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Mountaineer Annual, 1940-49
* Lowell Skoog has a copy of each article marked with an asterisk.
Mountaineer Annual, 1940
p. 22, Hoffman, Walter, "Events of the Ski Year" *Describes lectures presented for the Winter Mountaineering Course. Dr. Otto Trott, Dave Lind, Olav Ulland and Walter Hoffman were among the speakers and the subjects included bivouacs and shelters, avalanches, first aid, cross-country, jumping, and glacier skiing. The article mentions that the "The Mountaineer team entered in most of the PNSA meets around the state." (Apparently a reversal of the 1938 decision not to compete.)
p. 23, Little, Walter, "Meany Ski Hut"Describes 1940 as the worst snow year in the history of the hut. Little to report.
Mountaineer Annual, 1941
p. 4, Bogdan, Albert, "Ski Tracks"Photo of skiers, tracks, trees and shadows, accompanying the Walter Little article.
p. 5, Little, Walter, "Mountaineering on Skis" *This excellent article provides an overview of ski mountaineering from a historical and technical perspective, with a good summary of early Northwest developments. The article provides the background and rationale for the club's new ski mountaineering course.
The article begins by offering a practical definition of ski mountaineering and placing the birth of the sport at the 1897 ski traverse of the Bernese Oberland by Wilhelm Paulke and companions. The author then compares the situation in the Alps with that in North America.
The author attributes the first skiing in the local area to Norm Engle and Thor Bisgaard of the Mountaineers in 1914 at Paradise Valley. Then he describes three attempts by Mountaineer members to ski Mt Rainier:
1927, April: Bill Maxwell, Andy Anderson, Fred DuPuis and Lang Slaussen. Turned back at Camp Curtis (9500 feet) due to lack of time. (Note: A news clipping in one of Maxwell photo albums at U.W. indicates that H.P. Wunderling was also in the party.)
1927, May: Bill Maxwell, Andy Anderson, Lester LaVelle. Turned back at 12,800 feet near the Liberty Cap saddle due to violent winds.
1928, April: Bill Maxwell, Andy Anderson, Fred DuPuis, Lars Lovseth, Walter Best, Otto Strizek, Otto Giese. Abandoned skis at 11,800 feet due to poor snow conditions. Strizek, Giese and Best continuted to the summit on crampons, making the second winter ascent of the peak.
The author provides a description of the successful ski ascent of Rainier by the late Sigurd Hall, accompanied by Andy Hennig, on July 2, 1939. He offers this commentary: "It is apparent that the feasibility of a ski ascent and descent of Mount Rainier has not yet been proved for, in spite of Sig Hall's magnificent feat, the conditions were essentially unsuitable for skiing. It is also apparent that the real reason for skiing up a mountain is to make it possible to ski down! Carrying skis downhill would not encourage many to take up the sport!" He further notes that Hall "did not confine his efforts to Mount Rainier but rode his skis up to and down from the summits of Adams, Baker, St Helens and Glacier as well as numerous other peaks, accompanied at various times by Dwight Watson, Walt Hoffman, John James and others."
The author writes that the names of the party making the first ski ascent of Mt Baker are not known. (Perhaps the Sperlin-Loners ascent of 1930 was thought not to be the first, or perhaps the author refers to the fact that they didn't make a complete descent on skis.) He goes on to describe a traverse of the peak in spring 1932 by Ben Thompson, Don Henry and Darroch Crookes. Starting from Mt Baker lodge, they traveled past Camp Kizer [sic] and camped at the junction of the Mazama and Rainbow glaciers. The following day, despite poor weather, they made the summit and camped in the crater. (Note: According to asa-1935-p68 they did not summit.) On the 3rd day they descended, still in clouds, to Kulshan Cabin where they spent two days. From there the plan was to encircle the mountain on the south and east sides and return to Mt Baker lodge.
