DIGNITY AND COMMON SENSE
It was a pleasure to discover in successive instalments of SI that Tenzing's story of his young manhood in Nepal (SI, April 25) was as vivid and moving as the story of his victory over Everest (SI, May 9).
"In some ways I am a little different from most of my people," Tenzing says. "I have wanted to travel, to move, to go and see, to go and find."
Yet after reading Tenzing's account of the Sherpa people I feel that he must characterize the best of that mountain race. As a member of one of the simplest communities on this earth he can speak thoughtfully and almost convincingly of things we would discard as primitive superstitions. As an internationally famous man, he met with supreme good sense and dignity the world's bickering over minute and foolish questions of precedence.
The powers of the West and East could well take a lesson in civilization from Tenzing Norgay and his Sherpa mountain tribe.
May 15, 1955
Your Tenzing story is a corker, the best so far.
HENRY JEWETT GREENE
Winter Park, Fla.
ITS OWN REWARD
By anyone who has felt the urge to climb mountains, your articles on Tenzing Norgay have been most enjoyed. Mountaineering is the purest form of sport we know today. When the climber defeats his mountain, the reward is only in the climbing. There is no audience, no applause, no material reward for the majority of those who follow the sport.
HANNES IS DEAD
Hannes Schneider, the greatest Skimeister of them all, is dead (SCOREBOARD, "Mileposts," May 9).
For over 10 years I lived across the street from Hannes in St. Anton am Arlberg in Austria. I had most of my meals at Hannes' table. My home had been in Innsbruck in the Tyrol, but when my parents died I went to live on the Arlberg where Hannes had his ski school. One might say that Hannes adopted me. Together we skied, hunted the chamois in the Tyrolean Alps, chopped wood and guided what few tourists there were through the high mountains. So I learned more than skiing at the hands of my oldest and most respected friend—maybe I should say father.
As I remember well, Hannes told me that during World War I, when he was training mountain troops for the Austrian army, it first seemed to him that ski teaching could be done successfully on a group basis instead of on an individual basis—which had been the way in the European ski countries. There were hundreds of guides and teachers, but no ski schools. On this system he planned his school.
Hannes had been an outstanding competitor and had won about every event there was to win, so he had a reputation.
But he also had something more important than a new system and a name. He had a feeling for snow, for mountains, for people, and the feelings were set on fire by his desire for everyone to learn to ski. Everyone.
St. Anton was a poor town. The small farms hung from the sides of the mountains. When snow came, the townspeople sat before their stoves and waited for spring. But after Hannes started his school and it became well known, it gave the town a new outlook and purpose. In addition to giving a lot of boys winter jobs teaching skiing, it brought tourists who filled the small inns and every spare bedroom in the town. Besides St. Anton, all Austria profited, as many ski schools were started.
The Arlberg technique, which is Hannes' own, was well adapted to the Alpine terrain; Hannes trained his instructors to make them feel the seriousness of ski teaching—that it wasn't just a winter job but a vocation; that it isn't easy and not always safe.
As his first assistant for over 10 years, I could see what Hannes did for skiing and what he did for the town and the Arlberg. His school became the best known in Europe. There were 45 men on his staff, all carefully trained instructors and guides. Together we built the Arlberg system to the point where it was the accepted system anywhere one skied. Hannes went his own way with his system. Other methods challenged sometimes, but always the Arlberg got stronger. Hannes and his system and his men not only led in ski teaching but in racing as well.
When Germany invaded Austria, Hannes was interned in Garmisch by the Nazis, mainly because he was one of the best-known Austrians, not because he had any active political interests, although he was anti-Nazi.
In 1938, Harvey Gibson arranged with Hjalmar Schacht, the German Finance Minister, for Hannes' release. With his family, including his son Herbert, he came to North Conway and brought along such Arlbergers as Benno Rybizka, Franz Koessler, Otto Tschol, Edi Mall and Toni Matt.
I had earlier been given 24 hours by the Nazis to get out of Austria and had crossed the border into Switzerland, from where I finally made my way to the United States.
