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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 5, 2008 - 04:22am PT
hey there all....

seems everyone in the tv and movie world is fast to honor entertainer (some of which can be fine folks, so i am not knocking them, just adding a note)... yet, folks like these guys/gals are over-looked.... some of these skiers, though, were snatched up for an abbot and castello movie, too, which some of us, as kids, may have remembered:


i was just courious.... mountaineers, rock climbers, or those that worked hard trudging the grateoutdoors, just for the pure love of it all, were called for use, here... skiers, more in particular... perhaps some of you old-timers know more on this???

here is a plaque that any traveling climber, etc, must have seen many times over:
In 1997, Highway 89 between Tahoe City and Truckee was renamed "The 10th Mountain Division Highway" in salute to these Winter Warriors. Two signs posted on each end of the highway commemorate this honor.

this is just an excerpt from that whole link:

The War Dept. asked Dole to utilize the National Ski Patrol System to recruit skiers and mountain climbers from all over the country. Anyone wanting to join needed three letters testifying to their skiing ability and outdoorsmanship. Recruiters encouraged all outdoor-oriented men to volunteer for mountain soldier training, which attracted park rangers, trappers, hunting guides, and ranchers. The Army wanted 2,500 men; Dole's system provided more than 3,500. Among the brave volunteers who joined were two former Truckee residents, the late Karl Kielhofer and Pete Vanni.

Have any of you folks heard, or known much about these two men... i was just wondering:
karl kielhofer or pete vanni?

do you or have you heard of any old time climbers, or such, friends or relatives that may joined up?

it seems a part of climbing history that is very UNKNOWN... i had never heard of this, and never saw the plaque...but then i never got up north much, my brothers did far more than i---as i waw in texas...


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 5, 2008 - 04:29am PT
hey there ...

excepts from:

Some of the most famous skiers and mountain men from America and even some from Europe trained at Camp Hale. Roy Mikkelsen, a national ski jumping champion with the Auburn Ski Club, was a second lieutenant at Camp Hale in 1943. Europeans like Austrians Hannes Schneider's son, Herbie, (Schneider Sr. is considered by many the Father of Modern Skiing) and Bill Klein (a founder of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort) joined the mountain unit.

an interesing note, that many an outdoor folks can sure understand, and feel:

Chelton Leonard likes to say that the mountains are a great equalizer, and that soldiers from various countries, enemies or allies, possess a love of mountains, skiing, and snow that transcends the bitterness of war, a common thread that brings them together as friends.

it touches everyone that comes near....

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 5, 2008 - 05:54am PT
hey there... say, thanks...

seems the "old timers" so to speak... were a lot more set to ways of disciplining themselves.... ways that folks don't set to do much these days, in these "too easy times"...

climbers and outdoor folks, are more apt to understand what goes into all such hard work and training...

it seemed to me that these guys from back then, really took on an extra load of hardships.. and of course, they were doing so for their country... and folks doing such, as not for "pleasure purposeses" and the "fun" of it... are often over-looked history wise...

thanks for the info... this is good to know that they are even remembered still...

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Mar 5, 2008 - 08:27am PT
A year ago they had an exhibit on the 10th Mtn. Div at
the Colorado History Museum, of course, because we used to
call them 'our own', as they'd trained for WWII at Camp Hale
near Vail, CO. Many were disappointed when they were transferred
to New York. I don't know if they had the names displayed of
all of the members who fought in WWII, but they even had some
German 'booty' they had captured in Italy.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Mar 5, 2008 - 08:43am PT
We have a monument to the 10th here in Stowe VT the guys who started the division were flatlanders who weekend and holliday skied in VT and they had their meetings at the VT ski areas when they cooked up the idea for a mountain unit.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2008 - 09:47am PT
I have known a few 10th Mtn Division soldiers most are gone now - Ken Henderson was an officer while Bill Putman (still living) was one of the grunts under Ken. Both were and are active in the AAC. Both are former AAC presidents. Putman has a book on the Mtn division. Bob Bates was in the quartermaster core did a bunch of equipment testing for the Army. Which is how he and others (Washburn & Moore) did the 3rd ascent of Denali.

