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Letter: History lesson

Jim Breasted is correct in his research of “Aspen” versus “Ajax.” I have seen Josiah Spurr’s geologic map, and it is as Jim says. I also have seen an early U.S. Geologic Survey 7.5-minute map that was mapped in the early 20th century. It also names the entire Richmond Ridge, including the front of Aspen Mountain, as Aspen Mountain. However, it names a small outcropping of rock, that the road traverses up, about a quarter mile south of the Sundeck, as “Ajax Hill.” When I first came to Aspen in December 1963, I worked at the Sundeck. After lunch on a powder day, the ski patrollers would don packs and gear for an out-of-bounds trip. When I asked where they were going, they would say Ajax Hill for a powder shot and point back to the ridge. They actually were going to the powder bowls along the east side of the ridge and did not want us busboys to know or follow them. We busboys always thought that Ajax Hill wasn’t worth the effort. Then one day I followed the patrollers and found out why they were misleading us busboys. I believe this was the origin of the misnomer “Ajax.” Of course, now it is used by the newbies and some older newbies to show that they are “longtime” residents. If you really want to test their knowledge of the area, ask them where Keno Gulch is, and I assure you it will be wrong. Look on a map (not your phone) to find out.

Jim Wingers

Aspen


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