Further Exploration and Ascents in the Coast Range of British Columbia
Henry S. Hall, Jr.
TRIPS toward the Mt. Waddington group from Tatla Lake in 1931 and 1932 and a near approach to Mt. Monarch in 1932 convinced me that I had found the best route to each of these outstanding uplifts of the Coast Range. Another season offered promise of actually coming to grips with the peaks if weather and the difficulties of the closer approach would allow. As it turned out we were singularly favored with fine weather in 1933, and if we had concentrated more completely on certain peaks upon which we set foot, than upon reconnaissance of the surrounding terrain, we should have had perhaps more than the one twelve-thousander to our credit and almost as much knowledge of the topography.
Hans Fuhrer who had been with me in 1932 was eager to return. Messrs. Donald W. Brown and Alfred E. Roovers of New York were enticed by stories of new worlds to conquer. These two preceded me to Vancouver and with Hans went into Garibaldi Park, still buried under many feet of snow after the late spring, where they climbed Mts. Garibaldi and Black Tusk. Arriving in Vancouver on June 23rd I put in a busy day purchasing supplies and the next morning encountered Mr. W. A. D. Munday on the street entirely by chance. We talked Coast Range, with the quite unforeseen but happy result, that he and Mrs. Munday, who were arranging to leave in a few days for Knight Inlet, decided at my suggestion to accompany us instead, and were ready to do so less than forty-eight hours later when we met on the dock for the Squamish boat. At Daisy Lake on the P. G. E., Brown, Roovers and Hans boarded the train and the united party arrived at Williams Lake next morning, June 27th, at an early hour.
Arrangements were soon made with T. J. Hodgson for a truck and by the middle forenoon the six of us, sitting on top of baggage and food boxes, were enjoying grandstand views in good weather as we rolled pleasantly along over the interior plateau towards Tatla Lake. At Alexis Creek a stop was made at the Tom Lee’s for tea which increased to supper proportions, and again before dark we halted on the highest point of the road, east of Tatla Lake, from whence it is thought that Mt. Wadding- ton is visible. As before, in the six times when I have passed this spot, clouds obscured the view down the Homathko, but more to the west in startling relief appeared Mt. Monarch absolutely clear in the golden sunset sky. After dark, and in the dark, the truck’s light having failed, we reached Graham's where Pete McCormick was on hand to greet us. Mrs. Graham soon had us arranged for the night, and in the morning the truck carried us on to the end of the branch road just short of Bluff Lake at the head of the Homathko. Pete with H. T. Valeau and Pete Evjen, whom we later called Ed to avoid confusion, soon joined us with the pack train. After a couple of hours to pack the horses we got under way, but went only to Valeau’s place at the west end of the lake before camping, to allow time for opening food boxes, repacking and adjusting of packs. Half of the food was left at Valeau’s cabin and the remainder packed to stand the rough trail which we knew from last year lay beyond Middle Lake.
At 11.15 a.m. on the 29th we were on the trail, nine people riding, with eight pack horses. It was a fine day and at the east end of Middle Lake the Waddington group came out superbly, towering ten thousand feet above us. Waddington itself rose just to the right of Tiedemann, the whole mass glistening white in a brilliant blue sky. That night was spent a mile short of Twist Lake.
Waves broke over the horses’ heads as we entered the long lake ford the next morning but packs had luckily been put on high. After a stop for drying out and lunch at Granite Creek, we went through the arduous six miles to the farther side of Crazy Creek in the afternoon, almost losing one pack horse in the river, and camped a few hundred yards nearer its confluence with the Homathko than last year. We had saved a whole day from Bluff Lake. With some misgivings, the Homathko was forded the next morning, July 1st, and, after a short day, camp made in the rain just below a sharp U-bend of the here deep and sluggish Homathko, directly opposite Scimitar Creek Valley.