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2008 - 10:07am PT
neebee, Mammoth Ski Museum has some stuff about the 10th Mountain Division troupes. Chris Lizza of Lee Vining is a wealth of info on the subject.
Contact the Mono Market, he owns it.

Mar 5, 2008 - 10:18am PT
I run into 10th Mountain people now and again. In 1983 right after moving to California I ran into one of the guys who had quite a sense of humor. He said "there were a lot of foreigners in the Division and the government wouldn't let us get into the fighting. They did not trust us and just wanted to keep us where we couldn't do any harm." Actually this script fits in quite well with what we see on ST.

But, to get back to "what do we do about it now".............

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Mar 5, 2008 - 10:19am PT
Jud thurston got me started climbing. His dad stormed Riva Ridge with the 10th Mtn. My first time up pinnacle gully Mt Washington 1984 Jud caried his dads WWll ice ax.

Trad climber
Reston, VA
Mar 5, 2008 - 10:27am PT

Glad you are picking up on the great history of this fabled Army Division and the men in it. These guys are in their 80s and 90s now and many have already left us. I highly recommend seeing the movie: Fire on the Mountain. It is the story about their exploits in WWII as well as what they did to establish the American Ski and other outdoor industries following the War. One founded the Sierra Club. Another Nike Shoes. But nearly all did somethng of value to make our Country what it is today.

My uncle, Frank Smith was 19 years old when he joined the 10th mountain during WW2. He was an Engineer and one of the few soldiers who was on both the assault on Riva Ridge and the next day on Mt Belvadere in the Appenine Mountains. He also was awarded a Bronze Star W/Valor for taking a bridge over the Po River with his Engineer Recon Squad. He was a good man with great physical prowess and courage. Right now he is in a nursing home with a broken hip and he's fading.

This is a brief WWII operational synopsis of the 10th Mountain in Italy:

"United States and Brazilian soldiers had been unsuccessful in breaking German lines established in the northern Italian Alps, and the defenses appeared impenetrable. From Naples, Italy, the 10th Mountain set sights on routing the Germans from Mount Belvedere. Mount Belvedere provided the key to advancement into the Po Valley and securing Mount Belvedere depended on routing German artillery entrenched on Riva Ridge, a three and a half mile ridge connecting a series of mountains. Warm weather rendered the specially designed winter camouflage clothing and equipment useless and the planned assault on Riva Ridge required climbing rather than skiing. On the night of February 18, 1945, companies of the 86th Regiment scaled Riva Ridge surprising the Germans.

The capture of Riva Ridge enabled the 85th and 87th Regiments to move on Mount Belvedere and the adjacent peaks Mounts Gorgolesco and della Torraccia. In capturing these peaks, the 10th Mountain suffered over 900 casualties. The next major assaults were in March on Mount della Spe and in April at Tole. Victories paved the way to advance on the PO Valley. By April 20th the 10th Mountain Division entered the valley, and after heavy fighting the German Army in Italy surrendered on May 2, 1945. In the campaign in Italy, the 10th took heavy losses with 4,888 casualties including 978 killed in action."

They took casualties but all told during their offensive operations the 10th captured or render combat ineffective 10 German Divisions.

I have some pictures I'll post up.

Gary Carpenter

SF Bay Area
Mar 5, 2008 - 11:04am PT
Here is an interesting link I found. Thought that Fred Becky was in this unit.


"In January of 1944, Duke Watson replaced McCown as the commander of the rock climbing school. His staff consisted of many of the top climbers of that generation. David Brower was second in command. Raffi Bedayn was supply officer. Among the fifty instructors many names stand out-Dick Emerson, Fred Becky, Bill Dunaway, to name just a few."
handsome B

Gym climber
Mar 5, 2008 - 12:16pm PT
Stu Dole still skis, I think he is in his 90's now.

My grandfather was in the 10th, but doesn't talk about the war.
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Mar 5, 2008 - 12:20pm PT
Senator Bob Dole was shot pulling a radio operator out of harms way on Mt. Belvedere.

