MTR.2009.3 Dwight Watson Shoeboxes

This collection was donated by The Mountaineers to UW Special Collections in October 2010.

These notes are by Lowell Skoog. This collection consists of four boxes (not actually shoeboxes, but they are about the right size) left by Watson to the Mountaineers. The materials in the "shoeboxes" have a lot in common with Watson's scrapbook and papers which he donated directly UW Special Collections. My guess is that Watson donated these materials to the Mountaineers because they include notes on his films, which he also donated to the club. The shoeboxes contain many fine photographs, including negatives for many of them.

The shoeboxes are labeled as follows. (The letter designations are mine):

Shoebox A - "Mt. Trips-Dates, Films-Movies, 8 and 16 mm"
Shoebox B - "Dwight Watson Pictures"
Shoebox C - "35 mm Misc Color Slides, 35 mm Viewer"
Shoebox D - "Mts. Best"
Other Materials

My notes on the shoebox contents follow. Be aware that these notes, like all my notes on Watson's materials, focus on ski mountaineering. Researchers interested in other aspects of Watson's historical record should not rely on these notes alone.


Shoebox A - "Mt. Trips-Dates, Films-Movies, 8 and 16 mm"

I found an audio cassette loose (not in any of the shoeboxes) labeled:

From old "Ski Chase"
Ski Walzer
Old Famous Theme

This cassette contains some moody, dramatic music followed by a few lively Swiss tunes. Some of these tunes were in the 1931 Arnold Fanck film, "White Ecstasy" (a.k.a. "The Ski Chase"), starring Hannes Schneider and Leni Riefenstahl. There are only about 10 minutes of music on the tape. I've placed the tape in this shoebox, as it seemed the most appropriate place for it.

Folder A - "Inventory: Mts, Picts, Movies" *

This folder contains notes on Watson's movies, with an inventory of the films, notes about movie sequences, dates and other information. For my notes on the movies, see watson-dwight-movies.

In the folder is a pamphlet indicating that Watson presented a movie program, "Northwest Mountain Skiing B.C. (Before Chairlifts)" at the Seattle Public Library Auditorium on November 14, 1962. There is also a note with the same title which I believe is an outline of Watson's introductory narration for this program. It summarizes Northwest ski mountaineering history and Watson's place in it. It seems to confirm that Watson started skiing after 1930. It says:

  • Early days in Olympics: Press party, Dec-Jun 1889-90, no skis or snowshoes but hard work.
  • Norwegian and Swedes at Scenic Wash on G.N.R.R (early).
  • Norwegian and Swedes at Mt Rainier (1914).
  • Mountaineers: Dean Milnor Roberts of U.W. and on Campus too.
  • Mountaineers: Early at Snoqualmie Pass and Mt Rainier etc.
  • Mt Baker Circle.
  • 1932 or 1933 Sunrise, Norling, Yolo, O. Borgersen.

Here is where Watson comes into the picture. He continues:

  • Summer rambles and explorations give idea of ski country.
  • Hermann Ulrichs discovers North Cascades etc.
  • Sig Hall interest and others in travels (killed 4/13/40).
  • Winter days short. Spring days warm and longer for trips.
  • Roads open farther in toward their ends. Better weather.
  • Mountains rarely have slush.
  • Early trips to Rainier - Indian Henry's Feb 1926 storm.
  • These trips started in early 30s then through 1936 and on to the war time when the Ski Patrol was then active.

Folder B - "I - Mts. Trip Dates" *

This folder contains many of the trip/date notes found in Watson's scrapbook. Additional information is here, but some of it is contradictory or confusing. One interesting page lists "National Ski Patrol System Trips" between 1942 and 1942. Since Watson's patrol region was between Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes, most of the trips were in that area. I believe the following were ski trips:

  • Commonwealth Basin
  • Mt Fernow
  • Valhalla and Skylight Lakes
  • Martin and Rainy Creek
  • Barrier Mtn
  • Arrowhead Mtn
  • Icicle Creek traverse - Stevens to Leavenworth
  • Rapid River area
  • Cougar Canyon, Lk Valhalla
  • Whitepine Creek to Snowgrass Mtn
  • Denny Mtn
  • Chinook Pass, Crystal basin
  • Rock Mtn lookout
  • Mt Hinman

Folder C - "Specials: Trips General Notes" *

More notes on individual trips, including raw notes that Watson eventually typed up for his scrapbook. There may be information here that is not found in the scrapbook.

