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Seattle Times, 1950-99
To obtain copies of these articles, try the Seattle Times Historical Archives available through the Seattle Public Library. Alternatively, you can try the Microforms Collection at UW Libraries.

Seattle Times, 1950s

May 13, 1951, Rotogravure p. 8 - Spring, Bob and Ira, "From Alps to Nisqually Glacier"

This picture story is about a Nisqually Glacier ski trip by Karl Liepe, a German exchange student at the University of Washington. The party included Patricia Spring and Walt Gonnason. Liepe, from Berlin, served five years in the German army and began studying law after World War II. He has climbed extensively in the Austrian Alps with the German Alpine Club. Liepe was surprised at the small number of people in our mountains as compared to Europe. He also found interesting the Park Service regulations prohibiting rank novices from climbing dangerous peaks. He said that camping out in the snow was new to him, because in the Alps "there are hundreds of shelter huts, and no climber would think of carrying a tent along or sleeping in the open." The story includes photos of the party making a snow shelter and touring on the Nisqually Glacier. There is a picture of Gonnason striding across a crevasse on skis and another of him jumping a crevasse with a belay from Liepe.

Oct 27, 1957, Pictorial p. 4 - Spring, Bob and Ira, "Adventurous Scientists Prepare for Winter on Blue Glacier"

In preparation for a winter on Mt Olympus for the International Geophysical Year (IGY), a team of researchers has built a hut next to the Snow Dome on the Blue Glacier. The scientists call the hut Chateau LaChapelle after their field leader, Edward R. LaChapelle. The research team also includes Noel Gardner, a snow expert from Canada, and Jim Hawkins and Yves Eriksson, geologists. Dr. P.E. Church of the University of Washington is in charge of the project. Pilot Bill Fairchild lands a ski plane near the camp once a week to deliver supplies and take men in or out. The article includes photos of the men working on the hut, Bill Fairchild flying his airplane, and two men skiing on the Blue Glacier roped together. There are also good photos of a few of the team members, including Jim Hawkins and Edward R. LaChapelle. (See st-1958-jan-26-pic4.)

Dec 29, 1957, Pictorial p. 4 - Spring, Bob and Ira, "Mountains Don't Care"

In 1954, alarmed by the number of climbing accidents, the Mountain Rescue and Safety Council began a fund-raising campaign to produce an educational movie to acquaint the public with mountain travel hazards. Experts in education and mountaineering wrote a script and the movie was filmed in the North Cascades. The Rarig Motion Picture Co. did the finishing touches and the first print is now ready for public showing at the Seattle Public Library.

"The first part of the movie shows how a person can get into serious difficulties in the mountains. The rest depicts two experienced mountaineers showing younger climbers how to cope with hazards such as terrain and weather." Ome and Matie Daiber are the veterans; Carol Bogert and Jack Cavanaugh, the youngsters. Brief appearances are made by Dixie Jo Thompson, 1957 Seafair queen; Charles Doan, Byron Fish (playing a hunter), and Ed Chalcraft. "But the real stars of the show are the mountains themselves." The article includes photos of various scenes during the filming.

Jan 26, 1958, Pictorial p. 4 - Spring, Bob and Ira, "Winter on Olympus"

This article was published at the midway point of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) project as a sequel to the October 27, 1957 feature. (See st-1957-oct-27-pic4.) The Mt Olympus IGY researchers work in pairs. One team consists of Edward R. LaChapelle and Yves Eriksson. The others are Noel Gardner and James Hawkins. While one team is gathering statistics on the mountain, the other is studying the results at the University of Washington. The two teams exchange at the end of each month, as weather permits. The article includes winter scenes of the mountain and the IGY hut, pilot Bill Fairchild flying supplies to the Snow Dome, men climbing and skiing to survey points on the mountain, and men working or relaxing at the hut.

