Annual WSU Hike to Honor Longtime Participant

 Local resident Ruth Orton sits alongside WSU professor Gary
Willden on the 2007 Mt. Ogden Hike.
OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s annual Mt. Ogden Hike will include a special recognition of a local octogenarian who has been a regular participant of the climb for a quarter century.

This year’s hike will be held Sept. 19, continuing the tradition started in 1922 when a group of 350 faculty, staff and students climbed the mountain as part of a campus activity.

Hikers may choose one of three trails to the top: the Snowbasin Trailhead, 8.4 miles roundtrip; the Taylor Canyon Trailhead, 10.2 miles roundtrip; or the Beus Canyon Trailhead, 12 miles roundtrip.
Suggested start times for hikers in good condition are 6:30 a.m. from Snowbasin, 6 a.m. via Taylor Canyon and 5:30 a.m. via Beus Canyon. Hikers should shoot to arrive at the peak by 10 a.m.

Participants also may choose to ride the Snowbasin Needles Gondola to the top for a $14 charge ($5 for children 7 to 17). The descending trip is free. The gondola will be in operation from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

At 11 a.m., hikers will return to the mountain’s saddle for prize drawings and to sing the school song “Purple and White.” This year’s event at the saddle will include a special recognition of 89-year-old Ruth Orton, who has been a regular participant in the hike since the early 1980s. WSU professor and hike director Gary Willden has made arrangements to ensure Orton will be at the ceremony.

First aid will be available for hikers at the saddle, and participants are encouraged to bring their own water and lunch. In case of severe weather, the hike will be canceled. For last-minute questions, contact the Wilderness Recreation Center at 801-626-6373.

On Oct. 4, 1922, a group of more than 350 Weber College students, faculty and administrators hiked to the summit of Mount Ogden to erect a 20-foot steel flagpole. Former Weber Stake Academy Principal David O. McKay dedicated the site accompanied by a chorus of “Purple and White.” The Mount Ogden (and later “Flaming W”) Hike was held intermittently through the years, but was officially re-instated in 1987. The trek to the top of the peak has continued every year since—sometimes in wind, rain and even snow, but most often in beautiful fall weather. 

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John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 •
Gary Willden, health promotion and human performance professor
801-626-6470 ·