When Hannes and his family landed in North Conway, where he was to set up a school, he looked around at the hills, which compared to home were really very little, and said, "where are the mountains?" Besides no mountains, there wasn't much else for the skier there either.
Out of almost nothing but experience, knowledge and enthusiasm, Hannes built another fine school with as great a reputation as his St. Anton school. He stuck to his Arlberg style, carefully watching the others come and go. What he had done for our town he also did for North Conway.
I settled first in Yosemite, California. Later I directed the school at the Grey Rocks Inn in Quebec and coached the McGill University ski team. I was near enough to New England to have many fine visits with Hannes.
I only lost a friend when Hannes died; the ski world lost the father of modern skiing.
Yosemite Park, Calif.
SIX BOOKS AND A PUZZLE
TIP FROM THE TOP is excellent golf advice which I never miss. One phase of the golf swing has puzzled and bothered me for the last 15 years. When—during the downswing—is the proper time to transfer the weight from the right to the left side or foot? I have six books on golf and not one is definite on this point. The opportunity of watching pros in action is rare in this province and my friends and I would appreciate it if you could prevail on one of your pros to tell us just when the weight should be shifted.
Six months ago I had a number of suggestions which I thought would improve your SI—but did not write them to you. Others did. I have none now. Thanks for good sport.
RALPH E. NELSON
Eldersley, Saskatchewan, Canada
•We caught Claude Harmon in the locker room of the Winged Foot Golf Club and he said: "Tell Nelson that the first movement of the downswing should be the transference of weight from the right to the left foot by a lateral sliding of the hips."—ED.
According to my account, the Bunion Derby (SI, May 2) was run from New York to Los Angeles, not the other way as you state. I was manager of the Continental Hotel in Los Angeles at the time. As the runners arrived and checked into the hotel Charlie Pyle, the promoter, told me he would take care of the bill. He didn't have any money but said he would have some in a day or two. He moved into quarters on the west side, as he didn't want the runners to know where he was. I gave them money for meals, but when the bill ran over $400 I told him I couldn't go any further. Pyle then got a prominent sports figure to OK the bill and I released the runners and their baggage. I never did collect any of the money. One of the runners was Jim Thorpe, the great Indian athlete.
Would like to know who is right.
•Improbable as it sounds there were two Bunion Derbies. Undiscouraged by his 1928 Los Angeles to New York fiasco (a $150,000 loss), the incredible C.C. Pyle staged a New York to Los Angeles return in 1929, upped the entrance fee to $300, told the 90 contestants to forage for themselves and this time brought the whole thing off with only an estimated $100,000 loss.—ED.
VACCINE FOR WIT
Listen here, 'tain't fair! Having been told about your MATCHWIT puzzle, I hied me to the nearest newsstand, purchased SI, April 18 and succeeded in completing your puzzle in three hours (needless to say, dishes and husband collected flies).
The following Monday, I asked said newsstand owner for the subsequent issue and was informed it comes out on Thursdays. Impatiently, and with much teeth gnashing, I waited, then I bought the April 25 copy as if it were Salk vaccine and raced back to my office. I glanced over your readers' page (in which one of my compatriots so daringly asks you to print MATCHWITS less often); shooed my boss away and prepared to sink my teeth into your sadistic concoction when, lo and behold, no puzzle do I see.
This is to inform you that I intend to buy SI just for the puzzle. So, get with it—I want puzzles more frequently, not less.
GRACE K. FISHLIN
•Stack the dishes fast and turn to page 70.—ED.
Some weeks ago your WONDERFUL WORLD (SI, April 18) described in pictures how Ted Corbitt every evening runs the 13 miles from his office to his home. I know your readers will be interested to learn that Ted won the 26-mile Fairmount Park Marathon in Philadelphia, Sunday, May 1, in a time of 2:38.20.
Ted Corbitt is a physical therapist here at the Institute for the Crippled and Disabled, a comprehensive rehabilitation center for the seriously handicapped. In sharp contrast to his own excellence as an athlete is the patient work he does to bring these disabled people from lives of physical uselessness to the point where they can walk, sit and care for themselves. Ted Corbitt, in our opinion, is every bit as excellent a member of our team as he is an athlete.
