry exactly the amount of fuel that you choose with minimal container weight. For a long multi-day trip with no re-

I use an alcohol stove, and a friend who uses a Jet Boil (perhaps the most popular and nicely designed canister stove) regularly teases me about how much faster he can heat water and prepare his meal. I don’t care, because my trail cooking is limited to heating water for just one meal a day—and I know that my total trail kitchen kit weighs significantly less than his does. For those who find pack weight an important criteria, I’d suggest looking at alcohol stoves, which can range in cost from “free” (find instructions to make your own online) to perhaps $30 or so for choices such as a Brasslite or Vargo stove, and somewhat more for a complete system like the Caldera Cone. You

Expo helped to cast spotlight on Rainier climb, suffragists
Continued from M3 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Bialeschki states, “The entry of women into sports and physical activities was a significant part of the general movement for female emancipation.” She goes on to point out that these women challenged the myth of frailty and the illusion of male supremacy. This helped make the case for equal voting rights. Meanwhile, AYPE offered a spotlight for suffragists. While the eyes of the world focused on Seattle and its environs, a statement about women’s strength and equality could be showcased in outdoor pursuits, which reinforced women’s veracity of equality at the ballot box. These women’s high-altitude exploits, at least in Washington, may have influenced men to see them in a new light, for on Nov. 8, 1910, the men of Washington voted to amend the state constitution and grant women the right to vote by a count of 52,299 to 29,676. Next

year marks the centennial commemoration of that event. Shanna Stevenson is coordinator of the Women’s History Consortium for the Washington State Historical Society.

The Mountaineers Legacy Society

The Mountaineers, in partnership with The Mountaineers Foundation, is proud to announce the launch of The Mountaineers Legacy Society. The Society will recognize and honor donors who have included a gift to The Mountaineers and/or the Foundation through a bequest or other estate gift. If you would like to be recognized as a Founding Member in the Legacy Society – or would just like to learn more – we would love to hear from you!

To find out more about The Mountaineers Legacy Society, please contact us: [email protected] or call Judy Halls, 206-521-6006


The Mountaineer

August 009

Esperanza Gonzales Rich, a 50-year member of The Mountaineers
and recognized for her untiring philanthropy, died May 21, 2009, at the age of 89. Rich, born in Mexico, spent her childhood living in a dirt-floor shack and then a boxcar in Nebraska, where she picked sugar beets.

During her teens in the fields, she was helped and impressed by two young secretaries who brought her family food and clothes. Rich considered them role models. One of them moved to Seattle and Rich eventually moved, also, becoming a secretary at the University of Washington. The generosity of her two role models inspired her to give something back to the immigrant community. She did so by directing immigrants to services, schools and jobs through the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She also devoted her extra hours to Leave a Legacy Foundation of Western Washington, which encourages people of all means to make a will and leave a gift to charity. In 1999 she was one of 11 Americans honored at the White House Conference on Philanthropy by then-President Clinton. At age 84, she went to Peru, where she climbed a12,500 ft. peak. Two years later, she traveled to Guatemala to help with medical outreach in a remote village. She was known for her no-waste ethic of recycling and reusing items around the house as well as in the community. For 10 years she lived without a car, walking up a steep hill to her home in Magnolia. In her early years at The Mountaineers, she reveled in the folk-dancing events at the clubhouse and was involved with The Mountaineers Players. Though she loved the outdoors and travel, she especially loved music. A member of the Seattle Classical Guitar Society, she also performed with the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra. She married a schoolteacher, Bernard Rich, who died 20 years ago. She is survived by her sister, Maria Guzman of Gary, Indiana, her brother, Ascencion ‘Joe’ Gonzales of Lincoln, Nebraska, 10 nieces and nephews, and many friends.

Forest Theater follies

Gala Lindvall photos

Lindsey White, a Mountaineers basic climbing student, died Sun.,
July 5, from a fall while climbing Monte Cristo Peak. She was 39. White, who joined The Mountaineers in 2008, was ascending Monte Cristo Peak with her boyfriend and fellow Mountaineers member, Bill Tyers, when she slipped on a snowfield a few hundred feet below the summit. She was unable to arrest herself with her ice ax and slid about 700 feet, according to the Snohomish County sheriff’s report. A celebration of White’s life was held July 22 at The Mountaineers headquarters in Seattle. The family asks that donations in her memory be made to the Snohomish County Search and Rescue, Planned Parenthood or the Grey Muzzle.