Folder D - "I - Trips, Dates (not Chelan)"
Folder E - "II - Trip Notes, Chelan"

These notes are mostly for trips in the 1960s-70s.

Folder F - "Photo Negatives, 35 mm and 3x4 Lists"

This folder contains lists of photos, some of them in the shoeboxes, but many of them donated to UW Special Collections. It would be best if these lists and the photos could be matched up, but I haven't yet tried to do it.

Folder G - "Camera Data, B&H, Rettina etc"

Receipts, camera tips and tables, 8 mm projector instructions.

Folder H - "Photog Data, Tech"

Tips and how-to information.

Folder I - "Filming Data, Movie and 35 mm"

More technical info.


Shoebox B - "Dwight Watson Pictures"

This shoebox contains some genuine treasures, though well buried. There are many small folders containing notes and miscellany, others containing fine photographic prints and negatives.

Folder A - "Folder A"

Manila folder. These items were all loose in the shoebox. I added the folder to keep track of them. The folder contains clippings, postcards, photocopies and other miscellany. The following items are interesting:

  • Ski photo collage with names of some of the skiers noted. At the center of the collage is a photo of three skiers in front of Eldorado, which appeared in the 1944 Mountaineer Annual (p. 39). The skier at left is identified as "Dick" and the one at right (carrying an ice axe) is identified as "Hoffman". The skier in the center is not identified.
  • "The Pacific Crest Trail System: The Development, Organization and Operation of The Trail Project During Five Years, 1932-1937", Bulletin of the Pacific Crest Trail System Conference, 125 South Grand Ave., Pasadena, CA. *

The folder contains a partial article from Seattle P-I Northwest Today magazine, Sunday Mar. 13, 1966 describing a proposal to build a ski resort on Mt Hinman.

The folder also contains two fine 3x4 photos of Eldorado from near Sibley Pass, showing the difference in snowcover between summer and spring. The spring photo depicts a skier admiring the view. If the photo identifications described above are correct, the skier is Walt Hoffman.

Folder B - "Folder B"

Miscellaneous loose postcards and photos. I added a folder to group them.

Folder C - "Some Trips by Years"

This folder contains many small notes, sorted by year. In addition to trips described in Watson's scrapbook, it lists a number of non-pioneering trips after 1940. I think this information can be found in other places in the shoeboxes, particularly Shoebox A, Folders B and C.

Folder D - "Ptarmigan Traverse, Color and B&W"

Prints from Watson's South Cascade Glacier trips, including a photo of two skiers (Walt Hoffman and Ralph Eskenazi, I believe) crossing a footlog over Downey Creek. This folder also includes photos from Cascade Pass, Image Lake, Park Creek Pass, and Hanging Gardens.

Folder E - "Ski Picts, 3x4"

The following pictures are interesting. (Unless noted, all are 3"x4" prints.)

  • Skier jumping off small cornice, 1936 (2"x3").
  • "Cloudland-Mt Rainier", two skiers standing on a ridge.
  • "Paradise Glacier, 1936", appears to be a woman skier wearing a bikini swimsuit top, back to camera, Rainier beyond.
  • "Ski-Heil-Paradise", two skiers identified as Don Amick and Bruce Kehr in 1936, showing speed, with Rainier in the background.
  • "Cornice Jump", shirtless skier with Tatoosh Range in the background.
  • Two skiers poling toward Eldorado, near the divide NW of the Triad.
  • Snoqualmie Pass roadside parking, winter, probably 1930s.
  • Crowded ski hill at Snoqualmie Pass (2 photos).
  • Milwaukee Ski Bowl, view from hill above (2 photos).
  • Four skiers on a hilltop above Milwaukee Ski Bowl, with Lake Keechelus in the background.
  • East Foss River "jungle" during Mt Hinman ski approach.

