Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Home
Mt Baker Club - Records
* Lowell Skoog has a copy of each item marked with an asterisk.
Folder - "Summit Log"A summit register dating from the 1920s. It seems to be from a peak near the Mt Baker Lodge, not the summit of Mt Baker.
Folder - Movie, Mt Baker Skiing 1948A film donated by Archie Lawson. I haven't viewed it.
Folder - Fritz Koons, "My Life Story"This memoir was completed a month before Fritz Koons died (born 12-19-1902, died 10-20-1986). On p. 28 it says that Koons started skiing in 1927. His first skis were home-made by an old Norwegian friend. Koons and his friend Fern Wilson made their own ski poles. They learned to turn by watching slowed-down movies of skiers in Austria taken by Ruth Weythman. At age 83, Koons was still teaching kids to ski as a member of the Koma Kulshan Ski Club.
Folder - "The story of Winnie's Slide" by Alice Winifred "Winnie" SpiesekeThis account was written on 20 June 1980 at the request of Harry Majors. It describes the July 3, 1927 first ascent of the Fisher Chimney route with "Happy" Fisher and others. Winnie was the last of the party to climb the snow slope above the chimneys. Just as she reached the top she lost her footing and slid to the bottom. Her friends waiting at the top were amused to see her head appear then suddenly disappear. She was unhurt and climbed back up. Her friends named the slope after her.
Folder - "The Rambler 1928-32"
The Rambler, Feb 25, 1929, p. 3 - "Slip, Flop, Flounder, or What Have You?" *
The first official skiing party ever put on by the club was led by Francis ("Fritz") Koons on January 19-20, 1929. The party slept overnight at Glacier. On Sunday morning twenty-one people set out for Heather Meadows carrying skis along the Bagley Creek trail. They ate lunch in the stone cabin with "Slim and Mr. Johnson and the cats" and skied in the area. Koons and others had made a private ski trip to Heather Meadows earlier in the season.
The Rambler, Oct 1929, p. 1 - "Stunt Climbing Decried" *
Due to recent accidents, the board declared themselves opposed to club members taking part in climbs in which "the parties are small and without proper guides and proper organization for the climb." They disapprove of parties of less than three persons, regardless of experience or circumstances.
The Rambler, Jan 1930, p. 1 - "Ski Climb Fails" *
"The first attempt ever made to ski to the summit of Mt Baker failed on Christmas Day when Robert H. Hayes and Hans Otto Giese, Seattle mountaineers, had to turn back at Black Buttes because of the strong storms that greeted them along with the soft snow that made going difficult."
The Rambler, Feb 1930, p. 1 - "Club Members May Try Baker On Skis" *
"Three Seattle parties have failed in the attempt this winter. Francis Koons, our outing chairman, says that the club ought to be the one to do it but does not know if many members are experienced enough on skis as yet. They have been out on several trips this winter and are learning fast."
On January 3-5, R.B. Sperlin, Ernie Pugh and Ed Loners, University of Washington students, turned back near the Black Buttes due to a blizzard. On January 18-19, Ned Cunningham, William Sweet, Donald Norbeck, Arnold Campbell and Bert Heinz, also U.W. students, reached the Black Buttes but turned back due to bitter cold. Cunningham froze his left foot but managed to get back safely.
The Rambler, Feb 1930, p. 2 - "Ski Party Success As 14 Take 20 Mile Hike" *
On January 19-20 the club organized another Heather Meadows ski outing. Eight members slept at Glacier cabin Saturday night, where it was so cold that the water pipes could not be thawed, and six more drove up Sunday morning. The road was only open "within 3 miles of Shuksan," so skis had to be used for the rest of the trip as the snow was too soft to walk on. At Bagley Creek, the usual spot to leave the Mt Baker highway for a more direct route to Heather Meadows, the snow was too soft and the party had to continue on skis up the highway. At 3 pm they reached a point within a mile of the meadows with a good view of Mt Shuksan. They returned by skiing back down the road.
The Rambler, Mar 1930, p. 3 - "Members Disapprove Revival of Marathon" *
Proposals have been made to revive the race "as an advertising stunt for Mt Baker Lodge," climbing either Baker or Shuksan from the lodge. Will D. Pratt, a member in 1911, and Will L. Cochran, guide, oppose reviving the competition because it would be too dangerous.
The Rambler, May 1930, p. 4 - "Ski Tournament Is Wet But Very Interesting" *
Describes the first ski tournament held in the Mt Baker vicinity, on April 27. Some of the best ski jumpers in the Northwest were present. Continuous rain and snow forced them to move to a small jump improvised below the lodge. Late in the afternoon Erling Thompson of Seattle made a 125 foot leap on the big jump constructed above Terminal Lake.
