The Book. The Mountain. Everything in between.

The Mazamas

Probably no other outdoor organization has a closer or more unique tie to Mount Hood than the Portland-based Mazamas.

Now close to 3,000 members, the Mazamas started out much more humbly, with 105 charter members way back in 1894. What’s incredibly unique about the club’s founding is that it happened on the very summit of Mount Hood.

An advertisement in area newspapers invited committed mountaineers on a climb set for July 18, 1894. More than 300 people turned out at various base camps; close to 200 of them summited that day. This picture, probably my favorite historical photo of the mountain, shows a long string of climbers making their way up the Cooper Spur route on that inaugural climb.

Courtesy of the Mazamas

Since that day, the Mazamas have grown and flourished as an organization, teaching thousands of people how to climb, leading countless trips into the Cascades, conducting and supporting scientific research, standing up for the environment, and educating people about all things alpine and outdoors. The club offers more than 700 hikes and 300 climbs annually, has an incredible library and historical archives packed with tens of thousands of documents and photographs — a huge resource during my research for On Mount Hood — and also hosts regular Evening Travel Programs every Wednesday between October and April.

I gave my presentation about On Mount Hood to more than 50 Mazamas and others who turned out at the Mazama Mountaineering Center last night. One of the best turnouts I’ve had so far, and by far one of the most enjoyable. There’s something about being among so many other people who have such a personal connection with the mountain, as I do.

Thanks much to the Mazamas.

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