WILLIS C. GORTHY
Institute for the Crippled & Disabled
•A special Pat on the Back to Ted Corbitt.—ED.
IN SPAIN THEY DO...
Looked over your color spread on Gen. Franco's hunt in Spain (SI, May 2).
Don't you think your hunting reporter Virginia Kraft was a trifle overgunned? A .300 Holland & Holland Magnum for use on 200-pound boar and deer is considered, in the full-loaded factory ammo she must have used, to be pretty hot for these medium-sized animals. To plink at driven game which come up and practically lick the salt off your sweaty palms, it seems a bit stiff. But in Spain maybe they do things differently.
W. B. EDWARDS
•Custom regulations forbade our Miss Kraft to bring her own weapons to Spain and she had to accept the .300 Magnum favored by the generally overgunned monteros who hate to miss anything that moves through the weeds. Ginny Kraft recalls the cannonlike behavior of this gun as "cruel and unusual self-punishment." She would have preferred her own 12-gauge double-barreled A. H. Fox shotgun.—ED.
Ted Trueblood, in his article Flies and Lines (SI, April 25), brought final recognition to the Renegade, a fly first tied in the early 1930s by Taylor (Beartracks) Williams, now Sun Valley's head guide, who beefed up the white hackle to make it float well and also to make it more easily visible after sundown in the turbulent waters of Malad Canyon.
In recognizing the Renegade, Trueblood and Costello have accepted what we consider a functional fly. Like the few flies that we use in this area, the Renegade is short on sales appeal and long on filling a basket.
The color plate shows the Renegade "fore & aft"—true enough—but actually, the brown hackle in the rear, as originally tied, is about half the size as shown.
Sun Valley, Idaho
•Trueblood and Costello are tying Renegades which they feel are suitable to local conditions. "Might try that smaller brown hackle someday," adds Trueblood.—ED.
TRUEBLOOD'S TRUE WOOLLY WORM
I am an amateur flytier who read Ted Trueblood's April 25 article on trout flies with a great deal of interest. Could you tell me the composition of the flies shown? Your reproductions are excellent but I cannot ascertain the materials used.
I think you have an excellent magazine and have enjoyed reading it since your first issue.
W. D. ENGLEMAN
•Herewith the materials used by SI's Ted Trueblood for his twelve Inter-mountain favorites:
GRAY SQUIRREL RED: gray hackle, gray squirrel tail wing, red floss body ribbed with silver tinsel.
YELLOW BI-FLY: gray hackle, deer body hair wing and tail, yellow floss body.
STONE FLY NYMPH: sparse black hackle, clipped on top; dark-brown chenille body, yellow chenille on bottom, forward third; two goose wing quills for tail.
BUCKTAIL ROYAL COACHMAN: brown hackle, bucktail wing, peacock herl body with red floss center, golden pheasant tippet tail.
TRUE WOOLLY WORM: sparse gray hackle, black-yellow-black chenille body.
SANDY MITE: tan hair hackle, woven tan and yellow hair body.
MARABOU STREAMER: gray hackle, marabou wing topped with peacock herl, oval silver tinsel body.
MICKEY FINN: yellow-red-yellow buck-tail wing, silver tinsel body spiraled with gold tinsel.
RENEGADE: white hackle front, brown rear; peacock herl body.
GRAY HACKLE YELLOW: gray hackle, yellow floss body ribbed with gold tinsel; red hackle-fiber tail.
SHRIMP: partridge hackle and tail, tan otter fur body.
FLEDERMOUSE: gray squirrel-tail wing, body mixed muskrat and coyote tail.—ED.
THOUGHTS ON COFFEEPOT LAKE
John O'Reilly's story of the Wyoming sage hen (SI, April 18) stirred some mighty eloquent boyhood memories of my home town of Davenport, in eastern Washington (hard by the Lou Eddy Ranch, where the outlaw Harry Tracy was killed in July, 1902). Here the sage hen, like the jack-rabbit, played hide-and-seek in the tall sagebrush, although to the wildfowler in this duck-and-goose paradise the sage hen was a by-product. With other kids I roamed the pothole country, spotting the honkers on small lakes or building blinds and waiting for them to come. We carried 2s and 3s for the geese but, just in case the jack-rabbit and sage hen would take our fancy, some lighter shot, such as 5s and 6s.
