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Mountaineers History Committee - Biographical Files
These are selected items from the biographical files of the Mountaineers History Committee.

Anderson, Lloyd

Seattle Times, 23 Sep 2000, Hunt, Judi, "Lloyd Anderson, REI founder, dies"
Seattle P-I, 28 Sep 2000, Beers, Carole, "Lloyd Anderson leaves lasting legacy with REI"

Lloyd Anderson was born on August 4, 1902, in Roy, Washington. He began climbing mountains in 1929 and was active in setting up the Mountaineers' first climbing course. He was president of the Mountaineers for two years. In the 1930s he began importing climbing equipment from Europe for his friends. The business grew and became Recreational Equipment Incorporated in 1938. He worked for the Seattle Transit system as an electrical engineer until 1972. He climbed 428 summits before he had to stop climbing because of a bad knee. He died on September 13, 2000, at age 98.

Burr, Wallace

Seattle Times, 21 May 1986, Seven, Richard, "Wallace Burr, ski maker, dies"

Wallace (Wally) Burr was born on July 15, 1893 in Juanita, Nebraska. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I. He taught for several years in Montana before coming to Seattle to teach shop and manual arts in the Seattle School Disctrict. He was known as a maker of fine snow and water skis. His career as a water ski maker was inspired when his daughter Jannette, a champion snow and water skier, sent him a water ski from Europe. The skis he made in his basement were considered the finest in the country. He died in May 1986 at age 92.

Several articles in the file discuss Burr's contributions to water ski making. He introduced the "banana ski" and taught other Seattle manufacturers his craft, particularly Pat Connelly, who worked with Burr for twelve years starting in 1953. He was a master craftsman, considered the grandfather of water ski makers.

The file also includes the following note: "In the early 1950s, Wally Burr was adapting army surplus skis for Mountaineer friends. After you acquired the skis from a war surplus outlet (there were several in business on First Avenue in Seattle) you took them to Wally's home. He worked in his basement. He would put them in a press and apply heat (moist?) to put a better camber in them. Then he would install the bindings and you had a good, limber pair of alpine skis."

Daiber, Ome

Seattle Times/P-I, 3 May 1987, Groff, Ben, "Indomitable Ome Daiber"

This profile of Ome Daiber describes his mountaineering background and his struggle with late-onset diabetes. Regarding mountain rescue, the author writes: "[Ome] reserves his wildest fist-pounding invective for volunteers who will go out to rescue a climber, but not a hunter... 'You can't discriminate between people in need of help. Even that horse's ass Hitler, the murderer, I'd rescue him, too, if I had to.'"

Seattle Times, 4 Apr 1989, Duncan, Don, "Legendary Mountaineer Dies at 81"

"For nearly 40 years, the cry 'Call Ome Daiber' rang out whenever a mountain climber or hiker was lost or injured in the Cascade or Olympic mountains. Daiber invariably responded the only way he knew: He would drop the carpenter tools with which he earned a living, push away a half-eaten meal or climb out of bed in the dead of night to assemble gear in the Bothell-area home he stocked like an Alpine hut." The article includes a re-telling of the story of how Ome got his nickname, highlights of his life, and recollections of a few friends.

Bergtrage [Mountain Rescue Council newsletter], April 1989, "Special Issue in Honor of Ome Daiber, 1907-1989"

This issue contains a good profile of Ome, known as "Mr. Rescue," based on Dee Molenaar's article from American Alpine News, June 1985 (see also mtneer-b-1989-may). The issue contains remembrances of Ome by MRC people.

George Sainsbury wrote: "To be part of Mountain Rescue in the '50s and '60s was to become part of the Daiber extended family. Sooner or later, it permeated your whole way of life, and started cropping up in unexpected ways. Mary Jane and I both have this intense visual flashback of our toddler wandering around our house in Bremerton in her long pink bathrobe warbling:

'Ome Daiber, Ome Daiber, Ome Daiber, Clementine,
Thou are lost and gone forever
Ome Daiber, Clementine...'
"Obviously she had heard a lot about Ome."

Otto Trott, one of the founders of MRC, and Ome's personal physician, wrote: "Ome was a man of an almost intolerable morality standard. A standard which he tried to apply to his life and expected from others, and was often hurt when he didn't feel appreciated about it. This standard of morality was not hypocritical. He lived by it. I find it hard to make such an unusual statement about other people."

Davis, Daniel R.

Between 1959 and 1983, Dan Davis climbed 429 different routes on 261 peaks for a total of 571 climbs, including the north face of Mt Robson and a number of significant winter ascents. He climbed Mt Rainier 23 times by 22 different routes. Forty friends and climbing acquaintances have died, most killed in mountain accidents.

