American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Naming America's Mountains-The Cascades

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  • Publication Year: 1960

Naming America’s Mountains—The Cascades

Francis P. Farquhar

The Cascade Range is defined by the United States Geographic Board (Sixth Report, 1933) as "limited on the south by the gap south of Lassen Peak and extending northward into British Columbia.” This is obviously a definition of convenience, made to catch everything not claimed for some other category. I doubt if the people of California think of Lassen Peak as belonging to the Cascades and there is not much beyond the boundary of British Columbia that can properly qualify. So, with such looseness in the latitudes, we can hardly be blamed if for present purposes we move west longitudinally a little and adopt Mount Olympus. In its earliest use the name Cascade Range included only those mountains that could be seen from the cascades of the Columbia River, or, in the words of Lewis and Clark, "the Great Shute.” Just when the name "Cascade Range” became current is not certain, but it was used by David Douglas as early as 1826. (Journal, 1914, p. 221.) On the Wilkes map of 1841 (Wheat, No. 457) the "Cascade Range” is heavily emphasized far north and south of the Columbia River. Fremont, therefore, described and explained only that which was already mapped when he wrote, November 1843, "We were now approaching one of the marked features of the lower Columbia, where the river forms a great cascade, with a series of rapids, in breaking through the range of mountains to which the lofty peaks of Mount Hood and St. Helens belong, and which rise as great pillars of snow on either side of the passage. The main branch of the Sacramento river, and the Tlamath, issue in cascades from this range; and the Columbia, breaking through it in a succession of cascades, gives the idea of cascades to the whole range; and hence the name of the Cascade Range, which it bears, and distinguishes it from the Coast Range lower down.” (Report, 1845, p. 189.) Fremont’s concept is expressed on the fine map drawn by Charles Preuss, 1848. (Wheat, No. 559.) The efforts of Hall J. Kelley and T. J. Farnham to change the names of the peaks and call the range "The Presidential Range” are commented upon elsewhere.

The eight peaks selected from among the large number in the Cascade Range are chosen because they are on the whole the dominant ones and because the circumstances of their naming and early ascents have historical significance. Since the examples are so few, not much can be inferred statistically from the sources of the names, but it is interesting to note that, as in the case of Alaska, English and American personal names dominate. Two are named for American presidents, two for British admirals, one for a British diplomat, one for a member of a British exploring party; while, of the other two, one is nobly fanciful and one is an approximation of an Indian tribal name. Finally, the name of the range itself is broadly descriptive.

Wherever possible in that which follows, precise references to sources are given. The early Oregon newspaper files have not been available at the time of this writing and reliance has been placed rather heavily on the little quarterly, Steel Points, published in Portland by William Gladstone Steel in 1906-1907. Original maps have invariably been examined, and reference is also made to the numbers assigned by Carl I. Wheat in his Mapping the Transmississippi West, five volumes, of which three have been issued to date, 1959-. Altitudes, in feet, have been taken from the Climber’s Guide to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, by Fred Beckey, published by the American Alpine Club (new edition in preparation), and other recent sources.

ADAMS, MOUNT (12,307)


The earliest mention of this mountain, although not by name, is in Captain William Clark’s journal under date of April 2, 1806. He was at the mouth of the Multnomah (Willamette) River. "From the entrance of this river,” he writes, "I can plainly see Mt. Jefferson which is high and covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East, Mt. St. Helians [and] a high humped mountain to the East of Mt. St. Helians.” (Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1805-1806, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1905, Vol. 4, p. 238.) The "high humped mountain” is undoubtedly Mount Adams, but Clark did not name it. He certainly would not have named it for John Adams, the unfriendly rival of the president for whom he had just named Mount Jefferson. (Edmond S. Meany: "History of the Adams-St. Helens Region,” The Mountaineer, December 1917, Vol. 10, p. 24.)

It was not until 1839 that the western mountain was named for President Adams. (The peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire had been named in 1820.) A manuscript map made in 1839 by Hall J. Kelley bears the following notation signed by him: "The country South of the 47th parallel of lat. and West of the mountains called the Presidents Range was explored in the years 1834 and 5.” Kelley invented the idea of the "Presidents Range” for the West, and endeavored to establish the names of the presidents from Washington to Jackson on the big peaks, starting with St. Helens on the north and ending with Shasta on the south. Earlier names were ignored and Mount Hood was designated Mount Adams. This did not last long, for shortly afterwards T. J. Farnham proposed an extension of the Presidents Range, re-arranging Kelley’s names and replacing the established names of Baker, Rainier, and Olympus with Tyler, Van Buren, and Harrison. "Adams” was transferred north of the Columbia, but whether Farnham intended it for St. Helens or for the present Mount Adams it is hard to say. At all events, the scheme did not work, although for a time it caused a major geographical confusion. (Lewis A. McArthur: Oregon Geographical Names, 1928, 1944, 1952; Carl I. Wheat: Mapping the Transmississippi West, Vol. 2, 1958; Edmond S. Meany: Origin of Washington Geographic Names, 1923; Joseph T. Hazard: Snow Sentinels of the Pacific Northwest, 1932.)