They began the attempt (on their 6th day), spending that night on Thunder Glacier. The next night was spent near Easton Glacier. On the 8th day they anticipated making the long traverse of the Easton, Boulder, Park and Rainbow glaciers back to Mt Baker lodge, but a sudden violent thunderstorm drove them down to timber on the south side of the mountain from whence they reached civilization again by way of the Nooksack River. The author writes: "It is to be noted that this trip, localized as it was to one peak, had all the elements as well as more rigorous exposure equal to most of the classical alpine ski mountaineering trips. In addition to the necessary requirements of roped skiing technique and icecraft, the travelers were obliged to camp out on snow and ice for several nights, whereas most of the alpine tours were aided by the presence of alpine club huts."
The author recounts the 1934 ski traverse from Paradise to White River Camp by Orville Borgersen, Otto Strizek and Ben Spellar. He also lists some of the outings described by Walt Hoffman and Dwight Watson in the 1937 Mountaineer Annual.
The author notes that most local ski mountaineering accomplishments have been "sporadic but highly creditable individual efforts" rather than having grown out of "a definitely organized attempt to widen the boundaries of the sport." In order to promote interest in ski mountaineering more systematically, the Mountaineers Ski Committee is "engaged in the presentation of a Ski Mountaineering Course, which is intended to be complete within itself, and is also organizing an extensive schedule of ski-mountaineering trips, varying from easy one day tours to relatively arduous ascents of major peaks." The author describes the program as "frankly experimental since the committee is entering upon unknown ground." To illustrate the need for such a course, he describes in detail what a ski mountaineer needs to know for an ascent of Mount St Helens or Mount Baker.
Finally, he concludes: "A neophyte might well question, 'Why take all this trouble?' To one who has once felt the thrill of the long high ski trails in the bright spring weather, with perfect snow underfoot, there is no need of rationalizing an answer. You just like it."
p. 7, Degenhardt, William, "Fast Action" *Photo of a woman skier in new snow, accompanying the Walter Little article.
p. 9, Degenhardt, William, "Skiing on Top of the World" *Photo of skier on a ridge crest, accompanying the Walter Little article.
p. 11, Cederquist, Anne, "Ski Ascents of 1941" *The article describes trips organized by the Ski Committee under the leadership of Walter Little.
On April 26-27, fourteen skiers hiked from the Carbon River to Seattle Park and then skied to about 9200 feet on Ptarmigan Ridge. On the approach hike, "A few sensible ones tied [their skis] on their pack, but the ingenious Jack Hossack soon had many of us carrying them slipped through the pack straps and then tied in front, making a steamboat prow effect."
In late May a group skied the Interglacier to Steamboat Prow at 9700 feet. In mid-June twenty planned to make a climb of Little Tahoma. After a drizzly morning, a few decided to get some skiing practice. Many remained at Meany Crest, but Tom Campbell, Lyman Boyer and the author continued to the summit (11,117 feet) leaving their skis a few hundred feet below the top.
At the end of June, a group of seven, including Walt Little, Lyman Boyer, William Degenhardt and the author approached the Tahoma Glacier via St Andrews Park. The trip included roped glacier skiing and two of the party made at least a partial ascent of St Andrews Rock, reporting the rock to be "very bad for climbing in ski boots."
In mid-July a party climbed to Kautz Ice Fall from Paradise, with Lyman Boyer completing the trip on skis.
Other trips included a ski tour to Stevens Pass in mid-March, skiing Mt St Helens via the Dogshead route in mid-May, a ski outing to the Mount Baker Ski Club lodge in early April, and an attempt, foiled by rain and colorfully described, on Mount Baker via the Boulder Creek route on Memorial Day weekend.
p. 11, Degenhardt, William, "Tied In" *Fine photo of a woman roped up on skis next to a large crevasse, probably on Tahoma Glacier, accompanying the Anne Cederquist article.
p. 13, Degenhardt, William, "Roped Skiing" *Fine photo (scenic) of two skiers, a man and a woman, probably on Tahoma Glacier, accompanying the Anne Cederquist article.
p. 34, Morrison, C.G., "Reminiscences of a Mountaineer," as told to Helen Rudy *Reminiscences of C.G. "Gus" Morrison, a Mountainer since 1913. Includes this:"Gus had been initiated into the mystery of the ski as far back as 1913 when he had had to borrow a pair on a winter outing at Mount Rainier, as a substitute for snowshoes. It was his first winter outing and he had not yet acquired a pair of snowshoes of his own, so when someone offered to loan him an extra pair of curious-looking boards, he accepted, little dreaming the entanglements involved. Few people had even seen a pair of skis at that time, let alone know how to use them, and Gus found that they had a will of their own. Six years later, he had made peace with them enough to buy a pair of his own..."
