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Lex Maxwell - Personal Communication

Phone conversation, 13 April 2001
by Lowell Skoog

I called Lex to introduce myself and describe the project. Lex is currently 90 years old. He mentioned that when Wolf Bauer was getting the Seattle Mountain Rescue Council organized, he asked Lex to help organize a similar organization in central Washington.

Lex suggested a few people for me to contact. Marcel Schuster was a German mountain guide, FIS skier, and soldier in the German mountain troops (on the Russian front near Finland) during the war. He emmigrated to Canada following the war and eventually came to Ellensburg, where he met the Praters. Lex helped him find work in central Washington.

Lex also suggested Bob McCall, who was in the mountain troops during the war, skied Adams, Hood and Rainier, and was active in ski mountaineering.

Phone conversation, 14 May 2001
by Lowell Skoog

Lex called me back to suggest more contacts. He mentioned that Bob McCall and Marcel Schuster skied the Mazama Glacier on Mt Adams as well as the routes we talked about previously.

Interestingly, Lex said that he and his friends credit Hans Otto Giese with the first ski descent of Mt Rainier. I suspect he was thinking of the 1928 partial ascent, which got significant press coverage and was not surpassed for ten years.

Lex said that Dave Mahre could be a good source. Mahre used to guide on Rainier during the summers, made the first ascent of Rainier's Willis Wall, and was involved in some interesting rescue operations on the mountain. He was mountain manager at White Pass ski area for many years, was always a good skier, and knows a lot of mountain lore.

Lex also suggested contacting Nelson Bennett, formerly general manager of White Pass ski area. Bennett was in the 10th Mountain Division in Italy during WWII and has kept in touch with many 10th veterans. Bennett continues to be a busy guy, providing consultation for ski areas around the world.

Lex said that Bruce Gilbert and his older brother Cragg are the sons of Curtis Gilbert, who was a company commander in the infantry in WWI and an early scoutmaster in the Yakima area. Bruce Gilbert did some skiing with the Hesseys. Cragg was in the 10th Mountain Division in Italy during WWII.

Finally, Lex mentioned Bill Frank, a younger Yakima skier who skied the Adams Glacier solo and the Fuhrer Finger on Mt Rainier. This was a great tip. I think it was Bill Frank who called me years ago, shortly after his Adams descent, to see if I knew of any earlier ones. I didn't, and I'd since forgotten his name. Thanks for the tip, Lex!

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Last Updated: Tue Aug 16 16:21:39 PDT 2005