Mick Fowler on the summit of SulamarUKC News, Oct 2010© Fowler/Ramsden

Mick Fowler was elected President of the Alpine Club at the weekend (4 Dec)following what is thought to be the first contested election to the prestigious post inthe Club's 153-year history.The clear favourite of AC members, in both an opinion poll and a ballot held at theclub's AGM in London, Fowler is expected to devote his three years as presidentto attracting more active alpinists into the AC. Fowler exemplifies the style ofexploratory mountaineering championed by the Alpine Club, and having as its publicface a climber who is still pushing the boat out on big mountain routes can only be ofbenefit to the club's image.Earlier this year Fowler returned from a first ascent of the north face of Sulamar(c5380m) in the Chinese Tien Shan, with Paul Ramsden; he's been acclaimed asthe ?mountaineers' mountaineer? and his 2002 ascent of Siguniang netted him andRamsden the Piolet d' Or and US Golden Piton. Fowler's expertise as a mandarinwith HM Revenue and Customs is also likely to prove useful overseeing the club'sadministration and challenging finances.Fowler takes over the presidential reins from Paul Braithwaite ? best known forsolving the problem of the 'rock band', with Nick Estcourt, on Chris Bonington's1975 Everest south-west expedition. Braithwaite had the unenviable task of endinghis three-year term having to preside over a potentially divisive leadership contest.Though AC rules provide for ballots to office holders, traditionally that of presidenthas been passed on by invitation rather than contested election. This year the clubcommittee discussed potential candidates and unanimously concluded that Fowlerbe asked to stand. It came as something of a shock when a challenger emerged inthe form of Henry Day, a retired colonel with a fine expeditioning record, albeitfrom an earlier era. Day's literal high point came on 20 May 1970 when he stood onthe summit of Annapurna in Nepal, as climbing leader of an Army MountaineeringAssociation team that made the second ascent of the 8091m peak.The AC committee was faced with a dilemma. Under the club's antiquated rules (nowchanged) only members who actually attended the AGM would be able to vote in theFowler-Day contest (postal and proxy voting will be allowed in future). But annualmeetings are often thinly attended and the AC membership is scattered world wide.The committee therefore decided to conduct an opinion poll among the club's 1,200members. It was to be non-binding but would clearly be difficult to ignore.Come the day, members filled the AC's clubroom in Shoreditch for a hustings sessionwith the two candidates followed by a secret ballot. Despite much prior uncertainty,in the end the result was clear cut ? Fowler 59 votes, Day 21 votes. The opinionpoll was even more emphatic ? Fowler 241, Day 60. If the turnout does not look tooimpressive, bear in mind two things ? nobody loves AGMs, and it was a weekendwhen winter climbing conditions in the UK have seldom been better.Stephen GoodwinEditor, Alpine Journal 6 December 2010 Diesen Artikel inkl. Bilder auf UKClimbing.com anschauen