Once in a Blue Moon

This New Year’s Eve is filled with more stuff than dreams can possibly be made of.

It’s a Blue Moon and it happens to fall smack-dab on New Year’s Eve. The lunar phenomenon occurs once every 19 years: that’s pretty powerful however you look at it.

2009 was an auspicious and sad year. We lost some of the greats of climbing – John Bachar, Craig Luebben, Bruce Bindner, and the mountaineering world said good-bye to Dr. Charles Houston, Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni, Guy Lacelle, Tomas Humar, Johnny Copp, Micah Dash, and Wade Bruce Johnson.

What this blogger remembers these, and so many more here unnamed, climbers/hikers/mountaineers for is their “get ‘er done” attitude. Perspicacity. Their willingness to fully commit, mind, body, and soul to their goals without hesitation. And if they didn’t make it the first time, like Walter Bonatti they accepted their fear and got to it until they did. It’s a legacy that’s simultaneously humbling and inspiring and a fantastic reminder that the Museum offers me on a daily basis.

2010: a Space Odyssey, thanks to Arthur C. Clarke. All of a sudden it’s 2010 and we’re still wondering how the decade disappeared so quickly. Weren’t there some important things we meant to do before another grey hair appeared, before another year disappeared, before another friend was lost?

2010: a Personal Odyssey, thanks to that person staring back at us from the mirror. Perhaps, because we’re getting a rare glimpse at a rare astrological event, we can take an extra step back to ponder that Blue Moon. It’s that extra stride that’ll give us the added momentum to jump straight into our dreams and get ‘em done.

Whatever your odyssey may be, however you fulfill it, we at the American Mountaineering Museum and Mountaineering Center wish for you and dream with you. May the best of all opportunities present themselves and inspire you throughout 2010.


We’ve made it through the holidays, almost, and the weather is finally offering some cold and snow for all the powderhounds out there. It’s been a long wait but well worth it!

Well, almost. According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, this past week alone observers reported 19 human-triggered avalanches occurring from Cameron Pass all the way down to Loveland Pass. The Front Range is in particularly rough shape right now because of the early snow/early warm-up/more snow cycle. Yesterday’s 50+ mph winds above treeline loaded that slab on top of very unstable layers creating conditions prime for avalanche.

Of course you’re not at any risk, right? It couldn’t possibly happen….not so fast there, powderhound. It’s a real danger to everyone, even the most experienced among us.

The next sPEAKer series event at the Museum is incredibly timely. On Wednesday, January 6th, at 7 PM the Colorado Mountain Club will speak on the topic of Avalanche Awareness. It’s not an AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) avalanche class but an overview of the training, equipment, and cranial activation you’ll need to make good choices in the backcountry. Join us at 5:30 for some refreshment prior to the event and a chance for participants to see the museum inclusive in the price of admission. All sPEAKers series events are $3 for AAC/CMC members & students, $5 for non-members, free to Friends of the Museum and AAC library and open to the public.

Remember, it’s not what you know; it’s what you don’t know that can injure, even kill you. Have an adventurous and SAFE New Year and we’ll see you on the 6th at the American Mountaineering Center!


Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful!

But inside Base Camp it’s so delightful!

Consider this – Base Camp adventure store is a great place to finish up your holiday shopping. We have unique gifts for everyone in the family including kids, peak-baggers, Moms, jewelry lovers, CMC devotees, spiritualists, readers, and historians. Our book shelves are rivaled only by the AAC library (JK!), the prayer flags are ready to waft in the zephyr breezes, and the Peruvian necklaces and compassion bracelets will fill out the stocking better than any lump of coal.

We also have a great promotion – our 14ers t-shirt with graphics of all the 14ers front and back goes with a free 14ers poster. Use both as your peak register so when they’re done the information can be documented with the CMC archives!

Too many choices? Purchase gift admissions to the American Mountaineering Museum, or a gift certificate to Base Camp store.

Don’t feel like driving? Denver RTD bus #16 will get you almost to our doorstep. Check out schedules at www.rtd-denver.com/.

Visit our website at www.cmc.org/store/storecategories.aspx where we have a few of our many items visible online. Or call at 303-996-2755. Or shoot me an email at marthaperantoni@mountaineeringmuseum.org. We’re open today until 5 PM and Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise, Christmas Eve day from 10AM – 4PM also. Closed the 25th, though, and back open on the 26th from 10AM – 6PM.

Happy holidays to all, be ye celebrating with Christmas tree, Menorah, or kinara.


We interrupt this blogspot for an important announcement…

Hi! My name’s Martha and I’m the new manager at the Base Camp Adventure Store here in the American Mountaineering Center in beautiful downtown Golden, Colorado. I’m really excited to work here and promote such a great collaboration of mountaineering organizations. We have some great holiday gift ideas here that you probably won’t find anywhere else: singing bowls; climbing- and nature-inspired jewelry like miniature ice axe pendants and snowflake earrings; and Colorado 14ers calendars, software, and t-shirts for starters. We also have fun stocking stuffers like prayer flags; Bonnie’s Balms salves; and pewter mountain summit benchmarks in paperweight and pendant sizes.