Mr. O'Reilly didn't say, but our sage hens were of little food interest except in the fall, when they occasionally fed on the stubble fields. Otherwise they tasted of sagebrush. There was no season for hunting them, they were a law unto themselves. Difficult to flush, they streaked across the in and out of sagebrush as a coot dives to safety, and all too soon they would vanish. Coffeepot Lake was their stamping ground.
But our main interest, the center of our hopes and longings, were the honkers, or Canadian geese. Pellets would bounce off their breasts as if they carried armor if you shot at them head on. As we grew older we learned to stampede them just over the blind and then cut loose. On calm days flock after flock put on magnificent aerial displays over the lake. As they flew in high some leader, weary of flight from the north or stuffed with food from the wheat fields far to the east, let go with a stentorian honk, honk. At this they would break formation and fall hundreds of feet in a wild turmoil, a panic of wings and wild cries. As they came close to the lake they would put on the brakes and streak the surface with bright gashes of spray.
There were few cameras in those days and I have looked in vain through old Outings and Scribner's for a pictorial story on these wildfowl parachutists and tumblers. Thanks for bringing back these pleasant thoughts.
HERE IS A COMMITTEE OF ONE
I am the nondescript housewife of a Saturday morning golfer who on April 23 got himself a hole in one on the 205-yard 9th of the Huntington Beach course.
Please answer this question, which I am weary of asking: why is it when a man achieves such a feat he must buy each and every fellow member a drink at the bar? The only reason the James family was able to feed its three hungry boys for that week is the fortunate absence of a bar at the club.
But he could make a hole in one again on some other, wetter course, and with this thought in mind I would like to elect myself a committee of one to change the unfortunate tradition. When a man attempts a great feat, such as a hole in one—and succeeds—it is he who should be the recipient of the prize. Liquor, if you must, but better, why not a small, ornamental pin? The satisfaction would last so much longer.
Give it some thought—it might happen to your wife.
MRS. HERBERT JAMES
Monterey Park, Calif.
•It is very unlikely to happen to our wife.—ED.
Because I recently went on a week's vacation, I just got around to reading the March 28 issue. In it I found a statement in RECORD BREAKERS which I believe to be incorrect, and I quote, "Dave Hawkins, Harvard's fast-moving NCAA swimming titleholder, established American mark of 2:13.8 for 200-yard butterfly in Eastern Intercollegiate championships at New Haven, Conn."
Phil Drake, University of North Carolina swimmer, did the 200-yard butterfly in a 25-yard pool in 2:13.2 (only three-tenths of a second off the world's record) while participating in the Atlantic Coast Conference swimming meet on March 12. I might add that Drake recently won the 200-yard butterfly, beating Hawkins in the NCAA swimming meet at Oxford, Ohio in the time of 2:13.7, which is also better than Hawkins' previous 2:13.8.
•In 1954 the NCAA and AAU recognized the butterfly for the first time as an official stroke separate from the breaststroke, at the same time revising the leg movement to allow for increased speed. Prior to the recent Eastern Intercollegiate meet at New Haven, NCAA officials agreed that an outstanding time in the 200-yard-butterfly would be considered for recognition as the national mark. Hawkins' 2:13.8 was filed by NCAA Swimming Records Chairman Phil Harburger for the new record. Thus Hawkins was the unofficial record holder for the week SI went to press. The following week NCAA officials reversed themselves and decided to recognize as the official butterfly record the 1952 breaststroke mark of 2:12.9 set by John Davies of Australia and Michigan, even though Davies used the older and slower breaststroke kick. The reason North Carolina's Phil Drake, with a better time than Hawkins, was never even the unofficial record holder: his coach had assumed all along that Davies' mark was the official record and did not file Drake's time. Incidentally, there is no 200-yard butterfly world record because FINA recognizes distances of 200 meters and 220 yards only.—ED.