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Lowell Skoog - Clippings, Avalanche
I've reviewed only selected clippings before World War II. More work is needed on this file.


Wenatchee Daily World, Jan 14, 1913 - "Snowslide Buried 50 To 60 Men"

"The rumor which filtered through here from the mountains on Monday that a disastrous slide on Sunday [Jan. 12] had killed between 40 and 60 laborers at the summit of the Cascades, was confirmed by railroad men today although little information is obtainable." The slide was said to be 1000 feet long, burying the snow sheds nearly 200 feet deep. The story, however, did not hold up. The 1/15/13 paper acknowledges "very contradictory reports" from the summit. "No confirmation is given of the deaths in the big slide of Sunday and published in the Daily World yesterday." The 1/10/13 Leavenworth Echo reported, "There have been rumors every day, and reports of fifty or one hundred men being covered by slides. All of these rumors have been proven untrue." The 1/17/13 Leavenworth Echo seems to set the record straight: "The loss of life thus far has been eight men, three of whom died from injuries received from the blowing up of the rotary, and six buried in the slide of about ten days ago [Jan. 7]." So, apparently no fatalities resulted from the 1/12/13 slide.


Seattle P-I, May 15, 1922 - "Snowslide Buries Eight Seattle Mountaineers"

On May 14, 1922, seventy-five members of the Seattle Mountaineers started up the eastern slope of McClellan's Butte from a camp at the base of the peak. About 700 feet below the summit a snowslide hit the party. Mrs. J.T. Hazard was swept 400 feet down the mountainside, receiveing a serious cut on the chin and numerous bruises. Seven other climbers were also caught, but were carried a lesser distance and escaped injury. After being given first aid, Mrs. Hazard was able to walk to the Milwaukee train station to return to Seattle.


Tacoma News Tribune, Mar 27, 1936 - "One Killed, Two Hurt In Narada Avalanche"

On March 26, 1936, after a storm dropped 18 inches of new snow, Jack Northrop, Gordon Proctor and Forbes Wilson started down from Paradise intending to drive to Longmire. Finding the road blocked they decided to ski down the hill. Just below Narada Falls a steep slope above the road avalanched, burying all three men. Ranger William Butler and his wife followed the skiers and discovered their plight when the found their tracks disappearing in the snow slide. They hastily summoned help. After digging for two hours, rescuers found Proctor, semi-conscious, buried under the snow. He was rushed to the Narada Falls ranger cabin where he recovered. Less than an hour later, Northrop was found. First aid crews worked for two hours to revive him, without success. Fifteen minutes later Wilson was found. He was unconscious, but recovered.


Seattle P-I, April 19, 1954, p.1 - "Mountaineer Leader Hurt in Accident"

Led by Ome Daiber, chairman of the Mountain Rescue Council, an MRC team with members of the National Ski Patrol headed into Commonwealth Basin near Snoqualmie Pass to rescue William Degenhardt, president of the Mountaineers and a veteran of local climbing and skiing. This story was filed before the rescue was complete and contains some sketchy facts. The story includes a photo of William and Stella Degenhardt together with Ira Spring (a member of the rescue party) relaxing in a cabin in Canada during a recent trip.

Seattle P-I, April 20, 1954, p.1 - Coughlin, Dan, "Injured Cascade Climber Saved"

During an Easter Sunday ski trip with his wife Stella Degenhardt and their friend Mrs. Loretta Slater, Bill Degenhardt was caught in a avalanche on the slopes of Mt Snoqualmie. The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. Degenhardt was rescued in a 16-hour mission using a ski-mounted stretcher by members of the Mountain Rescue Council, led by council chairman Ome Daiber. The rescue team reached the Sunset Highway at 4:45 a.m. after an all-night effort. According to Dr. Otto Trott, one of the rescuers, Degenhardt suffered a double fracture of the left pelvis along with dozens of muscle bruises.

Following the accident, the two women tried to construct a makeshift litter out of Degenhardt's skis. "When they saw it would be too difficult to try and move him down the mountain that way, Mrs. Degenhardt began the difficult journey to Snoqualmie Pass Summit to call for aid." On the way she encountered two other climbers, Floyd Brandon and Al Krup of Seattle, who immediately headed up the mountain to the accident scene. Mrs. Degenhardt reached the pass in a little more than two hours, where she notified National Ski patrol section chief, Lee Stark. Less than an hour later, two ski patrolmen, two Mountaineers, and a Summit ski resort employee started toward the accident site guided by Mrs. Degenhardt.

Some 11 members of the Mountain Rescue Council arrived from Seattle shortly after 7 p.m. and began their trek. Meanwhile, Mrs. Slater, Brandon and Krup had constructed a snow wall to shield Degenhardt from the wind and cold. When Dr. Otto Trott arrived at the accident scene, he administered plasma and a sedative. The rescue group took nearly five hours to transport Degenhardt back to the highway. "The usually grim rescuers laughed and joked with Degenhardt as they hauled the litter along, apparently doing so in relief in finding out that his injuries, first reported extensive, were far less severe than they had been led to believe."

Seattle P-I, April 20, 1954, p.10 - Coughlin, Dan, "Climber, Trapped in Avalanche, Lives"

This article, also published on April 20 (perhaps in a different edition of the P-I?), contains much of the same information as the April 20 article noted above. This article contains details of the accident, as recalled by the victim, William Degenhardt. The article says Degenhardt was 45 at the time of the accident. Included are two photos of the rescue effort, including one of Degenhardt thanking the men who rescued him.

As the rescue party and litter reached the road, Degenhardt mumbled his thanks to the rescuers, most of them long-time friends. "That's all right, Bill," one of the rescuers replied. "Next time you'll be pulling on these ropes."


Bellingham Herald, Jul 23, 1989 - Barrett, Eldon, "Guide recalls Mt Baker tragedy"

This article includes recollections of Chet Ullin, 72, who was an assistant guide of the 20th annual Western Washington College of Education climb of Mt Baker when twenty-five party members were caught in an avalanche on the Roman Wall. He said the avalanche, on July 22, 1939, was totally unexpected. "The snow felt of the same density as it always has at this point, which has a southwest exposure and lies in the sun all day." Ullin was near the head of the party, half-way up the Roman Wall, when he suddenly felt himself sliding. "Then we were gaining momentum and it was as if we were all riders on a huge sled that had been anchored on a mountain slope by a rope and someone had cut the rope." Every member of the party was caught in the avalanche. Some, like Ullin, were able to swim out of it. Ullin said it was fortunate that the climbers were not roped together or all would have been lost. The avalanche swept down the slope and piled into a crevasse at the bottom. Ullin, who had brought along his summer skis, zipped down the avalanche chute looking for the missing. The survivors found the body of Alice James, 22, before descending the mountain for the night. During a week of searching, the body of Julius Dornblut, 30, was found. Four others, Beulah Lindbergh, 22, Vene Fisher, 25, Hope Weitman, 25, and Maynard Howatt, 22, were never found. Weitman and Howatt were engaged to be married in the fall.

A sidebar mentions that Chet Ullin lost his son Gary in 1974, when an avalanche buried him during the joint Russian-American climb of Mount Lenin in the Soviet Union. I also have clippings about the Mt Baker avalanche from the Seattle Times, 7-23-39 and 7-24-39, for reference.

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Last Updated: Sun, Jan 27, 2013 1:26:42 PM