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Rocky Mountains of Canada

Rocky Mountains of Canada

The following data correct and supplement the 1940 edition of the Guidebook.

Approaches to Mt. Assiniboine. This peak is 23 miles in airline S. W. of Banff, but considerably further by trail. Mt. Assiniboine (11,870 ft.) is the highest summit S. of the C. P. R., the name signifying “stone-boiler,” from the tribe’s practice of cooking by means of hot stones dropped in a vessel of water. Four routes of approach, each requiring two days with horses, are commonly used on the Alberta side of the watershed, these being given in their order of usefulness.

Brewster Creek. Total distance from Banff to camp at Lake Magog approximates 33 miles. The fire road is followed beyond the Cave and Basin pool, the trail branching up Brewster Creek being marked by a sign. Trail follows the E. side of the creek, passing old log-cabins opposite the mouth of Fatigue Creek and reaching a cabin at head of Brewster Creek, where the first night is spent. On the second day Allenby Pass is crossed and Allenby Creek descended for several miles to a signpost where the trails to Bryant Creek and Og Pass separate. At this point Mts. Allenby and Mercer are immediately E., and Assiniboine Pass lies due W. The latter pass is seldom used, except by winter skiers, because of fallen timber and its steep eastern approach; and a more circuitous route is taken along the 7000-ft. contour across Og Pass, rounding the N. side of Cave Mtn., trail turning due S., before Og Lake is reached, and continuing to Lake Magog. The S. side of Og Pass is covered with fossils and its summit lake drains to both slopes of the watershed.

Healy Creek. Trail ascends the W. side of Brewster Creek and follows the N. side of its W. tributary, Healy Creek, until within four miles of Simpson Pass, whence it diverges southward and circles the head of Howard Douglas Creek (Simpson Summit) to reach Citadel Pass, whence branches of Simpson River are followed through the Valley of the Rocks to Lake Magog.

This route is longer than the Brewster Creek route and the intermediate cabin (Sunshine) on Healy Creek is not so well spaced. It is best used as a route of return in connection with a circular trip.

Spray River. Although there is a fire road for some eight miles up the river from Banff, total trail distance to Mt. Assiniboine is about 45 miles. One must ascend Bryant Creek and reach Lake Magog via either Assiniboine Pass or Og Pass.

Canmore. This route crosses Bow River on the bridge at Canmore and over the so-called White Man’s Pass, immediately W. of the Three Sisters. This is, of course, not the White Man Pass of the main watershed, but probably received its local designation from being on the route to the latter. The Canmore route crosses from Bow River to Buller Creek, a branch of Spray River containing the Spray lakes, which are not seen in the direct Spray River route from Banff. One then continues up Bryant Creek as in Route 3.

All of the routes described lead over to Lake Magog on the British Columbia side of the watershed, where there is an excellent bungalow camp run by Erling Strom. This is also open in winter for skiing. Routes from the W. by way of Cross and Mitchell Rivers are rarely used.

The Marshal. Guidebook, p. 36. Under Route 3, for N. E. ridge read N. W. ridge.

Mt. Watson. 1935 first ascent by R. J. Cuthbertson, Miss L. Gest, Miss G. Johnson, Miss J. Spieden, Miss H. J. Zillmer, R. T. Zillmer. From A. C. C. fly-camp near junction of Wedgwood Creek and Mitchell River. Proceed down trail on W. side of Mitchell River, with difficult crossing at point where creek enters from S. W. face of Mt. Watson. Follow up this creek and ascend scree slopes of face. Mitchell River to summit, 3.5 h.

Unnamed (9390). N. E. of Castle Mtn. tower. Not mentioned in Guidebook. 1941, E. Cromwell, Miss G. Engelhard. From Castle Mtn. ranger station via S. bank of Castle Creek, up broken rock of S. W. face and W. ridge. A summit cairn without record was found. Ascent 5.5 h.; descent 2 h. 40 m., exclusive of halts. From timberline the descent was varied by skirting S. of Castle Mtn. tower and thence down the usual route. There is said to be a good blazed trail along Castle Creek.

Mt. Edith. The same party. The second or middle summit was ascended by the N. E. face, via a gully between second and third summits. Steep, loose shale. The gully leads to the ridge immediately below and to the N. W. of the summit. 4 h. Summit cairn, but no record. Thence a traverse was made N. to the third summit, ascended by ledges and chimneys on the S. W. side of the ridge. Rubber-soles used; 50 m. Summit cairn without record. Return to col below second peak required 45 m. Descent via S. W. scree slopes and trail leading along the wooded S. ridge to the road. 2 h. In descending to the trail care must be taken not to be cut off by cliffs under first peak.

Mt.Norquay. The same party. W. (highest) summit ascended via rocks of S. ridge. 3 h. 20 m. Descent via entire N. ridge to Edith Pass, the climbers being unable to confirm the route (E. ridge) given in the Guidebook.

The same party ascended the E. peak two days later, starting from the new ski hut, by way of the E. and N. E. slopes to the col between the two peaks, whence the easy broken N. ridge was followed. 4 h. 20 m.; summit cairn, but no record.

Pilot Mtn. The starting point is Massive, not Castle station.

Mt. Collier. 1941, E. Cromwell, Miss G. Engelhard. New route. From Wapta Lodge walk three miles along O’Hara trail, then strike up through burned timber just N. of the Watch Tower, and enter cirque into which descends the tongue of the N. W. (Collier) glacier. Thence on steep ice to the N. E. ridge just below the summit. Crampons used; additional step-cutting. Ascent 7 h. 25 m. Descent by usual route, upper Victoria Glacier being unusually crevassed.