David Brower first Executive Director of the Sierra Club and Yosemite climber was in also.

These guys were the real deal.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 5, 2008 - 12:37pm PT
hey there all...say, this is wonderful... this is a lot more than i had hoped for... my mom always taught me respect for folks from generations before us---as she used to, or still tries to read biographies, etc....

so that was one of the reasons i sought to wonder about old time folks that were involved in the outdoors---which led me to this....

i am babysitting a house full of kids now, so i mustn't neglect them, but i am coming back this eveing to seek out more of this stuff....

say, thanks all... i had some nice more specific thanks to add, for yours shares, but i just cant do it yet---but i will....

thanks... this is the fruit of many hard-worked souls...

Trad climber
Mar 5, 2008 - 01:01pm PT
There's a really interesting book on the 10th Mountain Division I read called, I believe, "The Last Ridge." Really interesting stuff. A few guys at Ivy League ski clubs basically contacted the military and offered their services. They somehow convinced the military to give them top notch gear and a training zone in Colorado.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Mar 5, 2008 - 01:02pm PT
And you guys are insanely lucky. You have a chance to meet an original member of the group, as well as the first climbing team member of the east face of Whitney, Glen Dawson:


Friends of the Angeles Chapter History Committee:

You are invited to the premier showing of “Golden Youth: The Adventures of Glen Dawson Growing Up In The Sierra Club”, a digital slide presentation that I will be presenting at the next meet­ing of the Ski Mountaineers Section, March 18 (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m. at the Griffith Park Ranger Station Auditorium, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles.

Featured will be photos and descriptions of early Dawson outings to local mountains and further afield, along with accounts of Glen’s many rock climbing and ski mountaineering exploits. Please join us in exploring the many facets of the Golden Age of Sierra Club outings.

An added attraction will be the presence of Glen Dawson, himself, now in his 95th year, and in Glen’s parlance, “still able to walk around the block.”

Bob Cates

Chair, Angeles Chapter History Committee


Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 5, 2008 - 01:09pm PT
Guys from the 10th Mountain Division returned to the area near the old Camp Hale in Colorado where they trained and founded a small ski resort they called Vail.


ps- not surprisingly, one of the toughest runs on the mountain is named Riva Ridge.

Trad climber
the ville, colorado
Mar 5, 2008 - 01:57pm PT
I clip their old pitons all summer out at Camp Hale,Colorado.

I knew quite a few of the old guys when I was the MTn Mgr. at a local ski area 15 yrs back.

I think Bunea Vista Dave is still skiing. Not many are left these days. I remember 25 of them showing up back in 97 for the reunion & one even arrived via parachute. Great mtn. men for sure.

There is a cool route on Independence pass(monitor rock)that goes at an easy 4-5 pitch 5.8 (trooper traverse). It was put up by the 10th mountain guys & a few pitons are there just waiting to be clipped.rg
Ricardo Cabeza

Mar 5, 2008 - 02:12pm PT
Edgerton F Hyde, My grandfather and recipient of 2 purple hearts, was the owner of the lodge that accompanied Sugarbush's (VT) startup in the late 40's, went on to spend a good many years in sales,still skis, and was an officer in the tenth. My childhood is nothing but stories of the war and Riva Ridge in particular. As of 78 years old, he was the reigning national Masters slalom winner. Dude won Masters titles for 10 years! He taught me how to ski when I was 2 years old, coached my racing, took me to Europe for summertime glacier training, and pretty much made me the man that I am today. I have so much respect for the Tenth. If anyone goes to the national ski museum in Killington, look for Tony Hyde. The man is 86 years old these days and despite 3 cornea transplants still plays competitive tennis 4 days a week. Keep your mind young and your body will follow.

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Mar 5, 2008 - 07:28pm PT

My dad is 83'
He makes me smile almost everyday.
Because we talk almost every day.
It does not matter what we talk about, but anyway...

This morning I flipped him the link to this thread.

