“Do you remember Kathy coming here the first day?

(1:41:19) Dale – Yep, she came to the warden office.

(1:41:21) Kathy – I think Bob was the one who was at the door. You were behind him. Because I remember Bob standing there leering at me.

(1:41:29) Dale – Oh yeah? Well maybe I was looking over his shoulders.

(1:41:30) Kathy – You were. You were behind him. And actually one of the reasons we probably said no was because I looked at Bob (and he was leering), “Come on…” Interestingly enough, I don’t know if a lot of people know, but when I was in university you supported yourself by having a teacher assistant position. I was running a lot of labs, biology labs and Bob was one of my students. I didn’t remember him but…

(1:42:03) Dale – Well, on top of that Kathy shows up in Yoho to go to work…

(1:42:09) Kathy – Day one.

(1:42:10) Dale – I don’t know if it was day one or not.

(1:42:12) Kathy – It was.

(1:42:13) Dale – Maybe it was day one and I said, “Look we are going to do down to the Field bar.”

(1:42:17) Kathy – No, no you didn’t say that to me. It was Dave Reynolds who asked me to come down for a beer so that we could talk about the project.

(1:42:23) Dale – Well, anyways you were there and we were having a few beers.

(1:42:26) Kathy – I remember driving by you. You were peddling down the road because he was staying at the ranch house there.

(1:42:33) Dale – Anyways, I was sitting in the bar. Kathy was there and she is sitting at the same table with Dave Reynolds and…somehow we got on the subject of Bob Sanford.

(1:42:49) Kathy – We were talking about climbing.

(1:42:51) Dale – And I said, “Well Bob was on the Saskatchewan Glacier and he had a pair of riding boots on. He strapped some crampons to his riding boots and he was walking around the glacier. He was coming back down and he fell into a moulin. He took his crampons off and he fell into a moulin, a mill hole. He went down to the bottom of the glacier and then out the stream that came out the toe of the glacier. He came bobbing out like a cork. This is a famous story now, but back then very few people knew about it. I was just telling Kathy that this happened to Bob Sanford and she is looking at me like (you are full of it)!

(1:43:36) Kathy – I said, “Nobody can fall down through a glacier and pop out alive.”

(1:43:40) Dale – “This guy is really coming along with a big story” (was what she was thinking). And then all of a sudden the door of the bar opened and who walked in, but Bob Sanford, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years! And I said to Kathy, “And there he is, right there!” She had to suck back there, I’ll tell you!

(1:44:00) Kathy – And then you asked me to go to another party that night, which I declined.

“Do you have any memories of working together?”)

(1:44:16) Dale – Oh yeah, it was just really something, especially when we were building the house together! Donny Mickle and us were building two houses…new houses hadn’t been built in Field in probably 40 years. Nobody was going to give us a mortgage. We had to go through all kinds of hoops and whatnot to get a mortgage through the Bank of Montreal. If you have a 42-year lease, nobody wants to give you a mortgage because you don’t own the land outright. We were breaking a lot of new ground. We got the house going. It was one of these Lindal homes you know, that come packed and are semi together and you put up the walls. It was getting to be pretty stressful because…

(1:45:08) Kathy – We are sitting there at work looking at each other.

(1:45:10) Dale – Yeah, we are right across from each other.

(1:45:13) Kathy – He was my boss.

(1:45:14) Dale – I was her boss and then we had to go and work on the house together at night.

(1:45:20) Kathy – We got through that.

(1:45:22) Dale – Well, we did get through that which was impressive. But I couldn’t work with Kathy for the longest time after that. I couldn’t even build a birdhouse. It took me about five years before I would even grab a hammer again! The house still stands there and it is kind of a monument. Donny’s house is still there, a monument to the town of Field. Those days that we had in Field, were really, really quite special.

(1:45:55) Kathy – I think I might point out something here before we go a little further. It was at that point that I was going to go back to university (to finish the master’s program). But that summer, the second summer, I wanted to do a good horse trip and you couldn’t do one in Yoho, so Dale managed to get horses in Jasper. We had this two-week horse trip into country that I had never seen before. Then we were also trailing horses back. We had an opportunity to trail horses back to the Ya Ha Tinda in the fall, or pick them up in the spring and ride them in. That’s when I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I couldn’t believe the opportunity to get out into that country and ride around like that to cabins. It was just like magic.

(1:46:58) Dale – I have to say too that Hal Shepherd was a good Chief Warden for a woman coming on to the warden service. Which you might not think…but he was very good. He understood what Kathy would be going through. You hear all these horror stories coming out of the RCMP now from the members who were coming on in the 1970s and all of that harassment. Well, that was not the case in the warden service.

(1:47:32) Kathy – Not if you could do the job.

“Do you think that was because of the women (warden’s wives) who lived in the backcountry?”

(1:47:35) Dale – I thought that park wardens were a lot more well adjusted to equality and things like that then what was being shown in any of the fire departments, or the city police or the RCMP. Yep, They had to have the skills…

(1:47:54) Kathy – Like I said, some of them must have realized that their wives were able to deal with a lot of stuff….You had to do what you had to do yourself…

(1:48:10) Dale – When the word got out that Kathy and I were dating there was a big sigh of relief happening with all of the warden wives, all over Jasper, Yoho and Banff!

(1:48:25) Kathy – A lot of wives said, “I don’t want her going out on backcountry trips with my husband. So I didn’t. I went out with him. Or even on some of the climbs. But what the hell? What are you going to do in a bivouac?