Apr 13, 1958, Pictorial p. 4 - Spring, Bob and Ira, "Skiers Climb Black Buttes"

"Most of us find it difficult enough to climb rugged mountains during summer weather and wearing boots. But there are those who make their high ascensions in the spring and early summer, when the snow is on. They carry packs with all camping equipment--50 to 80 pounds of it. And they wear skis. [...] The sport is called ski mountaineering." A party including Paul Wiseman, Gary Rose, John Carter, and Charles Doan set out for the Coleman Glacier in the spring of 1957. Their primary goal was a ski ascent of Mt Baker, but deep avalanche snow and a summit cloudcap convinced them to choose an alternate objective, the 8700-foot middle peak of the Black Buttes. The story includes photos of the party members camping and ski touring on the glacier and reaching the summit of the middle butte. On the contents page, ski mountaineering is described as a "rigorous and little-known sport."

Apr 5, 1959, Pictorial p. 12 - Spring, Bob and Ira, "Boston Basin Ski Tour"

This picture story is about an April ski trip (probably 1958) by Stella Degenhardt, Neva Karrick, Gene Dodson, John Meulemans, and the Rev. Otmar Boesch to the Boston-Sahale area of the North Cascades. The party, all members of the Seattle Mountaineers, spent seven days touring in Boston Basin and on Sahale Arm and made an attempt to climb Sahale Peak, which was foiled by cornices. Boesch, a native of Switzerland, believes that "if there were more facilities, such as shelter huts, in the Cascades, ski touring, or mountaineering, would become as popular here as it is in his native Alps." The story includes fine photos of the party camping and touring in the basin and among crevasses. In one photo, John Meulemans carries "the heaviest pack, 90 pounds."

Nov 29, 1959, Pictorial p. 9 - Connelly, Dolly, "New Playground for 1960: Mount Baker's South Side"

Puget Sound Power & Light Co. is completing a new dam above Marble Rapids which is filling a ten-mile-long reservoir covering the old Baker Lake. In the meantime, the Forest Service, in the spirit of "multiple use," has opened thousands of acres north and west of the lake to logging operations. With the completion of logging, the Forest Service plans to open several new logging roads to recreational use. These include a seven-mile extension of the forest highway to the upper end of Baker Lake, a nine-mile spur extending from the highway up Sulphur Creek to near Schrieber's Meadows, a six-mile road up Swift Creek to Baker Hot Springs, and a ten-mile road up Shuksan Creek. These roads will provide much easier access to the south sides of Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan. Regarding the Shuksan Creek road, the author writes, "A road someday may extend through this canyon to meet Mt Baker Highway to the north, completing a circle around Mt Baker." [The Shannon Creek road, used to approach the Sulphide Glacier today, must have been built later.]

Seattle Times, 1960s

Mar 27, 1960 , Pictorial p. 14 - Degenhardt, Stella, "Sky-High Ski Trip"

Ten Mountaineers--Ira Spring, John Carter, Stella Degenhardt, Gene Dodson, Keith Gunnar, Marilyn Loranger, Dave Nicholson, Gary Rose, John Meulemans, and Irena Wittlerova--were airlifted to the Honeycomb Glacier on Glacier Peak by pilot Bill Fairchild for a six-day ski trip (probably in 1959). They made a ski ascent of Glacier Peak the day after arriving, then went touring or shooting pictures near camp on the third day. Ira Spring coaxed Nicholson and Rose up a rock pinnacle dubbed "Tiger Tower" for climbing photos. On the fourth day the group broke camp and descended to the Whitechuck River near Baekos Creek. They continued to Kennedy Hot Springs on the fifth day and hiked out on the sixth. The article includes fine photos of camping and skiing and a photo of Bill Fairchild's plane circling around the camp on the Honeycomb Glacier. In one photo, Irena Wittlerova (who married John Meulemans before this article was published) "took a short-cut over a cornice--right into space."

