Who can’t help but be fascinated by D. Cooper? In 1971 the now almost mythical skyjacker lashed his ransom money to himself and parachuted out of a 727 over the PNW backcountry, never to be seen again. The only firm lead that’s surfaced since then is when in 1980 some of the ransom cash was found on the Columbia River near Vancouver, Washington.
It’s most likely that Cooper (an alias) died during his parachute jump. He took his plunge at night, in the rain, into the PNW wilderness with absolutely no survival gear — the man was probably hypothermic before he even hit the ground. But you never know…
Yesterday’s Daily Mail newspaper ran an extensive article on the Cooper investigation. The paper trumpeted that the FBI is investigating a new and significant lead in the case. I’d imagine they’re perhaps closer to finding out who Cooper really was. Perhaps old D.B. has been working out of Seattle all these years, teaching skiing or, skydiving?
Cooper’s ransom money serial numbers were recorded and published, so he couldn’t spend the cash even if he’d survived. But just think of the epic he would have had getting out of the Cascades with only his loafers and overcoat.
My fantasy has always been that some day a sweaty bug bitten bushwhacking climber would look up into the Cascadian old growth timber, and there would be Cooper’s skeleton hanging by his parachute lines, tattered hundred dollar bills spread around on the ground below. That would make a good blog post. Didn’t they have a scene like that in a movie a while back?
The Wikipedia article is good if you’re curious about the details. Note that during his crime Cooper gave his alias as D. Cooper, not “D.B.,” which was a mistake made by initial reporting at the time and subsequently resulted in the common “D.B.”
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.