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ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – Robert McCaw

Secretary/Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Executive Committee – Margaret Cowell, Jennie McCulloch, Francis Robertson, Horace Westmorland, William Everett, William Drewry


January 9 – Club talk at the Y.M.C.A. given by William Alldritt on his prisoner-of-war experience.

March 26 – Club 14th annual banquet at Brentwood Hotel.

April 25 – Club trip to Big Saanich Mountain.

December 6 – Club meeting at the home of Gordon Cameron.

December 18 – Club talk given by Julia Henshaw at the home of Arthur Wheeler on the International Alpine Congress held in Monaco.

Section members who attended the ACC general camp at Mt. Assiniboine: Arthur and Clara Wheeler, Stanley Mitchell, Edward Wheeler (Mt. Assiniboine), Horace “Rusty” Westmorland, William Foster (Mt. Assiniboine), Dr. A.W. Wakefield (Mt. Assiniboine), Capt. E.L.T. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hodgins, Peggy Hodgins (Mt. Magog), Frederick Longstaff, Gordon Cameron, William Everall, Sara Spencer, Mr. C.B. Reynold, Ethel Bruce, Emmeline Savatard.

Three Years in Germany

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday January 15, 1920. p.7.

William A. Alldritt, Physical Director of the YMCA recently returned from three years imprisonment in Germany, will give a lecture in the auditorium of the Girl’s Central School on Monday evening at 8 o’clock. This lecture is under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada of which Mr. Alldritt is an active member. A cordial invitation is extended to the public to be present. No admission will be charged.

Says the Germans Want Kaiser Back

Mr. W.A. Alldritt, A Prisoner of War for Three Years, Hopes Allies Are Watching Germany Closely

Reported in the Daily Colonist Tuesday January 20, 1920, p.9.

With good humour which ill-concealed the horror of his and his companion’s sufferings during a period when the bosche’s [The boche’ or ‘boches’ (or ‘bosch/bosches’), was a French word, which arrived through contact with French forces in 1914, and is said to have derived from French slang caboche, meaning ‘rascal’ or ‘German’, or from Alboche, a variant on Alleman.] hatred of the English was at its height. Mr. William A. Alldritt, now Physical Director of the Y.M.C.A., her, formerly sergeant in the 8th Winnipeg battalion, last night told the story of his experience as a prisoner-of-war in Germany for three years. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Vancouver Island Section of the Alpine Club of Canada, in the Girls’ Central School. Mr. R.D. McCaw presiding. A big audience was present, and followed with intense interest the well-told narrative of the speaker’s five efforts to escape from the miserable camps to which he was confined during the period between his capture at the battle of Ypres, April, 1915, and his “exchange’ into Holland in March 1918, and at the close of the address Mr. A.O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, seconded by Captain Aitken, moved a very hearty vote of thanks. “Although Sergeant Alldritt speaks lightly enough about his experiences it is easy to read between the lines that it required magnificent courage, patience and endurance to hold up through it all,” said Mr. Wheeler, who recalled the speaker’s association with the Alpine Club at one of the annual camps in the Rockies some years ago.

Went From Winnipeg

Sergeant Alldritt went overseas with the 8th Winnipeg Battalion, in the early part of 1915 reaching the firing line in France. He was taken prisoner on the evening of April 25, during the battle of Ypres. With others of his unit he was herded into cattle cars, wounded and well, gassed and ungassed all together, and for four days—only once during that time being allowed to leave the train—they journeyed back into Germany. “You have heard how nice and kind the Germans were to the allies when they were in Cologne last time. I should like you to have seen how they received us that time we went through in the Spring of 1915—with brickbats, broken-glass missiles, bottles,” said the speaker. Before he was through Sergeant Alldritt summarized the German character, an analysis which accounted for much of the treatment which was meted out to the men held in their prison camps, and also, according to the interpretation of the speaker, foreboding ill for the peace of the world if it is not carefully watched. “The German boy is brought up to be a bully. The German regards his woden—his wife—as he does his furniture. They are brought up from babyhood to be cruel. They treat animals badly. A farmer and a city laboring man looked upon the war from two quite different viewpoints. The farmer was more patriotic; the laborer was very often a Socialist. But the question is often asked: Is the German today a Royalist or a Republican? The German on the whole is intensely a man who believes in a king.”

