Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

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llholmes1948
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Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by llholmes1948 »

The 50th anniversary of this unfortunate event almost slipped by me until a few days ago.

I went to Glacier for the first time in June 1970 and spent the summer working at Lake McDonald. I find it odd that I never heard of this accident at the time and never heard it discussed around the hotel even when the last body was recovered in July 1970. I guess I wasn't reading the newspapers back then and there was no tv at the hotel. I don't think I learned anything about this until a few years later.

Link to an item in the Helena Independent Record:

https://helenair.com/lifestyles/recreat ... c8abf.html

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Re: Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by orin »

I was in high school not too far from the park when the accident happened and I do remember hearing about it at the time. I was reminded about it years later while reading one of George Ostrom's books. He helped with the recovery operation the next spring after the bodies melted out of the snow.

So June will be your 50th anniversary in Glacier! A worthy milestone in anyones life! I hope you will get to return to celebrate.

Just in case you or any other readers are Glacier history buffs, John Taliaferro has a book out in the last few months, Grinnell: America's Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West. In addition to his history at Glacier he also traveled with Custer a couple of years before the Little Bighorn, helped found the Audubon Society and the Boone and Crockett Club (with Teddy Roosevelt), advocated for Yellowstone against its early exploiters, supported legislation that established what would become the first National Forests, and wrote ethnographies of the Blackfeet, Cheyennes and Pawnees among other things. Quite a remarkable man.

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Re: Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by teapot57 »

Happy 50th Anniversary, Lyman!

:| :arrow: :|

I am currently reading In Search of the Mount Cleveland Five by Terry Kennedy, which incorporates the story of the Mt Cleveland tragedy into an interesting tale of Kennedy’s climbing career. It’s a good read. I also have The White Death, the book referenced in Lyman’s link, waiting to be read on the bookshelf.

Thanks for the suggestion of the new Grinnell book, Orin. I have quite the collection of Glacier books. If anyone would like to read from my stash, I am happy to pass them along and would be happy to bring them with me if I see you in the Park this summer.

llholmes1948
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Re: Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by llholmes1948 »

Orin and Tina,

Thanks so much for your congratulations. And thanks for pointing out those books.

I worked at Lake McDonald in 1970, 1971 and 1972. It was only by chance that I learned of a job possibility there and applied for it but Glacier has certainly had a profound effect on my life. I enjoyed it at the time but I don't think I realized then just how fortunate I was to be able to spend three summers there. I don't think a day goes by when I don't think of Glacier - some hike that I took there, someone I worked with or met there. It is certainly a wonderful place.

I don't think we are making it back to Glacier this year but it is high on the list for next year and I hope I will be able to do so. I think my children are a bit concerned that Carlene and I may not be able to make it back to Sperry Chalet or Granite Park chalet (they carried our packs for us to Granite Park in 2014) but I don't think we want to give us on those prospects yet!

Lyman

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Re: Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by Selkie »

Lyman,
Swan Mountain Outfitters is resuming trail rides to Sperry this summer, if you can bear the thought (and spinal percussion).
I gather from TripAdvisor reports that one must be able to mount and dismount without a block, in case it becomes necessary to do so on the trail.

Congratulations on an important anniversary! Even a deferred celebration in-Park should be gratifying.

llholmes1948
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Re: Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by llholmes1948 »

Selkie wrote:Lyman,
Swan Mountain Outfitters is resuming trail rides to Sperry this summer, if you can bear the thought (and spinal percussion).
I gather from TripAdvisor reports that one must be able to mount and dismount without a block, in case it becomes necessary to do so on the trail.

Congratulations on an important anniversary! Even a deferred celebration in-Park should be gratifying.
Marjorie,

Thanks very much for your message. The first hike that I ever did in Glacier was from Lake McDonald Lodge to Sperry Chalet, probably in early July 1970. I hiked up with one of the maids from the hotel who had the same day off that I did. There was plenty of snow around the Chalet then. Before we left to hike back, the wrangler invited us to ride back with him on some empty horses (well, horses that had no riders going down). That was nice of him but between the hike up and the horseback ride down, my body did not recover for a week.

With the anticipated construction and occasional closure of the Many Glacier Road this summer, this is probably not the best year to go to Glacier, although any time you can go to Glacier has to be a good year.

Lyman

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Re: Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by mattB »

We need a "Like" button!!! I want to "LIKE" every single post in this thread!!
Thanks to you all!!

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Re: Mount Cleveland Tragedy - December 1969

Post by PeteE »

Ear Mountain recommended reading Terry Kennedy's book on this story to me.
I really enjoyed reading it even though it was sad, poignant? in places.
I would recommend reading it as well.

pete :wink:

PS
Matt, you could always just type the three words, "I Like this" 8)
"When you're born in this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show.
And when you're born in America, you're given a front row seat."

George Carlin

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