Wolf Bauer, Mountaineer and environmentalist, Died at 103


Wolf Bauer was born on February 24, 1912, in the Bavarian Alps and died on January 23, 2016.

He was a German-born American mountaineer and environmentalist.

Wolf started the Mountaineers’ first climbing course and helped create the Mountain Rescue Council.

Bauer also launched kayaking in the region and was an outstanding skier.

He commenced a successful campaign to preserve the Green River Gorge.

Bauer drafted a “Natural Shorelines Act” with ideas that were incorporated into Washington’s landmark Shoreline Management Act.

Wolf attended the Lincoln High School.

He has a ceramic engineering degree and he studied geology at the University of Washington in 1930.

Hubert Bauer was his wife, a German with a university degree in economic geography. They married, and Wolf was the first of their five children.

Wolf Bauer was one of three scouts selected to receive a free membership in The Mountaineers.

The young mountaineer knowledge of Alpine techniques and his natural competitiveness soon made him a standout among the club’s skiers.

Himself wolf and four of his intermediate course graduates were the first to scale Mount Goode, a 9,200-foot peak in the North Cascades that had stymied some of the region’s best climbers.

The historian Lowell Skoog said, Wolf won what was perhaps the first slalom race west of the Mississippi in March 1930 at the club’s Meany Ski Hut.

In between climbing seasons, he continued to excel as a skier.

He took the Mountaineers’ triple crown, winning the club’s slalom in 1936, downhill, and cross-country championships.

He was good and Eddie Bauer the sports retailer endorsed him.

Wolf preference then shifted.

Bauer launched his engineering career with Roche Harbor Lime & Cement Co. on San Juan Island, in 1936.

Following that same year he married Harriet Woodward (1912-2010), a hiker and former high school athlete he had known since he was in Boy Scouts and she was in Girl Scouts.

They fell in love at the University of Washington where she was a sculptor using the same kiln as the ceramic engineers.

Woodward had traveled with Bauer on his skiing and climbing weekends during college.

Both tieing the knot in Seattle on December 23 and lived in a primitive cabin near the Roche Harbor plant.

The now married couple first son, Rocky, was born about a year later in Friday Harbor.

Over the next few years, the family moved as often as Bauer changed jobs or job sites.

Then, a next son, Larry, was born in the spring of 1940 in Spokane while Bauer was working for Washington Brick & Lime Company.

Wolf Bauer took a position in St. Louis, working for a notable engineer who designed lime-manufacturing equipment and plant, in 1942,

Even though he was exempted from military service because lime was needed for the war effort, Bauer spent what he described as “three professionally frantic” years traveling to about a dozen different plants in the East, Northwest, Canada, and Hawaii (Bauer and Hyde, 150).

Wolf and Harriet his wife, divorced after nearly 50 years together, but they remained friends until her death in February 2010.

whilst he was on a three-month engineering tour in post-war Europe, Wolf Bauer learned about Bergwacht, a volunteer rescue group in Bavaria.

He persuaded The Mountaineers, in 1948, the Washington Alpine Club, and the National Ski Patrol to sponsor a similar organization to provide year-round wilderness search and rescue.

Wolf was the co-organizers were Dr. Otto Trott (1911-1999), an expert mountaineer and ski patrol pioneer, and Ome Daiber (1908-1989), one of Bauer’s original climbing students.

Bauer plan was that he would teach field techniques and design and improve equipment, Trott would handle medical matters, and Daiber would head many of the search and rescue efforts.

First formally called the Mountain Rescue and Safety Council, the group’s name eventually was shortened to the Mountain Rescue Council.

Which was the first group of its kind in the United States.

Mr. Bauer designed its logo, organized its first two annual conferences, and served as chairman for six years.

He was covering Avalanches, lightning strikes, mountain climbing accidents, and airplane crashes prompted at least 15 rescue attempts in 1952 and 1953, many receiving front-page coverage in the Seattle newspapers.

His group activity received national attention in 1953 when Daiber was featured in the Saturday Evening Post as “The Man Who Rescues Mountain Climbers.”

As people started asking notice and seeing the value of the group’s efforts, local rescue councils were formed in other Washington cities.

This concept went national in 1959 when the Mountain Rescue Association was created.

” In 1994, Wolf Bauer was inducted into the Northwest Ski Hall of Fame and in 1998, the American Society of Landscape Architects gave him its national Alfred B. LaGasse Award, for contributions “to the management and conservancy of natural resources and/or public landscapes.

Wolf Bauer passes away at 103 yrs old.