From a chat session this afternoon:
(forgive the typo's et al)

My Dad: Hi kid --- I just got through reading every word including the attachments
Me: yeah ... what did you think?
Me: < never knew that Vail Colo was started by old 10th MNT Div guys
My Dad: I know this group well--- almost joined them while stationed at Salt Lake City but was told " NO " by the CO who told me I was being shipped overseas in 2 days time
Me: that's what I thought you had told me. That you were already just about 'pau' with Basic and shipping out when you saw some skiers with the 10th and you were all stoked. But to late to get on with them?
My Dad: While enroute to my port of departure in Va. we had a 4hour lay-over at Camp Hale and I got special permission to go watch the 10 th Mtn. Div. guys in training
Me: Schweeeet... (but envious) I bet
My Dad: what a thrill to see those guys in action
My Dad: they were absolutely amazing
My Dad: I used to ski with Herb Schneider
Me: No Sh#t 'eh
My Dad: I taught ski school at No. Conway for a week and dated his sister
Me: while your typing I will spank out a question for you, ... did you ever ski with Carrol Reed ?
My Dad: we went ice skating
My Dad: Carrol Reed was a clothing store
My Dad: Reed was a New Yorker and not a skier
Me: I thought it was the name of a well known N.E skier as well ? lol
Me: so Reed was just a business man then ?
My Dad: ---not to my knowledge- you may be thinking about the NY banker who funded the entire no. Conway development
My Dad: he got Reed to open the ski shop
Me: Ice skating... in North Conway? So was that at the outdoor rink they setup in the common field in front of the train station area ?
My Dad: he also paid for the engineering work on the ski mobile---the first in the world
Me: oooh yeah ? Reed did, (pay or help pay for development of the skimobile) ?
My Dad: you got it, the rink that is --- and it was cold as hell that nite
Me: lmao
Me: I can imagine, I've paid my dues in Mnt. Warshtub valley, I can relate, so go on old man...
My Dad: not a pleasant dating experience
Me: So the Cranmore 'skimobile' was truly a national first in ski resort development huh ?
My Dad: Me---those 10th mtn boys wereb sking down a mountainside steep as anything i've ever seen with 9 foot skis and 90 pound packs on their backs ----at full speed---wide open---WOW !!!!
Me: That's when you really bust sh#t up when/if you wipe out. Falling is one thing but when the inertia of an extra 90 lbs comes down on the limb.... yikes
My Dad: yeh---Cranmore was revolutional
My Dad: the 1st in the nation
Me: I recall seeing early promo adds for the 'skimobile' but I did not realize the impact it had on the countries fledgling Ski resort industry.
My Dad: before that there was nothing but rope tows and damned few of those
Me: lol so early daze 'Tuck's' ravine was not that big of a deal ? Because you guys were used to hiking to get a good virgen run in 'eh ?
My Dad: right
My Dad: we herring-boned up and skiied down
Me: sounds like such fun... lol herringbone with monster skis'
My Dad: I'm getting tired of typing ---I,rather herring-bone up a mountain and ski down than type
Me: lmao ... I hear yah
My Dad: yeh---when I started we had Kandihar bindings only---no modern bindings like today
Me: those are wire/ bear trap style ?
My Dad: steel toe plate with a leather strap going around the back of the boot
Me: holy sh#t
Me: did you guys talk to 'burning bushes' on the top of the Mount before descending as well ? (Jus' joking)
My Dad: great for cross country but no good for downhill
Me: I bet
Me: so you started off telemarking then? as your only real way to turn those old boards ?
My Dad: the turns had to be all telemark turns
My Dad: it was easier to jump off a cliff than ski down a slope
Me: lol
My Dad: true, NS --- that is why everyone was into ski jumping instead of slalom back then!
My Dad: I learned to jump before I learned to turn
Me: NS I never thought of that ... doh
My Dad: parrallel turns were unknown
Me: And when did people start parrallel turning? And was it simul developed by the North Americans and the Euro's when the appropriate bindings came out ?
My Dad: that is what made Hannes Schneider so famous
Me: Ahhhhhhhh
Me: Schneider ? Originally Austrian ?
My Dad: the first to teach da'am-ricans the art of swiss style, parrelell sking.
My Dad: OK I QUIT, enough typing.
My Dad: Bye
Me : L8's pops...
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