With convenient dead timber nearby a good raft was constructed in the morning. Roovers, Hans and I crossed on the first trip and pushed rapidly over the jack pine flats to Scimitar Creek canyon. Passing through fairly heavy timber above the canyon and along the north side of the creek, by mid-afternoon we came out on a gravel flat from where over the trees up the valley loomed the gray massive snout of Scimitar glacier, which Hans and I had seen from 5,000 ft. directly above the year before. The next day was consumed in rafting everything across the Homathko and establishing camp in a fine cedar grove just at the mouth of Scimitar Canyon. This picturesque and comfortable camp was occupied for several days while all hands engaged in cutting out a horse trail and moving us up to Base, or as we called it Glacier Tongue Camp, a few hundred yards below Scimitar glacier on the right (south) side of the creek. Fording was difficult and dangerous, even for the horses, but could be avoided until just near base camp. We later found a route over the glacier snout for back-packers. The temperature of the creek was 32°, the same as the surface water on the glacier, as it issued from the ice-front, and only 34° near the lower camp at the mouth of the mile long canyon, six miles below the ice. We did bathe, but not for long or often.
On July 8th, a perfect day, we commenced the second stage of operations. From base camp, 3,300 ft., Hans and Roovers climbed to 7,500 ft. on the steep slopes back of camp and came back with a goat. Mr. and Mrs. Munday and I walked up Scimitar glacier four miles, crossed to the north side and entered a curious valley, blocked at its lower end by the main glacier flowing across it, and filled at its upper end, only a mile and a half away, by another large glacier which seemed to curve out at right angles from a valley parallel to the Scimitar. I called this odd place “Pocket Valley.” It played an important part in our later movements.
On the 9th, while Valeau, Pete and Ed made a round trip to Canyon camp for more food, we worked out a possible horse route up the lower portion of Scimitar glacier. A day of light rain followed, spent in camp.
With the horses lightly packed and carrying some weight ourselves we essayed the slanting glacier front on the morning of the 11th. On foot we could just manage the steep ice surface with packs, on our side of the valley. The horses after crossing a branch of the creek were led up the only gently sloping passage on the ice front, with considerable difficulty. The climax came where I, working down from above to meet them, had cut broad steps on an ice ridge between a crevasse and the surface slope. Nigger, a good pack horse but one whose independent ideas had already been annoying to us and almost fatal to him, chose to walk at the side of, but not in, my steps. At the narrowest place he slipped. By a miracle he was stopped thirty feet below by an ice pinnacle. To unpack him, get him onto his feet, and back up to and over the difficult bit was not easy, but by eleven o’clock we were ready to move up the glacier, three horses and seven people. Valeau and Ed had started the return trip to Bluff Lake to bring in the remainder of the supplies.
Three miles up the glacier lies the first of the remarkable slide moraines. At the same place one first sees the magnificent Tiedemann group to the left, a semicircle of granite spires, surrounding a glacier basin from which pours a broad, radiant icefall. Mt. Hickson from this side rises almost vertically over 5,000 ft. above the east side of the glacier as a stalwart sentinel to the highest mass of the Coast Range. Leaving the others to take the horses off the glacier and into Pocket Valley, Mrs. Munday and I went on several miles to the base of Mt. Hickson, just past the upper and largest moraine and opposite the twin icefalls which come down more than 5,000 ft. between Mts. Tiedemann, Combatant and Hickson. We were very pleasantly surprised to find the whole route easy for horses. The others had not without difficulty gotten the horses off the ice and over the steep hundred- foot moraine into the flat valley floor, and were making camp when we returned. Here was an ideal spot : a strategic campsite ; a natural corral for the horses with plenty of feed and water for an indefinite period and no chance for them to escape.
July 12th, after an uneventful march up the ice, saw us established in climbing camp, altitude 6,000 ft., on winter snow behind a moraine at the base of Mt. Hickson, eleven miles up Scimitar glacier from base camp. From the tents we had an impressive view. Two miles away to the south lay Fury Gap, 3,500 ft. above us, where the Mundays had camped in 1928 for their assault on Mt. Waddington. To the left of the gap the whole mountain draped by a succession of ice-cliffs with its snow summit visible, rising over 13,000 ft. above the sea, made us realize that we had at last reached the heart of the range. Back of us towered Mt. Hickson. Across the Scimitar, rose very steeply a series of sharp peaks from the snow-covered Mt. Spencer past Mt. Geddes, to the peaks beyond Pocket Valley on the north. The Mundays readily agreed that as superb mountain scenery the area immediately north of Mt. Waddington exceeds in beauty anything they had previously seen in the Coast Range. Both the extremely heavy glaciation and the bold granite and gneissic-schist rock structure, as well as the extremes of relief, often ranging from 6,000-10,000 ft. from valley floor or glacier to surrounding peaks, contribute to this grandeur.