p. 47, Cavender, Phyllis and Joe Buswell, "The Mountaineer Year" *The Mountaineer Board voted to discontinue the Open Ski Patrol Race, due to lack of interest by members of the club. The Ski Committee report reiterates the general lack of interest in ski competition and only the Hayes Cup (men's slalom) and University Book Store Cup (men's cross-country) were contested. 1941 was again a poor snow year.
p. 50, "Trophy Awards" *The Ben Mooers' trophy for the Open Patrol Race was won by the Washington Alpine Club.
Mountaineer Annual, 1942Opposite the table of contents, on page 5, is a list of Mountaineers members in the U.S. armed forces. On p. 25 is a salute by Mountaineers president George MacGowan to these members. More than 10% of the members are now in the armed forces, with more to follow.
p. 17, Beckey, Fred, "The Second Ascent of Mt. Waddington" *Obviously not a local trip report, but the article is interesting because it illustrates the integration of skis into an ambitious mountaineering trip. Starting from Knight Inlet on July 1, Fred and Helmy Beckey spent over a month in the Waddington area. (Their companion Erick Larson, turned back on the second day due to illness.) They were using five foot skis and while waiting for conditions on Waddington to improve they explored the area on skis, including a ski ascent of Mt Munday (11,500 feet). They used skis to make the 3000 foot ascent of the Dais ice fall to their high camp below the south face of Waddington. The author writes that after the climb, "We enjoyed a thrilling ski run back to Icefall Point, the numerous crevasses of the icefall making an interesting slalom course. Our skis certainly proved their worth on this trip as much of our traveling on the ski crossing demanded their use."
p. 21, Little, Lieut. Walter B., "Ski Mountaineering Course" *Describes the results of the club's first ski mountaineering course. The course was intended "to develop more skiers capable of winter mountaineering and to develop a more extensive ski program more fitted to the needs of the club than competition." About 100 people registered for the course, and in spite of the war, which began about midway through the course, 31 people took the final exam. There were eight graduates: Ann Cederquist, Adelaide and Bill Degenhardt, Roy Snider, Gummie Johnson, Art Pedersen, Paul Kennedy and Walt Little (ski committee chairman). The graduation requirements included overnight camping on snow, roped skiing practice, and two extended tours involving snow camping and glacier skiing.
Mountaineer Annual, 1943Page 3 contains a long list of members serving in the armed forces.
p. 11, James, Lieut. John W., "We're In The Army Now" *Account of the author's experiences training for the U.S. mountain troops at Camp Hale, CO. Most of the men at Hale came from New England or the far western states and had been mountaineers or skiers in civilian life. The author describes the training regimen and the opportunities for troopers to practice what they've learned on weekends. He concludes, "Camp Hale is now the ski school and the mountaineering school of the world. The Mountain Infantrymen will carry the mountaineering skills they have attained back to their homes after the war."
p. 14, "Mountaineer Annals of 1943"The ski mountaineering course was well attended. Ski touring was limited by "the transportation situation" (gas rationing) but trips to Crystal Basin, Granite Mountain, and Silver Peak Basin were scheduled.
p. 18, Little, Capt. Walter, "Snow and Skis in the Stuart Range" *Describes an outing in early May by the author and George Dennis (supervisor of the Stevens Pass Ski Development) into the Enchantment Lakes area near Leavenworth. Their plan was to ski in the area of Snow Creek Glacier. Running low on energy and time, the stopped instead at Prusik Pass and surveyed the country. They enjoyed the skiing back to Snow Lake and wearily returned to the car, arriving in drenching rain.
p. 18, Dennis, George, "Temple Mountain"Photo of a skier ascending below Prusik Peak, accompanying the Walter Little article. (Although not relevant from a ski mountaineering perspective, this may have been one of the earliest published photos of Prusik. This article inspired later Mountaineer writers to visit the area expressly for rock climbing.)
p. 20, Dennis, George, "McClellan Peak"Photo of skier paused below the peak, accompanying the Walter Little article.
p. 24, Watson, Dwight, photoPhoto of ski touring near Paradise with Tatoosh Range in the background.
