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|Rainier History: Mt. Rainier History|
Wednesday, January 28 @ 18:15:28 PST by drew (8062 reads)
|Timeline 5000 B.C. - 1800s|
For thousands of years, Taidnapam, Upper Cowlitz, Yakama, Nisqually, and Puyallup tribes live in the foothills of the mountain they call Tahoma. They fish, hunt, and gather berries and herbs on its lower slopes. However, because they have a great reverence and awe for Tahoma, they never go near its summit. In the 1700s, European and American newcomers bring diseases that decimate the tribes. Only small groups remain when American settlers homestead near the peak in the 1800s.
- 1792 British explorer Captain George Vancouver names the mountain Mount Rainier for his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. (Rainier never visited his namesake peak.)
- 1833 Dr. William Tolmie, a Scottish physician at nearby Fort Nisqually, organizes an expedition to gather medicinal herbs. Guided by five Native Americans, he is probably the first white man to venture into what is now the park.
- Late 1850s James Longmire, an early Washington Territory settler who farms near Yelm Prairie, establishes the rough-hewn Packwood Trail. He guides many aspiring mountain climbers on this route from the Pacific Coast to Mount Rainier's slopes.
- 1857 Army lieutenant August Valentine Kautz and his party travel for eight days to climb the summit. His Nisqually guide becomes snow-blind, his companions give up, and despite his perseverance, he is just 400 feet shy of the summit. However, he proves that Mount Rainier can be climbed.
- 1870 General Hazard Stevens and Philemon Van Trump make the first well-do*****ented ascent of Mount Rainier. For more information on that intrepid group, click here.
- 1883 At age 63, James Longmire climbs to the summit with Philemon Van Trump and George Bayley. On the trip, Longmire's horse wanders from camp to a mineral spring on Mount Rainier's south side. When Longmire discovers his horse, he decides then and there to return to the idyllic spot. In 1884, he and his wife build Mineral Springs Resort, Mount Rainier's first hotel.
- 1890 Fay Fuller, a schoolteacher from a small town near Olympia, becomes the first woman to climb the mountain. As visitation rises, a campaign is led to protect Mount Rainier by establishing it as a national park.
- 1899 Led by local communities and supported by scientific and conservation organizations, including the National Geographic Society, the campaign triumphs. President McKinley establishes Mount Rainier as the the nation's fifth national park.
- 1911President William H. Taft travels to Paradise in the first automobile to reach the area. (The auto has to be towed by horses the last several miles.)
- 1916 A trail system encircling the mountain, known today as the Wonderland Trail, is completed.
- 1929 "The Greathouse Accident" occurs when an entire six-person climbing party falls into a deep crevasse after sliding down Mount Rainier's upper slopes. Ranger Charlie Browne leads efforts to save the injured climbers and recovers the bodies of a guide and client. He is awarded the first citation for heroism ever given by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- 1930s The Civilian Conservation Corps builds and repairs many park buildings, trails, and bridges, which are still used today.
- 1940s The U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Ski Division trains on Mount Rainier during World War II.
- 1962 Mount Rainier is the training ground for the successful American expedition to Mount Everest.
- 1981 Project Pelion, a large group of climbers with disabilities, sets out to climb to the summit. It includes 7 visually impaired members, 2 hearing-impaired members, a one-legged Vietnam War veteran, and an epileptic member. Of the 11 members of the group, 9 reach the summit. The highest death toll in U.S. climbing history occurs when an ice avalanche on Ingraham Glacier kills 11 members of a 29-member climbing party.
- 1990 8,335 climbers attempt to reach the summit of Mount Rainier, and 4,534 are successful. "The Mountain" continues to be a mecca for climbers and sightseers from around the world.
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