Our Northwest

Like Denali, NW peaks’ names lost in time

Wednesday, September 2, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

President Obama announced Sunday that, by executive order, he will rename Alaska’s 20,237-foot Mt. McKinley. The new name is actually its old name, long used by Alaska natives: Denali.
     In theory, that practice could extend all over the Northwest. There are plenty of candidates in our corner of the country – mountains renamed in recent centuries by white explorers and expansionists. In the Cascades alone:
     Mt. Baker, named by Captain George Vancouver after a British lieutenant. Original Native American name: Kulshan.
     Mt. Rainer, named by Vancouver after a British admiral. Original name: Tahoma.
     Mt. Adams, named after President John Adams. Original name: Klickitat, or Pah Do.
     Mount St. Helens, named by Vancouver after a British diplomat. Original name: Loowit, or Lou-wala-clough (“smoking mountain”).
     Mt. Hood, named after a British admiral. Original name: Wy’east.
     Mt. Jefferson, named by Lewis and Clark after President Jefferson. Original name: Seekseekqua.
     Mt. Washington, named after the first U.S. president. Original name: Pat-to.
     Three Sisters, individually Faith, Hope, and Charity. Original name: Multnomah, a legendary (and likely mythical) giant mountain.
     Mt. McLoughlin, named after Dr. John McLoughlin of the Hudson’s Bay Co. Original name: Mt. Pit, from the river that got its name from the pits that Native Americans dug to trap game.
     Read a related Spokesman-Review article.

Share on social media


Comments on this post

personSusan M Brown Blazina09/06/2015 02:03 PM
I love this plan! I hope all of our NW mountains regain their real names.
personDAVID09/03/2015 11:25 AM
I  really support the change to Denali and would also support the change back to the original for Ranier, Baker and Adams since we use the Native American names liberally in the NW Washington area.

Add your comment

At PEMCO, we believe that maintaining the confidentiality of personal information is a fundamental responsibility. View our privacy policy.