Mountaineer Annual, 1944At the height of the war, the list of members serving in the armed forces is longer than ever. Minimal activities are reported.
p. 37, Norling, Jo Anne, "With the Mountaineers in 1944" *Mentions the destruction by fire of Snoqualmie Lodge. Summarizes the ski season, including competition results. No ski mountaineering tours are described.
p. 39, Watson, Dwight, photos *Two fine ski mountaineering photos accompanying the Jo Anne Norling article. One is of skiers on Sibley-Triad divide with the west face of Eldorado Peak in the background, the other in the northern Olympics, with Mt Olympus in the distant background.
p. 40, Millspaugh, Vince, "An Old Friend" *A short reminiscence about the Snoqualmie lodge. Work on the lodge was begun on May 8, 1914 and it was dedicated on June 21, while partially completed. In the earliest days, the lodge was reached by train to Rockdale followed by a two-mile trail trip. When the highway was built, it cut the trail trip in half. The highway made climbing most of the Lodge peaks so easy from the car that the Lodge was less frequently used as a base. After 1938 the members used the lodge mostly as a retreat, not as a base for climbing and skiing. At least 20,000 visits were made during the thirty years the lodge was in use. The article includes two photos of the lodge (one exterior, one interior) by the author.
Mountaineer Annual, 1945A long list of members serving in the armed forces. Also listed are several members in memoriam and several others honorably discharged.
p. 32, Watson, Dwight, "Ski Areas of the Pacific Northwest" *Seven fine photographs of various ski destinations, with captions. They include:
- Paradise Valley, Narada Falls ski trail and Community Building
- North side of Mt Rainier from summit of Old Desolate (7004 ft)
- Mt Baker, east side, near Camp Kiser
- Lyman Lake ski country from North Star Mtn
- Whitechuck basin and Red Pass area near Glacier Pk
- Summerland, Whitman Crest, near Mt Rainier
- Mt Rainier from summit of Mt Adams
Advertising section, Watson, Dwight, photo *An ad for Osborn & Ulland near the end of the annual has a fine photo of a skier on Table Mtn, with Mt Shuksan in the background, by Dwight Watson.
Mountaineer Annual, 1946
p. 17, Rankin, Keith, "Cascade Pass Climbers' Outing" *Account of the second Mountaineers Climbers' Outing (the first being to the Chimney Rock area the previous year). The party approached via Lake Chelan and Stehekin and camped near Pelton Lake. They climbed Sahale, Magic (N face), Pelton and Forbidden Pk (2nd ascent). Interesting because it reveals the preferred approach to the area in those days.
p. 50, Rickard, Tom, "When the Snow Flies" *A short summary of competition results. Mountaineers competed in PNSA races throughout the Northwest. A half-dozen small photos are displayed, including one of the author carving a turn in the buff.
Mountaineer Annual, 1947
p. 10, Prestrud, Ken, "The Lodger's Tale" *Brief report of activities at Irish Cabin (Tacoma), Kitsap Cabin, Meany Ski Hut and Mt Baker (where two cabins were leased for the winter season. Describes progress in planning and building cabins at Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass and Mt Baker.
p. 12, Little, Walt, "Ski Mountaineering, 1947" *The article begins with an extended description of a descent by the author and party from the summit of Mt Adams (12,307 feet). Nearing base camp, the author writes:"To save wear and tear on skis, we should naturally have removed them at each ridge, and replaced them at each gully, but the thought of bending tired bodies up and down was too repugnant to be considered so we simply took to the bare ridge, the rocks, the pine needles, and through the brush with our skis on, presenting an irresistibly comic appearance as we clattered along, complete with sun glasses, snow paint, ski poles, packsacks and broad grins. Klister is definitely not good for this type of skiing; one should use 'ground wax,' we decided."
