A proud tradition that began with Mount Holyoke founder Mary Lyon’s own dedication to fitness, Mount Holyoke’s Mountain Day is when classes are canceled and students, staff and faculty alike climb Mt. Holyoke and enjoy ice cream at the summit.
As the Mountain Day tradition has aged and evolved, alum clubs around the world have developed their own ice-cream and mountain events. Now the day is celebrated in more than 100 cities around the world. Alums share photos of their hikes and ice cream enjoyment on social media and to connect with the Mount Holyoke community from wherever they are in the world.
At the mountain, cars and buses filled with students emptied, and the road was filled with a happy cacophony of singing, laughter and portable speakers playing everything from Lizzo to Broadway tunes.
Mountain Day is amazing because we get to see all of the College — first years, sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Students in groups of four, five and six cheered each other up the steep path that rises through trees, eventually revealing a wide vista of the valley below, the Connecticut River a blue ribbon wending through swaths of farm fields.
Hikers reaching the summit could be heard cheering “it’s the top, it’s the top!” Hikers who finished the climb spread out on the rocky grass field, enjoying the frozen sweets handed out by Dining Services and adorning themselves with glittery, metallic temporary tattoos from the Alumnae Association.
“It’s such a gorgeous day. I’m just really happy,” said Emi Wilson ’23 of Montana. Wilson admits that they tried to sleep in on their first Mountain Day, but a fellow first-year convinced them to go. Since then it has been a keystone tradition for them: “I’m so grateful that I went,” they said. Last year their coworkers in the dining hall even made certain that they got off their shift in time to catch the last shuttle up.