The Rambler, Feb 1931, p. 4 - "Two Skiing Outings Proved Lots of Fun" *
At the January 10 meeting "The Chase," filmed in the Black Forest of Germany, was shown. Bob Hayes of Seattle explained ski equipment and technique and the ski tests. The next day eight Mt Baker Club members accompanied Bob Hayes, Ben Thompson, Gladys Lewis and Veida Morrow from Seattle to Heather Meadows to practice skiing.
The Rambler, Jun 1931, p. 2 - "First Ski Season Very Successful" *
Summarizes the first season that the club used the Verona cabin and did regular skiing at Heather Meadows. Other newsletters said that the Verona cabin was leased from a mining company and located about halfway between Shuksan and Heather Meadows. Other newsletters said that the Mt Baker Ski Club was established as an independent organization in 1931.
The Rambler, Jul 1931, p. 1 - "Mt Baker Repulses Attempt By Skiers" *
On June 21, Ben Thompson ("former Bellingham man") and Bob Hayes of Seattle, Miss Milana Jank of Germany, and Y. Kagami of Japan skied to 9,000 feet on the NE side of the mountain and were turned back by sleet and wind.
The Rambler, Aug 1931, p. 2 - "Two Notable Climbs of Mount Baker Made" *
On June 28, Benton Thompson, Bob Hayes, Miss Milana Jank and Dr. Otto Strizek made a ski climb of Mt Baker from the NE side in a snow storm. "They wanted to ski the whole distance but abandoned the skis at the ice wall and did the last 1,000 feet by regular climbing." On July 15, Miss Jank made a solo climb of the same side of the mountain, again leaving her skis at the base of the ice wall.
The Rambler, Sep 1931, p. 2 - "Vancouver Party First Up Mt Baker On Skis" *
C.A. "Happy" Fisher, Mt Baker Club president, says that a group of Vancouver skiers skied Mt Baker, "late last winter, up the usual route by way of Kulshan Cabin and inscribed their deed on the register there." Happy is expected to bring out the information when he returns from the summer outing. [It's likely that word of the earlier Loners-Sperlin ascent got around, because nothing more was ever mentioned of this Vancouver ascent.]
The Rambler, Feb 1932, p. 2 - "Opening Ski Trip Proves Inspiring To 19 Members" *
Describes a New Year's ski trip to Heather Meadows by C.A. Fisher and others. The group was joined on the Terminal Lake slope by Ben Thompson and some Seattle skiers, as well as members of the Mildew Ski Club. The report provides a nice glimpse of early skiing in the area.
Folder - "The Rambler 1934-39"
The Rambler, May 1937, p. 3 - "The Skier Returns" (a poem) *
"Who's the stranger, mother dear.Other newsletters indicate that Otto Lang was teaching at Mt Baker during the winter of 1936-37.
Look, he knows us, ain't he queer?"
"Hush, my own, don't talk so wild;
He's your father, dearest child."
"He's my father? Why not at all.
Father died away last fall!"
"Father didn't die, you dub!
Father joined the skiing club."
"Now the season's closed, so he
Has no place to go, you see.
No snow left on which to ski,
So home he comes to you and me."
"Kiss him--he won't bite you, child.
All those skiing guys look wild."
The Rambler, May 1938, p. 4 - "Ski Tourney Is Success" *
The Mt Baker Ski Club sponsored a Pacific Northwest Ski Association tournament on April 10th. Fourteen clubs participated. Don Fraser won the men's downhill and slalom. Gertie Wepsela of Vancouver won the women's downhill and Gretchen Kunigk won the women's slalom.
The Rambler, Jan 1939, p. 3 - "Ski Patrol Organized" *
The first meeting of the Mt Baker Ski Patrol was held December 21, 1938. Ted Davids was elected president and Hank Reasoner secretary-treasurer. Other newsletters indicated that Hank Reasoner was a Mt Baker Ski Club member.
Folder - "The Rambler 1940s"I reviewed newsletters up to the start of World War II and didn't find anything noteworthy.
Scrapbook vol. 1 - 1927-31Contains several nice skiing pictures from 1930-31, which I've noted in my photo notes.
Scrapbook vol. 2 - 1931-38Interesting clippings are noted by date. The paper that the clippings were taken from was not recorded.
- 12-30-31: A clipping says that Ben Thompson had a cabin at the Mt Baker Lodge.
- 5-15-32: The current issue of "Games and Gossip," Los Angeles, CA, has an article by Milana Jank, "Skis to the World's White Roof." The article has illustrations showing her climbing Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan. The clipping says she was sports director at the Mt Baker lodge during the summer of 1931. A few months ago she skied across the Sierra Nevada, a 90 mile trip.
- 5-23-32: Don Henry was caretaker of the Heather Inn in May 1932.
- 12-14-33: The municipal ski hill at Snoqualmie Pass is expected to open on January 1, 1934. According to the clipping, several clubs already have cabins and courses in the area.
- 1-26-34: Ben Thompson is coaching the new U.W. ski team.
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