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On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak Hardcover – May 3, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570616922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570616921
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"[An] evocative exploration of the Mount Fuji of America. Open the book and climb."
Bruce Barcott, author of The Measure of a Mountain

"It took more than a decade, but Mount Hood now has a book to rival Mount Rainier's."
The Oregonian

"[On Mount Hood] offers a satisfying mix of interviews and facts about one of the state’s most recognizable features. Jon takes the reader along on his quest to learn more about the iconic mountain that dominates the Portland metro-area landscape. His authorial voice—as he asks questions, delves into history and demystifies geological phenomena—is professional and personal. Well-muscled sentences push the reader to consider the peak’s past, present and future and how its presence has affected us as human beings. On Mount Hood is a relevant read for anyone who has ever climbed Mount Hood, skied there, gasped at its immensity from the plane window, noted 'The mountain’s out today,' or tasted tap water in the Portland metro area."
Brave on the Page

"This first-person narrative biography of Oregon's legendary Mount Hood blends tales of adventure and adversity with history, geology and trivia. Bell interviews several people familiar with the mountain—including a forest activist, a volcanologist and a pararescue jumper—to help tell the story of this iconic Northwest peak."
Alaska Airlines Magazine

"Mt. Hood’s story is vast, and critics have hailed Jon Bell for tackling it with devotion... To comprehend the enormity of writing the biography of the mountain, one must consider Mt. Hood as the site of massive glaciers and pure alpine waters, as well as tiny earthquake 'swarms,' rocky lahar mudslides, mini-avalanches, and  plumes of potentially poisonous sulpher-dioxide fumarole gas. Its foothills boast recreation enthusiasts and the faint wagon tracks of the Oregon Trail’s Barlow Road. Some seek it for the powerful ideals embodied in every aspect of the historic Timberline Lodge, a monument to the collective human spirit in the era of the Great Depression."
"[On Mount Hood] features Mt. Hood stories full of adventure and tragedy, history and geology, people and places, trivia and lore. Bell combines some first-person narrative with interviews that depict the stories of countless climbers, scientists, historians and characters."
Portland Tribune

"On Mount Hood tells the story of Mount Hood in a way that’s surprisingly never been done before, and through anything and everything related to the mountain: news, conditions, trails, campsites, wines, accidents, triumphs, stories, connections, and much, much more."
Oregon Lakes & Rivers

"Jon Bell takes his readers around the mountain with style. Along the way, he also tours some of the personal connections, past and present, that make Hood such an iconic Northwest place."
Jack Nisbet, author of David Douglas, a Naturalist at Work

About the Author

An outdoor enthusiast and wordsmith, Jon Bell writes from his home base near Portland, Oregon. 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. He lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, with his wife, two kids, and a black Lab.

More About the Author

The author of On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak, Jon Bell has been writing from his home base around Portland, Oregon, since the late 1990s. A freelance writer full-time, he is the co-author of the climbing guidebook, Ozone, and he has been a business writer for the Portland Tribune, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a contributing writer to such publications as Backpacker, The Oregonian, Oregon Business, The Portland and Puget Sound Business Journals, Oregon Coast, The Rowing News, The Home Building News, and The Portland Physician Scribe.

After growing up in Mansfield, Ohio, he got a bachelor's degree in history from Michigan State University, then traveled extensively across the American West before landing in Portland. An avid outdoorsman, his first published pieces were about some of his backpacking and climbing excursions in the Northwest. He subsequently broadened his writing experience to include public education, government, business, politics, and people and places of interest for several different newspapers and magazines.

He lives in Lake Oswego, OR, with his wife, two children, and his black Lab.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ryan ATL on June 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A friend that lives in Portland recommended this book to me. I had never read a book like this before and was a little unsure what to expect; I was completely engaged with On Mt. Hood! This well written book is just the right amount of Hood's history, information on people and places on and around the mountain, and the author's personal accounts of his experiences hiking, camping, and climbing on Mt. Hood. There were nights I honestly lost sleep because I wasn't able to put the book down! On Mt. Hood is a must read whether you live in the shadow of the mountain or far away from it. Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Scott Schiefelbein VINE VOICE on February 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
For those of us lucky enough to call Oregon home, Mt. Hood shapes our lives both to the good and the bad. On the plus side, Mt. Hood helps feed us, provides us with the best drinking water in the country, and provides more accessible hiking, camping, skiing, fishing, and climbing opportunities than anyone could expect. To the bad, Mt. Hood keeps us under clouds and rain (on the west side) and bone-dry (to the east) and, on occasion, kills one of us.

And so we love Mt. Hood for reasons far more complex than George Mallory's famous explanation for climbing Mt. Everest, "Because it's there."

Jon Bell's "On Mt. Hood" is his love letter to the mountain. Don't be afraid - this is not some touchy-feely New Age paean to Mother Gaia. Bell writes with a journalist's insight on all facets of the mountain, from its geology to its history to the people who love it. "On Mt. Hood" would do for the enjoyment of Mt. Hood was Chris MacDougall ("Born to Run") did for barefoot running . . . that is, if millions of people didn't already love Mt. Hood.

While Bell gets into the hard science of Mt. Hood's formation, volcanic nature, glaciers, earthquakes, and water runoff, he treads lightly and never gets bogged down into scientific arcana. This is not a PhD treatise, but rather a well-informed love letter.

While Bell is a Mt. Hood fanatic, he respects the mountain's lethal power. Some of the book's best passages involve lethal climbing mishaps, including the blizzard that killed several local high school students in the 1980s and the world-famous rescue helicopter crash that had a 'copter rolling over soldiers on a rescue mission on live TV.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lizzyo on April 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mt. Hood is one of my all time favorite things. This book was simply awesome. It combined history, facts, & a fun narrative by the author. I couldn't put it down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roy D. Wallen on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book by Jon Bell gives us the perspective of a journalist and one who appreciates the outdoors. Like so many people who have settled in the area around Portland (Oregon), Bell has an affinity for this mountain that dominates the landscape and the dreams of the people in the region. It has that attraction for those who want to climb it and an awe for those who know they can't. Bell brings that sense of attraction and awe, as well as a solid (if brief) history of the mountain and its role in the region -- both past and present.

Whether in anticipation of your own climb of this magnificent mountain, seeking the opportunity to learn more about the mountain and its influence on the region, or remaining an armchair traveller, this book is highly recommended. It is a pleasant and comfortable -- and, at times, very personal -- reflection of a mountain.
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