To Our Cherished WAC Community-

We are not a diverse organization, bottom line. And although everyone may be trying to do their best; myself, the board, and our community must listen, educate ourselves, and take action to build a community where everyone feels welcome. We must listen with the intent to learn and to change, not in anticipation of our chance to speak. We need to hear from our members, especially those who are black, of color, queer, or LGBTQ+. Listen and let them share unapologetically, so that we can move forward in support of them. We will make mistakes, but we must try.

I have struggled in writing something from the position of ‘president’ as I was uncertain how to even respond personally and was nervous to be the voice of an organization. I am angry, confused, sad, and at times feel helpless. But my goal in all of this was to put genuine thought into my response as your President, a member, a representative of the board, and a representative of the organization. I am uncomfortable, I feel in over my head, and I don’t have the answers. But what I promise you is that I am going to try my best to address this in the most heartfelt way I can and listen to the responses.

The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are heartbreaking, but what is more heartbreaking are that they come as no surprise to a large part of our society, where discrimination, violence, and injustice are the daily norm. But many look on in disbelief, not wanting to admit this is still a reality. But it is our reality, we live in a country that has a history of systemic and institutionalized racism, abuse, and discrimination that is alive and well today.

We can’t wait any longer; being a small volunteer organization doesn’t give us an excuse to be silent, we need to step up and be on the right side of this.

We have a lot of hard work in front of us. So this is my commitment and the commitment of the WAC Board of Directors to start. Start addressing the shortcomings in our organization; we are guilty of not supporting every voice and a stronger commitment to diversity sooner. We acknowledge that we must do better to build up and to amplify the voices of those that are marginalized. This is our commitment to start educating not only ourselves as a board, but our instructors, students, and membership at large to organize and fight for an inclusive community. We ask each of you to join us.

We don’t have the answers, but we must start and we must start now. It is not an easy conversation and we will make mistakes, but we must continue to improve. We will feel uncomfortable, but we have to be OK with that during this process. We must remain open and receptive to all stories, experiences, and points of view. We need to recognize that white privilege does exist, and that just because you may not personally see something, does not mean it isn’t happening. We have to listen to each other, be willing to get called out and call each other out, but only together in solidarity with our collective efforts will we help change the narrative.

Remember, the WAC was founded to encourage the healthful enjoyment of the great outdoors, to preserve its natural beauty and to promote good fellowship among all lovers of nature. Let’s make sure that we uphold that mission.

Over the past few days there have been some comments on our Facebook page that we as a board do not endorse. It is a painful reminder that there is indeed racism in our community, this specific member has been blocked from further activity on the page and his comment deleted. Other comments have come from long standing members, and we are actively working with them to issue formal apologies. We must accept these apologies as a community. As long as a member is willing to admit fault, listen, and educate themselves we should not write them off. It serves as a reminder that we are all at different stages of our journey towards awareness of racism in ourselves and our community. We can all do better. I sincerely hope that as we go forward we do so with respect and a willingness to listen, not defend.

Sincerely,

Chelsea Sweetin
Washington Alpine Club President

*Please direct any questions, comments, ideas, or information to wacboard@googlegroups.com.

—————-

Resources & Action:

“Change starts at home by educating yourself on the history of racial violence and racist systems in our country. You can get started by choosing which voices to highlight and engage with. Sometimes a small shift in what we consume can make a big difference.” – Mountaineers Equity & Inclusion Committee

We realize that education is one piece of the puzzle. The board is starting our journey, please join us.

Our Immediate Action Items:

Continue board meetings and additional discussions through the summer (we typically take a hiatus).

Work with member, Katy L., who is kicking off a forum to start open club discussions. Please keep an eye out for information on participation.

In addition we have started to compile resources which we will leverage in our education process. This list will evolve and will be made available to the club in the form of a webpage in the coming weeks.

These are just some of the resources we are starting with, please add to the conversation by sending us what you are reading. We also want to note that we don’t necessarily endorse everything these links say, but they are voices that should be heard.

