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 episode, which is told through the experiences of John Andrew McCown II, includes interviews with:

  • Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, on McCown’s love of falconry and how it was displaced by climbing
  • Chris Jones, the author of Climbing in North America, on the gap between European and North American climbing before the war
  • Howard Koch, a veteran of the 10th who learned to climb before the war with fellow 10th soldier David Brower, and who fought alongside John McCown on Italy’s Riva Ridge.

See here for an overview of the characters mentioned in this episode.

Available only to patrons, the Unabridged version of Episode 2 Part 2 features exclusive photographs that illustrate the story. interview with Ninety-Pound Rucksack Advisory Board member Jeff Leich on the explosion of skiing’s popularity in America in the 1920s and 1930s. Become a patron to access Unabridged content for this and every episode.

Patrons are the heart of Ninety-Pound Rucksack. Their support allows us to pursue the show’s journalistic and educational objectives as we inform and inspire the public about the Division’s living legacy. In return, they receive access to all Unabridged episodes, including exclusive content, supporting documentation, historic imagery and unique interviews.

Please consider becoming a patron.