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Posts Tagged ‘Rocky Mountains’

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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Candidate: #39

Location: Kootney National Park, British Columbia

Elevation: 2,979 metres

Range: Vermillion Range, Canadian Rockies

The Rockwall is a most impressive wall of strata towering 700 metres above Floe Lake, in Kootney National Park. It is the highest point on a range of rock that runs 6 kilometres north. The mountain at the end is called Mount Drysdale. The mountain is famous for being the start of the 55-kilometre-long Rockwall Trail. Though not an easy hike by any means, all reviews of the route are raving with praise. The highlight of this three to five day hike is said to be the Rockwall with a large glacier dropping huge chunks of ice into Floe Lake.

From the photographs I have seen, a photographer may appreciate this mountain and lake setting greatly because repetition of the skirts of snow and ice at the base of the wall above the lakeshore that reflect beautifully in the water.

Sadly, except for some good reports of the Rockwall Trail and a glorious collection of photographs on the Internet, I was not able to dig up information from my usual sources about this mountain. But it is the only mountain within Kootney National Park for which I could get a name and a little data. I think the sight of the mountain alone is worth nominating it for the list of Canada’s 100 best.

Photos:

100 Famous Mountains of Canada of Flickr

Floe Lake by Patrick Cadieux (I love this view -ed.)

Sources:

Next: Cascade Mountain

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Candidate: #38

Location: Southwest Alberta (Crowsnest River Valley)

Elevation: 2,785 metres

Range: Canadian Rockies

There are places were a gentle countryside setting – complete with grassy fields, branching isolated trees, wooden fences, and grazing horses – are suddenly interrupted by an enormous fortress of rock towering in the background like the dark antagonist’s tower in a fantasy tale. Though a range of similar rock stands nearby to the west – the High Rock Range – Crowsnest Mountain is a solitary round turret of a mountain with a northward-running rocky ridge almost connected to the northern wing known as Seven Sisters Mountain. Aside from its striking appearance, Crowsnest is a geological oddity known as a klippe. Part of the same strata as the High Rock Range, the older Palaeozoic layers were pushed up and over the younger Mesozoic layers to the east. Thus Crowsnest Mountain is actually composed of older rock that the layers beneath it. Because of this it is sometimes called ‘the upside down mountain’.

There’s an interesting story about the first ascent. It is recounted in greater detail at Peaks of the Canadian Rockies, but in short it goes like this: The first to summit the Swiss Matterhorn, Edward Whymper, was in Canada on behalf of the CPR in 1903 and 1904. He was there to write promotional articles for newspapers and journals, as well as to offer advice on where best to build hotels and chalets and to check out Turtle Mountain, site of the Frank Slide which occurred in 1903.Whymper teamed up with Tom Wilson and two Swiss guides, Christian Hasler jr. and Friedrich Michel. Whymper gave orders to the three to go around the west side of the mountain and scout for a route to the top. However, once the three found a suitable route, they went up to the summit rather than report back to their employer. On July 28th the mountain was climbed and a message was sent to Whymper that a flag had been planted on the summit. Whymper was naturally very sore about the incident. Whether it was because his first ascent feather had been plucked from him even before he could put it in his hat or because his men had disobeyed his orders was not entirely settled, with arguments for either view having been put forward.

Crowsnest Mountain was named by George Dawson, who had heard from the Cree Indians about all the ravens nesting in the area. Perhaps the name was mistranslated and the mountain named “Crow” and not “Raven”.

The mountain is often climbed today by a ‘touristy route’ that is called a long scree climb to the top. Though the mountain sports some serious cliff sections, the common route makes use of scree slopes and gullies to bring the climbed up to the summit. The trail appears to be well-marked and easy to follow. For detailed route descriptions visit look here. The photographs are very helpful. Note that near the end of the climb there is a chain attached to the rock for the descent.

Near Crowsnest Mountain is Turtle Mountain, the site of a rockslide in 1903 that caused the death of over 90 people when a mysterious explosion, likely related to the mining activities in the area, brought half the mountainside down on the town of Frank. An article is here.

Photos:

100 Famous Mountains of Canada at Flickr

Sources:

PeakFinder

Bivouac

Peakware

Wikipedia

Crowsnest Mountain

Trailpeak

Canada’s Mountains

SummitPost

Next: The Rockwall

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Candidate: #37

Location: Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Elevation: 2,599 metres

Range: Canadian Rockies

One of the classic views of the Canadian Rockies is that of Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park with a great block of stone towering over the lake in the backdrop. This view of Mount Burgess is the mountain’s most recognized aspect, though the true form of the mountain is better appreciated from other vantage points. It is a double-peaked mountain with glaciers that can’t be seen from the Emerald Lake view. Fortunately, the climb to the north peak is said to be a scramble that can be done in a day. The higher south peak is more of a challenge, however.

What makes Mount Burgess so special among mountains in the Rockies is the remarkable collection of fossils found on the mountain. The famous Burgess Shale was discovered in 1909 by Dr. Charles D. Walcott and the find was of such great significance because many of the fossils preserved the soft parts of the creatures as well as appendages. These parts usually decay with no preserved record. There are also such a great number of various creatures that entire phyla have been discovered here and the problem of classifying some of the animals remains challenging. In 1984 Yoho National Park was included in the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks UNESCO World Heritage Site and so the mountain and its fossils are now preserved with global importance.

Mount Burgess was first ascended in 1892 by surveyors James J. McArthur and H. Tuzo. The mountain was named in 1886 by Otto Klotz, who incidentally discovered the fossils on Mount Stephen, after Alexander MacKinnon Burgess who was Deputy Minister of the Interior and in 1897 became Commissioner of Public Lands. In 1996 it was proposed that the north peak be named Walcott Peak after the discoverer of the Burgess Shale fossil beds. The name was accepted.

The mountain is best climbed during the June-September climbing season in the Rockies but take note that this is grizzly country and bear spray should be carried. Camping is permitted in established camp sites. For back country tenting, consult with the parks office. Supplies can be picked up in the town of Field on the Trans Canada Highway. There is a very good description near the end of the entry about Mount Burgess here.

“The Ten Dollar Mountain,” remains an unofficial nickname for Mount Burgess as it was on the back of the Canadian ten dollar bill from 1954 to 1971.

Sources:

downclimbing

Wikipedia

PeakFinder

PeakWare

Photos:

Flickr 100 Famous Mountains of Canada

Next:

Crowsnest Mountain

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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.

Photos:

100 famous Mountains of Canada at Flickr

Sources:

PeakFinder

Bivouac

Peakware

Next:

Mount Burgess

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