The Pacific Railway Survey, of which Governor Isaac I. Stevens was in charge of the division between the 47th and 49th parallels, appears to have established the name of Adams permanently on its present site. Captain (later General of the Union Army) George B. McClellan, reporting in August 1852, says that "there was a fine view of the country for a long distance in every direction; five large snow mountains were in sight— Rainier, St. Helen [sic.], Adams, Hood, and Jefferson.” (Pacific Railroad Survey Reports, Vol. I, 1855, p. 189.) These Reports, says Edmond S. Meany (Origin of Washington Geographic Names, 1923, p. 173), "chart the mountain and refer to it frequently by the name now in common use. Its confusion with the nearby Mount St. Helens … was at an end.”

Indian names and legends are usually open to question, varying with the individual Indian, the white man reporting, and the side of the mountain where the information was obtained. In the present instance there is a widely quoted legend about two warriors, Klickitat and Wiyeast, who fought for the hand of the beautiful maiden Loowit. All three were turned into mountains, Loowit becoming St. Helens, Wiyeast becoming Hood, and Klickitat becoming Adams. (John H. Williams: The Guardians of the Columbia, 1912.) In another version the characters are the damsel fair La-wa-la-clough (St. Helens), Wiy-east (Hood), and Pah-to (Adams). William Gladstone Steel (The Mountains of Oregon, 1890, p. 52) says that the name Pat-to signifies "high” and that it was applied by the Indians to snow-caps generally.

It seems to be established that the first ascent of Mount Adams was made in 1854, but the available records are not in agreement as to the personnel. George H. Himes, writing in the little quarterly, Steel Points (Portland, Oregon, July 1907, 1:4, p. 199) says that he learned from A. G. Aiken that Aiken, with Edward J. Allen and Andrew J. Burge, made the first ascent in August or early September 1854. On the other hand, Allen H. Bent ("Early American Mountaineers,” Appalachia, June 1913, 13:1, p. 62) gives the names as Glenn Aiken, Edward J. Allen, and Col. B. F. Shaw. The source of the information is not stated.

BAKER, MOUNT (10,778)


The first notice of the existence of this peak is on a map made by the pilot of Manuel Quimper’s ship Princesa Real engaged in exploring the Strait of Juan De Fuca in 1790. "Two general maps were made by López de Haro— a Carta reducida and a Plano del Estrecho de Fuca. On both of these Mount Baker appears and, much farther south, part of the Cascade Range in the neighborhood of Mount Rainier. These mountains have names on only one of the maps (Plano); they are called the Gran Montaña de Carmelo and the Sierras Nevadas de San Antonio, respectively. Curiously enough, no mention of them is made in the narrative.” (Henry R. Wagner: Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America, 1937, Vol I, p. 222; the maps are described in Vol. II, p. 353. The Plano is reproduced in Wagner’s Spanish Explorations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, 1933, opp. p. 82, in connection with Quimper’s journal.)

Mount Baker was named by Captain George Vancouver. "About this time [April 29, 1792] a very high conspicuous craggy mountain … presented itself, towering above the clouds: as low down as they allowed it to be visible it was covered with snow. … The lofty mountain, discovered in the afternoon by the third lieutenant, and in compliment to him called by me Mount Baker, rose a very conspicuous object, … apparently at a very remote distance.” (A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean … under the command of Captain George Vancouver, 1798, Vol. I, pp. 221-222) Mt. Baker is shown and named on the chart "prepared under his [Captain Vancouver’s] immediate inspection by Lieut. Joseph Baker.” Although a diligent search was made, Professor Meany was unable to discover very much about the career of Joseph Baker, except that he attained the rank of captain and died in 1817. Captain Vancouver, upon arrival in the Shannon, September 13, 1795, "after giving such instructions as circumstances demanded, to my first lieutenant Mr. Baker, in whose zeal for the service, and abilities as an officer, a long experience justified me in implicitly confiding; I resigned my command of the Discovery into his hands.” (Vol. Ill, p. 486; see, also: Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound, by Edmond S. Meany, 1907, 1915, 1957, pp. 82-83.)

Theodore Winthrop’s pioneering travels in the Northwest, before his untimely death at 32 in battle in 1861 with a bullet through his heart, entitle him to hearing if not acquiescence; he has this to say: "Kulshan, misnamed Mount Baker by the vulgar … is an irregular, massive, mound-shaped peak, worthy to stand a white emblem of perpetual peace between us and our brother Britons. … Its name I got from the Lummi tribe at its base, after I had dipped in their pot at a boiled salmon feast. As to Baker, the name should be forgotten. Mountains should not be insulted by being named after undistinguished bipeds, nor by the prefix Mt. Mt. Chimborazo, or Mt. Dhawalaghiri, seems as feeble as Mr. Julius Caesar, or Signor Dante.” (The Canoe and the Saddle, by Theodore Winthrop, 1862; new edition, edited by John H. Williams, 1913, p. 38.) Nevertheless, Mount Baker it remains. Indian names must, as usual, be regarded with suspicion: Coleman calls it "Tukullum, or White Stone,” (Alpine Journal, 1878; see below); Meany, following Winthrop, says "Kulshan” (Origin of Washington Geographic Names, 1923, p. 174).

