LAM History Topic



16. History of the LAM Club Logo

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Logo Competition: The Masherbrum logo as featured on many of our web pages, caps, mugs, jackets, etc. was born out of a club wide logo competition that was judged by the 2002 LAM Board of Directors. Peter McLachlan was the club president and responsible for the Mountaineers' 50th anniversary celebration. As part of the celebration it was decided that a club logo would be an appropriate icon of the anniversary. Mario Schillaci first made the suggestion to have Masherbrum be the club logo to honor George Irving Bell, a longtime club member who died on May 28, 2000, who went on several Himalayan expeditions which culminated in the first ascent of Masherbrum on July 6, 1960.

Close up of Masherbrum as seen from Hushe Valley near Kande.
Photo courtesy of Evert Wesker - link

McLachlan found this photo of Masherbrum, as seen from Hushe Valley near Kande, on the internet and he and his friend Patrick Harvey modified it with Photoshop to produce the winning LAM logo. A few more of the original Logo Contest entries were recently unearthed:



Logo Merchandise Usage: Dave Katonak, our LAM Equipment Manager for 3 years, was largely responsible for the first few rounds of logo endowed merchandise. The club gave members a half-liter water bottle emblazoned with the logo and had clothing with the logo available for purchase. Bill Priedhorsky and others have since used that very same logo on many of the clubs "trip rewards". Below are two of several impressionistic logos used on LAM merchandise:


The original LAM logo survives today, along with a few newer versions, due to the rich club history that it represents and it's fine artistic interpretations.  Our thanks go to the 2002 LAM Board of Directors, Peter McLachlan, Patrick Harvey, Mario Schillaci, and oh yah, let's not forget George Irving Bell.

LAM's Masherbrum History

Masherbrum was first climbed on July 6, 1960 by LAM member George Irving Bell and Willi Unsoeld, as part of an American-Pakistani expedition led by Nick Clinch. They succeeded in climbing the southeast face that had stymied earlier attempts.

The teams 1953 view of Masherbrum from the Baltoro Glacier in northern Pakistan.
Photo courtesy of Tom Hornbein (1960 Masherbrum team mate).

At 25,660 feet, Masherbrum is the 22nd highest peak in the world. According to the Himalayan index, there have been only three subsequent ascents. The Los Alamos Mountaineers honor this historical climb and an esteemed member by featuring Masherbrum (as seen from the Hushe Valley near Kande) as our club logo.

George ascending a steep snow gully,
the crux leading to the saddle between
 the two summits of Masherbrum.
Photo courtesy of Tom Hornbein

George approaching Willi at the summit of Masherbrum. The south and lower summit
is in the background.
Photo courtesy of Tom Hornbein

George Bell on the approach to Masherbrum.
Photo courtesy of Tom Hornbein (1960 Masherbrum team mate).

"Lifetime Inspiration Award" given in Honor of George and Ginny Bell

On June 16, 2010 the Mountaineers made a special presentation to Virginia (Ginny) Bell for her own and George's inspiration to all of us who live the outdoor life. The event began with a social highlighted by a special LAM Logo cake, and was followed by a ceremony for Virginia. Before the actual presentation of the Bell's award, Bill Priedhorsky read the following description of George and Ginny's inspiring life together, written by their daughter Carolyn:

George and Ginny Bell met in 1952 at the Los Alamos Mountaineers. They were on the same LAM camping trip and George cleverly left his cast iron frying pan in Ginny's car thereby guaranteeing further contact with her. They were a couple for several years but often not together, as George was a member of mountaineering expeditions to K2 in the Himalayas and to South America while Ginny traveled in Europe. In 1956 George and Ginny were married. George continued to climb but chose his expeditions carefully with a wife and two young children at home. As a result, the family Christmas card for year 1960 shows infant George Jr, and two-year-old Carolyn, standing behind her brother while pointing to the summit of Masherbrum in a large photo.

George and Ginny were enthusiastic life partners enjoying many outdoor adventures. With their two children, life fell into a pattern of hiking, river rafting and Canadian climbing trips in the summer, alpine and Nordic skiing in the winter, and exploratory trips to Canyonlands, Grand Gulch and the Maze over Spring Breaks. Some trips took surprising turns and it was best to be adaptable and open to anything. For example, in 1970 George led a Los Alamos Mountaineers climbing trip to the Chicago Basin area in Colorado. This entailed riding the Narrow Gauge train from Durango, disembarking at the trailhead and backpacking to the Chicago Basin climbing area. Unfortunately, it had been raining heavily for many days and the ground was saturated, so saturated that during the first night the mountainsides began sloughing off in the form of huge avalanches filling the swollen rivers with enormous boulders and narrowly missing the campsites. That was too exciting for the mountaineers so a decision was made to go back and take the train out to Silverton. But the next day, when the group arrived at the train tracks it was discovered that they had been washed into the river! So the hardy mountaineers and their families had a lovely backpack to Silverton walking under blue skies, along the train tracks marveling at the forces of nature that twisted, covered up or pushed the train tracks off their bed in many places.

After the kids left the family home George and Ginny really kicked up their heels trekking in Nepal and Bhutan annually for many years, venturing to the mountains in Patagonia, Morocco and Bolivia, traveling to New Zealand, Australia, Europe and Africa - combining outdoor adventures with visits to big cities or resorts. They really knew how to plan a trip! During this time they also backpacked extensively in the backcountry of the Grand Canyon and the High Sierra Camps of Yosemite.

George died in May 2000 from a combination of health issues including acute leukemia. A week before he died he hiked 14 miles in Bandelier. His death has left a huge hole in Ginny’s life but she has rallied admirably, continuing to travel and lead a life of adventure. Ginny has journeyed to Australia on numerous occasions over the past 10 years. Her traveling companion was often Rosemary Beasley, a life long pen pal from England currently living in Australia. Ginny continues to plan trips and leaves for Easter Island in three weeks time.

Ginny is a member of a local hiking group, the Wednesday Irregulars, and hikes weekly. She uses her extensive knowledge of every trail in the area to help schedule and plan the hikes.

When asked why she loves adventuring in the out-of-doors Ginny will tell you that she "loves the forest, being up high, the views, the health benefits and being with other people who feel the same way. It's addicting!"

After Ginny's moving ceremony we were pleased to have well known American mountaineer Tom Hornbein reconstruct the first ascent of Masherbrum for us in words and photos. Tom was a member of the original first ascent team. The evening was a smashing success!

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