Jul 10, 1960, Magazine p. 8 - Connelly, Dolly, "Indians, Miners, Stockmen Blazed the Way"

"The north pass across the Cascades was talked about long before any of the other four passes were projected in the southern part of the state. In early records of the Highway Department, it is referred to as State Highway No. 1. Long before Snoqualmie Pass was opened, long before Blewett Pass was dreamed of, long before Jim Hill's trains crawled up and down the switchbacks of Stevens Pass, a northern route was chosen as a state road across the mountains." This article discusses historic efforts to find a northern route across the Cascades, by Alexander Ross, Banning Austin, gold prospectors, and others.

Sep 23, 1962, Magazine p. 11 - Wernex, Katherine, "Chinook Pass, Too, Had Its Gold Rush"

In 1880 at the head of Morse Creek, near Sourdough Gap, H.L. Tucker and George Gibbs of Yakima "by placer mining took out better than wages in gold." Tom Fife later came into possession of the mine and sold it for $3,000. Fife's Peak is named in honor of him. Prospectors made discoveries near the head of Silver Creek and named it Pick Handle Point. At the turn of the century, Gold Hill had a population of more than 300. A post office was established at a little mining settlement called Fidelity. "Six thousand feet up the mountain, in an alpine basin, was Fog City, reached through Pick Handle Pass, and down in Pick Handle Basin was Jim Town." In Cement Basin, at the head of Union Creek, Tom Fife and John Anderson worked the Blue Bell Mine. Jack Nelson, often referred to as the "Sage of the Lake," lived at Bumping Lake for over 50 years. He recalled that more than 250 claims were staked in the area. The article includes photos of Jack Nelson and an old miner's cabin at Gold Hill.

Nov 4, 1962, Magazine p. 12 - Freeborn, Nancy Scott, "There's No Business Like Snow Business!"

Ski school operator Buzz Fiorini says that the greatest increase in skiing's popularity has come in the past three years. John Woodward of A&T Ski Co. admits to being "baffled by the volume of sales today." Woodward thinks skiing is expanding 50 percent per year. High-fashion ski clothing, the Squaw Valley Olympic Games, and improved ski lifts are seen as factors in skiing's growth. This article includes information about the Aaland brothers, who started making skis in 1931 and later made the first laminated skis in this country. The author discusses the growing demand for fashionable clothing and accessories.

Dec 19, 1965, Pictorial p. 6 - Johnston, Richard, "Mt Pilchuck Ski Area--It Grows by Degrees"

The Mt Pilchuck Ski Area was originally a small clearing near the bottom of the mountain operated by the Everett and Pilchuck Ski Clubs. Mt Pilchuck was designated as a state park 15 years ago. In 1958, the state constructed a lodge that includes rest rooms, snack bar, and eating facilities for skiers. A chairlift (4,000 long and 1,200 feet high with a mid-station) was put into operation in the fall of 1963. This article includes photos of skiers, facilities, and scenery at the area.

Dec 25, 1966, Magazine p. 10 - Wheeler, Ada Lou, "Seattle Firm Helped Put The Area On Skis"

George Aaland, a cabinet maker and occasional skier, got to wondering why a laminated ski wouldn't have greater strength and less warpage than skis made from a single piece of wood steamed into shape. He took his idea to Ray Anderson, president of General Furniture Co., which had the woodworking equipment and laminating know-how to produce such a ski. Anderson liked the idea. He talked ski instructor Ben Thompson into becoming sales manager, hired Aaland as shop supervisor, and started making the first laminated skis in America. (See st-1962-nov-4-mag12 for more about the Aaland brothers.) Anderson applied for a patent on May 13, 1933. Within ten days, Splitkein of Norway also asked for a U.S. patent on a laminated ski. Since neither firm knew about the other's product, the Patent Office allowed both to be patented, a most unusual procedure.

