This Abridged version of Episode 6 follows the mountain troops to Mount Rainier National Park where, in the middle of February 1942, they began their ski training at one of the best places a soldier could ever learn to ski—a place called, appropriately enough, Paradise.

The episode also chronicles the development of The Manual of Ski Mountaineering and The Handbook of American Mountaineering, the country’s first instructional manuals for climbing and ski mountaineering. The publication of both books was expedited for use by the US Army’s mountain troops.

The episode furthermore details the adventures of Ninety-Pound Rucksack’s protagonist, the whip-smart climbing prodigy John Andrew McCown II, as he joined the new unit at Ft. Lewis, Washington.

The episode includes interviews with Ninety-Pound Rucksack board members:

See here for biographies of characters introduced in this episode.

Available only to patrons, the Unabridged version of Episode 6 features the following exclusive content:

  • Bonus Episode 1: an interview with professional trainer and world-renowned alpinist Steve House on the training protocol put together for the mountain troops by The American Alpine Club
  • Bonus Episode 2: an interview with Kit DesLauriers, the first woman to ski the seven summits, on the regiment’s ski mountaineering training from the perspective of the modern ski mountaineer.
  • Bonus Episode 3: The original recordings of the songs the mountain troops used to sing at Paradise Lodge on Mount Rainier, including the one that gave Ninety-Pound Rucksack our title
  • Historical imagery illustrating the events covered in the episode
  • A chronology of events related to the episode

Click here to unlock these and other patron-only perks.

Patrons are the heart of Ninety-Pound Rucksack. Our goal with Ninety-Pound Rucksack is to inform and inspire the public about the Division’s living legacy. Patrons’ support allows us to pursue the show’s journalistic and educational objectives as we detail the Division’s living legacy. In return, we’re excited to provide access to Unabridged content for all episodes.

Support the show. Become a patron!