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AAC Members Head to BMC Winter Meet in Scotland

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by Pete Takeda

The American Alpine Club’s Selection Committee recently selected its delegates for
 the upcoming Winter Meet held January 22-29, 2012. The BMC International Winter
 Meet hosts an annual week-long gathering for 40 international guests from about 25
 countries. The meet showcases the full delights of Scottish winter climbing—scotch,
haggis, and rime-crusted world-class mixed climbs.

This years AAC delegates are New Hampshire’s Bayard Russel and Ohio’s Scott Fife. 
Both provided the Club with lengthy climbing resumes and comical letters extolling
 their own virtues and their appreciation for booze crafted in the UK. [Read in an earlier Inclined post.]

Prior to departure, Pete Takeda asked Bayard and Scott a few questions.

Pete Takeda: How did you find out about the BMC Meet?

Bayard: My buddy Freddy Wilkinson went a few years ago and I got an email
 announcing it this time around. Pretty sure I recall a poster of you [Ed. Pete Takeda 
attended the 1998 BMC Winter Meet as an AAC delegate] stein-pulling your way up 
a corner crack there back in the day, too.
Scott: I read about the BMC meet on Inclined. I have always wanted to
go winter climbing in Scotland, so this opportunity seemed tailor made
for me. A friend of mine was involved in the AAC/ ACI exchange last 
year and his stories and photos of the trip to Iran really inspired me to apply for this 

PT: What are your expectations coming up for Scotland? Climbing? Culture? Scotch?

Bayard: Just hoping I can get through it. Ha, Ha!
Scott: I’m really psyched. Hoping for some of the prototypical Scottish 
weather. Secretly, I’d love to get up one of the classic routes on Ben Nevis, such 
as Zero or .5 Gully. Just hanging out with such a diverse group of climbers will be
fantastic and I’m really honored to be representing the AAC. With some local help
I hope to get a brief, but more authentic sampling of the culture, including some of 
that single malt Scotch.

PT: Can you tell us about your involvement/thoughts on the AAC?

Bayard: If it weren’t for you guys putting together trips like this it just wouldn’t 
happen! Its a great organization, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the 
fact that there is this big, old club that only exists to help people have a good time, 
travel, and accomplish inane climbing goals. It’s awesome!
Scott: I’ve been climbing since 1977, and staying at the Climbers’ Ranch since 1985. 
I had a poorly-informed impression that the AAC was all about climbers who flew 
off to Alaska or the Karakoram or Patagonia every few months—definitely not for
 guys like me. On a 2002 trip to the Tetons, while staying at the Climbers’ Ranch, I 
learned about Work Week, and vowed that when I retired, I was going to go work 
for a week and stay for a month. Upon retirement, I joined the AAC. I met a bunch of
 great people, had a fantastic time, made some lasting friends, and by the end I knew
 I’d be getting more involved with the AAC. I’ve gone back for Work Week every year
 since. I’ve also managed to hit a number of regional events supported by the AAC,
 such as the Mt. Washington Valley Ice Fest and the Michigan Ice Fest. My personal 
climbing network has grown geometrically and I’ve had some good climbing trips
with friends made through the club. Representing the AAC is certainly the most
 significant thing I have done, but I hope not the last!

Let’s wish the team a great time in Scotland! Stay tuned for a trip report upon 
Bayard and Scott’s return.

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