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History Page 1

1. Acknowledgements & Introduction

This history of the Los Alamos Mountaineers was first suggested by Sharon Dogruel, Kathleen Gruetzmacher, and Leslie Champ in 2006. At that time, Bill Priedhorsky also provided valuable suggestions on content and goals. The history is a work in progress and will perhaps always remain so. We have already received a great deal of valuable input from a number of past and present club members who have provided notes, digitized photos, and valuable documents, or participated in interviews. We would like to particularly acknowledge help from Ginny Bell, George (Skip) Bell, Jr., Carolyn Bell, David and Faye Brown, Larry Campbell, Leslie Champ, Larry Dauelsberg, Ken Ewing, Eiichi Fukushima, Jason Halladay, Lou Horak, Don and Alice Liska, Len Margolin, Tom Newton, Kim Selvage, John Ramsey, Mario Schillaci, Mike Sullivan, and Mark Zander. Also special thanks to Bob Cowan, Jim Straight, and Charles Mader, who provided large libraries of digitized photos for us to select from, and Bobbye Straight, who edited this first version and provided valuable guidance on grammatical usage. In addition, we would like to thank Jan Studebaker for his major effort in loading all of the history sections and their associated photos onto the club's website.

The current list of topics is by no means complete, and other topics are welcome. There are still other senior club members who have not yet been interviewed. Additional stories and (a few) pictures can also be added to the current topics. Please send new contributions to Norbert Ensslin or to our webmaster.
Norbert Ensslin, May 2009

The Los Alamos Mountaineers have played an important part in the lives of many people in Los Alamos and other surrounding communities for over 55 years now. Through club outings, monthly meetings and programs, the annual climbing school, and other personal contacts, members have had the opportunity to meet other people with a love of the outdoors and to make new friends. The Mountaineers have come to know and love many beautiful local areas, as well as many mountains, canyons, and climbing areas, mostly within a day's drive of Los Alamos, but some in other western states as well. 

The importance of mountains in our lives is aptly described by Don Liska: "I believe that the mountains symbolize the conjunction of humanity and nature in some very special ways. Always a barrier to expansion, always a challenge to conquest, always a sanctuary for beauty and grandeur, always a test of endurance and acceptance of hardship on nature's terms, always a reminder of beauty and wonder, the mountains play a crucial role in our collective humanity. Without the mountainous regions of this beleaguered planet, our senses for pulchritude and awe would be diminished, our love of the delicate and eternally enduring would be less developed. Above all, our mountainous environment raises us as individuals to more exalted heights. I can only bow to the wisdom of the great Lionel Terray who said that the acceptance of risks taken in the mountains, even 'demanded' by the mountains, is the price one must pay in order to earn the right to exist above the level of crawling grubs. We are all evolved in this unique world with the mountains as our symbolic edifices of love of nature and nobility of spirit."

The Mountaineers have served as a focal point for many people who share outdoor interests via participation in club trips or small private trips organized by club members. One measure of this is the number of couples who have met in the Mountaineer's climbing school, on club trips, or at club meetings. These include, among others, George and Ginny Bell, Dave and Gail Barlow, Gregg and Anne Brickner, Bill and Rosemary Enenbach, Norbert and Lynn Ensslin, Chris Foster and France Cordova, Lou Horak and Kathy Ramsay, Don Gettemy and Gracia Coffin, Bill and Emily Johnson, Elizabeth Kelly and Rob Ryne, Cliff Meiers and Carol Sutcliffe, and Mark Zander and Leslie Champ. Most recently, Francesco Grilli and Tianshu Li met on a Bluff canyon trip in February 2007, and were married almost exactly two years later.

Fig. 1. John Sarracino, Mark Felthauser, and other club members on a Blanca-Little Bear traverse trip led by Don Liska (Bob Cowan photo, July 1978).
We hope that this history of the Los Alamos Mountaineers will serve to commemorate and remind us of many fun and exciting adventures from the club's past. As Don Liska once said, "When we think back on our lives, it's the exciting trips and outdoor adventures that stand out, not the many days in the office." Perhaps it will also help us enjoy the future more, as members continue some old traditions and also develop entirely new ways of enjoying the outdoors. The next section of this history describes the founding and organization of the club. Because the soul of the Mountaineers' club has always been its members and their adventures, the sections that follow will focus on the personal stories and anecdotes that truly define us.

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