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Vail Pass in Summit County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

10th Mountain Division

Camp Hale

 
 
10th Mountain Division Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 1, 2012
1. 10th Mountain Division Marker
Inscription. The 10th Mountain Division, created for alpine and winter combat during World War II, girded for battle on the steep, inhospitable terrain of Camp Hale (about twenty-five miles southwest of here). Built at an old railroad sheep-loading stop, the base opened in 1942 with 8,000 recruits, many of them veteran mountaineers. Their specialize training kept them above 10,000 feet for days on end, poling cross-country under ninety-pound loads. These exercises increased endurance and taught important wilderness and cold-weather survival skills; however, they also landed hundreds in sickbay with frostbite and hypothermia. Camp Hale housed 15,000 military personnel (and hundreds of German POWs) during the war; today the area serves thousands of civilian skiers, who glide down some of the old training slopes at Ski Cooper or make cross-country journeys on the 10th Mountain Division Hut System.

Steeled for combat by the rigors of Camp Hale, the men of the 10th performed heroically in World War II. Under the command of Maj. Gen. George Hays, they fought through the Apennine Mountains north of Florence, Italy, in the winter of 1944-1945, leading the way for the Allied advance into the Po River Valley. Nine German divisions fell before this determined outfit, whose own casualties (over five thousand killed or wounded) attest to the grimness
Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection
2. Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker
Near Camp Hale, 1943. While training, 10th Mountaineers carried rifles and wore heavy packs loaded with ammunition, shovels, cooking utensils, and extra clothes in case of extreme weather.
of their task. After the war, returning 10th Mountaineers applied their training to more peaceful pursuits, launching many major ski resorts across the country and generating improvements in ski equipment, safety, and instruction. For such achievements, nineteen former 10th Mountain Division soldiers were enshrined in the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame by 1999.
 
Erected 2001 by Colorado Historical Society and the Colorado Department of Transportation. (Marker Number 246.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the History Colorado marker series.
 
Location. 39° 31.652′ N, 106° 13.083′ W. Marker is in Vail Pass, Colorado, in Summit County. Marker is on Shrine Pass Road (County Road 16) near Interstate 70. Touch for map. At the Vail Pass rest area, off Interstate 70. Marker is in this post office area: Frisco CO 80443, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Vail / Vail Pass Country (here, next to this marker); Mount of the Holy Cross (here, next to this marker); Foote's Rest (approx. 7.3 miles away); Construction of Camp Hale (approx. 8.4 miles away); Kokomo Masonic Lodge
Picture on the 10th Mountain Division Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Colorado Historical Society, July 1, 2012
3. Picture on the 10th Mountain Division Marker
Members of the 10th learned cold weather survival techniques such as constructing igloos like this one built near Camp Hale in 1943. The bi-level design allowed sleeping bags, cooking supplies, and other equipment to be kept on the warmer upper level.
(approx. 9.6 miles away); Riverwalk - Blue River Restoration (approx. 9.7 miles away); Soldiers of the Summit (approx. 9.7 miles away); Barney L. Ford (approx. 9.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vail Pass.
 
Also see . . .
1. Camp Hale Site History. (Submitted on August 16, 2012, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
2. Wikipedia entry for Camp Hale. (Submitted on August 16, 2012, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSportsWar, World II
 
Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, September 12, 2011
4. Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker
Though known for their skiing abilities, rock climbing, rapelling, and numerous other mountaineering skills were equally important to the 10th Mountaineers.
Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection
5. Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker
Atop Riva Ridge in Italy's Appinine Mountains, February 1945. The successful assault of this rocky and nearly vertical escarpment justified all the tough training in Colorado's mountains.
Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection
6. Source picture used on the 10th Mountain Division Marker
The 10th's emblem - a panda on skis - is clearly visible at Camp Hale Headquarters in the 1940s. Though most of the camp was dismantled by 1945, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, and today it is managed by the U. S. Forest Service.
10th Mountain Division Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 1, 2012
7. 10th Mountain Division Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 16, 2012, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 824 times since then and 76 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 16, 2012, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
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