In the 1930s, A&T produced the first cable binding, steel ski pole, and automobile ski rack in the United States. Sid Gerber, who had been manufacturing bindings and poles in Seattle since 1935, bought the company before World War II. During the war, A&T made skis for the Army. Wally Burr, who had worked for A&T off and on, closed his own shop for the duration and returned to A&T as an inspector of skis made for the government. During the last two years of the war the company made instrument panels and other wooden parts for B-17 and B-29 bombers. Following the war the company introduced a successful release binding invented by Gene Erwin.

In 1955, Henry Simonson purchased A&T from Sid Gerber. The company began importing skis made to its specifications in Europe and Japan. At the time of this article's publication, only the D-2 glass-epoxy ski made on Vashon Island is not imported. Henry Simonson is president and John Woodward, a former U.W. ski racer, 10th Mountain Division officer, and ski retailer, is vice-president and sales manager. Ray Anderson and Sid Gerber are both deceased. Ben Thompson has lived in the East for many years, having made a career as a top-flight cartoonist.

Seattle Times, 1970s

Apr 5, 1970, Pictorial p. 18 - Spring, Bob and Ira, "Scouting a Ski Site"

Bill Stark of Kirkland has been instrumental in bringing together Leavenworth people who want a ski area, conservationists working for an Alpine Lakes Wilderness, and the Forest Service to study the possibility of a ski area on Mt Cashmere. Stark is a Boeing employee and long-time hiker with a special enthusiasm for the Mt Stuart area. In keeping with Leavenworth's Bavarian theme, the name Hochalpen Verein ("high alpine club") has been taken by the Leavenworth group. The group has been surveying the area using a helicopter. This article includes photos of the helicopter, skiers on Mt Cashmere, and Bill Stark on skis (face visible).

Mar 17, 1974, Pictorial - Muller, Will, "Winter duty for rangers"

This article discusses how ranger duties in Olympic National Park change after winter arrives. For search and rescue, one of the first men to be called is Jack Hughes, "a ranger's ranger" at age 42. The article includes a photo of Hughes measuring snow accumulation on cross-country skis.

Mar 2, 1975, Pictorial - Spring, Bob and Ira, "Cross-country skiing comes into its own"

Long popular in Scandinavia, cross-country skiing has been slow to catch on in the U.S., where downhill skiing holds sway. In the last five years there has been a surge of interest and Recreational Equipment, Inc., is now selling about 3,000 pairs of nordic skis a year. The first official cross-country ski trail in Washington has been opened by the Forest Service at Hyak. There are approximately 40 miles of marked ski trails, including the Twin Lakes Trail, Rockdale Loop Trail, and the Mt Catherine Loop. The Hyak cross-country center, headed by Pat Deneen, offers rentals and instructors exclusively for cross-country skiers, a first in the state.

Seattle Times, 1980s

Mar 7, 1988, "Skier Found Dead After Avalanche Near Mt Rainier"

Rescue teams found the body of Pamela Benton Lee, 28, of Olympia, who was buried by an avalanche near Pinnacle Peak on Sunday, March 6. Lee's companion, Sean Mehan escaped the avalanche. Avalanche danger was posted as high the day of the accident. [digital file]

Seattle Times, 1990s

Mar 7, 1996, Obituary - Beers, Carole, "Dwight Watson, devoted to God"

Dwight Alvin Watson died on February 29, 1996. He was 95. Born in Seattle, he briefly studied engineering at the University of Washington. Watson had worked for a commercial-oven firm. Interested in science, he was devoted to evangelical Christianity. "He studied the Bible and devoted long hours to researching what he termed 'God's Creation'--his word for nature--via frequent mountaineering and nature photography. [...] He reportedly knew every trail and lake in the Cascades." A lifelong bachelor, he worked as a custodian for the Hope Bible Fellowship after he retired in 1962. The article includes comments by Watson's longtime friend, Gino Picini. (This obituary was the first clipping I ever made about Northwest skiing history. It is the seed from which this project grew.)

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