"It was first ascended in August 1868, by a party which I organized, consisting of Mr. Thomas Stratton, Inspector of Customs at Port Townsend, Puget Sound, Washington Territory; Mr., now the Hon. John Tennent, now or late member of the Legislative Assembly for Washington Territory; Mr. David Ogilvy, of Victoria; and myself. I described the journey in Harper’s Magazine for November 1869, under the title 'Mountaineering on the Pacific,’ and the main facts were reproduced in the Alpine Journal for May 1872.” ("Mountains and Mountaineering in the Far West,” by E. T. Coleman, Alpine Journal, February 1878, Vol. 8, pp. 387-388.) Edward Thomas Coleman (1824-1892) was an original member of the Alpine Club. He attempted to climb Mount Baker in 1864, again in 1866, and was successful in 1868. In 1870 he accompanied Stevens and Van Trump to Mount Rainier, but by accident was separated from his companions and failed to share in their famous ascent. He wrote, besides the articles mentioned above, Scenes from the Snow Fields, 1859, (Alpine), and a series of papers on “Puget Sound and the North Pacific Railroad,” in Bates’s Illustrated Travels, 1869. (The Alpine Club Register, 1857-1863, by A. L. Mumm.)

HOOD, MOUNT (11,245)


In October 1792, after his exploration of Puget Sound, Captain Van- couver, in the Discovery, sailed south to California, leaving Lieutenant Broughton, in command of the Chatham, to explore the Columbia River, the entrance to which had been discovered by Captain Gray earlier the same year. Sailing up the lower reaches, Broughton reported: "A very distant high snowy mountain now appeared rising beautifully conspicuous in the midst of an extensive tract of low, or moderately elevated, land.” And on the following day, October 30 (Vancouver embodies Broughton’s report in his own) : "The same remarkable mountain that had been seen from Belle Vue point, again presented itself, … and though the party were now nearer to it by seven leagues, yet its lofty summit was scarcely more distinct across the intervening land which was more than moderately elevated. Mr. Broughton honored it with Lord Hood’s name ; its appearance was magnificent ; and it was clothed in snow from its summit, as low down as the high land, by which it was intercepted, rendered it visible.” (A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean … under command of Captain George Vancouver, 1798, Vol. 2, pp. 63 and 65.)

“Mount Hood is an unusual mountain, and none can say but that it was named for an unusual man.” (Oregon Geographic Names, by Lewis A. McArthur, 3rd edition, 1952, p. 421 ; also in earlier editions, 1928, 1944.) The following notes on Lord Hood are abridged from Vancouver’s Discovery of Puget Sound, by Edmond S. Meany, 1907; new edition, 1957. Two cousins bore the same name, were contemporaneous, and each attained high rank in the Royal Navy. However, it can be shown that the Lord Hood for whom the mountain (and Hood Canal, as well) was named was Samuel Hood, born December 12, 1724. He entered the Navy and became a lieutenant in 1746. He took part in a number of campaigns, including those against the French in American waters. In 1780 he was promoted to Rear- Admiral of the Blue and was second in command in the naval warfare that marked the close of the American War for Independence. He was raised to the Irish peerage in 1782 as Baron Hood of Catherington, and was elected to Parliament in 1784. "In September, 1787, he become Vice- Admiral of the Blue, and in July, 1788, was made a member of the Board of Admiralty under the Earl of Chatham. In this capacity he signed the original instructions for Vancouver’s voyage, which is probably another reason for his being honored by the discoverer.” (Meany, p. 111.) At the outbreak of the French Revolution, Hood captured Corsica and was in command at the evacuation of Toulon. Horatio Nelson, who served under him, wrote that Lord Hood was "the best officer, take him altogether, that England has to boast of; great in all situations which an admiral can be placed in.” In 1796 he was promoted to the rank of Admiral, and in the same year created Viscount Hood in the peerage of Great Britain. He died in 1816 at the age of 92 and was buried in the old cemetery of Greenwich Hospital. There is a portrait in Meany’s work.

Captain Clark wrote in his journal, Oct. 18, 1805, "saw a mountain bearing S. W. Conocal form covered with snow,” and again, Oct. 25, "The Pinical of the round toped mountain which we saw a short distance below the forks of the river is S. 43° W. of us and abt 37 miles, it is at this time toped with snow we called this the falls mountain or Timm mountain.” (Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1805- 1806, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1905, Vol. 3, pp. 131 and 159.) In the more elegant paraphrase by another editor, "the pinnacle of the round mountain covered with snow, which we had seen a short distance below the forks of the Columbia, and which we had called the Falls or Timm mountain.” (History of the Expedition under the Command of Lewis and Clark, by Elliott Coues, 1893, Vol. 2, p. 669.) The name "Timm” appears to derive from "tum tum,” an onomatopoetic of the falling waters of the cascades, also applied to the beating of the heart. (Journal of an Exploring Tour beyond the Rocky Mountains, by Rev. Samuel Parker, 1838, and subsequent editions.)

