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Lowell_Skoog

More North Cascades trivia

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And here's a picture of the summit tower of East Mox from the Ridge of Gendarmes. (I'm not sure I've figured out how you're supposed to post images.)

 

 

220923-mox2.jpg

220923-mox2.jpg.41aa56c65bde97a2f12f68e7f3fa4d22.jpg

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Lowell_Skoog said

Yahoo, I finally bought myself a scanner. It's such an enjoyable time waster that I probably won't get anything useful done for a month. wink.gif Here is a picture of East Mox from Spickard in 1995.

 

220921-mox1.jpg

 

Nice shot of Challenger, Fury and the bunch in the back ground. Great Picture!

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It is good to see Harry Majors back with his encyclopedic knowledge and analysis of the history of mountaineering in Washington. What Harry did in meticulously analyzing Henry Custer's cryptic 1859 journals of the Northwest Boundary Survey in his "Northwest Discovery" series in the 1980's, is beyond belief, and the post here on Mox is very enlightening.

 

As far as the origin of the name "Twin Spires," a piece of this historic name puzzle was found on the top of one of the minor summits along the Ridge of Gendarmes when I climbed it on 7/4/85 (while Russ Kroeker stayed in camp, Shoe-Gooing his delaminated boot sole back on).

 

Inside of a white, red, and blue Johnson & Johnson Waterproof Band-Aid (Borated Pad) metal box was a piece of crumpled paper that read,

 

Sept 20, 1939 S.W. peak

of south peak, Twin Needles

(own name)

We aren't very ashamed

to turn back on this baby.

It's got everything

Will Thompson

Calder Bressler

Ptarmigan Club, Seattle

We'll be back!

 

So it looks like Thompson and Bressler (not Bill Cox, as CAG, p.128 reads) came up with the "Twin" idea. Since there were already "Twin Needles" in the Southern Pickets, named by Strandberg, Degenhardt, and Martin in 1932, perhaps Beckey made the alteration to "Spires."

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John --

 

Thank you for your kind comments regarding the Henry Custer study. It is a pleasure and an honor for me to renew and reaffirm my 30-year old friendship with you.

 

I still have a limited number of copies of the Custer narrative available. If there are some cascadeclimbers.com members out there who are interested in the early climbing history and exploration of the Picket Range, Chilliwack area, and upper Skagit, I would be pleased to send them a copy of the Custer narrative free of charge, with my compliments.

 

This narrative also includes Custer's maps of the area, as well as sketches of the mountains, these including the first drawings of Shuksan, Tomyhoi, the Border Peaks, Slesse, Bear Mtn. (p. 143), and Challenger. Custer was the first European man to discover such major peaks as Shuksan, Challenger, Jack Mtn., and the rugged Picket Range. Custer's achievement during the summer of 1859 entitles him to enduring recognition and acclaim in the history of the North Cascades.

 

Henry Custer also stands as the first mountain climber to visit the North Cascades, for during June-August 1859 he made some twenty first ascents of mountains in the Chilliwack and upper Skagit area, these including Winchester Mtn., Middle Peak, Copper Mtn., Easy Peak, as well as reaching a point high on the south ridge of Tomyhoi. The history of mountain climbing in the North Cascades begins in 1859 with Henry Custer.

 

If cc.com members would like a complimentary copy of Custer's narrative, please let me know via e-mail or a personal message.

 

Dr. John Roper needs no introduction here, for he is of legendary status in the climbing history of the North Cascades. He has climbed more peaks in the North Cascades than any other person, and his first-hand knowledge of these peaks and their various routes is equalled by no other individual. John is quite modest and unassuming about his climbing achievement and his erudition, so let me, as a climbing historian, speak on his behalf --- John knows more about the North Cascades, and has more climbing experience in these mountains, than any other person. (I am ordinarily cautious about employing superlatives, but this is one instance in which their use is fully justified.) I hope that one day Dr. Roper will honor us by publishing his memoirs, for such a narrative would constitute a monumental contribution to the literature on North Cascades mountaineering.

 

John --- I appreciate your bringing to our attention the summit record left by Will Thompson and Calder Bressler on the Ridge of Gendarmes on Sept. 20, 1939. This is a particularly important discovery, for it allows us to precisely date the Thompson-Bressler visit. You are indeed correct that "Thompson and Bressler . . . came up with the "Twin' idea."

