American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Mt. Fay

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1943

Mt. Fay. The early history is of interest. The name was first applied to the present Mt. Bident about 1900, and when C. S. Thompson made the first ascent in 1903, he sent the summit stone to Professor Fay as a souvenir. The Dominion Topographical Survey occupied the peak (Mt. Bident) as a station in 1903.

S. E. S. Allen, on his privately printed map of the Lake Louise area (1894), had given the name “Heejee” (No. 1) to a peak, to which the Geographic Board officially transferred the name Mt. Fay in 1904. As this mountain was then unascended, Professor Fay sent the summit stone of Mt. Bident back to Thompson and resolved to climb his new eponymous peak.

In the summer of 1904, however, Miss Gertrude Benham was making a successful campaign with Christian Kaufmann, and there was evidently a conspiracy in her favor. On the same day that Hans Kaufmann led the protesting professor around into Consolation Valley, Christian Kaufmann took Miss Benham from Moraine Lake up the couloir between Peaks 3 and 4, then the usual route to the watershed, and made the first ascent of Mt. Fay. Professor Fay made the second ascent shortly afterward with the guides Christian Häsler, Sr. and F. Michel. This episode is said to have led to Hans Kaufmann’s dismissal by C. P. R. In fairness to Miss Benham it would seem that she was unaware of the change of nomenclature.

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