Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Mount Adams, Washington"
Includes ... Mount Adams ... "Klickitat" ... "Pahto" ...
Image, 2005, Sauvie Island and Mount Adams, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams, Washington, as seen from Sauvie Island, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2005.


Mount Adams ...
Mount Adams is one of the major volcanoes of the Cascade Range and is one of the largest, standing at 12,276 feet elevation. The volcanoes last eruption was approximately 1,000 years ago, resulting in four ash falls and possibly small lava flows from two vents on upper flanks.

"Klickitat" ("Pahto") ...
Indian names for Mount Adams are "Klickitat" and "Pahto". According to legends, nearby Mount St. Helens was once a beautiful maiden named "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" (often seen as "Pahto") 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.

River Drainages ...
The White Salmon River drains the south slope of Mount Adams and flows south for 45 miles before entering the Columbia River (Bonneville Reservoir) at River Mile (RM) 167.5, at Underwood, Washington. Tributaries of the Lewis River drain the west flank and tributaries to the Klickitat River drain the southeast flank of the volcano.

Lewis and Clark spot Mount Adams ...
Lewis and Clark first see Mount Adams on October 19, 1805, while in the Umatilla region, although they mistakenly think it is Mount St. Helens. They also spot Mount Hood to the southwest.

"... Saw a high mountain covered with snow West this we Suppose to be Mt. <Hood> St Helens in dist. ... a Single Mountn. bears S. W. from the Muscle Shell rapid. ..." [Clark, October 19, 1805, first draft]

"... I assended a high clift about 200 feet above the water from the top of which is a leavel plain extending up the river and off for a great extent, at this place the Countrey becoms low on each Side of the river, and affords a pros of the river and countrey below for great extent both to the right and left; from this place I descovered a high mountain of emence hight covered with Snow, this must be one of the mountains laid down by Vancouver, as Seen from the mouth of the Columbia River, from the Course which it bears which is West I take it to be Mt. St. Helens, destant <about 120> 156 miles a range of mountains in the Derection crossing, a conacal mountain S. W. toped with Snow ..." [Clark, October 19, 1805]

"... we discovred a verry high round mountain a long distance down the River which appears to have Snow on the top of it. ..."[Ordway, October 19, 1805]

"... Country around level plains except Some hills & clifts along the Shores. we discovred a high hill or mountn a long distance down the River which appears to have Snow on it ..." [Whitehouse, October 19, 1805]

"... The Country as we passed along is level plains, and along some part of the Shores are some hills & Clifts. We discovered a high hill or mountain laying a long distance down the River which appears to have Snow on it. ..." [Whitehouse, October 19, 1805]


View from Umatilla, Oregon ...
On a clear day Mount Adams can be seen at Umatilla, Oregon, from two overlooks to the McNary Dam, near to the spot the peak was first spotted by Captain Clark.

Image, 2005, Mount Adams from McNary Dam Overlook, Umatilla, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams from McNary Dam Overlook, Umatilla, Oregon. Image taken September 25, 2005.

Mount Adams is faintly seen rising above the haze, just left of middle horizon.


Naming of Mount Adams ...
The name "Mount Adams" is one of the few surviving names from an 1839 scheme by Hall J. Kelley to rename the Cascade Range into the "Presidential Range". Kelley however did not give Mount Adams a name. The name "Adams" was suppose to go to Mount Hood in Oregon State. The Cartographers of the day however messed the names up and gave the name "Adams" to the Washington State peak. The name became firmly entrenched after 1853 when the Pacific Railroad Expedition put the name on their map.

Views ...

Image, 2011, Mount Adams from Trout Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams as seen from Trout Lake, Trout Lake, Washington. Image taken August 22, 2011.
Image, 2004, Klickitat County, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams as seen from the top of the Columbia Hills, Klickitat County, Washington. View from Interstate 97 near Goldendale, Washington. Image taken April 24, 2004.
Image, 2004, Mount Adams from Larch Mountain, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams from Larch Mountain, Oregon. Image taken October 11, 2004.
Image, 2008, Mount Adams, Vancouver Lake, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams, Washington, from Vancouver Lake, Washington. Image taken December 16, 2008.
Image, 2016, Marina at Scappoose Bay, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Scappoose Bay Marina and Paddling Center, Scappoose Bay, Oregon. Mount Adams, Washington, is in the distance. Image taken October 22, 2016.
Image, 2004, Scappoose Bay, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams, Washington as seen from Scappoose Bay, Oregon. Image taken August 29, 2004.
Image, 2005, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens from Megler Rest Area, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens, Washington, from Megler Rest Area. Image taken November 9, 2005.


View of Five Volcanoes ...
From the mouth of the Willamette River, Lewis and Clark spotted five volcanoes. Mount Jefferson, Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, and Mount Adams.
[More]

"... from the Columbia at the entrance of the Multnomah river Mount Jefferson bears S. E. this is a noble mountain. I think equally as high as Mount St. Helines but it's distance being much greater than that of the latter, so great a portion of it dose not appear above the range of mountains which lie betwen boath those stupendious mountains and this point of view. like mount St. Heleans it's figure is a regular cone and is covered with eternal snow. M. St. Heleans from the same point boar N [blank], Mount Hood due East, and Mount Ranier nearly North. there is also a very high humped mountain a little to the East of Mount St. Heleans which appears to lie in the same chain with those conic pointed mountains before mentioned ..." [Lewis, April 6, 1806]

Image, 2010, Mount Adams as seen from Blurock Landing, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mount Adams, Washington, as seen from Blurock Landing, Washington. Blurock Landing lies across the river from the mouth of the Willamette River. Image taken March 19, 2010.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 15, 1805, first draft ...
Capt Lewis assended the hills & Saw Mountain a head bearing S. E. & N W.     a high point to the west.

