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Archive for September, 2009

Candidate: #29

Location: Banff National Park, Alberta; Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Elevation: 3,423

Range: Canadian Rockies

Most visitors to Lake Louise stand at the lakeshore in front of the Chateau Lake Louise and marvel at the glaciated cliffs of Mount Victoria at the opposite end of the lake. To the left of Victoria there is an arm of rock extending to the lake shore, the spur of another high peak that is out of view unless one takes the trail around the lake on the north side. Only then can one observe the marvellous cliffs overhung by a glacier that reaches up to the summit of Mount LeFroy.

The mountain sits on the continental divide and can be accessed from either the Banff side or the Yoho side in British Columbia at Lake O’Hara. The source of its name is not exactly clear. James Hector’s journal from 1858 records a Mount LeFroy but it is marked on the map presented to parliament in 1863 at the location of today’s Mount Whymper. William Spotswood Green mentions a Mount LeFroy and even captions an accompanying drawing with the name, however, it is clear that he mistook Mount Victoria for Mount LeFroy. A map made by Gearge Dawson in 1886 identifies Mount LeFroy correctly. It is supposed that he was most likely the one who chose the name as, being a prominent scientist, he would have respected General Sir John Henry LeFroy, an astronomer who traveled over 8,800km in Canada’s north and who visited the site of the magnetic north pole. LeFroy was eventually made the head of the Toronto Observatory.

In 1896, Philip S. Abbot attempted to climb LeFroy along with companions Charles Fay, Charles S. Thompson and George Little. After reaching rock above the ice, Abbot, who was in the lead, un-roped and began climbing up the rock. However, he slipped and fell past Little, striking an ice ledge before rolling swiftly down the slope. His companions carefully descended to him but he died shortly after. Abbot was an experienced climber, having climbed in the Alps as well. Abbot Pass was named after Philip S. Abbot, whose death was also the first recorded mountaineering-related death in North America. A year later, by the request of Abbot’s father, a memorial climb was arranged that included Fay, Norman Collie and H.B. Dixon, as well as several other members. They reached the summit on August 3rd, 1897.

Mount LeFroy can be climbed from the Alberta side by either using the well-named “Death Trap” route or the somewhat safer “Furhmann Ledges” route. It is rated as a technical climb. A safer route is from Lake O’Hara on the British Columbia side. There is a long hike to the start of the climb but after that ascending a scree slope is said to be the most difficult part.

Sources:

Summitpost.org

Peakfinder

Peakware

Bivouac

Photos:

Flickr Group: 100 Famous Mountains of Canada

Next: Valley of the Ten Peaks

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Candidate: #28

Location: British Columbia

Elevation: 3,658 metres (the most commonly given elevation)

Range: Canadian Rockies

The fourth highest summit in the Canadian Rockies and the third highest major mountain (a major mountain has over 500 metres prominence according to Wikipedia), Mount Clemenceau is an isolated and immense mountain in the Rocky Mountains on the British Columbia side. It is one of the four 12,000 foot summits of the Rockies and due to its remoteness it is not climbed as often as the higher peaks of Robson, Columbia and the North Twin. Mount Clemenceau first captured the imaginations of Arthur Coleman and his party in 1892 when they were out searching for the elusive Mt. Hooker and Mt. Brown, the mythical peaks that were said to be over 5,000 metres high. Coleman’s party first spied the mountain from Fortress Lake, which they named after a mountain they had climbed and also named. Seen from Fortress Lake, the mountain had a distinct pyramid appearance and so they named the mountain Pyramid Mountain. They attempted to climb the mountain but had to give up on account of poor weather conditions and dwindling supplies. Four years later, Robert L. Barrett and Walter Wilcox climbed Fortress Mountain and saw through a parting in the clouds what they considered the highest and finest mountain they had seen on their journey, a mountain with a distinct wedge shape.

Mt. Clemenceau was finally first climbed in 1923 by D.B. Durand, H.S. Hall, W.D. Harris and H.B. De V. Schwab. These days most climbing parties fly in by helicopter from Mica Dam or Golden, B.C. and land on the Clemenceau Glacier, the Tusk Glacier or in the Cummins Meadows. The mountain is surrounded by icefields which inevitably means crossing glaciers to reach the summit.

Though known as Pyramid Mountain for many years (in all seven mountains in the Canadian Rockies have had the name “Pyramid”) the Interprovincial Boundary Survey in 1919 after the Premier of France Georges Clemenceau, who held office from 1906-09 and again from 1917-20. Known for his radical republican views, Clemenceau made his mark in French politics, particularly during WWI. More information about him can be read here.

Sources:

Peakfinder

Wikipedia

Peakware

Bivouac

Summitpost

Photos:

None on Flickr – 100 Famous Mountains of Canada yet.

Next: Mt. LeFroy

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Candidate: #27

(may be relegated to list of 200 mountains)

Location: Banff National Park, Alberta

Elevation: 3,342 metres

Range: Canadian Rockies

The task of compiling a list of Canada’s most beautiful and well-known mountains can easily leave one stuck in the Rockies, admiring and studying gorgeous peak and after gorgeous peak. Though originally I had thought to skip Mount Saskatchewan, one look at its beautiful strata and snow lines made me quickly change my mind.

Like many mountains in Canada of exceptional beauty or height, there is actually little to tell about this mountain, who J. Monroe Thorington, author of The Glittering Mountains of Canada and one of the first three people to make the first ascent, described as “a thing of towers and battlements” and “formidable in appearance, and long sought by climbers.” Monroe made the ascent in 1923 along with companions Conrad Kain and W.S. Ladd. The mountain is home to a single glacier which is considered the highest headwaters source of the Saskatchewan River, even though the main source of the flow comes from the Columbia Icefields, from the Saskatchewan River. The mountain was named by Norman Collie in 1898 after the Saskatchewan River.

Mount Saskatchewan is listed as a technical climb on Wikipedia, however this website suggests three scramble routes with two places of serious scrambling. The photos are worth checking out. Near the summit we see horizontal bands of strata curving in a way that resembles an amphitheatre with very steep seat rows or a science fiction movie racetrack. The view over the Icefields is stunning. Another prominent feature on Mount Saskatchewan is a 75-metre high needle of rock known as the Lighthouse Tower. This was climbed in 1964 by G. Boehnisch and L. Mackay.

Sources:

http://www.bivouac.com/MtnPg.asp?MtnId=197

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Saskatchewan_(Alberta)

http://www.peakfinder.com/peakfinder.asp?Peakname=Mount+Saskatchewan

http://www.peakware.com/peaks.html?pk=3676

http://www.giorgiozanetti.ca/rockies_glittering/glittering.html

http://eric-coulthard.com/TripPhotos.cgi?year=2007&day=September+1-3&type=Scrambling+and+Mountaineering&trip=Mount+Saskatchewan&index=-1&up=

Photos:

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.php?object_id=224803

http://www.flickr.com/search/groups/?q=mount%20saskatchewan&w=996543%40N20&m=pool

Next: Mount Clemenceau

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