Volcanoes and History
Cascade Range Volcanoes - "Volcanoes and History"

Naming the Cascade Range Volcanoes
Mount Hood, Oregon

Mount Hood was named in October 1792, after British Admiral Lord Samuel Hood. The peak was spotted on October 29, 1793, by William Broughton, a member of the Captain George Vancouver Expedition. Broughton first spotted Mount Hood while on the Columbia River, slightly downstream of the location of today's Vancouver, Washington, however the journals do not name the peak until the next day, October 30, 1792, when Lieutenant Broughton came to the end of his journey up the Columbia River to a location today known as Point Vancouver.
"... A very high, snowy mountain now appeared rising beautifully conspicuous in the midst of an extensive tract of low or moderately elevated land lying S 67 E., and seemed to announce a termination to the river. ..."
[Captain George Vancouver/Lieutenant William Broughton, October 29, 1792]

" ... The same remarkable mountain that had been seen from Belle Vue point, again presented itself, bearing at this station S. 67 E.; 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, permitted it to be visible. Mr. Broughton lamented that he could not acquire sufficient authority to ascertain its positive situation, but imagined it could not be less than 20 leagues from their then station. ..."
[Captain George Vancouver/Lieutenant William Broughton, October 30, 1792]

Native American called Mount Hood "Wy'east" (often spelled "Wyeast") and legends tell about the brothers "Wy'east" (Mount Hood) and "Pahto" or "Klickitat" (Mount Adams) battling for the fair maiden "La-wa-la-clough" or "Loowit" (Mount St. Helens). A Gifford Pinchot National Forest "Mount St. Helens" Brochure from 1980 told of the legend.
"... Northwest Indians told early explorers about the fiery Mount St. Helens. In fact, an Indian name for the mountain, Louwala-Clough, means "smoking mountain". According to one legend, the mountain was once a beautiful maiden, "Loowit". When two sons of the Great Spirit "Sahale" fell in love with her, she could not choose between them. The two braves, Wyeast and Klickitat fought over her, burying villages and forests in the process. Sahale was furious. He smote the three lovers and erected a mighty mountain peak where each fell. Because Loowit was beautiful, her mountain (Mount St. Helens) was a beautiful, symmetrical cone of dazzling white. Wyeast (Mount Hood) lifts his head in pride, but Klickitat (Mount Adams) wept to see the beautiful maiden wrapped in snow, so he bends his head as he gazes on St. Helens. ..."


If you have questions or comments please contact: GS-CVO-WEB@usgs.gov
2008 - 2011, Lyn Topinka
Return to: Volcanoes and History | CVO Home Page