Monday, October 4, 2010

The ’67 Colorado McKinley Team Leader to Speak at the Boulder Group Dinner

Howard Snyder, author of The Hall of the Mountain King

An important figure in Colorado mountaineering history, Howard Snyder, will speak this year at the annual Boulder Group dinner November 6th.  The former CMC member and trip leader led the 1967 Colorado McKinley Expedition (as Denali was called then). They were forced by the U.S. National Park Service to combine with a group from Seattle for the climb, with fatal consequences. The disastrous expedition, one of the most controversial in North American mountaineering history, was chronicled in the 2007 book Forever on the Mountain by James Tabor, and in Howard’s own 1973 book, The Hall of the Mountain King.
James Tabor's book exposes the controversy that delayed the rescue of the 1967 Wilcox Denali Expedition and cost seven men their lives. Tabor reconstructs the stranded mountaineers’ last days from meager evidence of a camp found near the summit.

Paul Schlichter, another member of the ’67 Colorado McKinley team, also will be in attendance as commentator and honored guest.  Although Howard Snyder has given many presentations on the ’67 McKinley climb in the years since then, this will be the first time both Howard and Schlichter have returned to Boulder, where the expedition began, since 1967.  It’s also the first time the two of them have ever discussed the expedition together in public.  Howard, Paul and a third member of the Colorado team, Jerry Lewis, all reached the summit successfully and survived, as did Joe Wilcox, leader of the Seattle team which the Coloradans were forced to join.  But seven out of nine members of the Wilcox team died on McKinley when they were stranded in high camp by a ferocious storm – making this the most costly mountaineering expedition in North American history in terms of loss of human life. Of the twelve men who ascended McKinley, only five came down alive – including the three Coloradans, fortunately. Howard also will touch on his experiences as a CMC trip leader and the Boulder climbing scene in the 1960’s.
"Paul on summit with flare.  We spent 1½ hours on top in nearly ideal weather.  Temperature on top was 6 degrees F., the second warmest ever recorded up to that time on the summit of McKinley.  Paul had carried two double-ended (day/night) flares all the way to the summit."
The CMC Boulder Group’s annual dinner is a great opportunity to meet and socialize with friends who share a love of the mountains – and to be inspired by powerful guest speakers. The dinner is open to members from any CMC group and also to non-members.

Tickets for the dinner are $11 per person in advance when purchased online, and $15 at the door. Everyone is asked to bring a dish serving at least five.

Howard with eldest daughter Mira, and then 7-month old granddaughter Aria at the trailhead at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, September of 2009.  The picture was taken by Howard's son-in-law Saska. 
"We were re-enacting a hike of 28 years earlier wherein I had crossed the Canyon rim-to-rim with my wife, our eldest daughter (then 15 months), and my wife’s 62 year-old mother."

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