Charles and Marion Hessey - Skiing Cascade Wilderness Home
This 16mm film is in color, with sound, with a running time around 33 minutes. The film illustrates skiing in the Lyman Lake area above Holden near Lake Chelan in 1956. Chuck Hessey and friends visited this area many times in the 1940s and 1950s, staying for weeks at a time in a snow survey cabin that stood near the lake in those days.
The film opens with scenes of Lake Chelan. An advance party of Tom Lyon, Bruce Gilbert and Chuck Hessey take a boat from Twenty-five Mile Creek to Lucerne. From there they ride a bus to the mining community of Holden. They ski two miles up-valley from the town and make camp. Tom and Bruce prepare a bough bed on which to pitch their tent and build a cooking fire on a platform of green wood. The next day they continue to the Lyman Lake cabin, buried deep in snow. Marion Hessey and nephew Phil Dahl arrive later after a stormy ski in. During a break in the weather, an airplane drops supplies for them on the lake. Stormy weather returns and both Tom and Phil soon leave to return to school.
On a cold, clear morning, Chuck, Marion and Bruce tour to North Star Park, where they film scenes of Chiwawa Mountain, Hanging Glacier Peak, Plummer Mountain, Fortress Mountain, North Star and Bonanza Peak. Marion takes the camera and films Chuck skiing fine April powder on a south facing slope. After more sightseeing, they observe a cloudcap growing on Glacier Peak, so return to the cabin as storm clouds gather. In poor weather they stockpile wood and gather water near the cabin.
Warmer weather arrives, so they climb to the summit of North Star Mountain. Bruce snoozes on the ridge while Chuck makes a long run on excellent corn snow back to timberline. The following day they leave the cabin early to climb Chiwawa Mountain. They cross Lyman Lake and climb on foot past the Lyman Glacier icefall. They climb higher on skis, then rope up to complete the final 500 feet to the summit on foot. The views extend from Mt Baker to Mt Rainier, including the Napeequa and Honeycomb Glaciers, "magnificent ski runs, still untested." They descend the mountain, skiing the lower corn snow slopes in wide, lazy turns. Finally, their time having run out, they pack up at the cabin and ski down Railroad Creek to Holden, their faces marked by the sun and their memories filled with the high country.
(Digital transfer of this film was made possible by a grant from The Mountaineers Foundation. Film notes and video clip by Lowell Skoog.)