Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Climbs and exploration in the Canadian Rockies. With maps and illustrations Stutfield, Hugh E. M. (Hugh Edward Millington), 1858-1929; Collie, Norman, 1859-1942 1903

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0348601.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0348601-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0348601-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0348601-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0348601-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0348601-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0348601-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

     , S#B«$E2SEaSK3tBSW 1
J   •<«»*..
Bush River and Peak
m 1 1. 11J
** JtS. l\ Uï.S* *     ,:.,
f>i iïokocao'
;—: Jfc«A -s.  I ~-*"
All rights reserved /toW
J 9
The authors' thanks are due to the Council of
the Royal Geographical Society for permission
to reproduce Professor Collie's map of the
Canadian Rockies from the Geographical
Journal ; to Messrs. William Blackwood and
Sons for leave to make excerpts from an article
by Mr. Stutfield that appeared in Blackwood s
Magazine ; and to Mr. Hermann Woolley and
Mr. Sydney Spencer for the use of their admirable photographs. Ill CONTENTS
I.  Historical
III. In Search of Mount Murchison   .
IV. Through  the  Pipestone and   Siffleur Val-
1.4 ht Yo      ■ • • • « • •
V. Up the North Fork of the Saskatchewan ,
II. Ascent   of   Lefroy   and   Victoria ;  and the
Waputehk Ice-Field .        .        .        .        .16
VI. Athabasca   Peak;    a   Bighorn   Hunt;   and
Discovery of the Columbia Ice-Field        .     105
VII. To the Valley of   the Athabasca, and Ascent of Diadem Peak .        .        .        .12,3
VIII. Thompson Peak and the Selkirks . .140
IX. The Bush River    .        .        .        .        .        .155
X. To the Head of the Bush Valley       .        .    181
XI. Our Camp on Goat Peak      ....    200
XII. Sundry Mountain Ascents    . .        .215
XIII. To Bear Creek Once More ....    233
XIV. Mount Murchison and Mount Freshfield    .    251
• *
XV. Mount Forbes and Howse Peak   .
rr o
.    27^
XVI, Glacier Lake and the Lyell Ice-Fiedd
XVII. Moraine Lake and the Ten Peaks
.    307
XVIII. A Note  on  Sport and  Game in the Canadian Rockies       . .        .        .        .        .323
.    339
Bush River and Peak (Photograph by Sydney Spencer)
The   Howse   Pass from   near  Glacier Lake
(J. N. Collie)  To face p.    8
The Bow Glacier (22. Woolley)
The Lower Bow Lake (showing Mounts Balfour and Gordon) (J. N. Collie)
Stone Blocks on Freshfield Glacier (Woolley)
In the Valley of the Saskatchewan (Woolley)
Bear Creek Camping-Ground (Woolley)
The North Fork Valley (Woolley)
Camp   at  the   Headwaters   of  the  Saskatchewan and the Athabasca ( Woolley)
Athabasca Peak (looking West) (Woolley)
A   Day   Off   with   Peyto   at   Bear   Creek
(Woolley) .......
The Selkirks (from Peak Swanzy) (Spencer)  .
Cloud Effects in the Bush Valley (Spencer)
An   Awkward   Corner   on  the  Bush   River
(Spencer) .......
At the Head of Bush Valley (Spencer)
Spencer   Range   from   Camp  on   Goat   Peak
(Spencer) .......
Peak Swanzy (Spencer)   .....
Mount Sir Donald (Spencer) ....
226 fftlTl  ■lMH^"-*iTTTWTjni
Gorge of Bear Creek (Woolley)    .        . To face p. 234>
Bear   Creek, with  Pyramid, Mount Wilson,
and Murchison ( Woo/ley)
Mount Murchison (Woolley) ....
Mount Forbes (Woolley) ....
Howse Peak and Waterfowl Lake (Woolley)
After the Bighorn Hunt (Woolley)
(From Photographs by the Authors)
Mount Lefroy and Victoria
Gorge below the Bow Ice-Fall    .
Near the Summit of the Bow Pass
Waterfowl Lake   .....
Fresh field Group from Peak Sarbach
The Middle Fork of the Saskatchewan
Looking North  from the Slopes of Mount
Freshfield       .....
The Freshfield Glacier (looking South)
A "Smudge'1 .....
Collie on " The Grey
The Siffleur Creek      ....
Fallen Timber in the Siffleur Valley
Bear Creek (low water) ....
A Backwater of the North Fork
Woolley on " Joe '
" The Pinto " .....
Mount Columbia    .....
Diadem Peaks from Wild Sheep Hills
Gorge in Sun Wapta Valley
From  the   Slopes of Diadem  Peak  (looking
'                ))
•        ))
ass* 33
Fossil Forest ..... To face p.
Thompson Peak      .        .        .
A British Columbia Forest Scene the Bush Valley
The Bush Valley .
Fording a Branch Stream
A Muskeg in the Bush Valley
The Home of the Wild Goat
Mount Bryce from Goat Peak
Bush Peak from Goat Peak
Collie Surveying ; Fred Stephens, and Spencer
Lyell Range and Alexandra Peak
Mount Edith ....
The Bush Pass       ....
The Top of Mount Murchison
Mount Pilkington ....
Looking down Couloir on Murchison
Mount Forbes from the Saskatchewan Vallev
Breakfast-place at the Foot of Freshfield
Summit of Mount Freshfield
Mount Forbes from the East
View    Northwards    from   the    Summit   of
Mount Forbes
Valley of the Saskatchewan
Fording the Saskatchewan
An Ideal Camping-ground
Glacier Lake
Fire at Glacier Lake   .
Rafting on Glacier Lake
Forbes from the Lyell Ice-field
Howse Peak from the West
Laggan Group of Mountains from the Bow
Valley     ...... To face p. 310
Hungabee, Victoria, and  Lefroy from Nep-
tuak ....... ,,       310
Climbing Neptuak ......
Mount Deltaform .....
" The Goat hangs high "
Ptarmigan       .......
Sketch Map showing all that was known in 1896
of the main rocky mountain range northwards
of Mount Balfour to the Athabasca Pass .    page 66
Sketch Map   of  the   Canadian  Rocky   Mountains by*
J. Norman Collie ......        at end
(< An' it was a game worth playin* !    Alone—at the heart of
the world,
Where the mighty snow-slides thundered, and the long grey
vapours curled :
When we mere pigmies ventured to storm Creation's hold,
Staked our lives on the highest bluff, and played the world
for her gold.
We had Great Things then for our comrades, and Forces of
Earth for foes ;
There's one goes down in the battle, and another don't care
®     * —Clive Phillips Wolley.
One hundred years ago the Dominion of
Canada, stretching as it does over thousands of
miles, covered with dense forests, watered by
unnumbered rivers, and dotted over with countless lakes, was a land in many places as difficult
of access as Siberia ; and its Rocky Mountains,
the back-bone of the continent, were almost unknown.   Now even, although a trans-continental SSSèÇ
railway connects the Atlantic with the Pacific
Ocean, many parts still remain unexplored. For
instance, only as far back as 1898, a vast snow-
field and some of the highest mountains in the
Rocky Mountain system were discovered at the
head-waters of three of the largest rivers of
Canada, the Athabasca, the Saskatchewan, and
the Columbia ; whilst even now, further north,
in those regions where rise the Peace River, the
Liard, and the Pelly, large areas are probably
to be found covered with perpetual snow and
glaciers, which feed turbulent streams flowing
seawards through deep valleys filled with almost
impenetrable pine-woods. No human beings live
there, with the exception of a few prospectors
and trappers ; Indians seldom if ever hunt
amongst these mountain fastnesses, and the land
is desolate and deserted. Œ
The history of this I Great Lone Land,"
this north-western and western part of the
Dominion, is soon told. Its history is practically that of the fur trade. It is the tale of
the hunters and trappers, the tale of those who
left all to wander in strange places, hoping
often against hope that some day they would
be rich in the goods of men; but although
this   seldom   happened   and   they   came   back HISTORICAL
poor, yet they had gained what such life alone
can give :—
" The lore of men that ha' dealt with men,
In the new and naked lands."
Even now the only names one sees on the map in
a great part of this country are those of Forts :
Fort Reliance, Fort Good Hope, Fort Enterprise, and so on—centres where the furs were
As far back as 1670 a charter was granted to
Prince Rupert, and a coalition of traders was
formed to exploit the riches of this country. The
Company possessed the right to all the commerce
and trade of that portion which drained into
Hudson's Bay. Towards the end of the eighteenth century Captain Cook, in his "Voyages
Round the World," first drew attention to the
great value of the fur trade on the western coast
of North America, with the result that many
ships were fitted out for carrying it on, both by
the English, the Americans, and the Russians.
About the same time, 1783, a rival undertaking to the Hudson's Bay Company came into
existence, namely, the North-West Company.
Many were the conflicts between these two, and
their mutual animosity and jealousy not infrequently   caused   bloodshed.      In   1821   the
North-West Company ceased to exist, being
merged in the Hudson's Bay Company.
In the meantime, at the end of the eighteenth
century, Mr. John Jacob Astor founded the
American Fur Company, whose headquarters
were at Astoria, near the mouth of the Columbia
River. But after a stormy existence this company was extinguished during the war of 1812,
by Astoria falling into the hands of the English.
The furs when collected were taken to various
markets ; some were shipped to China and
Japan and bartered for tea, silks, and other
goods, whilst some were with great toil and
difficulty transported over the mountains and
taken down in canoes to the Great Lakes, and
so to eastern Canada. This journey usually
occupied the best part of a year, and a graphic
description of crossing the mountains is to be
found in Ross Cox's "Adventures on the
Columbia River, 1817."
The first man, however, who actually crossed
the continent in these high latitudes was Sir
Alexander Mackenzie in 1793. Several explorers before this had penetrated as far west
as the Rocky Mountains, but there is no record
of any one having been successful in proceeding
further.    Mackenzie's route across the continent,
after the mountains had been reached, lay up
the Peace River, in canoes. From its source a
portage was made to the head-waters of the
Fraser River, and finally, after endless dangers
and misfortunes had been overcome, the Pacific
Ocean was reached at latitude 52° 207 48". It
was before this, in 1789, that Mackenzie had
penetrated as far north as the Arctic Ocean,
down the great river that now bears his name.
A few years later Alexander Henry, one of
the hunters of the North-West Company, kept a
journal in which he wrote down from day to day
(1799-1814) a description of his life amidst the
woods and wild places of that part of Canada
that lies between the great Lakes and the
Pacific Ocean. This journal has only recently
been published,1 but it contains endless interesting information of the wild life of the pioneers
of those days ; moreover, the Editor has incorporated with it, in the form of notes, the history
of another pioneer, David Thompson, the celebrated explorer, geographer, astronomer, and
scientist. David Thompson was constantly
travelling in every direction through the same
1 ffThe Manuscript Journals of Alexander Henry, Fur-Trader
of the North-West Company, and of David Thompson, Official
Geographer and Explorer of the same Company/' Edited by
Elliott C oues.    3 vols.    1897.
country as Henry, and during the same period
(1789-1812). Probably amongst the early wanderers in Western Canada there were none whose
record equals that of Thompson. It was he who
discovered the sources of the Columbia River ;
and he was the first white man to explore its upper
waters and tributaries, and also to cross the Rocky
Mountains by means of more than one pass, from
the head-waters of the Athabasca to those of the
Columbia. His greatest achievement, however,
was undoubtedly his "Map of the North-West
Territory of the Province of Canada." This
was compiled from a survey extending over
many years (1792-1812), and, considering the
immense area it covers, it is a marvel of accuracy.
The Fraser River was explored to its mouth
in 1809 by Jules Quesnel, Simon Fraser, and
John Stuart, under the impression that it was
the Columbia.
Some years later Alexander Ross, in his book
entitled 1 The Fur-Hunters of the Far West :
a Narrative of Adventures in the Oregon and
Rocky Mountains," describes the life of the first
settlers on the Columbia River ; and he writes
of that region as the " farthest of the far west,"
whilst the Red River  Settlement,1 where  he
1 Now known as Winnipeg and Manitoba.
spent the remainder of his life, he pictures as
" a spot more effectually cut off from the
rest of the world than any other colony of the
From the early part of last century till 1858
few people penetrated into these western valleys.
Sir George Simpson, on his journey round the
world, crossed the Rocky Mountains by the
Simpson Pass in 1841, and then descended
the Kootenay River to the Columbia. Towards
the end of the fifties, however, miners who had
pushed north from California began to congregate in considerable numbers near the headwaters of the Fraser River, as gold had been
found then in the Cariboo country.
A road was built, called the " Cariboo Road,"
up the canyon of the Fraser, to connect the
mining district with the Pacific coast. A marvellous piece of engineering skill it still remains,
resembling some of those that exist in the
terrific gorges of the Himalaya. Although
abandoned now for many years, parts of it can
yet be seen from the cars of the Canadian
Pacific Railway, clinging to the precipitous
sides of that vast canyon through which the
Fraser flows.
By far the most exhaustive account of these
H \
Il   h
i Hi I
western districts of Canada is that by Captain
J. Palliser, published as a report to the Houses
of Parliament. Palliser had been sent out in
1857 by the Government to explore "that
portion of British North America which lies
between the northern branch of the River
Saskatchewan and the frontier of the United
States, and between the Red River and the
Rocky Mountains." In addition to this the
Government " wished to ascertain whether any
practical pass or passes, available for horses,
existed across the Rocky Mountains within
British territory, and south of that known to
exist between Mount Brown and Mount
Hooker in latitude 54° 10" (the Athabasca
During his explorations in conjunction with
Dr. Hector and others, the Kananaskis Pass,
the Vermilion Pass, and the British Kootanie
Pass were discovered and mapped, whilst Dr.
Hector by himself discovered the Kicking Horse
Pass, and also traversed the Howse Pass (or
Howe's Pass). This pass had at that time,
1859, been abandoned for such a long period
that he hardly found any trace of the trail that
had once existed, when the North-Western Fur
Company used  the   route   for  communicating
8 C/D
with their posts on the Pacific at the beginning
of the century.
Although Palliser and his party had explored
all these passes through the Rocky Mountains,
yet that immense area which lies between the
Rocky Mountains and the Pacific coast and
comprises the Selkirk Mountains and the Cascade Range, formed an impassable barrier, and
a road through it was never made. To quote
Palliser's report : | The connection, therefore,
of the Saskatchewan Plains, east of the Rocky
Mountains, with a known route through British
Columbia has been effected by the expedition
under my command, without our having been
under the necessity of passing through any
portion of United States territory. Still, the
knowledge of the country on the whole would
never lead me to advocate a line of communication from Canada across the continent to the
Pacific exclusively through British territory.
The time has now for ever gone by for effecting
such an object, and the unfortunate choice of
an astronomical boundary line has completely
isolated the Central American possessions of
Britain from Canada in the east, and almost
debarred them from any eligible access from the
Pacific coast on the west."
UJi climbs and exploration
This report of Palliser's, in the light of our
present knowledge, does not seem justifiable ;
yet it was a perfectly fair deduction from the
facts available at the time. The immense difficulties which all but wrecked the completion of
a trans-continental Canadian railway line over
twenty years later would in those days have
been quite insurmountable.
Between the time of Palliser's expedition and
the present era, which began with the opening
of the Canadian Pacific Railway, there was one
more expedition worthy of mention to the Rocky
Mountains—that of Viscount Milton and Dr.
Cheadle in 1863. They crossed the mountains
from the head-waters of the Athabasca to those
of the Fraser River over the Yellow Head Pass,
emerging at Kamloops. A most vivid description of this journey is given in that delightful
volume, " The North-West Passage by Land."
In 1871 British Columbia entered the Dominion of Canada, and at once a Government
survey for the Canadian Pacific Railway was
started. It was amongst the Rocky Mountains
that the difficulty of selecting a route was most
evident. No less than eleven different ways
across the mountains were surveyed from the
Peace River in the north to the Crow's Nest
il i
Pass in the south. But at last, almost regardless of expense, a railway was built—a railway
that for hundreds of miles passes through
thickly-wooded valleys, over lofty mountain
ranges, across raging torrents hundreds of feet
below, till finally it reaches the Pacific coast at
Vancouver. The survey alone is said to have
cost between three and four milUon dollars ; but
eventually the Canadian Pacific Railway was
opened in 1886, after nearly one hundred and
fifty million dollars had been expended on its
The facilities afforded by the railway of
necessity largely stopped the use of the old
passes, but at the same time gave much greater
facilities to those who wished to travel in the
mountains in search of game or amusement.
For, prior to the building of the railway, any
one wishing to visit these Rocky Mountains of
Canada would have had to spend at least three
months' time in getting there. In spite, however, of the extra facility offered, very little
advantage seems to have been taken of this easy
road to the actual edge of the unexplored.
The first to make use of it was the Canadian
Survey — Dr.   George   M.   Dawson   spending
several summers on the watershed of the con-
ii I
tinent. The results were published in a "Report
on the Physical and Geological Features of that
Portion of the Rocky Mountains between Latitudes 49° and 51° 30'" (1886), which begins with
a history of all previous explorations in that
district. No less than nine passes across the
Divide were explored by Dr. Dawson or his
subordinates. In 1886, also, a detailed examination of the Bow River Pass and the vicinity was
made by Mr. R. G. M'Connell.
Most of the survey work amongst the mountains has been done by the Geological section ;
it not being worth the while of the ordinary
survey to send men into this uninhabited land,
whilst so much country of a far more important
nature had not yet been mapped out. In 1898
another member of the Geological Survey, Mr.
M'Evoy, during a summer spent in the vicinity
of the Yellow Head Pass, measured a mountain
called Robson Peak, and found it to be 13,500
feet high. This peak for the present, therefore,
is the highest that has been accurately surveyed
in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. It is only
within recent years, however, that many sporting or mountaineering expeditions have made
use of the opportunities offered by the railway.
Members of the Appalachian Club of Boston
were the first, and several seasons were spent
by them amongst the peaks and glaciers near
Laggan and Field (stations on the Canadian
Pacific Railway). In 1893 Professor Coleman
of Toronto undertook a journey from Morley
to the sources of the Athabasca River, in order
to search for the two peaks Brown and Hooker,
of which little else was known except that they
had been discovered about sixty years previously, and were supposed to be 16,000 and
15,700 feet in height.
Mr. W. D. Wilcox in the meantime had
explored the valleys of the mountainous country
south of the Canadian Pacific Railway as far as
Mount Assiniboine (1894-1895), and north of
the railway to the Saskatchewan and the Athabasca (1896). His experiences have been published in a delightful work,  "The Rockies of
Most of our knowledge, therefore, up to that
time (1897) of the mountain districts lying one
hundred miles to the north or to the south of
the railway, as it passes through the Rocky
Mountains, was either knowledge gained in the
early part of the century by traders in the
employ of the fur-trading companies, or from
Palliser's journals, Wilcox's book, or the reports
A3 '
of the Canadian survey by the late Dr. Dawson.
For the most part these explorations have been
restricted to the valleys and low passes ; very
few attempts have beenlmade to locate or
explore the great snow-fields and the surrounding peaks that form the great backbone of the
continent. To take the Alps as an example, it
would be a parallel case if a few parties had
started from Geneva, explored the St. Bernard
Pass, pushed up the Rhone Valley over the
Furka Pass and the St. Gothard, without
troubling themselves about either the snow-
fields of the Oberland, or the side valleys and
the great peaks on the main Pennine chain
with their attendant glaciers.
A brief record, however, of the mountaineering expeditions that were undertaken during the
year from 1887 to 1897 may not be out of place.1
From 1887 to 1892 Mr. J. J. M Arthur climbed
numerous peaks near Canmore, Banff, Laggan,
and Field, the highest being Mount Stephen,
10,428 feet. §
In 1894 Mount Aberdeen, 10,450 feet, and
Mount Temple, 11,607 feet, were climbed by
Messrs. W. D. Wilcox, S. E. S. Allen, and
L. F. Frissell.
1 Cf.  W. D. Wilcox, "The Rockies of Canada," p. 301. HISTORICAL
In 1896 Mount Hector was ascended by
Messrs P. S. Abbot, C. E. Fay, and C. S.
Thompson. It was during an attempt on
Mount Lefroy by the same party, somewhat
later, at the beginning of August, that Mr.
Abbot was killed, and the Canadian Rockies
claimed their first victim to the now rapidly
growing passion for mountaineering as a sport.
Towards the end of July, 1897, a strong
mountaineering party was assembled at Glacier
House, in the Selkirk range, west of the Rocky
Mountains. The party consisted of Messrs. C.
E. Fay, A. Michael, Rev. C. L. Noyés, H. B.
Dixon, H. C. Parker, J. R. Vanderlip, J. N.
Collie, and Peter Sarbach (a Swiss guide).
Several peaks in the Selkirk range had been
ascended, but a wish to conquer the higher
summits of the main chain drew them eastwards to Laggan, where they were joined by
C. S. Thompson, one of the most enthusiastic
of the pioneers of mountaineering amongst the
ranges of both the Selkirks and the Rockies.
Most of the party belonged to the Appalachian
Club of Boston ; and it is due to members of
this club and to other Americans from the
States that mountaineering as a recreation was
first undertaken amongst the Canadian Rocky
It was on August 3rd, the anniversary of
Abbot's death, that we started from the chalet
at Lake Louise, to climb Mount Lefroy. This
chalet has been built by the Canadian Pacific
Railway for the convenience of those who wish
to see Lake Louise, one of the most beautiful
mountain tarns in the world.
As we step out of the chalet into the brilliant
starlight, at that early hour which is necessary
when a long day's climb is before one, it would
be impossible to find in the Alps, or elsewhere,
a more peaceful scene.    The stars above shine
with a clear steady light, and the entire absence
of twinkling foreshadows fine weather.    A few
yards away lies the lake, reflecting perfectly the
luminous snows of Mounts Lefroy and Victoria
amongst  the  black  shadows of the pine-trees
and the mirrored stars.    Across its placid waters
we are  carried by a rowing-boat through the
dark chasm in the hills : the silence is unbroken ;
one seems to be travelling through some for-\
gotten land, a land of old romance, where high
above, perched on the almost inaccessible crags,
is the castle of the lord of the valley, a landj
where knights in armour rescue fair ladies fromj
imprisonment,  and roam   abroad  in  search  of]
perilous adventures.
But after disembarking in the darkness that
heralds the dawn, one is soon disillusioned, and
swamps, tangled thickets of alder, fallen trees,
and huge stones dispel any poetic fancies.
Just as the dawn was breaking the end of
the glacier was reached. The route lay straight
up the ice towards a great gateway of the hills
that lies between Mounts Victoria and Lefroy.
This narrow passage has been called "The
Death - Trap," for during the early summer,
and in years when much snow lies on the
mountains, it is a dangerous place to venture
into, on account of the avalanches that fall
from Lefroy on one side and Victoria on the
other. The description of the remainder of the
expedition is given in Professor H. B. Dixon's
words :1—
"Passing the two snow couloirs which
descend from chimneys in the north-west cliff,
we entered the so-called ' Death-Trap '—a wide
slope of snow leading up at an easy angle to
Abbot Pass. As we breasted the slope we
were met by several small erratic pieces from
the upper rocks of Lefroy, which came skipping
down the snow with unpleasant velocity, giving
us an early warning of the unstable state of the
1 " Alpine Journal" (Harold B. Dixon), vol. xix. p. 103.
18  feCv S WggZgtt ' HSJHUy iff '
limestone ledges above. After five hours'
steady going we stepped on to the narrow
ridge which joins Lefroy with Victoria, and
caught our first view of the precipices of
Hungabee and Goodsie to the south. The
aneroid gave our height as 4200 feet above
Lake Louise, 9800 feet above sea-level.
" From the col our route upwards was in
plain view. The steep slope was snow-
covered, except where the limestone ledges
cropped out, roughly marking off the ascent into
three sections. The slope is best seen from
opposite on Mount Victoria. Having breakfasted,
we roped up in three parties and struck straight
up the snow to the first patch of rocks. The
slope gradually steepened as we rose, but the
snow was good, and we could kick firm steps
in it. After a steady grind we reached the
rocks, which proved to be both steep and rotten.
For a few minutes we enjoyed the variation of
wriggling our bodies over the ledges, though it
would have been quicker to go round. The
buttress of rock held up the snow above it at
a more favourable angle for a little distance, but
the slope soon became severer than before. As
we approached the second patch of rocks great
care became necessary.    A bad slip would have
been difficult to check, and our path now lay
above the south-western precipices. On reaching
the second rocks we passed up a snow couloir
near their right extremity, and found ourselves
on the steepest part of the face, lying at an angle
of 60°. Above us to the right frowned the cliff
which Abbot had tried to scale. Between us
and that cliff the snow no longer gave a foothold.
It loosely plastered the steep ice-slope, and the
rocks showed in patches through the surface.
But against the outcrop of rock, which formed
an overhanging cliff on our left, the snow still
clung firmly, filling the angle between rock and
ice. We crept round a ledge of snow beneath
the overhanging rock, and then kicked a ladder
up the snow till the top of the cliff was gained.
The steps held, but we had a distinctly uneasy
feeling that we might not find them so firm on
our return, after the sun had been on them for
a few hours. From the top of the cliff a little
arête of snow led upwards at a gentler slope to the
corniced ridge of the mountain, and at 11 a.m.
t*jKe clambered on to one of the two rocky pro-
minences (some fifty yards apart) which form the
highest points of Mount Lefroy. The aneroid gave
the height as 11,600 feet above the sea, but the
mercury barometer brought it down to 11,420 feet.
" The air was beautifully clear—for the forests
to the west had been singularly free from fires
during the summer. Two mushroom-like patches
were visible on the northern horizon ; the stem
produced by the heated column of smoke which
flattens out as it cools. Of the mountains near
at hand the most striking is Hungabee, which
offers a first-rate problem to climbers. Looking
at it from the commanding height of Lefroy,
none of us could suggest an even probable line
of attack. Away to the south-east the black
precipices of Mount Assiniboine were distinctly
visible. To the north Mount Balfour, rising
from the great Waputekh snow-field attracted
greater interest, for we hoped to conquer it in
the next few days. The thought of our snow-
ladder gradually melting in the sun cut short
our enjoyment of the summit.
" We descended easily to the end of the arête,
where, planting an axe firmly in the snow, we
paid out an extra rope (with a turn round the
axe) attached to each man as he stepped
cautiously down the ladder.
" Sitting on the arête, I had leisure to study
the broken cliff opposite, where Abbot fell, and
to fit together the accounts of the accident with
the configuration  of the rock.     The chimney
■ SSfSsSsS
which he climbed up is near the profile of the
cliff. At the top of the first part of the chimney
a snow-covered ledge bears to the left ; on this
Professor Little stood. Abbot continued the
climb up the chimney, now seen slightly to
the left of the line of the lower portion. The
chimney ends at a ledge cut off by a few feet of
steep rock from the snow-slope above. Abbot
must either have attempted to climb this rock
or to work round on the ledge. Neither course
would appear to present any difficulty to a man
who could climb the long chimney below, had
the rock been firm. But the limestone rock
which crops out on this face is extremely rotten.
I can feel no doubt that a rock gave way suddenly with his weight, just as he was pulling
himself to the top of the cliff. He had taken to
the rocks to avoid slip-cutting in the ice.
From the top rocks downwards we were
mighty polite to the snow on Mount Lefroy.
I cannot speak for all the party, but I know
that three men, including Sarbach, came down
1500 feet with their faces to the mountain. A
final glissade down the lower slope landed
us on the col at 3 p.m. Thence a rapid descent
of two and a half hours brought  us to Lake
Two days later a small party, consisting of
Fay, Michael, Collie, and Sarbach, again under
the brilliant stars, rowed across the lake, this
time to attack Mount Victoria. Much better
progress was made than before, for the best
route to take was known. Following the glacier
up through the huge gateway between Lefroy
and Victoria, Abbot's Pass was soon reached.
Here, turning to the right instead of to the left,
as had been done on the ascent of Lefroy, height
was rapidly gained by climbing a series of small
terraces of excessively rotten rocks. During
occasional halts, the snow-slope of Lefroy, up
which the larger party had so laboriously toiled
forty-eight hours previously, could be seen, now
converted by the two days' fine weather into
an ice - slope, which, further off to the right,
fell away with great steepness to the head of
the O'Hara Valley. The long arête of Mount
Victoria, that can be seen against the sky from
the chalet at Lake Louise, was soon reached.
The climbing along the arête was not difficult
but required care, and it was only the last five
hundred feet that were at all narrow. About
midday, after breaking many steps in soft snow,
the summit was finally reached—a small pinnacle
of snow, 11,500 feet above sea-level.
From there all sorts of signals were made to
inform the visitors at the chalet that Mount
Victoria had been conquered. However, it
turned out that not only had they missed all
the signals, but had failed even with a good
telescope to see any one on the summit of the
mountain. This failure on their part naturally
suggests the extremely uncertain nature of
danger-signals on mountains ; for, supposing
that an accident had overtaken the party, and
reliance been placed on the signals produced by
the sun and an empty sardine-box as a mirror
for conveying the message to the bottom of
the mountain, succour would doubtless have
been a long time in arriving. The view to the
south and west is across a sea of jagged rock-
peaks, the most prominent being Hungabee,
Goodsir, and Ball, whilst further away to the
south-east rises the black rock-pyramid of
On August 7th G. P. Baker joined the party,
and with men, horses, and an outfit we made a
start up the Bow Valley with the intention of
climbing Mount Balfour. From the Bow Valley,
however, Balfour is invisible ; therefore it was
impossible to know how far up the valley it was
necessary to go before striking into the moun-
tains. But, before telling how we entirely
missed Mount Balfour and climbed Mount
Gordon instead, the experiences of our first
afternoon in a Canadian forest with horses are
worth narrating. As one looks back one
blushes for the utter incompetence shown. But
in those days we were unacquainted with
many mysterious things that afterwards became obvious ; in those days we were " raw
Peyto (our head-man), with the rest of the
men and most of the ponies, had started early
in the morning, and had gone ahead up what
was, for convenience of speech, called " the
trail." Later in the day we came down to
Laggan from the chalet with the remainder of
the baggage, finding three ponies that Peyto
had left. If it had not been for the help of a
man at Laggan railway station we could never
have satisfactorily tied on all the impedimenta
that we wished to take with us. To pack an
Indian pony and finish off all neatly with a
good tight diamond hitch is an accomplishment
possessed by few ; it is only after long experience
that the art is acquired. Although one thinks
that the rope has  been thrown, twisted, and
looped properly, the moment the tightening-up
process begins the knots carefully undo themselves, and another trial is necessary.
The ponies having been packed a start was
made, and soon we were in the midst of miles
of fallen timber that lay heaped in every direction. In one place we could count more than
a dozen trees piled like spillikins one above the
other. Peyto had carefully " blazed ' the trail,
and, as the party was large, comparatively rapid
progress was made, for, should one of us miss
the way, another at once found it. But it
necessitated an enormous amount of jumping
for both the over-laden ponies and ourselves.
Gradually we worked ourselves free from this
belt of fallen timber, getting into more open
ground ; but it was only a change of troubles,
for now endless swamps or 1 muskegs ' filled
the flat open spaces of the valley. Here the
" blazes ' stopped, and, following some upright
sticks of wood (that we afterwards found had to
do with the railway survey up the valley), the
tracks of the other animals were soon missed,
and we got lost, floundering about helplessly trying to find a way through. Several
times the luckless ponies, dead tired and overladen, had sunk up to their bellies in the soft
marshy  ground,  but with  much  kicking   and
mWHUHii'mfffffl wm«»h44 niaxrmn mrwyrn ». «hmhwhj THE  BOW VALLEY
plunging had just managed to get out again. At
last the sun went down, then the daylight disappeared, and finally the moon came out, and
the whole party and the horses were still in that
So an attempt was made to get to the forest
at the side of the valley, but one of the ponies
at last got so deep into a hole that only with
difficulty was he prevented from vanishing altogether. The situation was apparently quite
hopeless. The pack with difficulty was rescued
from his back by cutting the ropes ; then, by the
help of an Alpine rope and much pulling, finally
he also was rescued. Professor Fay in the
meantime had pushed on up the valley, and
reached the camp at about eleven o'clock. Just
when we thought we should have to sit in the
water all night we were found by Peyto and his
dog. The ponies had to be left where they were
for the night with the dog to take care of them ;
and we, under Peyto's guidance, wading through
everything, got safely into camp a little after
On the morrow the ponies and baggage were
fetched. We also had a long discussion whether
we should try and find Mount Balfour at the
head of the Upper, or the Lower, Bow Lake.
We decided in the end for the Upper Bow
Lake, and, as so often is the case when it is
merely a toss-up, the decision was wrong. Next
evening found us camped by the Upper Bow
Lake in a beautiful open country, and surrounded by fine hills and glaciers. Our attempt
to ascend Mount Balfour from this camp, although a failure, furnished a most delightful
day—at least up to the time when Thompson
sought to investigate the lower layers of the
ice-sheet that covers Mount Gordon, by falling
head-first down a deep crevasse. Early in the
expedition great battle was done with the ice-
fall that descends from the higher snow-fields
towards the Upper Bow Lake. One party with
fine, if unnecessary, courage, cut its way through
the centre of the ice-fall, whilst the other, under
the guidance of Sarbach, basely refused the encounter and fled along sideways to where they
could ignominiously skirt round the end and,
with the minimum expenditure of energy, flank
the foe. Coming out on to this upper snow-
field, a charming snow-clad peak was seen to
the south, apparently not difficult of ascent ;
obviously Mount Balfour ! Accordingly off
the whole party started across the nearly level
snows for the lower slopes  of the mountain.
WHffl S-/
o               ill
The summit was reached by climbing up the
eastern  arête ;   but alas !   four miles  away to
the  south was the real   Mount  Balfour,  and
between lay a deep gulf.    Still it had been a
most delightful climb over a hitherto untrodden
piece  of ice-field ;   and  certainly no  one had
been to the summit of Mount Gordon before.
The height was 10,600 feet.    As usual, in every
direction lay a perfect sea of snow-clad peaks,
with hardly a name to any of them.    Professor
Fay,  however,  suggested   that    there   was   a
mountain, supposed to be very high and named
Murchison, somewhere towards the north.    It
had been seen by Dr. Hector forty years before.
So a splendid pyramid-shaped peak, obviously
higher than the rest, was picked out, and it was
concluded   that   this was   Mount   Murchison.
More to the west  a flatter-topped  mountain,
somewhat nearer, was given the name Mount
Some time was spent on the top, but, as
there was another summit about a third of a
mile  to  the   westward,  several   of  the   party
started   off for   it.    It  was  dome-shaped   and
covered with snow, the first peak consisting of
an  out-crop of limestone rocks.     It was near
the top of the second peak that Thompson very
nearly ended his mountaineering experiences.
Not far from this second summit a huge crevasse
partially covered with snow had to be crossed.
All the party had passed over but Thompson,
who unfortunately broke through and at once
disappeared headlong into the great crack that
ran perpendicularly down into the depths of
the glacier. Those of the party who were
still on the first peak saw their friends
gesticulating in the far distance, but did not
take much | notice until Sarbach drew their
attention to the fact that there were only four
people instead of five to be seen : some one
therefore, must have fallen down a crevasse.
A race across the almost level snow then took
place, Sarbach being easily first. Although
Thompson was too far down to be seen, yet
he could be heard calling for help and saying
that, although he was not hurt, he would be
extremely grateful to us if we would make
haste and extricate him from the awkward
position he was in, for he could not move and
was almost upside down, jammed between the
two opposing sides of the crevasse.
It was obvious that every second was of
importance ; a stirrup was made in a rope, and
Collie, being the lightest member of the party—
and, withal, unmarried—was told to put his foot
into it, whilst he was also carefully roped round
the waist as well. Then he was pushed over the
edge of the abyss, and swung in mid-air. To
quote his description : "I was then lowered into
the gaping hole. On one side the ice fell sheer,
on the other it was rather undercut, but again
bulged outwards about eighteen feet below the
surface, making the crevasse at that point not
much more than two feet wide. Then it
widened again, and went down into dim twilight. It was not till I had descended sixty
feet, almost the whole available length of an
eighty foot rope, that at last I became tightly
wedged between the two walls of the crevasse,
and was absolutely incapable of moving my
body. My feet were close to Thompson's, but
his head was further away, and about three feet
lower than his heels. Face downwards, and
covered with fallen snow, he could not see me.
But, after he had explained that it was entirely
his own fault that he was there, I told him
we would have him out in no time. At the
moment I must say I hardly expected to be
able to accomplish anything. For, jammed
between two slippery walls of ice, and only
able to move my arms, cudgel my brains as I
I 1
would, I could not think what was to be done.
I shouted for another rope. When it came
down I managed to throw one end to Thompson's left hand, which was waved about, till he
caught it. But, when pulled, it merely dragged
out of his hand. Then with some difficulty I
managed to tie a noose on the rope by putting
both my hands above my head. With this I
lassoed that poor pathetic arm which was the
only part of Thompson that could be seen.
Then came the tug-of-war. If he refused to
move, I could do nothing more to help him ;
moreover I was afraid that at any moment he
might faint. If that had occurred I do not
believe he could have been got out at all, for
the force of the fall had jammed him further
down than it was possible to follow. Slowly
the rope tightened, as it was cautiously pulled
by those above. I could hear my heart thumping in the ghastly stillness of the place, but at
last Thompson began to shift, and after some
short time he was pulled into an upright position by my side. To get a rope round his body
was of course hopeless. Partly by wriggling
and pulling on my own rope I so shifted that
by straining one arm over my head I could get
my two hands together, and then tied the best
and tightest jamming knot I could think of
round his arm, just above the elbow. A shout
to the rest of the party, and Thompson went
rapidly upwards till he disappeared round the
bulge of ice forty feet or more above. I can
well remember the feeling of dread that came
over me lest the rope should slip or his arm
give way under the strain, and he should come
thundering down on the top of me ; but he got
out all right, and a moment later I followed.
Most marvellously no bones had been broken, but
how any one could have fallen as he did without
being instantaneously killed will always remain
a mystery. He must have partially jammed
some considerable distance higher up than the
point where I found him, for he had a ruck-sack
on his back, and this perhaps acted as a brake,
as the walls of the crevasse closed in lower
down. We were both of us nearly frozen and
wet to the skin, for ice-cold water was slowly
dripping the whole time on to us ; and in
my desire to be as little encumbered as possible,
I had gone down into the crevasse very scantily
clad in a flannel shirt and knickerbockers."
A rapid descent to the head of the ice-fall
quickly restored circulation, and that night over
the camp fire the whole experience was gone
33 c m
over again, Thompson emphatically giving it as
his opinion that, whatever scientific exploration
or observation in future might be necessary on
the summits of the Rocky Mountains, investigations made alone, sixty feet below the surface
of the ice, in an inverted position, were extremely
dangerous and even unworthy of record.
Next day the party returned to the lower
Bow Lake. Here Dixon left for Banff and the
British Association meeting at Toronto, Sarbach
remaining with Baker and Collie.
An unsuccessful attempt to climb Mount
Balfour in unsatisfactory weather was made up
the glacier that flows towards the lower Bow
Lake, the party returning by a new route past
two exquisitely beautiful mountain tarns, one,
the highest, being the colour of turquoise, the
lower being sapphire blue.
After this the party went back to Banff, and
it was not till the next year, 1898, that Messrs.
Thompson, Noyes, and G. M. Weed succeeded
in climbing Mount Balfour, the highest peak in
the Waputehk district of the Rocky Mountains.
The account of the ascent is delightfully written
by the Rev. Charles L. Noyes in " Appalachia,"
vol. ix., No. 1, p. 29 :—
" By rising at three we had time to prepare
34 o
and eat a comfortable breakfast, and get off by
four. A diagonal course, stabbing up over the
ridge intervening between the bottom of the
Lower Bow Lake and the outlet of Margaret
brought us to that lake by the easiest route.
" The sun had not yet touched its waters into
beauty, and they lay a cold sombre blue. It
may have been six o'clock when we were climbing the screes at the head of the lake, and after
seven, when, by the one rock ladder we scaled
the wall above, and came over the outer rim
of Lake Turquoise—- a joy for ever.' It was
not far from eight when we stopped for food at
the foot of the glacier above. Mr. Nichols had
left us at Turquoise. He was feeling the effects
of a blow on the spine, got in a fall on a slippery
rock whilst bathing in Lake Katherine. It did
not seem to him wise to risk the strain of a
longer climb ; and there was so much to charm
and occupy in the beauties of Turquoise Lake
and its setting that he proposed to spend the
day about there, and bade us God-speed, with
a solemn injunction that we should meet him
at six o'clock above the verge of the lake to go
down the ladder together. The passage of the
glacier was this year a delicate operation, taking
some  ingenious warping among crevasses, and
light stepping over bridges, which needed but to
melt a little more to almost cut off access to the
névé above. This gained, full in view beyond
it, broadside to us, rose the magnificent mass of
Balfour. The difficulties of approach, which we
had foreseen looking down from Vulture Col, by
no means vanished. The final ridge, however,
looked hopeful, promising us, if once on it, a
clear way to the summit ; but how to reach the
ridge ? Well to the south was the most encouraging route in view. Rising almost to the
crest was a tongue of snow, but it was suspiciously gashed, and once upon the ridge, there
was no surety that the way would not be barred
by cornices or precipitous breaks. The prospect
was too doubtful to waste time in considering,
and without slackening our steps we pressed on
over the névé to the gateway at the south, which
would let us through to the western side, where
we had reason to hope we might find more level
and stable snow, giving access to the final ridge.
It was eleven o'clock when we broke over the
divide, and the change of worlds of vision, always
thrilling in such a crossing, was grandly so in
this case. To the south rose, near and imposing,
Niles and Daly, like mammoth walruses, lifting
their black heads above the ice, and  thrusting
their great snouts towards us ; between them
the névé sloped down to some glaciers, and by
them to the west rolled a vast snow-field toward
the ravine of the Wapta, that enormous rent
between the mountains, gathering into its bosom
the immense volume of melted snow poured
down from all the névés streaming off the western
side of Balfour and Gordon, Collie, and Habel,
to the north ; and over beyond from the hither
slopes of another system of mountains that filled
the prospect to the horizon west and south. For
all this we hardly had eyes at first ; they were
turned instantly toward our goal; and then
they ran over a clear reach of snow leading to a
ridge curving off from the main arête to the left,
above which, fore-shortened, could be seen the
summit. As it seemed readily attainable, only
the nonchalance of our tones betrayed our excitement as we remarked, | We're going to make it ! '
We did make it, but it took four hours. The
offshoot ridge once gained, there was along its
curve an even, almost level, way to the backbone
of the mountain. On this main arête there was
more difficulty ; a V-shaped cleft promised to
block the passage altogether, but we circumvented it by stabbing down to the screes and
snow below, and diagonally up again, over un-
stable and tricky footing, and with unreliable
hand-holds on friable rock, all done without slip
or danger, up to a depression in the ridge, where
greeted us a reviving view Hector-ward, and a
pool of water made by the snow-shelf on the
eastern side, melting against the warm rocks.
This invited to a final lunch, refreshed by which
we rose for our last hour's climb to a height
much greater than Balfour—the summit of our
summer's adventure and success.
" Any one who has walked the ridge of the
Presidential Range will know the thrilling sensation of such a passage, as though one were moving
on the backbone of the world. Suppose it is
really a bit of the coping of the continent, lifted
toward eleven thousand feet, thinned down till
it is no more than the fine edge of a wedge
protruding through slopes of snow that cling to
its sides high as the steepness will allow, flanked
beyond stupendous gorges on either hand by
a wilderness of mountains reaching everywhere
to the sky-line, rising in great steps along an
untrodden way to an untouched peak—that is
what the final climb in the capture of Balfour
meant to us."
It was after the accident to Thompson, and
the unsuccessful attempt on Mount Balfour,
that Baker and Collie, still having four or five
weeks to spare, were so fired with enthusiasm
over the high rock-peak they had seen to the
north-west from the summit of Gordon, that
although they had intended going southward
to visit Mount Assiniboine, they changed their
plans and decided to go north instead.
An "outfit" was therefore hired from T.
Wilson, of Banff, the party consisting of Baker,
Collie, and Sarbach, together with W. Peyto,
head-man, L. Richardson, packer, and C. Black,
cook. Although, several years before, Wilson
had been through this country north of the
Waputehk snow-fields, yet he did not remember
ever having seen a very high peak about the
spot where the so-called Mount Murchison had
been seen from Mount Gordon. This, however,
was not taken as an indication that we had been
mistaken in our estimate of its size, for from
the tops only of mountains, as a rule, can any
accurate ideas concerning their relative heights
be easily obtained.
