Speaking of: Where are the Sasquatch Snow Tracks?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on June 11th, 2013

Cryptomundian Raiderpithicusblaci mentioned this story in the comments in the post: Where are the Sasquatch Snow Tracks?

My personal favorite snow story: 1950, Mt. St. Helens, near Ape Canyon, no less: a very well known skier named Jim Carter was participating in a climbing event along with about twenty other members. Carter said he would ski ahead and photograph the others as they skied down. That was the last anyone ever saw Carter alive. It was said afterwards that they found an empty film box where he loaded his camera, then, according to his ski tracks, he raced down the mountain haphazardly, “taking chances that no skier of his calibre would take unless something was terribly wrong or he was being pursued”, apparently jumping several gaping crevices before zooming of a sheer rock face. Nearly a hundred people searched for Carter; several said(off the record) that they felt they were being watched or experienced feelings of dread. But to the locals, there was no mystery; they felt “the apes got him”.Raiderpithicusblaci


Ape Canyon Holds Unsolved Mystery

© The Longview Washington Times — August 1963

SPIRIT LAKE, Mt. St. Helens, Washington — Ape Canyon, the legendary home of the Hairy Apes of Mt. St. Helens apparently swallowed an experienced mountaineer and expert skier in May 1950.

No trace of Jim Carter, 32, who disappeared from a 20-member climbing party from Seattle was found, although teams of the Northwest’s most proficient mountain rescue units combed the area for weeks.

“Carter’s complete disappearance is an unsolved mystery to this day,” declared Bob Lee, well-known Portland mountaineer who is a member of the exclusive world wide Alpine Club, a leader of the 1961 Himalayan expedition, and adviser to the 1963 American expedition.

Lee said he had never seen one of the monsters, but that there certainly was evidence “that there was something strange on the high slopes of the mountain.” He was convinced of this during the search for Carter, he said.

“Dr. Otto Trott, Lee Stark and I finally came to the conclusion that the mountain devils got him,” said Lee seriously.

Lee, a member of the Seattle Mountain Search and Rescue unit at the time, describes the hunt for Carter in Ape Canyon as “the most eerie experience I have ever had.”

He said that every time he got cut off from the rest of the searchers during the long hunt, he got the feeling that “somebody was watching me.”

“I could feel the hair on my neck standing up. It was eerie. I was unarmed, except for my ice ax and, believe me, I never let go of that.” At this point in Lee’s story, I could feel my own hair standing up a bit.

Ready to shoulder packs for a safari to Ape Canyon to try to determine whether there is any truth to the ape stories, I began to feel a little dubious about the whole expedition. The rest of Lee’s tale about the Seattle man’s disappearance didn’t do much to reassure me.

It seems that the missing man Carter had climbed Mt. St. Helens with a group from Seattle on a warm, clear Sunday. On the way down the mountain, he left the other climbers near a landmark called Dog’s Head, at the 8,000-foot level.

Carter told them he would ski around to the left and take a picture of the group as they skied down to timberline. That was the last time that anyone saw Carter. The next morning searchers found a discarded film box at the point where he had taken a picture.

From here, Carter evidently took off down the mountain in a wild, death-defying dash, “taking chances that no skier of his caliber would take, unless something was terribly wrong or he was being pursued,” says Lee, who was one of the first searchers to reach Carter’s ski tracks.

“He jumped over two or three large crevasses and evidently was going like the devil.” When Carter’s tracks reached the precipitous sides of Ape Canyon, the searchers were amazed to see that Carter had been in such a hurry that he went right down the steep canyon walls. But they did not find him at the bottom of the canyon as they expected.

“We combed the canyon, one end to the other for five days. Sometimes there were as many as 75 persons in the search party, but no sign of Carter or his equipment was found,” Lee says.

After two weeks the search was called off. Lee, who has lived in the Northwest most of his life, recalls there are about 25 different reports of people attacked by “apelike men” in the St. Helens and Cascade areas over a 20-year period.

