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Mountaineers History Committee - Miscellaneous Files
These are selected items from the files of the Mountaineers History Committee.

"Misc MSS-1" Folder - Marion Hessey Correspondence

Letter dated January 31, 1990, from Marion Hessey to Chuck Gustafson

In perusing the February 1990 Mountaineers bulletin, Marion Hessey saw a notice of two trips scheduled into the Pasayten Wilderness. She was prompted to write, since she and her husband Chuck had done both trips years before on skis. They skied to Sunny Pass near Horseshoe Basin during a three-day Memorial Day weekend (date not specified). In the late 1950s, they made a two week trip to Spanish Camp. They had permission from the Forest Service to use the cabin there. They carried 16 mm camera equipment and made a movie on the trip. Since their camera gear weighed 25 pounds they used an air drop for additional supplies. They used downhill skis, Head 360s, on the trip, and Marion still uses them. The letter notes that Chuck Hessey died on January 12, 1990.

Letter dated June 23, 1991, from Marion Hessey to Chuck Gustafson

This letter includes an account of the March 1958 ski trip to Spanish Camp by Chuck and Marion Hessey with Bruce Gilbert. Here's a summary:

Fred Ball, "The Patrol Race"

This folder contains a hand-written draft and several typed drafts, portions of which were used in Fred Ball's article in the 1963 Mountaineer Annual (mtneer-a-1963-p18). These drafts contain details not included in the published article, as well as clearer descriptions of the chronology. The Patrol Race was conceived by Andy Anderson and Norval Grigg, based to some extent on Norwegian army patrols where a unit, such as a machine gun unit, might be dispatched to a certain point, each member carrying part of the equipment. All must arrive together in order to be effective.

The route from Snoqualmie Lodge to Stampede Pass was first skied in February 1928 by a party of six consisting of Rudy Amsler, Andy Anderson, Bill Maxwell, Art Marzolf, Alex Fox and Lars Lovseth. They left Snoqualmie Lodge to scout the route, intending to join the special outing at Stampede Pass (mtneer-b-1928-apr). Due to route finding problems, they spent the night in a hole next to a dead snag, which they lit on fire, spending the night alternately driven out of the hole by the heat and back in by the cold. The author describes early efforts to mark the route. He recounts every year the race was run, from 1930 to 1941, including details omitted from the published article.

Verna Ness, "Winter Activities and the Mountaineers, 1907-1930"

Several drafts of this article were found in a box in the History Committee files. The article sketches early Mountaineer skiing, based entirely on articles in the annuals and bulletins. Since all the sources used in this article have been absorbed into this project, I haven't made notes here. There is also a letter from Art Winder, dated March 3, 1979, commenting on the article, but it contains little that is noteworthy. More interesting are Winder's recollections of skating on Lodge Lake. The fall of 1929 was especially good for skating, he recalled.

Jo Rayl, "Backcountry Skiing History"

This article is based largely on the Mountaineer annuals. All the information in it has already been absorbed into this project. Topics include: early ski equipment, skiing technique, ski areas and lodges, ski competition, the Patrol Race, the Silver Skis race, the Mountaineers ski team, backcountry skiing, first ski ascents and descents on Mt Rainier, backcountry touring in the Cascades, the ski mountaineering course, skiing in the 50s and 60s, and cross-country skiing. The article includes a list of sources.

Draft of skiing chapter in Mountaineers history book

This is apparently a draft of Chapter 5 of The Mountaineers: A History (kjeldsen-1998). It draws on the earlier work of Fred Ball, Verna Ness and Jo Rayl. All the sources for this draft has been absorbed into this project. The draft contains several errors.

Mountain Rescue Council Origins

"Seattle Mountain Rescue Council History" from Glenn Eades

A hand-written note says this history was from Glenn Eades, but it's not clear whether Glenn wrote it. The history begins with the 1936 search for Delmar Fadden on Mt Rainier and the informal rescue organization that subsequently grew up around Ome Daiber. In 1948, the Mountain Rescue Council was organized by Wolf Bauer, Ome Daiber, Dr. Otto Trott and others. Rescues were infrequent during the first few years, but in 1952 and 1953, more than 15 full-scale rescues were mounted for a variety of accidents--avalanches, lightning strikes, crevasse falls, glissading accidents, falls on rock, rapelling accidents, rockfall, and four aircraft crashes that alone claimed 40 victims. In 1959 the national Mountain Rescue Association was formed. Since that time Seattle Mountain Rescue has averaged 30 missions each year.