On August 17th the party again started
from Laggan up the Bow Valley. The lower
portion was as bad as ever, for in forests that
have been burnt, after a good many years the
roots of the blackened and still standing trunks
become rotten ; thus every fresh gale brings
down large numbers, adding to the almost inextricable tangle below. In this lower part of
the Bow Valley it is quite possible to walk
for more than a mile along the fallen stems,
never being nearer than two feet, and sometimes finding oneself as high as ten feet, or
more, from the ground. Fortunately since
1900 a thoroughly good trail has been cut
through this part of the valley byv the Canadian
Pacific Railway.
The first day up the Bow Valley was excessively hot ; mosquitoes swarmed in countless
thousands, making life miserable, and our
tempers suffered in consequence. It was early
in the afternoon when Peyto announced that
we should camp : to us this seemed unnecessary,
so we told him so,   but  without any effect.
Later, after dinner, he unburdened his mind,
saying that he was there to look after the horses
and should camp where he considered best ;
we might know, or might think we knew, how
far a "cayoose' (Indian pony) could go, but
he was not going to have sore backs or lame
horses in his outfit. Later, when they were
hardened and less heavily laden, we should
be able to put in longer days. Things were
beginning to get strained ; and the mosquitoes
made matters worse : still, we were out for a
month, and it was no use quarrelling on the
first day. Accordingly we acquiesced, coming
to the conclusion that the ways of the "wild
west' needed a great deal of learning. That
Peyto was right was abundantly proved in the
sequel; for, owing to the excessively hot
weather, we soon had more than one pony with
a sore back and ill. This remedied itself, however; for later the weather got cooler and the
packs lighter. Moreover, it was no vain boast
of Peyto's that he was there to look after the
horses ; many a time after arriving in camp
after a long day's journey, when something to
eat and drink was one's first thought, Peyto
could be seen driving the sore-backed ponies
down to the stream where he carefully washed
them and smeared the raw places with bacon-
grease to keep off the flies. He also kept his
word about long days, and more than once we
were only too glad when, late in the evening,
he would finally tie up his black mare, Pet,
and begin to unpack.
On the third day out from Laggan the head
of the Bow Valley was reached, where a pass,
the Bow Pass, leads over into Bear Creek, or
the Little Fork of the Saskatchewan. This
pass is similar to many in the Rocky Mountains ; the woods—which, lower down in the
valley, are usually so thick that it is impossible
to see far ahead, and, owing to fallen trees,
make it most difficult to get horses along—on
the higher ground open out ; and wide stretches
of grass alternate with groves of pine-trees that
act as excellent shelter for tents. Often
small lakes are found as well, and the views of
snow-clad peaks, glaciers, lakes, and forests
make most beautiful pictures.
The scenery at the head of the Bow Valley,
surrounding the upper Bow Lake, is grand, and
will not disappoint any one who should make
the journey there.     The lake is also full of
trout ; some weighing as much as thirty pounds,
or more, have been caught.    A day was spent
here for two reasons ; first, the horses needed a
42 Near the Summit of the Bow Pass
rest ; secondly, Baker wished to pick up his
points in a plane-table survey that had been
started by Mr. Herschel C. Parker, of Brooklyn,
N.Y., during the trip a week before when
Mount Gordon was climbed. Mr. Parker had
taken as his base line the distance between two
stations in the Bow Valley that had been
trigonometrically determined by the Canadian
Government for their photographic survey of
the district. These two points were 6*365
miles apart. One, south of Mount Hector and
marked on the Government survey sheet as
Station No. 1, 9830 feet, the other a peak lying
on the opposite side of the valley, north of the
Lower Bow Lake, marked Station No. 2, 9178
feet. When Mr. Parker returned to the States
he kindly handed over his map to Baker to
continue it towards the north.
On August 20th a rock and snow peak southwest of the Bow Pass was climbed (height 9000
feet), from which a splendid view to the north
down Bear Creek, and to the south down the
Bow Valley, was obtained ; thus enabling Baker
to add many new points to his survey. A fine
specimen of a trilobite was also found, but
unfortunately left on the summit.
The height of the Bow Pass is 6700 feet.
On the north side the trail descends sharply for
about a thousand feet to the head of Bear Creek
Valley, down which flows one of the branches
of the Saskatchewan, that has its source in a
large glacier above Peyto Lake.
Half-way down the valley lies another lake
on the western side, and then two more that
occupy the bottom of the valley ; these were
named Waterfowl Lakes.
The western side of Bear Creek all the way
down to the main Saskatchewan is exceptionally
grand, a series of rocky escarpments rising sheer
from the bottom of the valley for four to five
thousand feet, and throwing gloomy shadows
across the forest-clad slopes ; whilst high overhead, far above the parallel terraces of the
precipices and the black and torn ridges of the
mountains, the white clouds drift slowly by—
or, what is more often the case, the valley is
shrouded over with mist ; the tops of the
mountains are far above out of sight, and only
the lower slopes are visible. A good deal of
the bad weather that surrounds Bear Creek may
possibly be due to its proximity to the western
side of the mountains, and the huge gap made
in the range by the Blaeberry Creek : the clouds
can often be seen driving through this gateway
from the Columbia to catch on the long row of
peaks that overshadow Bear Creek on the west,
with the result that frequent rain and gloom are
the portion of this most striking valley of the
Canadian Rockies.
Near the Waterfowl Lakes a most curious
contrast of colours was noticed in a wood that
had been burnt not many years before. The
gaunt black stems of the trees formed a weird
but fitting background for the mass of brilliant
golden-yellow daisies that were in full bloom
amongst the stones at their feet. This blaze of
golden-orange against satin-black tree trunks,
with a bright blue sky overhead, formed a harmony of colours but rarely seen in a landscape.
It was not till the 23rd, after a long day
through the splendid forests covering the lower
part of Bear Creek valley, that the main Saskatchewan was reached. For some time past the
weather had been exceedingly hot ; consequently
the rivers were in full flood from the melting
snows and ice, and it was with some trepidation
that, on the morrow, we watched Peyto on his
mare trying to ford the foaming torrent of Bear
Creek—first at one place and then at another.
This crossing is one of the worst in the mountains, not on account of its depth, but because of
ml i
i i
i in
Ir f
It I
iLJ^ aaxssn
'OP    u |
the terribly bad bottom of boulders and large
stones, and the swiftness of the current. Indian
ponies, as a rule, are wonderfully clever at this
kind of work, and may usually be left to find
their own way across mountain torrents. This,
however, one does not find out all at once ; and,
in the meantime, to see all one's baggage and
provisions for the trip entirely at the mercy of
a self-willed " cayoose," who is expected to
follow his leader over a difficult and dangerous
crossing, is, to say the least of it, anxious work.
When the river is full the ford is distinctly
a dangerous one, for, should a horse stumble
and fall, he would have but little chance of
escaping the numerous rapids and deep pools
that are below. Some of the horses are much
more skilful at the work than others ; and one,
especially, that Collie usually rode—an old grey,
a bit gone at the knees, but perfectly surefooted—was amongst the best in the outfit.
While threading the intricacies of the pine-
woods, he would never so much as brush his
rider's legs against the stems of the trees ; and
it was wonderful to see how he could remember
a bad piece of muskeg that weeks before, on
the outward journey, he might have got into.
When it was necessary he would carry as heavy
a pack as any of the other ponies. Wilson,
who owned him, told us that this old grey in
his younger days had often done his hundred
miles in the twenty-four hours over the prairie.
Bear Creek safely crossed, we pushed on up
the main valley of the Saskatchewan to the westward. On the 25th we climbed a peak 10,700
feet high, which was named after our guide,
Sarbach. The first thousand feet was through
primeval forest ; then up a steep gully in a limestone escarpment, and over steep screes to the
foot of the final peak. The mountain, like so
many others in this district, is a mass of crumbling rock ; everything is loose, and the greatest
care is required in order to avoid launching tons
of débris on one's companions, should they be
below. The actual summit ridge of Sarbach is,
however, in somewhat better condition, consisting of a dark and harder limestone rock, and
being very narrow and precipitous on both
Unfortunately for us the clouds were drifting over the peaks nearly the whole day, and
anything over 11,000 feet was hidden : consequently we could only guess which was the
base of the peak we were in search of. To the
north-west there was a good view of the Lyell
ice-field, first discovered by Dr. Hector, with a
snow and a rock peak at its head. To the right
of the rock peak there appeared to be an excellent snow-pass from the snow-field on the south
to a valley that went eastwards towards the
head-waters of the Saskatchewan. To the westward a great glacier could be seen winding down
through the hills towards us ; and we concluded
that the peak we were in search of was probably
near to this glacier, in which case we could
explore both together. Below stretched the
valley of the Saskatchewan, filled to the foot of
the mountains on either side with a mass of
stones, shingle flats, and sand bars, whilst the
river itself made tangled courses through all this
débris. These shingle " wash-outs " are common
amongst the Rocky Mountains, not only at the
head-waters of the Saskatchewan^ but, as we
found later, of the Athabasca and the Bush
rivers as well.
Ori the morrow Peak Sarbach was left behind
us, and, turning almost due south, the valley
was followed till a wooded island lying in the
middle of the "wash-out" was reached. On the
western side of the island the river has cut its
way through a rocky canyon ; on the eastern
side a particularly bad muskeg barred the way.
48 Freshfield Group from Peak Sarbach
The Middle Fork of the Saskatchewan  MOUNT FORBES
We were therefore compelled to force our way
through the thick timber of the island knoll, and
so to the other side ; consequently it was not till
late that a camping-place was found some distance further up the shingle flat. To our delight,
however, the big peak we were in search of
could be seen almost opposite across the valley.
Although at that time we were under the im-
pression that it was Mount Murchison, we afterwards discovered, on our return to England,
from Palliser's journals, that this peak was in
reality Mount Forbes, and not Murchison.
The weather, that had been almost perfect
since the 9th, now began to get steadily worse,
snow showers falling and powdering the tremendous precipices of our mountain—one of the
finest rock peaks amongst the Rockies. It is
a combination of the Weisshorn and the Dent
Blanche, and, as it rises straight from its base,
which is only 4600 feet above sea-level, the
precipices on its eastern face are exceptionally
grand. In the condition it was then in it
would have been folly to attempt an ascent.
As far as could be seen the only feasible route
to the top lay up the south-western ridge to a
very sharp arête with broken rock-towers, whilst
just below the pointed snow summit the arête
49 d -
was heavily snow-corniced ; and it did not look
as if the last bit of chmbing would be either safe
or easy.1
It was particularly disappointing that on the
very day that the mountain had at last been
found snow showers, the first for weeks, should
spoil the chance of a successful assault.
At the head of the shingle flat, by the side of
which the camp had been made, there were two
valleys ; one on the north side coming from
under Forbes, and the other more to the south,
that ran westward towards the great glacier that
had been seen from the summit of Sarbach.
An ascent was made on the 28th up the ridge
that divided these two valleys. The height
reached, after a most tiring climb through the
dense pine woods, was only 8000 feet, but from
it a magnificent view of the great peak—Mount
Forbes—across the valley to the north was
obtained. From this altitude the mountain
was most imposing, and its south ridge was seen
far more advantageously than from below ;
moreover, it seemed more certain than ever
that there was nothing to stop us up to the
final arête.
Whilst waiting for fine weather and for the
1 Mount Forbes was climbed by this arête in 1902.    See p. 277.
snow to clear off the precipices and ridges of
the mountain a visit was planned to the great
glacier up the other valley. So a couple of
ponies were laden with food and blankets, and
taken as far up the valley as possible, a camp
being finally made on the north side of the
The next day was gloriously fine, but it was
late before we started, and before the afternoon
the penalty had to be paid. The glacier, which
is remarkably free from crevasses, was followed.
As the sun rose higher a vast ice-field was
reached. Before us rose three shapely peaks ;
the one nearest to us seemed the highest.
During the time spent over breakfast the best
route to its summit was discussed. On its
north-eastern face this peak is precipitous down
to the glacier, but on the south-eastern side a
ridge descended to a glacier whose level was
about 500 feet above the ice-field we were on.
To reach this upper glacier we should have to
ascend a. very broken ice-fall ; but it was
finally decided that it was not safe to attempt
it, and eventually the steep rock precipice to
the north of the ice-fall was climbed instead.
The glacier above was crevassed, and some time
was taken in finding a way through, and also
111 1
in cutting a way up an ice-slope before the ridge
that led to the summit was finally reached.
The day was perfect. In every direction
except to the west the mountain-land stretched
away into the far distance. Consequently Baker
at once began his plane-table survey. Just to
the south were two mountains—the nearer one
a rock peak, the farther one covered with snow.
The peak we were on was christened Mount
Freshfield, whilst the other two were named
Mount Pilkington and Mount Walker. This
method of nomenclature, namely, calling peaks
after individuals, has been in vogue since the
early days of discovery in the Rocky Mountains.
As there are no Indian names at present, and,
so far as one can find out, there never have
been—for the country has never been inhabited
—the custom is justifiable, as serving in many
cases to perpetuate the connection of individuals with the country. Mount Hector, Mount
Lefroy, and several others may be cited as
During the day we were on Mount Freshfield Baker was the only energetic member of
the party. Sarbach, who had been carrying
Baker's heavy photographic apparatus, went to
sleep in the sunshine—presumably as a protest ;
for during our ascent of the rocks below, when
Collie had suggested that the party should move
a little faster, he had called attention to the
camera, and was heard to mutter something
that sounded like " Furchtbar schwer und ganz
ffefahrlich." As both Sarbach and Baker seemed
to be enjoying themselves, Collie basely broached
the idea that under the circumstances any one
could climb the peak, as it looked moderately
easy, but that plane-tabling and map-making
were much more difficult and useful ; it therefore behoved Baker to take extraordinary care
over the work he was engaged upon, which was
of the greatest importance ; moreover, that it
was late, and that, as the men and ponies had
returned to the lower camp, should the ascent
be persisted on there was little doubt that not
only would the party not be home to dinner,
but it would in all probability spend the night
on the glacier as well. Baker fell in with the
idea, and all intentions of climbing farther
were abandoned, much to Sarbach's disgust
when he awoke.
Whilst the interesting operation of surveying
the country was being proceeded with by Baker,
Collie did not waste his time, but went round a
rock rib and across some snow to find out what
the view to the north was like.
it, El
m r
1   ffi
m 1
■ t. m i>
j-':T*r7fWii .m -.i m
It is curious how small things often directly
determine the course of future events. The
view that could be seen far away to the north
was the means of bringing Collie out again in
1898, with another party, to the Canadian
Rockies. Far away—perhaps thirty miles to
the north-west—a magnificent snow-covered
mountain was to be seen, its western face being
a precipice ; from the way it towered above its
neighbours it seemed to be excessively high.
Although the great peak, Mount Forbes, from
this point also overtopped all the surrounding
peaks by many hundreds of feet, yet this other
giant far away to the north-west was of much
greater interest, for there were only two peaks
of that size, and so far north, marked on the
maps. These were Brown and Hooker, reputed
to be 16,000 and 15,700 feet high."
When Sarbach woke up from his sleep he
was scandalised to find that no attempt was to
be made on the peak, but it was now too late
to think of climbing farther ; so, having packed
all our baggage, we proceeded down the mountain, finding an easier descent through the rock-
wall on to the ice-field below. On the lower
part of the Freshfield glacier were a series of
large blocks of stone, some even as much as
*m Looking North from the Slopes of Mount Freshfield
The Freshfield Glacier (Looking South) 55
fifteen to twenty feet cubed. It is a curious
fact that in 1860 Hector, who probably was the
only other white man that had ever visited this
glacier, noticed the same thing. He says, " We
ascended over the moraines, and had a slippery
climb for a long way to reach the surface of the
ice, and then found that it was a more narrow
but longer glacier than the one I visited the
previous summer (1858).1 The upper part of
the valley which it occupies expands considerably, and is bounded to the west by a row of
high conical peaks that are completely snow-
clad. We walked over the surface of the ice
for four miles, and did not meet with many
great fissures. Its surface was remarkably pure
and clear from detritus, but a row of large
angular blocks followed nearly down its centre.
Its length I estimated at seven miles, and its
width at one and a half to two miles." The interesting question arises, Can these be the same
blocks ? Hector may have seen them some
distance up, as he states he went three to four
miles over the ice ; we noticed them within a
mile of the snout of the glacier, and in 1902 when
the glacier was again visited (p. 264) they did not
seem to have moved much.    Still three to four
1 The Lyell glacier.
miles in thirty-eight years is slow progress.
We also noticed that the snout of the glacier
was advancing and ploughing up the débris
before it.
After the sun had set we emerged from the
forest into the shingle flat within a quarter of
a mile of our camp, but on the wrong side of
the torrent. To cross it without the help of
horses seemed impossible, as, swollen with the
melting ice and snows of the glacier during the
day, it was rushing down rapidly over its bed
of stones and boulders. A fire was therefore
lit, in order to attract the attention of those
in camp ; but, as the horses were more than a
mile down the valley feeding, it was a considerable time before they arrived. In the
meantime Collie, growing impatient, had with
the help of a long and stout pole managed to
ford the stream some distance further down.
On the next day (September 1) we started up
the valley that came down from Mount Forbes,
taking the men and a pony with us. At first
some difficulty was experienced in making a
way through the thick woods, past a rocky
canyon ; but ultimately a camp was made
almost at the foot of the mountain, just by the
mouth of a small stream that joined the larger
one. The weather was wretched ; it rained
most of the night, but next morning, in the
hopes that it might clear, Collie and Sarbach
pushed up almost to the limit of the trees on
the slopes of the mountain, but they were both
soon soaked to the skin from the dripping
undergrowth, and heavy snow showers and rain
finally drove them back down the valley to
the lower camp on the desolate shingle-flat.
The weather went from bad to worse, and
it was nearly time to be thinking of the return
journey. Moreover, at the beginning of
September, heavy falls of snow often occur
before the Indian summer sets in, and none
of us were anxious to be snowed up amongst
such inhospitable wilds for the best part of a
week, so far from provisions and civilisation.
Therefore on September 3rd the camp was
packed up, and, saying good-bye to our
mountain—or at least to as much of it as we
could see—we made our way south over the
summit of the Howse Pass. Who it was that
this pass is named after does not seem clear.
It is mentioned in Palliser's journals as " Howe's
Pass, a route that had at one time been used
by the North-Western Fur Company, for communicating with their posts   on the  Pacific."
r JiH
i ■
1 !
E -
David Thompson certainly discovered it in
1807 ; and it was visited in midwinter, 1811,
by Alexander Henry. Possibly the name of
the pass has come from one Jaspar Hawes
(spelt also by Thompson in his journals as
Hawse, Howse, and Howes) who was for many
years in charge of the Rocky Mountain, or
Jaspar, House on the Athabasca. It was on
February 9th, 1811, that Henry visited the
Howse Pass from the east side. He describes
the waters that run westward as only divided
from those that feed the Saskatchewan by a
small ridge. He also noticed that the pines
were1 " surprisingly loaded with caps of snow " ;
he says, " I measured one—it was an épinette
blanche about twelve feet high, upon the top
of which lay a cap of snow thirty-six feet in
circumference at the base, and six feet in
diameter in the centre ; between this cap of
snow and the snow on the ground was a distance of two feet. It was elegantly shaped in the
form of an inverted bowl, as smooth as if done
by art. I observed many others, which I suppose were nearly of the same size, but did not
stop to measure them."    He further observes
1 ,f The Manuscript Journals of Alexander Henry and of David
Thompson."   Edited by Elliott Cones.    Vol. ii. p. 693.
that this loading of the trees with snow was
most singular ; for " it was evident, from the
loose state in which the piles of snow lay upon
the pines, that the wind never blows here in
winter with any violence, though only two hours'
walk down the Saskatchewan, where gales are
incessant, no snow is to be seen on the pines."
In some respects the Howse Pass is peculiar,
for it is only about 4800 feet above sea-level, and,
again, although it is surrounded on all sides by
high mountains, yet the ascent to it from the
eastern side is very gradual indeed. The mouth
of Bear Creek, nearly twenty miles down the
Saskatchewan, is only three hundred feet lower
(4500 feet). These low passes across the main
chain of the Rocky Mountains are quite common.
The moment the Howse Pass is crossed a
difference in the woods is at once noticed.
They are much denser, and the difficulty of
forcing a passage for the horses becomes greater.
The Blaeberry Creek, down which our route
lay, did not belie its reputation for being almost
impassable for horses. Wilson, in 1887, who
had taken the only party with horses over the
Howse Pass down to the Columbia since
Hector's time, had to abandon the ponies halfway down the valley :   he, however, returned
1} i
!I    l
S II,;
later with extra men to help, and finally cut
them out. This was due to the fallen timber,
which is of much larger size than on the eastern
side of the mountains, and also the excessively
narrow and steep nature of the Blaeberry Creek.
Even in Henry's time the route seems to have
been a bad one, for he speaks of some Indians
who had traversed it as having come through
" a dreadful country, covered with thick woods,
brûlés and renversés.1 Their horses' legs were
scratched and torn in many places." The route
we followed was more to the left than the one
described by Hector, who seems to have followed the right-hand side of the Blaeberry
Creek. Our horses all day long were scrambling
over huge trunks of fallen trees too thick to cut
through, or climbing up and down the steep
banks of the stream. Late in the afternoon we
had to camp in the forest ; the day had been wet
and gloomy, the hills hidden, and long trailing
streamers of mist drifting about the tree-covered
slopes of the mountains. Hector's account of
his first camp in this valley is an almost exact
description of our experiences. " At last, with
much sliding and tumbling, we reached the
river at three o'clock, having had our horses a
1 Trees burnt and overturned or swept down by avalanches.
good deal bruised and cut in the descent. Not
a vestige of grass or anything that horses could
eat was to be seen, although the vegetation was
very luxuriant. The woods were formed of
large trees of several kinds, and had a dense
under-bush of young cedar or blaeberry bushes.
We followed down the stream as fast as we
could, in search of a more hospitable spot, till
nightfall, when we were at last obliged to camp
on a small gravel bar of the river, on which
grew a few shoots of goose-grass (Equisetum),
which our horses cropped in a few minutes, and
was all they had to eat that night. To make
matters worse, it rained all night, and the river
rose so that our limited camping-ground was
still further reduced in size, and in the morning
some of our horses had crossed to the other side
of the river, and the rest were so cramped for
space that during the night they were stepping
over us as we lay on the ground.
Next day we pushed on down the valley,
and the difficulty of getting the horses backwards and forwards over the stream and the
fallen timber did not decrease, for the stream
of course increased in volume every mile down
the narrow valley.
At last the valley broadened a little, and we
came to a trapper's deserted cabin. A single
man seemed to have inhabited it, and we wondered who it might be that, for the sake of a few
marten skins, had lived there alone through a
whole winter. A more desolate spot could
hardly be found, hemmed in on all sides by
gloomy mountains that during the winter
months shut out effectually the sun's rays,
exposed to the full force of the south-west
gales which, when they did occur, would sweep
with increased violence up this narrow slit
through the main chain of the Rocky Mountains. It was no wonder we found it deserted.
Just below where this cabin had been built
the valley opened out somewhat, and, as there
was food for the horses, we camped.
It was just below this part of the valley that
Wilson had told us was the canyon where the
greatest difficulty was likely to be found. Peyto,
therefore, went forward to investigate ; late in
the evening he returned with the information
that at the next bend of the stream, just below
Mount Mummery, the fallen pine-trees were so
numerous that it would take a week or more to
clear even half a mile for the horses ; he even
suggested that in some places where the ava-
lanched trunks were lying piled many fiset deep,
62 <0
the only possibility was to make a causeway over
the obstruction. Moreover a forest fire had been
burning for at least a fortnight, just below, the
smoke of which we had first seen from the
summit of Peak Sarbach ; and even now, in
spite of all the rain that had fallen, it was still
Whilst Peyto had been exploring down the
valley, we had climbed a peak on the west side
of the valley—about 8000 feet high. From this
point we were able to see a depression in the
chain on the opposite side, which we thought
might possibly lead to the north branch of the
Kicking Horse River, and so to Field on the
Canadian Pacific Railway. In it lay our last
hope, for to go back the way we had come
would have taken about ten days, and our provisions were already nearly done. Although,
however, this gap in the mountains to the south
was below the tree Umit, yet we recognised that
great difficulty would probably be experienced
in finding a trail up which horses could be taken.
Next day Peyto again explored down the valley,
whilst Collie and Sarbach in the rain prospected
the ground that promised the best route for the
horses to follow towards the pass.
The sides of the Blaeberry Creek were very
63 I
steep, but, as our horses were now in excellent
condition, and the loads light, when in the evening Peyto returned with the intelligence that it
was hopeless to attempt to follow the Blaeberry
Creek further, we made up our minds to make a
final effort, and, if there was any possible way to
the new pass, to find it, and so reach Field.
Next day we started early. The route was
excessively steep in some places, being merely a
covering of loose moss and dirt on steeply sloping
slabs of rock ; but as we climbed higher the
ground became easier, and after an ascent of
over 3000 feet we camped at the limit of the
pine-trees at 7500 feet on a ridge. We were wet
through ; there was no water and no feed for the
horses. On the morrow after a couple of hours'
march the pass was reached, 6800 feet. There
we camped. During the night a heavy fall of
snow occurred, which had the effect of clearing
away the bad weather that we had been experiencing since the 27th. We were certainly the
first to cross this pass, which Collie christened
Baker Pass, with horses ; and it seems to be the
only route that can be used on the western side
of the watershed for baggage animals, which
will connect with the upper waters of the Blaeberry Creek.
On September 7th, in brilliantly fine weather,
the pass was crossed, and, following down the
beautiful north branch of the Kicking Horse
River, we arrived on September 9th at Field.
On the last day Baker and Sarbach made the
first ascent of a fine rock peak called Mount
Field, which can be seen from the railway.
Thus successfully ended the expedition. In
1897 the hotel at Field was by no means the busy
place it is now under the admirable management
of Miss Mollison, since the Canadian Pacific Railway people have moved the engine-sheds up
from Donald, and made the station a divisional
point on the railway. The only visitor there
was Dr. Habel, who had been exploring the
south side of the Waputehk snow-field with
Fred Stephens, our future guide, philosopher,
and friend on the expeditions of 1900 and
On our return to Banff we could find
nobody, except Tom Wilson, who knew anything about the country we had visited, and his
information did not date back further than the
time when, in 1882, he had been alone across
the Howse Pass and down the Blaeberry Creek
exploring   for  the   survey department   of the
Canadian Pacific Railway.     In fact, more and
6$ E
1 M"W>';
more remarkable appeared the lack of knowledge which prevailed concerning the mountain
country to the north; so further investigation
was postponed until our return to England a
few weeks later.
Sketch Map (based on the Map of Dr. Hector), showing all that was
known in 1896 of the main Rocky Mountain range northwards of
Mount Balfour to the Athabasca Pass.
During the winter of 1897-98 Collie spent his
spare time in consulting all the literature he
could find that dealt with the Canadian Rockies.
He obtained a copy of that rare blue-book,
" Palliser's Journals," which contains the only
published record of previous exploration through
the Mount Forbes country ; and from it he
learned definitely that the great peak that he
had been in search of was not Mount Murchison
but Mount Forbes. It was surprising to find
how much of the ground that he and Baker
had travelled over had been carefully and accurately described by Dr. Hector, as all local
knowledge of the district at the present day dates
from the Canadian Pacific Railway survey : the
older work seems to have been entirely forgotten.
Even Dr. Hector himself was unaware how he
had been preceded on his journeys by David
Thompson and others, who had continually used
the Howse Pass for crossing the range. Of the
mountain region at the head of the north fork
67 KjjW
m III-
UK    1 It
P   1
IB I  i
of the Saskatchewan, and surrounding the various sources of the Athabasca, people at Banff
and elsewhere appeared to know nothing ; and
a glance at the sketch map upon page 66
reveals an almost complete blank northwards of
Mount Forbes and Mount Lyell. It was evident, therefore, that this region offered a pretty
wide field for geographical investigation.
From a mountaineering point of view, however, by far the most interesting problem that
presented itself to him was whether the high
peak he had seen from the slopes of Mount
Freshfield might be either Mount Brown or
Mount Hooker, the two mountains standing on
either side of the Athabasca Pass, and long
reputed to be the loftiest summits, not only
of North America, but possibly of the entire
American continent. The Athabasca Pass
forms the watershed between the two great river
systems of the Athabasca and the Columbia,
whose waters flow out at either end (a somewhat rare and remarkable phenomenon) of a
small mountain tarn rejoicing in the name of
"The Committee's Punch-Bowl." West and
east of the tarn, forming the Titanic pillars of
this natural gateway to the north, were said to
be the two great  peaks,  Mount  Brown and
Mount Hooker. These mountains, it appeared,
were named by one David Douglas, a botanist,
and one of the earliest pioneers of this region ;
but no record of his journey could be found.
Their heights were given as 16,000 and 15,700
feet respectively ; but in later years much doubt
was thrown on these measurements. In 1893
Professor Coleman, of Toronto, who has done
much admirable surveying and exploration work
in the Rockies, visited the Athabasca Pass, after
a long and arduous journey from the east ; and
some of his party climbed the highest peak on
the western side, corresponding to the position
of Mount Brown on the maps. This peak they
found to be only a little over 9000 feet in
height. The professor further identified the
pass he was on by the small circular lake known
as " The Committee's Punch-Bowl " ; but, on
the other hand, he did not succeed in locating
Mount Hooker.
Now, from the slopes of Mount Freshfield,
Collie had seen a mountain that appeared to be
very high—probably 14,000 or 15,000 feet ; and
the idea naturally suggested itself that this
mountain might be Mount Brown or Mount
Hooker. This, however, entailed one of two
suppositions ; either that Professor Coleman had
'Hi ''
I iliUH^lJ
been mistaken as to the mountain climbed by
the members of his party ; or else that the
botanist Douglas, who named the peaks, and
David Thompson, the Hudson's Bay Company's
astronomer, who estimated their heights1 at
16,000 and 15,700 feet, had traversed a different
Athabasca pass from the one that now bears
the name, and which Professor Coleman undoubtedly visited. The first alternative seemed
impossible ; the second was the less improbable
of the two, as it was difficult to understand how
Douglas and Thompson, scientists both of them,
could have made such glaring errors as to the
altitude of these mountains. That peaks which
had appeared in every map of Canada for the
past sixty years as the loftiest in the Dominion,
and which most Canadians still believed in as in
their Bibles—that these peaks were not, after
all, so high as thousands of others in the main
range, seemed almost incredible. As a Manitoba paper observed, Mount Brown and Mount
Hooker had been " attractively mysterious to at
least two generations " of Canadians ; and the
Dominion could not " surrender without a
struggle its claim to possess the highest crests
1 ie Memoir, Historical and Political, on the North-West Coast
of North America and the Adjacent Territories, 1840/' by Robert
70 m
of the Rocky Mountain system." It may be
mentioned, further, that some travellers from
Edmonton, who visited the Athabasca Pass in
the spring of 1898, asserted that they had seen
Mount Brown and Mount Hooker standing
there in their old pride of place, and they
scouted the idea of their being frauds.
Altogether there seemed enough doubt
about the matter to make further investigation
desirable. There was, at any rate, one lofty
snow-clad peak somewhere in that untrodden
land to the north ; and, if this did not turn out
to be either of the missing giants, so much the
better, as in that case it must be some new and
unknown mountain. There would certainly be
plenty of virgin summits to climb, and the plane-
table survey could also be extended and finished.
In the spring, therefore, Collie, feeling drawn
by the fascination of those wild western valleys
irresistibly back to the Canadian Rockies, laid
his plans for another trip. Stutfield, being
asked to accompany him, accepted the invitation
with alacrity. To reach the actual sources of
the vast river systems of the Saskatchewan, the
Athabasca, and the Columbia ; to explore and
map out the unknown mountain country where
they take their rise ; to locate, and perhaps to
climb, the semi-fabulous peaks of that region ;
to rehabilitate, if the facts permitted, the outraged majesty of Mount Brown—all this, with
more besides, was a tempting enough programme in itself; but he also hoped to work
in a little sport on his own account with mountain sheep, or bear, or goat, so long as such
frivolities did not interfere with the more serious
business of map-making and mountaineering.
We started from Liverpool on July the
14th on board the Dominion Line steamer
Labrador, now at the bottom of the sea off
Skerryvore, on the west coast of Scotland.
With us came Mr. Hermann Woolley, of
Caucasian and Alpine mountaineering fame,
who was also destined to accompany us on
our fourth and final trip in 1902. We took no
Swiss guides. Friday the 29th saw us housed
under Mr. Mathews' care in the excellent
Canadian Pacific Railway hotel at Banff. The
exquisite beauties of this delightful spot were
new to Woolley and Stutfield ; but we had no
time to spend there, as our outfit had been got
ready for us by Tom Wilson by the time we
arrived. However, we passed a very pleasant
afternoon on the Saturday, canoeing along the
smooth reaches of the Bow, and following the
sinuosities of its shady backwaters up to where
the Vermilion Lakes nestle among the trees in
the shadow of tall mountains, with the tremendous grey precipices of Mount Rundle and
Cascade Peak in the background. From the pastures high above us came the sound of tinkling
cow-bells, familiar to all Swiss mountaineers ;
while a steam launch and sundry boating parties
disporting themselves on the wooded reaches
of the river recalled memories of the Thames,
until we began to fancy ourselves in some sub-
Alpine Maidenhead, or Wargrave.
Early on Sunday morning we took the train
to Laggan, where the outfit awaited us. Bill
Peyto was again in charge, and under him were
W. Byers, cook, Nigel Vavasour, and Roy
Douglas. There were thirteen horses, an insufficient as well as an unlucky number ; three
dogs, a most undesirable addition to a travelling
outfit, as the sequel will show ; and the usual
paraphernalia of tents, provisions, and baggage.
Instead of following the Bow Valley, as Collie
and Baker had done the year before, we
travelled to the Saskatchewan via the Pipestone and Siffleur creeks, in order to investigate
that other somewhat mythical peak, Mount
Murchison,   estimated   by  Dr.   Hector   to   be
13,500 feet high, and, according to the same
authority, regarded by the Indians as the
loftiest summit in the Canadian Rockies. Some
other early cartographer, with a fine parade of
accuracy, gave its height as 15,781 feet; and
this latter measurement, strange to say, appears
even now in some of the best and most up-
to-date maps. These maps place the mountain
just at the bottom of Bear Creek valley on
the eastern side ; but no such exalted peak had
been seen there by Baker and Collie, either
from Mount Gordon or from the summit they
climbed above the Bow Pass, or yet from
Mount Sarbach—which could not be more than
ten miles off; so, as the matter seemed involved
in considerable doubt, we determined to endeavour to clear it up.
By noon the horses were packed and we
were off into the wilds. The retrospective
views over the Laggan group of mountains
were magnificent. Peak after peak, snow-clad
and glacier-crowned, came into sight as we
climbed higher up the thickly-wooded hillside :
soon the railway station and the Canadian
Pacific Railway were lost to view, and we were
alone with the hills and the trees. For many
weeks it would be good-bye to civilisation and
its conventions and boredoms ; its feather-beds
and table-d'hôtes ; its tall hats, frock coats, and
stick-up collars. The wilderness lay between
us and dull Respectability ; we could wear what
we liked, and enjoy the ineffable delights of
being as disreputable as we pleased. Out here
Nature and mankind (only there was no mankind) were alike untamed : there were no game-
laws, and trespassers would not be prosecuted ;
and, last but not least, we could burn as much
wood ("you can get it for the mere axing,"
some degraded member of the outfit remarked)
and chop down as many trees as we wished
without fearing the terrors of the law. To two
of us the experience was a novel one, for neither
Stutfield nor Woolley had ever been in the
backwoods before; but their aesthetic impressions were much blunted by the constant
attentions of the mosquitoes, and the necessity
of looking after the horses as they blundered
through and over the dead timber that choked
the trail. Indeed, we had not gone far before
our unlucky number of thirteen ponies was
reduced to twelve, as one poor beast fell and
broke its leg jumping over a log, and we had
to shoot it.
Our first camp was in the pine-woods beside
the Pipestone Creek. It was terrifically hot;
the mosquitoes were very bad ; and, taking one
thing with another, we were not quite as happy
as we ought to have been. It must not be
supposed that the delights of camp-life in the
Canadian Rockies are always immediately apparent to the traveller fresh from Europe. It
takes a little time to get accustomed to the
rough food and hard ground, and generally to
adapt oneself to one's new environment. For
a day or two we were all more or less out of
sorts ; and that evening Stutfield had a serious
disagreement with his digestive organs.
Hie ego propter aquam, quod erat deterrima, ventri
Indico bellum."
Only it wasn't the water, he said, but Byers'
abominably strong tea, the doughy bannocks,
the fried onions and fat bacon, that disturbed
him so. However, the symptoms, if severe,
were only temporary ; and we had all recovered
our usual health when, on the third afternoon,
we pitched the tents in a pretty spot among
the trees an hour below the Pipestone Pass.
A storm was brewing, and the heat tremendous. We tried to bathe in the stream, but
before we were half undressed a brigade of
"bulldogs' (big horse-flies, like over-sized blue-
76 A "Smudge
bottles, with sharp nippers that draw blood)
mustered, with clouds of mosquitoes ; and,
attacking us, " not in single spies, but in battalions," fairly put us to rout. The " smudges,"
or fires of damp grass and weeds, that we lit
to drive them off proved of little avail. At
midnight the threatened thunderstorm broke,
and a very severe one it was. In less than
half-an-hour a small stream was flowing down
the centre of our tent and making things decidedly uncomfortable. On this trip we used
a teepee, or Indian tent, which, though excellent in many respects, has its disadvantages.
It is roomy and well ventilated, having a
good-sized hole at the top for letting out the
smoke ; but this aperture lets in the water as
well as the air, and on these hot summer days,
when you have a thunderstorm every other
evening or so, the grateful rain pours through
it and cools you down pleasantly. Another
little drawback is that you have to cut down
fifteen young trees for poles every time you
put it up ; so it cannot be described as a labour-
saving appliance.
Next morning, August the 3rd, we crossed
the Pipestone Pass, 8400 feet above the sea
—the highest we ever went over with horses—
and Collie climbed a small peak to the west
in order to get a better view of the surrounding country. The scenery about the pass is
grand, but desolate. Huge battlemented crags,
grotesque rather than beautiful, with cliffs over
2000 feet in height, guard the western side of
the valley ; and the strata, tilted upwards at
a uniform angle, with the precipices falling
always towards the east, form a multitude of
mountains of the form happily described by
Mr. Leslie Stephen as the " writing-desk '
shape. A peak which, if the maps were correct, could be no other than Murchison, loomed
dimly through the mists to the north-west, but
it was evident that its height had been greatly
exaggerated. Clouds hung everywhere about
the hills, but they cleared off as the day wore
on, and after this we had fine weather for
nearly three weeks. From the pass we descended into the valley of the Siffleur, a tributary of the Saskatchewan, at first over alps
bright with red painter's brush and big yellow
daisies ; lower down through dense scrub of
dwarf willow, and then once more among the
everlasting pine-woods. The trail improved as
we advanced, and the outfit did two good days'
march.    On the Thursday we saw on our left,
across the river, a fine glacier descending from
the flanks of the Murchison group of mountains, and a valley coming into that of the
Siffleur from the south-west. This valley was
explored a few days later by Messrs. Thompson,
Noyes, and Weed, who named it Dolomite
Valley, from some curious rock formations near
its head. They describe it as fairly open at first,
with glaciers on the western side and a large
lake about five miles up ; but further on there
are narrow canyons, and horses can only be
got through with difficulty.
The Siffleur had here grown to a good-sized
stream ; and, as our horses were all required for
the baggage (we had hitherto done all the
journey on foot), we were conveyed across, one
by one, on Peyto's fine mare, Pet. On the other
side of the river the trail entered a thick forest
of tall pines, with bad patches of muskeg. Here
and there whole clumps of trees had been blown
down or burned ; and the logs, piled in wild
confusion one on another, formed a tangle that
made our progress very slow. Of the trunks
that remained upright many were rotten and
tottering to their fall ; others, intercepted in
their descent, rested on the branches of some
neighbouring giant of the wood ; and with every
1,1 I
passing breeze there arose a great creaking and
groaning among them, like the wrailing of lost
souls in some arboreal Hades, as the weary forest
Titan, his roots already starting from the ground,
laboured under his too heavy load. You have to
keep a sharp look-out for these falling trees ; and
one of the horses had a narrow escape from a
trunk which he bumped against with his pack,
and which fell right across the trail, narrowly
missing the animal's haunches. In such woods
it is not merely a case of I Beware the pine-tree's
withered branch," but of dodging his charred or
rotting stem as it crashes to the ground. However, our heavily-laden team, though sinking
deep in the boggy ground at every step, went
gallantly on, headed by old Molly, the bell-mare,
with her little foal trotting by her side. Every
few minutes we had to wait while the men were
cutting out the trail. It was tedious work for
us, as one could do nothing but sit still on a log
and scratch one's mosquito bites, listening to the
tinkling of Molly's bell and the blows of Peyto's
axe as they resounded through the wood. As the
men said, it was a very "mean trail," though
in places it was fairly well defined, and Peyto
proved to us that we were on the right one by
finding an occasional "blaze," or notch cut in
80 The Siffleur Creek
Fallen Timber in the Siffleur Valley
the bark of a tree. We also picked up an old
weather-beaten copy of " Hamlet " that had been
dropped by some hunter or prospector ; while
now and then the teepee poles of old Indian
camping-grounds were seen. Travelling in the
Canadian Rockies is far more difficult and
tedious now than it was forty years ago, in the
days of Hector and Palliser, when game was
more abundant, and the passing to and fro of
Indians and trappers kept the trails open. In
these times things are altogether different; the
woods are veritable wildernesses, and, strange as
it may seem, we never once met a human being
—red, black, or white—during either of our
journeys up country in 1898 or 1900.
Matters improved when we emerged from
the Siffleur canyon into a tract of undulating
country in the main valley of the North Saskatchewan. Leaving the forest, the trail turned
abruptly westwards across miles of barren hills
strewn with burnt timber. In the old days,
at the beginning of the century, a sort of fair
or annual meeting took place here between the
Kootenay Indians from the western side of the
Rocky Mountains and the fur-traders from the
east; and in consequence this piece of moderately open country hidden  away among the
1      i
hills was called " The Kootenay Plains." Now
for over half a century it has remained undisturbed, save for an occasional trapper or prospector wandering among the mountains. The
fair, even in Dr. Hector's days, had been long
discontinued ; and he tells how his Indian
hunter, Nimrod, pointed out to him a large
tributary of the Saskatchewan coming from the
north-west, called the Waputehk, or White
Goat River (the Cataract River of Coleman),
up which lay a trail to Jasper House on the
Athabasca. " This trail," we read in his journal,
" was known as j Old Cline's trail.' Cline was
a trader who travelled through the mountains
from Jasper House to the Kootenay plain."
This is now ancient history ; not only have
the Redskins and the fur-traders almost entirely
deserted these upper waters of the Saskatchewan, but the game has gone too. On one
occasion, while Hector was sitting on the mountain side above the Kootenay Plain, he says,
" a flock of at least a hundred rams rushed close
past me, so close, indeed, that I hit them with
stones." He also found traces of buffalo, but
these were already becoming scarce ; and now
the mountain sheep bid fair to follow the buffalo
into the limbo of the extinct.
The view up the valley was closed by a fine
glacier-covered mountain, named by Collie Peak
Wilson, after Tom Wilson, of Banff; the foreground being filled in by the picturesque windings of the big river between rocky knolls.
Down stream, where the Saskatchewan turned
abruptly to the north, a lurid copper-coloured
haze hung over the hills, and told of forest fires
raging in the direction of the Athabasca river.
This haze probably came from vast tracts of
forest that had been fired by the wretched folk
who were trying to reach the Klondike from
Edmonton. Some thousands of these poor
people had been despatched to their death or
ruin through the lying reports spread about by
transport agents and storekeepers, and not one
out of five hundred ever reached his destination.
We soon reached the Saskatchewan, which,
owing to the great heat melting the glacier
snows, was in tremendous flood, and tearing
down like a muddy mill-race 150 to 300 yards
in width.