One was a group of Boy Scouts from Centralia, he said. Couldn’t we check on that story? As near as he could remember, several of the boys who were taken off the mountain were hysterical after being attacked by the “mountain devils.”

Director Dick Whitney of the regional Boy Scout office in Olympia, Wash., promised to look for a record of the incident. To our surprise he called back to say that he had located the name of the leader and the troop involved in the incident. “It was a troop under the late Scoutmaster Pease from Centralia, “ he said.

Whitney promised to have Pease’s son, who works for the State of Washington call THE JOURNAL as soon as he returns from vacation.

Miners, scouts, Indians, mountaineers and most recently an editor and other reliable Portland residents, the list of persons who have seen the Hairy Apes of Mt. St. Helens is very impressive.

© The Longview Times, 1963

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

8 Responses to “Speaking of: Where are the Sasquatch Snow Tracks?”

  1. Ragnar responds:

    Well, duh. Guy went skiing in Ape Canyon. Might as well drive down Death Highway or swim in Piranha Creek.

  2. DWA responds:

    Not trying to be a cynic (but you all know me).

    But: did they find any sasquatch tracks?

  3. PhotoExpert responds:

    Well, I am with DWA on this one. Did they find any hominid tracks? If not, what he may have been trying to out-ski frantically, taking chances, was an avalanche! The culprit would not have been a bipedal hairy apelike creature but rather, snow! He was probably changing film and heard or saw it coming. A skier of his caliber would also know, that if he did not out-ski it, he would be doomed. So he took off and ran out of road. The reason they probably did not find a body is that the snow was right behind him and took the same path and covered his body. Even 100 searchers are not going to find a body over such a large area if it is under 12 feet of snow. That’s why no body was found. It was not taken away by some apelike creature but covered with snow.

    I think that is what may have happened there and not a rumored hairy apelike man having any kind of involvement.

    As for the boy scout story. Now that sounds interesting. I can not comment on that until the facts and evidence comes to light. And that evidence is most certainly going to be eyewitness testimony. This is going to be a prime example of why DWA states, “one can not discount eyewitness testimony”. And it sounds like that testimony will be from very credible witnesses.

    I await that story!

  4. David-Australia responds:


    You may have left your await-ing 50 years too late…

  5. Carol Maltby responds:

    If there was an avalanche, it didn’t cover up the place where he took his last picture, it didn’t cover his tracks as he jumped over two or three large crevasses, it didn’t cover his tracks as he sped toward the edge of the top of the canyon, or the tracks he left on the canyon’s steep slopes. And though there were up to 75 search and rescue people looking for him at a time, nobody appears to have said avalanche to this reporter. Wouldn’t the climbing group he split off from have heard an avalanche?

  6. springheeledjack responds:

    Yeah these days even though Bigfoot “doesn’t exist” it gets blamed for every disappearance in the woods…I’m not cynical either…

  7. Joxman2k responds:

    Is it possible that while taking the picture he started to slide? I imagine that he didn’t have his ski poles looped to his hands and was unable to stop? That could account for the erratic skiing.

    I don’t know the specific terrain of where he was at, and my only experience with skiing is that I’ve seen it done in movies 😛

    I would imagine he could have fallen down to stop himself, but he didn’t want to drop the camera so in a split decision tried to maintain but was unable to stop.

    Not finding his body at the bottom could be explained with his body outline (insert Wiley Coyote image here 😛 ) being obscured by falling snow that followed him. It’s unlikely that, if his body was 12 plus feet deep, they would have found him then. This happened in 1950 so I don’t know if pole probing was done then, even if it was it is a hit or miss approach.

    Predation could explain them not finding his body in the Spring. Again I don’t know if snow was year-round there, nor do I know the terrain, nor if this was even possible for a skier.

    This is just a possible scenario. Could this have been possible?


  8. PhotoExpert responds:

    David_Australia–Naw, it is never too late! When a good detective gets a cold case, he can solve it. Andy many cold cases have been solved just that way–by reopening them, decades later.

    Excuse my pun, using “cold case” with a snow article.

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