Mt. Hood has always fascinated Oregonians. The snow-capped peak sits on the horizon like a tantalizing gem. Many have climbed it or dreamed of climbing it. In a half-hour special airing Thursday, July 19 at 8:30pm on the stations of OPB TV, Oregon Field Guide explores our premier mountain’s earliest climbers, famous disasters, the evolution of mountaineering expeditions, and how the mountain itself has changed with the decline of its great glaciers.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that between 9,000 and 10,000 people come from around world to attempt the summit each year. This past summer, the Field Guide crew was among that number. Join them as they make their way up Hood’s steep slopes to experience the thrill of a sunrise on the summit.

Off the mountain, Producer Jule Gilfillan joins Mazama Photo Archivist Jeff Thomas to explore the club’s extensive photo and film collection. The local climbing community shares their personal scrapbooks to help bring the story of Mt. Hood to life.

A look back to early climbs includes a rare 1912-film featuring the man credited with the first summit — Henry Pittock — and a photo tour of an excruciating and inspiring look at the women who post-holed their way to the top in floor-length skirts and homemade climbing frocks made of bed ticking.

Jack Grauer, the 91-year-old author of “Mt Hood: A Complete History,” recounts the scandalous battle over official credit for Mt. Hood’s first ascent and analyzes the cause of “Mountain Fever,” the obsession that overtakes novice climbers and turns them into avid – and sometimes rabid – mountaineers.

And the long-kept secret is revealed of how 17-year-old future Beat Poet (and ardent mountaineer) Gary Snyder woke up on Mt. Hood’s summit one August morning in 1947 to find a bottle of fresh milk and a Sunday paper waiting outside his tent.

Of course it wouldn’t be Oregon Field Guide without a little science … so PSU Glaciologist Dr. Andrew Fountain describes how the mountain itself is changing with the decline of its great glaciers, and what that could mean to the mountain’s future.

Videos of the stories featured on FIELD GUIDE are available at or watch entire programs at

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In its 23rd season, OREGON FIELD GUIDE remains a valuable source of information about outdoor recreation, ecological issues, natural resources and travel destinations. OREGON FIELD GUIDE airs Thursday evenings at 8:30pm on the television stations of Oregon Public Broadcasting and repeats on Sundays at 1:30am and 6:30pm. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30pm Thursdays, and at 7:30pm Sundays.

About OPB

OPB delivers excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 115,000 contributors.