The DOC Centennial Begins on Moosilauke
By Rebecca Vogel ‘11
On the morning of January 1st, students and alumni gathered on Mount Moosilauke to kick off celebrations of the Dartmouth Outing Club’s Centennial. Despite sub-zero temperatures and gusting winds, about twenty hikers showed up to climb a mountain that has played a significant role in the history of their club.
It marked the beginning of one of the most anticipated years in the DOC’s history. The yearlong Centennial celebration plans are described in detail on the DOC website; the calendar is full of events that every student can participate in, regardless of previous outdoor experience or even club membership.
“It’s a celebration more than anything,” said Max Freidman ’10, the Student Centennial Planning Chair. “A celebration of the club and of everyone who’s been involved in it, what it’s given to people over the years, and how it’s made the Dartmouth experience unique.”
Since Fred Harris founded the DOC in 1909, the club has provided students with opportunities to get outside, explore the backcountry, and develop skills for their own enjoyment and for the benefit of the larger community. Today, most Dartmouth students have gone on first-year Trips; many have stayed in a DOC cabin, hiked on trails maintained by Cabin and Trail, gone to the climbing gym, or rented boats from Ledyard Canoe Club. The DOC is a part of everyone’s experience to some degree, and the Centennial celebrations are therefore relevant to all students.
“For anyone who has yet to take advantage of the DOC, this is the perfect year,” said Friedman.
After all, it is the DOC that makes Dartmouth stand out from other schools. We students have access to the 27,000 acres of wilderness in the Second College Grant, we have access to the rivers and mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, and we have a club that will take us there, members and non-members alike, any day of the week. That, according to DOC leadership, is worth celebrating.
The Centennial celebrations also highlight the sense of continuity that is unique to the DOC. Scores of Dartmouth students have stayed at Hinman Cabin or Peaks Cabin, both built by Eric Sailer ’60, an alumnus who went on the hike. The Dartmouth Woodsmen’s team will host the Intercollegiate Woodsmen Competition on the Green in April. A former captain, Putnam “Put” Blodgett ’53, was also on Moosilauke for New Year’s Day; he is now the president of the Vermont Woodlands Association.
Chris Wren ’57 remembers spending New Year’s Eve at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge when he was a student, at a party called Wing Ding.
“We brought dates, cooked spaghetti, and sang with guitars all night,” Wren said in an email. Wren was a first-year Trips leader and an active member of the Dartmouth Mountaineering Club, and he continued rock and ice climbing with DOC friends long after graduating. Wren and the other alumni are living proof of the impact the DOC has had on the lives of its members.
The students did not make it to the top of Moosilauke on New Year’s Day. They turned back shortly after leaving the cover of trees, as conditions were too dangerous on the exposed summit. The temperature had dropped below -10º and the winds were gusting at high speeds.
“We were getting blown over,” said Parker Reed ’09.
But according to DOC president Andrew Palmer ’10, the trip was still a success.
“The alumni and students hiking Moosilauke together on the first day was a great way to set the tone for the entire year,” Palmer said. “The Centennial is a huge deal. Ours is the oldest outing club in the country, and in my opinion the strongest, so the fact that we’re one hundred years old and going strong is a hell of a good reason to celebrate.”