Max – Having grown up in Bavaria, I had done a lot of skiing. Yes, ski mountaineering as you would say today. Camping too, and I bicycled quite extensively. I had a racing bike and I bicycled all the way through northern Italy, Austria and Switzerland. My family was active in a certain way. My dad skied, my Mom didn’t. My brother and sister skied but not like I did. We all climbed mountains. It was basically very primitive. Most of us did not have climbing boots. The equipment has changed a lot today compared with it at the time of my youth. I mean at that time most climbing boots had leather soles and they had what they call tricouni, an Italian word for nails which would be on the perimeter of the sole. But quite often the real extreme climbers would use these boots only for the access to the mountains and when the serious climbing began they had a light boot which actually had as a sole of hemp, kind of like a rope that was attached. It was fairly primitive. Of course the ropes were still hemp, not perlon or nylon. But as kids, the climbing we did in Germany, we didn’t have proper equipment. I grew up during the war, and anything like that was very scarce. We used to run barefoot when there was still snow on the ground in some places. We would go to the base of the mountain, take our shoes off and climb barefoot. We probably climbed grade two and grade three mountains being barefoot. For rope we quite often used clothes line. It wouldn’t have saved anybody if someone had fallen! But we thought we were climbers!

Max – In Edmonton I worked more or less at my trade. I was repairing aircraft instruments for the Canadian Air Force. We moved to Jasper as soon as I had my Canadian citizenship. I was successful in getting on with the warden service, May, 19,1959.

Julie – Later I joined him there having quit my job with the Alberta government.

Max – That was when we decided that we had some kind of permanency and we could afford to have a kid. So nine months later we did. Well, maybe not that quickly, but fairly close.

Julie – He had a bet with me on how quickly that would happen and he won!

Max – Maybe you should ask Julie about where she was born and raised. Her farm was on the sea shore, just across from Prince Edward Island.. A beautiful place…I think that it helped her adjust to the warden`s life. She had some adventures on the farm as a kid!

Julie – It was mixed farming. It was over 300 acres which down there at that time would be considered a large farm.

Max – 1959, yes, that is when I started in Jasper. In that first year, 1959, there was a 40 hour work week introduced in national parks. They hired five extra people in Jasper, to allow for this reduction in the work week, I don’t know what they did in Banff, Nobody ever worked the 40 hours; everybody worked much longer than that! There were five of us newly hired and we worked in the town district for one year.

Julie – That was their year of probation.

Max – So you did everything. You worked with different people. One of my bosses was George Camp, Frank Camp’s father. Another one was Frank Burstrom Sr., Frank Burstrom Jr.’s grandfather. Mickey McGuire was Chief Warden and Tom Ross, Assistant Chief Warden. You’ve probably heard of them. It was basically helping out with various things, but the formal training like there is today wasn’t even thought about. We went to schools. At that time the big schools were the skiing schools and the climbing schools .Most of the schools were in Banff and there would usually be two one week schools in a given year, both for skiing and for climbing. There would usually be one group of four people from Jasper. Four people were allowed to go to each session so there would be eight people in total going to a ski school and eight people going to a climbing school. We would meet halfway sometimes. The equipment was so scarce that when we met we would stop and the returning group would give their boots, ropes, pitons, etc., to the ones going on to the school. When you went to Cuthead College for the climbing school I bet there weren’t five in the whole group, excluding the instructors, who had climbing boots. The rest of them had rubber boots, cowboy boots and any other kind of work boot. The same thing for skiing, most wardens did not have the necessary clothes and equipment. There was a trailer and a bunkhouse more or less where the office is today, the Banff warden office. We would stay in that trailer camp and then ski from there. Sometimes, especially in the summertime we would go to the Stanley Mitchell hut or someplace such as Yoho. You would have a couple of backcountry trips and sometimes you would camp. Most of the schools were in Banff; there were a few of them in Yoho. There again, you might stay in the government camp.

Max – In Jasper we had a warden school which was usually a one week school where we did mostly fire training or something extra. But nothing in great depth. So then it would be announced by the chief warden where each new warden was going to be stationed if there were openings. There would be great excitement if someone retired or quit or got fired as this would mean there was a new opening and a move up to a better district. There would be all this speculation as to who would get the job. Of course if one moved it would be setting another three or four in motion because then there would be a few people moving from the outside to a little bit further in. We were notified, probably in May, that at that time there were three districts open and we (Max and Julie) would go to the Brazeau. At that time, if you said, “Well, I’m not going to the Brazeau.“ you would, in effect, be saying,“ I ‘m not going to be in the warden service.“

Julie – Mickey was quite close mouthed about his plans. Some of the wardens said that his ambition was to get a warden moved without him knowing it.

Max – Mickey McQuire was probably one of the finest supervisors that you could get…he asked me, “How do you like the Brazeau?” I said, “Oh, I like it very much.” He said, “I don’t give a shit about you! What about your wife?” He was concerned about your wife’s safety. He was one of the old time chief wardens. He had been through a harder time than we had. This is the thing; each generation of wardens had it progressively a little easier. We had it easier than the people in front of us and some of the people after us had it easier than we had it. But that is just the way the world goes!

Max – During the wintertime the chief park warden asked me if I would work on the ski patrol. At that time they still had Whistler ski hill rather than Marmot. I was on the ski patrol actually when Ursula’s father and Tom McCready, who was an outfitter, worked there. At that time we were living in Jasper in an apartment. That was the first time we lived in Jasper.

Max – Once we got on the Brazeau district we stayed there for two years. From there we went to Jacques Lake in the Rocky River district. In each district at that time, a particular cabin would be the headquarters. On the Brazeau district, it was Brazeau Lake. In the Rocky River district it was Jacques Lake. We were there also for two years. Then Mike Schintz was moved from Mile 45, the Sunwapta district, at the Icefields. He was moved to town. Again, probably because I had more mountaineering experience at that time in Jasper than anybody except Toni Klett,l I was moved to the Sunwapta district.

Rescue site

Max – Almost immediately I had my first rescue at the Icefields. A woman who was part of the Alpine Club, fell into a crevasse on the Athabasca glacier. She fell about 110 feet, unroped, and we brought her out alive. This was done by Abe Loewen and me with assistance from some members of the Alpine Club

Julie -Ten years later her skis and lunch came out at the tongue of the glacier. That is how fast the glacier moves. That was some years ago, around 1964.

Max – We were at Poboktan Creek for two years. Then we decided that we owed it to Terry to introduce him to other kids as for his first six years he had not been with many children. It was time for him to start school.