The Scandinavia Peaks Hut sits among the magnificent Scandinavian peaks of the Matanuska Glacier area.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Looking east at the high Chugach from White Lice. Chugach State Park.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Bird Peak from Esbay Peak. Chugach State Park.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Carrie Wang illustrates the proper technique for a Butterfly Knot.

Photo by Wayne Todd.


A list of our award recipients.

Hoeman Award Recipients (scroll down for a bio about each of these recipients).

  • Tom Choate
  • Willy Hersman
  • Greg Higgins
  • Dave Johnston
  • Tim Kelley

Presidents Award Recipients

  • Willy Hersman
  • Greg Bragiel
  • Jayme Mack

Honorary Membership Recipients

  • Dave Staeheli
  • David Roberts
  • Greg Bragiel
  • Don Hansen
  • Neil O'Donnell
  • Nick Parker
  • Tom Choate
  • Willy Hersman
  • Greg Higgins
  • Tim Kelley
  • Paul Denkewalter
  • Helga Byhre
  • Paul Crews, Sr. (D)
  • Doug Fesler
  • Peter Hackett
  • Tom Meacham
  • Helen Nienhueser
  • Erik Barnes
  • Bradford Washburn (D)
  • Helen Beirne (D)
  • Lowell Thomas, Jr. (D)
  • George Hall (D)
  • Terris Moore (D)

 Willy Hersman - Hoeman Award

Willy Hersman at the Mint Hut, July 2007.

Willy Hersman joined the MCA in 1979. Since then he has served and inspired countless Alaska mountaineers.

Trip Leading. Willy began leading trips in January 1982 with a trip across Portage Pass on Super Bowl Sunday. It was to become an annual tradition until its tremendous popularity (over 100 people would show up to make the traverse from Portage to Whittier) caused it to be curtailed for safety reasons. Willy's service as a trip leader continued for parts of three decades. He led at least 69 MCA trips and many of those trips involved training others in the skills required of mountaineers. He also led trips involving public service, such as trail clearing, hut construction, and hut maintenance.

Scree. In March 1982 Willy began to write articles for the Scree, sharing his trips with those who were unable to join him. Over the years he authored at least 72 articles in the Scree. In August 1983 Willy served as the typist for the Scree. The next month he assumed the role of Scree Editor. It was a position he would hold until April 2002. Willy also served as Scree Editor from February 2003 to April 2003 and again from June 2004 to February 2005. In all, he edited 236 issues of Scree, far more than any other Scree Editor.

MCA Leadership. In 1983 Willy was elected to the MCA's Board of Directors. In 1985 he was elected Vice President and in 1987 he was elected President of the MCA and continued to serve on the Board of Directors until 1989.

Huts. Willy was the driving force behind the construction of four MCA huts in the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountains – the Scandinavian Peaks Hut, the Bomber Hut, the Dnigi Hut, and the now-decommissioned Bock's Den. He proposed hut locations; helped build and ready the huts for transport; helped erect the huts; and helped maintain them for years.

Peakbagging. Beginning with his March 1983 ascent of Chichantna Peak and continuing to his July 5, 1997, ascent of Rusty Mountain, Willy made 25 first recorded ascents of peaks in the Tordrillo, Chugach, Kenai, Wrangell, Western Chugach, and Talkeetna Mountains. Atop Mountaineer's Peak on July 28, 1989, he became the first person to climb all 21 recognized 7,000-foot peaks in the Western Chugach Mountains.

Website. In 1999 Willy launched the MCA's website from his home computer. Willy donated the server and the internet access to the MCA. He designed the web pages and wrote his own programs to allow it to function, adding downloadable Screes, a bulletin board, and an index of peaks linked to the downloadable Screes in which the individual trip reports appeared.

Volunteerism. For three decades Willy has been a devoted volunteer for the MCA. In the April 2002 Scree he wrote about volunteering, "the person who gives gets more than the people who receive, a fact that you can only appreciate if you try it." The MCA is deeply indebted to Willy Hersman for his decades of volunteerism and encourages all members to find the appreciation of service that he did.

Awards. For his significant contributions to the exploration, documentation, and promotion of hiking and climbing opportunities in Alaska, Willy was the first recipient of the MCA's Hoeman Award in November 2002. The same day he was also the first recipient of the MCA's President's Award for his service to the MCA. As part of the Hoeman Award, Willy was granted honorary lifetime membership in the MCA.

- Steve Gruhn
December 31, 2009

© 2017 Mountaineering Club of Alaska     Box 243561,  Anchorage, AK 99524-3561     Contact Us

Many thanks to: Wayne Todd, Tim Silvers, Ross Noffsinger, Steve Gruhn, Carrie Wang, Billy Finley and many others who provided information, ideas and photos. And thanks to Willy Hersman who created, managed and hosted the first MCA website, without which this site's development would have been so much more difficult. Current website donated by Couloir Graphics.