To solve the intricacies of Mt. Waddington was, of course, our first objective. Under a cloudless sky we all took part in a leisurely scramble above camp on the 13th. At about 7,600 ft. we stopped and sat on smooth ice-worn granite slabs to gaze at Waddington and the dazzling icefall which pours out from the Waddington- Combatant col to form the head of Scimitar glacier. We saw what appeared to be a quite easy route to the left of the icefall up to the col. An apparently possible route from the col by a glacier passage to connect with the Munday’s 1928 route to the northwest summit of Waddington also encouraged us. Returning to camp by mid-afternoon we decided to strike early the next morning for either Tiedemann, Combatant or Hickson, whichever seemed most likely of access.
A cool, clear moonlight greeted our early rising on July 14th. At 2.30 the six of us set out. By the time we had reached the small glacier on the south side of Mt. Hickson, Brown who had not been feeling well for several days decided to return to camp. Roping here we made steady progress around the base of Hickson. From 8,200 ft. on the Hickson-Combatant col at six o’clock, in the first direct rays of the morning sun, we dropped several hundred feet, but were soon climbing steeply again to the main, broad Waddington-Combatant col reached at 7.45, altitude about 9,850 ft. On the hard snow surface we walked eastward through the broad col between the sheer sides of Waddington and Combatant and in half an hour came to a vertical drop of several thousand feet below which the Mundays at once recognized Tiedemann glacier, sweeping down fifteen or more miles toward the Homathko Forks. A brief glance sufficed to show that with the exception of the previously seen glacier corridor just west of, but connecting with the col, and overhung by towering ice cliffs, there was no other possible approach to Mt. Waddington from this side. And just as certainly was Tiedemann cut off from the col by the sides of Combatant which rose almost straight some
6,000-8,000 ft. from the head of Tiedemann glacier. Combatant itself looked forbidding but possible, and with the knowledge that it would be our best viewpoint next to Waddington and Tiedemann we soon chose it for the day’s goal.
The climb cost us ten hours of slow, steady, hard work, sometimes up long, narrow ice couloirs partly snow-filled, then up rock only moderately difficult but with occasional nasty short pitches. The rock was granite and generally sound. Once or twice Hans leading was all but stopped, and was not very optimistic about completing the climb. We could not even be sure that we were headed for the actual summit. While standing in the shade of a narrow couloir one sometimes became a bit numb with the cold downdraft wind. The two most awkward places were perhaps 1,000 ft. and 500 ft. below the top. In the lower, the only way out of the head of a long couloir was by a narrow outward sloping ledge, to the right, which everyone negotiated as best he could, the others on the rope anchoring but unable to be of much assistance. The higher spot consisted of a short rock chimney, a few feet of “rateau de chevre” at the top, a traverse to the right, and lastly through a short overhang by a partly snow- filled crack just wider than the “monolith crack” in Wales. By four in the afternoon we had to decide between turning back or the probability of a night on the mountain. The weather continued perfect, the party all felt fit, and we decided on the latter alternative, as it was obvious that if we turned back this time we could never expect more favorable conditions.
At 7.15, after taking ten hours to climb 2,500 ft., we came out onto the summit. The air was perfectly clear in every direction, except for a very slight haze to the east. A few degrees of horizon was obstructed by the only two higher peaks in the Coast Range, Waddington and Tiedemann. Both Munday’s aneroid and mine showed about 12,400 ft. The great detached summit tower of Waddington, which we had seen all day, looked more nearly impossible than ever. The most likely approach to it is over the snow summit. The tower itself is about four hundred feet high, practically vertical on every side, and the hard smooth rock is generally crusted with ice. Tiedemann, about 12,800 ft., could have been climbed by dropping down 1,500 ft. to the intervening col, and climbing the northeast snow ridge to the summit.