Folder F - "Rainier"

The following 3x4 prints are interesting:

  • "Otto Lang (Arlberg) at Rainier", shows Lang passing a slalom gate with the mountain in the background.
  • Two skiers atop Old Desolate, with Rainier's Willis Wall in the background, published in the 1945 Mountaineer Annual (p. 32).

Folder G - "Best Ski I, Mt Baker and Trees"

15 fine 3"x4" negatives depicting scenes with and without skiers, generally near Table Mountain. There are images of Herman Ulrichs walking among heavily snow-flocked trees. The following images are interesting. Several of these appear to be from the same trip as images in Folder J, below.

  • Skiers near snow flocked trees (3 different scenes).
  • Skier atop Table Mtn, snowflocked trees, Mt Shuksan in the distance (2 different scenes).
  • Skiers near Austin Pass with mountains in the background (3 different scenes).
  • Three skiers on a ridge, cloud-play.

Folder H - "Special B&W"

Many fine prints. The following are especially interesting:

  • Washington Power Company cabin at Lyman Lake, in summer.
  • A man (Ralph Eskenazi) rowing a boat across Spirit Lake, identified as the Mt St Helens summit ski trip.
  • Photo of skier on Table Mtn, with Mt Baker in the distance.
  • Old mine cabin in Phelps Creek meadows, in summer.
  • Sig Hall and Ralph Eskenazi atop North Star Mountain, Chiwawa Mtn in the distance, on the Lyman Lake ski trip, published in the 1945 Mountaineer Annual (p. 32).
  • Skiers walking across a log on the White Pass ski trip.
  • Three skiers atop Sibley-Triad divide with Eldorado in the background, published in the 1944 Mountaineer Annual (p. 39, fine).
  • White Pass ski trip, skiers crossing Wenatchee river on a foot log.
  • Man wearing back-mounted fan, from "The Up-Ski Experiment".
  • Skier atop Mt Adams, with Rainier in the distance.
  • Summit view from Arrowhead Mtn.

Folder I - "Summer/Winter Pairs, Specials"

This folder contains photo negatives taken in different seasons and matched for comparison. The following are interesting:

  • Views of Eldorado from the divide west of the Triad. The spring scene is the one with a skier, probably Walt Hoffman, also found in Folder A. 3x4 prints of both photos are also in this folder.
  • Sig Hall and Ralph Eskenazi atop North Star Mountain, on the 1938 Lyman Lake ski trip.
  • Mt Rainier from Chinook Pass, with a skier in the middle distance.
  • The by-now familiar scene of three skiers atop the Sibley-Triad divide with Eldorado Peak in the distance. This negative is not matched with a summer scene.

Folder J - "Mt Baker Ski"

This folder contains over 40 fine B&W negatives. There are a number of photos depicting heavily flocked trees and snowy scenes (without people). The following negatives, with people, are interesting:

  • Skiers, probably on Table Mtn, with heavily flocked trees (4 different scenes).
  • Skiers at Austin Pass or Table Mtn, with Mt Baker or other peaks in the distance (11 different scenes).
  • A photo of Herman Ulrichs on snowshoes with Mt Baker in the distance, of which several copies can be found in this shoebox.
  • Photos of a man on foot (probably Ulrichs) among heavily flocked trees (2 different scenes).
  • Photo of a skier below some glacier seracs.
  • Photos of Andy Hennig and Erick Larson near the Black Buttes during the 1939 Mt Baker ski traverse (2 different scenes).
  • Photo of a skier with overnight pack near Coleman Pinnacle, showing the descent route of the 1939 Mt Baker ski traverse.
  • Photo of a pack and ski poles atop Mt Baker, probably during the 1939 ski traverse.
  • Miscellaneous ski scenes (2).

