Archive for February, 2011

Candidate: #40

Location: British Columbia/Alberta

Elevation: 3,295 metres

Range: Waputik Range, Canadian Rockies

The Continental Divide separates the southern halves of Alberta and British Columbia in a wild jagged jigsaw-cut border that follows the spine of the Rocky Mountains. At Howse Peak, the NE-running ridge takes a sudden 90 degree turn to the NW. Like the corner of some colossal structure, Howse Peak stands straight up, a face of awesome cliffs looming over the head of Chephren Lake. Its head is composed of reddish tinged dolomite layers that are banded with snow highlights in early summer. The base is dark limestone with little snow highlighting. It is the highest mountain in the Waputik Range.

Explorer David Thompson named the nearby pass after Hudson’s Bay Company explorer and trader, Joseph Howse, who went through Howse Pass in 1809, two years after Thompson did. Originally, a trading route to the native peoples of British Columbia was sought. However, the Pikuanni guarded the pass carefully because they didn’t want either explorer to gain access to any western Native groups. As it was, the Hudson’s Bay Company deemed the pass unsafe and it was not used for another 12 years. Thompson went north and used the Athabasca Pass. The mountain subsequently got its name from the pass.

Because of its imposingly steep face, Howse Peak is not an easy climb. It rises 1,600 metres above Howse Pass and the Mistaya Valley in just a few horizontal kilometres. The NE buttress route was once considered the hardest route in the Rockies. The easiest route follows a 25 kilometre hike up the Howse River and then a climb up a glacier on the west side. For an exciting trip up a route named “Howse of Cards” please check this site here. Norman Collie, along with H. Kauffman, H.E.M. Stutfield, H Woolley, and G.M. Weed made the first ascent in 1902.






Ryan Hokanson



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