American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Joseph R. Leuthold, 1906-1965

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1966


The Club notes with regret the passing on December 12th, 1965, of Joe Leuthold, a leader in the skiing and mountaineering world of the Pacific Northwest since the early 1930’s.

Born in Switzerland in 1906 and coming to Oregon at the age of six, Joe had a career that covered a full gamut of mountain activities. One of the early climbing guides and ski instructors on Mount Hood, Joe was an original member of the Mount Hood Ski Patrol and a member of the National Ski Patrol, the Mountain Rescue Council of Oregon and during World War II served as rock-climbing instructor in the 10th Mountain Division. Joe Leuthold is credited with designing and building the first uphill ski facility in the West in early 1930. Since that time he has made his home at Government Camp on the south slope of Mount Hood, where he managed the Summit Ski Area.

Joe’s climbing career was well known not only for his many first ascents, but also for his passion to share climbing with others through being a club leader. The Mazamas accorded him special recognition recently for having led Club climbs on all 16 major snow peaks of the Pacific Northwest—the only such recognition ever given in the 70-year history of the Mazamas. At the age of 59, Joe was still sharing his climbing with others. His most recent ascent was perhaps the 10,000-foot snow and ice climb of Oregon’s Middle Sister with his wife and 7-year-old daughter.

Few men have lived fuller lives in the mountains than Joe Leuthold and few have given and shared so much of the mountains with others. This mountain man will be missed by those whose lives he touched.

Ross Petrie

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