Towards sundown on Saturday the wind
changed, and the distant smoke-clouds we had
observed in the morning came rolling up the
valley, completely obliterating the mountains
from view.    The haze was as thick as a moder-
, Il
ate London fog; the air grew suspiciously hot
and heavy ; and a strong peaty odour assailed
our nostrils. Round the camp-fire that evening
the conversation naturally was of forest fires and
the chances of our outfit escaping if the valley
got ablaze. Very tall were the yarns that circulated as the flames shot merrily upwards from
the crackling logs, and the ruddy sparks flew
aloft into the gloom to join company with the
now dimly shining stars. Death, it was represented to us, confronted the backwoods traveller
in a quite remarkable variety of shapes ; and, even
if we did not break our necks on the mountains,
we gathered it would be hard lines if some
member of the outfit did not die of sunstroke,
get burned in his bed, starved, slain by falling
trees, or drowned while fording rivers. Finally,
Woolley, remarking that it was getting late,
announced that he was going to bed in his
boots. This augmented Stutfield's already
growing terror, for he slept with his head near
Woolley's feet ; and the latter, who was a noted
footballer in his day, had a nasty way sometimes
of practising place-kicks in his dreams. However, the night passed without further alarms of
any sort, and next morning the sun shone in a
comparatively clear sky.
Sunday was always our unlucky day, and
the 7th of August proved no exception to the
rule. It was tremendously hot ; the Saskatchewan was tearing down in bigger flood than
ever ; and the trail along its banks was in many
places under water. The horses were continually floundering about in deep holes, and
we noticed with some misgivings that they
keenly relished their bathes. These tiresome
Indian ponies take to the water like ducks, and
plunge into pools and torrents for the mere fun
of the thing. Suddenly, as we were rounding a
nasty corner where the bank dropped steeply
into the river, a bay pack-horse called " Nitchi "
slipped and fell in up to his neck. Finding the
water nice and cool, and that it lightened the
load on his back, to our horror he coolly swam
out into mid-stream, and, after a desperate
struggle with the swift current, reached an
island separated from us by a broad channel.
Molly, the bell-mare, who was always up to
mischief, seeing the fun, took a header in after
her companion, and her foal promptly followed
its dam. The little creature was turned bodily
over by the force of the current, and for a
moment it seemed as though it must be
drowned ;   but   it   soon   recovered   itself,   and
► I
striking out pluckily swam to the island, where
it shook itself like a dog, and trotted after its
dam.     We should have had the whole outfit
swimming if we had not managed to grab hold
of all  the remaining horses  except  one, who
made a bolt for the water before it could be
secured, and swam across  to  the  other three
culprits.    The language that ensued fairly beat
all records in backwoods' profanity.    The forest
glades rang with  it ;   and the  smoke-vapours
grew perceptibly bluer and thicker.    There is a
western saying to the effect that " No man can
serve God and drive oxen " ;   and a pack-team
of cayooses can be equally relied on to evoke
unchristian  sentiments   and  purple patches  of
vituperation.    The whole thing would have been
excessively comic had the possible consequences
been less serious ;   but the loss of our baggage
would have meant the ruin of the trip, and possibly
starvation before we got back to civilisation.
The only thing to be done was to move on
with the rest of the team, and leave Peyto
behind to coax the delinquents back.    In ten
minutes he reappeared, furiously whacking the
four dripping animals ;   and it  is needless to
say that we found our bacon, flour, and sugar
in a nice mess.    We camped in a dreary spot
beside a marsh, and proceeded to dry the stuff.
That afternoon the heat grew worse than ever,
while every species of insect abomination—
mosquitoes, black-flies, sand-flies, midges, and
bull-dogs — buzzed about us ; and Stutfield
awoke from a nap on a mossy bank to find
a tribe of ferocious ants on the war-path inside
his shirt and striking a trail down his spinal
column. The night brought little relief; and
the mosquitoes, who generally ceased to worry
us in bed, allowed us no peace, until, tired of
lying awake and abusing one another for not
going to sleep, we arose and took a midnight
ramble through the forest. Next day we were
forced by the floods high up into the woods
where there was no trail, and the men had
terrible work with the fallen timber. Late in
the afternoon we struck an old Indian trail,
which enabled us to push on more rapidly.
The scenery grew grander and more Alpine as
we advanced, and several fine peaks came into
view whenever the haze lifted. Passing two or
three pretty lakes tenanted by sundry wildfowl,
we entered a forest of unusually tall pines. Towards seven o'clock a sound of rushing waters
told us that we were approaching Bear Creek,
and in half-an-hour we found ourselves at our
! 1
j r
former camping-ground. Here the outfit, which
had been nine days on the move, took a much-
needed rest.
Coming to the camping-place from the
woods to the east we were immensely impressed
by the beauty of its surroundings. Here, in a
wide basin in the heart of the mountains, is the
confluence of the three principal branches of the
North Saskatchewan—the South Fork, or Bear
Creek, the Middle (or West) Fork, and the
North Fork—all leading to splendid Alpine
scenery ; while the main valley, up which we
had just travelled, displays pictures of hill,
forest, and river that are by no means to be
despised. In every direction is a landscape to
delight an artist's eye. Great mountain masses,
bare and rugged to the north, their flanks more
gently sloping and richly wooded towards the
west and south, and remarkably diversified in
form, tower round the spectator on all sides, but
at a distance sufficient to enable him to gauge
their true dimensions and grandeur. The main
Saskatchewan River makes its exit through a
mighty cleft between Mount Murchison and
Peak Wilson, which stand as the huge twin
portals of this threshold to the higher mountain
region : lower down, the valley opens out, and
88 Q
the adjacent ranges, though steep and rocky in
places, are for the most part of moderate height.
The tributary streams, on the other hand—
those of Bear Creek and the North Fork—issue
from narrow canyons of a more sombre and
forbidding character, with lofty peaks rising
abruptly on either side.
Taken altogether the place seems an ideal
one for a tourist centre ; and we may fairly
anticipate that at the mouth of Bear Creek
will be the Chamonix or Grindelwald of the
Canadian Alps in days to come, when the
remoter peaks and valleys of this beautiful
region are made accessible to the outside world,
and the new mountain playground of the American continent becomes no longer a dream but a
If   fj
I [I
■t *Mi
1 ! j
_,.. I
We cached a considerable portion of our prc*-
visions at the camping-place, as henceforth our
saddle-horses would be required for fording
rivers. Bear Creek itself had to be crossed on
the morrow, and, as we watched the swollen
stream foaming and tumbling over its rocky
bed, the prospect was not altogether an agreeable one. However, Peyto, who does not
usually take a roseate view of things, thought
we could manage it all right. If anybody was
upset, he said, he would probably struggle
ashore somehow, unless he happened to knock
his head against a stone ; " and then," he philosophically added, " one would die easy."
Early next morning the crossing was effected
without mishap ; but we were all very glad
when it was over. The water was nowhere
more than three or four feet deep, but the
stream was running like a mill-race, and the
loose stones and boulders on the bottom made
it  very difficult for the horses to keep  their
footing. Following the south bank of the West
or Middle Fork, we saw on the other side of the
river the mouth of the North Fork, which discharges into the Saskatchewan the meltings of
the great snow-fields and glaciers we were about
to explore. A mile or so above the junction we
forded the West Fork at a place where the
water was spread out over a big shingle-flat
half a mile wide ; and then, turning down
stream, camped in the angle between the two
rivers. Our worst troubles were now about to
begin. The Indian trail up the North Fork
valley lay on the further (east) side of the river,
and, as the latter was quite unfordable in its
present state, we should be obliged to force our
way up its west bank.
The next day (Thursday, 11th August) we
did not move camp. Peyto and Nigel went
ahead to find or cut a trail ; while Collie and
Stutfield climbed a peak, named by the former
" Survey Peak," to enable him to commence his
plane-table survey. After two and a half hours'
tedious climb through the woods, battling with
fallen logs and aggravating scrub, we emerged
into the open ; and an easy scramble over loose
stones took us to the top. The flies followed us
far up the mountain side, and we experienced
the novel sensation of chopping ice for water
with our ice-axes, and being bitten at the same
time by mosquitoes and bull-dogs. The same
everlasting haze hung over the landscape ; the
sky was of a dull uniform leaden hue ; no light
fleecy clouds floated in the air or rolled lazily
along the flanks of the hills ; but a dingy grey
pall brooded J monotonously over the whole
mountain world. When at intervals it lifted
we had glorious peeps of Mount Forbes and the
blue expanse of Glacier Lake lying in a deep
valley almost immediately below us. The
waters of the lake, which descend from the
enormous Lyell Glacier, discharge themselves
by a short stream into the Middle Fork. Southwards we could dimly see the bold rock and
snow peaks which cluster round the head of
Bear Creek valley, while right above our late
camping ground was the imposing Murchison
group, culminating in several peaks, one a large
serrated ridge, another a gigantic square-topped
obelisk of most formidable aspect, and quite
sheer on three sides. We estimated the height
of its loftiest summits to be about 11,500 feet,
which estimate proved subsequently to be approximately correct.    To the north we  looked
down on a curious basin, carpeted with a broad
92 Bear Creek (Low Water)
A Backwater of the North Fori  f V
expanse of turf, and ringed round by lofty limestone cliffs, with striking rock-forms like the
Dolomites. The peaks of these mountains were
all flat-topped, and one of them had a curious
rift, or gash, that clove the summit in two. We
got back to camp late, and found poor Woolley
nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes.
The next four days were one long battle
with woods, muskegs, and rivers, the cussedness
of pack-horses, and our own tempers. The
North Fork seemed quite unfordable, and in
places its waters were lost as they rushed
foaming and swirling at the bottom of deep
rocky gorges. Had we had less resolute and
hard-working men than Peyto and his staff, our
trip must inevitably have resulted in failure.
As it was, we more than once feared we should
be forced to turn back. From early morning to
late afternoon they cut and cut away, but yet we
could make no more than three or four miles a
day. It was aggravating, too, to see across the
river and within a stone's-throw of us, moderately open country with a good trail, and yet
to be unable to get to it. Still, for us people
who were not obliged to be always log-chopping,
the time passed very pleasantly : indeed, our life
in camp would have been an ideal one but for
the flies, and they only annoyed us for a few
days more. Especially delightful were the evenings, when, the mosquitoes having gone to sleep,
we sat and smoked our pipes on the mossy banks
of the river, listening to the swish of its rushing
waters and watching the daylight fade slowly
away on the mountain tops. The combination of
rock, river, and forest scenery just here was magnificent. We were right under the great cliffs of
Peak Wilson, which rose sheer 6000 feet from
the opposite bank. Towards evening a fierce
brassy glare, due to the presence of smoke in the
atmosphere, overspread the sky. Great coils
and masses of vapour, with fiery smouldering
edges, were banked one upon another in the
west ; and, as the sun went down, its rays reddened the great towers, bastions, and buttresses
of crag, with a rich red glow that contrasted
sharply with the gloom of the intervening
The traveller along the eastern slopes of
the Canadian Rockies does not, as a rule, see
much bird or animal life in the backwoods.
An occasional black-headed tom-tit, a jay here
and there, grouse of three kinds, a woodpecker
with  a voice like a fishing-reel  being rapidly
unwound, a few dippers or water - ouzels, and
a kingfisher or two along the river banks, represent the feathered tribe in the lower forests.
There are also ground-squirrels and tree-squirrels of various sorts ; and the engaging little
chipmunk scolds and chatters in the branches
as his sanctuary is invaded. These tiny forest
folk have a language all their own, and their
queer antics afforded constant entertainment
both to men and dogs. Now and then a porcupine may be seen climbing a tree like a
small bear, or rolling himself up into a posture
of defence against two- or four-legged foes.
On the 14th, being Sunday, our unlucky
day, our horses got lost—it was supposed they
had seen or smelt a bear—and we had a terrible job to find them. These tiresome creatures
proved a constant source of vexation to us, but
it must be admitted that their idiosyncrasies
afforded a somewhat amusing study. There
was Collie's old grey, alluded to already, who
had more sense than almost any six others put
together ; the impulsive Buckskin, for ever
flying off at a tangent into the thickest part
of the wood and kicking off his pack there ;
Molly, that aggravating old thing, for ever up
to all sorts of pranks, in spite of her mature
years and the responsibilities  of motherhood;
Woolley's tall, raw-boned chestnut, Joe, always
hungry and strongly resenting any interference
with his meals ; Girlie and Nitchi, the bay,
who loved bathing in deep waters and soaking
our provisions and baggage ; the wise, longheaded Pinto, an indispensable adjunct to any
outfit of Tom Wilson's ; and lastly, the patient
plodding Denny, wall-eyed and pink-nosed,
whose preternaturally thoughtful air and tardy
methodical movements brought upon him unnumbered thwacks. Owing to our slow progress they were all unusually troublesome just
now on the trail ; and that evening, the men
having had a very long and tiring day's work,
we dispensed with the teepee and camped in
the open round the fire, beguiling the night
hours with tales of Klondike and gold-prospecting, of Indians and hunting and trapping,
of riding buck-jumping bronchos, and other
topics of an improving and entertaining character. The burden of conversation fell chiefly
on Byers ; and he ably sustained it, being a
most amusing talker, a keen politician, and a
theologian of somewhat unorthodox views—
which he propounded with an air of most refreshing confidence. Later on the talk shifted
to the interpretation of certain verses of Genesis,
96 Woolley on " Joe
and Byers took the opportunity to pronounce a
glowing eulogy upon the scheme of Creation,
which, in a passage of singular eloquence, he
described as " a mighty fine outfit." Some rash
person venturing to controvert his views, our
cook promptly overwhelmed him with a torrent
of backwoods satire and invective ; and the
would-be objector, crushed in argument, took
refuge in an outburst of somewhat pointless
profanity. Then the tobacco was passed round,
and the discussion ended—as such discussions
usually do end—in smoke.
Next morning Peyto and Nigel went ahead
in search of the trail, while Stutfield scrambled
up the steep sides of a neighbouring creek in
search of goat or bear, but without success. At
one o'clock the men returned, and we noticed
that their faces wore a very dejected air. They
reported that a mile further on a big river came
in from the west down a wide valley filled with
impassable muskeg; and, with much emphasis
and many flowers of western speech, they stated
their views. It was quite impossible, they said,
to get up the valley, and nobody but a fool
would want to try; it would take at least a
week to make a trail on the other side of the
river—if we could get there—and they were
97 Gr
~ii "V
sick of cutting. Ignoring Peyto's picturesque
language, Collie remarked that the weather was
exceedingly warm ; they must be very thirsty ;
and that whisky and water wasn't a bad drink
when you couldn't get anything better. To
this they agreed. We waited. There was evidently nothing for it but to cross the muddy
torrent of the North Fork on our right, even if
we had to swim for it, and at any cost—or else
give up the trip. Peyto thought that the river
was unfordable, but, after several plucky attempts, he forced his mare across, and the
outfit followed. The water in mid-stream was
almost up to the horses' backs, and the current
very swift ; but the bottom was good, and we
all got over with nothing worse than wet legs
and damp packs. Following the wide stony
bed of the river for a little, we recrossed it
without difficulty above the junction, and
camped on a hillock in the angle between the
two streams. The tributary appeared to be
fully as large as the North Fork, but it is not
marked on any of the older maps. It drains
a very large area, and all the glaciers on the
north side of Mount Lyell supply it with water.
It flows sluggishly eastwards in a deep winding
channel, and the  valley,  which  is  nearly half
a mile wide, is covered with large bogs and
lagoons. Stutfield walked some distance up it
with the rifle until he was stopped by dense
underwood and muskeg. He could see no
mountains of any size towards its head, while
a fairly well-worn trail, that was now mostly
under water, seemed to point to its leading to
a pass over into the valley of the Columbia.
Some days later Collie and Woolley saw this
pass from the summit of Mount Athabasca, and
in 1900 it was explored for the first time by
Mr. C. Thompson.
We could find no game of any description
except a few willow grouse or " fool-hen "—so
called from their tameness and the ease with
which they allow themselves to be killed—which
always proved acceptable additions to our scanty
larder. There are several kinds of grouse in the
forests, the largest of them being the blue grouse,
a handsome bird nearly as big as a blackcock ;
Franklin's grouse, which is much smaller ; and
Richardson's grouse, or fool-hen proper, which
also rejoices in the more dignified Latin title of
Dendragaphus Obscurus Richardsonii. When
Stutfield returned to camp there was one of
these confiding birds sitting on a low branch,
preening his feathers and blinking  at  us  after
99 fffl."
the fashion of his foolish kind. Taking with
them a small pistol, which Woolley had brought
as a defence against grizzlies and marauding
Indians and the like, Collie and Stutfield advanced to the attack. The first shot missed
by about two feet, and the bird wagged his tail
derisively, but never budged. After several
more ineffectual efforts a bullet removed two
feathers of his tail. The fool-hen nodded his
head approvingly, as much as to say, " That's
better; persevere, and you may bag me yet,"
but still refused to move. Then there was a
miss-fire and a cartridge jammed, and, as we
were examining it, the thing exploded, and
Collie's head was nearly taken off. Finally,
after some more bad shooting, Collie in desperation swarmed a neighbouring tree, with the
pistol in his pocket, and " potted ' the over-
trustful fowl at a distance of five feet, and we
had him for supper.
Our worst troubles were over for the present,
as we struck a fairly good trail on the eastern
bank, and all went well, except that the horses
had a swim in a deep hole, and we again got the
baggage wet. A good deal of burned timber
could be seen ahead, the bare poles sticking up
like a forest of masts in some distant dockyard,
but on closer acquaintance it did not prove very
troublesome. Further on the valley contracted
to a gorge ; and we bivouacked once more à la
belle étoile at the foot of a lofty cliff. Towards
midnight we were awakened by loud talking and
laughing, and saw the men trooping back into
camp armed with guns, hatchets, and lanterns.
" What's up, Peyto?' we asked, from the
recesses of our sleeping-bags.
" Great Caesar's ghost I We've been bear-
hunting," he replied, laughing.
A large animal, presumably a grizzly, had
been heard moving in the thicket, and they had
gone in pursuit. The bear proved to be our
friend Woolley, who was wandering round in
search of a dark place out of the moonKght,
wherein to change his photographic plates.
Our eighteenth and last day's march up the
valley, on August the 17th, was a long one.
For the first time for many days we left the
banks of the Saskatchewan, which had caused
us so much trouble and anxiety. We quitted
it without a pang, and began climbing the hill-
face on our right. The trail rose rapidly, and
we had a delightful ride through a forest of giant
pines with trunks of a rich glowing red. Below
us a tributary of the Saskatchewan plunged in a
magnificent cataract down into a deep gorge.
Very soon the valley forked, and we turned to
our left and followed the banks of the western
stream : the other branch descends from a pass,
which Stutfield subsequently crossed, leading
over into the head-waters of the Brazeau River.
The country here was much more open, and the
going perfectly easy. Our course lay W.N.W. ;
and, passing through some pretty park-like
glades, the outfit emerged into a broad, green,
and nearly level valley. We had passed the
watershed unawares ; for the tiny rivulet that
now meandered, parallel with us, peacefully
through the meadows was the infant Athabasca
starting on its long journey to the Great Slave
Lake and the Arctic Ocean. Curiously enough,
the Saskatchewan streamlet, whose waters are
ultimately destined to lose themselves in Hudson's Bay, flows down from the opposite hill and
passes within fifty yards of its rival.
We made our permanent camp in a charming
spot in the woods at an elevation of 7000 feet ;
and it was delightful to think that, for some
days at least, we should not have to shift the
tents, to pack our beds and baggage, to listen to
the perpetual " chop-chop " of Peyto's axe, or to
drive the stubborn cayooses along the trail.    We
had not journeyed very far—about 150 miles
or so—but it had taken us eighteen days of
pretty constant work to reach our base of operations. Of course, travel in the summer months,
when the rivers are swollen with the meltings of
the glaciers, is far more difficult than in the Fall,
when the water is low. Immediately opposite
our camp, to the south-west, rose a noble snow-
crowned peak, about 12,000 feet in height, with
splendid rock precipices and hanging glaciers ;
and on its right the tongue of a fine glacier
descended in serpentine sinuosities to the bottom
of the valley. We named them Athabasca
Peak and Glacier respectively. The spirits of
us three climbers rose high, and our blood was
stirred within us at the thought of being once
more on the ice and snow ; and Woolley especially hailed the prospect of a really good climb
with delight, for in his Caucasian wanderings
nineteen days' travel through valleys had never
been part either of the programme or the performance. It was decided, therefore, that we
should attack the peak next day.
After dinner, however, it struck us that we
ought to see how our " grub-pile ' was getting
on.    We knew that it was pretty low, as we had
started with an insufficient stock, our appetites
were healthy, and the dogs had eaten a great
deal more of our bacon than was good either for
them or for us ; but we were quite unprepared
for the alarming state of affairs which the inspection disclosed. There was flour for five, and
bacon for two, days, at the outside ; and this was
all that was left on which to do a fortnight's or
three weeks' climbing, and to get back to Bear
Creek ! Meat, it was evident, must be procured
somehow, and soon, or we should be starved
into retreat, and the trip would result in ignominious failure. A council of war was held, and
Stutfield suggested that Collie and Woolley had
better do the climb by themselves, while he went
off in search of mountain sheep, or bighorn,
which were said to be fairly plentiful in the
neighbouring mountains. This plan was agreed
to, and we made our arrangements for the
morrow accordingly.
\l <
The story of the ascent of Athabasca Peak had
better, perhaps, be given in Collie's own words.
" It was somewhat late in the morning when
Woolley and I started for our peak. Just after
we had emerged from the pine-woods some valuable time was wasted over killing two ptarmigan
with stones, but the small glacier on the east
side of the peak was soon reached. It was not
much crevassed, and keeping to the right we
soon hit the north-eastern arête. This ridge for
a short time gave us good climbing, but, like so
many of these limestone crags, was very rotten.
As the glacier to the westward appeared moderately easy, we clambered down on to it, and
worked our way up into the great basin just
underneath the summit. A choice of routes
then lay before us—either we could skirt under
some overhanging ice-cliffs on our right up to
the northern arête, or, by cutting up an ice-slope
on our left, the north-eastern ridge could be
again reached. We chose the latter, and
Woolley rapidly led me up on to the ridge ;
but a very narrow and steep ice arête lay before
us. At first there was sufficient snow to enable
us to ascend by kicking steps, but soon Woolley
was hard at work with the axe. For two hours
almost without intermission was he cutting, afld
the ridge was almost too steep to allow us to
change places. Finally we arrived at a small
platform just underneath the precipitous rocks
that guard the summit, only to find that they
were perpendicular. By carefully skirting round
their base to the right a narrow chimney was
discovered. It was our last chance : either it
had to be climbed, or we should return beaten.
Owing to the excessively broken state of the
limestone rock, produced probably by the great
extremes of heat and cold, the climbing was not
difficult ; but there were many loose rocks that
to avoid needed exceeding care. With much
caution bit by bit we managed to climb up this
narrow chimney, expecting to come out within
easy reach of the summit ; but, as we gained the
ridge, a wall of overhanging rock fifteen feet
high seemed  to bar further progress.     After
what   we   had   gone   through   down   below,
© ©
fifteen feet, even though it did overhang, was
not going to keep us from the top. How it was
surmounted I have forgotten, but I remember
how we saw the summit almost within a stone's-
throw of us, and how at 5*15 p.m. we stepped
on to it. By mercurial barometer its height is
11,900 feet.
" The summit consists of a narrow ridge running east and west. On the south side, about
ten feet below this ridge, is a rocky platform
from which the snows have melted, and which
forms a sort of pathway along the whole ridge.
On this platform we halted. The view that lay
before us in the evening fight was one that does
not often fall to the lot of modern mountaineers.
A new world was spread at our feet ; to the
westward stretched a vast ice-field probably
never before seen by human eye, and surrounded
by entirely unknown, unnamed, and unclimbed
peaks. From its vast expanse of snows the
Saskatchewan glacier takes its rise, and it also
supplies the head-waters of the Athabasca ; while
far away to the west, bending over in those
unknown valleys glowing with the evening light,
the level snows stretched, to finally melt and
flow down more than one channel into the
Columbia   River, and   thence   to   the   Pacific
Ocean.    Beyond the  Saskatchewan glacier to
the south-east, a high peak (which we have
named Mount Saskatchewan) lay between this
glacier and the west branch of the North Fork,
flat-topped and covered with snow, on its eastern
face a precipitous wall of rock. Mount Lyell
and Mount Forbes could be seen far off in the
haze. But it was towards the west and northwest that the chief interest lay. From this
great snow-field rose solemnly, like ' lonely sea-
stacks in mid-ocean,' two magnificent peaks,
which we imagined to be 13,000 or 14,000 feet
high, keeping guard over those unknown western
fields of ice. One of these, which reminded us
of the Finsteraarhorn, we have ventured to name
after the Right Hon. James Bryce, the then
President of the Alpine Club. A little to the
north of this peak, and directly to the westward
of Peak Athabasca, rose probably the highest
summit in this region of the Rocky Mountains.
Chisel-shaped at the head, covered with glaciers
and snow, it also stood alone, and I at once
recognised the great peak I was in search of;
moreover, a short distance to the north-east of
this mountain, another, almost as high, also flat-
topped, but ringed round with sheer precipices,
reared its head into the sky above all its fellows.
"At once I concluded that these might be
the two lost mountains, Brown and Hooker. As
rapidly as I could I drew lines in all directions
on my plane-table survey towards these peaks,
and put up my mercurial barometer ; but, hurry
as fast as I could, it was 6*30 p.m. before we
started down from the summit. Woolley's
patience must have been sorely taxed, but he
endured the waiting and the cold with characteristic fortitude. I was not at all anxious to
return by the way we had ascended, for it was
too difficult to allow of any undue haste being
made. I therefore suggested that we should
follow the rocky platform on the summit, and
see how far down the north-western arête it
would lead. Moreover, I thought that I had
sufficiently reconnoitred a route down this arête
while Woolley was cutting ice-steps towards the
final summit. At first our new route was all we
could wish, and a run down 500 feet of snow
quickly took us clear of the summit ; but soon
the arête narrowed, with rock precipices on the
left and ice-slopes on the right hand. Moreover,
the rock was of the loosest possible kind, and the
ridge broken in places by perpendicular drops,
which we had to get down or turn as best we could.
Daylight was rapidly going, and we were by no
means clear of difficulties ; but just as the last
<f a PHI
colours of the sunset faded out the sky, the more
or less level ice of the glacier was reached.
Stumbling down the mountain side, over stones
and through bushes, we reached the forest ;
where we had a terrible struggle with fallen
trunks, muskegs, and tangled brushwood : and
finally got back to camp at eleven, where we
found Stutfield sitting up for us, and striving to
allay the growing fears of the men for our safety."
Meanwhile the rest of the outfit had not
been idle, as the reader may gather from the
following notes out of Stutfield's diary : " Immediately after breakfast Woolley and Collie
left. It was with somewhat of a heavy heart
that I saw them go, for I knew they would
have a splendid climb, and, having been out
three weeks without seeing a single head of
game, I was beginning to despair of ever finding
anything to shoot. Shouldering our rifles, Peyto
and I, with Nigel, walked up through the woods
in a northerly direction on to a grassy plateau
about 8000 feet above sea-level. Ahead of us was
the pass traversed by Mr. Wilcox on his journey to the Athabasca in 1896. As there is no record of any previous traveller having crossed this
pass, Collie has named it, and an adjoining peak
about 10,000 feet high, Wilcox Peak and Pass.
" Let me try and picture to you the scene.
A mile or two of grassy uplands, broken only
by knolls and benches of rock, were hemmed in
by barren hills of moderate height. Westwards,
reminding me somewhat of the Mont Blanc
range, rose the great unknown chain of the
northern Rockies, whose mysteries we hoped
shortly to explore if only Providence and my
Mauser rifle sent us meat. Northwards was a
black scarped rock-peak, with a curious snow
cap, or crown, of great thickness. To the south
the dazzling glaciers of Athabasca Peak glittered
in the noontide sun, and somewhere in that sea
of burnished silver I knew were two black
specks representing Collie and Woolley, and I
only wished I were with them. Altogether it
was an ideal hunting-ground for a person of
lazy habits and artistic leanings, as the walking
was easy and you could not break your neck if
you tried. It struck me it would make a splendid preserve for some Trust magnate or wealthy
stockbroker, or other of those favoured mortals
who seem destined, by the decrees of an all-wise
Providence, to rule the world in these later days.
My only doubt was whether there was anything
to shoot, as ten minutes' careful spying failed to
reveal  any  trace  of bighorn;   and Peyto   pre-
lr 1
' i
\\\ \
il 1 I
sently left us to hunt on his own account round
the base of Peak Wilcox. Half-an-hour was
next spent in stoning a covey of ptarmigan, out
of which we bagged two and a half brace. My
scepticism as to the existence of sheep was deepening every minute, when suddenly my unbelief
was cured by the sight of quite fresh tracks,
and a few minutes later we saw the animals that
made them.
" The bighorn is a grand beast. A full-grown
ram will occasionally scale over 250 lb. ; and his
long legs, smooth tawny coat—of hair, not wool
—and graceful carriage are suggestive much
more of an antelope than a sheep. There were
eighteen of them, mostly ewes and lambs, but I
made out some rams with fairly good heads. It
was now past midday, and the sheep presently
settled down for their noontide siesta ; but the
ground was too open for a stalk, so we lay there
watching them for about two hours. The ewes
reposed on the rocks, occasionally rising to see
if the coast was clear, while the lambs gambolled
around them. Their proceedings were much
more decorous than those of chamois on similar
occasions, and there was none of that mad
skipping and jumping about in which the little
antelope of the Alps indulges.    The time passed
quickly enough, for I know nothing more delightful than watching game among great
mountains, preparatory to a stalk.
" At last the sheep got up and went off, and
Nigel was for following them at once ; but,
remembering how in chamois-hunting the old
doe sentinel of the herd always pops up when
you least expect her and spoils your stalk, I
waited a little. Sure enough, in five minutes
the head of an old ewe appeared over a rock, and
she had a good look round to see if the coast
was clear. We gave them another hour, and then
followed them up an open valley towards a lake
that lay at the foot of a high snow-clad peak,
of which Nigel is now the eponymous hero, and
found them browsing on a grassy knoll sloping
down to the water's edge. It was now past four
o'clock, so I decided to attempt a stalk, leaving
Nigel to watch the sheep and signal to me if
they shifted their position. Making a long
détour I came across two more sheep, and
stalked them—luckily, as it turned out—without success. They either winded or saw me,
and made off at top speed. Meanwhile the
main herd must have seen me, as they again
moved on past the lake and up a valley. Hoping to cut them off, I scrambled up the stony
H 1
hillside as fast as my legs would carry me, and,
after a long crawl over some horribly sharp
stones, managed to get within range. There
were now two herds, browsing peacefully in a
hollow—the bulk of them about two hundred
yards off, and two rams with heads that made
my mouth water seventy or eighty yards farther.
I longed to have a shot at the latter, but, remembering that we were out, not for pleasure
but for meat, I resisted the temptation.
I Shooting for the pot has an interest of its
own which the man who kills only for sport can
never know. I don't suffer from 'buck fever'
as a rule, but, knowing how much depended on
the shot, I felt horribly nervous. There would
be winged words flying round the camp that
evening if I missed, and, worse than that, it
would mean the failure of the trip. However,
the first shot struck the nearest bighorn, and
in the ensuing skedaddle I wounded three
others. Such slaughter was most regrettable,
but the circumstances in which we were placed
left me no alternative. Following one of the
wounded sheep up the hill, I had fired my last
remaining cartridge at it and missed, when I
heard a rattle among the stones, and, looking
round, I saw behind a big boulder, two or three
yards off, a large ewe with her lamb. Whether
she had never seen a human being before, or was
scared out of her wits by the firing—she did not
seem to be wounded, and the other sheep were
wild enough—I cannot tell, but there she stood
stock still, looking at me out of her big, sad,
liquid eyes in a way that made me wish, for
the moment at any rate, that somebody else
had to act as 'mutton-murderer' for the outfit.
After we had looked at each other in this way
for a few minutes, I threw a pebble at them,
and they trotted off quite quietly.
" Nigel soon joined me, and with his revolver
I polished off two of the cripples, which we
gralloched ; but the approach of night compelled
us to leave the third dead sheep as he lay, and
make tracks homewards. It was past ten o'clock
when we reached camp, very hungry after a ten
hours' fast. Collie and Woolley had not returned, and our men were getting anxious,
though I explained to them that when they
got used to the ways of climbers they would
cease to feel alarmed when a party did not
turn up for dinner. None the less I was very
glad when the flicker of a lantern, like a
glow-worm through the wood, announced their
k 1
Altogether, this had been a red-letter day
for us. Those blessed bighorn had saved the
situation, for the present at any rate ; and the
geographical results obtained by Collie and
Woolley augured well for the success of the
expedition. Next morning we got up late,
and were having breakfast, when an exclamation
from Nigel made us look up ; and on the verge
of the perpendicular cliffs, some thousands of
feet above us, we distinctly saw the heads and
horns of four or five sheep, craning over the
precipice, and apparently wondering what manner of creatures they were that had thus rudely
disturbed them. During the rest of our journey
we never saw a single bighorn or goat, or any
description of large game except one bear.
Woolley and Collie rested that day after their
labours, while Peyto, Nigel, and Stutfield went
up to the lake and brought down the mutton ;
but in spite of a careful search they failed to find
the wounded bighorn. In the evening a conclave was held as to our next expedition. We
wanted, of course, to explore the newly discovered ice-field ; and Collie thought that by a
long day's work we might also ascend the great
mountain he had seen from Athabasca Peak—
which, it may here be mentioned, was subsequently christened Mount Columbia.
The following afternoon we shouldered our
packs, Roy and Nigel assisting, and bivouacked
as far up the right bank of the Athabasca Glacier
as possible. Roy and Nigel had never been on
a glacier before, so they came for a walk with us
on the ice, and were much interested by what
they saw. All night long a thunder-storm kept
growling, and the lightning played over the
summits of the mountains to the north. The
flying rack scudded across the face of the moon,
as we lay awake listening to the stones trickling
down the dirty ice-cliff below us, the loud
murmur of the torrents, now rising in volume,
now falling, with the varying gusts of wind, and
the occasional roar of an avalanche tumbling
down the sides of Athabasca Peak. We rose
at 1*30 a.m., and started by lantern-light up the
glacier. Dawn broke at length in a dark and
lowering sky. The glacier was easy enough to
begin with, but gradually the crevasses, growing
wider and more numerous, kept us dodging
about backwards and forwards without making
much progress, until we almost fancied we
were threading the ice-maze of the Col du
Géant. The Athabasca Glacier descends from
the upper snow-fields in three successive ice-
falls, the highest one being very much crevassed.
Through the mazes of this upper ice-fall we
slowly made our way, zigzagging between the
séracs, or ice-pinnacles, and innumerable crevasses. The latter were unsurpassably fine.
Huge chasms of immense depth yawned beneath
us on every side, branching out below into
mysterious caverns and long winding grottoes,
their sides tinged with that strangely beautiful
glacial blue, and festooned with enormous icicles.
We had been going nearly five hours when
we emerged on to the upper glacier, and the
wonders of that vast region of snow and ice
were unfolded to our view. To Stutfield it was
all new ; for neither the great glacier nor the
high peaks on its western side are visible from
Wilcox Pass or Wild Sheep Hills : and the
upper rim of the ice-fall was to him as the threshold of the unknown. We stood on the edge
of an immense ice-field, bigger than the biggest
in Switzerland—that is to say, than the Ewige
Schneefeld and the Aletsch Glacier combined—
which stretched mile upon mile before us like a
rolling snow-covered prairie. The peaks, we
noticed, were all a long way off, and sparser and
fewer in number than in the Alps, rising only
here and there like rocky islets from a frozen
sea.    Westwards the magnificent Finsteraarhorn-
118 Mount Columbia
Diadem Peaks from Wild Sheep Hills  THE  COLUMBIA  ICE-FIELD
like mountain (Mount Bryce) sent its three
peaks high into the air. North of it the goal of
our ambition, that great glacier-clad, wedge-
shaped peak, Mount Columbia, loomed grand
and mysterious through the still prevailing
smoke-haze. A double-headed mountain on the
north hid the high rock peak (afterwards named
by us Mount Alberta) which Collie, when on
the top of Athabasca Peak, thought might be
Mount Brown. The weather was very sultry,
and thunder was in the air ; for several hours we
tramped steadily on over the almost level icefield, but Mount Columbia proved to be much
further off than it looked. The ascent, we
saw, would be quite easy—merely a long snow-
grind — but we were still a long way even
from its base. The weather was very threatening — it was now past noon, and we had
already been going nine hours—so we decided
to give it up.
Before retracing our steps we halted awhile
for lunch and to take stock of our surroundings.
We were on the edge of a vast cirque, or amphitheatre, of frowning precipices, over which
masses of ice from the glacier on which we stood
were continually falling.    This amphitheatre is
formed by Mount Columbia and two fine peaks,
one rocky, the other snow-covered, which we
have called The Twins ; and it is here that the
western branch of the Athabasca River takes
its rise.
Meanwhile the thunder-clouds gathered, the
haze grew denser, and the peaks loomed dim and
ghostly through the pervading murkiness. Our
view was largely spoiled, but, as a compensation,
the sense of vastness and mystery was enhanced
—and in travelling through a new mountain
country the sense of mystery is everything.
The spell that once was upon the Alps has been
broken ; the illusion and the mystery that formerly enshrouded them have departed, never to
return ; and with the illusion has gone much of
the awe and reverence they used to inspire. Far
otherwise is it with the wayfarer through unsur-
veyed and untrodden lands or mountains. He
feels, as he never felt before, the silence and the
solitude of the everlasting hills. Expectation is
for ever on the alert at each new point of vantage gained ; and, as the climber presses upwards
towards some untrodden peak or pass, there is a
quite absorbing fascination in wondering what
there is on the other side. One of our party, by
the way, who shall be nameless, made an observation somewhat to this effect to an American
widow one day, and she replied, with a fascinating sigh, " Ah ! yes, life mostly consists of that
—wondering what there is on the other side."
And she was alluding to things temporal, rather
than eternal !
But to return to our muttons. To the eastward of where we stood, and almost on our way
home, rose a great white dome, and we determined to ascend it. After a hot and very tiring
climb through snow that broke under our feet
at every step, we finally reached the summit at
3*15 p.m. We have named this peak The Dome
(11,650 feet). Another peak to the north Collie
named Peak Douglas, after the botanist David
Douglas who discovered Mount Hooker and
Mount Brown. The Dome is not a very striking
mountain in itself, but hydrographically regarded
it is of great interest. Viewed in this light it is
the apex, as it were, of the Rocky Mountain
Range, for the meltings of its snows descend into
three great river-systems, flowing into three
different oceans—to the Columbia and thence to
the Pacific ; to Hudson's Bay via the Saskatchewan ; and by the Athabasca to the Arctic Ocean.
The thunder-clouds were now gathering thick
on the high mountains, so we ran down the snow,
as fast as the hidden crevasses permitted, to the
head of the Athabasca ice-fall. The storm burst
before we got off the glacier, and we reached
camp at nightfall drenched to the skin.
From what we had seen during the day,
Collie's idea—that the great snow-clad peak
(Columbia) and the imposing rock peak further
to the north (Mount Alberta) were respectively
the two lost giants, Brown and Hooker—did not
receive any support, and we were more mystified
than ever. As far as could be made out, there
was no pass leading westwards between these
two mountains ; and the western branch of the
Athabasca River, whose source lay at the foot of
these peaks, was hemmed in on all sides by the
loftiest peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Moreover, Stutfield, while hunting on Wild Sheep
Hills next day, had an unusually clear view of
the mountains to the north, and made a rough
but careful sketch of them ; and the result of his
observations seemed to be that there was no pass
between any of the peaks near the supposed
Brown and Hooker by which any animal less
active than a goat could cross. The solution of
the problem was, in fact, as far off as ever.
During the next two days we took things fairly
easy, while we debated what our next move was
to  be.     On the  23rd Woolley climbed  Peak
Wilcox (about 10,000 feet) with his camera, but
the haze interfered seriously with photographing.
Collie walked down the valley and ascended a
range of hills which gave him a good view of
Saskatchewan Peak and Glacier.    The men spent
their time usefully in making pemmican, or dried
meat, out of our surplus stock of mutton, which
was none too large.    Stutfield, in the vain hope
of adding to it, went hunting round the lower
slopes of Athabasca Peak.    At the foot of the
great mountain he found  a  beautiful   lake  of
emerald green, nestling in the woods :  on the
benches of grass above timber-line were numerous
old game trails, now disused and overgrown with
grass,  but  of remarkable   depth,  showing  the
quantities of game that must  have existed   in
former  days.     Innumerable  small gophers, or
rock rabbits, were sitting on stones outside their
holes. These conies are of different kinds, and,
like those of Holy Writ, they have their habitation in the rocks. One of them, a queer little
tailless fellow, with long ears and nose, is very
tame and emits a strange squeaking noise like an
old-fashioned bicycle alarm. Marmots are as
common as in the Alps, but they are smaller as a
rule—though there is one large handsome variety,
which is almost as red as a fox—and their whistle
is less shrill and ear-piercing. A big, heavily
built ground-squirrel is found in the woods, and
in the brushwood above timber-line, with his
smaller brother gophers and chipmunks.
As a result of our deliberations we decided
to move half the outfit over Wilcox Pass down
into the main valley of the Athabasca in order,
if possible, to find the Athabasca Pass and the
lost Punch Bowl. We imagined they might be
only two or three days' journey distant : now we
know that it would have taken us at least a
fortnight to get there.
On August  24th,  we  started with  a   few
horses and a couple of small tents, leaving poor
Roy Douglas alone to look after the remainder
of the  camp.     Across the watershed a rapid
descent took us down to the eastern Athabasca
or Sun Wapta. The hill-sides in the wood were
so steep in places that the horses were continually slipping and sliding down on their
haunches ; and the packs, though light, were
frequently dislodged. The Athabasca, like so
many of the rivers in this district, has filled the
bottom of the valley with an ugly bare shingle-
flat, which, however, we found very convenient
for travelling purposes. The general features of
the scenery were less attractive than those of the
charming vale we had just left, though the
mountains were   on a  bigger scale here,  and
O© '
Athabasca Peak nobly filled the head of the
glen. We had hoped to find some lateral valley
by which we could reach the foot of Mount
Columbia or Alberta ; but the mountains fall on
their eastern face in a continual line of precipices,
intersected only at places by quite impassable
ice-falls. Accordingly, after a long day's march,
during which we descended the bed of the river
for some miles, we camped at the mouth of a
gorge, down which a good-sized creek tumbled
in a picturesque cascade. Our men, ever hungering after gold, spent the next morning prospecting, finding a little black sand and some
quartz that showed a few traces.
In the afternoon we made preparations for a
bivouac, with a view to climbing some peak of the
main range to the west.    It was thought that a
horse might be requisitioned to carry our provisions and sleeping-bags up the canyon, as the
elevation of our camp was only 5600 feet ; but
the suggestion evoked  such  strong opposition
(and language) from Peyto that it was promptly
abandoned, and we had to make beasts of burden
of ourselves and him.    The creek issues from a
glacier descending from a group of mountains
lying between two branches of the Athabasca
River.    This group has three principal summits,
of which the northernmost (Diadem we called it)
is the curious snow-crowned peak we had seen
from   Wild   Sheep   Hills.     The   central   and
highest   summit was   subsequently named   by
Collie after Woolley, and the third after Stutfield.    These two  last  mountains  appeared to
have been conducting  themselves   in   a most
erratic manner in bygone ages.    A tremendous
rock-fall had evidently taken place from their
ugly bare limestone cliffs ; and the whole valley,
nearly half a mile wide, was covered to a depth
of some hundreds  of feet  with  boulders  and
débris.     What had happened,  apparently,  was
this.    The immense amount of rock that had
fallen on the glacier below Peak Stutfield had
t «w Gorge in Sun Wapta Valley
From the Slopes of Diadem Peak (Looking South)  THE  ASCENT  OF DIADEM
prevented the ice from melting. Consequently
the glacier, filling up the valley to a depth of at
least two hundred feet, had moved bodily down ;
and its snout, a couple of hundred feet high,
covered with blocks of stone the size of small
houses, was playing havoc with the pine-woods
before it and on either side. In our united experiences, extending over the Alps, the Caucasus,
the Himalaya, and other mountain ranges, we
had never seen indications of a landslide on so
colossal a scale.1
We selected a spot for our bivouac at the
foot of the Diadem glacier, and slept soundly
on our beds of heather and pine twigs till we
were woke by the rain pattering down on our
sleeping-bags. The weather had changed for
the worse, and the pale, sickly light of a most
unpromising dawn had overspread the sky when
we left the sleeping-place, with the intention
of climbing Mount Woolley. Our idea was
to ascend a steep glacier by means of a somewhat formidable ice-fall that descended between
Mount Woolley and Diadem. AU went well
as far as the foot of the ice-fall, when a black
thunder-cloud that had been gathering over
Mount  Columbia burst, and heavy rain drove
1 The remains of a similar landslide were afterwards noticed
blocking the outlet to Moraine Lake in Desolation Valley.
