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Bellingham Public Library - Clippings, Mountaineering

Bellingham Herald, Jan 22, 1981 - Willson, Margaret, "1941 Ascent of Shuksan Recalled"

Otto Trott was the leader of the 1941 ski ascent of Mt Shuksan. He emigrated from Germany a few years earlier, "and was, and still is, a real skiing mountaineer," according to his partner, Hank Reasoner. The party was completed by Walter Dyke, a physics graduate student at the University of Washington, and Hans Ott, a maintenance mechanic for Pan American. The ascent was made in late March or early April. "We spent three, four week-ends planning the trip," said Reasoner.

The party left Terminal Lake about one in the afternoon and climbed onto Shuksan Arm. They followed the crest of the arm until they were across from White Salmon Glacier then bivouacked for the night. The next morning they were up before daybreak. They dropped below some cliffs then climbed back up to the glacier. Dyke and Ott decided that the ascent would take more time than they had, so they returned to work in the city. Trott and Reasoner climbed the glacier roped together, making hundreds of switchbacks and occasionally giving each other ice axe belays. Otto had metal edged skis but Hank did not. The slope was so steep that they had to make downhill kick-turns to change direction.

At Winnie's Slide they removed their skis and climbed on foot. Above the slide they skied to Hell's Highway and climbed it on skis, again roped together. They reached the base of the summit rocks at twilight and scrambled to the top, carrying headlamps. For Hank, the ascent was the challenge. But Otto Trott recalled, "The real danger of that climb was the descent." There was some avalanche danger, and "at every turn the snow sloughed beneath our skis."

Note: The author errs in referring to Hell's Highway as the Hourglass (reasoner-hank-12-apr-2002).

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