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When “back in the day” really was back in the day, February 1922 to be precise, Jean and Jacques Landry, Jacques Bergues, and cameraman Charles Perryman made the first winter ascent of Mt. Rainier. The foursome climbed, skinned, climbed some more, and planted an American flag on the summit on a cold but flawless day. The footage slipped into mystery until 2003, when Perryman’s grandson reached out with it to Northwest ski pioneer and documentarian Lowell Skoog, who was working on a Pacific Northwest ski history project.

It took eight years – eight years! – for Skoog to nail down the permission to share and archive the film, but thank goodness he persevered. As The Mountaineers wrote, “This is a truly historic film. It was the first motion picture ever taken on the summit of Mount Rainier. It shows the first winter ascent of any significant peak in Washington state, and the highest no less. It is the oldest known climbing or skiing film in Washington.”

Alas, the only skiing footage is from the ascent. Perhaps Perryman was out of film on the descent. Maybe the weather flipped. Or maybe he was just tired and over it – it wouldn’t be the first time. Or actually, maybe it would…

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