The Forest Theater opens its summer show, “High Button Shoes,” this month. In the top photo, Floy (Nathaniel Jones) and Pontdue (Mick Etchoe) run after being discovered by the Keystone Cops. Above, Mama (Gail Foster) and Junior (Katelyn Cooper) urge Fran (Amy Beth Lindvall) to look for security from a man, not love. For more about the show, see pg. 2 of the Go Guide.

Off the shelf

By Kathleen McCluskey, librarian he library houses a wealth of timely books just waiting to be checked out by patrons. The following titles may be of interest to hikers, naturalists, outdoors photographers, climbers, canyoneering enthusiasts, skiers, sailors and environmentalists.

The latest from your Mountaineers Library

The Owl and the Woodpecker
A fundraiser event with author

Paul Bannick

7 pm @ The Mountaineers Building Tickets: $10 advance/$12 at the door

Thursday, September 17

Circulating collection: “Accidents in North American Mountaineering” (2006 and 2007); “Alaska-Yukon Wild Flowers Guide”; “Allen & Mike’s Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book: Traveling & Camping Skills for a Winter Environment”; “Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs”; “Ascent: The Invention of Mountain Climbing & Its Practice”; “Best Loop Hikes: New Hampshire’s White Mountains to the Maine Coast”; “Canyoneering: The San Rafael Swell”; “Canyoneering 2: Technical Loop Hikes in Southern Utah”; “Colorado’s Quiet Winter Trails” (2007); “A Different Kind of Country”; “Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle”; “Field Guide to the Common and Interesting Plants of Baja California”; “First on Everest: The Mystery of Mallory & Irvine”; “High Odyssey: The First Solo Winter Assault of Mount Whitney and the Muir Trail Area”; “How to Ski the New French Way”; “Mount Everest: The Reconnaissance, 1935: The Forgotten Adventure”; “Mountains of Kenya”; “Ocean Passages and Landfalls: Cruising Routes of the World”; “Traversa: A Solo Walk Across Africa from the Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean”; “Voyager’s Handbook: The Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising” (2007). Guidebook collection: “Canyoneering Arizona”; “Central Washington Bouldering: Leavenworth & Gold Bar” (2007); “Kluane National Park Hiking Guide” (2007); “West Coast Ice.” DVDs: Dozen More Turns (Skiing, Safety–Avalanches); Return to Schralptown (Skiing); White Book (Avalanche Safety). Special Collection: “Matterhorn Centenary,” by Arnold Lunn; “Switzerland in English Prose and Poetry,” by Arnold Lunn. Besides books you can check out, the library and bookstore feature carts full of books to buy at sale prices from 25 cents to $50 and up (we have some valuable titles for collectors of the mountaineering classics). Additionally, if you make an appointment with the librarian, she can open the cabinets storing the overflow of books for sale. LIbrary hours: Please visit to view current library hours.

Join us for an evening of owls and woodpeckers as Paul Bannick shares 100 never before seen images of our local species.
Space is limited! All who register before September 10 will be entered to win a print, a signed copy of Paul’s amazing book or a private photo outing with Paul at a local outdoor destination. Please visit for details and ticket information.


August 009
Dormant for the past few years, a Mountaineers youth group is undergoing a revival and is welcoming anyone who would like to help shape direction. The Mountaineers Youth Committee of the Seattle Branch allows young outdoor enthusiasts to plan their own group excursions in the outdoors. In the past, activities have included hiking, backpacking, climbing, sea kayaking, river rafting, trail maintenance, beach cleanups, snowshoeing and skiing among other outdoor endeavors. The reorganization of the youth group will tackle the questions of how to revive it and where it will find its members, according to past advisor Leonard Russell. Will it invite all kids or will it find youths from existing groups such as Boys and Girls Clubs or Scouts. Or, will it affiliate with such groups? Russell said the door is wide open with possibilities. Will it promote itself and recruit by visiting schools, recreation centers and other youth organizations? Who will do this? Will it hold fund-raisers? Russell said all these questions and more will be examined. The Youth Committee was cofounded in 1991 by Pat WhitehillBates, Jeroldine Hallberg and Russell. It allows youths of ages 14-18 to interact in outdoor activities This spring the OkanoganWenatchee National Forest released a scoping document on forest travel management delineating which roads and trails are open to specific uses (e.g., street vehicles, ORVs, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking).
Mountaineers Members Only Mountaineers members receive 30% off their purchases during the event

The Mountaineer
characteristic to the club in general. However, under adult auspices, the youths choose, plan, organize and lead their own activities. All youths are welcome to join, especially those who have not experienced the great outdoors. The group is now seeking interested volunteers—youths and adults—who are willing to give their time reviving the youth program and even leading trips. When enough volunteers express interest, a meeting will be held to begin the process of reestablishing an active program for youths. If interested in helping this program, contact Leonard Russell, 206 325-1310, [email protected]org, or Sunny Remington, 206-354-8518, [email protected]