(1:48:40) Dale – But you lose some of your individuality when you are a couple because you are just connected both from marriage, as well as, from the job. Sometimes it was a little hard to distance yourself from that and get away from it. Especially for me because I found that when I was going through challenges as far as the dog handling was concerned and all the death and destruction kind of stuff. You needed to be able to get away from the job. But when you would come home, you know her sister is a park warden and she is going out with a warden. It got to be a little much from my point of view, so I would try and come up with ways to try and disassociate myself.

(1:49:28) Kathy – But at that point in time he was dealing with a lot of highway accidents and we were doing a lot of rescues in the early years…Yoho was so small that we didn’t see too much, but we still got on some really good rescues and we would go together on rescues. That one on Victoria, and we were building the house then.

(1:50:01) Dale – And Chancellor Peak.

(1:50:03) Kathy – I didn’t go on that.

(1:50:05) Dale – Oh, you didn’t go on that one? That was an interesting one, that one there…

(1:50:13) Kathy – I was in Rogers Pass.

(1:50:15) Dale – Oh, you were in Rogers Pass then. A guy by the name of Patterson, Leif Patterson (was one of the victims). He was a Norwegian and a really well known climber. He climbed with some of the big name climbers. He was on the K2 expedition, the American expedition. He was a bit eccentric and he always hated to register out. He took his son and a really, really good friend who was a real pianist protégé and they went up on Chancellor. It was like the beginning of November or December. Avalanche conditions were terrible and he registered out (by writing his entry) in the middle of the registration book. So the only way that you knew that he had registered out was because at the end of checking the registration I let my thumb slip through it all and all of a sudden I felt that little space in the paper and there was his registration in the middle of the book. So I knew that he was climbing. There were goat tracks all over that area and they were kicking avalanches loose. What happened was he just got into a slope and there wasn’t very much snow, but it released and it carried all three of them down into a gully and it just got worse and they ended up in the bottom. We found them in the gully. The wife had reported them missing and the RCMP had allowed her to come to the scene just as we were flying the bodies down. It was really (sad). It was the RCMP’s fault, we told them not to come, to stay back. But they came anyways.

(1:52:10) Kathy – On Victoria, it was a horrible, horrible storm. We were working on the house and Clair (Israelson) called over for help to go on this rescue. This kid had gone up to Abbott Hut and he was with a friend of his. The guy that was leading the group actually had some mountaineering experience, but this other guy didn’t. They met this girl there and they talked her into going up the ridge on Victoria. Well, they got up there and there was a horrible storm. They realized that they had to come down and this guy said, “Well, I am not going to be roped to you guys.” It wasn’t safe. So he took the rope off everybody and she fell off into the death trap and died. It was really tragic. This guy went running down for help and left the other kid on the mountain. We got this call to fly in. We couldn’t even get to the call, we had to sling in below it (because of weather). They were trying to get somebody who was at work and everybody turned their radio off. They didn’t want to go. They finally got a hold of us and I was in charge of public safety and I thought, “Well, nobody else is answering their radio.” So Dale and I went in there.

“Just the two of you?”

No, we went with Clair, Gord Irwin and who else was there. Somebody else was there. But anyway I had climbed it before. We climbed it together actually.

(1:53:48) Dale – This story turned out to be much more than what this is because this guy’s father was a lawyer. So he comes down off the mountain and tells his dad what had happened, that this girl had fallen off. His dad, being a lawyer automatically takes his son over to this girl’s parents and tells them that Parks Canada was the reason this girl was killed.

(1:54:14) Kathy – Because they had given them permission to go up on the mountain. It was Allen Knowles who was down at the warden cabin. Al told them, “It is really bad conditions up there, don’t go.”

(1:54:24) Dale – He (the lawyer) convinced the couple, that Parks Canada was responsible and absolved this kid who was totally irresponsible.

(1:54:40) Kathy – We did get up to the hut and this kid had managed to get down. So we were able to get him out without any trouble. They were accusing Allen Knowles (of being responsible) they were going to take him to court and everything. He said, “Look, I told them they can’t go.” But there was no legal way that he could stop them. Anyway I think they had an inquest and they were trying to get a lawsuit going, but they had to drop it.

(1:55:08) Dale – They did because Parks Canada wasn’t at fault.

(1:55:12) Kathy – But that was interesting.

(1:55:16) Dale – This kid’s father as a lawyer knew these people could come and sue him because his kid was the one who took her up there.

(1:55:25) Kathy – He was responsible for her death.

(1:55:30) Dale – We mentioned that and apparently he really took offence to that. “I don’t want to hear that anymore, or I will sue you.”

(1:55:39) Kathy – You see that a lot with kids that die, they (the families) want to sue somebody. Even if it is their own fault.

(1:55:48) Dale – It is like the case up at the Columbia Ice Fields…

(1:55:53) Kathy – What about the kid at Finn Creek remember? They tried to sue us.

(1:56:00) Dale – Well, the kid had drowned. We pulled him out of the water. We gave him CPR.

(1:56:10) Kathy – Then there was that woman at the back of the lake. She drowned…

(1:56:14) Dale – But the interesting one was this one at the Columbia Ice Fields. We weren’t involved in the rescue, but it is a good example of how people deal with their grief and their guilt. This couple took their 11 year old son up on the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. Right past the sign that said (Danger – Do Not Go Past). He fell into a crevasse and he was small enough that he wedged himself in and then he couldn’t get out. They ran across a guide who was working on the glacier, doing these glacier walks, Rod. Rod tried everything to get the kid out. He put a rope down there and tied him up. But every time he started pulling on the kid, the kid would start whining and screaming and the father would say, “No, no don’t pull him up.” Rod said, “He is melting in, I will never get him out of here if we don’t get him out now.”

(1:57:15) Kathy – He was starting to freeze in.