The author follows this account with a capsule summary of the typical ski mountaineering season, which he breaks up as follows: autumn (Oct-Nov), winter (Dec-Mar), early spring (Apr), spring and early summer (May-Jul), and summer (Aug-Sep).
The author says 1947 was a year of good weather and snow conditions and he lists Mountaineer trips accomplished: Whitehorse, Silver Peak, Pinnacle Peak, St Helens and Camp Hazard on Rainier. Two scheduled trips, Flapjack Lakes in the Olympics and St Andrews Rock, were cancelled due to lack of interest or bad weather.
A quote: "There is a fine feeling of traveling that comes with a trip of much variety. It's much as though your skis were taking you to a travelogue movie, with yourself as one of the actors, and a new part of the movie unfolding itself around each corner and pass."
The author concludes by describing the group management problems presented by downhill skiing and the strategies developed by the ski committee to deal with them. It seems regimented by today's standards, but probably appropriate under the circumstances.
p. 12, Spring, Bob and Ira, photo *Silhouette photo of a skier, tree and shining snow, accompanying the Walt Little article.
p. 15, Watson, Dwight, "In the High Altitudes" *Five nice photos accompanying the Walt Little article, taken mostly near Mt Rainier and Mt Baker. (Also a couple of photos by Bob and Ira Spring and Robert Craig.)
p. 16, Spring, Bob and Ira, photo *Silhouette photo of a skier climbing near Austin Pass with Mt Baker in the background, accompanying the Walt Little article.
p. 45, Merritt, Dick, "Back to Cascade Pass" *The 1947 Climbers' Outing. This year the group approached via Cascade River, a 14 mile hike which was made with the help of pack horses. They crossed Cache Col and camped at Kool-Aid lake, making ascents of Hurry-Up, Mixup, Formidable and Magic, then moved camp and climbed Sharkfin Tower and attempted Forbidden.
p. 52, Gallagher, Kathryn, "The Year in Tacoma"Mentions that Bruni Wislicenus led a ski tour to Crystal Basin as well as several more routine locations.
p. 55, Daiber, Ome, "Mountain Cabin Memorial Association" *The author writes, "Here in our Pacific Northwest, where vast mountain wilderness is so near at hand, mountain cabins are sadly lacking. Thousands of us have dreamed for years of the time when mountain cabins and shelters would be plentifully available on all mountain trails." He says the idea of memorial cabins came to him as a result of the loss of friends killed in action overseas. A written contract has been accomplished with the Forest Service for the building of cabins using funds provided by the Association. Work is under way for a similar plan with the Park Service. The article includes diagrams of proposed cabin designs and it says that two cabins have so far been completed, at Nordrum Lake and Lower Tuscahatche Lake. Since this idea apparently didn't go far, the article is an interesting glimpse of what might have been.
Several ski photos by Bob and Ira Spring illustrate ads near the back of the annual.
Mountaineer Annual, 1948
p. 2, Spring, Bob and Ira, "Skiing on Alta Vista, Mt Rainier, Above Paradise Inn" *A fine, full page photograph of a skier making turns in powder snow.
p. 31, Ochsner, Mrs. M.C. and Helen McLellan, "Snoqualmie" and "Stevens" *Describes construction of the new lodges at Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes.
p. 35, Norling, Jo Anne, "Ski Competition" *A full slate of PNSA races throughout the region. Racing seems to be here to stay. Mountaineer Jeannette Burr won the title of Women's National Downhill Champion at Sun Valley on March 27.
p. 37, Welsh, Charles E., "Ski Ascent of Mt Rainier" *This account of the first complete ski descent of Mt Rainier acknowledges the 1939 ascent by Sigurd Hall and explains why nine years elapsed before the next logical step was made: "Since this effort [the Hall ascent] the National Park Service has consistently refused to grant permission for summit ski attempts. It was only after two years of rejected applications that the Park Service finally decided to allow us a trial attempt via the Emmons route."
