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Posts Tagged ‘mountains of the Fraser Valley’

Location: Near Chilliwack, British Columbia
Elevation: 2,429 metres
Range: Skagit Range, Cascade Mountains
Candidate: #54

During the years that I lived in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia (1975 to 1999 and 2005) I always enjoyed looking at the vista of mountains and admiring the shapes and contours of the various peaks, without actually knowing the names of most of them. Once very interesting peak (I didn’t know if it was in Canada or the U.S.) stood out above its neighbours like a fang. As it so happens, this distant peak was Slesse Mountain, whose name in Halqemeylem actually means “Fang”. According to the site for place names in British Columbia, the mountain was first labelled as Slesse in 1912 and the name was made official in 1936. The name was temporarily changed to Silesia in 1951 in order to conform to the Washington spelling, but soon it was changed back again.

Commonly referred to as Mount Slesse (but officially labelled as Slesse Mountain), the mountain is attractive to both climbers who go for the summit and hikers who can enjoy the Slesse Memorial, a commemorative trail honouring the 62 passengers and crew aboard the Trans-Canada Airlines flight who died on December 9th, 1956 when the aircraft crashed into Slesse Mountain in poor weather. No one was certain where the plane had crashed initially after radio communication ceased. However, in May of the following year, some hikers discovered a navigation map and later aluminium aircraft parts were found. By pressure from the Slesse Families, a group of families of the deceased, the area was protected from clearcut logging and made into a commemorative site. Hikers today can still spot aircraft debris and many have placed the parts on rocks so as to prevent them from disappearing back into the earth. As a side note, some of the passengers who died in the crash were team members of the Winnipeg Bluebombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders, who were flying back from Vancouver after the East-West all-star football game.

The mountain is composed of mostly diorite which is part of the Chilliwack Batholith that was intruded about 26 to 29 million years ago. This was part of the orogenic process associated with the eroded Pemberton Volcanic Belt, which formed with the subduction of the Farallon Plate. There are also some metamorphic rocks near the summit which were created near the contact point of the magma intrusion.

Slesse Mountain is known for its challenging climbing routes. It was first climbed in 1927 and involves nearly 1,650 metres of ascent with Class 5.6 climbing in places. It is featured in “Fifty Classic Climbs in North America” by Roper and Stecks.

Photos:

100 Famous Mountains of Canada on Flickr

Sources:

Wikipedia

Bivouac

SummitPost

Mountain Project

TrailPeak

ClubTread

GeoBC

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Location: Southwestern British Columbia, near Stave Lake
Elavation: 2,262 metres
Range: Garibaldi Ranges, Coast Mountains
Candidate: #53

You could almost wish to leave this mountain off the list because it can be seen up close from a limited area that is mostly difficult to reach and climbing it is even more difficult, partly due to the “multi-modal” access, as Bivouac puts it. Yet this mountain deserves its candidacy, I believe, because it is a) very beautiful in form and appearance, b) a worthy challenge for those who do wish to climb it, c) a prominent peak both topographically (1,627 metres of prominence) and visually when viewed from other peaks in the Greater Vancouver Area, and d) its namesake is related to another beautiful and known mountain, Mount Robie Reid.

Mount Judge Howay – The Judge – is a spectacular twin-peaked mountain located at the far end of Stave Lake. Access is generally by canoe, crossing the lake, followed by hike up deactivated logging roads, next a fording of the Stave River, a bushwhack up through forest with cliff bands and rocky outcroppings, a ridge walk, and finally rock climbing to the summit. It’s a fair assumption that few actually attempt and reach either of the two summits, though its difficulty apparently taunt the minds of many climbers who are up for the challenge.

Originally know as the Snow Peaks, along with Mount Robie Reid, the mountain was named after judge and jurist, Frederic W. Howay, who was also a noted historian of British Columbia. He and his colleague Robie Reid, ran a law firm together from 1893 to 1906 before Howay was appointed to the bench. Both mountains were renamed in 1944.