But there’s more! We have more climbing and mountaineering books than you can shake a gris-gris at, great quality CMC logo denim shirts and actionwear, and ornaments made from the shavings of oxygen bottles retrieved from Mt. Everest. Really.

For the kids? Cooperative board games like Search and Rescue, Explorers, and Berries, Bugs and Bullfrogs. Fuzzy stuffed animals like llamas, black bear, buffalo, and moose. Kid-sized CMC and AMC t-shirts. And ocarina flutes hand-crafted in Peru. How many of you can say you’ve heard Happy Birthday played on an ocarina?

For you art collectors, some of our proudest offerings are the photographs from the Jake Norton Collection. We’re fortunate to have Jake as our Museum Director and the images he’s brought back from his multiple summits of Everest and time spent in Nepal are spectacular. Alongside his work is that of Jessica Sarkisian whose photographs of the Colorado 14ers and the Himalayas are as inspiring as they are beautiful. When she’s not piloting an Airbus 320 out of Denver she’s logging miles on her camera from some of the 35 countries she’s visited and photographed.

Please visit me at the American Mountaineering Center at 710 10th Street in Golden. If you have any more questions, I’m here to answer them either at 303-996-2755 or at marthaperantoni@mountaineeringmuseum.org. We’re open today from 10 AM to 6 PM, Sunday from 11 AM – 4 PM, and Tuesday –Thursday from 10 AM – 5 PM for that last minute shopping. We'll be closed Christmas Day and most likely making some turns in the backcountry.

We now return to our regular blogspot programming. And Happy Holidays to all!


Lots going on at BWAMM in the next few weeks. As always, Thirsty 3rd Thursday is coming up December 17. Take a break from the holiday brouhaha and stop by for $1 beer, snacks, live music, and NO ANGRY CROWDS! The Museum Store has some great gift ideas that you’ll likely not find anywhere else. And I repeat – NO ANGRY CROWDS! Holiday hours for the museum and store include closure December 24th and 25th as well as January 1st – New Year’s Eve will be a shortened day with both closing at 2 PM.

The sPEAKer series continues Wednesday, January 6th with a presentation by the Colorado Mountain Club regarding avalanche safety. ‘Tis the season to be wary! Reception begins at 5:30, lecture at 7 PM, and the museum will be open and free to those attending the event.

You’ll begin to hear a lot about the First Annual Hall of Mountaineering Excellence Gala. Set aside April 10th for the festivities and awards – more details up and coming.

And today in Mountaineering History? December 11th is International Mountain Day. The United Nations set aside today as an occasion to help raise awareness of the people who live in mountainous regions and the role that these regions play in providing food, water, and recreation.

‘Til next time, have a great weekend. Be safe out there.


sPEAKer Series Moved to the 3rd.

Unfortunately Gary Guller will not be able to make it in on December 2nd. So we would like to invite you to come and hear Jake Norton present on his Mallory expedition on December 3rd. We are having our official opening of the new exhibit that night at 6:00 and Jake's presentation at 7:00. Please join us and RSVP to: info@mountaineeringmuseum.org

Hope to see you there!


sPEAKers, Exhibits and Parties!

Brot Coburn came to our sPEAKer Series to present on his recent discoveries in the Mustang Valley. You can check out the PBS special here airing November 18th! Brot gave an amazing presentation and we had a great turn out! Pictured left to right, Rob Raker, Brot Coburn and Jake Norton.


December 2nd we will have Gary Guller in for a presentation on his incredible trek to Base Camp leading the largest cross-disability group to 17,500 ft, before setting another record, becoming the first person with one arm to summit Mt. Everest!

December 3rd we will have a special opening reception for our newest exhibit THIN AIR: An Exhibit on Altitude and Oxygen! Stay for a special presentation at 7:00 by Jake Norton on Mallory and Irvine too! RSVP to info@mountaineeringmuseum.org, admission is $5 per person. Friends of the Museum and AAC Library get in free.


THIN AIR: An Exhibit on Altitude and Oxygen

The museum has been closed due to weather the past two days, but we are still preparing for our new exhibit coming in next week. THIN AIR: An Exhibit on Altitude and Oxygen starts next week, with the official opening reception to be scheduled soon!