Youth group seeks to revive itself with a little help from volunteers

mountaineers members only night
Meet the staff; learn about Mountain Hardwear products Door Prizes

Resource reconnaissance welcome!

incursions by ATVs, dirt bikes and 4X4 vehicles. The Mountaineers, Washington Trails Association, Alpine Lakes Protection Society, Conservation Northwest and The Wilderness Society have compiled a list of hikes to survey for potential incursion of motorized vehicles into wilderness and other sensitive areas. To participate in one of these ground-truthing expeditions, contact Mountaineers Public Policy Associate Leesa Wright, [email protected], 206-521-6012.


In several cases, roads and trails identified for motorized recreation intersect with or dead-end at nonmotorized trails and trailheads that access congressionally-designated wilderness areas, thus inviting

Yoga • Hiking •Culture Swimming Sunshine •Yoga •Hiking • Culture ••Swimming• •Sunshine

Yoga Yoga Retreats

Create a legacy without changing your will or parting with any assets now

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Roy Holman Roy Holman

Washington: Nov. 28-Dec. October Costa Rica -Cedar Springs -Retreat, Oct. 2-4, 2007 Washington: Methow Valley 7, 2008 19-21, 2009 $350 $295 includes all two nights shared9lodging, $1,195––Includesorganic meals, classes, double room Shared room, Includes nights organic meals, classes, hikes, and other activities hotel, most meals, classes, ground transport Costa Rica - November 23 – from Seattle) (Or: $1,995 includes RT airDec 1, 2007 - Roy H & Christine Borys Costa Rica – Oct 17-25, 2009 $1,195 Shared room, Includes 8 nights hotel, most meals, classes, ground $1,395 – Includes 8 includes RT most meals, classes, ground transport transport (Or: $1,895 nights hotel, air from Seattle) Mexico: Yelapa - Jan. 16-24, 2009 (Or: $2,195 includes RT air from Seattle) $1,195 –Yelapa --Jan 22-30, 18-26, 2008 - Roy H classes, ground Mexico: Yelapa January hotel, Mexico: Includes 8 nights 2010 most meals, & Linda Lapping transport Includes 8 nights hotel, most air from Seattle) Mexico ground (Or:Includes 8includes RT most meals, classes, $1,795 nights hotel, meals, classes, ground transport $1,195 shared: $1,195 –

Guatemala: Lake Atitlan – Feb. 26-March 9, 2009 Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Feb. 18-28, 2010 Guatemala: Lake Atitlan -–Feb 14-25, 2008 - Roy H & Kara transport $1,295 – 11 nights hotel, most meals, classes, ground Keating $1,395 – 11 nights hotel, most Most classes, ground transport ($2,150 $1,295 shared: 11 nights Hotel,meals, Meals, Classes, Ground transport ($1,995 includes RT air from Seattle) includes RT air from Seattle) ($1,895 RT air from Seattle) includes
Roy is a Mountaineer member, hike leader, yoga and meditation teacher, minister, and reflexologist. Classes & Workshops in the Everett area. Weddings officiated too!

transport (Or: $1,695 includes RTSeattle) Seattle) (Or: $1,750 includes RT air from air from

Contact for more info: Roy Holman 425-303-8150, Yoga For Every Body

Many Mountaineers members want to give generously to the club to help ensure its future, but are concerned about having enough resources to meet their own future needs. For all such members, a gift by beneficiary designation may provide just the right answer. These gifts allow you sole access to your funds during your lifetime, can always be changed if your circumstances change, and are easy to arrange. You can name The Mountaineers as a beneficiary of: Retirement assets This includes your IRA (regardless of the type of IRA) and most qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Life insurance policy Perhaps you took out a policy when the children were young but no longer have a need for it. Bank accounts (savings or checking) Brokerage accounts (investments) U.S. Savings Bonds Another benefit to making a gift by beneficiary designation is that it can be a tax-wise way to support The Mountaineers. Some of the assets above (e.g., IRA proceeds) are subject to income tax in addition to possible estate taxes. However, this double-taxation can be avoided by gifting all or part of the asset to The Mountaineers.* You can name The Mountaineers as the sole beneficiary or as one of several. This allows you to make a gift while still providing for family members or other loved ones. Legacy gifts of all sizes—large or small—are greatly appreciated. For additional details on these giving strategies, or how to become a member of The Summit Society, please contact Judy Halls at [email protected] or call 206-521-6006 for more information.
*Assuming the gift is directed to tax-exempt programming at the Mountaineers or the Mountaineers Foundation.

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