Would Restore Kaiser

“If they have half a chance they will have ‘Old Billy’ back again,” affirmed Sergeant Alldritt. “Most of them still look upon him as king by divine right, and they regard Hindenburg in the light of a national ideal.” “What should our attitude be towards Germany?” I am asked too. “My opinion is that we cannot watch Germany too closely. I hope sincerely that we have spies in Germany who are watching what is going on. If we have not, I prophesy we will have another war in 10 years. Germany today hates England and the rest of the Allies with a deadly hatred from which she will not recover for many years. We should watch her closely.” The actual “layout” of a German prison camp was described, the barbed-wire fencing inclosing big wooden huts, chiefly notable for there sameness and monotony and for the dreariness of their outlook. Hardships, poor food, general depression among the men, were accountable for many deaths “just from broken heart,” although most of the prisoners had been gassed or wounded, and in either case received very little in the way of medical attention. There was little variety in the food, a lump of black bread as large as a man’s fist being the issue for the 24 hours, while for breakfast there was in addition a bowl of acorn coffee. For dinner thin soup made of turnips and water, for supper coffee and black bread. “For the first six weeks we just literally starved—until the parcels from England began to come. We always looked forward to getting these, and if it had not been for the food they contained not more than 15 per cent of the boys taken prisoner would have come out of Germany alive. As a rule we got our parcels—it is about the only good thing I can say about the Germans, although they did sometimes slip up on us by holding back some of our things, They underfed us, but I forgive them that in view of the fact that they starved themselves for three years. But they neglected our sick—even where it was a matter of the simplest kind of attention.”

Brutal Warders

This deliberate cruelty the speaker traced to the authority vested in the non-commissioned—and mostly brutal—officers in charge of the salt-mines. Beating the men for inability—owing often to shear weakness and sickness—to work was a very minor punishment. He had seen things too terrible to describe. The story of his five attempts at escape were told in a racy vein, many of the incidents being made to appear quite humorous, although there is little doubt that at the time the game was all too serious. He was sent, soon after being captured, to work in a coal mine, although the Canadians at the time were given the surface jobs. Belgians and French being sent underground. Every day the Canadians managed to make some sort of trouble for the Germans—one day it would be to run a truck off the track and waylay things; another day a barrel of oil would mysteriously spring a leak, etc. He was sent to Westphalia next, and there he joined a gang organized to break camp. To do this a tunnel about forty feet wide had to be surreptitiously bored through sandy gravel. After a week’s stealthy work to their dismay they found the exit came up immediately under a big electric light where a German sentry was pacing back and forth at regular intervals. The hole was closed, and a new exit burrowed out. Through this eleven prisoners escaped one night while an Englishman inside the picket engaged the attention of the sentry by inviting him to share a cup of tea. Alldritt, himself an old woodsman with a natural instinct for direction, it appeared, from information gathered from Alpine Club members, was the elected leader of this and other organized efforts at escape. On this occasion, among other adventures, they had to pass right through a village, removing their heavy boots so as not to make any noise on the pavements. They successfully negotiated this problem, but the very next day were caught when close to the Dutch frontier. “And we spent our first Christmas—the Christmas of 1915—in the klinck,” commented the speaker. They stayed in prison a month, and were barred with a yellow stripe which was the badge of the man who attempted to break camp. But he tried again. This time he got sick while engaged in the work of tunneling the passage to freedom, and in order to get away from the camp—which was one of the worst—he volunteered as a farmhand, hoping he would be sent near to the frontier. But instead, he found he was destined to a place near Berlin. Another escape from the gaoler meant only five days’ harassed freedom, and after this he was sent down to Hamelin on Weser. The third time he broke camp he was away for fourteen days, and nearly crossed the frontier. This time, instead of being sent to the farm work he was doomed to the salt mines—“where I had a good time in a way; there were some very fine English fellows for the kindheartedness could not be beaten. They took me in and shared up their parcels with me for five weeks. Thank fortune I was able to pay them back, as just before I left that place about a hundred parcels came for me, and I was able to leave them enough for four or five months.

