Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Home
Mt Rainier National Park, Rangers' Monthly Reports, 1940-42
These reports were reviewed on microfilm at the National Park Service Columbia Cascade Library (CCL) in Seattle.
Chief Ranger's Report, April 1940"The Silver Skis race on April 13 was marred by the death of one of the contestants, Sigurd Hall, who crashed into the rocks less than a mile below the start of the race at camp Muir. He was instantly killed. This year's Silver Skis race was the fifth annual running of the 3.18 mile race. The tragedy was one of those things that sometimes happens in all dangerous sports, no one can know the cause. It was the first death from competitive skiing in the park." The accident reporting section lists four injuries sustained during the Silver Skis race, three broken legs and a wrenched knee.
"April 2-4. Trip from White River Entrance to Carbon River Entrance via Yakima Park and Mystic Lake. The purpose of the trip was a joint study in connection with future winter use development. Those making the trip were Melvin Borgersen, Ome Daiber, Bob Hayes, Chief Ranger Sedergren, Park Naturalist Brockman, Seasonal Ranger Dar Williams, and Assistant Chief Ranger Bill Butler. Snow, fog and changing snow conditions were encountered. The group reached the conclusion that such trips should be undertaken only by experienced skiers."
Chief Ranger's Report, December 1940"The 15th Infantry Ski Patrol, stationed at Longmire, visited Paradise daily except Sundays and holidays for ski maneuvers. The Paradise Community Building was open daily for their use." Lt. Phelps and 26 men of the 41st Division Ski Patrol visited Paradise Valley on Dec. 13.
Paradise Ranger's Report, December 1940"An unusual feature of the weather was the fact that there were 8 days of clear and cold - 8 continuous days." The report includes details of Army groups visiting Paradise Valley during the month. There were 41 skiing accidents during December.
Chief Ranger's Report, January 1941
"Weather for the month at headquarters was very mild."
"January 30-31, Assistant Chief Ranger Butler and 17 officers and men of the 15th Infantry Ski Patrol made a ski trip across the east side of the park, to Ohanapecosh. There were only two feet of snow at Nickel Creek... Heavy rain fell on both days, which afforded an opportunity to test the clothes for waterproof value."
Paradise Ranger's Report, January 1941"Army ski patrol groups have visited the valley as usual and have had some good day to day practice in just plain skiing as well as military skiing practice. Many of the boys of the 15th Infantry Ski Patrol are getting to be good skiers."
"In addition to the regular 15th Infantry ski patrol men, the 41st Field Artillery Ski Patrol was practicing military skiing in the valley. They came up Fridays during the month. This group is under Lt. Phelps and consists on the average of 30 men and 2 officers."
The 10th annual Tacoma Winter Sports Carnival was held on January 25-26. Ninety-one men competed in the men's downhill and slalom. Ray Zoberski represented the 15th Infantry Ski Patrol.
Longmire Ranger's Report, January 1941"The month was definitely an 'open' month so far as weather was concerned, with only one-half normal precipitation and less snowfall [than] any corresponding month since 1920."
Chief Ranger's Report, February 1941
There were 12 clear days during the month, with 2.29 inches of precipitation, as compared to a normal of 7.8 inches.
"The 15th Infantry Ski Patrol, which has been stationed at park headquarters since December 7, 1940, completed their ski training and test of various equipment and left the park on February 28." The training was climaxed by a 7-day trip of about 55 miles from Snoqualmie Pass to Greenwater, made by the patrol the latter part of the month.
February 6, Assistant Chief Ranger Butler accompanied 16 members of the 15th Infantry Ski Patrol detachment on a two-day patrol trip from Paradise to Ohanapecosh via Nickel Creek.
February 10-14, Assistant Chief Ranger Butler accompanied 12 members of the 15th Infantry Ski Patrol on a five-day patrol from White River Entrance to the Mowich Entrance via Yakima Park, Mystic Lake, Spray Park, Knapsack Pass, and Mowich Lake. "Dehydrated food, primus stoves, sleeping bags, and light-weight tents were carried. Food rations were approximately one pound per day per man, and packs weighed 30 to 35 lbs."
Paradise Ranger's Report, February 1941"The lack of heavy snow and the mild weather have been very unusual." The 41st Division Ski Patrol visited Paradise daily after the middle of the month.
Longmire Ranger's Report, February 1941The trip from White River to Mowich Entrance by the 15th Infantry Ski Patrol was approximately 40 miles.
Chief Ranger's Report, March 1941"Mild spring weather continued throughout the month. The snow is melting fast." Precipitation was 5.58 inches below normal for the month at Longmire.
"A patrol trip was made March 11-12 by Chief Ranger Sedergren and Rangers Weldon, Jensen and Butler across the Cascade Crest Trail from Tipsoo Lake to Three Lakes and on down to Ohanapecosh, to determine the feasibility of this secton for cross-country ski touring trips. This area was found to contain too much avalanche area to be advisable for this type of recreation."
Longmire Ranger's Report, March 1941"Weather for the month was very warm and mild with very little precipitation... A class 3 day was recorded by the fire danger station on March 15. This class of day is normal for the month of August."
"On March 18 Rose gave map and compass instruction to 8 non-commisioned officers of the 41st Div. Ski Patrol at Nisqually CCC Camp."
