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Thread: Oakes Gulf 1969 plane wreck: the "Propeller"

  1. #1
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    Oakes Gulf 1969 plane wreck: the "Propeller"

    This question was on an unrelated thread and perhaps it was missed by someone who has knowledge, so I'll give it a thread of its own.


    Has anyone ever seen/been to the wrecked Cessna in Oaks Gulf near Mount Monroe? It's the plane that supposedly "contributed" the famous propeller that White Mountain Hut Croos have been stealing from each other over the years. The plane went down on November 29, 1969. The three crewmen aboard were killed.

    Here's the NTSB report; Oakes Gulf Cessna

    And here's an account I wrote of a retelling of the "Propeller" story as told by the Lakes of the Clouds hutmaster in 2003; Propeller story
    Last edited by Papa Bear; 09-29-2006 at 04:56 PM.
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    Senior Member Jim lombard's Avatar
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    I have seen the propeller a few times, the Zealand Croo stole it from Lakes on my last stay in a hut. I've thought about exploring Oaks someday.
    But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.

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    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim lombard
    I have seen the propeller a few times, the Zealand Croo stole it from Lakes on my last stay in a hut.
    I have never seen the propellor, I was at Zealand when 3 members of the Madison? crew arrived to steal it but they couldn't find it, so obviously it wasn't in plain (plane?) sight :-)

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    Senior Member Paradox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoySwkr
    I have never seen the propellor, I was at Zealand when 3 members of the Madison? crew arrived to steal it but they couldn't find it, so obviously it wasn't in plain (plane?) sight :-)
    Maybe it was propped up somewhere?
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    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    I updated the thread title, the correct spelling (I hope I got it right) is Oakes Gulf.

    Here's the Prop coming back from a raid, being delivered to Carter Notch.


    -dave-
    Last edited by David Metsky; 09-29-2006 at 04:36 PM.

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    Senior Member trailbiscuit's Avatar
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    That propellor sure gets around!
    "You must go and you must ramble through every briar and bramble till your life is in a shambles. Maybe then you will know. You were born to blunder, born to wander, born to wonder. Even when you’re six feet under, there’s a place that you must go." - John Hiatt

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    Senior Member Seeker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky
    I updated the thread title, the correct spelling (I hope I got it right) is Oakes Gulf.

    Here's the Prop coming back from a raid, being delived to Carter Notch.


    -dave-
    As I recall, those hiked all night to get the thing. Funny.
    "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!"

  8. #8
    Senior Member arghman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim lombard
    I've thought about exploring Oaks someday.
    so have I... if you go off-trail, please be careful what you step on around there, the ravines tend to have some of the more ecologically sensitive (and interesting to some of us) areas.
    --Jason
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    The propeller sure seems to attract a lot of interest, and the raiding parties that set out to steal it bring us back to our college days.

    But ... I was really wondering moreso about the plane in the Gulf than the propeller. It seems like no one here has seen it (the plane). There was the croo-girl I saw in 2003 at Greenleaf Hut with the T shirt who clames to have been there, but that's the only (hearsay) evidence I'ver ever heard.

    And thanks Dave for the silent "e".

    And who, might I ask, was Oake? Or was it Oakes? (the USGS doesn't use apostrophes in names, so we don't know if it's "Oake's Gulf" or "Oakes' Gulf", do we?) (I know, I know, just one question allowed at a time )
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  10. #10
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker
    As I recall, those hiked all night to get the thing. Funny.
    Yup, Fred and her friend hiked over the Madison and made it back in time for breakfast. That's a long haul for two people, and I think Fred carried the Prop by herself the whole way.

    Last I heard the Prop was gone from the huts. It's a bit of a mystery where it lives now.

    -dave-

  11. #11
    Senior Member arghman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Bear
    And who, might I ask, was Oake? Or was it Oakes? (the USGS doesn't use apostrophes in names, so we don't know if it's "Oake's Gulf" or "Oakes' Gulf", do we?) (I know, I know, just one question allowed at a time )
    William Oakes was one of the famous early botanists in the White Mountains. He was the one who named the dwarf cinquefoil Potentilla robbinsiana after another botanist, James Robbins, though the plant was discovered by another botanist, Thomas Nuttall. Several of the other ravines or sub-peaks are named after botanists or geologists (Tuckerman, Huntington, Boott) as they were the only ones who were really crazy enough to tramp around back then before there were trails.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Davehiker's Avatar
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    Papa Bear,
    From The White Mountains, Names, Places & Legends by John T. B. Mudge:

    OAKES GULF
    Oakes Gulf is the ravine to the southeast of Mt. Monroe.
    This area was named by Edward Tuckerman in honor of William Oakes, who first visited the White Mountains in 1825. Oakes, a botanist, spent his many visits searching for botanical specimens. However, he is best remembered for his book Scenery of the White Mountains, published in 1848, which was illustrated with large lithographic plates. Oakes was only 49 when he published this book. He died five days after it was accepted for publication in an unexplained drowning off of a Boston ferry boat. Oakes also named Mt. Clay and Mt.Jackson.
    -Dave

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rob S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky
    Last I heard the Prop was gone from the huts. It's a bit of a mystery where it lives now.
    I had heard, and this may or may not be true, but I heard it is now on Three Mile Island. (Winnipesaukee).

    Last time I saw the propeller it was at Mitzpah (1998). Have a photo of it way up high on the ceiling. Don't recall at the moment how it was attached, but it must have been quite a feat to steal it from there.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i12climbup
    I had heard, and this may or may not be true, but I heard it is now on Three Mile Island. (Winnipesaukee).

    Last time I saw the propeller it was at Mitzpah (1998). Have a photo of it way up high on the ceiling. Don't recall at the moment how it was attached, but it must have been quite a feat to steal it from there.
    I heard a story about how it was re-stolen from TMI, but I'm not sure I believe it. The last time I asked (Summer of 2005), the croo told me the propellor was not in the huts.

    As for 'stealing' it, I believe what the stealers had to do was touch the prop before they were touched, sort of like touch football. If they succeeded, they were allowed to carry it off. Thus the prop was often affixed to the ceiling with pairs of spoons dangling all over the place to warn the owners of a potential theft. The stealers also considered it good form to bring ice cream, or beer, etc., as a consolation to the previous owners.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member evilhanz's Avatar
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    I've always found it hard to believe that the propeller came from the Oakes Gulf plane crash. When a plane crashes into terrain, prop spinning, with an impact significant enough to kill everyone, the prop suffers substantial damage. I would expect for the tips to be bent at least. I wonder if it's just a junkyard prop someone packed in to fool hut guests.

    In any case, the wreck was in a prominent location high on the ridge separating Oakes Gulf and Tuckerman Ravine - easily visible from the summit of Washington. That's how it was first spotted in Dec '69. From the pictures I've seen, it came to rest tail up and too far from the edge for a couple of people to drag or push it over. Not enough snow cover. I can't say with 100% certainty that it is completely gone, but most small plane crashes are removed.

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