Fourth Attempt

The fourth attempt at escape ended in disheartening failure—and a prison term near Hanover City. There one of the sentries, by peculiar coincidence, chanced to be one of the sentries from one of the farm-camps from which Sergt. Alldritt had escaped. Rather naturally he bore some resentment, and Alldritt was not the only one who suffered in a fruitless effort to get out of camp again. For about a month after this he worked down in the salt mines before being permitted to get a surface job on the pumps. The last effort to fly Germany was in company with a Frenchman who eventually went delirious after many days on the road and many perilous escapes. Sergt. Alldritt by this time spoke and understood German so well that he succeeded twice in passing the sentries of bridges and towns without arousing suspicion—even after they walked some little way conversing with him. But the big pack which he carried on his back was his undoing in the end. The sentry who had trustingly taken him for a fellow-countryman was suddenly arrested by the size of this, suspecting, as Germans are in the habit of doing, it seems, that the civilian was a thief laden with booty. When the pack was opened it revealed—not booty—but tinned English jams and meats ready for the needs of the flight. So back he went to the salt mine, “where the treatment was terrible,” the speaker said without going further into details. He was one of the five thousand British exchanged in March 1918, and in September last reached Canada, coming later to Victoria to take up his present position in connection with the local Y.M.C.A.

Alpinists Gather for Annual Dinner

Fourteenth Anniversary of The Formation of Vancouver Island Section of Alpine Club of Canada Observed

Reported in the Daily Colonist Wednesday March 31, 1920, p.14.

Well-established precedent made Brentwood Hotel on Friday [March 26] night the rendezvous of members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, the occasion being the fourteenth anniversary of the formation of the local branch of the larger organization. As in previous years, the celebration took the form of a dinner gathering, followed by an address from the Director, Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, and a “lantern slide” talk description of some of the mountain areas in the interior of the Province. On this occasion the views depicted interesting scenes taken by Mr. Wheeler during his survey work in the district north of the C.P.R., nearly one hundred slides being shown. This feature of the evening’s entertainment made a very diverting conclusion to the anniversary programme.

This Year’s Camp

This year’s annual camp is to be held at Mt. Assiniboine. The announcement was made by the Director in the course of his annual address to the gathering on Friday night. It is to be known as the “Welcome Home Camp,” it being proposed to tender to the soldier members who were overseas and who will be guests of the Club this year in expression of joy at their return home from the war. The actual site of the forthcoming camp was defined. It will be at the northeast corner of Lake Magog, the date being set from July 20 to 31 inclusive. In addition to the Canadian returned overseas members, there are expected as guests a party from the Alpine Club, London, among those who are known to be coming from the last-mentioned organization being Mr. A. [Alfred] L. Mumm and the well-known Swiss guide Moritz Inderbinnen. It is expected that more than three hundred persons will be under canvas, and in order to affect a good and sufficient service between the camp and the outside world it has been necessary to organize a special pack train which will serve the camp and cater to the requirements of those members of the Club who may wish to make trips on their own account. “According to our constitution one of the objects of the club is “The encouragement of mountain craft and the opening of new regions as a national playground,” stated the Director. “Ever since the club’s inception the management has endeavored to give to its members by means of the annual camps the fullest possible enjoyment of and access to the various beauty spots of the Canadian Rockies at the lowest possible cost. It has done this realizing that the man of moderate means is just as keen a lover of nature in the great hills as those who are more wealthy. The club, so far, has not been unsuccessful, and many hundreds of people have been able to take advantage of our facilities in full measure.

For General Public

Mr. Wheeler here announced that arrangements had been made whereby the first of a series of walking and riding tours would during the coming Summer be in operation from Banff to Mt. Assiniboine, from July 1 to the middle of September. The tour, which is apparently backed by the Government, was not an Alpine Club enterprise, but was under the patronage and would be operated in conjunction with the Club camp. Reference to the Alpine Congress to be held at Monaco in May was made, Mr. Wheeler announcing that Mr. Byron Harmon, of Banff, would be there as delegate from the Alpine Club of Canada and also a representative of the Federal Department of the Interior. The remainder of the Director’s address was chiefly taken up with a review of the activities of the club and its individual members during the past year.