"Ranking with the finest ever sung by any bard, are the thrillingly beautiful fire legends of the mid-Columbia river district concerning the three volcanic peaks we call the Guardians. To the Indians they were Loo- wit, the gentle, but cold maiden, Pa-toe, or Klickitat, the rough, good- natured giant, and Yi-east, the warrior whose passionate love caused a region to be transformed. … Today they are St. Helens, the graceful, veiled cone that stands far west of the summit of the range, away from her fellows, the lusty Mount Adams, whose head is forever bowed in grief, and the proud, defiant Mount Hood, whose brow is high as he glares at his fallen brother across the Great River of the West.” (Wy’east ”THE Mountain.” A Chronicle of Mount Hood, by Fred H. McNeil, 1937, p. 3.) There are many variants of the legend. (See: Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens.)

Two early approaches or attempts to climb Mount Hood deserve mention before we come to the claimed and the known ascents. In 1825 the celebrated botanist David Douglas wrote, "I was in June within a few miles of Mount Hood. Its appearance presented barriers that could not be surmounted by any person to reach the summit.” (Journal kept by David Douglas … , Royal Horticultural Society, 1914, p. 107.) Again, in 1833, he approached the mountain but was unable to climb it. (Oregon Historical Quarterly, September 1905, Vol. 6, No. 3; Douglas of the Fir, by A. G. Harvey, 1947, p. 208.) The second of the early explorers came much closer to success. In October 1845 Joel Palmer, later a prominent figure in Oregon, made a determined effort, but his two companions were neither as determined nor as durable as he was, and although he went on alone and went high on the peak, lack of equipment and food and the waning hours of the day brought him to a halt. ("Palmer’s Journal of Travels over the Rocky Mountains, 1845-1846,” in Thwaites’ Early Western Travels, 1906, Vol. 30; also, McNeil’s Wy'east ”THE Mountain,” ch. 5.)

In 1854 the same Thomas J. Dryer who is credited with the first ascent of Mount St. Helens claimed a similar achievement on Mount Hood. Dryer’s account, originally published in his newspaper, the Weekly Oregonian, is analyzed and discussed by W. G. Steel in Steel Points, April 1907, Vol. 1, No. 3, and later by Richard Joseph Grace in Oregon Out of Doors, 1920, Vol. 1, No. 1, published by the Mazamas. With Dryer were William Barlow (son of Captain Barlow, the road-builder), Wells Lake, Captain Travaillot, Judge Cyrus Olney, Major Granville O. Haller, and an Indian who professed to be a guide. (McNeil.) "In spite of Dryer’s assertion that they reached the summit, the fact that they 'crossed the White River Canyon and ascended the long dark ridge beyond’ has been proof that they reached the top of Steel Cliff, and no farther. … Dryer, Lake, and the Indian were the only ones that got that far.” Dryer announced the height of Mount Hood to be 18,361, a figure obtained by such an absurd method that it "causes one to doubt every other detail of the story.” (Oregon Out of Doors.) McNeil (Wy'east) goes further into the story, but reaches the same conclusion, that they did not get beyond Steel Cliff. He makes the observation, however, that despite Steel’s assertion that "it is impossible to reach the summit from this point,” the peak can be reached from Steel Cliff, as demonstrated many years later by Will Langille (and, incidentally, confirmed by the present writer’s personal efforts in 1938). Nevertheless, it was clearly impossible for Dryer in 1854. In Steel Points there is a portrait of Dryer, looking very glum.

The same issues of Oregon Out of Doors and Steel Points give an account taken from Armstrong’s Oregon and Washington in which it is stated that "It was ascended by Mr. Belden in October 1854, and found to be 19,400 feet high. … Respiration became very difficult, owing to the rarity of the atmosphere. At length the blood began to ooze through the pores of the skin like drops of sweat; their eyes began to bleed; then the blood rushed from their ears.” Steel remarks: "Mr. Belden’s first name is not given, but it was probably Ananias.”

Finally, on July 11, 1857, the authentic first ascent was made. McNeil, usually reliable, says that "A description of this expedition by the Rev. T. A. Wood is one of the most lucid and interesting accounts of mountaineering ever penned,” but he fails to say where it was published. Four of the party reached the top: Henry Lewis Pittock (portrait in Steel Points, April 1907), W. Lyman Chittenden, Wilbur Cornell, and The Rev. T. A. Wood. This is according to McNeil (Wy’east, p. 46); Steel, however, says that the ascent was made by Pittock, Chittenden, Deardorff, Buckley, and Powell (p. 92); Hazard (Snow Sentinels, p. 230) follows Steel. An important ascent such as this should be better documented.



On the return trip of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, canoeing up the Columbia, Captain Clark’s journal records under date of March 30, 1806, "discovered a high mountain S. E. covered with snow which we call Mt. Jefferson.” Again, on April 7, Clark writes: "Mt. Jefferson we can plainly see from the entrance of Multnomah [Willamette River] from which place it bears S. E. this is a noble mountain and I think equally as high or something higher than Mt. St. Heleans but its distance being much greater than that of the latter, so great a portion of it does not appear above the range of mountains which lie between both these stupendious mountains and the mouth of Multnomah, like Mt. St. Heleans its figure is a regular cone and is covered with eturnial snow.” (Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1803-1806, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1905, Vol. 4, pp. 223 and 255.) Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, was the first mountain to be named for a president of the United States; it appears to have been named in 1784, although it did not appear in print until 1792 (The History of New Hampshire, by Jeremy Belknap, 1792). The second to be named was for the third president, Thomas Jefferson. Mount Jefferson, in New Hampshire, was not named until 1820, 14 years after Lewis and Clark named the Oregon peak for their great patron.

