- Parent Category: News
- Created: Thursday, 08 December 2016 12:39
It sounds like an invitation to go and climb a mountain - and that’s what I’ll probably do, some modest little top in the English Lake District will have to suffice. Maybe there’ll be snow.
But it would be missing the point to think that this UN-designated special day is primarily about climbing. How self-absorbed can you get? No, as of 2003, the 11th of December has been observed every year “to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world”.
Those are the UN’s words. No mention of climbing or alpinism, though it is clear from the excellent International Mountain Day website produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation that events and activities in mountain areas play an important in raising awareness. Many are planned around the world for Sunday.
Stephen Goodwin's report to AC the committee on the UIAA general assembly held in Bressanone (Brixen) Italy, October 2016
The report can be viewed here
To see some pictures of Messner receiving his award read on.
The "Southern Sandstone Weekend" was an informal open-to-all gathering to coincide with the AC's September Committee meeting held near Tunbridge Wells. For committee members this left a few hours on Saturday, on which to sample the delights of vertical or overhanging ball-bearings, and all day Sunday. For some it was an initiation test, for others it was revisiting venues that they'd been trying to forget about for years. The rest, wisely, paced themselves to cope with the Saturday night party.
Our warmest congratulations go to our long standing member Mike Kosterlitz who has been awarded a share of the 2016 Nobel Prize for physics.
Glyn Hughes shares some personal memories of Mike as a mountaineer.:
“After graduating from University in 1963 I spent six weeks in the Dolomites and the Alps before starting work. My main climbing partner on this trip was Mike Kosterlitz, who has just become joint winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics. This was probably the high point of my climbing career, but just the beginning for Mike. He followed this by becoming one of the leading British climbers in the UK and the Alps at that time, and one of the first to tackle hard routes in Yosemite. Perhaps best known for the Kosterlitz/Isherwood route on Piz Badile (known locally as the ‘via degli Inglesi’, although Mike is of course Scottish), climbed in 1968 when they went off-route on the Corti-Battaglia, and now a classic route of that area.* In 1969 Mike took up a research post at the University of Torino, and during this period pioneered routes in the Orco valley, including the ‘Fessura Kosterlitz’, a notorious test piece for crack climbers. Shortly after this, illness forced him to give up climbing at a very early age, otherwise what more might he have achieved? I met him at a reunion dinner in Cambridge in 2006, and asked him what he was doing now. He started explaining his research work to me, but unfortunately I couldn’t understand a word of it. Presumably the Nobel prize jury did!”
* See Dick Isherwood's account of the climb in AJ 1969.
This Guardian article gives more information about the Nobel prize for physics winners.
Mike Kosterlitz & Oliver Spence on the Yellow Edge on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Photo Glyn Hughes)
Nick Smith has sent us this image of the Morocco AC Meet having breakfast in Tafraout before setting off for a day's climbing in the sun.
This was the third in the series of Aspirants meets, sponsored by the Alpine Club, situated in the Saas valley of Switzerland, and timed to be after the main tourist hordes have gone home.
Joint with ABMSAC, Climbers’ Club, FRCC, SMC, LSCC, Wayfarers and Yeovil MC
Just over 70 people from 7 clubs and guests attended the meet over the 3 week period and were blessed with good weather for most of the time, what rain there was being short lived.
The campsite in Ailefroide seems to get busier each year and there was a noticeable increase in numbers since the last meet there in 2011 but after the first weekend which was a national holiday in France it did get quieter but still queuing for the showers and the toilets was normal especially at peak.
The campsite being surrounded by granite crags dictated that the rock climbing was more popular than the Alpine climbing and this was reflected in a higher turnout from the more rock oriented clubs such as the CC and the FRCC than on past meets. Many of the multipitch and single pitch routes were climbed as well as frequent forays to the limestone and quartzite climbing areas in the main Durance Valley and side valleys such as Fournel and Fressinieres.
The Barre des Ecrin being the highest peak in the area attracted a lot of attention all by the normal route as the Barre Noire Couloir was out of condition. Other teams climbed Roche Faurio, the SW ridge of Pointe Louise, Roche Paillon, Roche Emile Pic, Pointe des Cineastes, Montagne Des Agneaux, the Traverse of the Glaciers (Pic du Rif & Pointe des Arcas), Dents de Coste Counier, Aiguille de Sialouze, Pelvoux and the traverse of the Meije.
Various via ferrata were ascended including the very spectacular Gorges D’Ailefroide located between Ailefroide and Pelvoux, it traverses the vertical or even overhanging walls of the gorge about 10m above river level and the second part is classed as a “Via Ferrata sportive” in the guide it certainly lives up to that name.
The meet was very sociable starting with an evening soiree on the first weekend so people could get to know each other, again we had the group tent where people could socialise and cook on the few occasions when it did rain, quite a few people came on their own and had no problem finding climbing partners. As people left we had several end of meet dinners at the Hotel Engilberge in the village, they provided very good food and service at a reasonable price.
Next year’s meet will be held in the Bregaglia, Switzerland based at Camping Mulina in the village of Vicosoprano 15 July to 5 August 2017.
I hope to see you all again next year. Keep an eye on the club meets calendar for next year’s venue.