As the sun drew close to the horizon we were absorbed in the view. To the west, at the right of Waddington and fifty to one hundred miles away, were the glistening Klinaklini snowfields with wave upon wave of snow summits dominated by one perhaps over 11,000 ft. which the Mundays had an earlier year called Silver Throne. Mts. Bell, nearly 12,000 ft., and Geddes, nearby, attracted the eye, while to the northwest, fifty miles away, Monarch towered alone, the most conspicuous, isolated peak in the whole range. Somewhat to the left of and behind it, peaks which must have been further than Bella Coola stood out perfectly clearly. To the northeast Middle Lake, Tatla Lake and beyond, the interior plateau, were slightly obscured by smoke. To the southeast beyond the Homathko and Southgate rivers the air was very clear and we easily recognized various peaks named and unnamed up to distances of at least 125 miles. The water in Bute Inlet and the peaks which Munday knew well there were identified. Across the water of the Straits of Georgia, clearly visible, were the highest peaks of Vancouver Island, 140 miles away. Nearer at hand lay the full length of the Tiedemann glacier, and directly at our feet, looking very far below, the sweeping curve of Scimitar glacier.
After the sun had set to the left of Monarch, the golden glow faded slowly and while Hans made cocoa on a little alcohol heater a ledge just below the summit was cleared. Huddled very tight, with a secured rope passed in front of us in case anyone slipped, we settled down for the night. Soon the moon rose and shone full on Waddington. Even the avalanches were mostly stilled this night, although it was not cold, 22° F. the minimum, and there was little or no wind. All of us dozed and shivered alternately. Toward morning we grew rather stiff, but there was no real discomfort. One large avalanche roared down, sweeping across the entire corridor which we had thought of as a route to Waddington at 4.30, the hour generally safest from such occurrences. The light in the north, faintly visible all night, began to increase by 3 a.m.
and before the sun rose to the left of Tiedemann we got up and did limbering exercises on the rather restricted summit while enjoying the view in its morning aspects, with totally different effects of light and shadow from the previous evening.
Starting down at 6, for half an hour we followed the narrow west ridge thinking that we might descend to the right and try the Tiedemann-Combatant icefall lower down. This would have involved considerable uncertainty, so when on our left a long couloir appeared, Hans thought it might be one we had seen from below the morning before running the whole height of the south face. This proved correct and we were soon started on a four- hour descent, without difficulty, the upper half being sufficiently steep to necessitate facing in, with occasional step cutting, and at 10.30 we halted to eat and rest on rocks just above the main col.
Below the col the sun’s heat grew more intense, until we reached the base of Mt. Hickson, where it was uncomfortably hot on the snow, and the short tongue descent of the glacier, still snow covered, was actually slushy. Unroping, some of us rested again and others ran and glissaded down to camp, the last one getting in about 3 o’clock.
The rest of the day was not without its amusing incidents as the winter snow on which camp was pitched had melted, both on the surface and underneath where it rested on the rocks. One would hear sudden exclamations about camp as something or someone subsided or even disappeared altogether. The largest cave-in occurred under the cook tent and the rescue of cook and supplies provided much merriment. The snow surface had already in four hot days fallen more than a foot around the tents, which led to the classic but inevitable incident of someone rolling right out of bed, under the tent wall, into the open, during the night.
The following day of rest was devoted to moving camp from its unstable position on the snow to rough gravel slopes nearby, which involved levelling tent sites at considerable labor. Clouds poured over Fury Gap the next morning and at mid-day Pete came up from base camp with additional provisions, returning in the afternoon ; a twenty-two-mile walk up and down the glacier. Rain began in the evening. The wind, coming at first in gentle gusts, increased in force until during lulls it could be heard roaring down from above for the next onslaught. The tents, held down by rocks, began to snap and strain at their moorings. Sometime in the early morning in a heavy rain the Mundays, to save their tent, already torn, from complete destruction, took it down and retreated to the cook tent, there joining Hans. By six the cook tent too began to go and there was already some water inside Roovers’ heavy floor tent which Brown and I were also sharing. The rain at about this time abated but the cook tent weakened by the night’s buffeting soon developed a six-foot rent. A temporary retreat was decided upon, and shortly after a hurried breakfast we were packed with about sixty pounds apiece, and on our way to base camp. Valeau and Ed came up from Canyon camp with packs at dusk.
