Mountain Day 2019

Mountain Day is a venerated tradition at Mount Holyoke College and community members celebrated atop Mount Holyoke.

By Christian Feuerstein

It was a damp autumnal day on the first of October, and Mount Holyoke College celebrated Mountain Day, a venerated tradition stretching back to 1838.

The bell in Mary Lyon Hall rang out multiple times at 7 a.m., signaling to the campus and the 38,000 alumnae around the world that Mountain Day had been declared.

“It was exciting to wake up and hear the bells,” said Gaby Barber ’23. “And then I woke up my roommates!”

Students on top of Mount Holyoke on Mountain Day 2019

As is traditional on Mountain Day, classes were cancelled and students, faculty, staff and alumnae hiked, jogged or boarded shuttles to the Summit House in Skinner State Park atop Mount Holyoke.

Intrepid and not-so-intrepid hikers were given ice cream and Italian ices, the Alumnae Association handed out temporary tattoos, Archives and Special Collections made buttons of Jorge, the campus goose, and everyone posed for selfies, took group photos and belted out renditions of the “Alma Mater.”  

Students having ice cream and Italian ices atop Mount Holyoke for Mountain Day

Alumnae celebrated around the world at 6:37 p.m. (18:37) local time. More than 120 Mountain Day reunions were held. 

While some parts of the tradition remain timeless, some can change with age. 

“It’s steeper than I remember,” said Abby Drury ’10 of the mile and a half hike to the summit. It was her first time hiking up to the Summit House in 10 years. 

Students embracing atop Mount Holyoke on Mountain Day