Remembering the Forgotten Giant

Darryl Lloyd speaks on new Mount Adams book

The southeast face of Mount Adams, photographed by Darryl Lloyd in 1990.

Darryl Lloyd
The southeast face of Mount Adams, photographed by Darryl Lloyd in 1990.

Growing up on a ranch at the base of Mount Adams, Darryl Lloyd and his twin brother, Darvel, began exploring Mount Adams as toddlers, the start of a lifelong quest to learn every inch of the mountain and serve as guides for those willing to follow.

Now one of the world’s foremost authorities on Mount Adams, Darryl Lloyd offers up his 70 years of hiking, climbing and photographing the Washington mountain in his new book, “Ever Wild: A Lifetime on Mount Adams,” which explores the science and history of the mountain in addition to Lloyd’s adventures with his brother.

Columbia Center for the Arts (CCA), Waucoma Bookstore and Carpe Diem Books will host Lloyd for an author talk and book signing on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. in the CCA theater to celebrate the book’s launch. This event is free to the community, but copies of the book, as well as beer and wine, will be available for purchase.

Lloyd will be traveling around the Pacific Northwest to talk about “Ever Wild” and sign copies of the book through November; but he already has plans in the works for another book (possibly on his second passion, giant trees) as soon as he returns.

“I want to keep doing books as long as I’m physically capable,” Lloyd said.

“Ever Wild” is Lloyd’s first book — and is the culmination of 70 years’ experience on Mount Adams.

“I wanted to share the mountain like I have throughout my lifetime, but in book form,” Lloyd said.

“I’ve had the great fortune of being raised at the base of the mountain and I’ve been indescribably lucky to have been taken up there by my parents…so there was this love affair that began at a young age,”

The Lloyd brothers first met Mount Adams as toddlers, but their love affair with the mountain really started when they were 6 years old, Lloyd said. Their parents had taken the boys with them onto the mountain and, very quickly, the brothers went off-trail and got lost for the day. “We were so happy,” Lloyd said.

While Darryl Lloyd currently lives in Hood River with a perfect view of Mount Adams right through his window, Darvel lives in Portland at the base of Mount Tabor and “volunteers his head off,” Darryl said; but the two still hike together, having just returned from a trip to the Sierra Nevada.

Even as adults, the brothers do most of their hiking off-trail — though they take special care not to form new trails, Lloyd said, to preserve the mountain’s natural beauty and fragile ecosystem.

The brothers started Friends of Mount Adams, a nonprofit dedicated to researching and protecting the mountain, in 2004, when they found out that Mt. Hood Meadows was planning a ski resort on the southeast side of the mountain — land that belonged to the Yakama Nation.

Even though he actively worked to oppose the ski resort, Lloyd said it was the Yakama Nation that stopped the proposal. “What we did probably had little or no impact on that decision,” he said.

Lloyd references the Yakama Nation’s reverence for Mount Adams, which they call Pahto, numerous times throughout his book.

“(Friends of Mount Adams is) very respectful to sovereignty of the Yakama Nation,” Lloyd said. The non-profit now focuses on stewardship and researching the mountain “from the base up,” he said.

He officially became a conservationist, he said, when the Wilderness Act of 1964, protecting 9.1 million acres of federal land, was passed.

“I became a conservationist and I realized you couldn’t just be in name, you had to be active, you had to come out and make noise and make your voice heard; and I did, in a big way.”

While the third part focuses more on the Lloyd brothers’ adventures and wilderness protection, the first two parts of “Ever Wild” are devoted to the human and geoscientific history of the mountain

’The book has a lot about change. I’ve seen just tremendous change on the mountain in so many different ways,’ Lloyd said, from the landscape’s slow quick recovery from excessive heavy sheep grazing on the north side for the last time in 1970, to the adverse impacts of more recent heavy grazing on the north side and cattle trespass in Bird Creek Meadows; and to the rapid shrinking of all of Adams’ twelve glaciers since 1980.

Lloyd’s life as a conservationist was greatly influenced by his relationship with Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a family-friend who Lloyd refers to repeatedly throughout his book.

“Justice Douglas played a very big role in my life,” Lloyd said, “People don’t realize what an influential jurist he was — but not just a jurist — he was one of the leading conservationists in the United States.”

Douglas’ autobiographical book, “Of Men and Mountains,” featured a chapter on Mount Adams and Lloyd recalls that Mount Adams was Douglas’ favorite mountain.

“So, he and I had a connection that was pretty unique,” Lloyd said.

Though Mount Adams has been featured in books such as Douglas’ and in professional papers, there has never been a full-sized book on Mount Adams before — which is why Lloyd wanted to write one.

“I know that Mount Adams had a reputation of being the forgotten giant of the Cascades,” Lloyd said, “The other mountains are equally fascinating in their own right … but nobody has done this kind of book about Mount Adams.”

When asked what he wants readers to take away from the book, he said “I think readers will, if they read all 18 chapters, they’re going to say, ‘what a mountain!’ … Truly, what a mountain.”

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