American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Arctic, British Empire Range, Ellesmere Island

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1983

British Empire Range, Ellesmere Island. From May 27 to June 10 Brad Albro, Bill Robinson, Rick Piercy, Jim Shedd, Paul Williams and John Petrie along with co-leaders Steve Trafton and me climbed and toured in northern Ellesmere Island. We flew from Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island to a camp at 82° 1' N, 74° 31' W, north of Mount Whistler in the remote British Empire Range. We made the third ascent of Mount Whistler, 13 first ascents and the second ascent of Mount Barbeau (2732 meters, 8965 feet), the highest peak of Canada’s Arctic islands. We enjoyed virtually flawless weather with crystal clear skies, continuous sunshine, calm winds and shade temperatures from 4° to 22° F and much warmer temperatures in the sun. Using nordic skis, we pulled individual freight sleds on a few inches of dry, powdery snow. We wish to name the group of peaks on this outing the “Maritime Group” in honor of the grand ships sailed by gallant seamen during the golden days of Arctic exploration. The peaks climbed follow: “Enterprise” (2347 meters, 7700 feet)1 via southwest ridge by Errington, Robinson, Trafton and later by Albro, Piercy (The Enterprise saw Arctic service twice during the search for the lost Sir John Franklin expedition. The first was as Sir James Ross’ flagship in 1848-49 in Barrow Strait and then as Captain Richard Collinson’s ship in 1850-55 to Bering Strait and Victoria Island); Whistler (2685 meters, 8810 feet) third ascent via northeast face by Errington, Robinson, Trafter and later by Albro, Piercy; “Felix” (2493 meters, 8180 feet)1 via east ridge by Albro, Piercy and via north ridge by Errington, Robinson, Shedd, Trafton (The Felix was Sir John Ross’ ship in 1850-51 during his search for Franklin in Barrow Strait); “North Star” (2454 meters, 8050 feet)1 traversed by Albro, Piercy during the ascent of Felix (The North Star saw duty twice as a Franklin search vessel, once in 1849-50 under Captain James Saunders to West Greenland and Lancaster Sound and later as Captain William Pullen’s ship in 1852-54 to Beechey Island); “Investigator” (2423 meters, 7950 feet)1 by Williams via north ridge and by Trafton via east ridge (The Investigator was the sister ship of the Enterprise on Sir James Ross’ expedition and was Captain Robert McClure’s ship during his voyage of 1850-54. She was lost in the ice on the north coast of Banks Island in 1854); “Hecla” (2545 meters, 8350 feet)1 via north ridge by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Shedd, Trafton, Williams (The Hecla, along with the Griper, was one of Captain William Parry’s ships on his first Arctic voyage in 1819-20 and was also used, along with the Fury, during Parry’s 1824-25 expedition); “Fury” (2585 meters, 8480 feet)1 via west ridge by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Shedd, Trafton (The Fury was Captain William Parry’s vessel on his second voyage to the Arctic. She was abandoned at Fury Beach on North Somerset Island); “Griper” (2417 meters, 7930 feet)1 via west ridge by Errington, Trafton, descent via north ridge (The Griper sailed under Captain William Parry on his first Arctic expedition in 1819-20 to Melville Island and again under Captain Lyon to Repulse Bay in 1824); “Victory” (2646 meters, 8680 feet)1 via north ridge by Robinson, Shedd (The Victory was Sir John Ross’ ship during his 1829-33 voyage to Prince Regent Inlet and was the first steamer in the Arctic. She was abandoned at Lord Mayor Bay on the east side of Boothia Peninsula); “Resolute” (2682 meters, 8800 feet)1 via east ridge by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Shedd, Trafton, and via north ridge by Petrie, Williams (The Resolute was Captain Henry Austin’s flagship during his command of the Franklin search parties in 1850-51 to Barrow Strait); Barbeau (2732 meters, 8965 feet) second ascent via north face by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Shadd, Trafton and via west ridge by Petrie, Williams; “Lady Franklin (2353 meters, 7720 feet)1 via east ridge by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Shedd, Trafton (The Lady Franklin was Captain William Penny’s ship during his 1850-51 Franklin search to Wellingham Channel); “Pioneer” (2341 meters, 7680 feet)1 via north ridge by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Shedd, Trafton (The Pioneer was Sherard Osborn’s ship. She was the steam tender to Austin’s Resolute during 1850-51 and was ordered abandoned by Belcher in 1854); “Intrepid” (2439 meters, 8000 feet)1 via west face by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Shedd, Trafton (The Intrepid was Lieutenant J.B. Cator’s ship. She was the steam tender to the Assistance and the Resolute, serving on Austin’s 1850-51 expedition. The Intrepid was also ordered abandoned by Belcher in 1854); “Rescue” (2591 meters, 8500 feet)1 via north ridge by Albro, Errington, Piercy, Robinson, Trafton (The Rescue was an American ship sent out by Henry Grinnell in 1850-51 under the command of Captain Edward DeHaven); “Blossom” (2259 meters, 7410 feet)1 via east ridge by Albro, Errington, Petrie, Piercy, Rob- inson, Shedd, Trafton, Williams (The Blossom was Beechey’s ship in 1826 when he sailed to Bering Strait in an unsuccessful attempt to meet up with Franklin’s out-bound party from Great Slave Lake).

Allan Errington

1First ascent

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