Here are a few ideas how you can take action now via The Access Fund (read their full statement here The Access Fund):

Additional Resources:

Unfortunately I have to reach out regarding the recent COVID-19 virus issues in our area. At the board meeting last night we discussed at length how this affects the club as a whole and our upcoming classes and activities. Our member’s health and safety is of paramount importance to the board so we are taking these decisions seriously and with the guidance of the Public Health – Seattle & King County recommendations that have been issued thus far. We will continue to closely monitor the updates issued by Public Health and communicate to you how they affect the club.

With that being said, we have decided to close the cabin for the next two weeks, effective immediately for all members. Nathan Hale will finish their day use of the cabin on Friday at lunch, and after that no one will be allowed to enter the cabin (day or night) until further notice. I will be coordinating with Mike Mahanay to ensure everything is taken care of that needs to be in order to properly shut down the facilities. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, however we must insist that the cabin remain closed. The board will meet again on March 16th to reassess the situation and any updated recommendations released by King County. At that time we will determine and communicate a course of action. In the meantime we will be monitoring the situation closely and if any necessary information presents itself we will communicate that out to the club immediately.

Unfortunately this also comes at a time when we are getting our basic climbing class off and running and trying to train a new crop of incoming instructors. As of right now we are meeting with the co-chairs to determine a course of action to try and keep the course running while also addressing health concerns and how we respond to the recommendations released by the health department, which are not conducive to the classroom scenario. More info will be distributed to students and instructors via Pat O’brien and the BCC Co-chairs as well as the instructor training weekend leads Mike Daly and Kelly Coons. Please keep an eye on your emails for updates.

If anyone is feeling sick please use common sense and stay home, wash your hands regularly, and keep an eye on the Public Health information.

https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/news/2020/March/4-covid-recommendations.aspx

I know everyone will have a varying comfort level and response to current events, and will have opinions on how we respond when it comes to the club. I ask for your patience as we navigate through this. We are doing our best to make decisions in line with the health department but primarily with the health and wellness of our members in mind. If you have any concerns or questions please feel free to reach out to me directly, I am happy to discuss any decisions further or put you in touch with the correct chair or lead for class or instructor information.

Thank you and stay healthy,

Chelsea Sweetin

WAC President

Join us for an evening with Betsy Robblee and Taldi Harrison two of our talented members who work on emerging federal regulatory and legislative issues that affect the outdoors. During this session they will discuss how their respective organizations advocate for recreationalists, and the background and importance of recreating responsibly during the pandemic. The session will be an hour followed by a Q&A session.

Betsy Robblee (WAC Basic 2017) is the Conservation and Advocacy Director at the Mountaineers. As the Conservation and Advocacy Director, Betsy leads The Mountaineers conservation and advocacy programming, including driving partnerships, executing advocacy campaigns and communications, and supporting fundraising efforts that result in long-term outcomes to protect public lands and the outdoor experience. Betsy joined The Mountaineers with ten years of experience in policy, advocacy, and community engagement experience. She previously served as the Policy and Outreach Manager at the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, where she led advocacy campaigns in support of funding for conservation and recreation projects in Washington state. Earlier in her career, she spent six years in Washington, DC as a legislative aide to Senator Patty Murray and Congressman Rick Larsen. Betsy is also President of the Big Tent Outdoor Recreation Coalition, an organization that raises awareness of the outdoor recreation sector in Washington State.

Taldi Harrison (WAC Basic 2017, Backcountry 2017) is the Government & Community Affairs Manager at REI. Taldi oversees REI Co-op’s federal government affairs and policy related philanthropy. Her work focuses on fostering collaborative partnerships with national non-profits and decision-makers at the federal level to ensure access to and infrastructure for inspiring outdoor recreation opportunities. Taldi serves on the Board of Directors for the Eastrail Partners, The Conservation Alliance, the Mountains to Sound Greenway Technical Advisory Committee and the 1Trillion Tree’s US Stakeholder Council. She has an MS in biology and enjoys hiking, mountain biking, climbing, camping, mountaineering, and skiing.

Guye Cabin is now open for exclusive ISO reservations this winter
Just check the Club calendar for open dates now through April. Lots of open weekdays!

Due to the pandemic we will not have unlimited Cabin access like in prior years.

If you have been to Guye Cabin in the winter before you have found a welcoming environment. A nice path to the Cabin, warm fires in the stoves, and the winter chill gone.  Archie, Dennis, myself, Elden, Rob, & Ralph have all spent a good part of their Friday to open Guye Cabin and get it going.

