On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon’s Perilous Peak tells the story of Oregon’s greatest mountain, a mountain that has shaped the very land of the Northwest. The mountain itself helps create the notorious Oregon rains and deep alpine snows, it draws millions to its textbook beauty every year; it paved the way for snowboarding in the mid 1980s, its forests provide some of the purest drinking water in the world, and its snowy peak captures the attention of the nation almost every time it wreaks fatal havoc upon climbers seeking the summit.
Through an engaging mix of first-person narrative, including an epic trip around the mountain on the storied Timberline Trail, and the stories of countless climbers, scientists, historians, and overall characters who have helped make Mount Hood the lively feature that it is, On Mount Hood builds a compelling story of a legendary mountain and its impacts on the people who live in its shadow every day.
Chapters throughout On Mount Hood cover everything from climbing, skiing, and weather to forest activism, Hood’s retreating glaciers, unique flora and fauna, Native Americans, early pioneers, and more. Among those whose stories are shared as a result of one-on-one interviews within the pages of On Mount Hood are: Andrew Canfield, the para-rescue jumper who was hurled from a PAVE Hawk helicopter during a dramatic rescue and crash on Hood’s south side; Tre Arrow, a forest activist who free-climbed the U.S. Forest Service headquarters building in Portland in his bare feet to protest an old-growth timber sale in the Mount Hood National Forest; and Willie Scott, the USGS geologist who’s spent years mapping Mount Hood and assessing its volcanic threat to the entire region.
On Mount Hood comes at a perfect time for Northwesterners who have grown up with the mountain and for countless others who have come to know it by moving to or visiting Oregon in the past few years. The mountain and its surrounding forests, lakes, and rivers continue to be an inspirational and functional landscape for the region; yet Hood’s is a landscape that is under pressure to accommodate greater populations and a multitude of uses. Not only do Oregonians and others recreate on the mountain in a range of different ways, but many count on it for water, power transmission, timber, and other natural resources. Future development threatens the slopes of Hood yet also stands as the only answer to the growing number of people who head to it for enjoyment.
An outdoor enthusiast and wordsmith, Jon Bell has been writing from his home base in the Portland, Oregon, area since the late 1990s. After growing up in Mansfield, Ohio, Jon got a bachelor’s degree in history from Michigan State University, then traveled extensively across the American West before landing in Portland. His first published pieces were about some of his backpacking and climbing excursions in the Northwest, including countless weekends on Mount Hood. His work has appeared in Backpacker, The Oregonian, The Rowing News, Oregon Coast, and many other publications. He is also co-author of the climbing guidebook, Ozone, and a former president of the Ptarmigans Mountaineering Club. Visit his freelance writing web site, www.jbellink.com. He lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with his wife, two kids, and a black Lab.