Unnamed (9500). Watershed immediately E. of Popes Peak. The same party. Via the S. gully, usually snow-filled, but now dry. The climbers passed under snow bridge and through a waterfall before reaching the col. 3 h. Cardboard box on summit, but no record or cairn. Descent via N. glacier to Ross Lake, reaching the latter by a goat trail across the face of cliffs at head of lake. 4.5 h.; Lake Louise by trail in 2 h.

Unnamed (9000). Suggested name “Profile Peak.” Immediately W. of Niles Pass at head of Sherbrooke Valley. The same party. From Wapta Lodge by the new trail to Niles Pass, 3.5 h. Thence up steep E. ridge to E. summit (1 h.) and main summit in 15 m. additional. This peak has the remnants of a glacier which in 1931 filled the whole summit basin.

Mt. Carnarvon. The same party. First ascent of the S. ridge and traverse. From Emerald Lake on the new trail to Hamilton Lake (7000 ft.), thence up scree to the S. ridge, which was followed throughout. A few steep pitches alternating with broken ledges. Descent by the N. E. face to the Carnarvon-Marpole col. In 1931 this face was snow-covered, but now is chiefly broken rock and smooth slabs, with some danger of rock-fall. Total time 9 h. 40 m.

The Vice President. The same party, with Miss A. Newell, E. Feus, Jr. New route. From Mitchell Hut S. E. to crevassed pocket-glacier N. E. of the peak. Cross this to the N. E. ridge and over easy rock to upper icefield E. of the summit. 5 h. Descent via President Pass.

Unnamed (10,200). Guidebook, p. 127. Suggested name “Puzzle Peak.” 1941 first ascent by E. Cromwell, Miss G. Engelhard. From camp on Mosquito Creek walk one mile W. highway, thence skirting the E. slopes of Dolomite Peak into valley between latter and objective. At the head of the valley turn up easy slopes to a steep, firm chimney in the whittish rocks of the S. W. face. Ledges and chimneys to the sloping summit ridge at about its middle; thence to summit (E.) over loose slabs and boulders. Ascent 5 h. 25 m.; descent 3.5 h.

Mt. Murchison. The N. tower of the Bison Creek section (ca. 10,250 ft.). 1941 first ascent by E. Cromwell, Miss G. Engelhard, E. Feus, Jr. From the highway follow Bison Creek to head of valley. Thence N. by steep broken ledges to base of objective tower. Then up steep chimneys and pitches (wet and overhanging in parts; rubber-soles used) on S. face and S. W. ridges, comparable to Mt. Louis. Descent by S. W. ridge and steep couloirs on S. E. face to base of tower, finishing with a short traverse W. to regain route of ascent.

Mt. Murchison. Tower (ca. 10,000 ft.) N. W. of tower ascended by Gest-Gardiner party. 1941 first ascent by E. Cromwell, Miss G. Engelhard, E. Feus, Jr. From head of Bison Creek through a steep, loose gully to the high col between the Gest- Gardiner tower and the objective. Thence by the S. E. ridge (three steep pitches) to the summit. 4 h. 25 m. Traverse, descending easy S. W. scree face and S. gully. Summit to road 2 h.

Yoho-Waputik Group. The six peaks of the watershed between Howse Peak and Mt. Breaker constitute the most continuous stretch of unclimbed summits on the main divide. An attempt to reach them was made in July, 1941, by Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Kingman, J. M. Thorington, who used a canoe in Mistaya River from the base of Mt. Patterson. The last half mile of river before reaching the lake is continuous canyon and rapids, and a long portage was necessary to reach Mistaya Lake. On the second day the head of Mistaya Lake was gained and an ascent of 2000 ft. made along the watercourse descending from Capricorn Lake. The final 400 ft. of cliff below this lake is broken only by a waterfall of the outlet stream, and, because of the volume of water, this obstacle could not be overcome. The party then turned due E. and ascended to the highest point of the frontal buttress (8000 ft.) overlooking Mistaya Lake. Descent was then made and the canoe taken down Mistaya Lake, regaining the motor road at upper Wildfowl Lake near the warden’s cabin.

One could improve on this route of approach by putting a canoe in Mistaya Lake at the mouth of Silverhorn Creek, either by lining down the creek, or more quickly by a short portage in the most direct line from the road. If the peaks cannot be attained by this approach, one must take horses to Howse Pass and attack from the upper Blaeberry, where a high camp would be necessary owing to the lower basal elevation.

Mt. Niverville. 1941 first ascent by J. Taylor, A. T. Wiebrecht, E. Feus, Jr. From camp on Niverville meadow via the S. E. ridge over broken rock and gendarmes in 4 h.

Mt. Nanga Parbat. 1941, traverse of the W. peak by the same party. Ascent by the W. face, descending by the E. ridge.

The party also ascended Mt. Freshfield and noted great changes in the ice and snow conditions of the area.

Lake Louise-Jasper Highway. We are pleased to quote the following from a letter received from Mr. R. A. Gibson, director Lands Parks and Forest Branch, Ottawa: “In regard to your criticism of various signs along the Lake Louise-Jasper Highway [A. A. J. iv, 310], I may say that the attention of the Superintendent of Banff Park was drawn to this matter and he now advises us that the signs in question have all been altered so that they now correctly indicate the respective mountains to which they point.”