The American Alpine Club honored Henry Barber with its Robert and Miriam Underhill Award, the nation’s highest honor for climbing achievement, at the club’s annual meeting and Mountain Fest in Attitash, New Hampshire. Barber, who lives in nearby North Conway, was one of the strongest rock climbers in the world throughout the 1970s, maintaining a staunch traditional ethic. He was one of the first great rock climbers to travel the globe, and he shook up locals from Great Britain to Australia with first free ascents and hard solo climbs. He also pioneered ice climbing and mountain routes around the world.
The AAC gave its second-ever Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in mountaineering and service to the club to Nick Clinch, who led the American expeditions that made the first ascents of Hidden Peak, Masherbrum and Mount Vinson and has been a major force in the development of the club’s library and the American Mountaineering Museum, scheduled to break ground next year. The AAC also named Canadian Rockies legend Glen Boles and Indian explorer Harish Kapadia honorary members of the 104-year-old club.
In other awards announced at the club’s annual meeting, the AAC Literary Award was given to author and humorist John Long; the Robert Hicks Bates Award for achievement by young climbers went to Washington-based alpinist Colin Haley; the David Brower Conservation Award was given to Alton Byers, director of the Research and Education Program of the Mountain Institute; and the Angelo Heilprin Citation for service to the club went to longtime New England Section Chair Bill Atkinson.Comment on this story