Toast And Greetings

Eighteen of the Vancouver Island Section and their friends gathered round the festive board on Friday night, Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, the chairman, reading greetings from the Winnipeg Section, also from Lieut.-Col. W. [William] W. Foster, honorary chairman, and from Captain [Horace] Westmorland, both of whom were unavoidably absent. A silent toast to “The King,” and a toast to “The Alpine Club of Canada,” proposed and responded to by Mr. W. [William] A. Alldritt and Mr. James White, respectively, were the signal for the gathering to disperse to the smaller hall, where Mr. Wheeler delivered his address. Members are looking forward with much interest to the “hike” next month. Mr. White and Mr. H. [Herbert] F. Shade having extended an invitation to the Vancouver Island Section to be the guests on Sunday, April 25, for a climb of Saanich Mountain. The Brentwood Hotel management provided a delicious repast for the dinner, and the table, thanks to Mrs. [Clara] Wheeler and Miss [Margaret] Cowell, who brought and arranged the flowers, looked radiant with its lavish decoration of daffodils and jonquils, while much of the general success of the celebration was the outcome of the activities of the secretary, Mr. Gordon Cameron. Among the guests of the evening was Mr. A.R. Whittemore, a member of the Toronto Section of the Alpine Club.

Visit Summit Big Saanich Mountain

Party of Thirty From Local Alpine Club Scale Neighboring Peak and Enjoy Superb Outlook

Reported in the Daily Colonist Tuesday April 27, 1920, p.18.

Thirty enthusiastic members and friends of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada were the guests of Mr. and Mrs. J. [James] J. White, of Sidney, and Mr. and Mrs. Shade of Victoria, at a surprise expedition to Big Saanich Mountain on Sunday [April 25]. The party met at Prospect Lake station where motors awaited to take them to the base of the mountain. At 11:30 a.m. Mrs. White, the “Director,” called the roll, and under the capable guidance of Mr. [Herbert] Shade the party started the ascent, reaching the summit at 1:35 p.m. After an el fresco lunch with hot tea the party took in the excellent view to be had in all directions. Before the descent was begun at 3:55 p.m., a small cairn was built and a pole erected with a flag bearing the inscription “Vancouver Island Section of the Alpine Club of Canada, April 25, 1920.” The descent was found more difficult than the ascent and Echo Cave was not reached until 3:10 p.m. Here the guide demonstrated the wonderful effect of the echo, but unfortunately the performance was brought to a sudden end when the echo could not understand the remarks of one of the doubting members. Another ten- minute climb brought the party to the main camp, which was situated on the edge of an enchanted lake and where a most substantial supper was prepared in the usual club style. The party included Mr. Shade, the guide; the chairman of the section, Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, and Secretary Gordon A. Cameron, Mrs. A.J. Campbell, and Messrs. Campbell, [William] Drewry, Mitchell, [William] Alldritt, C.B. Reynolds, [James] White, [William] Everall, [Frederick] Longstaff, Cochrane, [Kenneth] Chadwick and Pourier. Mrs. Campbell on her arrival in camp was decorated with the colors of the Alpine Club of Canada, green, grey and white. A hearty vote of thanks to the hosts and hostesses was proposed by the chairman and seconded by Mrs. Campbell, and carried unanimously.

Leave For Banff

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday July 12, 1920. p.7.

Gordon A Cameron, left on this afternoon’s boat en-route for Banff, where he will attend the summer camp of the Alpine Club of Canada, which will open on July 20. After several weeks at the camp he will visit friends in Calgary and Edmonton and expects to return to Victoria in about five weeks’ time. Other Victoria members of the Alpine Club of Canada who will visit the camp this year will include Miss Ethel Bruce of The Colonist editorial staff; Miss Sara Spencer, Captain William Everall, C.B. Reynolds and Major Frederick Longstaff.

Leaving for Alpine Camp

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday July 17, 1920, p.6.

Miss Peggy Hodgins, daughter of Lieut.-Colonel A. [Arthur] Hodgins and Mrs. Hodgins, left last night for Vancouver en route for Banff, where she will join the members of the Alpine Club of Canada at their summer camp. Other Victorians who are attending the camp this year are Mr. and Mrs. Arthur O. Wheeler, Major Frederick V. Longstaff, Mr. [C.B.] Reynolds, Captain [William] Everall, Mr. Gordon Cameron and Miss [Ethel] Bruce, of The Colonist staff, and Miss Sara Spencer, who are leaving next Thursday for Banff.

En Route to Banff

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday July 25, 1920, p.5.

Miss J.E. [Ethel] M. Bruce, of the Colonist editorial staff, left last Thursday evening for the Mainland, en route for Banff, where she will attend the annual camp of the Alpine Club of Canada. She was accompanied by Miss Sara Spencer.