 

In December 1972, Will Thompson provided me with details concerning the September 1939 visit: "we had named them Twin Needles. We never published the name . . . The attempt on Twin Spires was in 1939 but the date - sorry. Late in the year, probably September. . . we found a somewhat dirty chimney to climb which put us on the south ridge of the south[east] peak, but unfortunately about a mile from its summit. The connecting ridge has a rather discouraging set of gendarmes, so we came down again." --- Thanks to your 1985 discovery, John, we now have the exact date of this pioneering climbing visit.

 

For many years now I have been at work on a full-length study covering the history, explorations, and climbing achievements of the Ptarmigan Climbing Club. However, for the time being, I am postponing publication of this --- I am still searching for the official Ptarmigan Climbing Club scrapbook, which contains photographs of their journeys, and detailed accounts of the climbs they made on various peaks in the North Cascades. Yes, this is something that, until this present post, has been unknown to scholars and historians of the North Cascades --- the Ptarmigans took photographs during their 1938 Ptarmigan Traverse, as well as during their Picket Range climbs; they wrote trip reports describing their climbing routes; and these were collected and preserved in a scrapbook.

 

In 1939 this scrapbook was initially in the custody of Bill Cox, but the last person known to be in possession of this extraordinarily important document was Ptarmigan member Gert Harby in October 1941 (whom, as yet, I still have been unable to locate). The Ptarmigans held their last meeting on April 15, 1942, and soon thereafter disbanded. In 1978, Charles R. "Mitzi" Metzger kindly provided me with a copy of a Ptarmigan photograph taken by Calder "Tup" Bressler of the Southern Pickets from the north, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. I am reluctant to publish prematurely on the Ptarmigans, because once this scrapbook is finally located, it will profoundly augment our knowledge of their achievements.

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Harry,

 

Your information about the Ptarmigan scrapbook is very interesting. A couple years ago, when I spoke to Ray Clough, he said that he took most (all?) of the pictures during the 1938 Ptarmigan Traverse, but he didn't know what became of them. He described it as a matter of poor filing, but perhaps they ended up in the scrapbook that you mention. Overall, Ray was fuzzy on the details of their trip, which is understandable, as it was over sixty years earlier. I've been in touch with a few other people close to the Ptarmigans (Ray Clough's sister, Bill Cox's daughter, Will Thompson, Chuck Kirschner) and would be happy to put you in touch with them if it might be helpful. I'm guessing you're already way ahead of me on this though.

 

I'd be happy to help in the search after my ski history work is done. I've long had a fascination with the Ptarmigans, their traverse, and their other climbs. I just did the traverse for my 5th time, and I'd bet money it won't be the last. It's remarkable the influence they had, considering that most of them didn't do any pioneering after WWII. They were college kids when they did most of their climbs.

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Harry-

 

Thanks for the kind words. I may have poked around these hills a bit, but what these guys are pulling off in this generation is a quantum leap above.

 

If you have an extra copy of your NWD of Custer's journal down the Upper Skagit, I'd sure like to complete the collection, please. Same address as last.

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This is really incredible to now have both John Roper and Harry Majors lending their incredible insight of the North Cascades to the cc.com community.

 

I can easily say that my interest in the outdoors and climbing exploded thanks to an incredible opportunity to climb in the Picketts with John Roper and Gary Mellom some 12(?) years ago. An incredible experience because of both the company and the location that truly inspired me to explore and experience the North Cascades as much as possible.

 

An interesting note John, it was during this trip that you and Gary mentioned to me how bad the rock was on Boston (among other things about your thoughts on the peak). Just this year I was able to thumb through the Boston summit register and find your (and Gary's) entry. The register is in mint condition and your entry and commemoration is as intact as the date you wrote it.

 

Good to hear from you again John.

 

Tod Bloxham

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Interesting reading about the naming of Mox Peaks. I have an old Mountaineer 1945 that contains one of Beckey's first guidebook ideas in it including the area around the border\CHilliwack to Bear mountain. I will take a look tonight and see what he refers to it as in there. He definitely referred to many peaks by other names than what we know them by today.

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Yes, welcome Mr. Roper and Mr. Majors. I can only hope the spray monkeys on this site don't expectorate on your posts. Some of them can't help themselves. These are certainly times where it is never warranted.

 

Harry, here are some pictures of Mt. Custer, since you were speaking of Henry Custer:

Custer from Rahm

Custer, Northeast Side

Custer, South Side

Too bad such a chossy peak had to be named after him.