Degenhardt, William

American Alpine Journal, 1957, Senner, George R., "In Memoriam: William Degenhardt, 1902-1956"

Bill Degenhardt was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, but had lived in Seattle since 1921. He was employed in the public works office of the 13th Naval District headquarters. He was a past president of The Mountaineers and vice chairman of the Mountain Rescue Council. "He was an ardent skier, a skillful and experienced climber, and an enthusiastic photographer."

Fairchild, William

Seattle Times, 13 Feb 1969, Duncan, Don, "Pilot of 1,000 Miracles Won't Ever Be Forgotten"

Bill Fairchild died February 1969 at age 42, after a routine takeoff on a clear day in a Beechcraft airplane from the Clallam County Airport. Nine others, including a fellow pilot, died with him. Fairchild was a legendary glacier pilot in the Cascade and Olympic mountains. Fairchild's career as a glacier pilot began in 1955, when he flew Ed LaChapelle to make airdrops on the Blue Glacier on Mt Olympus. When the glacier was selected as one of the sites for International Geophysical Year (1957-59) studies, LaChapelle proposed that Fairchild become a true glacier pilot, actually landing and taking off from mountainsides. "Fairchild was game, provided LaChapelle furnished the retractable skis." In 1957, Fairchild made his first glacier landing on the Snowdome of Mt Olympus. He would eventually make hundreds of such landings, many under appallingly bad weather conditions. Austin Post of the Geological Survey compared Fairchild's landings with "trying to land on the snow-covered peak of a barn roof--7,000 feet in the air." The article contains other flying stories about Bill Fairchild.

Giese, Hans-Otto

Seattle Times, 27 Jan 1985, Duncan, Don, "Naturalized Son - Germany's Loss Was Our Gain in the Case of Hans-Otto Giese"

"At a naturalization hearing here more than a half-century ago, an immigration official named Smith arrogantly suggested that a young German candidate for citizenship adopt a more American-sounding name. To which the young German stubbornly replied, 'Aren't there enough Smiths already?' Hans-Otto Giese it remained--through good times and bad." The article describes Giese as "a pillar of the German community." Soon after arriving in Seattle, he went to work for the German consul. It immediately became clear to him "that what the consul needed was German-speaking attorney." So Giese enrolled in the University of Washington Law School.

In April 1928, Giese and two other men "made history by being the first to climb to the summit of Mt Rainier on skis and then ski down from the 13,000-foot level." In subsequent years, Giese skied down Mt Baker, Mt Adams and Mt St Helens and became a well-known ski jumper. He helped organized interscholastic ski races in this area. He was an avid sailor and a founder of the Corinthian Yacth Club.

In 1943, somebody charged Hans-Otto Giese with being a Nazi sympathizer. "A shocked Giese found himself hauled before a government tribunal to determine if he should be denaturalized and deported. Friends rallied to his side. He was stubborn, and he was outspoken, they admitted. But he also was a good citizen who had left Germany back in 1923 to escape just this sort of bureaucratic red tape and foolishness." The government dropped its case. By the time the war ended, Giese again was being elected to various yacht-club offices, and everybody pretended it never happened. Today, he wishes people of German extraction would join some of the many German cultural, social and musical societies here. "The war has been over for a long time," says Giese. "It's time that Germans quit apologizing."

The file includes a short obituary of Hans-Otto Giese (date and newspaper unknown). The notice says he obtained his law degree from the University of Washington in 1932. Giese died at age 83, which I believe would have been in 1985.

Hossack, John E. "Jack"

Interview by Stella Degenhardt, 24 May 1995

This transcript doesn't say much about skiing. It discusses Meany Ski Hut, where Jack was instrumental in getting a rope tow installed in the 1930s. The Mountaineers Board was initially reluctant to go along with putting in a tow. "There weren't many in the area and it was something that was quite new to skiing. Most of the skiing prior to the installation of rope tows was ski touring. What do they call it now--telemark skiing or something?" Jack was chair of the Mountaineers Recreational Ski Committee in 1947 and 1952.

Mack, Mrs. F.D. "Rick"

Rick Mack lived in Sunnyside, near Yakima. Her husband, F.D. Mack, worked for the state highway department. This file contains two Yakima Herald-Republic articles, one probably from the 1950s and one from the 1970s. They describe Rick Mack's remarkable travel record, but with little detail about her adventures in the Cascades and Olympics. The older article says: "A member of the Seattle Mountaineers, the Yakima Cascadians and the Gold Hill ski club, Mrs. Mack has made extended trips into the wilds of the Olympics. One year she took a 60 mile ski trip into the back area of the Chelan country." and "Most of the trips have been made alone or with a woman companion." In the more recent article she says, "Why for 50 years, I averaged 350 miles of backpacking every summer." In the winter she was out on cross country ski trips. "She once spent five weeks on a cross country ski journey, camping each night in the snow." She died in December 1980, in her eighties.

