Wunderkind and I stopped by our mailbox on the way home from our walk last night. I said to my toddler, “Let’s see if it came.” It did and the rest of the mail seemed less important, or at least less interesting.
Every year, in the middle of August members of the American Alpine Club receive the annual edition of the American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering. The AAJ is by far my favorite of the two, though I am sure to read both as quickly as possible.
There are a lot of articles and reports worth devouring, but here is what’s on my short, short list for anyone who wants the Readers Digest version:
P. 102 — Recon: Revelations by Clint Helander — Clint is a nice and generous fella that happens to be a true pioneer in climbing in a day and age when there are a lot of hot shots going to Asia. Clint has found gems right here in North America and it’s as close as you can get to the days of climbing with Ad Carter and Bradford Washburn as you can get. This doesn’t mean to imply he climbs old school at all — read it an see.
P. 38 — Doubleheader by Kyle Dempster — I don’t focus on the Karakorum and Himalayas like most people these days, but I know that the ascents of K7 and the Ogre are significant and impressive. I’m bracing myself to be wowed.
P. 88 — Life Essence by Pat Goodman — This region in the Northwest Territory has long excited me, and Pat Goodman is as wonderful for climbing as his name suggests and he hasn’t disapointed me with his observations and stories yet.
P. 97 — Himjung Style by Ahn Chi-Young — The language barrier often gets in the way from what happens in this part of the world. I want to look through this port hole because I don’t know what I don’t know.
I left off this list Sandy Allan’s piece on the Mazeno Ridge traverse, which should have won the Piolet d’Or, and Freddie Wilkinson’s feature of the traverse of the Alaska Range’s Mooses Tooth massif because I think they have been well covered, not because they don’t deserve the read.
I am also going to spend time closely reading the book reviews before I read the trip reports. I think that it’s important to know what has been written about our community before diving into what it has done recently. It helps to stay in tune with the views and approaches of our niche yet diverse group.
Lastly, the obituaries might be just as important as the trip reports if not more so. The reports are snapshots of what may one day be written at the end. The In Memorium section, covers the climber in full. Whether you knew them or not, these mini biographies should be read carefully. I’ll pay close attention to the notes on Michael Ybarra, Bjorn-Eivind Artun, Roger Payne, Bean Bowers, and Yan Dongdong.
Carrying the AAJ under your arm everywhere for weeks if necessary is worth it to get through all of the rich content the community has shared. For me, with a busy regulatory work schedule coming up and two young children, it will be necessary. I’m a little worried since I haven’t finished reading Alpinist 43 and the latest issue of Climbing. I’ll gladly set aside my other books, but staying on top of my periodicals of choice is getting dicey.
May you have adequate time to read in gulps rather than sips.
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Climbing matters, even though we work nine to five.