Folder K - "Misc. Picts"

An 8.5"x11" white folder. Contains photocopies of photographs, mostly Watson photos around Table Mountain, Mt Baker.

Folder L - "Mt. Albumn, Cascades, Masters, 5x8"

A 5"x8" yellow folder. Contains copies of a number of items in Watson's scrapbook. There are some unique materials also.

Folder M - "Negs, Special, 5x7 Hyd. Coroloides, Mt. Baker etc"

Contains a negative copy of an L.D. Lindsley photo of a "coral mushroom". Also contains a negative copy of an Austin Pass winter scene with a figure identified as Hermann Ulrichs on snowshoes.

Folder N - "Mt Trips and Miles"

Driving and trail notes and miscellany.

Folder O - "Misc. Picts 3x4"

Mostly trees, flowers and plants, some scenics outside Washington.

Folder P - "Misc Mts"

Mostly summer pictures around Mt Rainier.

Folder Q - "L. Chelan Data"

Miscellaneous info about Lake Chelan.

Folder R - "Mt. Bks"

List of books of interest to Watson. I've added a few of them to my own lists.

Folder S - "Mt. Dates, Blank 1958-1965, Historical"

Nothing relevant.

Folder T - "Big Four Ski, Pearl Harbor Day, Dec 7, 1941"

Photos of snowy trees and mountains, color and B&W.

Folder U - "Mt Baker (Ski) Positivies, East Base-Table Mt"

Fine photo (positive transparency) of a figure on snowshoes in a snowy landscape with Mt Baker in the distance. Other materials in this shoebox identify the figure as Hermann Ulrichs.

Folder V - "Mt. Composite w/X Greetings, Mountain Views, Special"

A negative and print of several mountain scenes (all Watson photos) with a Christmas greeting.

Folder W - "Special Negs."

Includes negatives of a model plane engine mounted on a pack frame, used to film "The Up-Ski Experiment" on Paradise Glacier.

Folder X - "To File"

Two negatives, mountain scenes, location unknown.

Folder Y - "Notes-Mts. Photog, Historical"

Technical info on photography.

Folder Z - "Mt. Specials, Notes, Mt. People"

Watson's notes about Ome Daiber mention the Hike Shack in 1931, a foot accident in 1936, wife Eliz. Jacobsen in a plane crash in 1938, married Matie Johnson in 1940, Mountain Rescue Council in 1948.

There is a newspaper clipping listing Second Lt. Gage Chetwood of Bellingham as missing in aerial action during WWII.

Folder AA - "Mt. People, Camp"

Notes about L.D. Lindsley and A.H. Silvester.

Box A - "5x7 Color Prints and Specials"

A 7"x8" cardboard box. Contains pictures from Lake Chelan, Monte Cristo and the South Cascade Glacier in 1939. There are a large number of prints made from Watson's slides (from Shoebox C) of Glacier Peak, Lyman Lake, Image Lake, Snow Lake, and Lake Chelan in winter and summer. There are also postcards of various mountain areas, not necessarily in Washington.

Box B - "Color Jumbo, Chelan Lake 3x5"

A yellow plastic box. Prints of lake shore scenes.


Shoebox C - "35 mm Misc Color Slides, 35 mm Viewer"

This shoebox contains two slide viewers and several small boxes of slides.

Box A - "35 mm Color Specials: Chelan, Rainier, Image L."

This is a collection of 4x1 slide sleeves wrapped in paper. There are slides of Lake Chelan in summer and winter, Mt Rainier in summer, Lyman Lake and Image Lake in summer, and the Kennedy Glacier on Glacier peak with Watson's 1938 ski route noted.

Box B - "Assorted Unfiled"

Blue plastic box. There is a good photo of Watson dressed in a suit at some sort of reception, with other people in the picture. I'd guess that the photo is circa 1950. The box also includes slides of the Entiat-Cardinal Mtn area, plus miscellaneous flower and people shots.