Four Days And Three Nights In Woods

Resident of Five Acres, Nanaimo, Lost His Way, But Arrives Home Safely

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday August 11, 1920, p.9.

NANAIMO, August 10—Mr. E.B. Skinner, of Five Acres, for whom a search party, headed by Provincial Constable Shepherd, left Nanaimo Thursday afternoon, arrived home Saturday afternoon. Mistaking Mount Spenser for Mount Buttle, he lost the direction of his camp, which he had left Tuesday morning. Although he heard the signal shots of his companions, Messrs. Coulson and Cowle, and fired his remaining four shells in reply, the echoes of that mountainous region were confusing, and they failed to locate each other. Mr. Skinner concluded to strike out for Nanaimo Lakes, and making for Green River and the Fourth Lake, arrived at the Second Lake on Friday, hungry and footsore, little the worse for his three nights and four days of tramping in the woods.

Formal Dedication of Garibaldi Park

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday August 17, 1920, p.1.

VANCOUVER, August 16—With the planting of the Union Jack at the end of an alpenstock firmly into the rooftree of the new Mountaineering Club cabin in the Black Tusk meadows, some 6,000 feet in clouds, Garibaldi Park was formally dedicated to the use of the people of British Columbia on Friday evening last [August 13]. Garibaldi Park is the new alpine park at the head of Howe Sound, set apart by the Provincial Government. To Miss M.I. Gladstone, of Victoria, alpinist and botanist, and a splendid type of Canadian athletic young woman-hood, went the honor of spiking home with sinewy wrists the beflagged alpenstock.

Describes Trip to New National Park

Miss M.I. Gladstone, The Victoria Girl Who Planted the Union Jack on Top of Garibaldi, Writes Experience

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 22, 1920, p.3.

Many people in Victoria were interested in the dispatch from Vancouver a few days ago stating that Miss Gladstone, of Victoria, had had the honor of planting the Union Jack on the summit of Mount Garibaldi on the formal dedication of Garibaldi Park for the use of the people of British Columbia. Miss Gladstone is the daughter of Reverend Thomas W. Gladstone, formerly pastor of the Reformed Episcopal Church here, and she is well known locally as a botanist and alpinist. The following is part of a letter which she wrote to her parents on Friday, August 13, on the day of the ceremony cited: “BLACK TUSK MEADOWS, Friday, August 13, 1920. The trip up Howe Sound on Monday, August 12, was very smoky, so we saw little. Then we went straight up the Cheakamus River for twenty-eight miles to the mouth of Stoney Creek, a very stony glacier bed, with a good stream in the middle. We hiked up it that evening nearly to the place where we were to leave it, and camped for the night on the stones. We six ladies had one tent on a sandy place and the men floored it with fir boughs, so we were quite comfortable, though crowded. It was a very hot night, so we threw up the flaps all round. Stoney Creek is the outlet of garibaldi Lake, but it issues from the foot of a 1,000-foot lava wall called The barrier. The coloring of this wall, especially at sunset, was wonderful. Next morning, we struck up through the bush, and by the trail, climbed the 1,00 feet and much more, reaching camp about 2 p.m. We camped on the south side of Mimulus Creek, looking across the meadows to the Black Tusk, a great basalt tooth rising to over 7,000 feet. We are twenty-two in all; six ladies in two green silk tents, and the men so scattered among the bush, in tents and out, that it is hard to keep track of them. They are all sorts of age, energy and education, but all are kindly and nice as anyone could wish for.

The Director

“The director, Tom Fyles, is quite a wonder. He is not very tall or big, but he has the nerve and agility of a mountain goat. For himself he seems utterly reckless, and will run up a wall of rock like a cat up a tree, and then sit at the top with a rope and jack the rest of us up after him with the utmost care and caution. He is such as genial fellow, too, that one feels at home with him and the whole expedition in five minutes.

The Government Movie Man

“The most interesting feature of the whole thing is the presence of the Government movie man, who trots heavy cameras after us on two wonderful horses, and grinds the handle while we perform. On Wednesday we set out at 9 a.m. for the Black Tusk, up the lovely meadows, then up snow and broken basalt till we reached the foot of the Tusk itself. Then we circled round the Tusk to a chimney. We waited here, grilling in the boiling sun, with the black rock all round us, for Mr. Fyles to haul us up, one at a time, to the top. The point of the Tusk is an overhanging cliff of 1,000 feet or more. Then we went down the same way to our well-earned supper. Thursday some of them were tired and some were going down the lake, so it fell to my lot to go off to the Helmet in the company of seven men.

