Share 'Honorary President Jim McCarthy' on Facebook Share 'Honorary President Jim McCarthy' on Twitter

Honorary President Jim McCarthy

Posted on: April 10th, 2014 by The AAC

Jim McCarthy on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Photo: AAC Library collection

Jim McCarthy on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Photo: AAC Library collection

 

During our 2014 Annual Benefit Dinner weekend Jim McCarthy was anointed the AAC’s Honorary President. Jim’s climbing achievements are legendary. He advanced the climbing standard for all of us with difficult routes in the Gunks, especially on the Mac Wall. He was ahead of his time in moving over the landscape on giant traverses like the Cathedral Traverse in the Tetons. And he was an early pioneer in the export of Yosemite big-wall techniques to remote peaks like Lotus Flower Tower and Proboscis. Jim’s leadership at the AAC is equally legendary. AAC Executive Director Phil Powers said “Jim was ahead of his time in opening the AAC to young climbers and making the club more relevant during his Presidency. He continues to be one of my main advisers. His support and wisdom are invaluable.” As Club President he launched an early attempt at what we are doing today: he made the Club less exclusive and, with the establishment of the Bates Award, more welcoming to young climbers. 

Former AAC President Alison Osius says “Jim was always, always energetic in reaching out to youth and to women to become involved in the club. He’s comfortable going to climbing events and gatherings, and comfortable with public speaking – or seeking out people one on one. He was this way from the time of his presidency and probably before, and he certainly still is now!”

 

From left to right: Phil Powers, Tom Hornbein, and Jim McCarthy at the 2014 Annual Benefit Dinner. Photo: AAC member Lee Pruitt

From left to right: Phil Powers, Tom Hornbein, and Jim McCarthy at the 2014 Annual Benefit Dinner. Photo: AAC member Lee Pruitt

Check out some of Jim’s many accomplishments, both at the Club and on the rock:

  • established Yukon Tears on the Proboscis, Southeast Face in the Cirque of the Unclimbables, Canada, with Layton Kor, Royal Robbins and Dick McCracken in 1963

  • five years later Jim made a similar ascent of Lotus Flower Tower, in the Cirque of the Unclimbables, Canada

  • pushed the level of free climbing difficulty to over 5.10 especially in the Gunks

  • made the first ascent of the famous 5.11 Foops, in the Gunks, when it was still an aid climb

  • helped establish early development of the West Face of  Devil’s Tower, Wyoming
  • led the first step-less ascent of Mount Washington’s notorious Pinnacle Gully in 1970

  • elected vice-president of the UIAA in 2000

  • helped save Camp 4 from closing down when the Park Service planned to build three-story dormitories on the site of Camp 4

  • helped the Club reach out to the sport-climbing community for the first time ever

  • first climber to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated

  • established the Tetons Grand Traverse with Lito Tejada-Flores in 1966

  • involved in a secret CIA mission to locate a nuclear-powered device on Nanda Devi to observe missile tests in China in 1964

  • eliminated the barriers to AAC membership: resume and reference

  • established the AAC’s Bates Award for youth and gave the first ones to Chris Sharma and Katy Brown

 

We’re proud to have Jim as the AAC’s new Honorary President. Learn more about the AAC’s history from former Honorary President and long-time member, Bill Putnam, in his story: “A Great Many Years.”

Comments are closed.