Looking Back at the Spokane Mountaineers (1977 to 1985)

1977 was a big year for club member John Roskelley, who, along with non-members Galen Rowell, Kim Schmitz and Dennis Henzel, attempted and succeeded to climb the Middle Trango Tower in Pakistan. Notable new club members this year included Rich and Meredith Landers, as well as Rich’s long-time adventure companion, friend and fellow conservationist Dick Rivers. Club membership totaled 308.

In 1978, George Neal, who went on to be club President, Mountain School Director and summit Denali, joined the Mountaineers. In 1979, Chris Kopczynski became the 9th American and 6th Washingtonian to summit Mount Everest, and the following year the City of Spokane adopted November 14 as Chris Kopczynski Day. Also that year in the American Selkirks, club members helped complete the construction of the West Fork Cabin, and John Roskelley, Kim Momb, Dr. Jim States and Kopczynski climbed Makalu as well as other peaks around the world.

In 1980, Mount St. Helens erupts, losing 1,313 feet off its summit. Where were you that day? In 1981, beloved club member Ida Rowe Dolphin was elected President of the Spokane Mountaineers. New members this year included Debbie and Bill Pierce. Bill and Debbie went on to be the leads of the Centennial Trail Committee, and Debbie is now a board member of the Friends of the Centennial Trail.

In 1982, the club organizes its first ice climbing school on Mount Rainier’s Nisqually Glacier, with Everest climbers Kim Momb and Dave Gordon. The club also put out a booklet called “Snow Hazards.” The big news of 1983 was the election of member Rich Landers as the “Environmental Journalist of the Year” by the Environmental Council. Roster numbers were 490.

New members in 1984 were Joe Ohl, Steve & Madge Petrusky, David Cosby, Tom Horne, Jeff Lambert and the author of this article, Chic Burge.

That year, Chris Kopczynski, Kim Momb and David Coombs are featured in a “National Geographic Magazine” article called “Art on Forgotten East Face of Everest.”

1985 was the club’s 70th anniversary with a reunion at Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, and a reunion for “old timers” at Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness was topped off with a climb of the South Sister. This was long-time member Lorna Ream’s third time summiting the South Sister. The anniversary banquet was led by Lorna Ream, Bill Boulton, Tom Horne and Don Hutchings. Past club president Chris Kopczynski completes his goal of summiting the highest peaks on all seven continents in two years. Closer to home on Mt. Spokane, construction began on the Selkirk Lodge cross-country ski lodge with the help of the Spokane Mountaineers and the Inland Northwest Nordic Club.

New members this year included Norman and Margaret Cady, Lorin Hill, John and Diane Latta, Kelsey Loughlin and Steve Reynolds. Membership grew to 502.

Written by Chic Burge.

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