Regarding the March 11-12 patrol trip: "This trip of a bit over 18 miles proved to be revealing in several ways among them being that it is not advisable for a cross country trip for the general public as there are long stretches without shelters, there is some bad avalanche country, and the possibilities of straying off the trail are good."
Chief Ranger's Report, April 1941"The month was characterized by continued mild weather, with sub-normal snowfall."
The 6th Annual Silver Skis championship was held April 5-6. Members of the 41st Division Ski Patrol assisted with radio communication at the races. The report includes a program for the races, sponsored by the Seattle P-I and directed by the Washington Ski Club. Ray Osborn and K.E. Hinderman represented the 41st Division Ski Patrol in the race. Lt. John Woodward's affiliation in the roster is simply "U.S. Army."
Chief Ranger's Report, February 1942"On February 13 approximately 350 officers and men of the 87th Mountain Regimant, U.S. Army, under Lieutenant-Colonel O.S. Rolfe, moved into Paradise Valley for winter maneuvers. Paradise Lodge and the Tatoosh Dormitory were leased from the Rainier National Park Company for their use."
Paradise Ranger's Report, February 1942"These Army units are to be trained as 'shock' troops to perform in any difficult (particularly mountainous) terrain and under all kinds of adverse weather, topographic etc. etc. conditions which may obtain in many parts of the world where the war may be fought. This month the troops were concentrating on skiing."
"Skiing enthusiasts continue to come to Paradise Valley in very large numbers in spite of war activities, restriction on tires etc. Travel was a bit under last years figure but is still high--more than at times can be efficiently taken care of in the crowded, heavily used facilities of Paradise Valley."
Chief Ranger's Report, March 1942"There has been much activity in Paradise Valley all month as the Mountain Regiment of the Army stationed there has kept things 'humming'. These men are quartered in two of the Park Company buildings--the Lodge and Tatoosh Dormitory... The weather, while stormy and cold at times, has been good for skiing."
"March 6-7, Roger Langley, President of the National Ski Association; Mr. Charles Minot Dole, Chairman of National Ski Patrol; and Dr. Reynolds, Advisor of National Ski Patrol, came to Paradise as guests of Col. Rolfe and the Army Regiment stationed there."
March 26, newsreel photographers from Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Fox Movie Tone, Paramount, and newspapermen and photographers came to Paradise to take pictures of the Mountain Regiment ski maneuvers."
Paradise Ranger's Report, March 1942"The war situation apparently has not as yet had as much influence on the reduction of ski travel as many people thought it might. However, weekend travel has been down a bit."
"March weather has not been very good being stormy and quite cold a majority of the time. Consequently snow depth at the end of the month was almost twice that of last year."
"Army has been trying out new power toboggans with some success on hard packed snow and where slopes not too steep."
District Ranger Robert K. Weldon writes: "This is the final report for the writer until after the war. I will be inducted into the Army on April 4 at 9 a.m."
Chief Ranger's Report, April 1942The Silver Skis championship was held on April 11-12. "The Mountain Regiment, stationed in Paradise Valley, helped sponsor the event, by supplying a doctor and men for first aid, course setters and radio sets and operator. There were 25 men from this outfit entered in the race. Matt Broze of the Seattle Ski Club won the event with a time of 4 minutes and 57 seconds, and Walter Prager of the U.S. Army Mountain Troops was second."
"Weather at headquarters for the month was generally cold and wet with frequent falls of snow during the last half of the month."
"The Army has been experimenting with a snow tractor at Paradise Valley. Although it is slower, it is capable of pulling heavier loads than the motorized toboggans."
Paradise Ranger's Report, April 1942
"Army accidents were about the same as usual. One Army man was seriously injured in the Silver Skis race. Somewhere on the upper part of the course Ray Zoberski fell on the ice and sustained brain concussion. He finished the race however and was later removed to an Army Hospital at Fort Lewis. There, he was held for observation for several days. After his release he returned to Paradise and seems to be completely recovered."
Chief Ranger's Report, May 1942"The U.S. Army 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment moved out of Paradise Valley and back to Fort Lewis on May 28 and 29... Weather at headquarters for the month was cloudy and cool with only 2 clear days..."
Paradise Ranger's Report, May 1942"For testing and experimental purposes the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment sent a group of eight officers and men into the high country for two weeks. They made an ascent of the mountain during the time they were out. They left Paradise May 8, made the summit from camp 2 on the top of Disappointment Cleaver May 16 and return, and returned to Paradise May 22."
"Bad weather held them at Muir most of the time and they saw snow fall every day. Snowfall ran from one to six inches. After several scouting trips they established camp 2 at 12,300 feet near the bordering point between the upper Ingraham and Emmons glaciers..."
"Officers and men in the party were:Cap't A.H. Jackman
Lt. P.A. Townsend
Lt. J.C. Jay
Staff Sgt. Ralph Weise
Corp. Peter Gabriel
Corp. Eldon Metzger
Corp. Chas. Bradley
Pvt. Paul Estes"
In the Sanitation section of the report, Ranger Dar Williams writes: "In the rough draft of the monthly report, I find this statement. 'Area well littered with the accumulated leavings of the skiers zest for canned fruit juices, beer, coca (and other) colas, wax paper wrapper lunches, etc. If Jupiter Boreal Pluvius will afford several days respite from new fallen snow this material will be moved to the garbage dump where it properly belongs."
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