Great Leaders


A - D E - K L - R S - Z Longevity


This listing of Great Leaders was first publicly exhibited at an Angeles Chapter fundraising function held at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in 2001. It was compiled by Angeles Chapter Historian Bob Cates, and has since been updated only in the matter of adding the dates of death for some of the Great Leaders who have since ‘hiked over the Great Divide.’

There is no simple answer as to what makes a great outings leader. However, to be included in this list a simple set of rules was used. All outings appearing in the chapter activities schedule from the beginning in November of 1911 through 1972 have been recorded in a spreadsheet database. An arbitrary span of 10 years was chosen to define a “Great Leader.” Those persons who led outings over a span of time in excess of 10 years made the cut. In addition, persons who have been presented with a leadership award, either from the chapter or from one of the climbing sections, have also been included (whether they met the 10 year span requirement or not).

This methodology leaves much to be desired, but it is at least a start. It is certainly true that the Angeles Chapter (and its predecessor, the Southern California Chapter) has been blessed with many truly excellent leaders who do not meet one of these criteria. Also, because the outings program expanded exponentially with the tremendous growth in the Sierra Club’s membership in the early 1970s, no attempt has yet been made to update the survey beyond 1972. Thus, leaders who have come into prominence during the last three decades have been largely ignored. I encourage some brave soul with plenty of time to devote to the effort to step forward to take on the truly gargantuan task of updating this survey.

To those many fine leaders that have been omitted from this list, my sincere apologies. To those of you who are on this list and still with us, my congratulations! As you will see, you are in the ranks of an outstanding company.

-Bob Cates, Angeles Chapter Historian
January 4, 2005

Colby Ranch 1931

Posing with the cook, his assistant and their dog at Colby’s Ranch are some of the most distinguished hikers and leaders of the 1920s and ‘30s. Among them are no fewer than eight Great Leaders(*), who distinguished themselves by having led outings for spans exceeding ten years, and in some cases for several decades. Standing on the left between the cook and his assistant is H.R. “Bob Sturdevant*, who took this photo on January 25, 1931. To the right of the cook, wearing white pants, stands John Banks* (Chapter Chair, 1950). Next to him, in a plaid shirt with dark pants, is Art Johnson* (Chapter Chair, 1951). The woman sitting in the back row is Luella Todd*. Standing to the right of her, wearing glasses, is Bob Schonborn* (Chapter Chair, 1938). The only other figure identified in the back row is Byron Schmidt, standing at the far right. Sitting l. to r. are Dessie Daler*, Frank Noel*, Harry “Mutau” Wilson, and Russell Hubbard*. -Photo by H.R. “Bob” Sturdevant,

Muir Peak 1977


Another illustrious group of Sierrans poses on top of Muir Peak on a History Committee Hike on April 20, 1977. All ten shown were 30 year-plus members at the time, and eight are classified as Great Leaders(*). Left to right, standing: Louise Werner*, Jack Russell*, Ottmar Goebel*, R.S. “Sam” Fink*, Fred Eaton*, George Shochat, Fern Dawson Shochat, and Parker Serverson*. Kneeling next to the flag is Nate Clark*. Shirtless in the foreground is Howard Gates*. -Photo by Bob Cates

Wheeler Hot Springs c. 1920

Throughout the 1920s, Chapter Halloween Parties were held at Wheeler Hot Springs above Ojai. Many were led by Great Leader Dr. Herbert S. Adair. -Unknown photographer, circa 1920s.


A - D E - K L - R S - Z Longevity


[Header photos: Large group photograph showing John Muir (rt center) surrounded by approximately 70 people all formally dressed. Muir is the older bearded man sitting at right center. Professor Everett Shepardson is about three over to the right from Muir, the bearded bald-headed man with his are around a girl dressed in white. Immediately to the left of Shepardson, sporting a trimmed mustache, is Charles J. Fox. Possibly Phil Bernays is second from left in second row from the front, immediately to the left of the prominent woman in the white blouse. The head of Bright R. Paxton can be seen just behind the girl in white sitting in the center of the front row. Probably taken at one of the Southern California Chapter’s Annual Campfires at Griffith Park, between 1911 and 1914. © Photographer: Unknown Credit: Bright R. Paxton Collection, Sierra Club-Angeles Chapter Archives all rights reserved ]

Great Leaders