1 \w fr
us to seek the shelter of a friendly rock. In
five minutes it cleared ; but the brief delay was
possibly our salvation. We were just putting
on the rope to ascend the ice-fall, when, with
a roar and a clatter, some tons of ice that had
broken off near the summit came tumbling down,
splintering into fragments in their descent. We
took the friendly hint, and left that ice-fall alone.
The only alternative peak was Diadem, so we
turned aside and began climbing its face.
At first we had to make our way up slopes
of loose shale and ice, and we kept fairly near
the arête to avoid falling stones. This involved us in a scramble up some rather diverting rock chimneys ; after which a sort of
miniature rock-rib gave us safety from stones,
and we followed it up to the summit. The
rocks were very steep in places, and, as usual,
terribly insecure and splintered, and one had
to be very careful. The " diadem ' of snow
proved to be about a hundred feet high, set
on the nearly flat top of the rocks. From the
summit a wonderful panorama burst upon us,
in spite of the murky atmosphere. Standing
as we were, near the Great Divide, we looked
down on a marvellous complexity of peak and
glacier, of low-lying valley, shaggy forest, and
shining stream, with here and there a blue
lake nestling in the recesses of the hills. Quite
close, as it seemed, the overpowering mass of
the supposed Mount Brown (Alberta), towered
frowning many hundreds of feet above us. It
is a superb peak, like a gigantic castle in shape,
with terrific black cliffs falling sheer on three
sides. A great wall of dark thunder-cloud
loomed up over its summit ; and there was a
sublime aloofness, an air of grim inaccessibility,
about it that was most impressive. To the
west we could dimly discern the outline of
another high peak, with a large grey cloud
floating like a canopy over it. Northwards
the mountains were all much lower ; and it
was evident that the Columbia group formed
the culmination of, at any rate, this region of
the Rockies. In these northern districts the
landscape, as was to be expected, presented a
sterner and more forbidding aspect : indeed,
the softer and more homely features of Alpine
scenery were everywhere absent from these
higher valleys of the western Athabasca. One
missed the tiny green pastures dotted about
with brown chalets, the terraced cornfields and
vineyards ; and the familiar tinkle of the cowbells would  have sounded more musical than
129 1
j 1
'1    '
! t
ever in our ears, for, as Mr. Leslie Stephen
observes in " The Playground of Europe," these
evidences of civilisation tend to improve rather
than spoil mountain scenery.
It was bitterly cold on the top, but we
stopped some time to enable Collie to make
his plane - table survey and read the patent
mercurial barometer, which gave the height as
11,500 feet. All day long there had been a
growling of distant thunder in the west, and
as we turned to go down the storm burst
upon us with a vengeance. It grew very
dark ; a white driving scud of sleet and hail
swept by on the whistling wind, making our
ears and faces tingle. The thunder rattled and
roared in grand style among the crags ; the air
was aboil with eddying twisting vapours ; and the
lightning leaping, as it were, from peak to peak,
zigzagged merrily athwart the sky. More than
once we were constrained to stop and take
shelter from the drift and sweep of the storm,
throwing aside our ice-axes for fear of the lightning, which seemed to be playing all round us.
We took the easiest way down the face, taking
chances with falling stones ; and it was with a
feeling of relief that we ultimately got on to
the glacier below.    In the woods another bad
storm struck us, with hailstones as big as —
well, of the usual travellers' size—anyhow they
hurt very much when they hit you, and again
we ran down into camp like three drowned
rats. During the night there were more thunder-storms—we had five in twenty-four hours—
and the drippings from our leaky tent soaked
our already damp sleeping-bags ; but we slept
soundly through it all.
It was a dreary spectacle that greeted us
next morning as we looked out on the ugly
grey shingle-flat, the wet camp, and dripping
woods and muskegs, and the hill-sides covered
with mist. There was nothing to be gained
by pushing further into these inhospitable wilds,
even supposing we had had the time or provisions to do it ; so the wet tents were struck,
and we returned over Wilcox Pass. Our provisions were again getting very low, so Stutfield
left the outfit at the summit of the pass and
climbed Wild Sheep Hills in search of bighorn.
There was not a sheep to be seen anywhere ;
and from the hill-tops he looked down northwards on a scene of the most extraordinary
desolation. Not a tree or trace of vegetation
was visible — nothing but mountains of naked
rock and shale, alternating with patches of snow
and ice, and one small lake. What was most
curious, however, was the varied colour of these
mountains, which were striped in places like a
blanket, and splashed, as it were, with all the
hues of the rainbow—an almost exact counterpart of the multi-coloured clays that adorn the
sides of the Yellowstone Canyon.
We found everything right in the camp
below, and Roy, as may be imagined, was
delighted to see us back. The commissariat
question was again becoming pressing, as some
of the mutton had gone bad in our absence, so
we decided to make tracks homewards without
further delay. In the hope of restocking the
larder, Peyto and Stutfield took their rifles and,
mounting their horses, cantered on ahead of the
outfit down the valley. Arriving at the junction
of the streams, they rode up the one which
descends from the pass over into the Brazeau
Valley. On the way they found a considerable
tract of forest on fire, the charred tree-trunks
and half-consumed foliage presenting a curious
patchwork of green and black, while the peaty
earth was still smouldering and emitting volumes
of smoke. It appeared that two of our men had
left the outfit to go " hunting '  on the way up ;
and, having shot a fool-hen, they had carelessly
omitted to perform the first duty of every backwoodsman—namely, thoroughly to extinguish
the embers. Had it not rained heavily during
the previous week we should probably have
found the whole valley ablaze, and our retreat,
perhaps, down the Saskatchewan cut off, which
would have been a cheerful prospect for a party
with next to nothing to eat.
The frequent, and often wanton, destruction
of the forests in the Canadian Rockies by fire
is most deplorable. Sometimes they are set
alight on purpose by prospectors in order to clear
the ground, but nine times out of ten the fires
are the result of sheer carelessness. There are
severe penalties attaching to the offence, but, as
evidence is very difficult to obtain, convictions
are extremely rare. The result is that the
scenery is spoiled, men's lives endangered, much
fine timber wasted, and trails rendered almost
useless for years to come.
After putting out the fire as well as they
could, Peyto and Stutfield pushed on to the
summit of the pass. Tethering the horses a
little lower down, they descended on foot some
distance along the stream of the upper Brazeau,
which here flows through a pleasant valley, with
low rounded hills, prettily wooded, on either side,
somewhat resembling parts of North Wales.
Not much appears to be known about this district, but it is said to abound in game—the
hunting would be even easier than on Wild
Sheep Hills—and the streams are full of trout.
Stutfield and Peyto saw a good many sheep
tracks, but no game ; and returned to camp
empty-handed, and once more soaked to the
skin by a heavy thunder-shower.
Next morning was gloriously fine, and, as
the camp was pitched near the junction of the
streams, we had a last splendid view of Athabasca
Peak up the western branch. We made a forced
day's march down the North Fork of the Saskatchewan, so as to reach our cache of provisions at
Bear Creek as soon as possible. The tents were
pitched in a most undesirable spot, among a
cluster of burned trees on the verge of falling,
some of them being so rickety that a push of
the hand sent them over. It was a good thing
for us that the wind did not start blowing that
night. We were now on very short commons,
having no fresh meat and very little bread. The
poor dogs were absolutely starving, and we had
to keep a sharp look-out to prevent them from
stealing our scanty remnants of food. We had
a few scraps of biltong, or dried meat, left which
we sucked when very hungry. It is very sustaining but highly indigestible, and in appearance
the reverse of appetising. When the first morsel
was put before us on a plate we thought that
that mad wag, Byers, was serving the outfit with
the uppers of Peyto's boots, which had recently
shown signs of disintegration. The biltong
keeps wonderfully well; and some pieces that
we have preserved as a memento are still, after
a lapse of nearly five years, perfectly fresh.
It rained all next day, and we had perforce
to remain where we were, chewing the cud of
disappointed anticipation. There was one sardine left, and two anchovies ; and we reserved
three small crusts for breakfast on the morrow.
Luckily the morning broke fine, and we pushed
on as hard as we could down the left bank of
the river, hustling the cayooses for all we were
worth. As a result, this was the longest day's
march we ever accomplished, and we passed no
fewer than five camps that we had made on the
other side when ascending the valley. Arriving
at the main stream of the Saskatchewan, we
forded it without much trouble below the mouth
of the North Fork, the cold weather having
greatly reduced the volume of water. Bear
Creek offered no difficulty.    As we neared the
IS 5
| 1
i»      1
cache we naturally felt somewhat nervous about
our provisions; and Collie tried to alarm the
party by drawing lurid pictures of a band of
Indians gorged with our bacon and roaring
drunk on our whisky ; but we found everything
just as we had left it. Probably no one had
passed that way during our absence. In any
case, provisions are very rarely stolen from
caches, as the enormity of the offence is generally recognised. In former days the penalty
was death ; and even now it is very severe.
That evening we feasted on bacon, dried
apricots, and other delicacies that we had been
talking about for some time past. In civilised
countries it is not the custom to spend a large
portion of the day thinking and often talking
about food. But, given an individual with a
good healthy appetite, and an insufficient supply
of edible material to satisfy that appetite, an
interesting exhibition will ensue of how the
body can tyrannise over the mind. A natural
result followed after we had had our first
" good square meal " : we did not move the
camp for two days. By way of passing the
time, and to supply the larder, the next afternoon we prowled singly through the woods after
fool-hen.    The total bag amounted to five brace.
136 hi
i ri
The woods surrounding the camping-ground
at Bear Creek are exceptionally fine—for the
eastern side of the Rockies—and some of the
trees are of great height. One wants to be
alone to fully appreciate the mystery and the
utter solitude of these great forests. It is less
agreeable, doubtless, to be by oneself; but the
impressions created are deeper and more enduring. It is then that is borne in upon you
the silence and the immensity of an African
desert, the utter loneliness of the Canadian backwoods, or the solemnity of the great mountain
peaks. In the Rockies the scarcity of bird and
animal fife serves to intensify the sense of solitude ; and the traveller may walk for hours
without hearing a sound except the roar of some
distant avalanche or torrent, the soughing of the
wind in the tall pines, and the creaking of their
gigantic limbs. Imagination, too, plays strange
pranks at times, as the stray sunbeams dance on
the green moss, and the play of light and shade
caused by the swaying branches peoples the
dark recesses with phantom shapes and figures
that are curiously life-like and distinct. You
could fancy there were elves and fairies in those
long glades dappled with alternate sunlight and
shadow,  kelpies in the   foam   of  the rushing
torrents, or that goblins haunted the cavernous
tree-trunks. However, the whirr of a fool-hen's
wings, as he rises from the ground and perches
on a bough, so as to enable you to knock him
over with a stick, is sufficient to dispel these
reveries ; and you promptly devote yourself to
the more serious business of securing him for
Next morning, Friday the 2nd September,
we attempted to ascend Mount Murchison.
After a very bad hour with the logs in the
wood, we got out into the open above the trees ;
but the weather gave us little encouragement.
A tiring shale-slope led up to steep rocks which
afforded some interesting scrambles, Woolley
manipulating a big stone jammed in a rock
chimney with much skill. We halted for lunch
on the arête at a height of about 9000 feet.
It was snowing steadily, and the mountains were
enveloped in mist, so we had no view to speak
of; but below us two remarkable phenomena
attracted our attention. The first was a tall
column of rock that had become detached from
the cliff, forming a slender pillar four or ûve
hundred feet in height, and tapering towards
the summit and base. Much more extraordinary, however, was a group of rocks, consisting,
as it seemed, of petrified stems of pine-trees
that had been broken off about a foot from the
ground, with numerous fossilised remains around
their base. It has been suggested, however,
that they are not trees at all, but the remains
of some gigantic prehistoric sea-weed. In any
case, whatever they are, their existence at so
great a height above sea-level, and in so excellent a state of preservation, must be accounted
very remarkable ; and we could wish that they
might be visited and examined by some geologist competent to give a thorough account of
We remained some time on the arête in the
hope that the weather might improve, but the
snow and fog grew worse and worse, so the
climb was abandoned and we returned to camp.
J39 I
The following day we pushed on, in cloudy
weather, up Bear Creek valley towards the
Bow Pass, camping on the shores of the beautiful Waterfowl Lake, at the foot of the grand
cliffs of Pyramid and Howse Peak, which fall
a sheer 5000 feet into the valley. On the
Sunday (again our unlucky day) we were overtaken high up in the woods by violent hailstorms, followed by heavy snow, in which we
lost the trail. After wandering about hopelessly
among the burnt timber for some time we
camped in a cold, slushy, miserable spot at the
edge of a muskeg. Woolley sarcastically inquired if this was a specimen of the Canadian
Indian summer, of whose charms we had been
hearing so much ; and we asked Byers if he could
make us a plum-pudding for supper. We had
a bitterly cold night, with hard frost, but the
morning was brilliantly fine and the sun shone
forth in a cloudless sky.    Ice-crystals sparkled
on every leaf and twig; the pails and buckets
were all frozen hard; and Byers, the unfailing
humorist, asked for time to thaw his socks
before he could put them on and give us our
breakfast. At the summit of Bow Pass we
left the outfit, and, ascending a hill on our
right, had a glorious view of Mount Murchison,
Pyramid, and the Waputehk Mountains. From
the shores of Bow Lake, which formed our
camping-ground that evening, we had the last
climb of the trip.
We got up early next morning, only to
find a dog engaged in devouring our last loaf,
on which we were relying to provide us with
breakfast and provisions for the climb. Following the northern shore of the lake, as on the
ascent of Mount Gordon the previous year, we
passed the mouth of a remarkable gorge, with
a big jammed stone forming a natural bridge,
and reached the foot of the Bow Glacier. The
ice-fall proved troublesome, and four or five
razor-edged arêtes, connected by rickety ice-
bridges, gave us some rather ticklish work.
They did not last long, however, and soon we
were on the névé of the Waputehk Glacier.
We had no definite peak in our minds when
we started, but we  now decided on one that
lies just to the north of the ice-fall.    It was
J i il
quite easy, but, as the slopes of the mountain
consisted of loose stones covered with a layer
of fresh powdery snow a foot and a half thick,
there was a very fair chance of breaking a leg
or spraining an ankle, and the ascent was frightfully laborious. The summit is 10,700 feet
high, and Collie named it Thompson Peak*
after Mr. C. Thompson. The recent rains had
put out all the forest fires, and the air was
beautifully clear, so for the first time during
the trip we enjoyed an uninterrupted view. On
every side, far as the eye could reach, the mountain world stretched. Taken individually, there
are finer peaks to be seen elsewhere; what
impresses one in the Canadian Rockies is the
sense of their seemingly endless continuity.
Beginning southwards in this wonderful panorama, the first to catch the eye was Mount
Assiniboine, the highest and finest summit south
of the railway ; next on the right rose Mount
Temple and the Laggan group ; the Ottertail
Mountains, and a collection of unknown peaks ;
the Selkirks, with Mount Sir Donald, seventy
miles distant ; the Gold Range ; next, and much
nearer, Mount Mummery and the Freshfield
group ; Mount Forbes towering above all competitors ; the triple-peaked Mount Lyell partially
142 Fossil Forest
obscuring Columbia and Bryce ; Peak Wilson
and the Murchison group; then the Slate
Range, with innumerable minor summits ; while
over all was a cloudless sky of more than Italian
Having no meat to speak of left, we had
been living practically on bread and porridge ;
and now, with the aid of the thievish dog, these
were finished. Byers, anxious to find something
to try his hand on, was seen casting wolfish eyes
on Molly's little foal, who was looking nice and
plump in spite of his long journey ; and it was
a miserable meal that he set before us that
evening. Collie improved the occasion by a
short but impressive discourse on the chemical
and nutritive properties of the scanty viands at
our disposal ; while Stutfield asked what amount
of albuminous nitrogen, or nitrogenous albumen
(he wasn't sure, and didn't much care, which)
there might be in a fool-hen's leg, which, he
ruefully observed, was all the grub he seemed
likely to get for supper.
Our short commons lasted till next evening,
when we caught some nice trout in the Bow
River. We were lucky to find them on the
feed, as these Rocky Mountain trout are very
capricious and often refuse to be tempted by
ll I
any lure. Friday, the 9th September, was our
last morning in camp. It afforded us a little
mild excitement in the shape of a black bear,
which was sighted on a hill across the river.
Peyto and Stutfield at once saddled their horses,
forded the river, and went in pursuit. The
latter, hoping to stalk the bear from above,
went straight up the face of the hill, keeping
closely concealed in the brushwood, while Peyto,
with his dog, made a détour to the right. A puff
of wind must have given the bear their wind,
as the people in camp saw him make off to the
left, passing quite close to Stutfield in the dense
thicket ; then climb the hill, and gallop over a
ridge some 8000 feet high. Stutfield, blissfully
unconscious of what was going on, crept cautiously forward, only to find that the expected
quarry had taken his departure.
Our troubles were not yet over, as the burned
timber in the woods above Laggan was worse
than anything we had hitherto experienced.
Woolley, taking his big camera, had gone off
while the bear-hunt was in progress. Hoping
to strike the trail further on, he plunged into
the woods in search of photographs, but had a
very bad time of it before he got out.    Collie
and Stutfield also went ahead of the caravan
and lost the trail. The tangle of fallen timber was something extraordinary. There were
places where we walked for hundreds of yards
on logs several feet from the ground, and we
wondered when we should ever extricate ourselves. Nevertheless, our woes were nothing to
those of poor Woolley, who had left the trail
much further from home, and, cumbered with his
heavy photographic apparatus, stumbled about
among the logs until he was almost fagged out.
However, the distant scream of a Canadian
Pacific Railway locomotive at last told us that
we were approaching the haunts of men ; and
at five o'clock we found ourselves once more at
Laggan railway station. The remainder of the
outfit arrived an hour later, the men looking
like chimney-sweeps after their battle with the
burnt timber, and it was a marvel how they
had managed to get through so quickly.
At Laggan we bade a last farewell to our
tents and horses, and returned to hotel life once
more at Banff. Two days later we separated,
Collie being obliged to return immediately to
England, while Woolley started off on a short
tour to Vancouver and the Pacific. Stutfield,
loth to quit the mountains, and wishing to
see something of the Selkirks, went to Glacier
145 K
1 ' ^1
1 'II
Hft 1
11 Hi'llr
'1 '■
House and stayed there a week. The charms
of this defightful little Canadian Pacific
Railway hostel and its neighbourhood have
been written of at length by Mr. Wilcox
and others, so a detailed description is unnecessary. The hotel stands at the narrow
entrance of a curious deep bay in the hills;
and few more striking effects can be seen
anywhere than when, as the train emerges
from the long dark snow-sheds—or, if the
traveller is east-bound, after creeping round
those wonderful loops in the line, and over
the spider-legged trestle - bridges — the Great
Glacier bursts into view, gleaming white amid
the pines, with the splendid crags of Mount
Sir Donald frowning down upon you.
When Stutfield arrived, however, he found
other and more pressing matters than the
scenery to occupy his attention. The tracks
of an enormous grizzly and her two cubs had
just been discovered on the trail leading to
the Asulkan Glacier, less than an hour's walk
from the hotel. They had been made that
morning or during the night, and were of
quite remarkable size. One reads in the older
travel-books  of grizzlies' foot-prints  almost as
long   as   a   man's   fore-arm ;    and   the   com-
parison is hardly an exaggerated one. We
carefully measured the marks with a piece of
string, which unfortunately got lost; but they
were certainly well over a foot in length, and
broad in proportion.1 Much more extraordinary than their mere size, however, was the
juxtaposition, in a patch of soft mud, of two
tracks that offered a most curious contrast.
Side by side, only a few inches apart, were
the huge grizzly's spoor and the tiny imprint
of a lady's smart Parisian shoe ! The wearer
of the shoe, a lady who is a frequent visitor at
the Glacier House, had passed along the trail
the preceding afternoon on a walk through the
valley, and ursus horribilis must have followed
a few hours later.
We followed the tracks some way down
the banks of the stream, until we lost them
in the forest. Three days were spent in a
hunt after the grizzly, fish and meat being
hung on the trees for bait, but not a sign
of it could be discovered. A couple of days
later a very large bear, measuring nine feet
from snout to tail, was shot with her two
cubs near Rogers' Pass, three miles up the rail-
1 Authentic measurements of a griffidy's paw given in "Big
Game Shooting " (Badminton Library Series) are—length of hind-
foot, 18 inches ; breadth of fore-foot, 12 inches.
way; and, as the tracks we had seen headed
in that direction, this was no doubt the same
beast. Bears, black, brown, and grizzly, are
by no means uncommon in the Selkirks ; but
hunting for them in those vast, dense, and
trackless forests is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. The Canadian
Pacific Railway section men often see them
crossing the railway ; and in winter they are
occasionally shot from the windows of the
hotel. They told us at Glacier of a funny
adventure which befell two girls belonging to
a party of " Christian Adventurers ' who were
making a tour through the country. Being
greatly daring spirits, they had borrowed ice-
axes from the hotel and gone for a walk
alone up the Illecillewaet ice-fall. Descending towards evening, they were about to leave
the glacier by the only feasible way off the
ice, when, to their horror, they saw an old
she-grizzly and her cub on the moraine just
in front of them. Not daring to advance,
they remained on the glacier till near midnight, when they were rescued by a search-
party from the hotel. The ferocity of grizzly
bears in these later days is nothing like what
is represented in the  older   books   on Rocky
Mountain sport. Experience, probably, has
taught them that their teeth and claws are
no match for modern repeating rifles. Unless
surprised at close quarters with their cubs, or
when feeding on a carcase, they will very
seldom attack a man: and in the Yellowstone
Park, where Stutfield saw them in considerable
numbers, they appear to be more shy even
than the deer, and vanish the moment they
catch sight of their human foes.
The splendours of the forest and valley
scenery in the Selkirks must be seen to be
realised. A humid climate and a heavy rainfall have clothed their sides with far nobler
trees and a much more luxuriant vegetation
than exists on the eastern slopes of the
Rockies. They are seen at their best late in
the season, when the Indian summer is at
hand and the breath of autumn on the
woods, and the somewhat garish gold of the
maples, mingling with the deep russet of the
rowans and the brilliant green of the thick
mosses and ferns, forms a striking contrast to
the sombre-hued masses of pines and cedars.
A curious feature of the landscape in the
Selkirks   is   that   the   higher   you   climb   the
less beautiful or imposing it becomes.    True,
149 j
the glaciers are of immense extent ; but the
peaks, with the exception of Mount Sir
Donald and a few others, are not particularly striking, and the ordinary tourist has
the best view of them from Glacier House,
or from the windows of his railway carriage
as the train, clinging to the precipitous sides
of the deep gorges, creeps slowly round the
vast rock buttresses and promontories of the
mountain ranges. The real charm of the
country lies in its supremely lovely woods
and valleys ; and of these last the most
beautiful, perhaps, is that of the Asulkan.
Beyond the mountain - crests which rim the
view from the bottom of this valley are
vast glaciers whose meltings descend in innumerable cascades flashing, jewel-like, amid
the brilliant foliage. Owing to their brilliance
of colouring the Selkirk forests, in spite of
their vastness, are more cheerful than those
o£ the Rockies ; and bird and animal life is
more abundant.
The bear-hunting having proved a failure,
Stutfield, before leaving, had a solitary ramble
by an unorthodox route up Eagle Peak, the
mountain immediately facing the Glacier House.
The summit (9400 feet) affords a magnificent
150 N
view of Sir Donald, with a curious rock-tower
in the foreground overhanging a precipice of
immense depth. Rashly essaying a short cut
down, he was forced to reascend a thousand feet,
with the result that night overtook him at the
edge of the forest. For six mortal hours, in
pitchy darkness, he crawled down nearly 3000
feet of steep, timber-choked mountain side,
reaching the hotel well after midnight. This
was the last climb of the season, and a few
days later he journeyed by easy stages to
After our return home we set to work to
clear up the question of Mounts Brown and
Hooker, and the origin of their apparently
undeserved notoriety. Again, and with greater
care, Collie looked up every reference he could
find that dealt with the Rocky Mountains of
Canada and British Columbia. At last he
discovered a reference in Bancroft's " History
of British Columbia" to the journal of David
Douglas the naturalist, which had been published, together with a variety of other matter,
in the Companion to the Botanical Magazine,
vol. ii. pp. 134-7, by Dr. W. T. Hooker.
The narrative deals with Douglas's journey
to the Rockies and over the Athabasca Pass.
■   1
He started from Vancouver on March 20th,
1827, and, travelling via the Kettle falls and
the Columbia River, reached Boat Encampment
(now called Big Bend) on April 27th, and the
summit of the Athabasca pass on May 1st at
ten o'clock in the morning. To quote his
journal : " Being well rested by one o'clock, I
set out with the view of ascending what seemed
to be the highest peak on the north. Its height
does not appear to be less than 16,000 or 17,000
feet above the level of the sea. After passing
over the lower ridge I came to about 1200
feet of by far the most difficult and fatiguing walking I have ever experienced, and the
utmost care was required to tread safely over
the crust of snow. A few mosses and lichens
are observable, but at an elevation of 4800 feet
(? 14,800 feet) vegetation no longer exists. The
view from the summit is of too awful a cast
to afford pleasure. Nothing can be seen, in
every direction far as the eye can reach, except
mountains towering above each other, rugged
beyond description. . . . The majestic but
terrible avalanches hurling themselves from the
more exposed southerly rocks produced a crash,
and groaned through the  distant valleys with
a sound only equalled by that of an earthquake.
152 î
Such scenes give a sense of the stupendous and
wonderful works of the Creator. This peak,
the highest yet known in the northern continent of America, I feel a sincere pleasure
in naming 'Mount Brown,' in honour of R.
Brown, Esq., the illustrious botanist. ... A
little to the southward is one nearly the same
height, rising into a sharper point ; this I named
Mount Hooker, in honour of my early patron,
the Professor of Botany in the university of
Glasgow. This mountain, however, I was not
able to climb. ' The Committee's Punch-Bowl '
is a small circular lake twenty yards in diameter,
with a small outlet on the west end, namely,
one of the branches of the Athabasca."
This, then, is the authentic account of the
discovery of Mount Brown and Mount Hooker ;
and to Professor Coleman belongs the credit of
having settled with accuracy their real height.
If Douglas climbed a 17,000 feet peak alone on
a May afternoon, when the snow must have
been pretty deep on the ground, all one can
say is that he must have been an uncommonly
active person. What, of course, he really did
was to ascend the Mount Brown of Professor
Coleman, which is about 9000 feet high. These
two fabulous Titans, therefore, which for nearly
seventy years have been masquerading as the
monarchs of the Canadian Rockies, must now be
finally deposed ; and Mounts Forbes, Columbia,
and Alberta, with Peak Robson, west of the
Yellowhead Pass, must reign in their stead.
Moreover, the peaks and glaciers around the
great Columbia ice-field, the scene of our wanderings in the summer of 1898, are entirely new
ground ; and, placed as they are, at the sources
of three of the largest rivers in the Dominion,
they probably constitute the culminating point
of the Canadian Rocky Mountain system.
From what we had seen in the course of our
climbs and investigations among the mountains
of the Columbia group, it was evident that the
finest and highest peaks lay well on the western side of the range ; and that their distance
from any base camp in the Saskatchewan or
the Athabasca valleys would render an ascent
of any of them an exceedingly long and arduous
undertaking. Mount Columbia might possibly
be climbed, if an easy way could be found through
the ice-fall of the Athabasca Glacier, from the
site of our permanent camp near Wilcox Pass ;
but Mounts Bryce and Alberta seemed quite
out of the question. The idea, therefore, occurred
to Stutfield of making another expedition next
year with the view of climbing these peaks from
their western side ; or, if that should prove impracticable, of at any rate seeing something of
the deep mysterious canyons and unexplored
mountain country lying between the main chain
of the Rockies and the Columbia River.   We
1 11
if \ E
had obtained a fair knowledge on our 1898 trip
of the eastern side and the centre of the range,
but to the west lay an entirely unknown region.
What, for instance, was there on the other side
of the Freshfield, the Lyell, and the Columbia
groups? Were there great glaciers and further
outlying mountains ? Did the valleys run
straight to the Columbia, or, like those on the
eastern side, he parallel with the range ? Were
the bottoms of these valleys underneath the high
mountains three, four, five, or even six thousand
feet above sea-level, like those on the opposite
side ? and were there any passes over which
an easy trail might be made? Some vague
knowledge of these western mountain fastnesses
had been acquired by Collie and Woolley from
the summit of Athabasca Peak. West of
Mount Forbes they had seen a high mountain
with glaciers on its flanks, and tipped with ice
and snow. South of Mount Bryce there seemed
to be also a gap in the range, darkened by dense
woods, that apparently led from the west branch
of the North Fork of the Saskatchewan, over
the divide, to the lonely valleys of the west.
Another high peak reared its head far into
the sky westward of Mount Columbia; and
the   immense   expanse   of  the   ice-field   be-
tween Mounts Columbia and Bryce was seen
gradually bending down westwards to a deep
green valley filled with pine-woods and trending in a southerly direction, whilst far away
over several ranges of lesser peaks we thought
we could see the valley of the Columbia running
north-westwards parallel with the mountains.
On his way back from Glacier House, therefore, Stutfield stayed at Donald and made inquiries as to the possibility of getting into the
mountains from the valley of the Columbia.
The information he gathered amounted to very
little, only serving to illustrate the extraordinary
ignorance that prevails concerning this region.
For instance, people at Banff, who ought to
have known better, stoutly maintained that
there was no trail at all down the Columbia
valley, whereas a good trail has always existed
since the days when Boat Encampment, situated at the Big Bend of the Columbia, was a
inining centre. While Stutfield was at Donald,
a prospector arrived, via the Athabasca Pass,
with a pack-team of eighteen horses, from Tête
Jaune Cache, a spot on the west of the Yellow-
head Pass much frequented by trappers and
prospectors in the olden days.     He said there
was a good trail down the Columbia all the way
Hi Il
to Big Bend, and a fair one for a short distance
up the left (south) bank of the Wood River.
Of the country lying up towards the mountains
he knew no more than any one else. All that
could be learned was that the difficulties of travel
would be far greater than on the eastern side—
the rivers and muskegs more formidable, and the
timber much denser—but this we knew before.
The existing maps gave us little information,
and that little afterwards proved to be mostly
wrong. It had been Stutfield's idea to ascend
the valley of the Wood River, up which he
knew a trail existed for some distance, and attack the mountains from the north-west ; but
Collie was of opinion that the Bush River,
supposing we could make a trail up it, would
offer an easier route. It would certainly be
much shorter in point of distance. Concerning
this valley only the vaguest and most meagre
details could be obtained. Tom Wilson of
Banff made some inquiries for us at Donald,
where he met a trapper who had been some
way up the Bush River eight years before, and
who seemed to be the only man with any knowledge of the valley. This trapper was of opinion
that the muskegs, the river, and the thick timber
would make it very difficult, if not impossible,
i58 m
for horses. Nor was this at all unlikely to be
the case, for Dr. Hector had found great
difficulty in forcing his horses down another
of these western valleys, that of the Blaeberry Creek: and the trails were a good deal
easier in his day. Wilson, also, had been
obliged to abandon all his horses in the Blaeberry, only recovering them a week later by
the aid of several men, who returned with
him and eventually cut them out of the thick
timber. In 1897, too, Baker and Collie had
entirely failed to make their way down the
same valley, and finally only escaped by
traversing a new and high pass to Field on
the  south.
To make a long story short, we finally
made up our minds to tempt fate on the
western side of the range, and the Bush
River route was the one decided on ; but it
was not till the summer of 1900 that the
expedition was undertaken. The 30th July of
that year saw us once more on the Canadian
Pacific Railway, en route from Banff to
Donald. Mr. Woolley did not accompany
us on this trip, being unable to spare the
time : in his place came Mr. Sydney Spencer
of  Bath,  an   old   climbing  comrade  of   Stut-
hM 1
field's in the Alps. As we sat on the hard
uncomfortable seats of the expectoration car—
we beg pardon, we mean " observation car " ; but
the former title is at least as appropriate—
we had glimpses of the scenes of some of our
former labours ; and, as the train crept down
the tremendously steep descent to Field, we
noted the change in the character of the
trees and vegetation with a lively sense of
trouble to come. At Golden the railway
emerges from the valley of the Kicking
Horse into that of the Columbia, which, flowing down a broad open strath, is navigable
almost to its source, a hundred miles away.
Lower down it enters a narrow rocky gorge
in the mountains ; and the impression left on
the traveller's mind, as he looks away from
the mountains towards the comparatively open
country to the south, is that the river is
flowing the wrong way. Golden is a place
of some size, and in former days was the
principal starting-point for the mining regions
of the Kootenay.
At Donald we found everything ready for
us, the horses and baggage having been conveyed   thither   by rail   at   immense   expense.
We   were   not   long   in   noticing   that   there
were several changes in the personnel of the
outfit. Bill Peyto was away serving his
country in South Africa; and his place was
taken by Fred Stephens, one of the best
fellows it has ever been our good fortune to
meet. The others were Charlie Bassett, axeman ; C. Black, cook, who was with Collie
and Baker in 1897 ; and one Alistair Mac-
Alpine, an amusing broth of a boy, who
persisted in asserting he was a Scotchman in
the richest brogue that ever cut the murky
atmosphere of Belfast. There were also many
new faces among the horses, but we recognised several old friends as well. The
steady and prudent Pinto, eulogised of Wilcox
and other travellers, the vivacious Girlie, old
Molly with her bell, but without a foal on
this occasion, and the gaunt and gallant Joe,
were all there ; but we looked in vain for the
fiery Buckskin, or the patient slow-moving
Denny ; while Collie's old grey, jam rude
donatus, had been relegated, they told us, to
light carriage-work between Laggan and the
Lake Louise chalet. Joe, it should here be
mentioned, has made two separate voyages
to  the  South African war  and back,   and is
still alive and flourishing.     On the whole, the
161 L
! 1M
1 I hi
horses looked a better and more level lot
than those of the 1898 outfit, and we were
glad to see that there were more of them.
The scenery at Donald, if not particularly
striking, is very charming, and, like the name
of the place, has a distinctly Highland flavour.
The surrounding hills are not of great height,
but they have a decided individuality and
boldness of form, while the predominance of
the silver birches on their sides and along the
banks of the smooth-flowing Columbia helps
to recall^memories of Scotland. The place
had undergone a sad change for the worse
since Stutfield's last visit, the Canadian Pacific
Railway people having removed their engine-
shops and works to Field, which is now the
repairing section for this part of the line : the
inhabitants had nearly all left, and remnants
of furniture, old tools, and other implements
were lying scattered round the now empty
Soon after noon everything was ready, and
the  outfit  got  under weigh.     Our  start  was
a   very   bad   one.      Bassett   was   essaying   to
mount   a   piebald   cayoose,   when   the   brute
reared  and  fell back  on  him,  inflicting   such
serious injuries  that  he had  to  be  sent  back
162 fil
to Banff, where he remained three weeks in
hospital. So we lost our best axeman, whose
services would afterwards have been invaluable
in the dense forests through which we had to
cut our way. Collie and Fred Stephens remained behind to put poor Bassett on the
east - bound train, giving instructions to one
of the conductors to look after him. The
rest of the outfit made a short day's march
along the Columbia trail, after telegraphing
to Banff for a substitute, who arrived late
that evening in camp in the person of one
Harry Lang. The trail does not follow the
banks of the Columbia, but ascends the valley
of the Blackwater Creek four or five miles to
the east. The reason of this is that just
below Donald the Columbia makes an abrupt
turn to the westward through a canyon made,
no doubt, long ago by the water finding a
weak spot in a low range of hills which runs
nearly parallel with the Columbia valley, dividing the latter from the glen of the Blackwater.
The trail led us along the eastern side of
this range, and, as it ultimately turned out,
we never saw the Columbia again till our
return to Donald.    Two creeks, the Waitabit
and the Bluewater, were passed  on the way ;
11 ■H
!    !
but the fact that the volume of water in them
was small and did not contain glacial débris
obviously meant that no great area of mountain country was drained by them ; also that
they either came from lakes, or had their rise
in the small foothills where no glaciers existed.
We camped that afternoon in a stately
grove of trees about ten miles from Donald.
It was our first introduction to the magnificent
forest scenery of this western region of the
Rockies, and in the evening we wandered forth
and gazed in admiration at the great cedars,
pines, poplars, spruces, cotton-wood trees, and
Douglas firs—some of them nearly two hundred
feet high, their branches hung with long beards
of grey, black, and yellow lichens—ranging and
for ever re-arranging themselves, as the evening
shadows fell, in long shadowy aisles and sylvan
corridors. It was a true temple of Nature that
we were in ; such an one, no doubt, as in olden
time is said to have inspired the builders of our
stately Gothic fanes with the ideas that led to
the new departure in architecture. Beside these
princes of the wood the tallest pines in the
Bow or Saskatchewan valleys were but as puny
saplings ; and the luxuriant undergrowth, mingling its brilliant hues with those of the silver
birches, hemlocks, and other smaller trees, lent
a richness and variety to the foliage such as we
had never before seen. Side by side with the
spectacle of vigorous growth, afforded by the
young trees and shrubs sprouting from the
damp earth, was that of decay — a mournful
array of fallen monarchs, sublime even in their
ruin—trunks of immense girth that lay slowly
rotting away, moss-grown masses of decomposing vegetation, whose life and sap had long
since gone forth to nourish their youthful successors.
It is hard to convey in words the impressions
left on one's mind by a journey through the
underworld of these great forests, where the
sunlight hardly penetrates and the massy leafage
forms a canopy overhead that screens all view
of the outside world. For days together we
journeyed without so much as catching a
glimpse of the surrounding mountains, and all
we could see of the sky was an occasional bit
of blue peeping through the narrow openings
here and there. At night-time, when there is
no moon, the darkness is tremendous ; even
when the moon is full its wan beams seem
powerless to dispel the gloom cast by the
heavy network  of   interlacing  boughs.    Then
1 I. !■
it  is that  the  air,  heavy  with the  scent   of
the pines, is filled with strange whisperings, as
though the genii  of the forest   were  holding
secret  converse  together;   and,  owing  to the
immense height of the trees, the murmur of
the breeze in their branches seems to fill, and
as it were to proceed from, the starry vault above
The   next   morning we   continued   on  our
way, up hill and down dale, but always through
the  same interminable forest.     On the  third
day we passed two or three small lakes, and
camped on the banks of the last and largest of
them.     Fred Stephens pointed  out to  us the
remains  of some  old beaver  dams ;   and in a
thicket hard by we came across a flock of those
rare and beautiful birds, the cross-bills.    There
must have been over fifty of them, and their
bright plumage  lent   an unwonted   charm   to
these forests, where animal and bird life is all
too scanty.     Our readers  may remember the
touching legend which tells how the cross-bill
got his  beak twisted in a vain  endeavour to
extract the nails from the Saviour's hands and
feet as He hung upon the cross.    Swimming in
the  middle  of the lake was  a very  different
sort of a bird, a kind of large duck or fresh-
166 rai'
A British Columbia Forest Scene
Evening in the Bush Valley if
water cormorant, aptly called a " loon," from
its loud crazy mocking laugh, which sounds
most weird in the evening stillness.
When the horses were unpacked it was found
that a small bag of Collie's, containing some of
his scientific instruments, a silver flask, and—
most important of all—two pounds of tobacco,
was missing; and half next day was spent in a
fruitless search for it along the trail. It was
found later in the year by a prospector on his
way down the valley, but very few of its
contents were recovered. We camped that
evening in a peculiarly wet muskeg, which was
the only spot we could find where there was
food for the horses or on which the tents could
be pitched. The forest by this time had become
less dense, and we saw something of a fine
range of mountains on our right, which Collie
has since named after Spencer. On the other
side of the valley of the Columbia rose the
snow-flecked summits of the Selkirks, with belts
and patches of bright emerald green running
far up their sides. These green strips, which
look like grass at a distance, are in reality
thickets of young trees and brushwood growing
where avalanches or forest fires have destroyed
the larger timber.
167 a i
!   ft   «
Friday, the 3rd August, brought us to the
banks of the Bush River, where we camped on
the edge of a wide marsh and under still more
disagreeable circumstances than on the previous
evening. The Bush, a deep, swift-flowing, and
muddy stream, over a hundred yards wide, ran
between steep banks that had obviously earlier
in the year been overflowed. The volume of
water was decidedly large, as even at the side
it was eight feet deep. The banks were clothed
with the impenetrable undergrowth that has
given the river its name ; and the floods that
earlier in the year were produced by the melting snows had deposited, for some considerable
distance away from the stream, a white sticky
mud amongst the roots of the trees : swamps,
too, were of frequent occurrence, and the
thickets of willows, alders, and other small
trees, together with much fallen timber of a
larger size, made all hope of getting the horses
through such a jungle seem out of the question.
We found three rickety boats moored at
this spot, two on one side and one on the other,
with what seemed to us a very insecure fastening—merely an old rope tied to a small stake
which was driven into the soft mud on the top
of the bank.    These boats were placed here by
the Canadian Pacific authorities for the use of
travellers journeying to the Big Bend, having
been brought down the Columbia from Beaver
Creek. Stephens crossed over in one of them
to the opposite side, to see whether any trail
existed up the Bush River on the northern
bank ; but, as he found nothing but dense
thickets and swamps, he soon returned.
The weather was now very hot and sultry,
and that evening swarms of the most voracious
mosquitoes we ever encountered drove us nearly
crazy. The men said they had occasionally
seen them more numerous on the prairie, but
that never in their lives had they known them
anything like so vicious or venomous. They
lost no time in buzzing or fooling around, but
went straight to business with their beaks until
our hands and faces were one mass of bites.
Nets, lotions, and " smudges " were of no avail ;
all we could do was to sit still and grin and bear
it as well as we could. The night was a night
of unending torment, for at this lower elevation
(about 2500 feet) the insects do not go to sleep
after sundown, as in the higher regions of the
eastern Rockies. Spencer, wise in his generation, had brought a piece of netting and bade
defiance to the mosquitoes, his snores blending
harmoniously with their ceaseless buzzing; but
for his two tent-fellows it was a case of:—
Mali culices ranaeque palustres
Avertunt somnos :
as Horace said on his journey with Maecenas to
Brundisium. The mosquitoes of Italy, however,
are but poor things compared with those of
British Columbia, and the sentiments evoked by
the latter are the reverse of poetical.
Next morning we fled, the mosquito scourge
being unanimously voted past endurance, while
we saw no chance of making our way along
the river bank. The horses were hurriedly
packed amid much kicking and bucking,
scratching of bites, and strong language
directed at the flies, the climate, woods, rivers,
and other geographical features of British
Columbia. Retracing our steps for about six
miles along the trail, we pitched the tents near
the site of our camp on the 3rd August, but
in a much more agreeable situation. From
here a mountain spur, very steep and heavily
timbered, divided us from the upper reaches of
the Bush Valley. Over this spur, which formed
the angle between the Columbia and Bush
rivers, we hoped to find a way ; and during the
whole of next  day  Fred  Stephens and Lang
were engaged in cutting a trail through the
woods to the bottom of the steep ascent, over
1000 feet in height, which led to the top.
The distance was not much more than a mile,
but the trail, which led through a jungle
rather than a forest, was indeed " a daisy," as
Fred expressed it ; and the fallen logs, rotten
timber, bog-holes, rock boulders, and rank undergrowth gave the men plenty to do. It would
have been folly to attempt to take heavily-laden
ponies up this hill-side; so, to get over the
difficulty, the whole of Monday the 6th was
spent in completing the trail, and at the same
time transporting half our baggage, to the summit of the mountain spur.
On the crest of the ridge was a rock of
considerable height which enabled us to see
over the tops of the trees down into the valley
of the Bush. Collie named this rock Mount
Pisgah, and from its summit we had an excellent view of the promised land which we were
about to enter. It looked anything but promising. Beneath us the Bush valley lay spread
out, very broad, level, and strangely flat, but
hemmed in by lofty pine-clad mountains. It
is   true   there   were   no   rocky   canyons  with
cliffs on either side impassable for horses ; nor
i^k 41
did the river foam and boil in any single narrow
channel, the passage whereof would mean certain
drowning for men or horses. On the contrary,
the water was spread out over the wide open
floor of the valley in a network of intersecting
streams, which curved and twisted in innumerable windings amid beds of shingle, mud-flats,
fir-covered islands, and reedy swamps — now
hugging the steep forest-clad slopes on one
side, now on another—and we could see that
the valley rose but slightly towards its head,
and that the same features prevailed throughout its length. Away in the distance the
valley forked ; and in the angle between the
two branches, filling the exact centre of the
picture, a noble rock and ice peak, with large
glaciers descending far down its sides, stood
forth in solitary magnificence. This peak, if
the course of the Bush River was correctly
marked on the existing maps, could be none
other than Mount Bryce ; and we therefore
naturally assumed it to be that mountain. In
this, however, as the sequel will show, we were
sadly mistaken.