 

And, Henry, I would love a copy of one of your books. I will send you a PM. thumbs_up.gif

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I referenced the Mountaineer 1945 volume 38 Number1 December

 

I go with John Roper and think Beckey installed the "Spires" instead of Peaks originally referred by the Ptarmigan Club members.

 

Edit: Spoke with FB and he kinda glanced off the whole minor idea of the Spires and Peaks thing. Seems to defninitely come from him. I don't think he gave it much thought although I asked him 3 times. Geek_em8.gif

Edited by Cpt.Caveman

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Dru said:

how loud did you ask him? wink.gif

 

C'mon dude you know me?! I was screaming and repeating myself cantfocus.gif

 

Basically what I am trying to say is that he understood the question and thought it was trivial HCL.gif and not worth investigating on my behalf. Spire Peak whatever is the impression I was getting...

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Spire, Peak... horsecock, salami... did he tell ya about the 25 year old Whistler girl he's going to Kalymnos for the winter with shocked.gif

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John --- The section covering Custer's descent of the upper Skagit, as well as his reconnaissance east of the Skagit, has not yet been published. That section contains some large, detailed maps of the river between the Boundary and Ruby Creek, that weren't really suited for inclusion in the original 6x9 small-size format of NWD.

 

Custer's maps of the upper Skagit were drawn at a far greater resolution than the outlines currently appearing on the USGS Hozomeen Mtn. and Pumpkin Mtn. 7.5 minute quads. They depict every bend, gravel bar, sand bank, and side channel in the river. Despite the fact that they were drawn in 1859, nearly a century and a half ago, they are still the most detailed river survey maps in existence of the upper Skagit.

 

I had been postponing publication until I arrived at a decision whether to do them as fold-outs, separate folded maps, or go to a larger size format. Then, other events intervened, and matters became further delayed. I will be resuming publication sometime next year, definitely in a larger format (8.5x11), and possibly with fold-out maps as well (11x17). When the next installment on the Custer study appears, I shall see to it that you are the first to receive a copy of it, with my compliments. Thank you again for your continuing interest.

 

I agree with you --- what the younger generation is achieving in the mountains today is truly incredible. Each year, when the new AAJ comes out, I thumb through it, and just shake my head in disbelief at some of the routes and faces that are being climbed.

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Tod-

 

Our climb of Inspiration (on 7/4/92) in the pouring rain, through the waterfall, on a peak where you personally dodged the German translation of your name a couple of times (by rock and snow), was one of the more memorable trips I've ever had in the North Cascades, as well. Long day, but nothing like your athletic day-trip of Sahale, Boston, Buckner, and Horseshoe.

 

I'm intrigued and happy to hear that the register on Boston is still intact, 35 years after Gary and I climbed it on 7/27/68. In those days, you could nearly always count on getting a history lesson out of the summit register. The register I mentioned above on the Ridge of Gendarmes had been undisturbed for 46 years (1939 to 1985) between Thompson and Bressler's visit and mine. And regarding Custer, on 8/10/71, we were able to tell that we probably had the second ascent of what was then called Matsaac Peak (Custer), and the 4th ascent of what was then called International Peak (Rahm). We weren't any more impressed with the quality of rock here than klenke, calling them "Rubble" and "Grunge" amongst ourselves.

 

And Harry,

Thanks for the update.

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you could nearly always count on getting a history lesson out of the summit register

 

You can still get one on North Early Winter Spire. bigdrink.gif

 

But not back to 196*

 

Harry Majors I have heard some about you. Why dont you send me a copy too? My real address is not available but if you cannot figure out how to send a private message let me know.

 

-RB

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you could nearly always count on getting a history lesson out of the summit register
It's too bad some people feel the need to chuck summit registers.

 

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This is one of the best threads I've ever read.

Harry, John, Lowell, Drew, and Ray make it a real pleasure to learn more about the country that I enjoy travelling through!

 

Here's to many more of these!

 

bigdrink.gif

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I don't know too much about the Ptarmigans. Were they

affiliated with a Seattle area college at all. I've recently

been reading old minutes and cabin logs from the UBC outdoor

club, dating from the 1930s and 1940s and they mention several

ski competitions between the various colleges.

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John_Roper said:

where you personally dodged the German translation of your name a couple of times

 

I never new my name translated that way. Very funny. yellaf.gif Good to know. I've always been more proud of the origin of the name, being that it's meaning is "fox" from Middle English todde.