Box C - "Assorted 35 mm Unfiled"

White cardboard box. Paradise ice caves, Mt Rainier from Lake Eunice, flowers, Glacier Peak.

Box D - "Lyman L-Buck Pass, Image L."

Orange plastic box. Summer scenes.

Box E - "Glacier Pk, Milk Cr."

Red plastic box. Summer, Kennedy Ridge area.

Box F - "Lake Chelan Summer"

Blue plastic box. Scenes of the lake and vicinity.

Box G - "L. Chelan Summer"

Blue plastic box. Lake and trail scenes from mid-1970s.

Box H - "L. Chelan Winter"

Orange plastic box. Lake scenes from New Year, 1948-49. Amazing amount of snow around the lake.

Box I - "Mt Rainier I, Lake Eunice"

Blue plastic box. Views of Rainer from the northwest, also Knapsack Pass, summer.

Box J - "Mt Rainier II, Misc"

Blue plastic box. Ice caves and flowers.

Box K - "Mt Rainier III, Sunrise, Box Canyon"

Blue plastic box. Miscellaneous views around Mt Rainier.

Box L - "Big Four, Mt. Tr."

Yellow cardboard box. Summer valley scenes from 1981.

Box M - "Soltau Tabernacle"

Multicolor cardboard box. Photos of religious paintings.


Shoebox D - "Mts. Best"

Folder A - "Mts. Stories"

This folder contains clippings. There is an excerpt from The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan that refers to the Delectable Range, the name Watson applied to the mountains SE of Glacier Peak (called the Dakobed Range by Beckey).

"And behold, at a great distance, he saw a most pleasant mountainous country, beautified with woods, vineyards, fruits of all sorts, flowers also, with springs and fountains, very delectable to behold."

Folder B - "U.S. Geol. Survey Corresp."

Watson corresponded with Wendell Tangborn of the USGS in the 1970s regarding his explorations in the area of the South Cascade Glacier in the late 1930s. Watson provided photographs and other information to the USGS to aid glacier hydrology studies.

Looseleaf Materials

This shoebox contains a large collection of looseleaf materials. There are a few interesting articles:

  • Hessey, Charles D. Jr., "Gateways to the North Cascades," Sierra Club Bulletin, October 1967.
  • Hessey, Charles D. Jr., "Across the North Cascade Primitive Area", probably from The Living Wilderness.
  • Oberteuffer, Margaret, "A Northern Cascades Wilderness Trek," The Living Wilderness, Autumn 1959.
  • Spring, Bob and Ira, "Adventurous Scientists Prepare for Winter on Blue Glacier," Seattle Times Pictorial, October 27, 1957.

The following article has been copied and filed with other shoebox materials, since the author is unknown. *

  • "Cosmic Ray Hunted on N.W. Peaks", probably from the Seattle Times, circa 1941.


Other Materials (unboxed)

Folder A - Photo: Sigurd Hall and admirer, circa 1938

7x10 inch B&W print of Sigurd Hall and a female admirer (Adelaide Degenhardt) on skis in front of snowy trees. Hall has a small Mountaineers ski team patch on his left hip, suggesting that the picture was taken about 1938. This photo was found in miscellaneous Mountaineer files and has been added to this collection because of Hall's friendship with Dwight Watson. (Adelaide Degenhardt was identified from a picture display board held by the Mountaineers Meany Lodge committee.)

Folder B - Large Photo Prints, plus CD-ROMs, South Cascade Glacier, 1938-39

More than 50 large (about 10x10 inches) B&W prints by Dwight Watson, all taken in the vicinity of the South Cascade Glacier in 1938-39. These photos were given by Watson to Austin Post for use in glacier studies. Post subsequently gave the photos to John Scurlock, who then gave them to me (Lowell Skoog). Scurlock also provided 3 CD-ROMs containing digital scans of the photos. I've added all of these to this collection.