After a day to dry out and repair tents and equipment we put in a good day on the 20th by climbing 6,000 ft. out of the south side of the valley to cross the col at the head of Cataract glacier. From there we gained a good view of the back side of the peaks ranging eastward from Mt. Tiedemann and down the Tellott glacier, east of and parallel to Tiedemann glacier. This was a most satisfactory vantage point from which to sweep all the country between Mt. Munday on the south to beyond the Homathko on the east: full of countless peaks, snowfields, glaciers and valleys, few known and still fewer named.
On the 21st we returned advance camp to Pocket Valley. The next five days were spent in climbing and exploring the country back of Pocket Valley and its large glacier. On the 22nd we split in three parties, I going up Pocket glacier five miles, the Mundays going back across the Scimitar and up the east side of Radiant glacier which flows out of the basin surrounded by the granite spires of the Tiedemann group, and the others, Brown, Roovers and Hans also going above the crest of Radiant icefall, the result of a misunderstanding, as it had been intended that they should reconnoitre Chaos icefall as an approach to Mt. Tiedemann.
At supper time an enormous grizzly came unpleasantly close. Roovers first saw him and as we all stood up the bear did likewise. Our numbers caused him to beat a dignified retreat in stages until at a yodel from Hans he turned and fled. At each bound on the gravel bar a puff of dust arose which gave the appearance, as someone suggested, of an animated cartoon. His fourteen-inch tracks were later paced as seventy-five yards from where we had been sitting when we first saw him. We saw numerous bears before and after this, including three grizzlies together later in the summer, but with the exception of a small black bear which almost walked into the tent with Pete none quite so close.
The Mundays, Hans and I started for Mt. Geddes at 3 a.m. on the 23rd. After a few miles up the Scimitar glacier we turned to the right up what Munday called Dissension glacier, flowing down to the Scimitar out of the snowfields to the east of Geddes which also feed Pocket Valley glacier. After 2,000 ft. we were forced into the icefall near its top. An hour of rather sensational and dangerous work among the seracs, during which we undoubtedly took some chances, brought us out into the upper basin which was crossed in two hours to the bergschrund at the foot of Geddes. Hans made two false starts in attempting to negotiate this, once trying to cut a hole through the upper lip, but a rickety slanting snow-bridge finally served, and by noon the rocks were gained. A variety of climbing to the left for the first hour down a rather trying couloir and traverse, then more to the right up flattish couloirs and rock pitches, the upper section partly on snow-covered slabs, brought us to an absolute impasse under vertical cliffs at 5 p.m., altitude just over 10,000 ft. and probably less than 1,000 ft. below the summit. We could have tried the west ridge which had looked possible from Combatant, but this did not seem to offer much hope of anything but another night out and so we retreated, floundering miserably down couloirs filled with rotten snow and thence by easier rocks back around to the bergschrund at sunset. Two hours down over the snowfields brought up by the route I had seen the day before to Pocket glacier. The last five miles down the glacier was done by lantern light, and after two more miles over moraine, by the rocky sides of a glacial stream, and along the valley floor we reached the camp at midnight. Pete was up to give us soup, bannock and tea. Brown and Roovers had failed on a peak, seen up Pocket Valley from camp, which the latter named Mt. Cornelia.
After a day of rest a leisurely trip was made up to the ridge separating Pocket Glacier from a tributary of the Klinaklini for topographical information.
