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.