When Hall J. Kelley drew his manuscript map in 1839 and endeavored to establish a "Presidential Range” in the Cascades he retained the name of Jefferson where Lewis and Clark had placed it and thus it became the only name in his scheme to survive. The name "Mount Jefferson” appears on the Gallatin map, 1836 (Wheat No. 417), but on the Parker map, 1838 (Wheat No. 438), it is temporarily displaced by "Mount Vancouver.” "The first climbers who succeeded in scaling the pinnacle that crowns the summit of Mount Jefferson were Ray L. Farmer and E. C. Cross, both of Salem, Oregon. The ascent was made August 12, 1888. Mr. George J. Pearce accompanied them to the base of the pinnacle.” (Mazama, March 1907, 3:1, p. 67; further references to early ascents: Mazama, July 1903, 2:3; December 1914, 4:3; December 1917, 5:2; December 1925, 7:2.)



"Named by Captain John Meares July 4, 1788, but previously discovered by Juan Pérez about August 10 or 11, 1774, and named Cerro de Santa Rosalía. Vancouver adopted the Meares name.” (Henry R. Wagner: Cartography of the Northwest Coast of America, 1937, Vol. 2, p. 400.) Pérez, sailing from San Blas in the frigate Santiago, was joined at Monterey early in June by Fray Juan Crespi whose journal gives us the account of the voyage. "Thursday, August 11.—Day dawned with the same calm, and the weather was also cloudy. About nine it cleared and the sun appeared, and we saw to the east a very high peak, distant from us about eighteen leagues … In the afternoon … we drew near again to the land and the high peak covered with snow is plainly visible ; and on each side of it, to the northeast and east-southeast, farther inland than the peak, and to be seen also large patches of snow on the mountain range. Because it was a snow-covered peak and because it made so conspicuous a figure out at sea, the captain was not willing to leave it without a name, so he called it Cerro Nevado de Santa Rosalía.” (Fray Juan Crespi, Missionary Explorer on the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774, by Herbert Eugene Bolton, 1927, pp. 352-353.)

The account of the Pérez voyage and his charts had not been published at the time John Meares sailed into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and, on the evening of July 4, 1788, saw land "of great height, and covered with snow. This mountain, from its very conspicuous situation, and immense height, obtained the name of Mount Olympus.” (Voyage Made in the Years 1788 and 1789, from China to the North West Coast of America, by John Meares, 1790, p. 163.) That is all he says. One wonders whether Meares, on some voyage to the Levant, had seen the Thessalian Olympus towering up from the Aegean Sea and now recalled that impressive sight, or whether he was merely inspired by recollections of a classical education to recognize in this far western land another worthy dwelling place for the immortal gods.

Claims of early ascents of Mount Olympus have of late been looked upon rather skeptically. The records are incomplete and the sources vague. Fred Becky’s Climber’s Guide to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains (American Alpine Club, 1949; revised 1953) states the case: "First ascent (W. Peak) 1907 by L. A. Nelson and 11 mountaineers. … There are some doubts of the claims of Col. B. F. Shaw and H. D. Clock (1854), B. J. Bretherton (1890), and Col. M. Simmons (1854) as to being the first to climb Olympus.” (The 1907 record should read "by 11 Mountaineers led by L. A. Nelson.”) But even though the earlier parties may not have attained the highest point, their pioneer attempts deserve notice.

1854—George H. Himes, states in Steel Points, July 1907: "The first ascent of Mount Olympus was made in the summer of 1854, and it is believed in the month of July. A party composed of Colonel Michael T. Simmons, F. Kennedy, Eustis Hugee, a surveyor; Henry D. Cock, B. F. Shaw, a woodsman, and four Cape Flattery Indians … went out on a private exploring expedition, and at length found themselves in the vicinity of Mount Olympus. The matter of making the ascent was discussed, and finally Shaw and Cook [evidently a typographical error for "Cock”] decided that they would make the attempt, which was successfully accomplished the following day. They were accompanied by two Indians, the remainder of the party not caring to undertake what seemed to them an extra hazardous expedition.” Portraits of H. D. Cock and Col. B. F. Shaw appear in the same number. Joseph T. Hazard (Snow Sentinels of the Pacific Northwest, 1932, pp. 39-40) appears to give full credit to the Cock and Shaw story. Well ?quién sabe? At least, Colonel Simmons can be counted out.

1890—The Bretherton claim is more easily disposed of. Again in Steel Points, July 1907, there is a fairly long account taken from an unidentified newspaper to the effect that B. J. Bretherton, Col. N. E. Linsley, and Private Danton, carrying a flag and box of the Oregon Alpine Club*, on the morning of September 22, "made the summit, where we remained long enough to place the box and take a few pictures.” Hazard (Snow Sentinels, pp. 42-43) has this to say: "It may have been one of the peaks of Olympus, but the records have never been reported, although diligent search has been made for them. … Olympus has three main peaks and a jumble of lesser peaks. The main summit is over a mile long. Worse still, the whole country around Olympus is a glorious labyrinth with snowy peaks galore that get in the way and add to the confusion.” Best guess—wrong peak!

