On March 12, 2023, National Parks Traveler host Kurt Repanshek recently released a two-part interview with Christian Beckwith about his podcast, Ninety-Pound Rucksack.
How much do you know about World War II history, Grand Teton National Park, and the evolution of outdoor recreation in the United States? Believe it or not, they’re all intertwined.
Ninety-Pound Rucksack is a podcast about the U.S. Army’s legendary 10th Division, and the dawn of outdoor recreation in America. Hosted by veteran alpinist and climbing historian Christian Beckwith, Ninety-Pound Rucksack examines the stories that made the unit legendary, as well as those that history has forgotten.
The tale of the 10th Mountain Division, a gritty unit of World War II climbers and skiers who trained for more than two years high in the Colorado Rockies to fight the Axis powers in extreme cold and mountainous terrain, is famous for good reason. Not only did its insertion into the war help end Germany’s occupation of Italy, but post-war its surviving members helped found and develop ski areas across America, started organizations such as the National Outdoor Leadership School and played a role in the fields of avalanche science and wilderness rescue.
Equal parts real-time research, intimate conversation, and revelatory journalism, Ninety-Pound Rucksack explores not only the conventional wisdom about the 10th but also the transformative power of the mountains to forge a collective identity among the mountain troops and to ignite a passion for the outdoors that reshaped American society in the process.