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Archive for the ‘Rocky Mountains’ Category

Location: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Elevation: 2,379 metres
Range: Border Ranges, Canadian Rockies
Candidate number: 46

When driving into Waterton Lakes National Park, one is struck by the abrupt change from Prairie to mountain. Down here in south western Alberta, snug against the Montana border, there is barely the raising of a hill before the stratified cliffs and slopes of the Rocky Mountains rear up from the earth. In other places, a series of foothills usually precedes the rugged peaks. As one nears the town site of Waterton Lakes, the great Vimy Peak can be clearly seen overlooking the town. Part of a long ridge of the same name, Vimy Peak at the north east end of the ridge is actually a little lower than the south west end, which rises to 2,500 metres.

The mountain was originally named Sheep Mountain and that’s how it appears on George Dawson’s map of 1886. Later it became Goat Mountain. Then in 1917, the mountain was renamed in honour of the Canadian soldiers who took Vimy Ridge in France in WWI after the British and the French had failed.

The peak can be climbed via the 16-kilometre round trip Wishbone Trail from the Chief Mountain International Highway. Detailed directions are given on SummitPost. The view from the top looks over the Waterton town site and the surrounding mountains, as well as over the Prairies, which stretch out before the mountain.

Photos:

100 Famous Mountains of Canada at Flickr

Sources:

SummitPost

PeakFinder

Bivouac

Peakware

Next: Golden Ears Mountain

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Mount Blakiston

Location: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta

Elevation: 2,910 metres

Range: ClarkRange, Canadian Rockies

Candidate number: 45

MountBlakiston is the highest point within WatertonLakesNational Park. The mountain can be viewed on the road in to WatertonLakes and from the road to RedRockCanyon. Among the typical sedimentary layers typical of mountains in the Rockies, MountBlakiston’s layers include an intrusion of diabase, a volcanic rock that was squeezed in between the sedimentary layers. This greenish-black relative of basalt can be seen in the east and south facing cliffs. There is a steep but frequently-climbed scramble route to the summit and routes leading to neighbouring Mounts Hawkins and Lineham.

The mountain was named after Thomas Blakiston, a very remarkable man who explored the area as an intended member of the Palliser expedition in 1858. He was recommended for the expedition by Sir Henry Lefroy as a magnetic observer and was also to see if there wasn’t a suitable route for a transcontinental railway. During the expedition, however, Blakiston had some differences with expedition leader, John Palliser, and once on his way to the Rockies, he sent a letter telling Palliser that he had thrown off Palliser’s command. Blakiston followed the eastern edge of the Rockies and explored CrowsnestPass and KootenayPass and determined the area to be within BritishTerritory, therefore suitable for a railway. He refused to give his observations to John Palliser and in 1859 returned to England to hand over his documents on his own. He later explored the Yangtze River in China and then spent time in Japan compiling a catalogue of Japan’s birds. A brief detail of his accomplishments is mentioned on Peakfinder.

Sources:

Peakfinder

Peakware

SummitPost

Wikipedia

Bivouac

Photos:

100 Famous Mountains of Canada on Flickr

Next: Vimy Peak

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Mount Joffre

Mount Joffre

Location: Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Alberta/British Columbia
Elevation: 3,449 metres (or 3,450 metres, depending on the source)
Range: Canadian Rockies, Continental Divide
Candidate #44

Mount Joffre is situated in a group of mountains known as the World War One General group. Named after the French field marshal, Marshal Joseph Jaques Cesaire Joffre, Mount Joffre is the highest peak in the generals group and the highest between Mount Assiniboine and the U.S. border. It is ice-covered on the north, east, and south east sides with ice fields and glaciers and holds the largest accumulation of ice in the southern Rockies. The west face presents a formidable rocky face.

Scramblers will be glad to know that it is possible to reach the summit via two different routes that are not too difficult, though crampons and other essential scrambling gear is required. The east route follows the snow-covered ridge and the southeast route climbs a scree slope. The summit is snow-covered. There are excellent views of Elk Lakes Provincial Park and Sylvan Pass, and the ridge makes a fairly easy route to reach other mountains, according to one source. The climb is normally done from Aster Lakes and the Mangin Glacier.

The mountain is somewhat remote and can only be seen from Highway 40 for a short distance two kilometres north of the junction with the Kananaskis Trail. Another mountain named Mount Joffre is in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia.

Photos:

100 Famous Mountains of Canada Flickr

Sources:

summitpost

wikipedia

peakware (note the photo here is of another Mount Joffre)

bivouac

peakfinder

peakery

Next:

Mount Blakiston

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Mount Alberta

Candidate #43
Location: Jasper National Park, Alberta
Elevation: 3,619 metres
Range: Canadian Rockies

Mount Alberta is a mountain worth mentioning for a couple of reasons. First, it was the last of the major peaks in the Canadian Rockies to be summited because it is such a difficult mountains to climb. Second, there is an interesting story about an ice axe left behind by the first team to climb it.