Panorama Ridge

“We went up, back of camp, on to Panorama Ridge, which commands one of the finest views in the world. The movie man says, ‘Lake Louise isn’t in it, in comparison.’ Lake Garibaldi lies right at our feet; we rolled rocks down to the water. Above it stands the great dome of Garibaldi, with other mountains all around; all crags, snowfields and glaciers; the horrid fang of Black Tusk just across the meadow on the right, and the long ridge and snowfield behind us running up to the Helmet, and in all directions ranges and ranges of mountains as far as the eye can reach. We went up the ridge, and then down to the upper part of Helmet Glacier, which we crossed roped together, the leader stabbing for crevasses all the time. Up the ridge on the other side, and had a fine lunch on top, and then up the ridge to the peak of the Helmet itself.

Desolation Valley

“They roped me up one side and down the other, and then we glissaded down the broken shale to Desolation Valley. I came down the shale with my hands on one of the men’s shoulders and simply slid all the way, arriving home with ten nails gone from my shoes. We had to ford both one stream from the Helmet Glacier and the outlet of Helmet Lake. And so up the lake to the divide, and past Upper and Lower Mimulus Lakes and down the creek home. . . . A great and glorious hike in a great oval not two steps over the same ground. I am staying home today, and after I have finished writing shall paint if the ‘skeeter’ will let me.

Up The Lake

Tomorrow (Saturday) we go up the lake in the boat to the second camp. That lies at the foot of a glacier and is cold, with no ‘skeeters.’ . . . All the early flowers, unfortunately, are over—lily seeds and anemone heads everywhere—not much red or white heather left. But there are plenty of red and yellow mimulus, asters, yellow arnicas, lupines, sweet bog orchis, painter’s brush, etc., in the wet meadows, and the mauve flowers, pentstemon, phlox, and moss champion on the rocks.”

Miss M.I. Gladstone

Miss M.I. Gladstone

Mount McBride, The Majestic

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday December 5, 1920, p.22.

A dark, grainy black-and-white photo of Mount McBride, the Majestic.

The above is an excellent photograph of snow-capped Mount McBride in Strathcona Park. This part of Vancouver Island has yet to become known to the Alpinist, but it is destined to become their recreation ground in a few years. Many of the peaks having all the characteristic difficulties which make the higher Rockies and the Alps a favorite haunt with this class of sportsman.

Alpine Club Elects Officers for Year

Annual Meeting of Mountaineering Organization Held Last Night — Plan Frequent Meetings

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday December 7, 1920, p.8.

The annual meeting of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada was held last evening [December 6] at the home of the secretary, Mr. Gordon Cameron, 2024 Belmont Avenue, when the following were elected officers for the ensuing year. Chairman, Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw; secretary, Mr. Gordon Cameron; committee, Miss M. [Margaret] Cowell, Miss J. [Jennie] McCulloch, Major F. [Francis] Robertson, Capt. [Horace] Westmorland, Capt. [William] Everall and Mr. W. [William] S. Drewry. Discussions as to the section’s plans for the year found the membership as a whole keen for frequent meetings, and an effort will be made to arrange these. It was suggested that at one session, Mr. Byron Harmon, of Banff, be asked to give his exhibition of moving pictures of the Rockies; Rev. A.H. Sovereign, of Vancouver, will give a lecture at another session, and others who are invited to address the club locally are Mrs. Julia Henshaw, of Vancouver; Mrs. Warren, of Banff, and Col. W. [William] W. Foster, the president of the Alpine Club of Canada. The next regular meeting of the society will be held in January, when Mr. Harmon, of Banff, will give an illustrated lecture, and Major [Frederick] Longstaff will show a series of interesting pictures also. Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club, and Mrs. [Clara] Wheeler, came in from Sidney to attend the meeting last night, and after the business part of the proceedings the members met informally, and refreshments were served by Mrs. Cameron.

Alpine Club Meets at Director’s Home

Members Gathered at Sidney, Where Delegates to Monaco Alpine Congress Reported — Next Year’s Camp

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday December 19, 1920, p.22.