Next day we loaded all the horses early with
the remainder of the baggage, which had been
left below in the camp.    As there was no water
anywhere along the ridge it was absolutely
necessary to get down to the Bush valley on
the other side the same day. This we eventually did, but only after nearly twelve hours'
fighting with the forest. Arriving at the foot
of Mount Pisgah on the summit of the mountain spur, we packed the horses with as much
of the baggage as we thought they could safely
carry, leaving the remainder cached, and commenced the descent. The weather was gloomy
and threatening ; and a couple of blue jays,
which are now becoming quite rare in the West,
croaked dismally on a neighbouring pine, presaging future woe. Following the ridge for a
short distance, we crept down into a narrow
cleft between perpendicular rocks, out of which
we emerged with some difficulty into the forest
on the further side. The hill was terribly steep,
the timber also being very bad in places, and
during the descent one of the horses, carrying
all our bacon, stampeded from the trail and was
seen no more that day. This contretemps naturally caused us much anxiety. It was late in the
afternoon when we reached the bottom of the
hill and camped in a swamp near the banks of
the Bush. By barometer we were now just
about the same height as Donald—2500 feet.
During the night the barometer fell two-tenths
of an inch, and next day we were treated to the
kind of weather that prevailed more or less till
the end of our trip—rain, dull grey skies, and
lowering clouds over all the mountains. As a
matter of fact, we afterwards discovered that
that August was the wettest and most unsettled
that had been experienced in the Canadian
Rockies for many years.
On the following morning, Wednesday the
8th, Fred went off in search of the missing
bacon and the miserable quadruped entrusted
therewith. The latter was found, after much
searching, imprisoned in a natural pen of fallen
timber, into which he had jumped, carrying his
pack ; and it required many blows of Fred's
axe to extricate him. By this time it was too
late to go and fetch the provisions left on the
ridge : and on the 9th a steady downpour kept
us prisoners in camp ; so two more valuable
days were wasted. On the 10th Fred and Lang
took some of the horses up to Mount Pisgah
and brought down the baggage and provisions.
Stutfield meanwhile explored the muskeg in
search of ducks and wild geese, which, with an
occasional wild  swan, could be seen flying in
flocks up and down the valley.    Collie, taking
174 The Bush Valley
Fording a Branch Stream ! THE  BUSH RIVER
an axe, had his first experience of a kind of
work that was often afterwards to be reserved
for him, namely, trail-cutting. To any one not
accustomed to wielding a heavy Canadian axe
in a thick forest, it is decidedly hard work.
Not only is one unversed in the art of tree-
felling and log-chopping, but one is using a
set of muscles rarely employed by the average
man who follows a professional life in a large
town. For the dense brushwood of the British
Columbian forests a light single-handed axe
would be invaluable. It would be especially
useful for dealing with that special abomination
of these woods, the " devil's club," a long prickly
trailing creeper, with broad leaves, heavy stem,
and most poisonous spikes which cause very
painful wounds. It grows so thickly in the
damp heavy soil, half concealed by the dense
undergrowth, that it is almost impossible sometimes to avoid its unwelcome embraces, the consequences of which are extremely unpleasant.
Saturday the 11th August saw us start along
the steep muddy banks of the now swollen Bush
river. Hemmed in by the stream against the
hill-side and the willow-thickets and muskegs,
we had to make our trail as we went, and progress was very slow.    Every now and then a
1 :
>•   I
horse would fall or plunge wilfully into the
water, to be extricated only at the expense of
much labour and strong language. In such
places as these the cayooses want looking after
at every step. Just as the vanguard seems to
be getting on nicely a cry of " Halt ' arises
from the rear, when it is found that some beast
of ill omen has strayed from the track and
deposited his burden in the mud. There is a
rush to the rescue, and the others take advantage of the confusion to make a bolt of it
into the forest, or else to get mired up to their
girths. The result is a rare trial of temper and
« Cant I Don't I Shan't !  Wont !
Pass it along the line :
Somebody's pack has slid from his back ;
'Wish it were only mine !
Somebody's load has tipped off in the road—
Cheer for a halt and a row !
Urr ! Yarrh ! Grr ! Arrh !
Somebody's catching it now."
So sings  Mr. Rudyard Kipling's commissariat
camel,  and you may be sure that  a team of
Indian cayooses would gladly join in the chorus.
In the afternoon we crossed a branch stream
on to a large island, and Fred, despairing of
making   his   way   along   the   southern   bank,
mounted the Pinto and essayed, with Lang, to
ford the main river, which was here over a
hundred yards wide and running pretty fast.
When they were in about mid-stream six of
the baggage animals rushed into the water
before they could be prevented and followed
them across. Then the fun began. All went
well until they were quite close to the opposite
bank, where the water was about five feet deep
and the current very strong. The Pinto, trying
to climb up the slippery bank, fell back with
his rider into the river ; and, Fred's foot getting
entangled in the ladigo, or leather thong of
the saddle, he was nearly drowned. However,
he just managed to get free in time, and swam
ashore. Lang, with the other horses, got safely
across, but the rest of us, wishing neither to be
swept down stream or to get soaked, waited
on events where we were. Meanwhile Fred, as
soon as he reached dry land, shouted to us not
to come over ; unpacked and tethered the horses
that had crossed the river, and proceeded to
construct a raft wherewith to ferry back Lang
and himself. A few water-sodden logs were his
only available material ; and, after tying them
loosely together with the  cinch-ropes,  he and
Lang embarked on their perilous voyage.
M 1
In the stream the raft, becoming unmanageable, was sucked into a deep and narrow rapid.
Here Lang, trying to pole the crazy vessel in
water which must have been at least ten feet
deep, lost his balance and fell overboard into the
icy river, his heavy boots dragging him down ;
and, but for the presence of mind of Fred
Stephens, who crawled along the raft with a pole
just long enough to reach his comrade in distress, there is little doubt that in a few minutes
the latter would have been drowned. There is
no difficulty in launching a raft into the centre
of a swift-flowing river, but to reach land on
the other side is a very different thing; and,
if it had not been possible to throw a rope to
the two men as, exhausted and benumbed, they
drifted rapidly round a sharp bend in the stream
about a quarter of a mile below, they might
have sailed in a very short time down to the
unknown reaches of the Bush River, or perhaps
to the Columbia itself.
It was a cheerless night that we spent—
seven men packed like sardines in one small
leaky tent (the other was across the stream) ;
but we were thankful that nothing worse had
happened. The valley reeked with damp exhalations from  the marshes ;   the rain poured
down without intermission ; and the great river
rushed silently by, dark and gloomy as the Styx,
while inside the tent Charon, personified by Fred,
was snoring the roof off, his large frame and long
legs taking up much more than their fair share
of room. Our best tent and half the provisions
and outfit were on the other side of the stream ;
where the tethered nags, frightened at their
isolation in the gloom and rain, could be heard
whinnying to their companions across the water.
Next morning Fred, undaunted by the mishaps of the previous day, and still full of energy
and resource, started to build a raft of dry pine
logs on a more magnificent scale, and with a
pair of oars : he then ferried himself across alone ;
drove the horses over ; packed the raft with their
burdens, and rowed back to us in the evening,
placing the whole outfit once more in statu quo
on the island—a very fine day's work. In the
meantime Collie, unwilling to be idle, had forded
the branch stream with some difficulty, and
was cutting trail laboriously along the left, or
southern, bank, while Spencer took photographs
of the scene of our mishaps. Stutfield, his
spare clothes being on the other side of the
river, divested himself of those he wore, and,
clad only in a hat, a ruck-sack, and a gun, like-
179 ■F
wise forded the branch stream and hunted for
wild geese, which had been heard gaggling
during the night in a " sloo " (Anglicé, slough)
on the other side. He might have spared himself the trouble, as there were no geese there
when he reached the sloo—at least, only one,
as Spencer sarcastically observed that evening
at supper.
The weather had served us very shabbily hitherto, but a slight improvement was discernible
when Black next morning, adopting the favourite
formula of cooks in the backwoods, announced
in stentorian tones that breakfast was " ready
in the dining-car." The skies wept less copiously,
and the trailing mists uplifted their draggled
skirts from the flanks of the hills sufficiently to
leave the lower slopes clear. The sun, too,
strove hard to show itself; but all it could do
was to occasionally shine with a sickly pallor
through the watery vapour that hung persistently over the valley. Recrossing the branch
of the river, we continued slowly up the left
bank through sopping underbrush, the jungles,
logs, and quagmires seeming to have no end.
For the second time within a week our
bacon this day was in grave jeopardy. It was
extremely hot and muggy ; and while we were
cautiously edging along a narrow strip of very
muddy land between the river and some deep
J 1
muskeg, Girlie (whose taste for bathing in inconvenient manners and seasons was already
notorious) and another mare took a header off
the bank into the river, which at this point was
running like a mill-race and about ten feet
deep. The second mare was washed down some
distance, but, having nothing on her back except
a saddle, she was got out without much difficulty. Girlie, however, who was packed with
about 250 lb. of bacon, promptly went out of
sight, bobbed up again twenty yards lower down,
only to go under a second time. Luckily her
next appearance was close against the bank, when
two of the men at once seized her; but then
the difficulty was to get her out. The water
was still very deep ; the bank steep and slippery,
and choked with driftwood and overhanging
willows ; so all we could do for some time was
to keep her head up with the halter, which got
twisted round her neck till she was nearly
strangled. Poor Girlie's gasps grew fainter
and fainter, and we fancied it was all up with
her. Our hearts were in our mouths, for if
the flour and bacon she carried were lost we
might have to beat a retreat homewards. Eventually, however, by means of a rope taken from
one of the packs, and with seven of us pulling,
182 I
An Awkward Corner on the Bush River  THE  BUSH VALLEY
she was landed on her side on the bank, alive
but half-strangled, and our bacon was saved.
Half-an-hour afterwards she was grazing tranquilly with the other horses, just as if nothing
had happened, and with unimpaired appetite.
We camped then and there in a most
abominable quagmire and not the best of
tempers. The loss of our axeman, Charlie
Bassett, was now making itself keenly felt.
The men, with the one exception of Fred
Stephens, were beginning to grumble, and their
maledictions on the valley and the trip generally were both loud and deep. " Why couldn't
we have stuck to the eastern side of the mountains, as in former years ? ' " What on earth
was the use of persisting on our journey up this
accursed valley, which was no fit habitation for
white men ? ' On the other hand, Fred's good
temper and spirits rose superior to every trial
and annoyance. Immensely strong, always
willing and cheerful, he was a host in himself;
but there are limits to human endurance, and
we sorely needed another expert axeman.
However, if oui' trials were great, we  had
our compensations.    To begin with, the scenery
was   magnificent, both   mountains   and   forests
being  on  a much  grander  scale  than  on  the
eastern side. Deep valleys—mighty rifts carved
out of the mountains by the age-long action
of the snow-fed torrents — descended on either
side from the glacier-clad offshoots of the main
chain. Between these valleys rose bold rocky
peaks—one of them, a long crest or cock's-comb
of jagged crag, being particularly striking.
Down the Bush valley the view was bounded
by the Selkirks, with a grand Weisshorn-like
pyramid in the centre. Some weeks later Stutfield had an excellent view of this unnamed
mountain monarch from the top of Mount Sir
Donald, and we frequently saw it from the
peaks we climbed in 1902. It would seem to
be unquestionably the highest summit of any
of the known parts of the Selkirk range. One
of these days, no doubt, some hardy explorer
will be able to tell us more about this peak and
the unknown mountain region around it, but
we do not altogether envy him the journey to
its base. In the opposite direction, at the head
of the valley, and getting nearer to us every
day, was the splendid mountain we supposed
to be Mount Bryce.
Of the beauties of the forests we have already spoken.     We might have more greatly
admired them if they had not been so abomin-
184 Il
ably troublesome. They have a wondrous
fascination of their own, these vast woodland
wildernesses of the West, but the charm is apt
to evaporate when you are cutting trail. Now
and again, when the willow thickets and muskegs were particularly bad along the river banks,
we tried to get through the timber on our right,
but the attempt had almost always to be
abandoned, as the obstructions were such as
to daunt the stoutest axeman. The account
given by Lord Milton and Dr. Cheadle in " The
North-West Passage by Land " — one of the
best books of travel in the Rockies ever written
—of a British Columbian forest scene can hardly
be bettered. The forest in question is not a
hundred miles north of where we were in the
Bush valley, and the two explorers had to
make their way through it on their adventurous
journey. " No one who has not seen a primeval
forest, where trees of gigantic size have grown
and fallen undisturbed for ages, can form any
idea of the collection of timber, or the impenetrable nature of such a region. There are pines
and thujas of every size, the patriarch of three
hundred feet in height standing alone . . . The
fallen trees lay piled around, forming barriers
often six or eight feet high on every side : trunks
i85 il
of huge cedars, moss-grown and decayed, lay
half-buried in the ground on which others as
mighty had recently fallen ; trees still green and
living, recently blown down, blocking the view
with walls of earth held in their matted roots ;
living trunks, dead trunks, rotten trunks ; dry
barkless trunks, trunks moist and green with
moss ; bare trunks, and trunks with branches—
prostrate, reclining, and horizontal, propped up
at different angles ; timber of every size, in
every stage of growth and decay, in every
possible position, entangled in every possible
Such are the obstacles, such the difficulties
—to say nothing of other inconveniences, such
as swollen rivers, swamps, thick underbrush, a
bad climate, and well-nigh intolerable mosquitoes—which the would-be explorer in the
mountainous regions of British Columbia must
be prepared to encounter. The admirable
description given by Milton and Cheadle might,
with more or less accuracy, be written of almost
any part of the western slopes of the Canadian
Rockies : and it must be remembered that, as
has been mentioned before, travel is a good deal
more  difficult now than in  earlier  days.     In
Milton   and   Cheadle's   book,   as   in   those  of
Hector, Palliser, and others of the earlier
pioneers, one reads of comparatively frequent
meetings with Indians, trappers, prospectors,
and the like, and this meant that the trails
were kept more or less open; that game was
reasonably abundant; and that you had some
chance of meeting with assistance if you ran
short of food or found yourself otherwise in a
tight place. Nowadays the traveller at any
distance from his base is not likely to meet a
soul, Indian or white man, and he must do his
trail-cutting himself; while, as to finding game
to stock his larder with, he cannot rely on having the luck which befell us in 1898 near Wileox
Pass. Dr. Hector was a man of rare energy
and endurance, but not even he could have
made the long daily marches we read of in his
narrative, had his explorations taken place thirty
or forty years later. In our case we had known
pretty well what we were in for, though forewarned was not altogether forearmed with us, as
our party, especially with Bassett absent, was not
adequately equipped for so formidable a job.
There was one more bad day in store for
us before matters began to improve. About
a quarter of a mile above our camp in the
swamp the river swept  in a turbid flood past
1 n
the foot of a high rocky bank covered with
large trees, and quite impassable for horses.
We therefore had once more to cut our way
over the shoulder of a hill; and Fred and
Collie spent a whole morning at the work.
Spencer and Stutfield, being unprovided with
axes, and doubtful of their ability to use them
had they possessed such things, enjoyed their
otium cum dignitate in camp. In the afternoon
the two trail-cutters returned, and the whole
outfit started. This hill was perhaps the worst
thing we had to negotiate, not so much owing
to the wood as to the steepness of the ground
and the excessive rottenness of the soil, which
seemed to be composed wholly of decayed tree-
trunks and other vegetable matter. In such
places one may be walking along some colossal
trunk that looks fairly solid outside, but within
is a mass of rottenness ; and if you break
through the outside crust you may suddenly
find yourself up to your neck in soft pulp.
The descent from the shoulder of the hill
was a most parlous operation, the steep slope
being pitted with numerous bog-holes, in which
stubborn roots interlaced and big hidden stones
set   the   horses   stumbling  in   all   directions;
and it was a wonder that none of them got
their legs broken. Stutfield, while trying to
assist the horses round one very bad spot, was
overwhelmed by an avalanche of ponies slipping,
sliding, tumbling down the hill — and was
knocked over in a sitting posture among a
bunch of devil's club which, under the circumstances, struck him as being even more than
usually poisonous. After this there was a
stampede all round, and the men were flying
after the horses in all directions. Joe, carrying
a heavy pack, was particularly fractious. Breaking away from the others, he careered madly
through the forest, clearing several high logs in
excellent style, until he found himself corralled
in a cluster of fallen trees, from which Collie
had to cut him out. Joe was not accustomed
to being treated as a beast of burden, and
doubtless took this opportunity of expressing
his dissatisfaction. Stutfield had ridden him
all the way down the Columbia trail, but discarded him when the timber became bad. He
was too big and powerful a brute to be safe in
such places as we had to pass in the Bush
valley; and the idea of breaking a leg or arm
in the wilderness, far from surgical aid, is not
pleasant to contemplate.    The rest of the outfit
affected great surprise at this excess of caution
n Kl
on Stutfield's part, but he observed that nobody
else seemed anxious to mount his fiery steed—
the accident to poor Bassett was still fresh in
our minds—so Joe carried a pack henceforth
until we got back to the Columbia trail. His
place as saddle-horse was taken by a strawberry-
coloured animal, named Tom, with large holes
in his ears, through which his rider enjoyed
charming peeps of the river and surrounding
landscape. These holes are often bored by
the Indians in their horses' ears to serve as
distinguishing marks.
Once at the bottom of the hill our worst
troubles were over for the present, and for
some distance the going was quite easy. In
the mud along the river bank were numerous
tracks of mink and musk-rat ; and we saw one
or two specimens of the curious kangaroo
mouse, so called from his appearance and
method of propelling himself forward by a succession of leaps. Two days' fording the river
backwards and forwards, with a moderate
amount of chopping, brought us to the head
of the valley ; and on the evening of the 16th
we camped in a splendid site on the northern
bank, half a mile below the junction  of the
forks, in the middle of an amphitheatre of high
190 At the Head of Bush Valley  THE  BUSH VALLEY
mountains, with the great peak towering right
above us.
Assuming the maps to have correctly delineated the course of the Bush River, we still
believed this peak to be Mount Bryce, and
we therefore expected to find the Columbia
ice-field not many miles away round the corner
to the north. The Bush River flowed in a
westerly direction from our camp : its two forks
branch out nearly north and south, that is to
say, almost at right angles to the main valley.
The height of our camp, as given by Collie's
mercurial barometer, was only 2800 feet above
sea-level, which is a remarkably low elevation for
the head of a valley running right up into the
heart of the mountains, and our calculations
were entirely upset thereby. We had hoped to
find ourselves at about the same height as at the
head-waters of the Saskatchewan or the Athabasca, that is to say, from 5000 to 7000 feet ;
which would have given us so much less
timber-work, and made things generally easier.
Moreover, when subsequently we looked up
the gorge of the North Fork, to the foot of the
great glaciers at its head, the valley seemed to
rise but little—certainly not so much as 1000
feet.    The valley of the Bush, therefore, is by
191 J
far the lowest, so far as is at present known, of
any of the large valleys that run up directly
under the highest peaks.
On Friday the 17th it rained steadily all
day, and we never stirred from our tents.
On the morrow the weather improved in the
afternoon ; so, leaving the horses, we climbed
about 2000 feet up the mountain spur that
lay between us and the north fork of the
Bush River. The mists lay low on the snow
peaks, but we saw that about two miles up
the north fork a valley came in from the east,
and glaciers lay at its head some five or six
miles distant. The north fork itself stretched
away for miles, filled with dense pine woods,
with occasional small shingle-flats in between ;
and under the dull grey sky it presented a
dreary and inhospitable appearance. But Fred
Stephens pointed to a grassy plateau on the
hills across the stream, and talked of shooting
cariboo, goat, and perhaps, if we were lucky,
a bighorn. Black, on the other hand, who
usually took a gloomy view of things, gave it
as his opinion that this was a country forsaken both of gods and animals, much to be
condemned, and no fit place for a white man.
We could not see much owing to the mists,
but the appearance of the valleys distinctly
puzzled us : somehow, the whole thing was
quite different from what we had expected.
On the way down we sighted a couple of
wild swans on a small lake about a mile from
the tents ; and Stutfield and Fred, taking both
gun and rifle, stalked them through the bushes
that grew along the margin of the pool. Fred
had the rifle and fired at the male bird, but
only succeeded in removing a couple of feathers
from its back; and the pair sailed majestically
away on their broad pinions, and we saw them
no more. There were any number of bear-
tracks in the mud along the banks, so Stutfield
revisited the place soon after dawn next morning.
A dense fog hung over everything, making
the bushes sopping wet ; he saw neither bear,
nor swans, nor geese, and returned to camp
for breakfast soaked to the skin with the dew.
He paid several visits subsequently to this
lake, but only succeeded in bagging one goose
and a couple of duck.
The day was fine, so after breakfast Fred
Stephens and Lang went on a voyage of discovery up the north fork valley. Collie and
Stutfield, taking a couple of horses, forded the
main river opposite the camp in order to in-
193 N ;!
vestigate the valley of the southern branch.
Tethering the horses on the further bank,
we proceeded afoot through the most horrible
logs and jungle imaginable. The river is much
narrower and more impetuous in its higher
reaches, and absolutely impassable for horses :
just below the junction of the forks it rushes,
boiling and foaming over big boulders, between
high rocky banks. After an hour or two's
toilsome scrambling we reached a splendid
gorge, some hundreds of feet deep, which the
south fork has cleft for itself through the hills
a short distance above the junction. Here
we found ourselves in a veritable woodland
fruit-garden, the hill-sides being covered with
wild raspberries and blaeberries as big as small
grapes, and of most exquisite flavour. The raspberries, on the other hand, though large, were
distinctly unpalatable and hardly worth eating.
A rocky knoll in the wood gave us an
uninterrupted view up the valley of the north
fork, and at its head we saw a high and very
beautiful pyramid of snow rising in isolated
grandeur out of an immense ice-field. There
was no mistaking it. Beyond all question it
was  Mount  Columbia,  the  chief goal of our
expedition ;   and, to our dismay, it was twenty
or twenty-five miles off, when it ought—if the
Bush River had been correctly located, as the
Americans say, on the maps—to have been
only eight or ten. There was evidently something very wrong somewhere ; and we returned,
much puzzled and somewhat downcast in our
minds, through those hateful woods to where we
had tethered the horses, and thence to the tents.
Meanwhile Fred and Lang had been four
or five miles up the north fork, passing a
small shingle-flat and the mouth of the valley
that came in from the east. They reported
that the fallen timber was dreadful, and that
trail-cutting would be necessary every step of
the way ; moreover, that along the west bank
gullies and steep hill-sides, with occasionally
small precipices, would, so far as they could
judge, entirely prevent us getting the horses
along, unless we could cross the stream to
the eastern side. Fred also showed us his arm,
which was quite swollen with the bites of black
flies—a new form of insect plague which, together with clouds of midges, now began to
form quite an agreeable variation to the incessant attacks of the mosquitoes. Curiously
enough, while the latter drove us Europeans
nearly crazy, we suffered very little from the
bites of the black flies, which, on the other
hand, caused our men much more distress than
the mosquitoes. Another fact worth mentioning, perhaps, is that we never saw any
"bulldogs" in the Bush valley. Probably the
mosquitoes and other insect pests were too
numerous for them all to live together.
By this time we were beginning to get
anxious, for we had been out twenty-two days
without getting anywhere near the base of
our mountains, and time and provisions were
running out. Something had to be done, and
that quickly. Next day, therefore, Collie,
Stutfield, and Spencer decided to climb to the
top of the peak that lay in the angle between
the north fork and the main valley of the
Bush. Stutfield took the gun as far as the
sloo where we had seen the wild swans; and,
with his two companions acting as beaters,
secured a Canada goose, a splendid bird weighing over 10 lb., whose flesh proved an acceptable
change from the eternal bacon and tinned meat.
From the lake there was a most tiring climb
of about 5000 feet, every inch of the way
having to be fought through the woods. An
hour below the summit Stutfield, who had not
been feeling well all day, felt his legs giving
■ <s<
out; so he gave up the climb and returned to
camp.    Collie and Spencer, however, went on
their way and  had  a glorious  view, the  day
being beautifully fine  and the   mountains   of
the main chain entirely free from cloud.     As
it turned out, this was a piece of great good
fortune, for we never had another really fine
day throughout the trip.     During the whole
of the remaining fortnight that we  spent in
the   mountains   the  clouds  never quite   lifted
from the high peaks ; and, had the view that
was   got  that   afternoon   been   missed,   much
knowledge   of  the   geography of the  district
would never have been acquired.
Just as Collie and Spencer arrrived within
a hundred yards of the summit and were walking
round a corner on the ridge, they came across
an old Rocky Mountain he-goat.    He looked
at them awhile and then went on feeding, so
Collie   photographed  him.     He  seemed tame
enough, never probably having seen a human
being before.     All the  same, when  Stutfield
pursued him with a rifle a day or two afterwards
he showed himself—for a Rocky Mountain goat,
which is not the most intelligent of wild animals
—fairly wide-awake.
Once on the summit,  Collie   immediately
. I1 I
recognised why the head of the valley had
seemed so different from what he had expected.
Ten miles or more to the northward, up the
north fork, was Mount Bryce ; and beyond it
was Mount Columbia and the great ice-field,
which we had explored on our last trip, sending
its glaciers low down into the valley, their snouts
in places being little over 4000 feet above sea-
level; while the heads of the Twins showed
far away at the head-waters of the Athabasca.
Almost due east was Mount Lyell, or a peak
which he then imagined to be Lyell—it was in
reality an adjoining summit of the range, which
has since been christened Mount Alexandra. It
was quite evident, therefore, that we were ten
or twelve miles south of where we imagined
ourselves to be; and that the maps had placed
the head of the Bush River that much too far to
the south. The mountain we had been calling
Bryce, at the head of the Bush valley, was
another peak altogether, and one that Collie
had marked as "high peak" on his 1899 map.
To the left of this peak, in the distance, lay
Mount Forbes ; whilst far away at the head of
the south fork, rising from a great snow-field and
glaciers, were the Freshfield group. This explained why the Waitabit and the Bluewater
creeks contained no glacier water ; for the Bush
River, and the Bush River alone, drained the
whole area, from Mount Freshfield on the south,
the back of Mount Forbes, and the western side
of the whole Lyell ice-field, to the north of the
Columbia ice-field, which, splitting into several
large glaciers, poured down in magnificent cascades of ice to the green pine-woods that filled
the valley below. Another point of considerable
interest, which has been alluded to already, was
the very low altitude of the valleys.
But with this discovery of our exact locality
there was borne in upon him the extremely
unpleasant fact that the Columbia ice-field,
which was our principal goal, lay about fifteen
miles up a valley, every yard of which would
have to be cut with the axe ; and probably it
would take us at least a fortnight to reach its
head. With this reflection he and Spencer
returned to our camp in the valley, sad and
disheartened, for our plans would have to be
changed, and, as far as we were concerned, the
highest snow-peak in this part of the Rockies,
Mount Columbia, would not be climbed this
A council of war was held that evening to
decide on our next move. We finally determined to cache part of the baggage and provisions, so as to travel as light as possible, and
push on next morning as far as possible up
the valley of the north fork. Fred Stephens
and Lang had been cutting trail all day to the
mouth of the valley ; and along this trail we
started as soon as the process of packing the
horses and caching the baggage was completed.
Half-an-hour from the start, the timber getting
very bad, we were forced down to the river
bank, and Fred essayed to ford the stream ; but
it was too deep and rapid, and the attempt had
to be abandoned before he was half-way across.
Ahead the ground sloped precipitously down to
the water's edge ; the timber looked as though
a forest of scaffolding poles had fallen one across
the other, and further progress along the banks
of the stream would, at the best, be at the rate
of about a mile a day.    Moreover, we were all
heartily sick of the work, so Fred conceived
a somewhat bold idea. Turning the horses'
heads straight up the hill, by dint of hard work
and skilful guidance, he conducted the whole
party, in torrents of rain, up more than 4000
feet of heavily-wooded mountain-side to the foot
of the peak which Collie and Spencer had
ascended the day before. His intention was to
find a passage above timber-level, and along
the benches of rock that lined the face of the
mountain, but these proved to be far too formidable to be negotiated with horses.
We camped in a pleasant spot at tree-line,
about 7300 feet above the sea, with only one
drawback—there was no water ; and Alec had to
fetch snow in buckets for every meal from a
place some hundreds of yards off, a labour he
strongly objected to. While the tents were
being pitched, Stutfield wandered off through
the rain in search of Collie's old he-goat, as our
larder was by this time getting very low. He
saw the goat, but in an open place where a stalk
was impossible ; and the old billy did not show
himself so tame or accommodating as on the
previous day, so Stutfield had to return without
any meat, drenched to the skin, to a most uncomfortable dinner in our leaky little tent.
Next morning the weather improved, and
Collie and Spencer again ascended to the top of
their peak (now named Goat Peak), photographed, surveyed, and mapped as much of
the country as possible. Fred took the gun
and went after blue grouse and fool-hen, while
Stutfield returned to the chase of Collie's venerable friend, the ancient billy. Most of the high
peaks kept themselves persistently veiled; but
we had some gorgeous Elijah Walton-like views,
through the parting mists, of Mount Columbia,
which, in spite of its greater height, appears
to have less attraction for clouds than its neighbours. From this point of view it is a sharp
pyramid, with most graceful contours,—altogether different from the flat-topped and somewhat shapeless mass it appears from the other
side. Nearer, the triple-peaked Mount Bryce
towered majestically over the sombre canyon ;
while westwards the Selkirks, dominated by
the grand pyramidal peak that we used to see
from the banks of the Bush, were distinctly
visible. The prospect was something like that
from the Brévent, above Chamonix, but it was
far more extensive ; and the mountains rising
steeply 9000 or 10,000 feet out of the low-
lying valleys, formed a much more impressive
202 il
Bush Peak from Goat Peak
Mount Bryce from Goat Peak * OUR CAMP ON GOAT PEAK
panorama than anything we had seen from the
Saskatchewan or Athabasca.
The old billy-goat was not on view this
morning, so Stutfield returned to lunch at the
tents, where he found that the men had
sighted three goats, two old ones and a kid,
browsing on a hill across a deep valley not
far to the west of the camp. Descending
into the valley he climbed up the other side,
and, screened by a belt of low trees, crept
within shot of the unsuspecting trio. They
had not shifted their position, but were browsing tranquilly on some small patches of grass
above a long and very steep shale-slope terminating in a high precipice. The first shot
was a bad miss, but the second bowled over
the biggest of the three. A couple of bullets,
sent after the kid as it scampered off, only
made the dust fly under its belly; and Stutfield was not altogether sorry that his indifferent shooting had saved him from the guilt
of infanticide. On the other hand, what a
lovely stew the little fellow would have made !
The dead goat lay for a few moments supported by the stem of a dwarf fir-tree; but
presently the carcase  slipped and rolled head
over heels down the shale-slope to the brink
! 1
i 1 «K*
l> I
j 1
ll ■'-
of some rocks about 1200 feet in depth. A
few yards more and it would have gone over
the abyss, and we should have seen it no more.
With some difficulty Stutfield got down to it,
but moving the carcase alone—it weighed well
over 150 lbs.—was out of the question, as the
slope was very steep and slippery, with a thin
layer of greasy mud resting on smooth rocks ;
and it was all he could do to keep his feet,
even when unencumbered. However, an hour
later Black and Alec, having heard the shots,
came to the rescue with a rope ; and with
infinite trouble, and not without risk, they all
three managed to haul the beast up to a safer
position where they could gralloch him. The
rescue of that goat from his perilous position
afforded Stutfield much the most exciting climbing experience of the whole trip. It was impossible to get the carcase home that day, but
there was much jubilation in camp at the prospect of fresh meat, and the men fared sumptuously off goat's liver in the evening.
That night the weather, which had been
misbehaving itself all through the trip, went
hopelessly to the bad. It rained and sleeted
all next day, and we could not stir from camp \
but  the following afternoon, Friday the 24th,
a party of us sallied forth, taking a horse part
of the way,  and after much trouble brought
in the goat, returning, as usual, soaked to the
skin.     We had  a haunch for  supper, and it
wasn't at all bad.    The meat is, of course, by no
means  equal to that of the  bighorn ;   but, if
kept awhile, it is not unpalatable, and there is
singularly little goaty flavour about it.
In the night the wind went round to the
north, and the driven snow and sleet forced its
way into our wretched little tent, so that Spencer
and  Stutfield woke up to  find   their   pillows
sprinkled with it ; while the ground outside was
covered to a depth of several inches.    Collie, a
day or two previously, had retired into the privacy
of his little  Mummery tent, which he found
much warmer and more snug than the other.
This tent, invented by the late Mr. Mummery,
who perished on Mount Nanga Parbat, in the
Himalayas,  is  made  of silk, and weighs  only
three and a half pounds.     It is invaluable for
bivouacs on the mountains, or in places where
impedimenta can only be packed on men's backs,
as a couple of ice-axes are all that is necessary
for poles, while the side ropes can be attached
to stones.
Our exposed camp was not exactly a joyous
205 ft
habitation now ; and the men—Fred always excepted—grumbled more than ever, while our
prospects of doing any serious mountaineering
grew fainter and fainter. The snow lay pretty
thick on the ground, and showed little signs
of melting. Occasional rifts through the rolling
masses of vapour, with faint gleams of sunshine,
gave us uninviting glimpses now and then of
the Bush valley far below, and the muddy
torrent tearing along between the shingle-flats
and muskegs. Overhead everything was in dense
mist, and a blizzard from the north-east blew
continuously. Taken altogether, it was quite
a nice place for a summer holiday I
All the same, we would not paint too
gloomy a picture of our week's sojourn in the
high camp, for really it was not half so bad
as it may seem to the reader. It was very
wet and cold, no doubt ; but hardships such as
these are generally worse in the recital than
the actual experience. On the other hand,
only those who have endured their attacks
can realise the misery caused by mosquitoes
when they are really bad : rain, hail, snow, and
slush on the mountain side were bliss itself
compared with what we sometimes suffered in
the valley below.     Stutfield, at any rate, had
206 Spencer Range from Camp on Goat Peak
little cause to complain ; for he had many delightful expeditions over the craggy hills after
goat, with occasional glimpses of the most
wonderful scenery, when the mists parted and
one or another of the great peaks coyly unveiled
itself to view.
There was one evening in particular-
brief " crowded hour of glorious life"—when we
had a vision of strange sunset splendours, which
were enough in themselves to compensate for
many a wet, weary day of fog and sleet. The
whole landscape was swathed in a white mantle
of freshly - fallen snow; the clouds suddenly
dispersed, only a light caftan of pink mist resting on the shoulders of Columbia ; and the sun
went down, not in the conventional blaze of
green and gold and orange, but. with a soft
saffron effulgence, more suggestive of dawn
than sunset, that shed a strange unearthly
radiance over peak and glacier and snow-field.
The air was marvellously still ; the pines stood
motionless under their heavy burden of snow ;
even the avalanches ceased to thunder; and a
most impressive hush pervaded the whole forest
and mountain world. Stutfield had been out
all the  afternoon   on a long,  but ineffectual,
scramble  after goat along the ridge, and was
: w**
il    '
Il !
within two or three hundred yards of camp.
He had taken the cartridges out of his rifle to
climb a band of steep rocks, and was strolling
towards the tents, his mind absorbed in the
weird witchery of the scene, when suddenly
there bounded out of the bushes, quite close
to him, the father of all the goats—Collie's grand
old billy, his long white fringe brushing the
branches as he lumbered heavily out of view,
for all the world more like a big white bear
than a goat. At that moment the splendours
of the sky and the mountains seemed to fade
away into nothingness ; for on occasions like
these the instincts of the artist and sportsman,
which ought to go together, seem somewhat to
clash. Still, the loss of an old billy-goat, however large and shaggy, could hardly cause enduring annoyance, while the glories of that
marvellous sunset can never be wholly erased
from our minds.
Unwilling to leave the mountains without
attempting one good climb, we three, with
Fred, started early on Sunday the 26th to
ascend a bold rock peak nearly 11,000 feet high
to the west of the camp. The morning was
fairly fine, and a few  feeble  attempts on the
part of the sun to assert itself gave us hopes
of better weather. Following the ridge beyond
Goat Peak for a considerable distance, we
reached a good - sized glacier, up which we
walked for more than an hour. The stratification of some of the surrounding mountains
was most extraordinary, the rocks being twisted
and contorted into S-shaped figures and curious crumpled forms, while sometimes the adjoining strata would be quite perpendicular. This
contortion seemed general throughout the
district, and it was far more pronounced than
anything we saw on the eastern side of the
range. Towards noon the clouds rolled up as
relentlessly as ever ; and, after wandering about
aimlessly in the fog for some time, we gave
up the climb and returned to camp.
The weather showed no signs of improvement ;
provisions were getting low ; the men were the
reverse of happy, and anxious to be getting home ;
so next day we reluctantly retraced our steps to
the old camping-place in the Bush valley. As
the outfit started, a herd of goats was sighted
on a hill a long way off, but a deep canyon
intervened, and, if we had shot one, we could not
have brought it to the tents. On the way down
we came across two fine coveys of blue grouse :
the gun was unpacked, and  we  bagged three
209 o 1
1   II 1
brace. Needless to say, on this occasion we
felt no fear of our provisions at the cache having
been tampered with in our absence.
Whilst we were at the high camp Collie
had noticed that on the south side of the Bush
valley, at the head of a small creek, an obvious
pass seemed to lead through the mountains
straight to the head of the Bluewater creek,
and so to Donald ; and he had hopes that we
might perhaps find a short cut home by this
route, and, at the same time, that we might have
an opportunity of investigating the mountains
which lay between the Blaeberry creek and the
Bush valley. On the 28th we started, therefore, down the valley with the intention of
making our way up this creek and over the
pass, but we were unable even to begin the
ascent of the glen with the horses : the usual
fallen timber lay piled thicker than ever ; and
a canyon with precipitous sides would have
forced us far up on to the steep face of the
hill, where the horses could hardly have got
along. We therefore decided to return by our
former route along the Bush valley; and, as
always happened on our return journeys, we
found travelling comparatively easy, the trail
being cut and the summer floods having subsided.
2IO Dollie Surveying ; Fred Stephens, and Spencer
Lyell Range and Alexandra Peak —	 A TIRING  CLIMB
On August 29th we started early to climb
a peak about four miles to the south of the
river, in order to find out how the valleys ran,
and how the mountains were situated, in that
part of the country west of the Freshfield range
and south of the Bush valley. Stutfield and
Spencer were by no means anxious to undergo
the torment of another long scramble through
those detestable woods, but Collie wished very
much to correct and add certain details, and,
as far as might be, to put the finishing touches
to his plane-table survey. In his interests,
therefore, and in those of geographical science
in general, we all went together, accompanied
by Fred. As the expedition was about the most
tiring and exasperating one we have ever taken
up a mountain, let us hope that geographical
science will be proportionately grateful. The
brushwood and fallen trees, mostly small, were
the worst we ever encountered. Pushed back
by obstinate bushes, stopped by logs of all sizes,
caught in the criss-cross and tangle of the
smaller tree - trunks with interlacing spiky
branches, bitten by every sort of insect pest,
and half stifled by the hot moisture-laden air,
we dragged ourselves up foot by foot. Though
all in   excellent training,   we   made  less than
21 I
1000 feet in two hours and a half; and when at
length we emerged from the stuffy air of the
forest into the open, we felt as though we
had wings and finished the remaining 2000 feet,
or so, of the climb with ease. The high peaks
of the main chain were, as usual, obscured, or
else loomed dimly, bleared spectral shapes,
through the watery vapour; but fortunately
there were no big mountains to the south-east,
south, or west, so Collie was able to complete
his plane-table survey of that district, and our
labours had not been altogether in vain. We
returned by a somewhat different route, hoping
to find it easier, but eventually found ourselves
cut off from the camp by a large muskeg, the
dangers of which, however, we disregarded,
and, wading straight through it, got back to
From the Columbia trail, which we reached
in a few days without difficulty, we branched off
to visit some lakes which form the source of the
Blackwater creek. The highest of these lakes
is situated on what may be termed a low pass,
about 800 feet above Donald, and from this
point the trail descends towards the Bush River
in one direction, and to Donald in the other.
One of the lakes, named Fish Lake, is full of
small rainbow trout, and we camped on its
banks for two nights. Fred having constructed
for us an impromptu raft, we had a day's fishing
and caught a great many trout : then on again
next morning to Donald and civilisation in a
downpour of rain. For some rather occult
reason it was considered desirable that Tom
Wilson should have as early intimation as possible of the outfit's arrival ; so Stutfield and Spencer were deputed to mount the swiftest nags,
to wit, Joe and a black mare yclept Dinah, and
ride ahead into Donald. They had a most exhilarating gallop through the forest, soaked with
the heavy rain and the dripping underbrush ;
and reached Donald in under three hours. Joe,
with his nose set homewards, went admirably,
though he came down badly in a boghole, causing Stutfield to embrace his mother earth on
the happily soft floor of the forest. The outfit
arrived an hour or two later.
Our haste was quite unnecessary, as "Number 1 " was a trifle of half a day, or thereabouts,
behind time. There had been a landslip on the
line ; or, as a negro porter more aptly phrased it
on a similar occasion, "the scenery had come
down." We spent a most uncomfortable night
in our wet things at the station, in company
with a very unsteady person who had been
carousing not wisely, but too well, with his
friends ; until at last the train came in and
landed us at Glacier House, and under Mrs.
Young's care, in the early morning.
At Glacier the party broke up, but before returning home we managed to do some climbing
in the neighbourhood of the railway, which compensated us in some measure for our bad
luck with the mountains in the Bush valley.
Spencer, remaining at Glacier for a few days,
made the first ascent—in company with Professor Arthur Michael and two Swiss guides,
E. Feuz and C. Michel—of Peak Swanzy, one
of the few remaining virgin summits of the
Selkirks within reach of the hotel. The following is Spencer's description of the climb :
" Starting at 3*45 a.m., we followed the trail
leading past Lake Marion to Mount Abbott.
Thence we walked along the easy level ridge
that connects Mount Abbott with a peak
known as The Rampart. From this arête we
dropped by easy slopes on its eastern side to the
edge of a considerable glacier which fills the
head of the Lilly valley.
" The scenery at this point was of remark-
I i
able grandeur. Opposite to us Mount Bon-
ney presented a huge line of ice-capped precipices rising from a broad crevassed glacier, to
the left of which, at the head of the Lilly
glacier, soared a graceful snow-clad cone, Peak
Swanzy, the goal of our expedition. A rocky
rib running up from the other side of the
glacier offered a possible and rather tempting
route ; but Feuz suggested that we should probably find a better way from the col at the head
of the Lilly Glacier. His surmise proved correct ; for on arriving at the col, we saw that we
could reach the summit by a rather steep, but
easy, snow-slope. As the rocks in front of us
looked very difficult, we traversed to the southeast side, and, after a charming scramble up
rocks of no great difficulty, stepped on to the
top a few minutes after noon. The summit,
which is a little over 10,000 feet in height, consists of a rock-cap with a short snow ridge
running from it in a south-westerly direction.
It commands a view of extraordinary splendour.
In the far distance beyond the Hermit Range
the great chain of the Rockies showed with
remarkable clearness against the horizon. I
easily identified Freshfield, Forbes, Lyell, Bryce,
and Columbia; and in my thoughts I retraced
216 Peak Swanzy
my steps on our journey up the Bush valley,
with all its new and interesting experiences. In
our immediate vicinity the grand precipices of
the loftier Mount Bonney shut out the view
towards the west ; while beyond the great snow-
fields of the Illecillewaet Glacier, but partially
obscured by heavy cloud-banks, lay a tangled
maze of peaks and glaciers, amongst which I
was able to single out the comparatively well-
known summits, Mounts Dawson, Fox, and
Donkin. To the east, and much nearer, rose
the noble form of Mount Sir Donald.
" As Feuz did not quite like the look of the
snow-slope by which we had ascended, we made
our descent to the col by a rib of steep rocky
slabs on the right, a very pleasant variation in
the climb. From the col we crossed through a
gap in the ridge on the other side to the Asulkan
valley, finally reaching Glacier House at a
quarter past six, after one of the most dehghtful
days of my Alpine experience."