1907—The ascent by The Mountaineers, August 13, 1907, is fully documented in The Mountaineer, September 1907, 1:3. An article by L. A. Nelson, leader of the climb, gives a list of those who reached the summit: Miss Anna Hubert, Prof. Henry Landes, Prof. Charles Landes, J. B. Flett, Prof. Theodore C. Frye, Prof. C. E. Weaver, Prof. F. H. Plumb, W. Montelius Price, E. E. Richards, A. W. Archer, and L. A. Nelson. A great day for professors !



At the end of April 1792, Captain Vancouver, of the Royal Navy, sailed through the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the sloop of war Discovery, accompanied by the armed tender Chatham. Leaving the ships at anchor a few days later, the Captain and a few companions set out in small boats to make the first exploration of the inland waters and shores. (A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean … under the command of Captain George Vancouver, 1798, Vol. I, p. 235.) On Tuesday, the 8th of May, the party dined on a sandy, projecting point from which they had "an excellent view of this inlet, which appeared to be of no inconsiderable extent. … The weather was serene and pleasant, and the country continued to exhibit, between us and the eastern snowy range, the same luxuriant appearance. At its northern extremity, Mount Baker bore by compass N. 22 E.; the round snowy mountain, now forming its southern extremity, and which, after my friend Rear Admiral Rainier, I distinguished by the name of Mount Rainier, bore N. [S.] 42 E.” Thus did Captain Vancouver initiate a controversy that lasted for well over a century.

In the latter part of the 19th century, coincident with, and perhaps consequent upon the growth in importance of the city of Tacoma, there burgeoned a movement to “restore” the Indian name for the mountain. A long debate ensued over the questions: (1) Whether the Indians had a specific name for this peak, or whether the word “tacoma” in one form or another was a generic name for any snow-covered mountain; (2) What was the proper form of the name—Tacoma, Tahoma, Tachoma, Takhoma, Tacobet, or something similar; (3) finally, assuming that the form “Tacoma” could be agreed upon, should it be substituted for the name given by Vancouver and unquestionably the first to appear upon a map. The matter came to a climax in 1924 when a joint resolution (S. J. 64) was passed by the United States Senate and was introduced in the House of Representatives to change the name of "Mount Rainier” to “Mount Tacoma.” A report was requested from the United States Geographic Board, which was promptly forthcoming, recommending unanimously against the change. The report settled the question insofar as government action was concerned, but the smoldering fires lingered. Not so very long ago a National Parks official, noted for his tact and good humor, was asked during a speech in Tacoma what he thought the name of the mountain should be. "Now, I’m glad you asked that question,” said he. "Why, of course, there’s no doubt in my mind about the name of the mountain, and I want to tell you about a new road that the Park Service is planning that will greatly improve the access from your city.” The next night, in Seattle, the same question was asked, and Mr. A. again replied, "Why, of course, there’s no doubt in my mind about the name of the mountain, and I want to tell you about a road …” At all events, it is today officially and universally Mount Rainier.

During the height of the controversy one of the objections brought against the name Rainier was that "Said Rainier at the time of the American Revolution, when we were fighting for liberty, was actively engaged as an enemy against us and was effective in harassing and destroying our ships of commerce.” Dr. C. Hart Merriam, of the U. S. Geographic Board, replied: "All of which appears to accord with the record. And is it not to his credit that as a patriotic British subject he fought for his country? Furthermore, the record shows that when engaged in battle with one of our privateers and wounded in the breast with a musket ball, he refused to be taken below until he had captured the enemy’s vessel, proving himself a brave and valorous officer, worthy of the honors that have been bestowed upon him.” (Hearing before the United States Geographic Board, May 11, 1917.)

Peter Rainier (1741-1808) was the son of Peter Rainier of Sandwich, England, and the grandson of Huguenot refugees whose name in France had been Regnier. He had a long career at sea and not only took part in the war with the American Colonies, but distinguished himself in other campaigns. It is true, as alleged, that in 1792, when Vancouver gave his name to the mountain, Rainier was not a rear admiral, but it is also true that he was promoted to that rank at about the time Vancouver returned from his voyage in 1795. In the last few years of his life Rainier received additional honors: he was made an Admiral of the Blue and was elected to Parliament. He died in 1808. His portrait, with biographical sketch appears in Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound, by Edmond S. Meany, 1907, reprinted 1915 and 1957.

In earlier years, long before the Rainier-Tacoma controversy, the name of the mountain occasionally suffered at the hands of map-makers and writers. It is not surprising to find "Rainy” and even "Reeaneer” in the Lewis and Clark journals, and even "Ranier,” as on the Parker map of 1838; indeed, the last is a common error that persists to the present day. But by what process did the name revert on some early maps to the ancestral spelling "Regnier” ? (Map of the Indian Tribes of North America, by Albert Gallatin, 1836; Map to accompany Washington Irving’s Journal of Captain Bonneville, 1837; and the David H. Burr map of 1839. These maps are reproduced or described in Carl I. Wheat’s Mapping the Trans- mississippi West, Vol. II, 1958.)