If you plan on going to Guye Cabin this winter-

We will continue exclusive use by reservation only (no day use cabin access) as we have all summer and fall. It will be a much different experience than past winters. A real mountain lodge that you are responsible for.

With your reservation you will be responsible for completing the winter opening and closing process.

You must be prepared to make a path from your car to the Cabin (snowshoes are needed)
Do the winter open of the Cabin – not only turn on the water but close 10 open valves, get a fire going, shovel the snow off the stairs (front and back) and deck, and then when you leave do the winter close. This is some work and not to be taken lightly!

Guidance will be provided and training on a day in Dec for those unfamiliar with the winter process.

Winter fees-

With a lot fewer people staying at the Cabin we will have to charge more than the normal member/guest rates to cover the cost of utilities

$100 a night in addition to the normal member/guest fee $20/$25 per person

You can reserve Guye Cabin any day of the week except Sunday and Thursday nights. (a day is typically from noon to noon the next day) During the week, there is no snow plowing so you might have to park on the road.

Initial reservations will be open for one week Nov 8 -15.
If there are more than 1 party asking for the same dates we will do a lottery to determine who gets that date (so be prepared with a back up date)

Folks can use the Cabin property anytime for snow play but there will be no access to the Cabin except on special reserved outside Play days.

Outside Play Days-

We will reserve some days for outside play only providing there is a host responsible for the day. The Cabin itself will be closed but the bathrooms only will be open.

Dec 25, 26, 29 Jan 18 Feb 15 March 8

Notes- Winter storms do come through sometimes dropping as much as several feet of snow. You must be prepared to dig your car out. There is also the possibility to lose power.

To see what dates are available for the winter-
Calendarhttps://washingtonalpineclub.org/current/calendar?month=dec&yr=2020
See a date you like that doesn’t have a name next to it? Email Mike M to confirm.
Pay onlinehttps://washingtonalpineclub.org/product/cabin-use-fees

Thank you
Mike Mahanay  Cabin Chair/Director
mikemahanay@gmail.com

Join us for an evening with two of our talented members who connect closely with the outdoors for work and pleasure.

Amber Casali (WAC Basic Class 2014) is the author of Hiking Washington’s Fire Lookouts, published by Mountaineers Books in 2018. She will take us on a virtual hike to learn about fire lookout history and what went into researching the 44 lookouts included in the book.

Kevin Fujii (WAC Basic Class 2012), is a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist and photo editor. He is a four-time Olympic Games photographer and covered other high-profile sporting events including the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, Final Four and NCAA Bowl Championship Games. He will speak about the challenges of shooting an outdoor adventure and a few stories from his photo career.

This event will be moderated by Jen Louie. Following Amber and Kevin’s presentations we will host a Q&A session.

Are you getting excited for ski season? We are too! In preparation for the POW, we have an awesome opportunity for you to get your body ready and help prevent those potential injuries. This event will be presented by two experienced physical therapists, Grant Hennington (https://www.salmonbaypt.com/grant-hennington, WAC BCC ’16) and Mandie Majerus (US Ski Team PT, https://www.lakewashingtonpt.com/mandie-majerus). They will show you how to evaluate, prepare and condition your body for the ski season.

In this session, Grant and Mandie will demo exercises and introduce their multi-week exercise program for you to lead up to ski season. They will also share new research for ski preparation and be happy to answer any questions.

When attending this session you will need an open space to follow some of the exercises they will demo.

Register for this event at https://www.stream.club/e/skiprep .

Renew your Membership for 2021! 

You can update your membership anytime!  Just log in to check your Membership expiration date and renew.

https://washingtonalpineclub.org/renew-your-membership

You can pay your Annual Cabin Fee too!

Don’t forget your membership dues and any other monetary donations are tax deductible!

These unprecedented times call for a new way of WAC-ing!

As you may know the Backcountry and Basic Climbing classes for the 2021 year have been canceled and though we are saddened by the loss of opportunity to engage with folks through fresh skills, we have decided to invest our time and energy into our current members. That’s you!

All Co-chairs across all WAC classes are working together for the first time in WAC history to provide club-wide events constructed to engage with all members virtually during COVID. If you are interested in continuing to learn and socialize with us in this new way, outside of the traditional WAC classes, please subscribe to our Events Mailing List to be notified of upcoming events. All WAC members are encouraged to join regardless of past class and volunteer experience.