Degenhardt, Stella, "Mountain Rescue Council - Draft"

This draft is dated February 23, 1994. It incorporates much of the information in the article from Glenn Eades, above, and expands upon it. In the fall of 1938, an accident brought home the need for a Mountaineer Rescue Patrol. This was organized in 1939. The article includes additional details about the formative years of the Mountain Rescue Council, around 1948. In 1964, the Mountain Rescue Council and the Mountaineers cooperated in publishing an English edition of Wastl Mariner's "Mountain Rescue Techniques." The translation was done by Dr. Trott and Kurt Beam, with editing by Harvey Manning.

Bergtrage, December 1994, "MRC Honorary Members: A Summary"

Wolf Bauer was responsible for the establishment of the Mountaineers climbing course and "stimulated the change from the traditional hip-pocket call list of rescue volunteers to the organized approach of MRC with funding, training, centralized equipment, communications and a relationship with legally responsible agencies." Arnie Campbell gave three decades of field leadership to mountain rescue. Ome Daiber is referred to as the Father of American Mountain Rescue. Max Eckenburg served as the interim chairman of MRC between the time of Ome's early stewardship and the actual incorporation, with its board structure and election machinery. Dorrell Looff "almost single-handedly organized the national Mountain Rescue Association." Dr. Otto Trott was the father of the MRC medical program and a pioneer in the National Ski Patrol System. This is not a complete list of the honorary members.

Safety Committee Accident Reports

"St. Helens Accident Report"

On May 18, 1952, Dick Crain, Arthur Jessett and two others climbed Mt St Helens via the Lizard route. Their two friends carried skis but Crain and Jessett did not. All remained unroped during the descent, with Crain and Jessett glissading and the other two skiing. Jessett carried the party's 120 foot rope. During one of the glissades, Jessett fell into a hidden crevasse. Able to speak to him, but unable to see or reach him, Crain remained at the scene while the two skiers left to intercept a party of six skiers, including Roger Freeman, descending the Dogshead route. The Freeman party had no rope. They sent three skiers to the timberline cabin to gather ropes and relay them to the accident scene.

Once at the scene, the group lowered one of Jessett's party into the crevasse, but found that the old ropes from the cabin weren't long enough. They pulled the man out and held a council, at which point they decided that further efforts were useless given their limited resources, so the entire party descended to timberline. At timberline the party met two Forest Service men. The report continues: "Possibly due to complete lack of competent leadership and organization and because of inability to hold general council or make united decision, the various manpower then went their separate ways. This disintegration of the only party available made further attempts that night unfeasible." Later that night, Jim Whittaker in Seattle was notified of the accident by the State Patrol. He assembled a group of five men and left for Mt St Helens. They arrived at timberline the next morning, climbed to the accident scene, and located Jessett's body.

Letter dated June 5, 1952, from Roger Freeman to T. Davis Castor, Mountaineers President

This letter responds to a request from the Mountaineers for Freeman to attend a special meeting of the Board "to consider expelling you from membership for action unbecoming a Mountaineer." Freeman argues that his party's actions in the Mt St Helens "were correct by any standard." None of his party were experienced in crevasse rescue techniques. When they found that the old ropes from the timberline cabin were too short, they concluded that further efforts would entail too great a risk of losing another man. At Spirit Lake that evening, they met Val Quoidbach, head of the St Helens Ski Patrol, an experienced rescue man, who had been called up from Longview with friends. "No attempt during the hours of darkness was proposed or undertaken by them since they apparently felt as we did--that it offered no chance." Freeman concludes that there was nothing his party could have done, given the resources at hand, to have prevented the tragic outcome.

Letter dated June 10, 1952, from Betty Manning to the Mountaineer Board of Trustees

In this letter, Betty Manning explains the circumstances surrounding her resignation as editor of the Mountaineer bulletin. She resigned due to pressure not to publish the Mt St Helens accident report. Concerns about libel were raised. The report was never published.

The Mountaineers Ski Lodges

I photocopied this 23-page typescript from a booklet in the Mountaineers Mt Baker lodge in June 2007. The author of the article is not recorded. The article recounts the history of the Mountaineers' Snoqualmie, Meany, Stevens, and Mt Baker ski lodges. The article contains more information than Chapter 6 of kjeldsen-1998. It may have been a longer, early draft of that chapter.

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Last Updated: Fri Feb 6 11:02:55 PST 2009