[was this a possible sighting of Mount Adams ??? ... in Clark's final version - see below - no mention is made of this western high point]


Clark, October 15, 1805 ...
Capt Lewis walked on the plains and informs that he could plainly See a rainge of mountains which bore S. E. & N. W. the nearest point south about 60 miles, and becoms high toward the N. W.

[no mention of a possible peak]


Clark, October 19, 1805, first draft ...
S. 80 W. 7 miles to a Point of rocks on the Stard. bend Passed the Island on Std. Side at 1 mile passed a verry bad rapid Above the end of this Course 2 miles in length with Several Small Islands in it & Banks of Mussle Shels in the rapids [Umatilla Rapids]. here the lower Countrey Commences Saw a high mountain covered with snow West this we Suppose to be Mt. <Hood> St Helens in dist. [actually it was Mount Adams] ... S. 70 W. 12 Miles to a passed 20 Lodge of Indians Scattered allong the Stard. Side ... a Single Mountn. bears S. W. [Mount Hood] from the Muscle Shell rapid [Umatilla Rapids].



Clark, October 19, 1805 ...
we arrived at the head of a verry bad rapid [Umatilla Rapids], we came too on the Lard Side to view the rapid before we would venter to run it, as the Chanel appeared to be close under the oppd. Shore, and it would be necessary to liten our canoe, I deturmined to walk down on the Lard Side with the 2 Chiefs the interpreter & his woman, and derected the Small canoe to prcede down on the Lard Side to the foot of the rapid which was about 2 miles in length I Sent on the Indian Chiefs &c. down and I assended a high clift above 200 feet above the water [overlooking McNary Dam] from the top of which is a leavel plain extending up the river and off for a great extent, at this place the Countrey becomes low on each Side of the river, and affords a pros of the river and countrey below for great extent both to the right and left; from this place I descovered a high mountain of emence hight covered with Snow [Mount Adams], this must be one of the mountains laid down by Vancouver, as Seen from the mouth of the Columbia River, from the Course which it bears which is West I take it to be Mt. St. Helens [in error, Mount Adams], destant 156 miles     a range of mountains in the Derection crossing, a conacal mountain S.W. toped with Snow [Mount Hood]



Ordway, October 19, 1805 ...
a clear cold morning. the natives brought us Some pounded Sammon. about 7 oC A M we Set out proceeded on passd high clifts of rocks on each Side of the River [Wallula Gap]. ... we passed over Several rapids which are common in this River. we discovred a verry high round mountain a long distance down the River which appears to have Snow on the top of it [first sighting of Mount Adams]. we came 36 miles this day and Camped on the South Side [Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, near Irrigon, Oregon] an Indian village on the opposite Shore a nomber of the natives came over the River in their Small canoes to see us. ...



Whitehouse, October 19, 1805 ...
.a clear cold morning. we took an eairly breakfast. ... about 7 oC. A m. we Set out and proceeded on down the R. passed high clifts of rocks on each Side [Wallula Gap] passd. over Several rockey rapids. our officers gave one of the Natives we left this morning a meddel. we passed Several Islands on which was Indian fishing Camps. ... the River pleasant only at the rapid which are common we passd. over Several today but no exident hapened. the Country around level plains except Some hills & clifts along the Shores. we discovred a high hill or mountn a long distance down the River which appears to have Snow on it [Mount Adams] we went 36 miles this day and Campd opposite a large Indian Camp on the South Side [today the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, near Irrigon, Oregon].



Whitehouse, October 19, 1805 ...
This morning was clear & cold, We took an early breakfast, ... About 7 oClock A. M. We proceeded on down the Columbia River, We passed by Clifts of rocks, lying on each side of the River, & also rockey rapids. We passed by several Islands, on which were Indian fishing Camps. ... We found the day pleasant & the Navigation of the River easy, excepting at the Rapids several of which we passed over this day, without any accident happening. ... The Country as we passed along is level plains, and along some part of the Shores are some hills & Clifts. We discovered a high hill or mountain laying a long distance down the River which appears to have Snow on it. We came 36 Miles this day, & encamped opposite to a large Indian Camp, which lay on the South side of the River.





Clark, April 2, 1806 ...
... at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village [locality of Portland International Airport] and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River [Willamette River] so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah [Willamette River] discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth which hides the river from view from the Columbia.     from the enterance of this river [Willamette River] , I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East [Mount Hood, Oregon], Mt St. Helians [Mount St. Helens, Washington] a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians [Mount Adams, Washington, is east of Mount St. Helens]. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer [Mount Rainier, Washington] Nearly North. ...





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Gifford Pinchot National Forest "Mount St. Helens" Brochure, 1980: Government Printing Office GPO 1980 699-331;


All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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June 2019