Mueller, Ted and Marge

Seattle Times, 26 Mar 1967, Lane, Polly, "Art Plus Mountaineering Make Profitable Career"

This article is about Marge Mueller's work as an map illustrator for outdoor books. It mentions that her husband Ted is an analyst for Pacific Northwest Bell and vice chairman of the Mountain Rescue Council. They are working on a ski guide to be published in time for the next ski season, with photography by Bob and Ira Spring.

Rand, Olive

Olive Rand is credited with being the first person to use skis on an organized outing in the Pacific Northwest. She appeared on them at Longmire in 1912 during the Mountaineers winter outing. In 1918, she resigned as assistant secretary of the Mountaineers. She was associated with the U.S.N.R. Headquarters, 13th Naval District, Seattle. She retained her club membership although her address was listed as Manila in 1919, Cuba in 1923, Shanghai in 1925-40, Honolulu in 1942, and Los Angeles in 1946.

Stark, Bill and Peg

Seattle P-I, 6 Oct 1983, Connelly, Joel, "Enchantment Lakes--their Shangri-la"

This profile of Bill and Peg Stark says they first visited the Enchantment Lakes in October 1958 and have been back every autumn for 25 years. In 1970, Bill Stark retired as a Boeing engineer and Peg Stark left her job as a preschool teacher. They moved from Seattle to Leavenworth and became outfitter guides. They operated cross-country ski camps in the Chiwaukum Mountains. The name Enchantment Lakes was bestowed by Hal Sylvester, first chief of the Wenatchee National Forest. The Starks bestowed names out of Nordic mythology on the lakes, successfully fighting the U.S. Forest Service to win public acceptance of the names, including Lake Valkyrie, Valhalla Cirque, Troll Sink, and the Druid Plateau.

Trosper, J. Wendell

Seattle Times, 19 Mar 2000, Mapes, Lynda V., "Rainier guide loved outdoors"

J. Wendell "Wendy" Trosper was born in Tekoa, Whitman County, and attended the University of Washington. He died on March 14, 2000, at age 87. He was an avid, life-long outdoorsman, active in climbing, skiing, fly fishing, boating and flying. He raced in the Silver Skis race on Mt Rainier and in April 1933 descended on skis from nearly the top of Little Tahoma. He was head guide on Rainier from 1933 to 1937 and was one of the first guides to explore Ptarmigan Ridge and pioneer new routes on the mountain. He climbed Rainier more than 90 times and was the first person to climb it by 10 routes. He built a successful business, Rainier Precision in Seattle, maker of a dehumidifying device.

Trott, Otto

Northwest People [Seattle P-I magazine], 5 Dec 1982, Degenhardt, S., "30 years of work for outdoor safety"

This article discusses the founding of the Mountain Rescue Council. As part of the Council's safety education program, Dr. Otto Trott called attention to the dangers of hypothermia for outdoorsmen. "At a time when few laymen had heard the word 'hypothermia,' Otto was stressing the necessity for keeping injured and tired persons warm and, where necessary, supplying additional heat... In a serious moment, Otto admits he regards his volunteer activities as 'an opportunity for a foreign-born American to make a contribution' to his adopted country."

Seattle Times, 3 Oct 1997, Whyte, Murray, "Search-Rescue Volunteers Willingly Accept the Risks"

"Otto Trott, who in 1948 helped found the Mountain Rescue Council, says anyone who can boast of being an expert mountaineer is morally bound to use those abilities to aid those in need. "By being experts in mountains, they have an obligation," he said. "If you have the skills, you must use them to help."

Seattle Times, 30 Jun 1999, Beers, Carole, "Otto Trott aimed high as 'mountain doctor'"

Otto Titus Trott died on June 25, 1999 at age 88. He was born to art-gallery owners in Berlin. He earned his medical degree at the University of Freiburg in 1936. Part Jewish, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1937 to escape persecution. He completed a residency in Syracuse, NY and in 1939 moved to Seattle to work for the King County Public Health Department. He was a founding member of the Mt Baker Ski Patrol in 1939. The mountain's "Ottobahn" run bears his name. During World War II, not here long enough to have become a U.S. citizen, he was placed in a Tennessee internment camp. As camp doctor, he developed an anti-venom serum for bites from black widow spiders. He became a naturalized citizen in 1946 and in 1948 co-founded the Mountain Rescue Council with Wolf Bauer and Ome Daiber. He was known locally as "the mountain doctor" and helped improve treatments for frostbite and spinal fracture.

A biographical sketch (source unknown) about Otto Trott adds: "Had brief military training with German Alpine Troops (1936) before arrival U.S.A. (1937)... He has had a notable climbing career throughout Dolomites and other parts of the Tyrolian Alps, the Oetztaler, St. Gotthard, and Kaiser groups; altogether over 100 ascents in difficulties from 'difficult' to 'extremely difficult--lower limit' (European Classification)."

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Last Updated: Fri Dec 4 13:10:42 PST 2009