1943 Trooper Traverse Participant List – Roster

Trooper Traverse — Leadville to Aspen on Skis — February 1944
Roster, annotated

The 33 soldiers (30 enlisted men and 3 officers) on the 1944 “Trooper Traverse” came from three components of the soldiers stationed at Camp Hale: 10th Reconnaissance Troop, Mountain Training Group, and 10th Medics. It appears that participation in this groups was somewhat arbitrary, and men were placed where needed and where their skills necessitated. For example, famed climber Paul Petzoldt stated he was scrubbing floors in the mess hall, when an officer saw him and said “are you Paul Petzoldt?” Paul affirmed that he was indeed the man, and the officer transferred Petzoldt from scullery work to creating, from scratch, the Army’s methodology for mountain evacuation. (Petzoldt statements from video Fire on the Mountain).

Note there may have been a few other soldiers on the trip. Trip participant Ralph Ball loaned this author photos of the trip he claims were made by James Norman Richardson, but Richardson is not on the roster as presented in the Ski-Zette. It’s possible the Ball photos are actually those made by Horace Quick, and I believe this to be the case.

Officially, according to the Camp Hale Ski-Zette newspaper, March 3, 1944, the 10th Reconnaissance troop was commanded by Capt. John Jay, and the Mountain Training Group was commanded by Lt. Col. Paul Lafferty. Both were organizations within the 15th Headquarters Detachment under command of Col. D. P. Spalding. John Jay was on the ski traverse and was the official leader of the trip, Paul Lafferty was not on the trip.

Men on the trip, alphabetic:
Glen Asher

Ralph Ball (Deceased, lived in Carbondale Colorado, Dawson was in touch with him, Mtn. Training Group.)

Fred Beckey (According to traverse vet Glen Dawson this is indeed the famous climber, Lou Dawson did some climbing with him once, would like to get in contact…)

Albert Beesmer

Andrews Black

Donald Borthwick (Deceased, lived in Aspen area for many years)

William “Bill” Bowes

John Chappell (Deceased, auto accident 1954, Dawson in touch with daughter Randi Atchison.)

Neil Christie (Deceased, his son repeated Trooper Traverse, lives in Colorado.)

Thomas Degles

Glen Dawson (Still living in 2001, well known mountaineer.)

W.A. Eastman

Maurice Finn

Joseph Froelich

William Hackett (Famed mountaineer and mountain medicine expert, deceased.)

Hans Hagemeister (Principle in ski equipment industry for many years.)

Charles Hampton

George Hurt (Mtn. Training Group)

John Jay (Pioneer of ski cinematography, deceased, commander of 10th Reconnaissance Troop, may not have been on trip, some say he was.)

Charles Klingerman

Mattias Madsen

Jack Major

Russ M. McJury (Commander of 10th Recon, one of the trip leaders)

Robert McCaig

Nathan Morrell

Erling Omland (Living in Vermont, was in contact with Dawson during research.)

Paul Petzoldt (10th Medics, world famous mountaineer, founded NOLS, deceased.)

James Popp

Horace Quick (Artist and photographer, posed for famed Sat. Evening Post cover, Dawson contacted him, he lives in Colorado.)

Richard Rocker (Mtn. Training Group, field commissioned during combat.)

Hans Sarbach

Ernest “Tap” Tapley (Famous outdoorsman, worked with Petzoldt to found United States Outward Bound as well as NOLS, Dawson in contact with him.)

Burdell Winter (died in combat, 10th Mountain Uncle Bud’s Hut is memorial to him.)

It’s known there were several groups of soldiers who hiked a similar route between Leadville and Aspen, one during autumn when they trudged through snow above timberline. With the mist of time, some of these groups have been mistaken for ski trips by sources this author has contacted. Also, there was at least one group of soldiers that traveled from Camp Hale (Pando) to Glenwood Springs on foot, possibly in part on skis. To the best of this author’s knowledge after extensive historical research, the February 1944 trip done by the men listed above was the only true 10th Mountain Division ski mountaineering trip done from Leadville to Aspen, over the alpine highland across the highest part of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It is the only “Trooper Traverse.”

(Note: A few journalists have written that another Trooper Traverse occurred during winter of 1942/1943. Nothing In my research verifies this. More, that was the first winter Camp Hale was fully operational, it’s doubtful the soldiers had enough gear, leadership and organization to have done the route that winter.)

(Sourced primarily from Camp Hale newspaper report, with additional information from surviving participants.)


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