How this circus started

The Washington Alpine Club has an amazing history. It is over 100 years old, and the WAC site has a good summary. Don't miss it. There are incredible photos from the history at the Cabin.

Pete Steel started the Basic Climbing Class. He moved to Seattle from Canada in about 1952. He took the Mountaineers course and felt that the WAC needed a course too. Around '54 he started the class. He was an active climber, but even more of a skier. He was skiing into his 80's. All the old WAC bulletins are archived (I believe at the UW library if anyone feels like a deep dive. )

The Backcountry Class was put together by Louis McCronin. He was an Australian guy who was active in the club. It was his idea but he sat down with Pat O'Brien in Pat's living room and put together the initial plan for it somewhere around the mid 90's. He's since moved back to Australia.

There has been the Wednesday ski class also. Way in the past the cabin had rope tows out back. This was before the lifts at the summit. The WAC had ski classes back then. Lots of old timers say that is where they learned. Then there was the telemark class started by Pete Bustanaby. That's what has morphed to the Wednesday night ski class.

Andy Toyota put together the Intermediate Climbing Course. Stacy Earlywine was doing a lead class and Pat O'Brien was teaching an ice class. It was Andy's idea to meld them into an overall course.

If anyone has additional info about how and when the classes started, and to whom credit is due, we would love to hear from you!

This is a rough stab at all the cochairs for the classes over the years. This is not in order and is primarily the Basic Class cochairs. If anyone can contribute to this list or help add dates, please contact wac-icc-chairs@googlegroups.com .

Pete Steel

Dick Von Hagel

Pete Bustanaby

Dale Ott

Pat O'Brien (36 years running the course, and counting)

Maria Lee

Mary Whitfield

George Snelling

Joan Yuen

Eric Semsak

Jonathon Pryce

Chris Moore

Sim Larkin

Fred Slater

KP Pryde

Kris Arnold

Tim Dardis

Chelsea Sweeten

Jen Louie

Kyle Zinter

Amanda Stoneham

Ira Rushwald

Joanna Hingle

Mike Daly

Kristian Kaupang

Wayne Begasse

Jodie Eilers

Jason Zabriskie

Brandi Garcia

Clement Gurney

Chris Gerber

Dave Wilkinson

Mica Schoenbeck

Andy Toyota

Murry Kahn

Toby Young

Kirsten Hauge

Stacy Earlywine

Jeff Watts

Doug Daniell

Gerhard Schneider

Kay Ishii

Angela Anderson Crampton

Guy Oram

Stuart Lai

Kelly Coons


The WAC Intermediate Climbing Class Cochairs stand in solidarity with Black communities and with everyone working to bring about systemic change that promotes anti-racism. We recognize that there is overt and implicit racism embedded in the outdoor community, within this club, and within ourselves that needs to be confronted and reconciled.

We embrace the sanctity and humanity of all Black people. We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and locally Manuel Ellis, along with so many other Black victims of murder and police brutality.

WAC was founded by an activist 100 years ago, and should be a community richly informed by and ultimately run by groups that traditionally have not had the privilege to enjoy and feel safe in the outdoors. The 2021 WAC Intermediate Climbing Class Cochairs are actively looking for ways to improve the ICC in this regard, while we do our own personal audits and improve ourselves.

Jodie, Stu, Kelly