As a sneak peak, our first two virtual events are launching this month! Check ’em out:

Interview with Wonderland Gear Exchange Co-Founder Ben Mawhinney

Tuesday November 10th at 7pm

Join us  for a “How I Built This” style interview with Ben Mawhinney, the co-founder of Wonderland Gear Exchange and WAC BCC Graduate of 2017. Wonderland Gear Exchange is a consignment shop for outdoor recreation equipment that opened in the fall of 2018 in Seattle. During this interview we will hear about successes and failures, the importance of a circular economy, and so much more! Click HERE for more information and to register for this free event.

Improve Your Ski Performance and Reduce Injuries

Tuesday November 17 @ 7pm

In preparation for the POW, we have an awesome opportunity for you to get your body ready and help prevent those potential injuries. Physical Therapists, Grant Hennington (WAC BCC ’16) and Mandie Majerus (US Ski Team PT) will show you how to evaluate, prepare and condition your body for the ski season. As part of this event, you will receive the opportunity to join their multi-week exercise program for you to lead up to ski season. Click HERE for more information and to register for this free event.

If you have been craving WAC interactions as much as myself, it may be in your best interest to bookmark our events page so you don’t miss out on any upcoming opportunities.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to  wac-all-cochairs@googlegroups.com

The Washington Alpine Club held its annual meeting on October 18, 2020 virtually due to the pandemic.

Below are the meeting notes to be shared on the topics being covered.

Election Results

Annual Board Member elections results were shared.

PRESIDENT: Chelsea Sweetin
1st VP: Pat O’Brien
2nd VP: Nathaniel Harrison
TREASURER: Elden Altizer
SECRETARY: Angela Crampton
DIRECTORS:
Rebecca “Reebs” Shore
Rachel Minucciani
Mike Daly
Mike Mahanay
Derek K. Lester

President’s Notes

Chelsea presented a high-level recap on the year.

  • Been a crazy year [with the pandemic] and we’re still a club.
  • Lots of work done on all different fronts and behind the scenes.
  • Lots of work at the cabin.
  • DEI updates and road maps.
  • Looking for people to step up.

Membership

The Washington Alpine Club has 518 members. The Board of Directors asked for member recognition in the October Bulletin and wants to thank everyone who has donated time and energy towards the club throughout the year.

Special recognition goes to:

  • Ira Rushwald
  • Brandi Garcia
  • Mike Mahanay
  • Jen Louie
  • Rachael Minucciani
  • Dale Ott
  • Mike Daly
  • Elden Altizer
  • Dave Mitchell
  • Robertson Miller
  • Alan Widmer

Class Report

Pat provided a summary of the classes over the year and a plan for continuing during the social distancing restrictions.

  • Thanking the co-chairs of all the classes
  • Misses all the other instructors
  • COVID
    • Tough with the beginning class – held the first class
    • Didn’t know what was happening or how serious it was going to be
    • Intermediate Class with more information to pull the plug
    • Backcountry class 2021 is canceled.
      • Came down to companion rescue
      • And an assumption if everything went right
      • Plan on things went wrong as well
  • Open question about the 2021 Intermediate Class and 2022 Backcountry Travel Class
  • Truncated small classes for refreshes
  • Co-chairs have started all meeting together – Zoom has helped with getting everyone together
  • Pat talks about instructor turnover and concerns of missing a year or two on how it impacts people volunteering for the WAC

Call for ideas – volunteer for presentations. The co-chairs would like to have a steady stream to keep people engaged. Email all the co-chairs at wac-all-cochairs@googlegroups.com.

Treasurer Report

Nathaniel provided a year-over-year summary of the financials of the club and how the pandemic has impacted the organization.

  • Looking solid financially
  • Cash has grown compared to last year even though we haven’t run our classes, we were able to get matching donations were a flow.
  • Mike M did a good job keeping the cabin open as much as possible with a COVID plan. Not as much as last year but we’re not down all that much from 2 years ago.
  • Expenses look different, except for the cabin.
  • Having another strange year 2020-2021 but have sound footing.