MOUNTAINEERING takes grit. It takes tenacity. It takes energy. And, it also takes another fuel - OXYGEN. For centuries, mountaineers have been climbing higher. Beyond the physical endurance that it takes to reach these heights, there is the constant battle against ALTITUDE.
Whenever you go higher, you lose more and more of that crucial fuel: OXYGEN. The relationship between altitude, oxygen, energy, endurance and the climber can mean the difference between success and failure...or life and death!
What is THIN AIR? What happens to our bodies as we go up in elevation? What are scientists learning about the effects of altitude on our bodies and minds, and on those who call the high peaks their home?
When did mountaineers first use OXYGEN to climb mountains? How have they progressed? Is the use of oxygen considered a climbing aid, a performance-enhancing drug?
The answers are at the American Mountaineering Museum in THIN AIR: An exhibit on Altitude and Oxygen.


YETi Night

We had a great Thirsty 3RD Thursday this month with YETI Night! Huge thank you to UPSlOPE BREWING for providing the brew, Atomic Prado for providing the music, Sherpa's for giving away a free dinner and discounts, Lhakpa for telling us about Yeti's in Nepal, CMC Youth Education Program for helping out with the little YETI's, American Alpine Club Library for helping with the mask making, and YETI COOLERS for providing some great prizes!

Thank you to all of our patrons for bringing books for the Magic Yeti Library in Nepal, and supporting the Museum!


New Exhibit Items

Recently the American Mountaineering Museum acquired some exciting new items. Jim Whittaker's Everest summit boots made their way here and are now on display in the Whittaker case on the museum floor! These huge rugged LOWA boots are pretty amazing weighing in at about 3 lbs each! Whittaker will be at the museum this Friday October 23rd for an Eddie Bauer presentation and Mountainfilm tour! Don't miss it! Click here for details!

We also received a film cassette from Bradford Washburn's huge Fairchild camera. This 10 lb beauty will be on display in the hallway case just outside of the museum in the coming month. As I hold the 10lb cassette, I can only imagine what wonderful photos were taken from it and how heavy the main Fairchild camera was as he hung out of that plane! 50 lbs!

Come on by and check out these great new items on display!!


In the news!

The American Mountaineering Museum is in the news!

Check out the articles below!

Denver Post Article - by John Meyer

YourHub Article 1 - by Luke Clarke
YourHub Article 2 - by Luke Clarke

Mile High News Article - by Meredith Knight

Last Chance

Your time is running out to see the spectacular collection From the Favorites now showing in the American Mountaineering Museum! This show will be up through the end of October. Don't miss your chance to see these prints before they go back into the American Alpine Club archive!


Antarctic Retrospective: An Evening with John Evans and Conrad Anker

The BWAMM Speakers Series presents:

Antarctic Retrospective: An Evening with John Evans and Conrad Anker

In 1966, the American Antarctic Mountaineering Expedition set off for the vast, unclimbed peaks of the Sentinel Range in the Ellsworth Mountains of Antarctica. The expedition, led by Nick Clinch from the American Alpine Club and sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society, was wildly successful.

Read more here…


“An Eye at the Top of the World” with Pete Takeda

Join world-class alpinist, journalist and author, Pete Takeda, on Wednesday, February 4, at 7:00 p.m., in the Museum, as he discusses the terrifying legacy of the Cold War’s most daring CIA operation from his award-winning book, An Eye at the Top of the World. Pete’s book is atrue story involving Cold War intrigue in the remotest part of the Himalayas and a deadly poison that could potentially be unleashed upon millions of people. According to Takeda, the book is “a blend of Cold War history, environmental mystery and outdoor adventure, unfolding with a real-life Eiger Sanction-esque back-story.” Read more in the Daily Camera here: http://www.dailycamera.com/bdc/recreation_columnists/article/0,1713,BDC_2484_4959795,00.html

This is an event that will appeal to history buffs, mountain climbers, and James Bond fans alike.

This is yet another Speaker’s Series event not to be missed!

February 4, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

American Mountaineering Museum
710 Tenth Street
Golden, CO 80401

This event is FREE, although donations to the Museum are appreciated!


Opening Reception - On High: Cartography of Topography

Join us at the museum on January 29, 2009, for a special opening event with prominent map collector Wes Brown, whose maps form the basis for this important and exclusive exhibit.

The historic map is that unique artifact that combines art, culture, history, science, and style, and so attracts people on a multitude of levels. Some will gaze at a map for the sake of possibility: how do I get from here to there, and where will I pass through?

Indeed, it is a passion for exploration—whether in the field or in the mind—that attracts so many people to maps.

Click here to reserve your spot today!

The BWAMM Speakers Series presents: An Evening with Maurice Isserman & Everest pioneer Tom Hornbein

Isserman’s book, Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering From the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes shares unforgettable stories of the history of the world’s highest peaks and the climbers who challenged their lofty summits. Its in-depth research gives us unique insights into previously unknown controversies, mysteries, and dramas.

Isserman will join Everest pioneer Tom Hornbein for a conversation about the history of Himalayan climbing. Hornbein made the first ascent of the West Ridge of Everest in 1963 with Willi Unsoeld.

Read more…