For a detailed account of an ascent of the South Peak, go here.

Photos:

100 Mountains of Canada on Flickr

Resources:

Bivouac

Wikipedia

PeakBagger trip report

South Peak ascent

Proposal for Golden Ears Provincial Park and Mount Judge Howay recreation area (offers details on the area)

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Location: Golden Ears Provincial Park, British Columbia
Elevation: 2,095 metres
Range: Garibaldi Ranges, Coast Mountains
Candidate: #52

Dominating the mountain view from Abbotsford and peering up from behind the peaks of Golden Ears when viewed from further west, Mount Robie Reid is a glacier-carved mountain massif with impressive features and one of the several rugged-looking peaks visible from around the Fraser Valley. The northeast face of the mountain boasts a rock wall that is nearly 1,700 metres and is the biggest rock wall so near Vancouver.

Though access to the mountain can be gained by boat across Alouette Lake, there is a trip report on Club Tread that says the forest service road from Stave Lake is in very good condition and a 2WD vehicle can manage the way. Though that party didn’t make it above the tree-line due to the weather, photos and Google maps provide information. Bivouac reports a hike and a scramble to the base of the summit pinnacle, which is from there a Class 4 climb to the top.

The mountain was previously known as one of the Snowy Peaks along with its neighbour Mount Judge Howay, and referred to as “Old Baldy” by old-timers. It was renamed in 1944 to commemorate historian Robie Lewis Reid, who along with his close friend and colleague Frederic W. Howay were the only two to graduate from the provincial examinations for a First Class permanent teaching certificate in 1885. They went on to study at Dalhousie University in Halifax and started a law firm together in 1893 in New Westminster, which remained a partnership until Howay was appointed to the bench in 1906. Interestingly, the two mountains which are so close to each other were named after the two close friends, Mount Judge Howay being the slightly higher summit just as the man Judge Howay had achieved a higher stature in his career.

References:

Bivouac

Wikipedia

ClubTread

Photos:

100 Famous Mountains of Canada on Flickr

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Location: Golden Ears Provincial Park, British Columbia
Elevation: 1,716 metres
Range: Coast Mountains, Garibaldi Ranges
Candidate: #48

One of those mountains that stand out from all the visible peaks of around the Fraser Valley is Golden Ears Mountain and its sub-peaks of Edge Peak and the Blanshard Needle. Together, the three peaks provide a beautiful backdrop to so many typical Fraser Valley scenes. When the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board asked me to shoot an instantly recognizable Fraser Valley view, I gave them a shot of Golden Ears standing behind a new housing estate and they used it on the cover of a publication. I made four attempts to climb the mountain but only made it on the fourth because the previous attempts had been too early in the year and I was not prepared for snow. I reached the summit in clouds and failed to see the view over the Fraser Valley. But Golden Ears Mountain has always been one of the mountains that drew my eye for so many years of my life.

Golden Ears is only 1,716 metres high but it rises up from the Fraser Valley and has a prominence of 1,002 metres! The original English name was Golden Eyries, probably for the eagles that were often seen soaring in the area. At first the whole area was called the Golden Eyries but later the area was called Mt. Blanshard and the Golden Eyries was corrupted to Golden Ears, the name given to the highest peak with the twin summits. Some people suggest that the two summits appear golden when they catch the light of the setting sun.

The mountain is the highpoint between Pitt Lake and Gold Creek and because it is visible from almost anywhere in the Greater Vancouver Area, it is also a popular hiking destination. A trail with a 1,500 metre elevation gain follows Gold Creek and partway up there is a tenting area in the Alder Flats. An emergency shelter sits further up the mountain. The last stretch to the summit requires a little scrambling. The mountain was first climbed in 1911 by a BCMC party.

Golden Ears1

Sources:

Wikipedia

Bivouac

Summitpost

Photos:

Flickr 100 Mountains of Canada

Next: Frosty Mountain

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