Where the word came from, what it means


Truth is not only stranger than fiction, in this case it's pretty funny too!

Millions recognize the majestic Wasatch Mountains towering over Salt Lake City, the host for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Yet, few are aware of the origin of name "Wastach" or its real meaning.

The Wasatch Moutain Range got its name from the Paiute Indians, which lived near the mountains long before Mormon settlers arrived in the 19th Century. The Mormon pioneers adopted the Paiute word "Wasatch" as the name for the mountains. But what does Wasatch really mean?


According to Utah Native-American expert LaVan Martineau, the word "Wasatch" means frozen penis!

On page 186 of Martineau's well-researched book on Utah indian legends, lore and language he records:

"Wasatch -- the name comes from the Paiute and Ute Indian phrase pronounced Wuhu'Seai, meaning Frozen Penis. Archie Rogers of [the Shivwit Indian Band] tells the following story about the origin of this name: "The Utes told me what the word 'Wasatch' means. They said that one time many Indians lived there between Heber and Provo. One day the men were out hunting when a big blizzard came up and they lost one of the hunters. When they found him he was dead and his penis was frozen stiff. they therefore called the place Wuhu' Seai Frozen Penis. Francis McKinley, a Ute [indian chief], tells the same story."

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Southern Paiutes
Legends, Lore, Language and Lineage


Page 189, which details the orgin of "Wasatch"

Meaning of Wasatch

More About The Wasatch Range

The Wasatch Range (also seen as Wasatch Mountains and Wahsatch Range) is a mountain range that stretches from southern Idaho and Wyoming south through central Utah in the Western United States. They are generally considered the western edge of the greater Rocky Mountains, and the eastern edge of the Great Basin region.

Eighty-five percent of Utah`s population lives within 15 miles of the Wasatch range. This concentration is commonly known as the Wasatch Front. Salt Lake City lies between the Wasatch Range and the Great Salt Lake.

At 11,928 ft (3,636 m), Mount Nebo, located at the southern end of the range near Nephi, Utah, is the highest peak of the Wasatch. Other notable peaks include Mount Timpanogos, a massive peak which looms over Provo, Utah, and Lone Peak, which overlooks Salt Lake City, as does Mount Olympus.

Although the peaks are not especially high compared to the rest of the Rockies, they receive heavy falls of snow, and there are many ski areas in the Wasatch. The 2002 Winter Olympic Games made good use of the snow powder.

Several of the Wasatch canyons in the Lone Peak area, most notably Little Cottonwood Canyon, have a number of high-quality granite outcroppings, and make up a popular climbing area. Further north, Big Cottonwood Canyon features tricky climbing on quartzite.