Stewardship Committee

Elden and Chelsea provided a recap on the work that has been done by the Stewardship Committee.

  • Jen Louie and Tessa were conservation committee.
  • Elden joined the committee.
  • COVID impact but still had a few events.
  • Access Fund canceled a lot of activities and had limited number of participants.
  • Jen and Alan went up and worked at Fun Rock in September.
  • A WA Pass stewardship day was planned for one weekend but everything is covered in snow and canceled. Could always go to Olympic Beach to do a clean up.
  • Hoping next year to have more participation and encouragement with the Basic Climbing Could put in a day of conservation work being tied to the land.
  • Every month the stewardship committee has been inputting things to the bulletin.
  • Send feedback to the stewardship alias.

Activities Committee

Elden presented a report on the from the Activities Committee

  • Board approved this committee
  • Goal for the first year was to ease into it
  • Drafted up guidelines for participation or anyone in the club wants to lead an outing
  • No campouts next year and probably going to wait until 2022
  • Last year’s report 
  • Next year
    • Post guidelines so everyone in the club can see
    • Will do a better job asking for help and putting things in the bulletin

Call for volunteers to lead and offer help with the planning of WAC outings.

Guy Cabin Report

Mike M. shared the cabin’s restructuring in the times of Covid-19 and an update of all the work parties and repairs done to the cabin.

  • Had a really good ski season until the beginning of March
  • Closed cabin for 2 months
  • Dale and Elden very helpful to reinvent Guye Cabin
  • Isolation stays where it is your own AirBnb, super successful and still doing it – used every weekend. Had a time period during the week that has been booked as well. Brought in about 1,000 per month that is more than members in the summer. People like the exclusive use.
  • ISO work parties
    • Best part was the social aspect and meeting new members
    • 50 total volunteers
  • Looking for more participation
  • Kids day in the past and would like to do that again – takes parents to drive these programs at the cabin.
  • Cabin is a great place to introduce people to the outdoors
  • Guye cabin classroom is dead in the water – nothing happened with it and try to get it going again this year
  • ISO into the first week of December
  • Winter and ski season and we aren’t going to have any of that.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rebecca and Angela presented on a high-level look on the work being done.

  • Chelsea wrote a letter on behalf of the board to support every voice and stronger commitment.
  • Purpose of the road map to be a starting point for current and future leaders to make it a more inclusive space.
  • Shared high-level road map that will be shared to entire club soon.
  • Be kind as we move forward.

Call for volunteers and a committee to form.

Q&A

  • Derek volunteering for activities committee.
  • Future board meetings will be a link to Zoom.

If you missed the meeting, you can watch the recording here.

Socially distanced one day version. rain or shine. RSVP

Olympic Beach Cleanup on October 24, 2020

Marine debris is trash that somehow ends up in the ocean. It could come down a local waterway, or across the ocean from Japan, or other locations in Asia. Now it’s degrading and poisoning our coastal wildlife and releasing its toxins into the food chain. 

Or maybe a commercial fishing boat lost some gear in one of our notorious winter storms. Now it’s floating around out there, damaging our coastal fisheries, and pointlessly killing everything that gets caught.

The Olympic Beach Cleanup was organized by our good friend Jan Klippert in 2000, sponsored by the Washington Alpine Club, Washington Trails Association, the Mountaineers, and several others. Now the Clean up is organized by Coastsavers. I have led this effort for the WAC since 2002.

Our team will again do the Hoh Beach and points north as far as we can. Most years we do Jefferson Cove as well. We find fishing floats, rope, plastic bottles, metal items. Wonderful glass fishing floats from Japan are occasionally discovered. We will carry everything out to Oil City Trailhead. This will require several trips but doesn’t take long.

This is a great time to visit the our amazing Pacific Coast, do a good deed, and meet some new folks. You can come for the day on Saturday, or camp with us on Saturday night at Hoh Beach.

Can’t make it to Hoh Beach, there are many other options to participate everywhere along the WA coast. You can also hike in to other more remote locations and carry a bag or two out. Contact me for suggestions.

For info or to rsvp, email Mike mikemahanay@gmail.com

Renew your membership and pay daily Cabin fees on your phone! 

Under Guye Cabin you’ll see “Pay Cabin Day & Overnight Use Fees”

Cabin fees

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