The earliest attempts to climb Mount Rainier have been so fully publicized that it is necessary only to make reference here to some of the more available accounts: "The Climbing History of Mount Rainier,” by Dee Molenaar, A.A.J., 1957, 10:2, pp. 1-28; Mount Rainier: A Record of Exploration, by Edmond S. Meany, 1916; Snow Sentinels of the Pacific Northwest, by Joseph T. Hazard, 1932; The Story of Mount Rainier National Park, by C. Frank Brockman, 1940, revised 1946 and 1952. Although Hazard Stevens and P. B. Van Trump are generally credited with the first ascent, August 17, 1870, it is possible that the two surveyors (names unknown) who climbed to the summit crater by way of the Winthrop-Emmons route in 1854 (?) may have reached the highest point. (Dee Molenaar,

A.A.J., 1957, 10:2, p. 4.)



October 20, 1792—"The clearness of the atmosphere enabled us to see the high round snowy mountain, noticed when in the southern parts of the Admiralty inlet, to the southward of mount Rainier. … Like mount Rainier [it} seemed covered with perpetual snow, as low down as the intervening country permitted it to be seen. This I have distinguished by the name of Mount St. Helens, in honor of his Britannic Majesty’s ambassador at the court of Madrid.” (A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean … under the command of Captain George Vancouver, 1798, Vol. I, pp. 421-422.) The name is shown on Vancouver’s chart.

Alleyne Fitzherbert (1753-1839), "a man of parts and of infinite zeal and industry,” was ambassador extraordinary to Spain in 1790, charged with settlement of the Nootka Sound dispute, "for which services he was raised to the Irish peerage as Baron St. Helens.” He was later promoted to a peerage in the United Kingdom. (Dictionary of National Biography.)

Careless map-makers and writers have frequently made a possessive out of the name by writing it "St. Helen’s.” As for spelling, we can only admire the versatility of captains Lewis and Clark, exemplified by the following quotations from their journals: "Mount Hellen bears N. 25° E. about 80 miles, this is the mountain we saw near the forks of this river, it is immensely high and covered with snow, riseing in a kind of cone perhaps the highest pinecal from the common leavel in America.” (Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1905, Vol. 3, pp. 195-196.) And again, "we had a full view of Mt. Helian which is perhaps the highest pinical in America (from the base) … it rises something in the form of a sugar lofe.” (p. 198). Other variants are "Mt. St. Hilians,” "St. helines,” "St. Helians,” "St. Heleans.” Elsewhere we find "St. Helen,” a not unnatural error where the origin of the name is not known.

The legend of Loowit, or La-wa-la-clough, the fair maiden who was transformed into the mountain has been mentioned in connection with Mount Adams. There are other legends, particularly those relating to the volcanic activity: W. G. Steel says that St. Helens was "called by the Indians, Lou-wala-clough, meaning smoking mountain.” (The Mountains of Oregon, 1890, p. 54.) The volcanic activity of Mount St. Helens is frequently mentioned by early explorers. Fremont says, under date of November 13, 1843, "On the 23d of the preceding November, St. Helens has scattered its ashes, like a light fall of snow, over the Dalles of the Columbia, 50 miles distant.” (Report of the Exploring Expedition … in the Years 1843-’44, pp. 193-194.) This is confirmed by an eye-witness in a letter to W. G. Steel written in 1892 (Steel Points, October 1906, 1:1, pp. 25-26.)

The first ascent was made August 27, 1853, by Thomas J. Dryer, founder and publisher of The Oregonian, with three others—Wilson, Smith, and Drew (further identities not disclosed). Hazard quotes from Dryer’s account published in his newspaper, September 3, 1853: "After spending sufficient time to see what was to be seen, and building a pyramid of loose stones on the highest spot of level earth and ashes, we commenced our descent.” (Snow Sentinels of the Pacific Northwest, by Joseph T. Hazard, 1932, pp. 190-191.) Another early ascent deserves mention, both because of the light it throws on pioneer mountain-climbing and because the climbers believed that they were the first to attain the summit. It is found in a rare pamphlet reprinted in facsimile by Yale University Library (Western Historical Series No. 3, not dated), entitled Gold Hunting in the Cascade Mountains, by Loo-Wit Lat-Kla, originally printed at Vancouver, Washington Territory, in 1861. A party of prospectors, failing to find pay dirt, decided to climb the mountain. They met with a Siwash Indian who told them "it was entirely impossible for either white man or Indian to reach the summit of Mount St. Helens.” Nevertheless, they engaged him as guide. "He said the only company of which the Indians have any knowledge, traditionary or otherwise, that ever started from the settlements for the purpose of ascending St. Helens, were a party of Hudson Bay Company’s men, headed by old Mr. Lewis. … Some of the party became discouraged and wanted to return; others wanted to go on. The guide refused to go without more blankets. The advance party threatened to shoot him; the return party encouraged and protected him. Quite an angry scene occurred which resulted in the return of the whole party. This happened about twenty years ago.” The present party persisted, however, and after the usual trials and perils, "at half past two p.m. on the 28th day of Sept. A.D. 1860—the top of Mt. St. Helens ceased to be a Terra incognita. … And then the first flag, that ever waved over Mt. St. Helens, was fluttering and crackling in the gale … ready to announce to the next successful pilgrim, that … 'James A. Burk, Jesse Failing, Amos E. Russell, Lyman Merrill, Squire J. Bozarth and James H. Neyce succeeded in reaching the summit of Loo-wit-lat-kla, or Mt. St. Helens, under the direction of John Staps (Indian) guide.’ Having made the flag before we left camp, we were not prepared to believe—indeed we could not have been persuaded—that any of our party would fail to make the ascent or that our guide would 'back out.’ Hence the name of every man in our party was inscribed upon it; but, as already stated, our stoutest man, Mr. B. was overcome by fatigue and the Indian could not be induced to accompany us.” Whether Mr. Burk or Squire Bozarth was the laggard "Mr. B.” is not disclosed ; nor is the identity of the writer. One wonders about some other records that have been left on summits.

