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Bob McGown, American Alpine Club Oregon Section Chair builds a telescope pad on Pine Mountain

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About Bob McGown, AAC Section Chair

"At the last section meeting, Bob put forward the proposal that the section begin giving token awards to section members who did an outstanding job furthering a project, supporting the section etc. So - appropriately I think, I decided to do a more or less unauthorized profile of him since it is due so much to his efforts that the section is as active and involved as it is.

If you are at all active in the section, or climb in the NW, you probably know Bob. You've also probably climbed some of Bob's climbs, and you've probably gotten at least one, brief and concise explanation of some astronomical phenomenon from him, in response to an otherwise innocent question or comment. But despite the temptation to let those familiar and gently kidding characterizations pass for knowing him, there's a lot more to it than that.

In the midst of all that, its easy to overlook one of his qualities though that is truly outstanding and to some extent undoubtedly shared with all of the section... he passionately loves climbing and is always ready to take up its cause, put in the time or effort and follow through doggedly in its support. Not only his climbs but his attitudes towards climbing are at the same high standards - and yes, he has been known to solo.

It's largely due to his persistence and consistency that the accomplishments of the last two years have happened and that we have this range of things before us to occupy and engage our various talents. He delivers.

Whether we ever "mature" (if that's the right word) to the point where the Oregon & SW Washington Section actually does bestow awards on members and such formalities of club behavior or not - the first of any such award is surely due to Bob for his leadership and commitment.

Despite the fact that our section is probably one of the smallest and fiercely independent of any in the AAC, as Chairman, Bob has managed to sustain that, without letting the section quietly expire from lack of interest or commitment. For a while he did a lot of this by himself and with the help of a small cadre of other members who took an interest but couldn't maintain it for various reasons.

Bob is still logging a lot of time and effort towards the section's good by keeping the lines of communication open with the club in Golden, staying on top of events in the climbing world, and conjuring up new and interesting ways to lure members out of their reclusiveness. This all on top of a small multitude of the activities everyone sustains, running a business, supporting a family, climbing with his kids, rebuilding the deck, spending as many nights as possible peering into telescopes, cataloging galaxies, brainstorming with peers and colleagues over everything from habitat potential of lunar lava tubes to trying to understand the Schrödinger equation... in other words the "usual stuff".

I think I can speak for the section as a whole, whether collectively or individually we agree or disagree with Bob's initiatives and goals, we all respect the incentive he shows and the example he sets. Its a pretty hard act to follow. Even more so, however, he engages everyone he comes in contact with and elicits the same enthusiasm and optimism - by his example, he compels others to put forth like levels of participation and interest and without the least hint of any impatience or expectation. In this sense I think, he exemplifies the "promotion of good fellowship among climbers" that is perhaps the most enduring, and substantial of the AAC's objectives." --AAC/ORS

American Alpine Club, Oregon Section


Note: Bob is a Renaissance Man: He is an international rock climber and tradtional mountaineer, electrician, astronomer, author, cement finisher and more.
More Soon.  --Webmeister.





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