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NW Skier, Vol. 33, No. 3 - Mt Rainier ski mountaineering

Published: 11/01/90 Topics: Comments: -

Northwest Skier, 1990

Feb, 1990, p. 15: Jarrett, Denise, "Walt Little" *

In 1953, Walt Little, a civil engineer, skier and mountaineer, was hired by the John Graham Company, a Seattle architectural firm, to do a feasibility study for a new Washington ski area. Twice a month for two years, Little led a group of surveyors into three potential sites east of Mt Rainier, two sites in Silver Creek and Corral Pass. Little recommended "Silver 6" (the eventual site of the Crystal Mountain ski area) over Corral Pass, which was the early favorite. An avid sailor, Little dubbed Crystal's steepest slope Exterminator after he saw the name painted on a sailboat.

Nov, 1990, p. 8: Linsley, Jeanne, "Ski Mountaineering: Mt. Rainier" *

Ski mountaineering is a sport "limited to a somewhat hardcore group of enthusiasts" which seems nevertheless to be growing. The article includes comments by Brian Sullivan and Doug Ingersoll, ski instructors and guides; Jim Heber of the Mountaineers; Paul Walchenbach of REI, Inc.; and Carl Skoog. The author discusses ski mountaineering courses and some Mt Rainier skiing history. The article contains three photos by Gordon Butterfield from the June 1961 first ski descent of the Ingraham Glacier, although they are not identified as such. The cover of this issue has an uncaptioned photo by Brian Sullivan of Lowell Skoog beginning a rappel during the May 1989 Buckindy Range ski traverse in the North Cascades.

Nov, 1990, p. 11: Linsley, Jeanne, "Mt. Saint Helens" *

On May 18, 1980, Jens Kieler [then Kuljurgis], Rich Lowell and John Mueller were at a high camp below the Kautz Icefall on Mt Rainier hoping to make a ski descent of the mountain. To the south, above Mt St Helens, what appeared at first to be thunderheads began to form in the sky. Lightning flashed and a huge column of ash rose from the volcano. "The lightning was flashing around like the spokes of a wheel might flash through a strobe," said Kieler. Before long, a fog of black ash began blackening the snowfields of Rainier. About two hours after the eruption, the three started skiing down to Paradise, carving white tracks in the black snow. "It was like skiing on sandpaper," recalled Kieler. Oddly, the noise of the blast, heard all over the Northwest, was not audible to the three men. "We never even heard the initial 'big bang," he said. "It was relatively quiet."

Northwest Skier, 1991

Jan, 1991, p. 8: Wicklund, Scott, "Northwest Extreme Dream: Ulrich's Couloir" *

On May 11, 1990, Shelby Burchett, Jeff Cvitkovic and Scott Wicklund skied Ulrich's Couloir from the summit of Mt Stuart to Ingalls Creek valley. The party left their car at the Teanaway River on May 8 and spent two days reaching Longs Pass. They descended to Ingalls Creek and camped. The following day, the trio climbed Cascadian Couloir. With heavy packs and hot weather, they reached the top of the couloir at 8,000 feet at 2 pm and decided to camp there to wait for safer snow conditions.

On May 11, with a good freeze overnight and a slight overcast, they continued to the true summit. From the article text and the accompanying photos, it appears that the party used full alpine skiing equipment. They stepped into their skis and began the descent of Ulrich's Couloir, with Burchett and Wicklund going first. High in the couloir, Cvitkovic lost an edge and spun around, completing a backward roll before miraculously digging in his edges and stopping. After emerging from the walled couloir, the party encountered a 15-foot half-frozen waterfall. After scoping out the landing, they jumped over this obstacle. Lower, narrow sections required them to make short straight runs followed by hard check turns. Less than 1,000 feet from the valley floor they encountered a 100-foot waterfall. They removed their skis and rappeled over this obstacle. The final slopes to the valley posed no difficulties. The article includes photos of the route, ascent, descent, and of the three skiers relaxing at a drive-in restaurant after the trip.

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Blog #: 0312 – 11/01/90

NW Skier, Vol. 31, No. 3 - Walt Little

Published: 02/01/90 Topics: Comments: -

In 1953, Walt Little, a civil engineer, skier and mountaineer, was hired by the John Graham Company, a Seattle architectural firm, to do a feasibility study for a new Washington ski area. Twice a month for two years, Little led a group of surveyors into three potential sites east of Mt Rainier, two sites in Silver Read more

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