Not long after the first pioneers found their way to the Cascade Range, they started dreaming up ways to climb – and ski – Mount Hood. It’s a rich tradition of ingenuity that continues to this day. This timeline should give you an appreciation for the rich history associated with Oregon’s tallest mountain.
700,000 BC: Volcanic eruptions form the Cascade Range and the mountain called Wy’East by the Klickitat people.
1792 AD: Mount Hood is named after British Admiral Samuel Hood, who never set foot on the mountain.
1889: Cloud Cap Inn opens on the north side of Mount Hood.
1890: The Langille brothers ski the north face of Mount Hood to Cloud Cap Inn.
1894: 100 people climb Mount Hood together and form the alpine club Mazamas.
1899: Oliver Yocum builds the first hotel in Government Camp.
1903: Three Mazamas shred Hood wearing 10-foot wooden skis and carrying nine-foot balancing poles.
1905: Tourists visiting Portland for the Lewis and Clark Exhibit sign up for $5 guided tours to the peak of Mount Hood.
1914: First solo car trip up to Government Camp.
1915: Climbers build a fire lookout at the mountain’s peak.
1926: Plan to connect Cooper Spur to the summit with a cable tramway are rejected.
1926: State begins plowing Highway 26 regularly in winter.
1927: Snow clubs form on Mount Hood.
1928: Summit opens as first ski resort on Mount Hood.
1928: The Mutorpor ski jumping hill makes its debut.
1931: Andre Roch, Hjalmar Hvam and Arne Stene summit on skis.
1933: Fire lookout at the peak is torn down.
1935: Works Progress Administration announces plan to build Timberline Lodge.
1936: Timberline foreman Ira Davidson invents the modern Snow Cat.
1937: FDR travels to Oregon for the dedication of Timberline Lodge.
1937: Russ McJury and Joe Leuthold (pictured below, photo courtesy of Daniel Becker) complete the first ascent of the Sandy Glacier Headwall.
1937: Hjalmar Hvam invents the modern ski binding after injuring himself on Mount Hood.
1938: The Timberline Trail is completed.
1939: Magic Mile opens, the first chairlift on Mount Hood and the longest ski lift in North America at the time.
1939: Olympic Trials take place on Mount Hood.
1942-1945: Skiers and climbers from Mount Hood and other mountains train and serve with distinction with the 10th Mountain Division.
1946: Women are allowed into the Mt. Hood Ski Patrol.
1947: Ty Kearney climbs to the summit with bike parts, assembles them and rides the peak.
1947: Ski-Way Tram developed to connect Government Camp and Timberline.
1949: Multorpor Lodge is completed.
1951: Ski-Way Tram completed connecting Government Camp to Timberline.
1953: Criticized as unreliable, expensive and slow, the Ski-Way Tram closes after just two years of operations; investors eat losses.
1955: Timberline Lodge gets its power shut off for failure to pay the bills.
1957: A 29-year-old social worker from New York, Richard L. Kohnstamm, rescues Timberline from bankruptcy, forms RLK Inc. and takes over Timberline’s Forest Service Lease.
1958: Helicopter piloted by W.C. Hartley lands on Mount Hood summit.
1961: Tram towers are removed from the mountainside.
1962: Mount Hood National Forest visitors top 3 million.
1964: SkiBowl and Multorpor merge.
1966: Forest Service grants permit for a major new Mount Hood resort to Franklin Drake of Portland.
1966: SkiBowl installs lights for night skiing.
1968: Mt. Hood Meadows opens.
1976: The population of Metro Portland hits 1 million.
1977: Timber companies harvest 500 million board feet of timber from Mount Hood National Forest, at the height of the industry.
1978: Palmer Lift opens, launching the summer training industry on Mount Hood.
1981: Film and TV director Boris Sagal (The Twilight Zone) steps out of a helicopter at Timberline Lodge and is killed by the rotor blades.
1984: Sandy Union High School graduate and Mount Hood racer Bill Johnson wins the first U.S. Olympic gold in the men’s downhill.
1986: Alan Pennington and John Smolich, climbers who helped save Silcox Hut, die in an avalanche on K2.
1986: Difficult search and rescue process leads to the development of the Mount Hood Mountain Locator Unit.
1987: Kirk Hanna, son of Oregon car wash king Daniel Hanna, buys SkiBowl out of bankruptcy.
1988: Snowboarding champ Craig Windell buys the run-down Shamrock Hotel on Highway 26 and starts Windell’s Camp, training programs for hot young snowboarders and freeskiers.
1992: Jeff Kohnstamm takes leadership of RLK at Timberline.
2004: Dan Howitt climbs from Timberline to Summit in 1:57 with his dog Caddis.
2006: Matthew Drake takes over as president of Meadows.
2007: Timberline builds the Jefferson Flood chairlift.
2010: Freeski star Sammy Carlson lands the first triple rodeo at a jump built at Timberline.
2012: Meadows installs an advanced rfid lift pass and tracking system.
2013: Ski Patrol celebrates its 75th anniversary.
2016: Olympic downhill gold medalist Bill Johnson dies in Gresham. Skibowl later changes the name of its classic Dogleg run to Bill’s Gold.
2018: Scientists discover significant fault lines on the north and south flanks of Mount Hood, capable of producing a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
2020: COVID-19 health concerns prompt all three major Mount Hood resorts to close for the season. Timberline pioneers a strategy to hold resort skiing safely during a pandemic, with no major outbreaks during the busy summer season.
On Mount Hood, by Jon Bell
Last modified: November 11, 2020