The story of the 10th Mountain Division is a sprawling saga, and there are as many ways to tell it as there are individuals who were instrumental to its development.
Ninety-Pound Rucksack recounts the Division’s tale from the perspective of the climbers, skiers and military leaders who helped shape it. To keep track of who’s who, we update this page with each new episode, providing an overview of the characters introduced.
How the 1939 Soviet invasion of Finland catalyzed the creation of the 10th Mountain Division… with a little help from the National Ski Patrol System, the United States Army, and a couple of twenty-something climbers from The American Alpine Club.
This episode provides a sweeping overview of the history of skiing in America as told through the experiences of one of the 10th Mountain Division’s greatest unsung heroes, John Andrew McCown II.
Episode 2, Part 2 delivers a deep dive into the state of American and European climbing before the war, as well as how the rise of the Third Reich caused some of the best German and Austro-Hungarian mountaineers to emigrate, influencing climbing and skiing in America and contributing to 10th Mountain Division’s fighting skills.
The Drumbeats of War: Episode 3 explores the 10th Mountain Division’s backstory in the lead-up to America’s entry into World War II.
A deep dive into the US Army’s experimental ski patrols of 1940-1941, and the world events leading up to the activation of the 1st Battalion (Reinforced), 87th Mountain Infantry at Ft. Lewis, Washington—the unit that would later evolve into the 10th Mountain Division.