Archive for August, 2010

Candidate: #36

Location: Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Elevation: 3,189 metres

Range: Canadian Rockies

When one drives into Field, the small town where Highway 1 enters Yoho National Park, the great stratified hulk of Mt. Stephen looms over the village, a guardian of the Kicking Horse River. A little ways back, however, stand the structures of rock towers and buttresses that inspired James Outram in 1886 to name the natural structure Cathedral Mountain.

Cathedral Mountain is the name of the highest point of the Cathedral massif. It is a brownish, pale yellow coloured mountain with a distinct thick dark band of stratum running through its upper layers. It is a typical peak of beautiful proportions in the Rockies and the view from Mary Lake or the road into Takakaw Falls is stunning. Though not as high as its line parent Mt. Stephen, its form resembles an ancient gothic cathedral that has inspired many notables, including Group of Seven painter, Arthur Lismer.

The mountain was first ascended by James Outram in 1901. The route he used to descend the mountain is now the route for ascending it. His original route went up past Teacup Lake, a glacial lake known for glacial flooding. The flooding – or jokulhlaup as it is known in Icelandic terminology, which is also the scientific term – caused the CPR so much trouble that they now pump the overflow from the lake in order to control the flooding. Jokulhlaups still occur from time to time making this route extremely ill-advised to use.

I first set eyes upon this mountain during a family trip to the Rockies in 1987. A couple of 4×6 prints still sit glued by the adhesive pages into an old photo album. I returned in 1999 and witnessed a surreal scene of the spires and towers of the mountain rising stately over a fog bank suspended over the swift flow of the Kicking Horse River.


100 famous Mountains of Canada at Flickr






Mount Burgess


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