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The Mazamas were established July 19, 1894 on the summit of Mt. Hood. We have a proud tradition of leadership, safety, conservation, and climbing education in the Northwest for well over a century. Our mission: The Mazamas promotes mountaineering through education, climbing, hiking, fellowship, safety, and the protection of mountain environments.To support this mission, we offer over 350 climbs and 900 hikes annually, and sponsor conservation and research to protect and better understand the mountain environment. Our activities depend almost entirely on the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, who contribute over 80,000 hours of time annually to support Mazamas’ programs.
(a very brief) History
Responding to an advertisement run in the Morning Oregonian of June 12, 1894: “To Mountain Climbers and Lovers of Nature . . . It has been decided to meet on the summit of Mt. Hood on the 19th of next month ...” more than 300 people encamped on the flanks of Mt. Hood on July 18. By 8:00 am the next day, the first climbing party reached the 11,239’ summit, followed by the rest of the 193 men and women who were to reach the summit that day. One hundred and five climbers became charter members. More on the history of the Mazamas
Name, Slogan and Logo
What does “Mazamas” actually mean? From the unabridged Webster’s dictionary:
From mazame (see mazama) from Nahuatl “mazatl” (deer) ” A name applied by early writers to various American ruminants supposed to be the Rocky Mountain Goat.”
The Mazamas’ slogan, “Nesika Klatawa Sahale” is Chinook Indian jargon, freely translated as “We Climb High.” It has been used since the organization was formed in 1894.
The Mazamas’ logo depicts a mountain goat, or “mazama,” atop a triangle with a dot in the center - the surveying symbol for a benchmark, often found on mountaintops.
To join Mazamas, you need to have climbed to the summit of a mountain peak on which there is at least one glacier. There are about 3,000 members. More on Mazamas membership
Mazama Mountaineering Center
The Mazama Mountaineering Center is located at SE 43rd and Stark, (Click here for a Map to the MMC). At the MMC, our facilities include five meeting rooms, a 175-seat auditorium, a library, administrative offices, and the museum/archives. Office and library hours are Mon-Thurs, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Housed in the Mazama Mountaineering Center, our library contains an extensive collection of mountaineering books, periodicals and videos. The collection also includes biographies, trail and field guides, conservation and natural resource texts, books on travel and exploration, and videos on climbing expeditions and technique. Books may be borrowed by members for a maximum of four weeks, videos for one week. Non-members are welcome to use the library during regular office hours, but may not check out materials. Library hours are the same as the office: Mon-Thurs, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. More on Mazamas library
The Mazamas owns and maintains a mountain lodge located near Government Camp on Mt. Hood, 50 miles east of Portland. The lodge is open year-round, with a manager in residence. Meals and bunkhouse lodging, and a few private room accommodations are available for members and their guests, affiliate organizations and nonprofit groups. More on the Mazama Lodge
We publish a monthly bulletin, membership roster and annual journal, all distributed to members as part of their membership. Non-members may also subscribe to the bulletin for a fee. The bulletin contains news of our day-to-day activities, activities schedules, and reports on actions taken by the Executive Council and standing committees. The Mazama Annual features articles, reports and photographs of significant events and activities of the previous year. More info on Mazamas publications
The Mazamas is governed by the Executive Council, consisting of nine members who set policy and oversee the work of the Mazamas subject to the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws. The Council is selected by the members at an annual election, for terms of three years. Bylaws cannot be changed except by a two-thirds majority vote of the membership. The Executive Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month and meetings are open to members. The annual meeting of Mazamas is held on the first Monday in October. Members are welcome to attend all council or committee meetings. More on the Executive Council
The primary work of the Mazamas is carried out in committees. 80,000 hours of volunteer effort within these committees go into conducting our programs, activities and events. More help is always welcome! If you’d like to help on any of them, contact us at the Mazama Mountaineering Center and we’ll get you started. More on Mazamas committees
Classes and Education
Each year we teach over 900 students a variety of courses in mountaineering related fields for students of all levels. Non-members may participate in classes and all activities offered through the Mazamas. Class lectures are open to those who are not enrolled in the class. We offer classes in Basic and Intermediate Mountaineering, Advanced Rock Climbing, Advanced Snow and Ice Climbing, Summer and WInter Rock Review, Ski Mountaineering, Mountaineering First Aid, Expedition Training, and Nordic Skiing. More on Mazamas classes
Mountaineering and Climbing
Mountaineering is the primary activity enjoyed by over 2000 of our members and non-members. The climb schedule, consisting of approximately 350 different climbs, is published in the April issue of the monthly bulletin and found online. Climbs are open to anyone, members and non-members, who meet the qualifications set by individual leaders. There is a fee charged for each climb through purchase of a “climb card” from the Mazama Mountaineering Center (Click here for a Map to the MMC). We also have programs in winter climbing and ski mountaineering. More on Mazamas climbing
Trail Trips (Hiking)
Hiking is one of the most popular activities of our members with more than 900 hikes organized each year for over 10,000 hikers. These include moderate hikes, strenuous conditioning hikes, trail tending (work trips), backpacks, snow bivouacs, snowshoes and street rambles around Portland. Most of the hikes are within easy driving distance of Portland, with several offered each weekend, as well as weekday and evening hikes. A description of each hike with the name and phone number of the leader can be found in the monthly Mazama bulletin and online. Advance signup is usually not required unless the hike is in the wilderness, although hikers are encouraged to call the leader with questions. Most hikes meet in Portland where carpools are arranged for the drive to the trailhead. A nominal fee is charged and carpooling is encouraged with riders helping to reimburse the driver. As with most Mazama’ activities, the hikes are open to the general public as well as to members. Those who are not able to pay the cost of the hike will not be turned away.More on Mazamas hiking
The Mazamas actively promotes the establishment and maintenance of hiking trails through its trail tending work. Trails such as Trapper Creek, Chetwoot Loop, and Mazama Trail were created, and are regularly maintained, by the Mazamas. Mazamas’ Trail Tenders were instrumental in re-opening many trails in the Columbia Gorge that had been hit hard by the devastating storms of early 1996. Monthly Trail Tending parties are listed in the hike schedule with the letter “T” preceding the date and meeting place. No fees are charged and participation is open. More on Mazamas trail tending
Annual outings (adventure tours) range in duration from five days to three weeks. They vary in scope and number from year to year, depending on the volunteer leadership. Most of the outings involve climbing or hiking but also may be geological trips, whitewater river rafting, canoe trips or ski trips. Although most outings are held in the Western United States, many travel to foreign destinations. A listing of the annual outings appears in the monthly bulletin and on the Web site. More on Mazamas outings
Beyond the recreational activities of the Mazamas, conservation is central to the Mazamas’ mission. Since inception, the Mazamas have played a significant role in preserving existing wilderness areas. Historically we have played a role in establishing Crater Lake and Mt. Rainier National Parks, Cascade Forest Reserve, Three Sisters Wilderness Area and Portland’s Forest Park. The committee endeavors to maintain a close liaison with officials in all land managing public agencies to ensure that the viewpoint of those who access and enjoy outdoor areas is clearly understood by authorities. We offer conservation grants, generally to northwest non-profit organizations. The committee keeps members informed of issues pending before local, state and federal governments concerning wilderness, wildlife, natural beauty and recreational resources. More on Mazamas conservation