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Fred Beckey - Challenge of the North Cascades

Chapter 1, Discovery of a Challenge

p. 6: In 1939, the author broke trail for the Snoqualmie-to-Meany Patrol Race.

p. 8: "On many of these trips I studied old techniques and tried new ones. While practicing roped skiing among the crevasses of the Nisqually Glacier on Mt Rainier my brother and I innovated the idea of pre-tying three prusik slings on the climbing rope, a safety procedure we had never heard about previously."

p. 11: "In the winter we studied avalanches in Lunn's and Seligman's books and on spring climbs tested 5-foot skis. In a final pre-war expedition to the British Columbia Coast Range, during which my brother and I made the second ascent of Mt Waddington via the difficult south face, these short skis proved invaluable for the extensive glacier travel and camp-packing."

Chapter 3, The Forgotten Peak

p. 31: In April 1940, the author accepted an invitation from Lloyd Anderson and Dwight Watson to explore Forbidden Peak. Their attempt ended on the west ridge due to Alaskan-style cornice formations.

p. 33: In 1940 the Cascade River road ended near Sibley Creek, 13.5 miles from Cascade Pass.

p. 38: The author writes, "Dwight [Watson] was the first to ski Eldorado snows, and though he had since tracked many other remote slopes he was anxious to return. He said he would 'call up [Lloyd] Anderson' about the possibility of our reaching Eldorado by ski from Hidden Lake Peak." In the spring of 1940, Watson, Anderson and the author attempted to ski from Sibley Pass to Eldorado Peak via the Triad divide. They abandoned the attempt near the Triad due to avalanche hazard at a steep gully. Watson's earlier account (mtneer-a-1937-p28) also describes reaching the Triad divide, but does not describe reaching Eldorado Peak from this approach. Given the loose usage of the term "El Dorado country" in the earlier account, I conclude that being "the first to ski Eldorado snows" may not necessarily mean skiing Eldorado Peak. Further research may show that Watson and friends skied Eldorado Peak, but these two accounts don't establish it.

p. 39: "Actually, springtime is more suitable for mountain skiing than alpine climbing."

Chapter 6, Twin Spires

p. 83: The author and three others skied Ruth Mountain in April 1940.

Chapter 7, Shuksan, Showpiece of the North Cascades

p. 110: Mentions that Ben Thompson, with two friends, made the first ascent of Mt Shuksan's north face in the 1920s. Interesting background for later skiing on the route, especially considering that Thompson himself was an important early skier. (More information on this ascent is available in beckey-v3-1995.)

Chapter 14, Dolomites in America

p. 202: Photo by Mike Borghoff of the author on a ski approach to Silver Star Mtn, presumedly during the first winter ascent in March 1965.

Appendix, Chronology of Climbs 1936-1968

p. 259: Of his first climb of Mt Shuksan in 1939, the author writes, "Learned to use crampons."

Appendix: The April 1940 Ruth Mtn ski ascent was a 5-day trip in which the author slept in an igloo. The 1942 expedition to Mt Waddington included a ski ascent of Mt Munday. The trip was described as a "summer ski traverse from Waddington to Tiedemann Glacier." Other ski mountaineering trips included Mt Hayden in Colorado (1944), Mt Baker via Coleman Glacier (1947), the first ski crossing of Juneau Icecap (1949), setting a ski altitude record of 23,000 feet on Khumbu Glacier during the international Lhotse expedition (1955), Mt St Helens (1961), and first winter ascent of Mt Heyburn in the Idaho Sawtooths (1961).

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Last Updated: Fri Apr 13 08:58:34 PST 2001