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Research Guides

Mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest: Oral Histories

Resources which document climbing the mountains of the Pacific Northwest throughout history.

Oral Histories

Personal accounts regarding mountaineering and mountaineering clubs have been digitized and can be found in the Oral History Collection.

Wolf Bauer papers. Accession no. 1669-002

Mr. Bauer was a pioneer climber of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Goode. He was the founder of the Mountaineers climbing course and helped establish the Mountain Rescue Council.

North Cascades History Project Interviews. Accession no.  2161-001

These climbers were members of the Mountaineers who made many first ascents in the North Cascades. Mr. Strandberg was the first, along with Bill Degenhardt and Jim Martin, to explore the Southern Pickets.

Everett Darr Papers. Accession no. 2144-001

Mr. Darr was involved in the first ascent of Bonanza and climbed a new route on Mt. Goode after Bauer made the first ascent. He describes trips into other places in the Lake Chelan area, during which first ascents were made.

Dwight Alvin Watson Papers. Accession no. 2170-001

Watson was an alpine enthusiast and photographer in Seattle. As an avocation Watson skied, hiked, and climbed in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. In retirement he corresponded with former outdoor companions and with others interested in alpine history of Washington State.

Hermann F. Ulrichs Papers. Accession no. 2138-001

Hermann F. Ulrichs, a chemical engineer and pianist, was an early climber who explored the interior of the North Cascades.

Jane Wilson MacGowan. Accession no. 3500-001

MacGowen was among the earliest Mountaineers and describes mountaineering in detail, including the beginnings of mountaineering classes and of the REI Co-op.

Victor Josendal. Accession no. 4263-001, Box 2

Josendal was a member of the Mountaineers and served as the club's vice president from 1952-1953, and was on its Board of Directors from 1954-1957. He was chairman of the Climbing Committee in 1950, the Safety Committee in 1956, and the Budget Committee in 1959. He also participated in many other Mountaineering activities.

Ome Daiber. Accession no.  3592-001

Daiber was a mountaineer, inventor, hiker, and specialist in mountain rescue missions. He was born in 1907 and died on April 2, 1989, at age 81. Topics he discusses include a rescue on Mt. McKinley and surveying in the St. Elias range.

Oral History Interviews of the Mountaineers History Committee, 1994-2001. Accession no. 5038

Former presidents and other members of the Mountaineers discuss the organization's activities.

Richard D. Meyer. Accession no. 5000-001

Interviews regarding Ome Daiber (1907-1989), a founder of the Mountain Rescue Council and inventor of outdoor equipment.

Lawrence Denny Lindsley. Accession no. 2179-001

Lindsley was a photographer who also worked as a miner, hunter, and wilderness guide for the Mountaineers. He took extensive photographs of the North Cascades. Lindsley discusses his photographic techniques, especially lantern slide development.  He also mentions several specific photographic series: the beach at LaPush, sunrise on Mt. Rainier, Lake Chelan, and a winter horse trip through the Stehekin during a snowstorm.

Donald Dooley. Accession no. 2169-001

Mr. Dooley was a mountain climber in Olympic Mountains from 1936-1950.

Harold Engles. Accession no. 2006-001.

Harold Engles (b. 1902) came to Darrington as district ranger in 1927 and spent most of his career there. He discusses local people who worked with him and their knowledge and exploration of the country around Darrington. He also describes the building of trails and lookouts.

Ernest Kobelt. Accession no. 2178-001

Kobelt hiked in the Mt. Baker/Whatcom Pass area during 1918-1922 and worked in shingle bolt camp at Mt. Baker from 1918-1920.

David A. Lind. Accession no. 2196-001

David A. Lind was a mountaineer who made several first ascents in the North Cascades.

Harlan Leo Trumbull. Accession no. 2243-003

Harlan Leo Trumbull was an early Northwest climber who made the first ascent of the Brothers (South Peak) in 1910.