Cliff Schmidtke, Dave Roberts, Kermit Bengtson and the author left the cabin in Glacier Basin at 1 am and climbed to Camp Curtis. Conditions were good for climbing on skis over the next 3000 feet, but higher hard snow prompted all but Dave Roberts to switch to crampons. Roberts continued on skis all the way to the crater rim. They dropped skis and crossed to the summit register by 2 pm. On the descent they skied two to a rope, each man carrying a ski pole in one hand and an ice axe in the other. Down the first 2,000 feet of icy snow, they frequently moved one at a time, the stationary man giving a running ice-axe pick belay. Lower, the snow softened and they entered clouds before rejoining their support party at Camp Curtis.
The author writes: "It was generally believed beforehand that a ski party would have an extremely small chance of experiencing good skiing conditions all the way from the summit to the base. Our experience certainly did not accomplish anything toward weakening that belief. We had ice on the upper section, trap crust in the middle section, slush most of the way past that, and good summer snow only on the lower half of Inter-Glacier, so we cannot very well claim that the downhill run alone justifies the use of skis to the summit, at least under such conditions." He also notes, "During the ascent we confirmed the well known fact that army mohair climbers are impractical under icy conditions, due to the fastening straps preventing one's edges from biting into the ice. We feel that a wax-on type climber might be far superior for such an undertaking."
p. 39, Bauer, Wolf, "The First Year of the Mountaineering Development Group" *Wolf Bauer is chairman of this new group, which has committees working on climbing instruction, leadership training, climbing guides, safety, and natural science. A companion article, "Pacific Northwest Conference" (p. 40) by the same author, describes a conference organized in June of mountaineering organizations and government agencies to become better acquainted with each other's problems. The conference explored the possibility of setting up a regional safety and rescue council. "It would seem that the Mountaineers have succeeded in leading the way in establishing a regional round table and a cooperative council that may set the pattern in other areas of the country."
p. 50, Beckey, Fred, "Mt Baker's Nordwand" *Account of the first ascent of the North Ridge of Mt Baker by Ralph and Dick Widrig and the author. Describes the climbing action, providing context for later attempts to ski the route.
p. 54, Bengtson, K., "Glacier Peak via Southwest Shoulder" *Describes a route taken in July by H. Manning, D. Widrig, P. Huffman, D. Turner, B. Brooks and the author, and recommended for ski ascents. The route seems to be somewhat south of the Boulder Basin route. [Note: I don't think this party actually used skis.]
p. 54, Widrig, Ralph, "Mt Olympus--Attempt on Skis"Describes an attempt by Pete Shoening, Ralph Widrig and Joe Hieb to approach and climb Mt Olympus on skis in February, 1948. The ascent was not completed due to foul weather. Three weeks later, Hieb and Widrig again set out up the Hoh prepared to stay about a week. Snow was encountered one mile up the Hoh road and skis were used immediately from where they parked at the windfall. Skiing was reasonably fast and Elk Lake was made on the second day. On the one clear day they had, they set out for the summit but were stopped a half mile from Glacier meadows by steep avalanche gullies. They scouted routes from Elk Lake to Glacier Meadows, concluding that a day should be allowed for this section and the climb made from the meadow.
Mountaineer Annual, 1949
p. 2, Spring, Bob and Ira, "Cornice at Mount Baker" *Full page photo of a woman skier atop a small cornice.
p. 18, Safely, Dick, "The 1949 Climber's Outing" *A trip into the Dome Peak area via Sulphur Creek. The party included Erick Karlsson and Tom Miller who would later complete the second Ptarmigan traverse. The group climbed both summits of Dome (on separate days) and Dynaflow Tower. Plans to climb other summits were foiled by weather.
p. 37, Cram, Bob, "Ski Competition" *Dave Roberts and Chuck Welsh figure prominently in the year's competition results.
p. 38, Stackpole, Mary, Clair Mock and Annabelle MacDougall, "Snoqualmie Lodge," "Meany Memoranda," "Baker Cabins 1949" and "Stevens Ski Hut" *Describes 1949 as a very heavy snow year. The Snoqualmie and Stevens lodges were dedicated and occupied for the first time this season. The Stevens article names Walt Little as the "guiding spirit in the hut construction." At Mt Baker, the Mountaineers continue to lease cabins. A quote: "Baker has hills for everyone, places to go where you can see out to the Strait, and there's always the possibility that someday both the snow will be good and the weather will clear up!"
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