E. Rex Gibson, 1892-1957

Publication Year: 1958.



The many friends of Rex Gibson were shocked to learn of the fatal accident on Mount Howson in the Coast Range on August 18, 1957. Rex was born on November 7, 1892 at Hatfield Peveril in England and after his schooling was completed worked in the family bank in Paris. He enlisted in September 1914 and received his commission in the Artillery in November of that year. He served with distinction throughout the war, being awarded the Military Cross and being three times mentioned in dispatches. Rex came to Canada in 1926 and started farming near Edmonton, Alberta, in the following year. He had done some mountaineering in Switzerland prior to this, his major climb being a winter ascent of the Jungfrau during a ski tour in 1925. He joined the Alpine Club of Canada in 1930, and had been its president since 1954. He became a member of the American Alpine Club in 1938.

His record of climbs is impressive. He made over two hundred ascents, including many firsts. He was among the few who had climbed the four 12,000-foot peaks in the Rockies of Canada. He had also visited the Selkirks, Purcells, Coast Range of British Columbia, the Interior Ranges of B.C., and the Cascades. His love for the mountains was a driving force, and he was ever eager to share his experiences with others. Many young people were introduced to the great hills and taught to listen to their voice under Rex’s leadership. His skill in climbing was great and he conducted innumerable schools to pass on the law to others.

Rex joined the Royal Canadian Artillery in February 1941. He was Canadian Military representative with the Army’s Mount McKinley expedition in 1942 to test cold-weather equipment. He was injured on this assignment and was retired on pension with the rank of major. In June 1948 he was married to Miss Ethne Gale, who was also a member of the American Alpine Club as well as the Alpine Club of Canada. He left the farm and moved to Vancouver Island.

Mountaineering was not Rex’s only interest. He was an enthusiastic sailor and fisherman, a skillful carpenter and an expert axeman. For some years he ran a Scout troop. He was keenly interested in astronomy. He was a man of deep religious feeling and all who heard his sermons at A.C.C. camp services were impressed by his faith and sincerity. We have lost a

member of wide interests and many talents. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. I would like to leave for him the lines he recalled himself when one of his climbing friends passed on, from Hilton Brown s "Coronach for a Mountaineer”:

"The night falls dark on crag and corrie Now, where the suns of noonday shone,

Homes the last eagle from his foray;

But—there must be mountains where you have gone;

Hills, great hills to be friend and foe,

Hills to comfort you, hills to cheer;

Wherever lovers of mountains go,

There as here,

Climb on, old friend, climb on!”

R. C. Hind