Actual historical photo of Silent Rock. Circa 1800’s.
By Toby Witte
Whether it’s not calling last run or not parking backwards if there’s a cliff behind you, not wearing cotton in Montana or only looking at the Whale on your way down from Bridger Bowl, there are countless amounts of legends and superstitions in and out of the world of snowboarding. One that is more applicable to us up on Hood for the summer is that of Silent Rock. You may be asking yourself, “What the hell is Silent Rock?” No, kids, it’s not a new music genre that features only the pauses before that crazy guitar lick melts your face off. Silent Rock is a large “man-made” monolithic rock formation on Hwy 26 en route to Mt. Hood. As the legend goes, you must turn of the radio and keep completely silent while passing it or trouble is coming for you that day. It seems nowadays there are many less kids obeying this tradition or even being aware of it, but there are scores of stories and incidents and plain lies about this not-necessarily-historic stretch of 100 yards on Hwy 26 in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Forest.
The ever-so-racy Native American tales date back to before the days of Ski Bums in Government Camp to the early 1800’s. Undoubtedly when the settlers and the local tribes interacted there were disputes. As we all know, America isn’t terribly good at sharing and if we can get people out of our way and call it our own then we might as well. This story goes: settlers would jam rocks into the mouths of the local tribesmen and hurl them off of Silent Rock so they couldn’t scream on the way down. Lucky for the natives, there are also tales of the Native Americans doing just the same to the settlers. Payback is a bitch!
Even Jesus couldn’t save these ladies!
Next up is a full blown confirmed story from back in the 70’s. A flatbed semi hauling two train engines towards Portland lost control just before reaching the fateful Silent Rock and spilled over the barrier, tumbling hundreds of feet down into the valley below. To make it even worse, the truck took out several cars on its way toward the edge, which led to an even larger death toll. Yet another win for the Rock, I guess?
Aside from these generally well known tales, there tens of other little stories that have been started one way or another. Some of my favorites include a bus full of Nuns careening over the edge after the bus driver suffered from a coughing fit, Native Americans funneling settlers through the pass at Silent Rock and taking them out 300-style until they were silent, road workers using too much dynamite and blasting 48 road workers’ shadows into the nearby cliffs. And of course the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me, Tim Windell “Chad’s Gappping” the hell out of Silent Rock! Who came up with that?! Not to mention the latest that I heard from a certain assistant team manager about High Cascade’s founder, John Ingersoll, doing the same gap, on telemark skis.
Tim Windell didn’t even need snow to gap silent rock. He was that good!
These stories are all really just hearsay though. There is no actual way of proving, or disproving for that matter, them (aside from the truck, maybe.) The true purpose of this rock is to show respect, whether it be for the mountain, the road, the scores of lives lost there and nearby, or just because you’re plain superstitious.
Has anybody else heard a tale that would blow any these out of the water?
https://yobeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/silentrockwindell.jpg426640Sassy Cathttp://yobeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/yobeatdotcomsite.jpgSassy Cat2011-07-14 10:15:172011-07-14 10:15:17The Legend of Silent Rock