Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Home

Charles D. Hessey, Jr. - Papers
The Mountaineers Archives, Collection 2009.9
These are selected papers from the Hessey collection. I have photocopies of each item noted here as well as a few others. Hessey's papers include typescripts for the following movies, but I haven't photocopied them:


A short talk on avalanche safety, apparently prepared for the Cascadians at the request of Lex Maxwell. The author observes that safe winter travel leans hard on judgement. "Once embarked on a climbing project, few are willing to call it quits until they have already gone beyond the point of desirable stability." Too often this is because the trip was planned days or weeks in advance, long before weather and snow conditions could be known. "A safer approach to winter mountain travel is to plan an outing, not a climb, and do the climbing if conditions guarantee a safe climb. Be casual. Sneak up on it." The author's rule on ski climbs is to ascend by the safest route available, observing snow conditions during the climb to determine whether steeper routes may be safe to ski down. He compares taking risks in avalanche country to Russian roulette. "If your better judgement tells you to stay off that slope and you go anyway, you are betting your mighty sweet life--and win or lose it doesn't cost the mountain anything."

"Snow is not only white"

This draft is untitled, but it centers on a statement by Hannes Schneider: "Snow is not only white." In this essay, Hessey asserts that skiing exclusively on developed terrain (using lifts) shortchanges young people--they don't properly learn about snow. "The skier who parts the powder with his skis away from the beaten track even for a day partakes of a sense of pioneering and adventure which no amount of 'lift' supplied skiing can furnish. As a skier, you should round out your skiing life with an occasional tour into country above timberline."

Letter to the Study Team

This letter is apparently to the North Cascades Study Team (circa 1963). The author notes that he has previously written on behalf of the Cascadians and the North Cascades Conservation Council and that this letter represents his personal opinions. The author worked for the Cascade Lumber Co. for seven years, through its merger into Boise-Cascade Corp. He was assistant to the company's civil engineer, responsible for pushing logging roads into virgin forest. He describes forest practices he observed during his employment. He notes that he lives in a new log home constructed by Otto Lagervall of Yakima from salvaged logs left to rot on the ground. He argues that the logging industry will not learn to fully utilize the timber they cut nor maximize production on their own lands until "it is made abundantly clear that all the virgin forest remaining is not to be surrendered."

Letter to Francis Sargent, 26 April 1960

In this letter to the Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, Hessey disputes the notion that youth, strength and money are required for extended trips in wilderness. He mentions his age (52) and size (5ft-6in, 137 pounds) and says that he and his wife hike into wilderness each weekend and enjoy one to two-week outings into remote country each winter and summer. He recalls that during a six-day ski trip into the Goat Rocks Wild Area, the cost for four skiers, including a share of the gasoline required to motor to White Pass, was $4.83 each, excluding film.

"Crystal Mountain - And You"

This is the script of a short promotional film about Crystal Mountain, produced before the lifts were installed and before an all-weather road was built into the area. As the narrator describes the facilities to be built, the film shows the undeveloped Silver Creek valley. The narrator describes the skiing opportunities of Bear Gap, Powder Pass (the saddle north of Silver Queen), Round Mountain (future site of the summit lodge), Crown Point, and East ("Platinum") Peak. The film must have been made several years before the ski area opened, because the lifts described are different from those that were eventually installed.

Letter to Howard Paulsen re: Crystal Mtn film

This undated letter was apparently written in the summer of 1966. In this letter, Hessey seeks reimbursement for the time, effort, and cost incurred to produce a film about the Crystal Mountain ski area at the request of the corporation. The film was turned over to Mel Borgersen in 1959 and at the time this letter was written the ski area had been holding it and occasionally showing it for six years. In a 1962 letter to Hessey, Mel Borgersen wrote: "We have shown your film a few times to selected groups and the reaction has been tremendous. I have not used the film very extensively as I feel Crystal Mountain has a moral obligation to reimburse you..."

Letter on proposed Sol Duc ski area

This (unpublished?) letter is apparently a follow-up to Hessey's letter in Northwest Skier (nwskier-1960-nov-18-p2). This letter focuses on the geographical shortcomings of the proposed Sol Duc / Hart Lake ski area, particularly its low elevation.

Return to the Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project home page

Copyright © 2009 Lowell Skoog. All Rights Reserved.
Last Updated: Fri May 21 08:23:37 PDT 2010