Meanwhile Collie had returned to Banff,
where, having a day or two to spare, he began
to feel a longing once more for the smell of the
camp-fires and the free, disreputable life of the
woods.     Accordingly, one   morning   down   at
Tom Wilson's house, arrangements were made
I ill
m ï-
for a start the same afternoon, with Fred
Stephens, Wilson's eldest boy, and a small oufit,
for the valley that lies under Mount Edith—a
somewhat remarkable peak standing a short way
up a creek that drains from the north side of the
Bow valley a few miles west of Banff. It is
visible from the railway, and resembles, on a
small scale, the Little Dru as seen through the
trees before approaching the Montanvert.
Fred Stephens had always protested that
climbing peaks, for the mere sake of climbing
them, was foolishness—only, if sheep or goats
could be shot by so doing, there might be some
use in taking the trouble to get to the top of
a mountain. From the look of Mount Edith
Collie judged that some very good rock climbing would be required to ascend it; and he
looked forward to experiencing all the pleasures
of the initiated, when he should have Fred
dangling on the end of an Alpine rope.
The weather was perfect ; and, following the
valley lying on the eastern side of Mount Edith,
a good camping-place was soon found. With
due solemnity the bacon was cooked for the last
time under the silent pines, for the party purposed returning to Banff the following evening ;
and to wash the supper down Collie had brought
with him a bottle of Pommery. Fred, however,
was not enthusiastic, or even polite, to the
champagne, remarking that he had tasted far
better cider in his native and beloved Montana.
After sundown the party rolled themselves
up in their blankets; and soon the full moon
slowly moved up the sky, sending a flood of
light through the branches of the perfectly still
pines, and the black shadows moved lazily across
the grass below. On such a night who would
change the free untainted air of the mountains
for that of a stuffy room ? Occasionally a faint
breeze would stir the upper branches of the
trees, or send a whiff of the still smouldering
camp-fire across one's nostrils—it seemed almost
sacrilege even to think of going to sleep, and so
miss any of the wonderful pictures in black and
white. Presently, however, the moon set behind a neighbouring mountain ridge, and all was
merged in darkness, only a few glittering stars
shining coldly in the heavens.
Making an early start next morning, Collie
and Fred followed the valley almost up to a
pass that leads  over into Forty Mile Creek;
then, turning to the left, a straight Une was
struck   for   the   precipitous limestone wall  of
Mount Edith.     A wide open gully promised
success,—the one that leads up to the col connecting Mount Edith with the next peak to the
north. Fortunately there was no snow lying in
the upper part of this gully ; otherwise it would
have been foolhardy to attempt to ascend it.
The climbing was steep and somewhat rotten,
but not very difficult ; and Fred declared that a
rope was hardly necessary. On reaching the col
Mount Edith was to the south, and it seemed
impossible to climb direct to the summit ; so,
crossing the col to the western side, a series of
traverses and climbs through holes in the ridge
were made : we next crossed some very sloping
slabs overhanging dizzy precipices ; then climbed
up excessively rotten gullies, first one way
then another, but always getting higher, till we
emerged quite unexpectedly on to the top.
Of course we built a cairn, after which Fred
amused himself by hurling big stones down the
cliffs—the only use he saw in such a mountain
top was to pitch it over into the valley below*
It was certainly an ideal place for such a performance, as the summit was composed of limestone strata set straight on end, its eastern face
consisting of almost flawless slabs 1000 or 1500
feet high, set at an angle somewhere between
85° and 90°.    Rock after rock Fred brought to
220 Mount Edith
'he Bush Pass (see f. 284)  ASCENT  OF MOUNT EDITH
the edge, and, tilting them over, watched them
half fall, half slide, down the smooth slabs till
they burst in fragments perhaps 2000 feet
To the north of Mount Edith is a still higher
peak, that cannot be seen from below the Bow
valley easily ; it is most remarkable in form, and
apparently quite inaccessible. We descended by
a much easier route down the western side; then,
skirting across some screes, we crossed the ridge
to the south. Below us could be seen the smoke
of the camp-fire ; and Fred, disregarding Collie's
warning that he would be cut off below, set off
down a tempting-looking gully. The warning
proved true, and, to make matters worse, the only
possible way of escape was to traverse back again
with great difficulty right under the peak on the
eastern side till we nearly joined our morning's
route. Thus we got down through the forest to
the camp, and night saw us again in Banff.
On September the 11th, a few days later,
Stutfield found himself once more at Glacier
on his way home from Vancouver. Among
the passengers on " Number 2 ' was an American lady, who had ideas concerning the
mountains. The crevasses of the Great Glacier,
she maintained, were all artificial—they didn't
,\ If
il ■
even look natural, she said ; and it was no good
our trying to humbug her into believing that
they were. It appears that not a few people
from the States think that the glacier was put
there by the Canadian Pacific Railway as an
ornament—like the rock walk or the fountains
in the middle of the lawn : and one citizen of
the Great Republic asked the manageress of
the hotel if it was there when she arrived !
The season was waning, but the weather
was fine and the opportunity too good to lose ;
so Stutfield engaged two of the Swiss guides
stationed at the hotel by the Canadian Pacific
Railway, Jacob Muller and Michel of Grindel-
wald, and arranged to go up Mount Sir Donald
next day. Before describing the climb, a few
words on previous ascents and attempts upon this
interesting mountain may not be out of place.
Long deemed inaccessible by people on the
spot, for some years it defied all efforts to scale
its precipices, which from below look distinctly
formidable — much more so than they are in
reality. Among its earlier assailants were such
well-known mountaineers as Mr. Harold Topham
and the Rev. William Green, of whom the
latter attempted the ascent by the IUecillewaet
névé, but only succeeded in climbing the peak
that now bears his name. The first actual
ascent was made in 1890 by Messrs. Huber,
Sulzer, and Cooper, by a difficult and dangerous route up a couloir on the north-west face.
The mountain then remained unclimbed for
nine years, until in 1899 M. Leprince-Ringuet
followed Mr. Green's route with success, descending from the col between Green Peak and
Sir Donald, and joining the present route up
the rocks. On the summit he found the cards
left by his predecessors, Huber and Sulzer, thus
disposing of the doubts which unbelieving persons had cast upon their ascent. In 1900 five
parties reached the summit.
The walk, as we sallied forth at 3*15 a.m.,
along the broad trail leading to the Illecillewaet
ice-fall, was delightful—no logs or bushes to
fight with—and a full moon shed a strangely
eerie radiance upon the great trees, the sheen
and glimmer of its beams making a lantern
quite unnecessary. The trail soon ended, but
there was a nice little path through the bushes
beyond ; and a well-constructed moraine, very
superior to the ordinary Swiss variety, leads to
a glacier that mounts to the foot of the rocks.
Dawn came slowly up over the shoulder of the
peak, and Sir Donald stood forth, grandly sil-
« - ■■ "           ■    y> \
1 mI
if ■
houetted against the saffron sky. At the foot
of the final peak the most serious obstacle has
to be passed—the schrund that stopped some of
the first people to attempt the ascent of the
mountain. It did not give us much trouble,
but in some seasons the crossing of it might
be a very difficult matter.
Just above the schrund is a curious tunnel
through the snow, about ten or fifteen yards
long ; and immediately beyond it a very steep
little snow-slope takes you on to the rocks.
These are nowhere very difficult according to
modern climbing standards, but always steep
and interesting. There was a good deal of
fresh snow on the mountain when we climbed
it : otherwise it might have been necessary to
keep a sharp look-out for falling stones. After
zig-zagging up the face of the rocks on to the
arête, we reached the summit at 9 a.m., when
the guides much amused their "Herr' by at
once claiming a record time for the ascent ;
which shows that modern Alpine notions have
already invaded America's new mountain playground I The height of Sir Donald is 10,645
feet, about 6600 feet above Glacier, but the
actual summit is not visible from the hotel.
The view from  the top   suffers from the
lack of any effective foreground, as you are
standing on much the most striking object in
the panorama. It is, of course, enormously
extensive. The spectator seems to be in the
centre of a perfect universe of mountains, a
chaotic far-stretching wilderness of peak, snow-
field, and valley ; which in imagination he sees
extending hundreds of miles to the Pacific,
nearly a thousand miles northwards to Alaska,
and heaven knows how many thousands to
the south. Bush valley with its mountains,
and the grand Selkirk peak we had so often
seen therefrom, were quite clear; but a long
thin line of cloud cut off the summits of Mount
Forbes, Bryce, and other giants of the central
chain, only the silvery spire of Columbia piercing the vapour, and proudly overtopping its
Some care was necessary in negotiating the
now rapidly melting snow at the beginning
of the descent ; but, this passed, the party
made its way down without difficulty, reaching
Glacier at two o'clock. At the hotel Stutfield
sat down to an excellent lunch, feeling very fit
and hungry; and, as he walked down the Une
to the  "loops'   in the afternoon, he reflected
that rock and  snow cUmbing was, after all, a
225 p
11 I il
i m
much easier and pleasanter occupation than
forcing your way through untrodden British
Columbian forests. Indeed, beside some of our
expeditions in the woods the day's work seemed
a light one : and it was only after this cUmb
that he reaUsed, by comparison, how severe had
been our labours battUng with logs, devil's-
club creepers, jungles, and mosquitoes, on
the timber-choked slopes of the mountains
around the Bush River.
Our trip was now ended : of course we were
not entirely satisfied — one seldom is in this
wicked world—and wished we could have done
more. Even supposing, however, that things
had gone better with us at the outset, the
weather was too persistently bad at the head
of the Bush vaUey for us to have been able to
do any serious mountaineering : and, as it was,
we had found out nearly all we wanted to know
about the geography of the region lying to the
west of the main range.
To recapitulate : practicaUy the whole district lying between the Wood river and the
Blaeberry creek is drained by the Bush River ;
the Waitabit and Bluewater creeks merely
take the water from the foot-hills.    A large
glacier   exists  at the   back   of  the  Freshfield
group : this is the source of the south fork of
the Bush, whilst the meltings from the Columbia
glacier and some of the ice-fields lying at the
base of the Lyell group flow into the north
fork. Another system of glaciers, lying to the
west of Mount Bryce, feed two tributaries of
the Bush River that flow southward and parallel
with the north fork. The magnificent snowcapped peak standing almost over the junction
of the south and north forks is not Mount
Bryce, as we had supposed, but is a new and
unnamed mountain. As it is in full view of
the traveUer all the way up the Bush vaUey,
it ought, perhaps, to be called Bush Peak. The
great depth of the Bush valley is also of interest ; and the fact that, to start with, both from
Mount Freshfield and Mount Columbia, the
vaUeys lie parallel with the main chain shows
that the same forces that fashioned the vaUeys
on the eastern side also made those on the
west. This pressure, in many places at the
head-waters of the Bush, had contorted the rock
into the most fantastic bends and loops, as we
have previously mentioned on page 209. The
general Ue of the country was a series of more
or  less tilted strata dipping to the south-west
and   consequently producing gentle   slopes  in
that direction and precipitous faces towards the
north-east, the ranges consisting of carboniferous and Devonian limestones.
Professor Bonney, F.R.S., kindly examined
one or two specimens of rock that we brought
home. In the bed of the Bush River there
was a considerable amount of limestone with
fossil corals in it. Professor Bonney describes
it as foUows : " It appears to belong to the
genus Lithostrotion, and one at least is very
like the Martini of Britain. This belongs to
the carboniferous limestone age." Of another
Umestone he says : " Contains numerous fragments of organisms, but iU preserved ; some,
perhaps foraminiferœ, are like an ostreod, others
probably mollusca." A third Umestone : " The
ground mass appears to retain traces of organisms and shows signs of pressure. The round
spots are puzzling ; the mode of occurrence
suggests ooUtic grains, but they have a coarse
granular structure—perhaps recrystallisation has
taken place."
There appears to be only one pass below
timber-Une connecting the Bush vaUey with
the east side of the range. This is the pass
which Collie and Woolley had seen from the
summit of Athabasca Peak.    It was explored
by Mr. Charles Thompson, while we were in
the Bush valley, by way of the west branch
of the North Fork of the Saskatchewan. As
he is the first person who has been on its
summit, CoUie named it Thompson Pass : it
is 6800 feet above sea-level, and below timber-
The question of passes and sources of rivers
amongst the Canadian Rockies is a most interesting one. Of the little tarn, caUed the
Committee's Punch-bowl, which drains both
ways from the Athabasca Pass, fuU mention
has been made already. The same double outflow occurs in another lake just south-east of
the Athabasca Pass—Fortress Lake, which
was discovered by Professor Coleman. He
says : " The lake has a curious subterranean
outlet in a tributary of the Chaba River,
but sends most of its waters into the Wood
Probably, if there were a lake on the Howse
Pass a similar state of affairs would be found,
for the summit is quite flat, with, as Dr. Hector
says, " a few swampy streams flowing east, a
Uttle further on a smaU creek issuing from a
number of springs flowing westwards."    Again,
the   same   phenomenon   occurs   at   the   head-
jjif 1
I k 1 w
waters   of  the  Saskatchewan   and   the Athabasca.1
While we were traveUing west by the railway
from Donald to Glacier, through the canyon
of the Columbia between Donald and Beaver
Mouth, it occurred to Collie that possibly
centuries ago there may have been a large
lake filUng the Columbia valley to the south
from Donald to the upper lakes. This lake
would be formed anew if the aforesaid canyon
between Donald and Beaver Mouth were to
be filled up for a height of two hundred feet,
or less, Donald being 2530 feet, while the upper
Columbia lake is 2700 feet, above the sea. The
south end of the latter lake is only cut off by
about two miles of swamp from the Kootenay
River. AU along the wide Columbia vaUey
up to the lakes are well-marked terraces of
white calcareous mud, whilst at the bottom
of the vaUey are a chain of great swamps. If
the whole of this vaUey had been at any time
a large lake, chiefly or whoUy draining to the
south, it is quite likely that the Kootenay River,
as it breaks into the wide valley just below the
Columbia lakes from the north-east through a
rocky gorge, would gradually have silted up the
1 See page 102.
south end of the lake, so raising the height tiU
at last a weak spot was found at the north end,
and the whole drained away down the present
vaUey of the Columbia.1 Moreover, one would
gather, from the direction in which the Shus-
wap and SpiUmichene creeks flow, that they
were flowing into a river whose course was
Now, if in former times this great lake
drained south, instead of north, then the headwaters of the Columbia must have been in the
Bush River; and its source was amongst the
great glaciers that sweep down from Mount
Columbia and the Columbia ice-fields. Surely,
for the birthplace of one of the most magnificent rivers of the West, such a spot is more
fitting than a swamp among the foot-hiUs.
Surely its source should be where the huge
snow-clad peaks rise high into the clouds,
where the avalanche thunders, where the dark
precipices keep guard over the valleys beneath,
1 Compare Dr. G. M. Dawson's S( Preliminary Report on the
Physical and Geological Features of that Part of the Rocky Mountains between lats. 49° and 51° 30'," Part B, Annual Report, 1885,
where he suggests that the original course of what is now the Upper
Columbia was probably southward. When the idea first occurred
to Collie, he was not aware that it had been thus anticipated. The
probable source, however, of the Columbia in the Bush valley was
not suggested by Dr. Dawson.
231 i
and where the Rocky Mountains culminate in
one great effort ; for there, amidst ice and snow
in the glacier caves, is born the Athabasca, that
old river of the lonely northland ; and there
arise the rivulets that later become the mighty
Saskatchewan !
The following year, 1901, saw considerable
activity among climbers and explorers in the
Canadian Rockies. The veteran mountaineer,
Mr. Edward Whymper, the first conqueror of the
Matterhorn and Chimborazo, came out with four
Swiss guides and made a series of ascents and
observations in the neighbourhood of the Vermillion Pass ; in the Yoho vaUey, near Field ;
and in the vaUey of the Ice River. That indefatigable cUmber, the Rev. James Outram,
accompanied him on some of his expeditions :
and later on, in conjunction with Messrs. G. M.
Weed, J. H. Scattergood, and a Swiss guide,
Mr. Outram ascended Mount ChanceUor and
other summits along the railway, winding up
his season's mountaineering with the conquest of
Mount Assiniboine. Messrs. Weed and C. S.
Thompson, with Hans Kaufmann of Grindel-
wald as guide, climbed various peaks in the vaUey
of the Ten Peaks, at the head of Moraine Lake
near Laggan.
233 I
il I
Much the most interesting journey of exploration, however, was that of Dr. Jean Habel
up the North Fork of the Saskatchewan, over
Wilcox Pass, and thence down the vaUey of the
Sun Wapta to its junction with the west branch
of the Athabasca. From here he ascended the
two branches of the Chaba River, and visited
Fortress Lake; then traveUed to the head of
the western branch of the Athabasca towards
the northern face of Mount Columbia, of which
he obtained a fine photograph.1 His outfit, Uke
so many others, ran short of provisions and the
expedition had to be curtailed ; and much good
work of exploration, which might otherwise have
been accompUshed, was thereby prevented.
Some day, perhaps, it wiU be possible to obtain
an outfit manned and equipped with sufficient
transport and provisions to last out a trip of
three or four months. At present nobody seems
to have mastered the problem ; and the prospect
of running short of food on the journey remains
the most serious obstacle to aU projects of extended exploration among the mountains.
In the spring of 1902 three of us, Collie,
Stutfield, and Woolley, made plans for another
trip to the Canadian Rockies.    Those peaks and
1 "Appallachia" (Boston), Vol. x. No. 1.
234 :
Gorge of Bear Creek (see p. 257)
if 1
1 .c.:- -
glaciers and canyons, and the subtle charms of
camp-Ufe in the backwoods, had woven a speU
around us that we could not, if we would, have
broken. The expedition was to be mainly
a mountaineering one ; as, apart from virgin
mountain summits and ice-fields, we did not
expect to break much new ground. At the
same time, there were many points of interest
and geographical uncertainties to be cleared up,
as on our previous trips the panoramic views
had been greatly interfered with by cloudy
weather and smoke haze and the intervention
of other peaks. It must be remembered, also,
that the country mapped as the result of those
journeys comprises about 3000 square miles ;
and necessarily there were many valleys whose
sources were difficult to trace ; glaciers and
snow-fields the direction of whose flow was problematical ; and, lastly, the altitude of some of
the highest peaks was doubtful. It remained to
discover what system of vaUeys lay on the
south-west side of the Freshfield range; to
traverse the great LyeU glacier, upon whose ice
no human being had probably set foot, in order
to learn about the complicated series of snow-
peaks in that district ; to find out how the continental Divide ran, and how the various creeks
% i
of the Bush River were connected with the
LyeU snow-field ; and, further, CoUie wished to
see if there was an easy pass across the watershed between Mount Forbes and the Freshfield
group. If any such low pass existed, it would
be probably the only one from the Fortress Lake
pass on the Athabasca to the Kicking Horse
pass on the raUway ; and, moreover, it would be
useful as a means of reaching the head-waters
of the south fork of the Bush without the tofl
of forcing one's way up the main Bush valley.
Profiting by previous experiences, we hoped
to avoid the starvation and other hardships we
had endured in the vaUeys of the Bush, Athabasca, and Saskatchewan, and generaUy to do
things more comfortably. Bad weather, flooded
rivers, and such-Uke visitations of Providence, we
could not hope to avoid ; but we thought that
with reasonable care and forethought we might
at any rate have a good tent and a sufficiency of
food. With this end in view CoUie wrote to
Fred Stephens, who had now started an outfitting business on his own account, and asked him
to give us an estimate for a trip of seven or
eight weeks. Fred repUed, suggesting the
quantity  of   flour,  bacon,  &c.,  required;   and
CoUie wrote back, nearly doubUng the amount,
and directing that half should be sent on ahead
over the Bow pass and cached at Bear Creek.
This was done, and at the end of the trip there
were not many provisions left over.
We left England on July 3rd, nearly a fortnight earUer than usual, hoping to " puU out '
—Anglicé, go into camp—on the 19th ; but
sundry mishaps delayed the start tiU five days
later. At Banff we made the pleasing discovery that three pieces of luggage, containing
a large proportion of our camp outfit, were
missing: one turned up in two days, but we
could obtain no clue whatever as to the whereabouts of the others.
Reader, when your American or Canadian
friend dilates to you on the perfection and
quasi-infaUibility of the Transatlantic system
of " checking ' baggage, don't you believe him !
It is a good system, which works weU on the
whole, but it is very far from being infaUible ;
and on this trip we heard of more cases of
baggage being lost than we have ever known
in any European country in a similar space of
time. There was some excuse for the breakdown in 1902, as the increase of traffic was
very large and rapid ; the traveUing trunks of
American ladies grow bigger and ever bigger ;
m 4
labour was difficult to procure, and the good
times had made the raUway employés exceedingly independent : but the fact remains that
such contretemps do more than anything else
to mar the pleasure of travelling.
At Laggan we found Mr. C. S. Thompson,
who, with Mr. Weed and Hans Kaufmann,
was to accompany us on the trip ; but, alas !
on the Monday a worse mishap even than the
loss of our luggage upset our plans, for Mr.
Thompson received a telegram announcing the
destruction by fire of his home in Texas ; and
he was forced to forego his brief annual hoUday
in the mountains and return home. It was a
keen disappointment to us as weU as to him,
for we had looked forward with pleasure to
spending a few weeks in camp and doing some
good cUmbs with this keen and energetic
As the lost trunks obstinately refused to
turn up, we got together such things as were
procurable in the village to replace the missing
outfit, and prepared to start. Mr. Mathews
most obUgingly lent us several useful articles ;
among others, a most magnificent bedroom
mattress, which on the journey proved as great
a solace to its temporary owner as it was an
annoyance to the packers ; and on Wednesday
the 23rd we left for Laggan, where Fred was
awaiting us with the horses and men. " Number
One' was less punctual even than usual, and
we reached Laggan too late to make a start
that day. On the platform we found Fred
with his friend Jack Robson, who was engaged
to take charge of the culinary department in
our somewhat extensive outfit. Fred, expecting
us to arrive earUer, had sent the other two
men, with the tents and most of the horses,
ahead along the Bow trail ; so we spent our
first night à la belle étoile outside the station.
The evening was spent in sorting the baggage, which, owing to our fixed determination
to make ourselves comfortable, was somewhat
bulkier than usual. One depraved person, for
instance, had brought a camp-bedstead. This
luxury was viewed with the strongest disapproval, as out West, for some occult reason, it
is considered unmanly to sleep otherwise than
on the ground. Weed, hardy man, had neither
cork mattress nor bedstead ; but, Uke a true son
of America, lay in his blanket and ground-sheet.
Worse even than the camp-bedstead, however,
lurked behind; and presently Fred's aU-seeing
eye feU on the bedroom mattress.
!ii: 4
" What's this blamed truck ? " he inquired,
and his good-humoured face assumed an expression of unwonted severity.
" Truck," it should be explained, is one of
those deUghtfuUy comprehensive western words,
like " outfit," which can be appUed to anything
or everything; to creation at large or a water-
bucket ; to a rifle or a kitchen utensU ; a maiden
aunt or a mother-in-law. We explained that
the "truck' was nothing more or less than
what it appeared to be, a mattress, and that
we meant to sleep on it ; whereat Robson,
with quite unnecessary politeness, inquired if
he should wait for the wardrobe and the rest
of the bedroom suite, which he supposed was
to foUow later; and Fred was certain that a
decent pack could not possibly be made of
such a monstrosity, that no self-respecting
cayoose would submit to carry it, &c, &c. So
the talk went on tiU night feU; the bedding
(including the mattress) was spread on the
ground, and further argument was quenched
in slumber.
It froze hard during the night, though thunder could be heard rumbUng at intervals, and
our  blankets  next morning were white with
rime.     We waited tiU noon, in the faint but
delusive hope of finding our baggage on
"Number One' when it arrived, and then
started up the Bow vaUey. Four years had
elapsed since we had passed along this route
on our return from the head-waters of the
Saskatchewan and the Athabasca ; and the
Canadian Pacific Railway people had evidently
not been idle in the meantime. The traU of
evU renown was now, at any rate for the first
ûve or six mUes, as broad and good as any
backwoods traveUer could desire, only the crisscross and jumble of logs on either side serving
to remind us of our troubles here in former
days. Further on, however, where the traU
descends to the level of the Bow river, the
improvement ceases, and the muskegs and bog-
holes are now worse than ever, owing to the
increase of traffic and the trampUng of many
horses' hoofs. To make a thorough job of it,
the trail should be carried along the hiUside
past the base of Mount Hector, where, if once
properly cut out, it could easfly be maintained
in a state of tolerable repair.
We found the tents on the banks of the
Bow after a ride of three hours, and were introduced to our other two men, Dave Tewksbury
and Clarence Murray, both of them citizens of
241 Q
msss B
■ : if
i j f;
Il    II"
the U.S.A., who had taken part in the recent
inrush of settlers from the western States into
Alberta. Dave, a lumberman by trade from
Wisconsin, was a veritable artist with the axe.
It was a treat to see him feU a tree or chop
up firewood; every blow feU in the right place
to the sixteenth of an inch, and when the
operation was completed the end of the log
was as smooth as though it had been cut with
a knife. The horses were aU complete strangers
to us, and at first we quite missed Joe and
Molly and the Pinto, and the other animals
that had shared—and largely caused—our tribulations in former years.
Our journey to Bear Creek was an uneventful one, and we were far from regretting the
absence of incident. Things seemed so entirely different in this charming valley from
that miserable region of the Bush. The
weather was fine on most days ; we had a
well-stocked larder, and an exceUent tent that
kept out the rain; the mosquitoes were not
too bad, though the bulldogs were terribly
numerous and worried the cayooses a good
deal ; while the latter seemed to have a smaller
allowance of original sin than most pack-
horses, and, on the whole, behaved extremely
242 I
. il II
weU. Now and again one of them might be
seen wUdly careering through the woods, shedding pots and pans and kettles as he went ; whUe
Moses, a sprightly old sorrel that carried the
obnoxious mattress, showed his disgust at his
burden by depositing it on the traU at every
convenient opportunity—but they never tried
to drown themselves in the lakes or swam
about in rivers merely for the fun of wetting
our baggage. Everything, in short, seemed to
combine to make our pilgrimage the pleasant
picnic we had intended it to be ; as though Fate,
repenting of the trials wherewith she had formerly afflicted us, were now bent on making
aU possible amends.
On the second day the outfit camped, after
a short day's march, on the banks of a stream
descending from a pass leading over into the
Pipestone vaUey, in order to wait for CoUie
and Weed, who had gone on a journey of
exploration along the sides of Mount Hector.
The others caught a few trout in the Bow,
but the water was very " riley " — Anglicé,
clouded with glacial debris — and the fish
throughout this season took exceedingly badly.
The following evening we pitched the tents
on the Bow summit, in suffocating heat which
produced clouds of flies and, later on, a
thunderstorm. From the Bow Pass a long
march brought us to our old beautiful camping-
ground near Waterfowl Lake at the foot of
Pyramid and Howse Peak. Those two cloud-
compelUng mountains were, as usual, veUed in
mist when we arrived ; but they were nearly
clear next morning, and old Dave's wonder and
delight at the grim black precipices and stately
glacier-crowned peaks knew no bounds. The
old fellow had never been in the mountains
before, and the grand scenery was a complete
revelation to him. " WeU now, isn't that just
wonderful ! ' he kept on exclaiming, as, leaving
his sturdy nag (his own) to find its way along
the trail, he gazed up at the towering cUffs
of Pyramid, whose head, thinly veiled in cloud,
gave to Dave's inexperienced eye an impression
of almost ilUmitable height. His only regret
was that he could not bring his " old woman '
along to enjoy these glories of Nature with
On the way through the woods to Bear
Creek camping-ground Fred pointed out to us
a bear-trap belonging to two young trappers
from   Banff,  Ballard   and   Simpson,  who   had
spent the winter in a "shack'  or log-cabin at
the foot of the valley. Two or three weeks
before we passed that way a two-year-old
bear had been caught in the trap ; and an old
grizzly coming along got wind of him, and proceeded at once to business. StruggUng to tear his
prey out of the trap, the grizzly had wrenched
the staple to which it was attached out of the
ground, and dragged the whole concern, trap,
staple, bear, and aU, down to a smaU muskeg
hard by. The ground near the trap indicated
the terrific nature of the struggle that had
taken place ; and we foUowed the marks across
the traU down to the muskeg. Here the
grizzly had seized the poor beast in his deadly
grip, and UteraUy wrenched the leg which was
caught in the trap out of the shoulder-socket,
and then made a meal of him. Scraps of the
victim's hide and pieces of brown fur lying
about, as weU as the marks on the ground
and the grass and weeds crushed flat, were
evidences of the truth of the story which one
might otherwise have found difficult to believe.
Early in the afternoon Mount Murchison
came into view, and we entered the forest of
taU pines which told us that Bear Creek was
not far off. At five o'clock the outfit came
to a halt on the famiUar camping-ground; and
we proceeded at once to inspect the river with
a view to fording it on the morrow. That
notorious torrent, however, was most unpleasantly high : its waters had worn for themselves a narrower and deeper channel than
before, and rushed by more swiftly and impetuously than ever. Our examination of the
river over, CoUie's first care was to search for
two bottles, one of whisky, the other of brandy,
which he had buried at the foot of a tree in
1898, with elaborate instructions as to how
they were to be found. You stood, compass
in hand, at the foot of a certain tree ; then
walked twenty-two paces north-west to another
tree with a blaze on it ; then twenty-five paces
due north to a tree with a white stone at its
base, under which the bottles were buried.
The secret had been confided to Fred and
Peyto, and many and diligent had been the
searches made by them and other thirsty trappers
and prospectors, but aU in vain. The ground
looked as though bears or wild boars had been
rooting round ; but the men had dug at the
foot of every tree but the right one, across
which another trunk had fallen, covering the
white stone and the burial-place of the bottles.
We, however, had no difficulty in finding them,
246 1
and copious Ubations from their weU-matured
contents were drunk round the camp-fire that
On a knoU hard by, in the woods above the
tents, we found the shack built by BaUard and
Simpson—the first human habitation in a spot
which future generations wiU probably see transformed into a populous mountain resort for
tourists. The owners of the shack were not
at home, being away in charge of an expedition
up the west branch of the north fork of the
Saskatchewan with the Rev. James Outram and
Hans' brother, Christian Kaufmann, who had
started from Banff more than a fortnight before us : but on the door was pinned a note
from Mr. Outram saying that he had returned
from the west branch, and was now encamped
at Glacier Lake, and would meet us (as had
previously been arranged) at the foot of Mount
Fred had stored our reserve stock of provisions in the shack, by arrangement with the
owners, who had also provided him with a key of
the door. The interior, which smelt very fusty
and damp, was filled with skins, horns, traps
of aU kinds and sizes—conspicuous among them
being two bear-traps, cruel-looking instruments
Uke gigantic rabbit-traps, and requiring a force
of nearly 400 lbs. to open the jaws when closed
—tools of various sorts, and other trappers'
implements. In this lonely retreat the two
men had passed the long Canadian winter in
complete isolation from the outside world, shooting and trapping with fair success, considering
the ever-growing scarcity of game and fur-
bearing animals.
The sight of such a shack, or cabin, as this in
the wilds of the backwoods brings vividly before
one the kind of life led by the trapper or miner
or prospector up country ; and the grit and
endurance that a man must have to enter upon
it. The mere thought of the possible results of
some trivial accident or mishap would be enough
in itself to deter people of ordinary nerves. For
instance, we heard of a case when two prospectors
in British Columbia made a compact together
before starting on their travels that, if either of
them broke a leg or sprained an ankle, he was to
be shot by the other. And how great must be
the courage of the hunter or trapper who, in the
depth of winter, ventures forth alone for weeks
or months together into the woods, pack and
blanket on back, dependent largely on his gun
or rifle for food, and with none near to succour
:; j ]
in case he falls iU or meets with an accident !
The picture, in Milton and Cheadle's book, of
the headless Indian corpse seated on the ground,
dead of starvation ; the miner whose body was
found in the woods, his pack beside him, with
the pathetic words scrawled on a piece of paper
pinned to a neighbouring tree, "The traU ends
here "—these and many simUar stories serve
to remind one of the terrible fate that is for ever
staring the soUtary backwoodsman in the face.
Probably the fact that it is always before their
eyes tends to make them caUous to the risk :
anyhow, hundreds of men are to be found who
wiU cheerfuUy face these dangers and, what to
most people would be more terrifying stiU, the
awful loneUness of their soUtary vigils in the great
forests and mountains ; and, what may seem
strangest of aU, not a few of them find pleasure
in doing so.
Nor, one would think, are the profits in these
days large enough to compensate the trapper for
the perils and privations incident to his trade.
Formerly a man might with fair luck earn from
six to eight hundred doUars in a season, but he
cannot expect to do so weU nowadays. Of
course, whatever he makes is almost aU clear
profit, as his food and lodging and the impie -
ments of his craft cost him very little. The
skins of the marten and mink are the chief
source of income, now that the beaver has grown
scarce and his pelt less valuable : besides these
are the lynx, ermine, musk-rat, otter, wolverine
or glutton, and foxes of various kinds. The
wolverine is a beast of infinite cunning, and mar-
yeUous tales are told of his ingenuity in ferreting
out the locahty of the traps and stealing the
animals caught therein. In addition to these
smaUer beasts there are bears, black, cinnamon,
and grizzly ; and in these days, when furs of aU
kinds are growing scarce and dear, the pelt of
the ordinary wild mountain goat, if in good
winter condition, finds a ready market.
u 1
é1"   '      ''''3    "' -"»'     -
/' '.
i i
f (
Mount Murchison !*.; CHAPTER XIV   Jf
Fred Stephens was by no means inchned to
risk his newly-purchased outfit by the passage of
Bear Creek in its present swoUen condition ; and
the river was, if anything, rather higher next
morning. Moreover, an examination of the
bacon which had been stored in the shack
showed that it had got slightly mouldy, and
a thorough drying in the sun was considered
desirable. The customary day's halt, without
which few outfits leave Bear Creek, was therefore decided on ; and by way of spending the
time we arranged to attempt the ascent of the
rocky pinnacle of Mount Murchison which faces
and, as it were, overhangs the valley where the
tents were pitched. It was thought that the
highest summit, or what we had always deemed
to be such, lay too far to the east for us to cUmb
it, at any rate in one day, from our present
Next  morning,  therefore,  CoUie,   Stutfield,
Weed, and  Hans  Kaufmann saUied forth for
251 ill
what we imagined would prove quite a moderate
expedition. Leaving the trail about half-an-
hour from the camp, we ascended the dry bed
of a torrent that comes straight down the mountain side, some distance northwards of the route
we foUowed in 1898 up to the arête where the
fossil forest was found. In this way we avoided
the long grind through the woods, which, after
our experiences in the Bush valley, we regarded
with special aversion. The going proved excellent, and we soon found ourselves at timber-
line, ready to tackle Mount Murchison with legs
untired by log-jumping or fighting our way
through brushwood. As we were aU more or
less out of training this was a matter of no
slight importance. Straight above us was a
series of shale slopes leading up to a narrow
snow couloir, which, though very steep and
possibly somewhat risky owing to falUng stones,
looked quite feasible ; and, as it obviously offered
much the most direct way up the mountain, we
determined to try it. The old route would
doubtless be easier, but a frontal attack promised more amusement, as well as a considerable
economy of time.
In a grassy basin at the foot of the rocks we
disturbed a young he-goat who, after the manner
of bachelors of his class, was having a quiet
lunch by himself on the succulent herbage that
abounds at tree-line. On seeing the intruders
he cantered off in leisurely fashion, traversing
some tiny ledges along the face of most gruesome precipices in a fashion that made us
wonder why the epithet " giddy " should, of all
others, ever be applied to a goat, and disappeared
slowly round the shoulder of the mountain.
There was a good deal of ice at the bottom of
the couloir, which in dry seasons is almost bare
of snow, and to avoid the risk of falling stones
we took to the rocks on our right. These were
distinctly difficult in one or two places, and we
soon had to put on the rope. Above the rocks
we got on to the snow which, though at a very
steep angle, was in exceUent condition. At the
head of the couloir we crossed over to its
northern side, enjoying on the way a striking
glimpse, through the opposing walls of rock,
of Bear Creek valley and the mountains rising
From the top of a rocky promontory, where
we halted for our second meal, it was perceived
for the first time that our objective rock peak
was cut off from us by a mighty cleft, or notch,
in  the mountain, with perpendicular  cliffs  on
1 If
either side some hundreds of feet in height.
We were more than consoled, however, by the
discovery that a snow-clad summit, invisible
from Bear Creek, which rose straight in front
of us and immediately to the right of the rock
peak, was much higher ; and we had no doubt
of our being able to climb it. A long, but easy,
scramble up alternate rock and shale-slopes took
us on to the final snow arête, which, as usual in
these mountains, was very heavily corniced ; and
we had to traverse along the slope, which was
excessively steep, a considerable distance from
the edge.
At four in the afternoon, more than seven
hours from the start, we stood on the maiden
crest of Mount Murchison—or rather, a few feet
below it, the actual top consisting of a tremendous cornice of snow that projected some
distance over an abyss several thousands of feet
deep. To our surprise, and great deUght, we
found we were on one of two peaks of about
equal height—the cUnometer made ours slightly
the higher—which easUy over-topped aU the
other numerous pinnacles of the Murchison
group. Viewed from the Bow Pass the easternmost summit looks considerably higher than the
one on which we stood ; but the latter, though
254 Jra.«?
The Top of Mount Murchison
Mount Pilkington (seep. 270)  ASCENT  OF MOUNT  MURCHISON
it does not appear so, is in reaUty a good deal
further off. Facing us, towards the east, were
the square-topped black tower and the castellated rock ridge that we had seen from the
Pipestone Pass and Survey Peak : and, peeping
under the great masses of overhanging snow,
we could see, 7000 feet below, the Saskatchewan
vaUey stretching away eastwards, and the river
threading its devious way, Uke some huge sUver
snake, between the high mud banks and pine-
clad hiUocks. We could also make out several
minor vaUeys among the hiUs, of whose existence we had tiU then been quite unaware.
In the opposite direction the summits of Mount
Forbes, Bush Peak, LyeU, and the Columbia
group were capped with cloud ; but there was a
charming view of the Middle Fork valley and
Glacier Lake nestUng among the purple hiUs
A very brief examination of our barometers
showed that Mount Murchison would have to
suffer the degradation which, sooner or later,
is the lot of most mountains in this region ; and
to be classed henceforth among the fraudulent,
or semi-fabulous, mountain monsters which have
so long imposed upon the makers of maps. So
far  from its  being  15,781   feet,  or   13,500  as
255 Wn
1 r
Hector imagined, CoUie's Watkin barometer, lent
him by the Royal Geographical Society, only
made it 11,300 feet above sea-level: possibly
some future mountain explorer wiU bring it down
further stiU until, as some American geographer
predicted would one day be the fate of these
mountains, it becomes a hole in the ground.
We had intended to descend by the southwestern arête, in order to make a more detailed
examination of the remarkable fossil forest we
had discovered four years previously; but the
evening shadows were already falling, and we
had no wish to be benighted in the woods, so
we kept to the route by which we had ascended.
On the way down the clouds began to Uft from
the mountains to the west, and by the time
we had emerged from the couloir and got off
the final rocks Bush Peak and Mount Lyell
were quite clear. We managed to strike the
trail before dark, and reached camp at 9.30,
where we rejoiced to find that Bear Creek was
considerably lower; the bacon was thoroughly
dried, and aU promised weU for a start on
the morrow.
During the day Woolley, accompanied by
Fred and Dave, had visited a remarkable gorge
which Bear Creek has worn for itself in the
limestone rock about a mile above the encampment. " In some places," WooUey writes, " the
chasm is but six to eight feet wide ; in others
its sides contain ancient pot-holes similar to
those in the Glacier Garden at Lucerne, one or
two of these rock-cauldrons being of unusual
size." Pent up in this narrow chasm the voluminous waters of the torrent rush boiling and
thundering between waUs of rock a hundred or
a hundred and fifty feet high. The gorge was
first discovered by Ballard and Simpson during
their winter sojourn at the shack ; and in former
days it appears to have been used as a crossing-
place by the Indians—when Bear Creek was too
high to be safely forded—by means of tree-trunks
felled across the ravine.
An inspection of the river early next morning showed that it had fallen stiU further during
the night, and it was now some six or eight
inches lower than on the day we arrived. The
outfit was accordingly packed without any more
delay, and we started on our journey to the source
of the Middle Fork of the Saskatchewan, Mount
Forbes, and the Freshfield group. As our
stock of provisions and baggage was stiU a
good deal beyond the carrying capacity of the
horses we left a large quantity behind in the
257 R
/■ ;.
shack. Bear Creek offered no terrors, and the
crossing was effected without difficulty. It was
Hans' first experience of fording streams on
horseback; and, though brave as a Uon on the
mountains, this sort of thing was not at aU to
his taste : which was not surprising, as Bear
Creek, even when low, is always more or less
of a trial to the inexperienced. However, he
faced the ordeal with exemplary fortitude : only,
when safe on the further shore, he shook his
head gravely and in his broken English enigma-
ticaUy observed, " Several times you cross it ;
but once is the last time ! "
Across the stream we proceeded on our way
up the Middle Fork along the south bank. The
weather was very fine, and the scenery round this
delightful spot seemed more beautiful than ever.
In front the sflver spear-head of Forbes pierced
a sky of deepest blue ; on the left, through the
glades in the forest, which just here is much less
dense than elsewhere, we had peeps of the noble
obelisk of Pyramid, by far the most striking
object in the panorama; whUe northwards was
an uninterrupted view up the valley of the
North Fork, with its rugged mountain masses
on either side.     The landscape in the nearer
foreground   is   pleasantly  diversified   by open
258 >
z I
Hi m
spaces in, the forest, whfle here and there reedy
muskegs and small tarns may be seen hidden
away among the tangle of the trees.
Five distinct groups of lofty mountains are
visible from the neighbourhood of Bear Creek :
Mount Forbes and its sateUites, the Waputehk
range, the peaks to the west of the North Fork,
Mount Wilson, and Mount Murchison. The
two last-named peaks, in addition to their striking form, are geologicaUy interesting, from the
fact that the dip of their limestone strata differs
in a marked manner from most of the neighbouring peaks, being towards the east. As a
result, the "writing-desk' is reversed, as it
were ; and there are tremendous precipices on
the wrong, that is to say, the western side. In
the case of almost every other mountain in this
part of the Canadian Rockies, it is the eastern
side that is sheer, the face towards the west
and south-west being gently sloping.
We camped on the river bank a mile or so
above the mouth of the stream which comes
in from Glacier Lake on the opposite side ; and
in the evening Collie and  Robson forded the
Saskatchewan and rode up to  Mr.   Outram's
camp,  near the lake, to acquaint him of our
arrival.    Here they found BaUard and Simpson,
) !
who said that Mr. Outram was away with
Christian Kaufmann on a two days' mountaineering expedition. Returning to camp, they
missed the ford in the milky waters of the river,
and, getting into a deep hole, were swept down
by the current and had to swim for it.
On the afternoon of the foUowing day, Thursday, 31st July, we pushed on, in pelting rain, to
Collie's old camping-ground with Baker, on the
broad wash-out near the junction of the two
streams descending from Mount Forbes and the
Freshfield glacier respectively. The tents were
pitched on the exact spot which they had
formerly occupied ; and an hour later a line
of horses, advancing in single file across the
shingle-flats, announced the approach of Mr.
Outram and his outfit. On his arrival he told
us that he and Christian had passed the night
on the northern shore of Glacier Lake, near
its further end, on their return from the ascent
of a snow-peak in the neighbourhood of Mount
Forbes. From the head of the west branch of
the North Fork of the Saskatchewan they had
ascended Mount LyeU and Mount Columbia ;
and they described the latter as a tremendously
long and fatiguing tramp through the snow of
more than twenty hours' duration.
Our chief ambition on this trip was to reach
the summit of Mount Forbes, the finest and
most commanding, and probably the most
difficult, of the high peaks in the Canadian
Rockies. As, however, there was still a great
deal of snow upon it, owing to the bad weather
which had prevailed all through the early summer, we thought it better to wait a few days
before attempting the ascent. It was therefore
decided that the next move of the combined
outfits should be up to the foot of the Freshfield glacier, with a view to the ascent of Mount
Freshfield ; but, as the weather next morning
showed little sign of improving, we did not
move camp. Fred and Dave sallied forth to
investigate and cut out the trail which Peyto
had made in 1897 ; whUe Christian and Hans
Kaufmann took their rifles up the mountain in
search of goat. They shot two smaU ones near
the snout of a glacier in an adjoining canyon,
and had to carry the carcases home over a
mountain spur more than 2000 feet above the
level of the vaUey. Towards evening the clouds
began to Uft ; the snowy dome of Howse Peak,
emerging from the mists, seemed, as it were,
poised in mid-air; and Forbes slowly unvefled
his noble outUne and proportions to our view.