 

Yes I do recall vividly dodging a few very large chunks of tod. I specifically remember the ones I dodged while on an overhanging rapel that ricocheted past me. They seemed to have come out of nowhere and just as quickly dissappeared into the deafaning rain. Certainly one of my more memorable trips also. Hopefully we may have a chance to enjoy a climb together in the future.

 

With your history in the cascades I hope you are able to continue to post here as discussions of this nature are not only incredibly interesting, but important to the continuity of the history. Any comments/thoughts on the original names of the peaks within Ragged Ridge? I believe you have the first ascents on a few of these?

 

Tod

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Tod, I haven't heard from you in years. In case you don't know who I am, you showed me Depot Creek and we went up Spickard for my first time.

 

Last time I talked to you was when you lost both sides of splitboard in crevasses on Mt. Rainier.....good to see you are getting out.

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Tod asks:

Any comments/thoughts on the original names of the peaks within Ragged Ridge?

 

The short story on the Ragged Ridge names is that the 1966 FA party of the 8795' highest peak named it "Panther Peak," at the head of Panther Creek. The next 8680+ foot peak west was first climbed in 1968, and called "Mount Holyoke" after a party member's alma mater (OK, not the best name in the world). The 1970 FA party called the last high peak (8332') on this ridge, "Ragged End," and the 8600+ peak just east here "Gendarmes Peak," after the multiple spires on the summit ridge.

 

A few years later, a guidebook author changed the names that the FA parties had applied to these peaks to Chinook jargon terms, some of which are not particularly inspiring concepts in English translation. The following translations are taken from George C. Shaw's 1909 work, "The Chinook Jargon."

 

Mesahchie means "bad; wicked; evil; vile; sin; bitter; cruel; depravity; dissolute; dung; filthy; immodest; nasty; obscene; vice; insolence; unworthy; unruly; iniquity; unrighteous; naughty." Not a bad name, I guess, if you consider the quality of rock on some parts of this mountain.

Katsuk means "the middle or centre of anything." Kind of a weak mountain name for a Top 100 peak.

Kimtah means "behind; after; afterwards; last; since; back; rear; subsequent; younger." Another uninspired choice.

Cosho is "pig." What's the thought here?

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John_Roper said:

Tod asks:

Any comments/thoughts on the original names of the peaks within Ragged Ridge?

 

The short story on the Ragged Ridge names is that the 1966 FA party of the 8795' highest peak named it "Panther Peak," at the head of Panther Creek. The next 8680+ foot peak west was first climbed in 1968, and called "Mount Holyoke" after a party member's alma mater (OK, not the best name in the world). The 1970 FA party called the last high peak (8332') on this ridge, "Ragged End," and the 8600+ peak just east here "Gendarmes Peak," after the multiple spires on the summit ridge.

 

A few years later, a guidebook author changed the names that the FA parties had applied to these peaks to Chinook jargon terms, some of which are not particularly inspiring concepts in English translation. The following translations are taken from George C. Shaw's 1909 work, "The Chinook Jargon."

 

Mesahchie means "bad; wicked; evil; vile; sin; bitter; cruel; depravity; dissolute; dung; filthy; immodest; nasty; obscene; vice; insolence; unworthy; unruly; iniquity; unrighteous; naughty." Not a bad name, I guess, if you consider the quality of rock on some parts of this mountain.

Katsuk means "the middle or centre of anything." Kind of a weak mountain name for a Top 100 peak.

Kimtah means "behind; after; afterwards; last; since; back; rear; subsequent; younger." Another uninspired choice.

Cosho is "pig." What's the thought here?

 

Did you ever ask him why the names were changed?

 

I sent a message but expect no response any time soon for a while since he is on the way to Cali.

 

 

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Stefan said:

Tod, I haven't heard from you in years. In case you don't know who I am, you showed me Depot Creek and we went up Spickard for my first time.

 

Last time I talked to you was when you lost both sides of splitboard in crevasses on Mt. Rainier.....good to see you are getting out.

 

Hey Stefan,

Yes I do remember that trip, 4th of July, 1998 if I remember correctly. In fact I've got a few photos from that trip you might find humorous (with the fog/rain and all). I'll PM you with the links. That was an interesting trip with the weather, though still one of my favorite areas in the Cascades. Funny you remember the Split Decision episode; I've never had an odder experience on Rainier than that...

 

I'm glad to see that your back in action after last years accident (and now with a kid!). cool.gif

 

Tod

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