Not visible from the highway, Mount Alberta is a towering wedge of a peak that Howard Palmer wrote would have been an excellent model for the Tower of Babel. Named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta by Norman Collie, the mountain attracted many eyes and precipitated many words of admiration and wonder to the journals of mountaineers and explorers. The first successful attempt to reach the summit was by members of the Japanese Alpine Club (their first expedition outside Japan) and their three guides. An account of their unusual approach to climbing a difficult section can be read here. Once on the summit, the climbers left an ice axe in the snow to mark their historic ascent. For the next 23 years, that ice axe became enveloped in lore as some said it was made of silver and others said it had been blessed by the emperor. In 1948, two American climbers reached the summit and found the fabled axe – which was indeed only an ordinary ice axe – embedded in ice. They tried to remove it, but it broke at the handle and they brought the top part only back to the American Alpine Club. The first Canadian ascent was in 1958. In 1965, a Japanese party came to the summit and retrieved the lower part of the 1925 ice axe and returned it to Japan. Then in 1993, the upper part was found with a bundle of ice axes under a table of archives at the American Alpine Club and in 1995 it was returned to Canada. Finally, in 1997 at a special ceremony in Japan and with 800 members of the Japanese Alpine Club in attendance, the two halves of the ice axe were reunited, fitting together perfectly.

The mountain remains today as a very difficult one to climb and in some years, due to snow conditions, the mountain isn’t climbed at all. However, even if one doesn’t plan to climb it, hiking along Parker Ridge offers distant views of the peak and a strenuous climb up from Fortress Lake to the base where most climbs begin.

Photographs:

Sources:

Wikipedia

SummitPost

PeakFinder

Bivouac

Peakware

Next: Mount Joffre (Alberta)

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Candidate: #42

Location: Banff and Jasper National Parks, Alberta

Elevation: 3,450 metres

Range: Canadian Rockies, Continental Ranges, Columbia Icefield

For the millions of tourists who have taken the Columbia Icefield’s glacier bus and those who have simply stopped at the Columbia Icefield or even just driven past, Mount Andromeda makes up part of a truly impressive scene. Cropping up between the Athabasca Glacier and the Saskatchewan Glacier and situated just 2km west of Mount Athabasca, Andromeda’s hulking form and imposing cliffs beckon the eye.

Named in 1938 by Rex Gibson, a former president of the Alpine Club of Canada, after the mythological daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia and wife of Perseus, Andromeda has several climbing routes, all of which have exposed sections and potentially severe rockfall. For a list of routes check PeakFinder and for climbing routes with guides check Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides.

Mount Andromeda has two summits. Until recently it was thought that both summits were of the same height, but the BC Basemap shows the Northeast summit has an extra 20m contour line.

As part of the Athabasca Glacier view, Mount Andromeda is likely more photographed than its higher neighbour, Mount Athabasca. The proximity of the mountain to the parkway thrusts its beautiful face into the view of all who pass by, making it one of the memorable mountain faces of the Canadian Rockies.

Sources:

SummitPost

Wikipedia

Bivouac

PeakFinder

Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides

Photos:

Flickr 100 Famous Mountains of Canada

Next: Mount Alberta

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Candidate #41

Location: Banff National Park, Alberta

Elevation: 2,998 metres

Range: Canadian Rockies

One of the most popular tourist views in the Canadian Rockies is the view down Banff Avenue with the uplifted grey folds of strata of Cascade Mountain towering above the shops. Long before there was a Banff Townsite and Banff Avenue, Cascade Mountain was still an eye-catcher rising up from a small prairie and looming over the Bow Valley. The native people called it Minihapa – Mountain Where the Water Falls. Both Sir George Simpson in 1841 and Father Pierre-Jean De Smet in 1845 noted the cascade of water plummeting down from a cliff on the mountainside. James Hector and his party stopped at the little prairie below the mountain in 1858 and climbed up the lower reaches of the mountain, noting various wildlife in his journal, pikas capturing his attention in particular it seems for their comical movements. The little prairie is now known as Whiskey Meadows and Mountain Where the Water Falls was aptly named Cascade Mountain in English, appreciatively shorter than the direct translation of Minihapa.

Being so close to Banff Town, it is a popular mountain to climb. The best time of the year is July to September, but many people attempt to climb the ice falls in winter. The summer climbing route can be accessed from the Norquay Ski Area base. The hike is described as moderate up to the Cascade Amphitheatre with some moderate scrambling involved on the way to the summit. About 4 hours are required to make it to the summit and another 3 or so for the return. Grizzly bears are often sighted around the parking area and meadows so a can of bear spray is essential to one’s kit.

A few interesting notes that came up about the mountain are that a mirror was placed at the top of the mountain by locals some years back and there was a rumour of the fossilized remains of a prehistoric monster found near the top (though don’t expect to find it should you go). The mountain was also once known locally as Stony Chief and one of a pair with Stony Squaw, who still retains her name. he mountain was first climbed in 1887 by Tom Wilson.

Sources:

Wikipedia

PeakFinder

Peakware

SummitPost

Downclimbing

Bivouac

Photos:

Flickr 100 Famous Mountains of Canada

Next:

Mount Andromeda

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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.

Sources:

Wikipedia

PeakFinder

PeakWare

Bivouac

Ryan Hokanson

Gravsports

Photos:

Flickr 100 Famous Mountains of Canada

Next:

Cascade Mountain

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