Standing nearly north-west of our camping-
ground in the valley, the great peak was admirably situated for striking sunset effects. This
evening Nature had reserved for our benefit
some of her finest pyrotechnic displays, and
the mighty pyramid of Forbes was a fitting
subject for so splendid an illumination. The
eastern face of the mountain faUs almost sheer
from the summit in a tremendous precipice
3000 feet in depth ; and, as the huge red globe
of the sun sank slowly out of sight, the watery
vapours that still hovered over the peak glowed
with a marvellously variegated radiance; and
the terrific black crags, surmounted by their
tiny diadem of snow, stood grimly forth in a
gorgeous setting of rainbow-coloured fires.
The clouds had almost entirely disappeared
next morning, and, turning our glasses on the
mountain, we examined it from a severely professional, that is to say, mountaineering point
of view. There was no doubt whatever that
it would afford us two or three thousand feet
of pretty stiff climbing ; but the lower part
of the arête, which was nearly aU rock, did
not look at all difficult. As a matter of fact,
it proved in the event to be by no means so
easy as we supposed.    About three-quarters of
Ait m
the way up the arête was a rocky pinnacle—
a counterpart in miniature of the Pic Tyndall
on the Italian side of the Matterhorn — and
beyond it a very ugly-looking notch, which
would certainly be troublesome, though we
hoped that when we saw it from the other
side it might present a less formidable appearance. The last part of the climb would be
along the narrow snow arête, fringed with most
unpleasantly large cornices overhanging the great
precipices of the eastern face.
Before packing the outfits for our journey to
the Freshfield glacier we despatched Dave and
Clarence, with four of the horses, back to Laggan to pick up the lost baggage, as well as
certain cases of whisky and provisions which
Fred had cached along the Bow trail. Peyto's
traU through the woods to the Freshfield glacier,
cut in 1897, was stiU in a tolerable state of
repair ; and we made our way there easily
enough in the afternoon. The tents were
pitched in a cosy nook in the forest a few
hundred yards from the snout of the glacier,
commanding a fine view of Mount Freshfield at
the head of the great snow-field ; and a pleasant
breeze blowing from the ice cooled our fevered
brows and mitigated the attacks of the mosqui-
263 s
toes and bulldogs. It rained hard that night,
and next day, Sunday August 3rd, was a day of
rest. It was all new ground to everybody in
the party, except CoUie : so, when in the afternoon it cleared up and the sun came out, we
took a walk up the glacier almost to the foot of
Mount Freshfield. The glacier seemed exactly
the same as when ColUe and Baker had visited
it five years previously, except that the huge
blocks of stone, mentioned on page 55, had
moved somewhat lower down the ice.
The air was very clear after the rain that
had fallen in the night, and we had a good view
over the immense ice-field stretching away for
miles on either side. The peaks at its head
seemed to us, on closer acquaintance, to be
somewhat disappointing ; and it was evident that
Mount Freshfield was not so high as we had
previously supposed. However, it is the usual
fate of newly-discovered mountains, unless they
have been scientificaUy measured, to be partiaUy
shorn of their estimated stature ; and the peaks
about the sources of the Saskatchewan and the
Athabasca were not destined to form exceptions
to the general rule. The persistent smoke-haze
in 1898, the clouds and bad weather of our Bush
river trip, had caused us somewhat to over-esti-
264 H
mate the heights of the mountains that we had
not actuaUy cUmbed or seen close at hand.
Omne tenebrosum pro magnifico : looming mysteriously through the murky atmosphere they
had certainly appeared grander and larger in
bulk than when seen with their outlines sharp-
cut against a clear sky. Fortunately, in their
case the degradation wiU not be anything Uke
so severe as in the cases of Mount Brown,
Mount Hooker, and Mount Murchison, of
whose sad fate the reader has learned in the
foregoing pages.
Next morning being quite fine, we rose at
daybreak and started—a party of seven cUmbers,
Collie, Outram, Stutfield, Weed, and WooUey,
and the two Kaufmanns—for the ascent of
Mount Freshfield. Robson, who had never
been on a fflacier and was anxious to see some
of the wonders of the ice world, came with us
as far as the foot of the peak, a tramp of three
hours from the tents. Here the caravan halted
for a Uttle light refreshment ; and then we commenced the cUmb, after bidding fareweU to
Robson, and showering upon him copious advice
and instructions as to how not to fall through
the treacherous  crusts of snow, below which
lurked  dangerous   crevasses.     We foUowed a
similar route to that taken by Collie, Baker,
and Sarbach in 1897 ; but found an easier way a
little to the right up the band of rocks that runs
along the base of the peak. We then made our
way diagonally up a steep snow-slope on to the
higher ice plateau. The glacier was in distinctly
better condition than on the former occasion,
and, being thickly coated with snow, much less
step-cutting was needed. At eleven o'clock a
halt was called on the eastern arête, at the place
where the 1897 party had stopped, and we
enjoyed a good rest and a substantial meal.
The weather was fine and time was not particularly pressing, as there were no woods to go
through, or difficult glacier to get off, at the end
of the day ; and we felt it would matter little
if darkness overtook us before we got home.
At the same time we were very anxious that
the day should remain fine, in order that we
might see the country on the west side of the
mountain, which was a blank on Collie's map :
also the complicated geography of the south
fork of the Bush valley would be capable of
being followed for the first time; and, lastly,
the' doubts as to whether a low pass existed
between   the   LyeU   and   Freshfield   ice-fields
could be cleared up.    However, long before we
*tm z
u Il
fiS «
arrived on the final arête of our peak this last
question was settled, and it was with much
satisfaction, as we mounted higher and higher,
that CoUie could see how the vaUey on the
south side of Forbes took a bend to the southwest, joining a simUar depression that ran northeast from the south fork of the Bush.
The party was on two ropes, the first consisting of Hans, Stutfield, WooUey, and CoUie,
the other of Christian, Weed, and Outram.
For some distance above the breakfast-place
the chmbing was easy enough, and we began
to fancy we might reach the summit without
serious difficulty. Higher up, however, the
arête was broken by several formidable gen-
darmes, or buttresses of crag, with some pretty
difficult rock-faces, which gave a good deal of
trouble. At first we thought of traversing
below on the left ; but the rocks were too
steep and insecure to render the operation a
safe one, even supposing it had been practicable. In the end we kept to the crest
of the arête the whole way, Hans negotiating the bad places with much skill. As
usual, the chief difficulty consisted in the
abominably rotten  and  splintered character of
the  rock;  but  one  or two  narrow cracks, or
chimneys, served us in good stead> and foot by
foot we graduaUy made our way tiU we suddenly found ourselves on the snow cornice
within a few yards of the summit.
Our height, as previous consultations with
the barometers had led us to anticipate, was
barely 11,000 feet; but, if the peak was lower
than we had previously supposed it to be, it had
at any rate afforded us an excellent cUmb. The
prospect from the top, owing to the central
position occupied by the mountain between the
Laggan and Waputehk groups and the LyeU
and Columbia ice-fields, is probably unsurpassed
in the Canadian Rockies. The splendid mass of
Bush peak seemed quite close, with Goat Peak
and the scene of our labours at the head of the
Bush vaUey immediately to the left. The
canyon of the south fork of the Bush was
below us to the north-west, with, as we had
imagined must be the case, a glacier at its head
discharging its water into the river. To the
north were aU our old friends of 1898,—Columbia, and Athabasca peak, Alberta, with the
Twins straight in front, appearing to be part
of it ; the Dome, Saskatchewan, the three-
headed Lyell, and many more ; some standing
out clear, others with  their  heads cut  off by
the thin Unes of grey cloud that so often mar
the views in these mountains.
Much nearer, and quite free from cloud, by far
the most commanding feature in the view, was
the stately pyramid of Forbes ; and we scanned
for the first time, and with critical eyes, the
western side of the arête by which we hoped to
chmb it. It was not particularly gratifying to
find that the notch looked even worse from this
side than from the other, as the cUffs immediately underneath fell perfectly sheer ; and there
was evidently no chance whatever of our being
able to traverse below on either side. A brief
comparison with the height of our own peak was
enough to show that Forbes would have to
come down in the world at least as much as
There is a great, if undefinable, pleasure in
standing on a high mountain summit in a
country but imperfectly known; so many uncertainties vanish in a moment, often with the
comment — spoken or unspoken—"I thought
so ; ' whfle a host of new possibiUties and further
queries take their place. One of those queries
which could not be answered was the height of
the splendid pyramid of snow gleaming far away
in the Selkirks, which we used to see day after
1. 1
ill III
11  '
day from the Bush vaUey. Now, from a still
greater distance, its height seemed even greater ;
but what that height may be must be left to
others to determine.
A keen wind, driving a light scud of mist
before it, was blowing from the west, so we did
not linger on the top longer than was necessary
to make the required observations. We went
down by a different route on the southern face ;
slowly and carefully for the first six or eight
hundred feet, as the slope was very steep and
the crust of snow in places did not seem altogether secure. Lower down it was all plain
saiUng; and, crossing the upper ice-field at a
good smart pace, we soon found ourselves at the
foot of the peak, and reached camp shortly after
As the neighbouring peaks of Pilkington and
Walker did not look particularly attractive, and
we were anxious to attack Mount Forbes as
soon as possible, we returned without further
delay to our camping-ground in the Saskatchewan valley. During the two foUowing days,
August 6th and 7th, Fred and BaUard and
Simpson cut trail along the left bank of the
canyon leading up to the base of Forbes.    The
hot sun meanwhile was exerting its power on
the snow; and we could hear the avalanches
thundering at intervals down the great eastern
precipices of our peak. On the 6th CoUie,
Outram, Weed, and WooUey spent a deUghtful
summer's day cUmbing on to a broad alp that
Ues to the east and north-east of the mountain.
This alp is the largest we know of south of
Wilcox Pass. In the early summer it must be
carpeted with flowers : even in August there
were many stUl in bloom, whilst the remains of
numberless others could be seen. It seemed to
be a favourite haunt of the wild goat, and a
herd of over fifty was found browsing peacefully
on the hiU-side. Directly, however, they caught
sight of their human enemies they moved off
towards the precipices that overlook the valley
of the Saskatchewan on the east. Having seen
the last of the goat, Collie and Weed, climbing
to the north side of the alp, ascended a smaU
peak, which afforded a splendid view in every
direction except the north. Forbes looked very
grand across an intervening dip in the hiUs ; and
to the left of it the pass leading over into the
Bush vaUey, which we have since named Bush
Pass, was plainly visible.
Next morning the  horses got lost in the
woods,  but  were   tracked   and   recovered   by
Robson and CoUie; and in the afternoon the
latter made a series of measurements of Mount
Forbes by means of a base line, a Steward's
surveying telemeter, and a clinometer. As the
mean of two observations he made out its altitude to be about 12,250 feet, or more than a
thousand feet less than Dr. Hector and others
had supposed it to be. This height was a disappointment to us aU, even though we had made
up our minds that it would have to be considerably lowered ; but, as has already been pointed
out, such degradation is the common lot of the
higher summits in the Canadian Rockies.
272 z
fV J!
i W
As soon as the traU was cut the horses were
packed and the two outfits moved up the canyon
to make a base camp for the ascent of Mount
Forbes. The Forbes canyon is infinitely finer
than the vaUey descending from the Freshfield
glacier : indeed, for a combination of peak,
glacier, gorge, and forest scenery, there is
nothing to surpass it in the Canadian Rockies.
If the trees are not quite so tall and stately as
those of British Columbia, they are stiU very
grand, and their grouping in places is most
beautiful. The dampness of the climate—for
Forbes, owing to its height and soUtary preeminence, is, like Pyramid and Howse Peak, a
great compeller of clouds—causes the floor of
the forest to be covered with a bright carpet of
greenest moss ; and the luxuriance of the undergrowth, the ruin and tangle of faUen trees, were
worthy almost of the Bush or Columbia vaUeys.
High above us great peaks towered; and from
the glaciers overhanging their lower cUffs feU
273 s
innumerable cascades, some with a fair body of
water, others mere filmy wisps of undulating
spray that were almost dissipated by the breeze
before they reached the bottom. The trail,
which was pretty rough and broken by numerous water-courses, took us at first some distance
up into the woods, as the torrent has worn for
itself a deep and most picturesque gorge through
the rocks, and the ground near it is quite impassable. Presently, however, the valley opened
out somewhat, and we were able to descend to
the river and travel along the bank. The tents
were pitched near the foot of the rocky snow-
clad cone of Forbes, about half a mile short of
the former site in 1897, in a small clear space
that had been denuded of trees many years ago
by a huge avalanche that, falling from the south
side of the valley, had crossed the stream and
swept away the forest for perhaps a hundred
yards up the opposite face.
Next morning we made our final preparations for the ascent ; and, after a more
than usuaUy substantial lunch, we shouldered
our packs for a bivouac above the pine-woods
on the southern slope of the mountain. On
the  way  through   the   woods   the   party got
separated :   Outram,   Stutfield,   Woolley,   and
274 J?.
Hans, climbing higher up into the forest
than the main body, found their way cut off
by a gorge with perpendicular rock walls,
through which rushed tumultuously a smaU
branch of the Saskatchewan. After some
search they found a tree-trunk that had
fallen across the ravine ; and on this somewhat precarious bridge, with the water bofl-
ing and foaming many feet below, they
effected a crossing. Christian, who had gone
on his own account stiU higher up into the
woods, found at the head of the gorge a very
fine waterfall, and got over the stream above
it without much difficulty. The rest of the
party had no trouble with the river, which they
crossed near its mouth, but they got involved
in some very bad timber, and reached the
bivouac some time after the others.
Above the trees was a sort of miniature alp,
carpeted with a profusion of crimson painter's
brush, yeUow lilies, and other wfld flowers and
heath ; and we found an exceedingly snug and
sheltered sleeping-place just on the verge of the
forest. Heather spread thickly on the soft mossy
ground made most luxurious beds, whUe the
night was beautifully fine and warm.    Forbes,
grim and majestic, stood sentinel over us ; and,
with the pine-branches for a canopy, the steely-
blue, star-spangled firmament for our roof, and
a neighbouring brook murmuring a not too loud
luUaby, everything was as pleasant and comfortable as any reasonable person could desire.
We did not forget that to-day, August the
9th, was Coronation Day, and it was a pity,
perhaps, that we could not have celebrated it
on the top of Mount Forbes. Tea and a little
weak whisky and water were the most generous
fluids we possessed wherein to drink their
Majesties' health ; but, as a memento of the
occasion, we named a fine peak to the south,
with a drapery of whitest snow, and a singularly
beautiful glacier clinging to its northern face
—Coronation Peak. "Alexandra Peak" was
another name suggested, but this was reserved
for some grander and more striking summit.
It was stiU quite dark when the guides, in
orthodox Alpine fashion, roused us from our
lairs ; and at 5 o'clock (4 a.m. by British Columbia time) we were off. The weather was
perfect, with a light but cool breeze blowing.
Grass and shale-slopes, easy rocks, and a tramp
up a small snow-covered glacier brought us to
the arête ;   and from this point the cUmbing
was pretty  stiff and  continuous.     The rocks,
which had looked easy enough from below,
proved to be no chUd's-play, being a good deal
steeper than we had anticipated, and very deficient in handhold or foothold : indeed, one or
two pitches, forty or fifty feet high, were distinctly difficult. On our right the face of the
mountain was hollowed out into a large corrie,
with sides of brown scaly rock suggestive of
rhinoceros hide, that were most unprepossessing :
in fact, it must be admitted that Forbes is much
more beautiful at a distance than when you are
actually standing upon him.
Owing to the steepness of the rocks some
hours elapsed before a convenient breakfast-
place presented itself; and by the time we
found one we were aU pretty hungry. Above
the breakfasting-place we left the arête and
skirted a short distance to the right, arriving
on the summit of the miniature Pic TyndaU
soon after half-past ten. From here we dropped
down into the dreaded notch, and the gymnase,
or sensational part of the cUmb, began. Beyond
the notch was a smooth upright buttress that
was decidedly formidable, and the arête contracted to a narrow knife-edge of rock set at
a very steep angle.    Very slowly, inch by inch,
we  edged  our way upwards — now à cheval,
277 ■in
astride of the uncomfortably sharp crest of the
ridge, now clinging like limpets to the rocks
at the side, for there was very little to catch
hold of. On the left the cliffs fell perfectly
sheer for some hundreds of feet, with mingled
snow and rock declivities fifteen hundred feet
or so below : on the right was the great precipice of the eastern face. The climb at this
point resembled that on the Zinal side of the
Rothhorn more than anything else with which
we are acquainted ; but the rocks were not
nearly so good.
We were in two parties, as on Mount Freshfield, and Christian Kaufmann led up admirably.
The second party, by some mistake, had only
brought an eighty-foot rope, which was not nearly
long enough for four people on a climb of this
character ; and Collie, recognising that the short
distance between each climber was an element
of considerable danger, unroped and remained
behind until the difficult rocks were surmounted,
when he followed with the two guides. While
Hans Kaufmann, with Stutfield and Woolley,
was negotiating an exceptionally nasty bit, a
large chunk of rock gave way under his feet and
rolled with a clatter over the cfiff on our right.
Luckily, he only fell a couple of feet or so, and
managed to grab the edge of the arête with his
right hand in time to avert what might otherwise
have been a catastrophe.
Towards the top the rocks became most extraordinarily rotten, alternating with intervals of
snow cornice. To quote from WooUey's paper1
in the Alpine Journal: " The narrow crest of the
ridge seemed to be held together only by the snow
frozen against its sides, and in case of the snow
melting it appeared that the first westerly gale
might easily hurl the whole structure down the
great eastern precipice, on its way to augment
the shingle-flats of the Middle Fork. In places
the piled-up snow certainly favoured us by
bridging over spaces where the loose rocks, if
bare, would have been a source of danger." At
one part the sensation was as if we were walking
along the top of a very iU-constructed Scotch
dyke—only with a big precipice below on either
side—although, doubtless, having withstood the
buffeting of the tempests that beat upon the
peak, there was little fear of its proving unequal
to supporting our puny weight. A straddle along
a most insecure-looking edge of wind-drifted
snow—a very chiUy and uncomfortable sort of
saddle—was the last  of our  acrobatic perfor-
1 Alpine Journal, Vol. xxi., No. 160.
mances ; and a short snow-slope terminating in
a cornice overhanging the eastern escarpment
led us, soon after two o'clock, to the little snow-
cap that forms the summit.
If the aneroids were to be believed, the
height of our mountain was even less than Collie
had made it with his measurements in the valley
of the Saskatchewan, being only about 12,000
feet ; but the exceptional fineness of the weather
may have caused the barometer to give too low
a reading. The view was similar to that from
Mount Freshfield, minus one important feature,
namely, the peak on which we stood ; but, the
day being finer, every mountain summit was
perfectly free from cloud, and the Columbia
group and Athabasca peak were quite plain,
with the Twins more than usuaUy prominent.
From the Columbia vaUey, north of Donald,
a dense column of smoke, rising high above the
trees, betokened the starting of a forest fire,
which for many days to come was destined to
prove a sad impediment to our views and photographing. Up tiU now we had fortunately been
exceptionaUy free from this annoyance. To
Collie the view from Forbes was of much value,
for while we were in the Bush valley we had
never been able to see what lay between Forbes
280 Mount Forbes from the East
View Northwards from Summit of Mount Forbes
and the Bush peak. To-day that part of the
country lay at our feet ; also we could see the
whole of the great LyeU ice-field, and how the
west branch of the north fork of the Saskatchewan bent round up to the Columbia snow-field
and Mount Bryce.
As on Mount Freshfield, we varied the
route on the descent ; and, on the suggestion
of Christian Kaufmann, who had seen the northwest face of Forbes about ten days before, the
whole party was roped together and went down
the snow slopes on the north-western side. The
slope in places was tremendously steep, but
luckily the snow was in perfect order, being soft
enough to make step-cutting easy, while the
cold wind soUdified it sufficiently to prevent
its giving way under our feet. When we saw
this face ten days later from the LyeU ice-field
it was seamed and scarred by the faU of large
masses of the snow crust, which had avalanched
away in huge flakes from the surface of the
mountain ; and we thanked our lucky stars that
it had been in such excellent condition when
we had to go down it. For over 1500 feet
Christian had to cut every step ; but at last
we reached a smaU col, which was the connecting link between the massif of Forbes and
| ; I
1 HI
5 H
the mountains on the west. A band of cliffs
skirting the foot of the peak gave us some
trouble, and we had to make a considerable
détour before we could find a gully that enabled
us to descend. From the col we gUssaded
rapidly to the glacier below ; then, skirting
underneath the great western precipices of
Forbes, we came to the foot of the southern
ridge, up which we had climbed in the morning.
It was past eight, and the sun had just set,
when we got back to the bivouac. There was
yet another hour of daylight, but, not caring to
tackle those terrible woods with our heavy
packs in the dusk, we decided to spend a second
night on the mountain. This was no great
hardship, as the weather still remained fine and
we had enough food to last us ; so, lighting a
big bonfire, we talked over the cUmb, and then,
ensconcing ourselves in our sleeping-bags, once
more slept comfortably under the pines. The
night, like the previous one, was extraordinarily
warm ; although at the camp far beneath us
in the vaUey the temperature was below freezing-point, and every morning, when we emerged
from our tents, the bushes for two hundred
yards  on either side of the icy waters  of the
stream were thickly covered with rime.    At
our bivouac high up among the great fir-trees
we found our sleeping-bags uncomfortably hot,
and at dawn next morning, the moment the
fuU orb of the sun topped the shoulder of the
hiU to the east, the air was fuU of mosquitoes.
This remarkable warmth may perhaps have
been due to the dense forest becoming much
heated during the daytime by the sun; then,
owing to the tendency of the hot air to rise,
a slow but continuous current of air filtered
up the mountain side among the trees, so
keeping us warm aU through the night.
So comfortable were we that it was late before
breakfast was finished and we made our plans
for the day. CoUie, Outram, and Weed started
off to explore the newly discovered Bush Pass,
while the others shouldered our somewhat
bulky impedimenta and tramped down through
the woods to the camp. At the tents appeared
Fred and Robson, with faces as long as their
arms, greatly scared at our late arrival and the
non-appearance of the other three members
of the party. Fred, armed with our spare ice-
axe, was about to start out at the head of
a search-party, and expressed himself strongly
on the subject of cUmbing mountains for mere
amusement.     In   the background were  Dave
and Clarence, apparently less concerned for
our safety, but—most blessed sight !—with the
missing baggage which they had found at
Laggan on their arrival.
Meanwhile the others, after a fatiguing
tramp through the woods, had reached the
Bush Pass. CoUie had hoped to find it practicable for horses, but there was a short but
steep snow-slope on the eastern side up which it
would be difficult to take baggage-animals. In
any case, to get an outfit even to the foot of the
pass would mean an immense amount of cutting
for the first few miles, though higher up the
valley opens out. On the west side there
seemed to be no snow or other difficulty, the
vaUey stretching in a south-westerly direction
tiU it joins the south fork of the Bush River,
which runs at right angles to it. AU the rocks
on the summit are heavily glaciated, and at one
time a huge glacier must have poured over
it, whether in a northerly or southerly direction
it is impossible to say. The height by the
aneroid barometer was 7800 feet, or weU above
Next morning the partnership between the
two  outfits, having accompUshed the purpose
for which it had been formed, was dissolved.
Mr. Outram and his party returned post-haste
to their former quarters in the west branch,
where, in company with Christian Kaufmann,
he climbed Mount Bryce and another peak
on the Lyell range. We, less energetic, preferred to take a brief rest after our labours,
and tasted the delights of a lazy day in camp.
Yet were we not altogether idle ; for Woolley,
who seems as he grows older to get more enterprising than ever, climbed up on to the slopes
of Coronation Peak with his big camera, and
took some admirable photographs of Mount
Forbes. Collie, Stutfield, and Weed did not
stir from the tents. They found plenty to do,
however ; for in camp-Ufe there need never
be any lack of occupation for an off day.
EspeciaUy had we found this to be the case
in the absence of Dave and Clarence, which
had left us very short-handed ; and we often
had to give a helping hand in unpacking the
horses, putting up the tents, fetching water, or
chopping firewood. Then, when the camp was
fixed, there were always onions to be peeled and
boiïed, clothes to be mended or washed, boots to
be greased, photographic plates and films to be
changed, baggage to be arranged and the commissariat to be examined, dishes and cups and
1 J
plates to be washed up, and a hundred and one
other odd jobs to be done—CoUie on occasions
practised the intricacies of the " diamond hitch "
—which together go to make up life in the
backwoods. Doubtless if one were compelled
to do these things they would be less agreeable ;
the pleasure consists in doing them because you
feel so disposed.
On the 13th the camp was moved into the
adjoining vaUey leading up to the Howse Pass,
and we took up our quarters at the foot of
Howse Peak with a view to cUmbing that mountain. Next morning, emerging from the woods
after a tiring climb of over two hours, we followed
a rocky ridge leading straight up towards our
peak. Presently, however, we found ourselves
cut off by a couple of precipitous rock faces
intersecting the ridge. The first was negotiated
without much difficulty, but the second proved
a more formidable affair. Hans and Woolley,
after expending much time and labour and
performing some reaUy remarkable acrobatic
feats, succeeded in getting down a perpendicular
rock chimney about fifty feet high : the rest
of the party, less avid of glory and doubtful
if time would aUow us aU to follow in their
wake, preferred the safer but more undignified
course of descending into the vaUey and remounting to the ridge further on. The remainder of the climb was a long snow grind, with
only a few crevasses here and there that required
a certain amount of care ; and we reached the
top eight hours from the start. Howse Peak,
by aneroid barometer, is apparently the same
height as Mount Freshfield, and it shares with
Balfour the primacy of the Waputehk range.
The summit is formed of a most enormous
snow cornice running along the ridge for a
great distance, and overhanging the terrific
precipices which Une the western side of Bear
Creek above Waterfowl Lake. Crawling on
our stomachs one by one to the edge, while
the others held a firm grip of the rope, we
looked over. The rocks feU absolutely sheer for
some thousands of feet, and the vaUey, with its
roUing pine-clad hills, and the river, a mere ribbon
of pearly grey, winding between green meadows
and dull drab shingle-flats, lay spread out immediately below us. The rocky pinnacle of Pyramid was quite close, and at the foot of its
precipices, 5000 feet in depth, a sea-green lake
of considerable size, that we had not seen before,
lay amid the pines.    The rest of the view was
spoiled by the smoke-haze, our ancient enemy,
I fll
recaUing memories of our trip in 1898. The
nearer mountains loomed grimly through the
fog ; and a fine peak on the eastern side of
the Freshfield group was named by CoUie after
Sir Martin Conway. Forbes could just be seen
lifting its head high above all its neighbours,
but everything beyond a radius of ten or twelve
miles was quite invisible. The forest fires, it
was evident, were beginning in real earnest ;
and with deep disgust we saw volumes of
smoke issuing, as from the crater of a volcano,
from the lower end of the Glacier Lake vaUey,
whither we had intended to shift our camp
on the following day. Clearly we were in for
another bad time, as far as scenery and photography were concerned; but when we were
half-way down the mountain side the haze
became somewhat less dense, and we had a
most beautiful view that embraced many of
the most characteristic features of Canadian
Rocky Mountain landscape.
The sun was low above the horizon ; the
lurid brassy glare, which is the inevitable
accompaniment of smoke in the atmosphere,
overspread the sky, and the graceful forms of
the mountains, their outlines softened by the
all-prevaiUng vapour, towered high above the
288 Valley of the Saskatchewan
Fording the Saskatchewan
■ ■
■ I
■ 1
dark mysterious pine-woods and gleaming glaciers.
Beneath us were the broad sandy bars and
shingle-flats at the head of the west fork of
the Saskatchewan, whose numerous winding
rivulets and streams flowed glittering in the
fading sunUght, Uke a tangled skein of golden
threads, amid rocky knolls and pebbly islands
crowned by clumps of firs. A land of infinite
beauty and strange subtle charm—melancholy,
no doubt, even gloomy, in certain of its aspects ;
especiaUy when the evening shadows rest on
the sombre and monotonous expanse of forest,
and the departing sun leaves the mountains
grey and cold ; but, however cheerless the scene
at nightfaU, one reflects that the peaks wiU be
gflded anew in the morning, and that the full
light of day will lend Ufe and animation even
to the darkest recesses of the woods.
It had been our intention to journey straight
from Howse Peak to Glacier Lake, but the
fire that was evidently raging in the valley
of the latter made a preliminary inspection
desirable. We therefore pitched the tents on
our previous camping-ground nearly opposite
the mouth of the Glacier Lake stream, and
in the afternoon Fred, Stutfield, and Weed
rode across the Saskatchewan to the lake. The
fire was burning merrily at the further end, and
the forest at the water's edge was belching
forth big columns of dun-coloured smoke, while
smaller patches of brushwood were ablaze higher
up the mountain-side. The woods at the nearer
end were as yet quite untouched by the fire ;
so on the following day we moved the outfit
over the river up to the lake. The sand on
the further side of the wash-out, as well as
some high banks of white clay lining the river,
was  covered with goat tracks, and we found
tufts of their wool clinging to the bushes all
over the place. Curiously enough, the Rocky
Mountain goat has a white wooUy pelt, whUe
his neighbour the bighorn, or mountain sheep,
is covered with a coat of straight tawny hair.
The clay bluffs along this part of the Saskatchewan are heavily impregnated with salt, and
the goats come down to the licks in large
numbers. It is a great mistake to suppose, as
some writers on American sport would have
us beUeve, that mountain sheep or goats are
only, or even generally, to be found on breakneck rocks or inaccessible precipices. The sheep
which Stutfield shot near WUcox Pass, and
most of the goats he saw elsewhere, were on
quite easy ground; and at the time of which
we are writing there were far more goats in
the forests than on the high peaks. Whfle we
were mountaineering at the head of the Middle
Fork vaUey our men saw them at intervals in
bands of five, ten, or even twenty crossing the
river bottom or gamboUing about on the shingle-
flats in the mid-day sun.
From the ford over the Saskatchewan to
Glacier Lake is a ride of barely two miles,
but there is much beautiful scenery on the way.
A few hundred yards above its junction with
the main river the stream issues from a canyon
into a good-sized lake of a brilliant blue-green
colour. A short distance higher up is a remarkable log - jam completely bridging the
stream, so that men and animals can cross
over with ease ; and it is a favourite passage
of the wild goats. Even in Dr. Hector's time
(1858) this spot seems to have been a usual
crossing - place, for he mentions that " while
halting here a bighorn sheep came down the
mountain almost close to us, but, seeing us
first, made off without our getting a shot.
Nimrod, an Indian hunter who accompanied
him, says ' this is the only place where these
are to be seen so far in the mountains." There
are certainly none in the vicinity nowadays.
Above the log-jam the trail — which is a
good and well-worn one, Glacier Lake being a
favourite hunting-ground of the Stoney Indians
—climbs over a high clay bluff, and from the
top there bursts upon the traveUer a most exquisite view of the lake, hemmed in by lofty
mountains descending steeply to the water's
edge, and the great ice-fall of the LyeU Glacier
at its head. The waters of the lake are of a
most beautiful turquoise blue ; and the stream,
half-choked with the accumulation of logs, flows
out from it, stealthily at first, then with augment-
292 o
ing speed, until it plunges into the canyon, its
banks fringed with pine-trees, and half-faUen
dead or decayed trunks projecting at various
angles over the water. Our camp was made
on the hiU-side some few hundred feet above the
lake, commanding a fine prospect southwards
up the vaUey we had just left, and over the
Howse Pass. Our intention was to form a base-
camp beyond the further end of the lake, from
which we could explore the great ice-field of
the Lyell Glacier ; but it would have been madness to attempt to take horses through the burning forest, so Fred Stephens said he would make
us a raft on which we could ferry ourselves and
part of the outfit to our destination, leaving the
heavy baggage and the horses to look after
It rained hard aU next day, Sunday the 17th,
and we passed the time about the tents in conversation of a varied and instructive character.
We were remarkably fortunate in our staff of
men, most of whom had seen life in very
different, but equaUy interesting, aspects in out-
of-the-way parts of the earth. Robson had
been through the Boer War with Strathcona's
Horse, and   had   great   things  to  tell  of the
prowess of General Buller, and the  ignorance
of those who knew not the peculiarities of
horses and the various methods of "getting
along ' on the open veldt. He was a very
good talker on a variety of other subjects, with
a vein of quiet sarcasm, which was vented largely
on the bedroom mattress and the degradation of
people who used such things. Fred told of his
trapping and hunting adventures ; and Dave
Tewksbury's experiences in the lumber camps
of the Far West were well worth Ustening to
—of the Ufe men led there, the dangers of the
trade, and how single logs could be used for
the purposes of navigation instead of the
ordinary boat. Clarence was great on farming ;
and Hans, though his limited knowledge of
English prevented him from contributing many
ideas to the general stock, was nevertheless a
most genial companion and very popular with
the whole outfit.
On the Monday Fred and Dave set to Work
with a wiU on the raft, and the sound of their
chopping could be heard aU day through the
woods. The rest of us spent the day in fishing
and hunting. The fish obstinately refused to
look at flies and other lures of the best London
make, but CoUie, using a pole and a piece of
twine and a hook baited with a lump of bacon
fat, landed a bull trout of about 6 lbs., with
a most gigantic head and a mouth into which
Fred could insert his capacious fist ; and we
had a fish supper worthy of Greenwich. Stutfield, meanwhUe, explored the continuation of
the ridge of Survey Peak in search of goat.
From the hiU-side, about 1000 feet above the
tents, he had a splendid view of Mount Forbes,
which from this point is a marveUously slender
and gracefully tapering pyramid. On the crest
of the ridge he found himself within a few
hundred yards of where he and CoUie had been
in 1898, on their ascent of Survey Peak ; and
he looked down once more into the " happy
valley," with its broad carpet of turf and ring
of grim black precipices — a sequestered spot
which should be an ideal feeding-ground for
goat ; but not one was to be seen on either side
of the ridge. Probably the fire had scared them
all out of this part of the country. Continuing
westwards along the ridge to the base of a great
square-topped rock-tower that stands guard over
the northern shore of the lake, he found himself
right above the forest fire, and had an admirable
opportunity of observing how these conflagrations commence their devastating careers.
The  rain  of the  previous  day had  some-
1 " ..'r
what quenched its ardour, but with a renewal
of the fine weather it was preparing for a fresh
start. The still damp underbrush was smouldering, the fire now dying away, now suddenly
rising again. OccasionaUy great tongues and
jets of flame would shoot skywards, as some
clump of extra dry timber got ablaze ; and,
with a mighty crackling, thousands of sparks
and red-hot pieces of wood flew up, followed
by immense slowly-rising pillars of smoke that
expanded, umbrella-like, towards the top; and,
lit by the rays of the declining sun, gradually
enveloped the surrounding peaks with a lurid
haze. The fire had not, as yet, embraced any
one large expanse of wood ; but it was slowly
eating its way like a pestilence eastwards in
smaU scattered patches which gradually united,
and, if the fine weather continued, it was evident that wide tracts of the neighbouring forests
would be destroyed.
An hour or two's work next morning sufficed
to bring the raft to completion. It was a large
and very fine specimen of naval architecture,
made of good-sized logs lashed together with
cinches (pack-ropes), and wooden cross-pieces and
branches laid thereon to raise our goodly pile
of baggage above the water.    She was named
296 Fire at Glacier Lake
Rafting on Glacier Lake
iwiiiii ml  GLACIER LAKE
" The Glacier BeUe," but we had no liquor to
waste on her christening. The baggage was
brought down on the horses, and piled up and
lashed securely on the raised portions of the
raft, the edifice being fitly crowned by the
colossal form of the mattress amid jeers from
the packers. Punting-poles were fashioned out
of pine saplings ; Fred sang out, " AU aboard " ;
and, with everybody pushing and shoving with
poles, and chattering a strange medley of railway and nautical jargon, we committed ourselves
to the deep. It was a briUiant morning ; the
sun was blazing hot; not a breath stirred, and
the mountains and rocks and trees were reflected
with startUng clearness in the placid surface of
the lake. We hugged the northern shore as
closely as possible, but it shelved so rapidly into
deep water that punting was no easy matter.
Raft, freight, and passengers must have weighed
two or three tons, so it may be imagined our
speed was not that of an Atlantic greyhound.
Dave, with his lumbering experience, was natur-
aUy the handy man of the party at this sort of
job, and by a unanimous vote he was elected
skipper. Robson also showed great energy
with a tow-rope on the bank, whenever towing
was  practicable ;   and thus,  punting,  pushing,
I !
paddUng, and hauling for some hours, we
graduaUy approached the further end of the
lake. The scenery grew grander as we advanced. Eastwards Mount Murchison came
into view, a most imposing mass : in the
opposite direction was the LyeU glacier, with
its attendant peaks and magnificent ice-faU
briUiantly mirrored in the turquoise, or rather
peacock-blue, water.
At the western end of the lake a wide
swampy vaUey descends four or five nnles from
the LyeU ice-field. Probably in former days
the lake, which is graduaUy being filled in
by aUuvial matter, occupied the greater part
of this vaUey. As the ground was very wet
and the river was overflowing its banks, we
put up our tents on the hiUside in the forest.
Next day we packed our sleeping-bags and
a good stock of provisions, and started to
bivouac at the foot of the ice-faU for a journey
of exploration over the Lyell glacier. The distance was not great, but the logs and thickets
of willow and alder evoked sad memories of the
Bush vaUey ; and we got exceedingly wet in
the muskegs along the river bank. However,
we found a most comfortable place for a bivouac,
and dawn saw us off for the upper snows along
the moraine running parallel to the ice-faU.
Our route lay due north—at first it was very
possibly that taken by Dr. Hector in 1858,
when he climbed the smaU peak marked on the
maps as Mount Sullivan—and we had a long
and weary tramp before we reached the upper
glacier, which, Uke that of the Columbia icefield, is a wide snow-covered plateau more Uke
a big snow-field than a glacier. Behind us,
across the vaUey where we had passed the night,
and under a heavy canopy of cloud, was Forbes
—from this point of view no slender elegant
pyramid, as from the hiU above Glacier Lake,
but an unshapely monster, grand and terrible
under the rapidly darkening sky, and of most
forbidding aspect. Its snow-slopes seemed to
rise an immense height from their base ; and we
noticed that they were scarred with avalanche
tracks, which told us how fortunate we had
been in finding a firm crust upon the snow
when we descended.
Scrambling to the top of a rocky summit
on the right, we looked down into a somewhat
remarkable vaUey, almost perfectly straight,
with steep and wooded sides topped by high
mountains, and fiUed with innumerable lakes.
The  stream  flowing  down it discharges itself
f r
into the north fork of the Saskatchewan just
under the cliffs of Mount Wilson, and at the
head of the vaUey is Mount Lyell. We have
named it the "Valley of Lakes." Descending
again to the glacier we tramped on over the
soft snow towards Mount LyeU, which rose
straight in front of us — three low, rounded,
white humps, the right-hand one faUing in a
rock - face towards the east. Starting, as it
does, from an elevated snow-plateau, LyeU, for
its height, is a singularly uninteresting and
unimposing mountain. However, some of the
party, Hans and WooUey in particular, were
anxious to make the ascent, which would have
been merely a tiring trudge up a moderate
slope of snow ; but bad weather was coming up
from the west, and aU three peaks were already
in mist, so the project was overruled. Hans
was greatly shocked.
"What, not climb Mount LyeU?' he exclaimed in horrified tones : " you wiU regret
it very much ! '
Hans cared nought for geography : his business was to chmb mountains, not to admire or
map them ; and he would much rather go up a
high peak in a fog than get the finest view in
the world from a lower one.     We, however,
300 Forbes from the Lyell Ice-Field
Howse Peak from the West (seep. 287)
who wished to study the surrounding country,
thought that a small protuberance of snow near
the centre of the glacier, and below the level of
the now thickly gathering mists, would suit us
much better; and the lazy ones of the party
had their way. From the summit of our Uttle
peak we could see well the Bush peak and the
vaUeys round it ; also other mountains northwards of Bush peak, to the west of which we had
been in 1900. Moreover, CoUie observed how
the ridge, of which LyeU is a part, bent away to
the north-west and the Thompson pass.
We went down by a shorter and more precipitous way, having some rather interesting ice-work
in a maze of crevasses on the steep slope, and
some splendid gUssades below. On the longest
of these gUssades CoUie knocked his pipe out of
his mouth with his ice-axe, and, in attempting
to save it, lost his balance and roUed head over
heels to the bottom in a series of most undignified positions. Unluckily, his descent was
so rapid that none of the rest of the party were
quick enough to photograph him.
After leaving the glacier we skirted the top
of the woods on the hiU-side facing the great
ice-faU; and for the first time had an opportunity of gauging, from higher ground, its true
dimensions and grandeur. Incomparably the
finest we have seen in the Rockies, it is on a
larger scale than anything of the kind in Switzerland. It is of immense width, with a band
of cliffs, surmounted at their northern end by
blue ice-pinnacles, dividing the upper from the
lower glacier for the greater part of the distance.
The meltings of the higher snows faU over these
cliffs in a series of waterfalls, and the roar of
the ice-avalanches was constant and deafening.
Not wishing to fight our way again through
those tiresome woods, we picked up our sleeping-bags and other chattels that we had left
behind, and, crossing the snout of the glacier,
climbed a high bluff overhanging a gorge
through which the stream made its exit, and
descended the right bank of the river. The
route, though longer, was a good deal easier
than the left bank, but it necessitated our
wading through the river in order to get back
to camp.
We had now explored the last of the four
great plateaux of ice and snow in this region of
the Canadian Rockies—the others being the
Columbia, the Freshfield,  and the Waputehk
glaciers ; and, as a result of a consultation that
evening, it was decided that, as there appeared
to be no more mountaineering of an interesting
nature to be done in the neighbourhood, we
should return with aU speed to Laggan, and
wind up the season with some climbing in the
VaUey of the Ten Peaks, which none of us,
except Weed, had visited. We should have
much liked to revisit our old haunts to the north
on Wflcox Pass, but we had not nearly enough
time ; so early next morning Fred and Clarence
started on foot to collect the horses at the last
camp, while the rest of us loaded the " Glacier
BeUe ' with the baggage. The logs of which
that noble vessel was constructed had become
thoroughly sodden with their three days' immersion, and she was an inch or two lower
in the water than when we started. However,
by heightening the platform in the centre we
managed to keep our things fairly dry. A
stiff breeze was blowing, luckily in the right
direction, so we set up a canvas pack-cover on
two poles as a sail; and, with Dave at the
helm, and youth, personified by Hans, at the
prow, we were slowly wafted into the port
whence we   had   started.     The  fire was  stiU
burning as we  passed ;   and the once thickly
I VU ft'i Ï-
wooded hiUside, now blackened and bereft of
its beautiful primeval forest—an unsightly waste
of charred tree-stumps, shriveUed-up bushes, and
calcined earth—presented a most melancholy
spectacle. It wiU be a long while before these
ravages can be repaired; and the scenery of
this beautiful lake, which has few rivals in the
Rockies, is, we fear, sadly marred for many a
year to come.
LuckUy for us, the horses had not strayed
far; and Fred and Clarence had them all
ready by the lake-side when we disembarked.
The men aU worked with a wiU; the ponies
were quickly packed ; and evening saw us encamped once more, and for the last time, at
Bear Creek. From here, dispensing with the
customary day's halt, we pushed on to the
lower Waterfowl Lake. The weather was
showery, but in the evening both Pyramid and
Howse Peak unveiled their heads for once ;
and Dave broke forth into renewed expressions
of rapture at the grandeur of the scene.
Next morning, August the 24th, leaving the
packers to foUow with the outfit, we rode ahead
for two hours along the traU ; tethered
the horses, and ascended a rock peak on the
3°4 ggjgg
Howse Peak and Waterfowl Lake
mè Si
eastern side of the vaUey in order to investigate the country lying between the Siffleur
and Bear Creek. Climbing up a steep snow
couloir we reached the arête, whence easy
rocks and shale took us on to the summit.
Our elevation was greater than we had expected,
being over 10,000 feet above sea-level; and
the peak proved an admirable view-point.