SHASTA, MOUNT (14,162)


Whether or not the Spanish explorers saw Mount Shasta in 1817 is a debatable question; at all events, it did not amount to an effective discovery or a definite naming of the mountain. That has usually been credited to Peter Skene Ogden, when he wrote in his journal under date of February 14, 1827: "There is a mountain equal in height to Mount Hood or Vancouver [Jefferson?], I have named it Mount Sastise.” ("The Peter Skene Ogden Journals,” edited by T. C. Elliott, Oregon Historical Society Quarterly, June 1910, 11:2, p. 214.) However, Dr. C. Hart Merriam argues with considerable authority that Ogden was applying the name to Mount McLaughlin (Mount Pitt, or Pit). ("Source of the name Shasta,” by C. Hart Merriam, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, November 18, 1926, 16:19, pp. 522-525.) "The earliest appearance of the name in print, so far as is known,” says Merriam, "is in Arrowsmith’s 'Map of British North America’ published in 1832 (2d ed. 1834 [Wheat No. 403], in J. Arrowsmith’s London Atlas). This map shows 'Shasty River’ well north of the 'Clamet' [Klamath], occupying the turbulent stream now known as Rogue River.” Merriam discusses the name Shasta as the name of an Indian tribe on the Rogue River and identifies them with Ogden’s Sastise. Various forms of spelling are mentioned: Shasti, Sasti, Sasty, Shasty, Shaste, and ultimately Shasta. He concludes: "it is one of the tragedies of geographic nomenclature that these names, by reason of a break in the continuity of local knowledge of the region, have been transferred to features remote from those upon which they were originally bestowed. Still, it is something to be thankful for—from the standpoint of anthropology—that both the great mountain and the river to which the name was transferred are still within or bordering on the territory of the Shasta tribe” (p. 525). By 1841 the name was definitely established on the California mountain, although it took a little time to settle upon the spelling. The Wilkes maps of 1844 and 1849 (Wheat Nos. 457, 458, and 654) have it Shaste; Duflot de Mofras, 1844 (Wheat No. 474) has it Sasté; Fremont-Preuss, 1848 (Wheat No. 559) has the unique Tsashtl (Preuss’s idea?); but Shasta it became and now is, and happily so.

The first ascent was made August 14, 1854, by a party of eight men led by Captain E. D. Pearce. Pearce’s account, written originally for the Yreka Herald, was printed in the San Francisco Daily Herald, August 28, 1854. It is quoted in part by Charles L. Stewart in "Early Ascents of Mount Shasta,” Sierra Club Bulletin, June 1934, 19:3, and in The Mount Shasta Story, by Arthur Francis Eichorn, Sr., 1957. This account was long overlooked, partly because the identity of Pearce was obscure, and ascents were credited to Captain Prince or Pierce. These are discussed by Ansel F. Hall in "Mount Shasta,” S. C. B., 1926, 12:1, p. 254. Further search of newspaper files may disclose variations in the story of the first ascent, but are unlikely to displace Captain Pearce as the protagonist. There is a considerable literature about other ascents of the 1850’s and the 1860’s, most of which is referred to by Hall, Stewart, and Eichorn. Some of the notable pioneers in geology, botany, and zoology in the West set their mark on the flanks and glaciers and the summit of Mount Shasta, among them: J. D. Whitney, William H. Brewer, Clarence King, Samuel F. Emmons, John Muir, J. S. Diller, C. Hart Merriam. One unusual experience should not be overlooked, that of B. A. Colonna, of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, who in July 1878 spent "Nine Days on the Summit of Mount Shasta,” for the purpose of exchanging sun signals with Mount St. Helena, 180 miles away to the south. (His account, as titled above, was published in The Californian, March 1880.)

*The Oregon Alpine Club was organized in 1887. George H. Himes was secretary; W. W. Bretherton was a vice-president ; there is no mention of B. J. Bretherton. The following is worth noting: "The object shall be the foundation and maintenance of a Public Museum, and advancement and encouragement of Amateur Photography, Alpine and Aquatic exploration, and the protection of our game, fish, birds and animals.” (W. G. Steel: The Mountains of Oregon, 1890, p. 69.)

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