Mrs. Munday, Brown, Hans and I made a rapid trip up Pocket Glacier to the north side of Geddes on the 26th, finding that whole face sheer and thickly ice veneered. Across a very deep glacier-filled valley which drained after ten or twelve miles into the Klinaklini, rose Mt. Bell, glacier clad from summit to valley and probably the most inaccessible peak in the district. Munday and Roovers went to the pass leading northward from Pocket Valley to look at a long wooded valley draining northeastward which we had seen from Combatant. They reported that horses could easily cross the glacier pass, and if this valley is travelable it may offer an alternative to the Homathko route into the Waddington area.
Snow fell that night and on the 27th we returned to Glacier Tongue camp. Five more days, the first to Canyon camp, the second to River Ford camp, the third to a point four miles east of Twist Lake, the fourth to Valeau’s place at Bluff Lake, and the fifth to Graham’s at Tatla Lake, brought us out.
After two nights at Graham’s the Mundays left for home, and Brown, Roovers, Hans and I with Pete and Ed started for Mt. Monarch.
Roovers, after waiting for the mail at Graham’s, attempted to follow us by the road to Pete’s cabin where we were to spend the first night. Due to an understanding from Pete to give the horse his head if in doubt about the route, he did so at a road fork, with the eventual result that he spent the night under a jack- pine, rode many miles north the next morning, turned about and luckily reached the cabin by 10 a.m. He had been without food for twenty-four hours and had covered by conservative estimate forty-five miles, and it had rained very hard on him and us the afternoon before. The fishermen failed to prove their worth on Fishtrap Lake that morning. I walked to triangulation station “Sand” for a view in the afternoon, and could see Perkins Peak, Whitesaddle, Blackhorn and Razorback as well as some miles down the Klinaklini Valley. After supper Sam, an Indian who had trapped at Knot Lake, came around at Pete’s request and agreed to accompany us.
On August 5th we rode over the rolling jack-pine country to George Powers’ place at the south end of Kappan Lake in seven hours. The next day we covered in a little over nine hours the whole distance to our last year's Monarch view camp. Sam led, the day after, as we took the horses down his steep trail to Knot Lake, forded the narrows and made camp on the shore of the south side of the large alluvial fan on the west side of the lake. This was a lovely spot, only 2,000 ft. above the sea in a deep trench valley with high mountains towering 7,000 ft. above the lake at its south end.
No time was lost while here. The first day, August 8th, we reconnoitred North Creek Valley, whose stream had built the delta we were camped on, and which rises near the northern spur of Monarch and very near the low divide separating its valley from the side of the large glacier at the head of the Talchako. The going was unpleasant nearly all the way, over very coarse rock slides. Three grizzlies at 125 yards were photographed on the way up and although fleeing from Hans’ yodel at the time, they were in the same place on our return eating berries. We learned nothing this day except that other routes to Monarch seemed more hopeful.
The whole of the 9th was spent, Sam and Ed helping us, in back-packing a bivouac for four days to timberline, here 5,500 ft., from which I thought we had better next try to reach Monarch. As we ate supper we gazed at the Waddington group fifty miles away, visible down the North Fork of the Klinaklini, the outlet of Knot Lake. Mosquitoes, the first of the summer except for a few at Monarch view camp, appeared when the breeze dropped. All our previous camps had been lower except the one at the head of Scimitar glacier, miles from any vegetation.
By starlight the morning following we left the bivouac at 3 a.m. for Monarch. Mounting a few hundred feet at first we were delighted to find excellent going for miles toward the mountain over rolling grassland, snow and easy rock fields. By 6 we had reached a glacier-filled valley at the head of which, perhaps five miles away, stood Monarch, rather austere in the morning sun. Slabbing the steep side walls, at a level, we were on the ice before 8. Here Roovers, who did not seem to have recovered fully from his night out, turned back. The three of us after roping continued up the easy névé for two more hours, a rather steep pitch bringing us onto a ridge, about 9,500 ft., separating Monarch from a lower peak to the south which we called Queen. Monarch now towered directly 2,200 ft. above us. The only route was guarded by a small hanging glacier bulging on top of the slightly convex-angled face.