The scenery, looking east, was singularly unlovely, barren hiUs covered with interminable
slopes of drab earth and shale alternating with
small glaciers and patches of snow. However,
we learned aU we wanted to know about the
lie of the land ; and a portion of the country
lying eastwards of Mount Murchison we saw for
the first time. There appeared to be only two
vaUeys of any magnitude, one being that of the
Dolomite stream, up which Thompson, Noyes,
and Weed had traveUed in 1898.
From this summit, which we named after
Mr. Noyes, we recognised the splendid isolation of Murchison, and its series of rugged
peaks stood up magnificently against the white
clouds. Almost due north, and to the right
of the most easterly point of Murchison, could
be seen the highest of the mountains in the
group lying between the  Cataract River and
305 u
the Saskatchewan. This mountain overlooks
the historic Kootenay Plain, and CoUie named
it I Cline Peak," after the trader who in bygone days, as described in Hector's " Journals,"r
journeyed yearly through that part of the
country to and from Jasper House.
1 See page 82.
The foUowing day we crossed the Bow Pass
and camped on the shore of the Upper Bow
Lake. The horses, with their noses set homewards, and tormented by clouds of buU-dogs,
became quite skittish and rattled along at a
grand rate. These flies persecuted us aU the
way back to Laggan, their numbers being extraordinary. Beyond the lake we encountered
a new insect plague in the shape of swarms
of wasps — hornets, or " yeUow-jackets," the
men caUed them—which afforded an additional
stimulus to violent exertion on the part of
the cayooses. At intervals throughout the day
one or another of the latter would suddenly
fling his heels in the air, or gaUop madly through
the woods for no apparent cause, shedding his
pack piecemeal as he went; when we at once
knew that he had disturbed a colony of " yeUow-
jackets." The packers had a busy time of it. In
particular, the mattress or " bedroom suite," as
Robson preferred to caU it, seemed to spend half
its time on the ground, or else in being readjusted on the pony's back : and this, somewhat
unreasonably as we thought, provoked much bad
feeling and worse language among the men, who
protested that nobody could possibly make a
pack of it that would stay on a cayoose's back
for any length of time. Much heated argument ensued, and winged words were flying
round as thickly as the wasps and the bull-dogs.
Finally, so bitter and cruel became the taunts
levelled at the mattress that the soul of the
outfit's Poet Laureate was stirred to its depths ;
and, taking up his pen on behalf of this most
useful piece of furniture, he composed and
recited (at his own request) round the camp
fire that evening the following ode :—
The plague of the packer, the tenderfoot's joy,
Though mosquitoes be spiteful and bull-dogs annoy ;
My bed after labour, my sofa in leisure,
They call thee a nuisance—/ deem thee a treasure !
They growl and they gird at thy corpulent form—
I deny that its bulk is exceeding the norm ;
A trifle unwieldy, I grant you, and weighty,
A blending of otium with much dignitate,
'Tis something akin to an Eastern divan—
Just the right sort of thing for an ease-loving man !
See ! the cayoose in fury bounds off with a snort,
For his pack, mountain-high, has a bad list to port,
And he's quite unaccustomed to loads of this sort :
He's kicking and swishing the flies with his tail,
And—Lordy ! there's mattress and all on the trail !
In a lively refrain
Of language profane,
And a chorus of swear-words, the packers complain ;
Maledictions upon thee descend like the rain :
But a fig for the horrors invoked on thy head,
The ructions of Robson, the gibing of Fred ;
These slight misadventures that Dave gets so cross over
Shouldn't ruffle the calm of our backwoods philosopher !
Dost thou ever flinch
When the pitiless cinch
Screws up thy fat sides to the very last inch ?
And tighter than woman was ever tiffht-laced
Is the grip of the diamond hitch on thy waist.
Thy cuticle's sadly abraded and worn ;
With the spears of the pine-wood thy body is torn ;
Yet, mangled and battered and twisted awry,
Still bulky, disdainful, inert dost thou lie !
When, at nightfall, the outfit lies under the stars,
'Mid the perfume of pine-trees and five-cent cigars—
A draggle-tailed crew, all unshaven and hairy,
Peak-climbers, and far-faring folk of the prairie—
When the camp-fire is dying, and fitful its rays
As a log on a sudden leaps into a blaze ;
When the mists on the hill
Their moisture distil,
Thy armour is proof against dampness and chill :
That my bones do not ache, that my joints can work free,
My blessing and thanks, stout old Mattress, to thee !
Thy panoply shields me from stumps and from stones
When the earth's like a brick, and in dolorous tones
My comrades inform me they're racked to the bones ;
That A has the cramp, B a cold in his nose—
It's exceedingly odd, but the tale of their woes
Doesn't seem to disturb in the least my repose !
Let the flies on my top-knot be playing ping-pong,
While mosquitoes in chorus oblige with a song ;
Let the wind in the spruces be wailing and soughing,
As their stems to its onset are gracefully bowing :
The tempest may vent
Its rage on our tent,
And the darkening heavens with lightnings be rent ;
The thunder may rattle, the hurricane roar—
While Woolley keeps dodging the draught on the floor
Because Weed has forgotten to fasten the door,
And the Doctor's expounding his chemical lore—
Still at peace on thy broad ample bosom I snore.
Farewell—for we have reached our journey's ending—
Poor fluttering rags, poor wisps of mouldering hay !
Our campaign's o'er ; my Mattress past all mending,
The first, the only, victim of the fray.
Pile on the logs ; heap high the funeral pyre :
Who's got a match ? myself shall light the fire.
Our trifling troubles were nearing their end ;
and—aU too soon—mattress, kicking cayooses,
biting bull-dogs, mosquitoes, and wasps would
be no more than a memory, and the comforts
and the dull routine of civilised existence would
be ours once again.
On the way home no less than three outfits
were met on their way north, which we took to
be  a  sign   of  the growing popularity  of the
Canadian  Rockies.     Owing to  the trampUng
it had received, the traU through the muskegs
310 tf&BJn
Laggan Group of Mountains from the Bow Valley
Hungabee, Victoria, and Lefroy, from Neptuak
was in a shocking state, and the mud-holes
were worse than ever. As the traffic up the
vaUey grows, it wiU probably be found absolutely necessary to carry the traU, as previously
suggested, along the hillside above the swamps.
Laggan was reached at noon on Wednesday the
27th ; and the tents had hardly been put up
when a storm of hail and sleet set in, which was
the precursor of ten days' bad weather.
Next morning we started along the carriage
road leading to the Lake Louise chalet, en route
for Moraine Lake and the valley of the Ten
Peaks, a journey of about fifteen miles. From
the chalet we found an excellent trail in course
of construction by the Canadian Pacific Railway,
and only the last two miles remained to be
completed. The trafl foUows the route to
Saddle Mountain at first; then, after crossing
the stream which flows down from the beautiful
Paradise VaUey, described at length in Mr.
Wflcox's book, it winds along a shoulder of
Mount Temple at timber-line. Rounding a
corner of the hiU, we had a sudden and most
striking view of Moraine Lake and the magnificent range of the Ten Peaks, with their tremendous precipices, rising beyond.   Presently we
came to the end of the trail, where a gang of
HYTf^ÇfS?9¥5Qïy£Çfï I
men were hard at work upon it ; and, dropping
down through the woods into the valley, reached
the lake. The weather continued cold and disagreeable, so we camped in the most sheltered
spot we could find in the adjoining forest.
Moraine Lake, so named by Mr. Wilcox
in 1899, from a curious isolated pUe of débris
at its eastern end, is not the least striking of
the many beautiful mountain tarns of the
Canadian Rockies. Not even Lake Louise
can boast of so noble a galaxy of guardian
mountains as is furnished by the range of the
Ten Peaks and the craggy and imposing pile
of Mount Temple. On the other hand, the
lake itself, its wooded shores, and immediate
surroundings, are distinctly inferior in pictur-
esqueness of form and composition both to Louise
and Glacier Lake, though the turquoise blue
of the water, in spite of the duU weather and
lowering skies, struck us as being more than
ordinarily briUiant. The lake abounds with
rainbow trout, but we could not induce them
to rise at the fly.
On Saturday the 30th we moved the outfit
some distance up the vaUey beyond the further
end of the lake, hoping to find a more convenient  base for mountaineering in the event
312 il
of the weather improving. On the verge of
the forest, however, we were overtaken by a
violent storm of wind and snow, and the order
was given to camp at once. The site was a
magnificent one, right opposite the centre of
the Ten Peaks, whose precipices, picked out
with little snow patches and seamed with bands
of curiously parti-coloured rock, rose almost
verticaUy 3000 feet above the glacier. The
latter is of a dirty brown colour, the ice being
covered with piles of moraine and débris, which
suggested the alternative name of Desolation
VaUey. A novel feature in the landscape was
the number of mountain larches among the
surrounding trees, which formed quite an agreeable change after the interminable pines and
spruces of Bear Creek and the Saskatchewan
vaUey. The woods, moreover, were fairly open,
as is usually the case where the larch flourishes.
It is a hardy tree, being found mostly in the
neighbourhood of timber-line ; yet, in spite of
its penchant for the rigours of an Alpine climate,
we never saw it growing north of the raUway.
Showers of light hail and sleet, the drippings
from the clouds that hung persistently round
the higher mountain tops, feU continuously for
the next two days ;   and cUmbing was not to
«an $ m
S f Wi
be thought of. Taking advantage of a slight
break in the bad weather, Weed conducted us
one afternoon to the summit of a pass leading
over into Prospectors' VaUey, which he had
traversed the previous year with Mr. C. Thompson and Hans on an unsuccessful attempt to
reach the top of Mount Hungabee. We had
a fine view of that majestic peak on the
way up, and discussed projects of an assault
on its formidable precipices as soon as the
weather cleared. On the moraine of the glacier
we found a number of most curious and apparently fossil remains in the Cambrian quartzites.1
The pass, which crosses the range forming the
continental watershed at a height of about
8000 feet, lies between Neptuak, or Number
Nine—the Ten Peaks are so called after the
first ten numerals of the Indian language—and
Hungabee (" The Chieftain ") which, though
belonging to an entirely separate group of
mountains, appears to have been reckoned as
one of the ten by Mr. S. E. S. AUen who
named them. Of the other nine peaks the
highest and most striking is Number Eight,
about 10,900 feet, which also bears the name
1 An account of these remarkable rock specimens, by Professor
Bonney, F.R.S., appears in the Geographical Journal for May, 1903,
pp. 498, 500.
of Deltaform, from its triangular shape. The
ascent of both Hungabee and Deltaform must
be made from the side of Prospectors' VaUey.
Thursday, September 2nd, was a fine day,
so we got up early to do a climb of some
description. Deltaform and Hungabee were
voted out of the question owing to the quantities of new snow; and our choice eventuaUy
feU on Neptuak, the northernmost summit of
the range, which, viewed from the summit of
the pass, seemed to offer the prospect of a good
climb. WooUey remarks in his paper that the
mountain, as seen from the pass, may be roughly
compared to the Eiger from the Little Schei-
deck. Turning to our left, we traversed a small
but steep snow-slope and got on to the arête.
For some distance the going was easy enough,
but presently we found our way barred by some
formidable-looking waUs and towers of rock.
On our left we looked down the tremendous
sheer precipice facing Desolation VaUey : below
on the right were shale-slopes and couloirs,
now sheeted with ice, down which stones and
icicles were faUing with unpleasant frequency.
We therefore decided to stick to the arête ;
and the result was one of the best climbs of
the trip.    It was good hard scrambling nearly
i 11
■^^i-irtm^ » g «tuywy If i
the whole way, the rocks being almost vertical
in places and the hand-holds not over-abundant ;
and, being a party of ûve on one rope, we
made but slow progress. " During the ascent '
of these rocks, to quote once more from
Woolley's paper, | we made a closer acquaintance
with the variegated strata seen in the cliffs from
below. First we encountered a layer of light-
coloured limestone very much shattered; then
came a bed of much firmer dark brown rock,
then more pale loose limestone, and near the
top almost black limestone with light veins."
Towards the summit the inevitable cornice was
encountered, and, traversing some distance below it, we climbed a narrow ridge of rocks overhung with snow and found ourselves on the
highest point at 3 p.m. Our height appeared to
be 10,500 feet.
The view was an entirely new one to all of us,
except Weed and Hans, the foreground being
filled in with a set of mountains whose heads
were only dimly discernible from the peaks
about the head-waters of the Saskatchewan.
Northwards the terraced cliffs of Hungabee
chiefly attracted our gaze, with the massive
forms   of   Victoria   and   Lefroy   immediately
to the  right :   across  Prospectors'  Valley  rose
- #
mmmsm ill ■ ASCENT  OF NEPTUAK
Mount Vaux and the three pinnacles of Good-
sir, the most imposing, and perhaps the loftiest,
peak in this region of the Rockies, with Sir
Donald and the Selkirks beyond, and a sea of
mountains roUing, wave upon wave, further to
the west. Quite close to us southwards, across
a dip in the ridge, the grim precipices of the
triangular Deltaform towered, tier upon tier,
some hundreds of feet above our heads ; and
from this point of view they did not look at
aU inviting. After half-an-hour spent in taking
our bearings and photographing we began the
descent, and it was late in the afternoon before
we got off the rocks. We had a couple
of merry glissades down the snow, and then
tramped homewards, reaching the tents soon
after sundown.
Neptuak proved our last climb. AU Wednesday and Thursday it blew and sleeted and
snowed, and the hillsides once more donned
their winter mantles ; so, having only two inpre
days to spend in the mountains, on the Friday
we struck camp and returned to Laggan. On
the way down we stopped a few hours at the
chalet, and enjoyed our first civilised dinner
beneath Miss MoUison's hospitable roof. This
over, with sorrow we  bade fareweU to Hans,
i & **&
who, in addition to being a first-rate guide, was
an exceUent feUow—very keen and good-tempered, and wiUing to do aU sorts of things, from
hard work on the mountain-side to carrying
gigantic logs on his back for the camp-fire, or
mending boots. In short, he was everything
that the British cUmber is wont to write (with
more or less truth) in his guide's " Fiïhrer Buch"
at the close of his season in the Alps—and more
An occasion of stiU greater regret was our
parting, on the cars that evening towards midnight, with Fred, who accompanied us aboard
"Number 2 " on the way to his home at Lacombe.
Much of the success, as weU as the pleasure and
good-feUowship, of our expeditions in 1900 and
1902 had been due to his unfaiUng tact, good
temper, and management : and, when we said
good-bye to him and stepped out on to the platform at Banff, we felt we were at the same time
bidding fareweU to the Canadian Rockies.
We were weU content with the results of
this our last journey among the mountains,
which, at any rate as regards physical comfort,
had been much the most agreeable of the four.
From the geographical point of view a number
of questions relating to the peaks, passes, and
3i8 \\
glaciers had been satisfactorily solved. Several
high mountains—chief among them being Mounts
Forbes, Murchison, Freshfield, and Howse Peak
—had been ascended for the first time, and their
heights barometrically determined. We had
discovered a pass across the main range between
the Freshfield and the LyeU groups ; explored
the LyeU Glacier, and found out how the
watershed ran from the Freshfield group to
the peaks about the Columbia ice-field ; and
gained a much more detaUed topographical
knowledge of various outlying portions of the
mountains—for instance, the portion south of the
Freshfield group, that east of the peaks of Murchison, and that north-east of Mount Wilson.
Our climbs, moreover, and the continued
fine weather with which we had been favoured,
had enabled us better to appreciate the charm
of the scenery in the Rockies, and also, at the
same time, to gauge more correctly their merits
and possibilities as a field for mountaineering.
Regarded as a whole, and from the severely
I greased pole f point of view that Mr. Ruskin
used to deplore, it may be said at once that
they can hardly, in this respect, become serious
competitors with the Alps. Mount Forbes
and a few other high peaks wiU always afford
'    LIB
1 ! fil
magnificent climbs, and excellent rock scrambling can be enjoyed on a host of minor summits ;
but the majority of the loftier mountains will
not test the skill of the modern Alpine gymnast
very severely. The climber's chief obstacles
at present are their distance from his base
and the impenetrable character of the forests
through which he has to fight his way. In
future days, when trails are cut to the foot
of the peaks, when the easiest routes to the
summits are discovered, and the contempt
bred of familiarity supervenes, it is possible
that a good many of them may be lightly
esteemed by up-to-date mountaineers. People
with a taste for capturing virgin peaks will be
able, by going a little further afield than their
predecessors, to gratify their ambition in that
direction for many years to come. They can
climb half-a-dozen or so a week, if they have
the fancy ; but we question whether the results
will repay the trouble expended.
Nor, perhaps, from an aesthetic standpoint,
can it be maintained that the Alps of Canada
possess quite the grandeur or the stateliness
of their European compeers. It is doubtful,
for instance, if there are any mountain landscapes in the Rockies that vie in sublimity with
the  view   of  the   Jungfrau  from  Interlachen,
the Italian sides of Mont Blanc, or Monte
Rosa, or the Matterhorn. On the other hand,
they have a very remarkable individuality and
character, in addition to special beauties of
their own which Switzerland cannot rival. The
picturesque landscapes in the vaUeys ; the magnificence of the vast forests, with their inextricable tangle of luxuriant undergrowth, and
the wreck and ruin of the fallen tree-trunks ;
the size, number, and exquisite colouring of
the mountain lakes—in these things the New
Switzerland stands pre-eminent. In the Alps
we can recaU only one lake of any size surrounded by high glacier-clad mountains, namely,
the Œschinen See ; in the Rockies they may
be counted by the score—gems of purest turquoise blue, in matchless settings of crag and
forest scenery, glacier and snow, storm-riven
peak, and gloomy mysterious canyon. Last, but
by no means least, in the free wild life of the
backwoods can be found absolute freedom from
aU taint of the vulgar or the commonplace;
and the sense of mystery and of awe at the
unknown—things which are gone for ever from
the high mountain ranges of Europe—yet Unger
around the crests of the Northern Rockies.
Gradually, year  by year,  these things  are
getting appreciated by the outside world.
Canada, as aU the world knows, is now entering
on a new era of commercial, agricultural, and
industrial development. Vast tracts of country
are being opened up in the great North-West;
settlers are pouring in from the States and
elsewhere, and the whole country is progressing in wealth and material prosperity by leaps
and bounds. Coincidently with this advance
in riches there is growing in the West a taste
for natural beauties, an appreciation, hitherto
dormant, of the fair things of the earth, which
in its turn is proving a new source of wealth.
People have ceased to scoff at the mountains
along the Divide as barren profitless things ;
and the Canadian Pacific Railway authorities,
at any rate, with their accustomed shrewdness,
have learned that even glaciers, if utilised with
skill, may have a commercial value. A growing horde of tourists all along the railway is
the result ; while—most happily for those who
shun the society of their fellow wayfarers, and
lono; for the silent solitude of the forest, the
grandeur and the keen air of the great peaks—
a tent and an outfit always afford an easy
means of escape from that over-civilisation
which, as some of us think, is already sufficiently
burdensome in our home surroundings.
In the course of our expeditions among the
mountains the shooting and hunting were always
kept quite subordinate to the climbing, surveying, and exploration work ; and it may be
imagined that a large outfit of men and horses,
with its accompaniment of beUs tinkling and
people talking and shouting, is not conducive
to the tranquillity which is essential for the
finding of game. At the same time we saw
enough in the course of our travels to give
us a pretty fair idea of the country's capacities
as a field for sport—in that narrower sense of
the word which limits its meaning to the pursuit and slaying of birds and beasts; and a
few remarks, by way of conclusion, on this
subject may not be out of place.
Although it is impossible to recommend
the Canadian Rockies as a reaUy first-rate
hunting-ground—the "game hog," as the Americans   call   the   man   avid   of   indiscriminate
1. I
slaughter, and the sportsman who wishes to
shoot with a minimum expenditure of time
and labour, had better betake themselves elsewhere—enough sport may be obtained to add
plenty of zest to a camping trip among the
mountains. The only big game which the
traveller has a reasonable chance of securing
are Rocky Mountain sheep, or bighorn, wild
goats, and bears. We saw a good many tracks
of deer, and occasionaUy those of moose, elk
(or wapiti), and cariboo, but these latter are
so seldom met with that they are hardly worth
taking into consideration.
Bighorn, in the early part of the last century, must have been plentiful all over these
mountains. We may infer this from the works
of David Thompson and other travellers, and
also from the old game trails still visible along
the hiUsides. Now, however, in common with
other big game throughout the world, they
are rapidly decreasing in numbers ; and, unless
effectual measures are taken to preserve them,
the fate of the buffalo must eventuaUy be
theirs. Even forty or fifty years ago the herds
had been sadly thinned, and part of Captain
Palliser's anxiety for the safety of Dr. Hector
and  his  party was due to the fear that they
324 CO
"J,wf"^!i!  SPORT AND  GAME
might be starved owing to the difficulty of
finding game for food. The scarcity of wild
animals in those days was attributed to a succession of exceptionaUy severe winters, during
which large numbers of sheep and goats had
perished, to great fires through the woods and
mountains on the eastern side of the main
range, and also to a mysterious disease, apparently a kind of mange or scab, which attacked
the bighorn. Still, from the accounts of Dr.
Hector and other explorers in the middle of
the century, it is evident that game was much
more abundant then than now. The traveUer
by the Kootenay Plains in these days is not
Ukely to be startled, Uke Hector, by the
apparition of a hundred rams rushing by him
so close as to enable him to throw stones at
them ; although Professor Coleman, on his
journey1 up the Cataract River to the headwaters of the Brazeau in 1902, saw several
bighorn in the course of the expedition. They
appear to frequent this part of the country
more than any other on the eastern side of
the chain. Peyto and Stutfield saw a good
many tracks in the upper valley of the Brazeau ;
and the  animals which the   latter   so   rudely
1 Geographical Journal, May, 1903.
, 1
111 ' «H !B
■    :
disturbed on the  slopes  of WUd Sheep HiUs
had evidently come there from the east.
The sheep in the mountains at the head of
the north fork of the Saskatchewan were very
seldom molested till quite recent years, as the
Stoney Indians have a legend that certain members of their tribe were spirited away in this
valley by some supernatural agency, and they
are consequently afraid to go up it. Bighorn are
more plentiful in the Lillooet and other districts
of British Columbia, but the heads are not nearly
so fine as those of the Rockies.
The Rocky Mountain goat is much commoner and more widely distributed than the
bighorn, and anybody who goes up country
after the former should be tolerably certain of
getting one or two. They are often to be seen
in the mountains on either side of the railway,
where sheep seldom come nowadays, except in
the depth of winter. They are pretty numerous
in the Selkirks, which are too wet to be good
ground for sheep ; and we saw a fair number in
the mountains at the head of the Bush VaUey.
The wild goat is no mean quarry, but he is a
stupid beast, and, so long as the hunter keeps
above him, he is by no means difficult to stalk.
As  a matter of fact, there is little of the
romantic glamour which hangs round chamois-
hunting attaching to the chase of either Rocky
Mountain sheep or goat. In some books dealing with sport in the American Rockies one
reads of perilous adventures and hair-breadth
escapes of bighorn hunters, who, like the conventional gemsjdger of the Alps, appear sometimes to have been very desperate characters
and to have faced death in a variety of terrible
shapes. In Canada and British Columbia, on
the other hand, the pursuit of the bighorn is
seldom attended with danger, as, although
capable of surprising feats of agility on difficult
rocks when hard pressed, they are usually to be
found on quite easy ground, such as the grassy
knolls and benches of rock above timber-line.
Wild sheep have been killed, ere now, by men
on horseback ; and on our last return journey
along the Bow trail we met an American gentleman and his daughter who were setting forth
with the avowed intention of shooting bighorn
from the saddle. Their efforts, however, we
have since heard, were not crowned with
The wild goats of the Rockies have a distinct
penchant for the summits of beetling crags and
ledges running along dizzy precipices ;  but they
327 I
too, like the bighorn, are more often to be found
in easy country about timber-level. Comical,
antediluvian-looking creatures are these old
biUies, with a venerable air of profound wisdom,
which, however, greatly belies their true character. Like the chamois in certain parts of the
Alps they sometimes frequent the lower woods,
and we often saw their wool on the bushes by
the banks of rivers and along the bottoms of the
larger vaUeys. When alarmed they make off at
a sort of heavy lumbering canter and betake
themselves to the rocks, which they negotiate
with perfect ease, but always with great caution.
When a goat arrives at a difficult place he stops
and surveys the ground carefully, slowly moving
his head from side to side, until he has satisfied
himself of the best route to take. Though a
wondrously skilful cUmber, he has none of the
careless dash and élan of the chamois, who seems
to throw himself at the rocks without reflection,
trusting, as it would appear, to chance and his
own marveUous agility to carry him through.
Bears, black, brown, and grizzly, abound
more or less aU over the Rockies. Traces of
them are often to be seen where they have been
grubbing in the moss at the roots of large trees ;
and their footprints may be foUowed across the
sandy bars and broad shingly flats at the head of
the larger vaUeys, or on the muddy banks of the
smaller mountain tarns. Hunting them, however, is an extremely difficult matter ; and very
few bears are kiUed by visitors to the country.
Probably not one is shot by hunters for twenty
that are caught in traps. The woods are so
vast, and the undergrowth so dense, that the
sportsman, unless uncommonly lucky, must be
prepared to expend much time and trouble
before he meets with success. Indians are probably the best hunters for this sort of work.
The impenetrable thickets of the Blaeberry
Creek are a favourite habitat of bears, as are also
the immense forests on the slopes of the Selkirks
and along the west side of the main Rocky
Mountain chain, but the traveUer may journey
for months together without Bruin ever putting
in an appearance. Occasionally he may emerge
into the open to feed on the berries which grow
thickly on the sunny hiU-sides, but as a rule he
prefers to remain concealed in the mysterious
recesses of the forests. In the winter he " dens
up " in some dark hole under a rock, sheltered
from the piercing wind by the snow-laden
Of the smaller varieties of game the com-
frTrggTStTiWÎ: fF
[jJJHlilHflffl ' ftim'l fHffTT 1
|   0
monest are the wiUow grouse, or " fool-hen," the
blue grouse, and the ptarmigan. These birds
are exceedingly useful for the purpose of replenishing the larder, but shooting them can hardly
be called sport. Ducks of various kinds, teal,
and widgeon are not uncommon, and in the
Bush VaUey we saw flocks of wUd geese and a
few swans ; but far better shooting of this description can be obtained in the lower lakes of
British Columbia and on the prairies east of the
Rockies, where wildfowl of every sort exist in
Of the fishing in the Rockies it is difficult to
convey an accurate impression. Trout of various kinds abound in many of the lakes and
streams ; but they appear to be singularly capricious, and the fisherman cannot reckon with any
certainty on getting good sport. On some days
and in certain seasons they wiU rise greedily at
the fly : on others they obstinately refuse to be
tempted by any artificial lure. 1902 was distinctly an unfavourable season, and we fished
rivers and lakes, which in previous years had
yielded exceUent sport, with unvarying ill-success. Very large buU-trout, up to 30 lb. or
more, are to be caught in Lake Minnewanka,
near Banff, in the upper and lower Bow lakes,
330 "The Goat Hangs High" (p. 204)
itfjffi>1 \M SPORT AND GAME
and other mountain tarns—Collie, as already
mentioned, got one in the stream flowing out of
Glacier Lake—but they wiU not take a fly. On
calm days they may sometimes be seen in the
Bow lakes basking in shaUow water near the
shore—ugly, unattractive monsters, with big
heads and most capacious mouths. More satisfactory, from the fly-fisher's point of view, are
the smaUer rainbow trout, which are very sporting fish and excellent eating; and the visitor,
with fair luck and the aid of local information,
should have no difficulty in discovering lakes
and streams that will afford him plenty of
The destruction, and consequent diminution,
of large game in the Canadian Rocky Mountains has for some years past engaged the
attention of the Government authorities in the
North-West Territories. Following the successful example of the United States in their
game preserve of the YeUowstone Park, they
have prohibited sheep and goat hunting in a
large tract of country extending northwards of
Banff and Laggan as far as the main valley of
the Saskatchewan. In other words, they have
greatly widened the boundaries of the existing
National Park at Banff, where a small herd of
buffalo, a few elk, moose, goat, and deer are
confined ; and it is hoped that in course of time
the numbers of wild animals may be considerably increased. The analogous system of making freiberge, or sanctuaries for chamois, in large
districts has worked weU in the Swiss cantons ;
but the conditions prevailing in the Canadian
Rockies are very different from those both in
the Alps and the YeUowstone Park, and the
system of enclosing large areas of wild country,
which cannot possibly be effectively policed,
seems to be of questionable expediency. It
must be remembered that a great part of the
ground now reserved is many days' journey
from civilisation—a good deal of it untU quite
recent years has never been mapped or explored
—and it is difficult to see how the killing of
game there by Indians and professional hunters
is to be prevented. Probably this will go on
pretty much as before, while visitors and tourists,
who until lately were able to enjoy short
hunting trips up the Bow or Pipestone vaUeys—
trips, by the way, which seldom resulted in
any serious destruction of game !—wUl now be
unable to do so without infringing the regulations. That is to say, law-respecting strangers
wiU be debarred from a certain amount of more
or less harmless enjoyment, whUe the protection
to the game wfll be practically nil. It would
have been better, perhaps, if the authorities had
acted more on the principle of festina lente, and,
contenting themselves with a less ambitious
project at first, had gradually extended the
boundaries of the enclosed ground year by
Closely connected with the problem of game
preservation in the Rockies is that of the
Indians. One thing is certain : if the Stoneys
are aUowed to hunt indefinitely, as at present,
the large game, already sufficiently scarce, wiU
be exterminated in all but the most remote
districts. It is a frequent subject of complaint
that Indians are aUowed greater facilities for
hunting than white men. In theory the Redskin is only allowed to leave his reservation
for the pursuit of game during the FaU ; but, as
a matter of fact, he can nearly always obtain
a permit at any season of the year—nominally
for the purpose of business, visiting a relation,
or on some simflar pretext, when the old primitive instincts assert themselves and he goes off
In the autumn the Stoneys saUy forth with
their squaws  and papooses, their teepees  and
other household gods, and scour the woods and
hill-sides in search of game. They hunt in
bands, and directly a herd of sheep or goats
is sighted they set to work to surround it,
and if they can wipe out the whole herd, young
and old, male and female, they do not hesitate
to do so. Needless to say, the Red Man is not
deterred by sportsmanlike or prudential considerations, and the idea of leaving a sufficient
breeding-stock for future seasons does not enter
his head. Skins and heads and horns are so
valuable nowadays that the pecuniary inducements to kiU game of all sorts are very great,
quite apart from the love of the chase which is
inbred in every Indian. The Stoneys form
probably the finest type of Redskins extant ;
and, as Mr. Wilcox, an admirer of the tribe,
says, they are incomparable hunters, and their
boast is that " No game can live where we
The question of what is to be done with these
untamed, and apparently untamable, children
of Nature ; how " the provisional races," as the
" Professor at the Breakfast Table " calls them—
" the red crayon sketches of humanity laid on
the canvas before the colours for the real
humanity are ready "—ought to be treated, is
a difficult one. The abuses, and in some cases
the brutahties, of the American system are weU
known ; and the principle that " the only good
Indian is a dead Indian ' has doubtless found
too ready acceptance in the States. On the
other hand, it would seem that in Canada the
Redskin is allowed too free a hand, at any rate
as regards hunting and shooting. No doubt,
as is sometimes urged, the country was formerly
his to hunt and roam over at his own sweet
wiU—so, for the matter of that, were the present
sites of Montreal, New York, and Chicago—and
it may readily be admitted that there is much
that is pathetic in the fate of the Indian in these
later days, as in that of all savages who have
become enmeshed in civUisation's net. By
nature and tradition a warrior, a hunter, a rover
amid wildernesses, he has changed his airy teepee
for a mud hut, and is condemned to a Ufe of
enforced inaction in the comparatively narrow
confines of his reserve. On the other hand, it is
useless to shut our eyes to the facts. The
Indians could not in these days Uve by the
chase, even if they were permitted to hunt more
freely, for there is not enough game to support
a tenth of their number. The old free, wild Ufe
of the prairie and the backwoods cannot now, in
the nature of things, be permanently theirs ; and
it would surely be wiser to train and habituate
them, as far as possible, to the changed conditions of life under which they and their descendants must henceforth dweU. The main fact
to be considered in this relation is that at the
present rate the game will shortly be exterminated, in which case the Red Man wiU be no
better off than if he were now debarred from
hunting ; and then the whole question of maintaining and guarding him will have to be considered afresh.
Happily for the hunter whose lot is cast in
these times when large game is growing ever
scarcer, if only he be a true lover of Nature in
all her forms, sport in the mountains offers other
joys than those contained in the mere gunning
part of the business. It is enough for such an
one, even if a stalk be out of the question, to
sit out in the sunshine on some ridge or hill-top
and watch the game, whether it be Rocky
Mountain sheep or goat, or Alpine chamois or
ibex. Again, half the charm of mountain sport,
as opposed to mountaineering proper, is that it
gives you so much time to admire the scenery.
As you lie concealed behind some knoll or rocky
protuberance you  can watch at your  ease the
face of the landscape changing with each change
in Nature's moods, the great glaciers and snows
around you, while above them the tall peaks
thrust their heads up into the deep blue sky.
Below, on the grassy hillside, the big-eyed,
white-faced ewes keep watch and ward over the
lambs frisking and gambolling around them,
while further off, on some jutting promontory of
crag, may be seen the curving massive horns of
an old sentinel ram, his eyes intently fixed on
the middle distance, alert and ready to give the
alarm the moment that danger threatens. Such
a sight consoles you for much hard work or long
hours of waiting, or even for the disappointments
of the chase ; and you feel that, kill or no kill,
after aU your labour has not been entirely in
vain, and that life is worth living—at any rate in
the mountains.
Abbot, P. S., killed on Mount
Lefroy, 15, 22
Abbott, Mount, 215
Aberdeen, Mount, 14
Alberta, Mount, 108, 129, 154
Alexandra, Mount, 198, 276
Allen, S. S., 314
Appalachian Club, 12, 16
Assiniboine,    Mount,    13,   21 ;
ascent of, 233
Astoria, 4
Asulkan valley, 150, 217
Athabasca Glacier, 103, 117
 Pass, 68, 152, 157, 229
 Peak, 103, 105
 River, 125 ; source of, 102
Avalanche, ice, 128
Baker, G. P., 24, 39
 Pass, 64
Balfour, ascent of Mount, 34
Ballard, trapper, 247, 259
Banff, 72, 237
Bassett, C, 161; accident to, 162
Bear Creek, 42, 44, 242; ford
of, 45, 90, 258 ; camping-
ground, 88, 136, 245
Bear-hunt, 144, 147
Bears in Rockies, 148, 328
Beaver, 166, 250
Big Bend, on Columbia river,
157, 169
Bighorn, 82, 292, 324
 hunting, 112, 327
Biltong, dried meat, 123, 135
Birds, in Rockies, 94
Black, C, 39, 161, 204
 flies, 187, 195
Blackwater Creek, 163, 212
Blaeberry Creek, 59, 159, 329
| Blaze," on trees, 26, 80
Bluewater Creek, 163, 198, 226
Bonney,  Professor T. G.,  228,
Bow Lake, lower, 34 ; upper, 42,
 Pass, 42, 141, 244
 River, 73, 143
 trail, 25, 40, 145, 241
Brazeau valley, 102, 133, 325
Brown, Mount, 13, 54, 68, 122 ;
height   determined   by   Professor Coleman, 69, 153
Bryce, Mount, 108, 119, 198;
ascended by Outram, 285
Bulldog flies, 76, 242, 307
Bush Pass, 284
— Peak, 172,191,198 ; named
by Collie, 227
-River, 158, 168, 172
valley, depth of, 191, 227
Byers, W., 73, 96
Cache,  of provisions, 90, 136,
Camp, life in, 285
| Canadian Pacific Railroad, built,
Cariboo, 192, 324
 Road, 7
■MPfflPljIWl Ill
i y
Cataract River, 82, 325
Cayooses, Indian ponies, 41, 46,
95; their love of water, 85,
176, 182
Cheadle, Dr., 10, 185, 249
Chipmunk squirrel, 95
Cinch ropes, 296, 309
Cline, trader, 82, 306
 Peak, 306
Coleman, Professor, 13,69, 229,
Columbia ice-field, 2, 107, 119,
 Mount, 108, 119,194, 202 ;
first sight of, by Collie, 54,
69 ; ascended by Outram, 260
  River, 2, 160, 163;  pro
bable former source of, 231
trail, 163, 212
Committee's  Punch Bowl,  68,
153, 229
Conway, Sir Martin, 288
Coronation Peak, 276, 285
Cross-bills, 166
Dawson, Dr. G. M., 11, 231
Death Trap, the, 18
Deltaform, Mount, 315, 317
Desolation Valley, 313
Devil's club creeper, 175, 189
Diadem, Mount, 111, 126; ascent
of, 128
Diamond hitch, 25, 286
Dixon, Professor H. B., 18
Dogs, voracity of, 104, 134, 141
Dolomite Valley, 79, 305
Dome, ascent of The, 121
Donald, 157, 162
Douglas, David, 69, 151
 Peak, 121
 Roy, 73, 124
Eagle Peak, 150
Edith, Mount, 218
Fay, Professor C. E., 15, 23
Field, 65, 160
 Mount, 65
Fires, forest, 84,  133, 288; at
Glacier Lake, 296, 304
Fish Lake, 212
Fishing, trout, 42,143, 213, 330
Fool-hen, grouse, 99, 136
Forbes, Mount, 49, 57, 262,299 ;
ascent of, 277
Forest scenery, 137, 149, 164
Fortress Lake, 229, 234
Fossil forest, 139
Fossils, in Bush valley, 228 ; in
Desolation valley, 314
Fraser River, explored, 6
Freshfield glacier, 51, 264
 Mount, 52, 264 ; ascent of,
Geese, wild, 180, 196
Geological Survey, Canadian, 12
Girlie, packhorse, 96, 182
Glacier House, 146, 216
 Lake, 292, 298
Goat-hunting, 203, 261, 327
Goat Peak, 197, 202
Goats, wild, 197, 253, 271, 291,
Golden, 160
Goodsir, Mount, 317
Gophers, 123
Gordon, ascent of Mount, 28
Gorge, of Bear Creek, 256 ; of
Bush river, 194
Green, Rev. W. S., 222
Greenhow, Robert, 70
Grey horse, 46, 95
Grizzly bears, 146, 245 ;  spoor
of, 147
Grouse, 99, 209, 329
Habel, Jean, 65, 234
Hector,  Dr.,   8,   55,  82,  187,
 Mount, 15, 241
Henry, Alexander, 5, 58
Hooker, Mount, 13, 54, 68, 122
Howse Pass, 8, 57, 229
 Peak, 140, 244 ; ascent of,
Huber and Sulzer, ascend Mount
Sir Donald, 223
Hudson's Bay Company, 3
Hungabee, Mount, 21, 31, 314
Illecillewaet Glacier, 148, 222
Indians, Red, 333, 335
Jays, blue, 173
Joe, horse, 96, 161, 189
Kangaroo mouse, 190
Kaufmann, Christian, 247, 261,
  Hans, 233, 238, 258, 267,
Kicking Horse Pass, 8, 236
 River, 65
Kootenay Plains, 82, 325
 River, 7, 230
Laggan, 73, 145, 239
Lang, H., 163, 177; nearly
drowned, 178
Larches, 313
Lefroy, ascent of Mount, 17
Log-jam, near Glacier Lake, 292
Loon, duck, 167
"Loops," the, on Canadian
Pacific Railway, 146, 225
Louise, Lake, 17
Luggage, loss of, 237
Lyell glacier, 47, 227, 281 ; explored, 300
ice-fall, 302
Lyell, Mount, 108, 198, 300;
ascended by Outram, 260
MacAlpine, Alistair, 161, 204
MacEvoy, Mr., 12
Mackenzie, Sir Alexander, 4
Marmots, 124
Mathews, W. L., 72, 238.
Mattress, the bedroom, 239, 307
 ode to, 308
Michael, Professor A.,  16, 23,
Middle Fork of Saskatchewan,
47, 91, 258
Milton, Viscount, 10, 185, 249
Mink, 190, 250
Mollison, Miss, 65, 317
Molly, the bell-mare, 80, 85, 95,
Moraine Lake, 312
Mosquitoes,  40,  77 ;   in   Bush
valley, 169, 206
Mummery, Mount, 29, 62
Murchison, Mount, 29, 39, 74,
92, 138, 305 ; ascent of, 252
Murray, Clarence, 241
Muskeg, 26, 167
Musk-rat, 190, 250
National Park, at Banff, 331
Neptuak, ascent of Mount, 315
North Fork, of Bush River, 192,
North  Fork   of Saskatchewan,
92, 134
North West Fur Company, 3, 57
Noyes, Rev. C. L., 16, 79; ascends Mount Balfour, 34
 Peak, 305
Outram, Rev. James, 233, 247,
260 ; ascends Mount Assini-
boine and other peaks, 233
311$ INDEX
I il
Painter's brush, 78, 275
Palliser,   Captain   J.,   8,   324;
Journals of, 49, 67
Parker, H. C, 16, 43
Peace River, 2
Peyto, W., 25, 41, 73, 161
H— Lake, 44
Pilkington, Mount, 52, 270
Pinto, the, pack-horse, 96, 161
Pipestone Creek, 76
 Pass, 77
Pisgah, Mount, 171, 174
Porcupine, 95
Prospectors' Valley, 314
Ptarmigan, 105, 112
Pyramid Peak, 140, 244, 258
Rapt, on Bush River, 177 ; on
Glacier Lake, 297
Robson, Jack, 239, 265, 293
 Peak, 12, 154
Rock-fall, immense, 126
Ross, Alexander, 6
Ross Cox, 4
Rupert, Prince, charter granted
to, 3
Sarbach, ascent of Mount, 47
 Peter, 16, 52
Saskatchewan River,  83,  135 ;
cataract on, 102 ;  source of,
Scattergood, J. H., 233
Selkirk   Mountains,   149,   167,
215, 221
Shack, trapper's, 244, 247
Sheep, wild (see Bighorn)
Siffleur River, 78
Simpson, Sir G., 7
 Pass, 7
 trapper, 247, 257
Sir Donald, Mount, 146, 222;
ascent of, 224
Slate Range, 78, 143
I Smudge," 77, 169
Spencer, Sydney, 159 ; ascends
Peak Swanzy, 215
Squirrels, 95, 124
Starvation, 135, 143
Stephens, Fred,65,161,183,236
Stoney Indians, 292, 333
Strata, curious, in Bush valley,
209, 227
Sunset, magnificent, 207
Sun Wapta river, 125, 234
Survey Peak, 91, 295
Swans, wild, 174, 193, 330
Swanzy, Peak, 215
Teepee, Indian tent, 77
Temple, Mount, 14, 312
Ten Peaks, the, 233, 313
Tête Jaune Cache, 157
Tewksbury, Dave, 241, 244, 294
Thompson, C.  S., 16, 79, 233,
238 ; falls into a crevasse, 30
 David, 5, 70, 324
 Pass, 99, 229
 Peak, ascent of, 142
Thunderstorm       on       Mount
Diadem, 130
Timber, fallen, 26, 79, 145,185,
Topham, Harold, 222
Trappers, 62, 247
 life of, 249
Twins, The, 120, 198
Vavasour, Nigel, 73, 113
Vermilion Lakes, the, 73
Victoria, ascent of Mount, 23
Waitabit Creek, 163, 198, 226
Walker, Mount, 52, 270
Waputehk ice-field, 21, 29, 141
I Wash-out, 48, 260
Wasps, plague of, 307
Waterfowl Lakes, 44, 140, 304
Weed, G. M., 79, 233, 238
West Branch of Saskatchewan,
97 ; explored by Thompson, 99
Whymper, Edward, 231
Wilcox, W. D., 13, 110,311
  Pass, 110, 124
 Peak, 110, 123
Wilson, Tom,   39, 72 ;   crosses
Howse Pass, 59, 159
 Mount, 83, 94, 259
Wild Sheep Hills, 113, 131
Wolverine, 250
Wood River, 158, 226, 229
Woolley, H., 72
 Mount, 126
Writing-desk,  shape of peaks,
78, 259
Yellowhead Pass, 10, 12, 154,
Young, Mrs., 214
Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
Edinburgh âr5 London
tCTTJT^-liTryy*. M>^BMMgMBggiWWBWHWtaHW>W>WM>>>*»g»^g^WpffMaw sir   -5552SW  all®!
wS»HilWlifl'vH iVMi'Sj     •HMliMMWN*
|gg|:   -   ||g|   :«*p; K|i 


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items