By Keith Lambley
Top Left; Meije Traverse, Cheval Rouge - Climber John Venier - Photo Andrew Moore
Top Right; Meije Traverse - Climber Andrew Moore - Photo John Venier
Botton Left; Pointe Louise, SE Ridge - Climbers Keith Lambley and Kate Ross - Photo Adam Kassyk
Bottom Right; Super Pilou, Aiguille de Sialouze - Climber Helen Brown - Photo Adam Kassyk
Note: The Hut has been closed since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown. There will be restricted access for Members and their household from 7th. August 2020. Please see Alpinet notice or GSH website for more details. It is expected that this restricted access will continue until further notice, and probably until the end of 2020.
Since 2016 the Alpine Club has a partnership with the Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club (ABMSAC) to lease and manage the George Starkey Hut in Patterdale, in the Lake District. We held a consultation of the AC membership before taking this on, and there was strong support, so we're pleased to say that the hut is now available for members to use.
It's a fantastic new AC membership benefit, with its excellent location in the eastern Lake District by Ullswater, with easy access to the M6 from Penrith. There is direct walking accesss to some of the best winter climbing in England and great multi-pitch climbing and scrambling in the area. Rock climbing in Langdale and Borrowdale can be accessed in 45 minutes driving. It is also a great location for mountain-biking, fell-running, and canoeing on Ullswater Lake.
There has been a fair bit of refurbishment of the hut amenities recently and more is planned, so if you remember it only from years past it would be worth another visit. 8 beds are reserved for members and guests of the AC and ABMSAC on a first-booked, first-in basis. Given the combined numbers in our clubs it is essential to confirm availability each time before travelling, and regular users can apply for their own key. The remaining 20 beds may be booked by our clubs, or by other clubs or groups, and the availability for club booking is shown on the online calendar. In addition to the members area, individual AC members can book half the hut (10 beds), if available, via the Group booking system. Of course weekends get booked up but week days are often available. Charges:- Members pay £7.00 from the 1st January 2020, guests £13.00 per night.
MEF Annual Lecture is a joint fundraising event for the Mount Everest Foundation.
The Pen y Gwryd Hotel: Tales from the Smoke Room is a new book celebrating the PyG.
In the July newsletter and on this website, we have written about the AC’s support of the developing MountaiNow app.
If you have summitted either Makalu or Kanchenjungha (or can tick one before November), you are invited to attend the Diamond Jubilee celebration of their first ascents, which was postponed due last year’s earthquake, in Nepal. Once in Nepal, your food and accommodation expenses will be picked up by the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
Overall this was a highly successful and harmonious expedition that was blessed by excellent weather.
The Global Adventure & Mountaineering Conference and Expo November 2016, Kathmandu
The New Zealand Alpine Club are celebrating their 125th anniversary by hosting an international conference on Sustainable Summits, August 7-11 2016, at Aoraki Mount Cook.
Des was a well-known and very popular figure in the Scottish mountaineering world, as attested by the huge numbers that attended his funeral. He started climbing at Edinburgh University in 1970 and soon became President of the university mountaineering club, establishing friendships, including with his wife Jane, that were to endure throughout his life. Des was a bold and proficient ice climber, with a variety of new routes to his name, especially in the more remote corners of the Highlands. He was not only a great lover of the Scottish hills (he had just four Munros left to do), for walking, climbing and ski touring, but also a keen stravaiger of the wild coasts and islands, with a few sea canoeing trips to his credit. Abroad Des took part in over a dozen climbing expeditions, mainly to the Himalaya (starting with an early trip to Afghanistan in 1972) but also to the Caucasus, Andes and Canadian Rockies. He succeeded on many peaks over 6000m, but was rebuffed at about 7500m on Gasherbrum III and Nanga Parbat. In the Alps Des achieved many great classics of the 1930s (eg Walker Spur, Gervasutti Pillar, N Face of Dru) and more recently, in his sixties, had been ticking off the 4000m peaks, usually by routes more challenging than the voies normales.
Des was an extremely warm-hearted and affable person – it would be hard to find anyone he had crossed swords with. In his professional life he was a teacher of outdoor activities at Craigroyston High School in north Edinburgh. The outpouring of tributes from former pupils, colleagues and members of the Muirhouse community showed how deeply his commitment to taking disadvantaged kids to the outdoors had affected their lives.
Although Des had only recently joined the AC he was well known to many through his long mountaineering career. One of his more recent achievements was to revive the SMC ‘s Edinburgh lecture series, by bringing in Alpine Club and JMCS members. He devoted much thought and energy to this lecture programme and was a delightful and amusing presenter of the speakers, thus ensuring a growing attendance, drawing people from a considerable distance.
Though I will miss him terribly, I count myself incredibly fortunate to have had him as a close friend and climbing partner for over forty years. We formed a harmonious team with similar outlook on the mountains and both enjoyed our inexhaustible banter.
Des will be sorely missed by his many many friends, and my heart goes out to his family.
Mount Logan, the second highest peak in North America, a ski ascent.
The Alpine Club welcomes new members
Malcolm Bass and Guy Buckingham have just made the first ascent of the beautiful NW Ridge of Gangstang in the Himachal Pradesh Himalaya. They reached the summit on the 9th June and descended to base camp the next day completing a five day round trip.