After resting for an hour we decided to go around to the west side of the mountain as the southwest ridge looked distinctly feasible and safer. A heart-breaking descent of 2,000 ft., over snow and rock slide, followed by a few hundred feet of ascent, brought us in four hours to the base of the ridge at 3 p.m. It appeared steep in parts and long, 4,000 ft. to the summit. The weather was perfect and looked as if it would remain so, which it subsequently did for a week. The ascent would involve a night up on the mountain somewhere near the top. We discussed the matter rather warmly for some time and finally turned our backs on the mountain and started down.
Hans and Brown then had an idea that we could avoid climbing over the high ridge by going down a short glacier to the large valley which we knew drained into the north fork of the Klinaklini just below Knot Lake. We tried it with the net result that after dropping down some 2,500 ft. to tree line, the going below looked so bad, that the others were glad to accept my rather reluctant suggestion that we retrace our steps and climb back 4,000 ft. over the ridge, and thence home by the morning’s route. This we laboriously did, and returned to camp after having been out twenty-five hours, covering some twenty-five to thirty miles and climbing about 9,000 ft.
No sooner had we lain down to rest than the mosquitoes came out in swarms. With nothing but a tent fly and sleeping bags we were at their mercy and soon abandoned the unequal contest. Packing up we dropped quickly down, slipping and sliding through a bush-filled gully to the lake, and back to camp.
Before leaving I wanted to examine the north end of the lake to determine whether the story of an outlet at that end was true. While we rested in the afternoon Ed built a raft, bound together with pack-ropes. On this craft, with a mast and a pack cover as a sail in case of favorable wind, Hans, Ed, Sam and I set sail the next morning. After being towed by two horses, ridden by Sam and Ed, through the narrows, we poled and paddled, sailing for half an hour, in six hours, the seven miles up the lake. Here we learned that there is no drainage north, but that a stream coming off the plateau to the east does pass within half a mile of the end of the lake and then flows north into the Atnarko. A large bull moose, which Sam had shot at and missed, came crashing out into the open, turned back, ran for a few minutes through the woods, entered the lake, swam across it for a distance of nearly a mile and disappeared on the other shore. We returned to camp the next day, and the day after started for Stuie.
Four days found us with thirty-eight miles still to go, and as a change from riding I set out on foot, reaching Stuie in thirteen hours, and the outfit arrived the second day about noon.
With five days left before the next steamer from Bella Coola for Vancouver, we could make a short trip, and one of the owners of Stuie Lodge, Mr. T. A. Walker, kindly volunteered to take us up to his cabin on Cariboo Mountain, whence he said we could get, in one day and back, to a splendid viewpoint for Monarch and the range west of the Talchako.
Though Stuie is forty miles up the Bella Coola Valley it is only six hundred ft. above the sea. The cabin is at 4,500 ft, and is reached by a trail built by Walker with the aid of some Vancouver schoolboys. Pete and I had used it to get out of the valley when starting on our attempt to reach Monarch from Stuie in 1932. This time we went up to the cabin, spent the night, and the next day walked some miles south above the east side of Talchako Valley, finally walking up easy rock and grass slopes to the highest point for some miles, 7,700 ft. The air was perfectly clear and I secured a complete panoramic photograph from the top. To the east I could see part of the route which Pete and I had taken in 1932. To the south, back of a large glacier which fills the upper end of the valley, perhaps twenty miles away, stood Monarch absolutely alone in its glory. The valley, here less than 1,000 ft. above the sea, is bordered on the west by peaks up to 10,000 ft. Many of these peaks are jagged rock summits and some are glacier covered. Short steep side valleys come out of the range into the main valley. Beyond a few of these this whole area is wild and probably very little if at all known. At the corner of the Talchako and Bella Coola valleys rises Mackenzie’s “Stupendous Mountain.” Just to the right but north of the valley and farther away is Thunder Mountain. Directly north are the Rainbow Mountains with their colored rocks.
All things must come to an end, and so did our trip as we started down from this fascinating view. Two evenings later just at sunset we drove down the valley toward Bella Coola past peaks rising 6,000-8,000 ft. directly out of the valley. That is a great country and offers rich rewards to the mountaineer, who will take some hard work and disappointments along with the rest, as he goes out for virgin conquests.