A general meeting of the Alpine Club of Canada was held last night [December 18] at the home of the director, Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, Sidney. Col. W. [William] W. Foster, of Vancouver, elected president of the club at the Mount Assiniboine camp in August of last year, presided. There were present, in addition to a full membership of the Victoria section, Mrs. Julia Henshaw, of Vancouver, and Mr. Harmon of Banff, who attended the Alpine Congress at Monaco last May as the official delegates from the Alpine Club of Canada. Mr. Henshaw was also present. Mrs. Henshaw and Mr. Harmon gave an interesting account of the proceeding at Monaco. General club business was then discussed, and the director announced that it was suggested that next year’s camp should be held at Lake O’Hara, near Lagan, the site camp of 1913, one of the most successful in the history of the club. Votes of thanks to the director and Mrs. [Clara] Wheeler for their hospitality; to Mrs. Henshaw and Mr. Harmon for their report of the Monaco Congress; and to President Foster for the able manner in which he had presided, concluded the formal part of the proceedings which was followed by an informal dance.

Canada’s Exhibit Best at Monaco

Mrs. Julia Henshaw, Reporting Before B.C. Alpinists in Sidney, Re Notable Congress, Says Rockies Now Famous

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday December 25, 1920, p.22.

“As a result of the Alpine Congress at Monaco last May [May 1 – 10] I am sure that Canada came to be looked upon by all delegates of the many countries there represented in quite a different way: they learned to think of this as a country where they could spend a holiday, where they could come and roam about the mountains with us. And I am proud to say that although twenty-two countries were represented at the Congress, Canada provided about one-sixth of the total exhibit staged in connection with the event.” The foregoing and very many other interesting bits of information were given by Mrs. Julia Henshaw in the address which she delivered at the meeting of Alpine Club members at the home of Mr. Arthur O. Wheeler, Director of the Alpine Club of Canada, Sidney, last Saturday evening [December 18]. It is the first time that Mrs. Julia Henshaw has spoken to any group of the Canadian organization’s members since her return from Europe, and all that she had to tell was of intense interest. She and Mr. Byron Harmon, the other delegate from Canada to this notable congress at Monaco last May, and Colonel William W. Foster, of Vancouver, the new president of the Alpine Club of Canada, were the special guests of the evening, the major part of the other guests being members of the Vancouver Island section of this mountaineering club. Mr. Byron Harmon brought with him about two hundred photographs chiefly of Riviera views, including several of the Musee Océanographique, where the Congress was held, and other points of interest about the Monaco principality, while Mrs. Henshaw presented the club with other pictures and some interesting scrapbooks which she had made, these containing programmes, menus, editorial comment in Monaco and Paris papers, and other matter relevant to the May meeting of Alpinists.

Finest In World

Mrs. Henshaw’s report was delightfully informal, yet comprehensive. She referred to the Oceanic Museum, in which the Alpine Congress was held, as providing the finest assembly hall in the world. Every branch of science connected with Alpining was represented, and many men of renown in literature and art could also be numbered among the delegates from the various countries. The neutral ground of Monaco was chosen as their meeting place, although they met as the guests of the French Alpine Club, and during the whole ten days of the Congress they experienced most wonderful hospitality. “This Congress was a very serious thing,” remarked the speaker. “Men whose names are famous all over Europe in art and science were to be found there, and it seemed amazing to me that under the common bond of Alpining there should be found such a diversity of other interests and pursuits. Mr. Wheeler’s plans worked like clockwork,” continued the speaker. She referred with gratitude and appreciation to the forethought which marked the provisions which had been made for Canada’s part in the Congress. All that she and Mr. Harmon, as the Dominion’s delegates, had to do was simply manipulate the vey elaborate machinery which had been placed there in advance of their coming. They, as the mouth-pieces of Canada, “gave her a place in the sun. Canada came second to France,” declared the speaker with pride, her statement being heralded with applause. Canada’s pictorial interest drew all eyes in the direction of this country. In this reference the speaker alluded to Mr. Harmon’s films, the latter “simply sweeping people off their feet.” The same films were later sent to London, where they took people by storm. They were the finest things of the kind that had ever been shown in Europe. Mr. Harmon was to have given but one exhibition of them, but he was “eternally at it,” so much in demand did his films come to be after that first showing. From the president down, everyone was enthusiastic about them, the result, in fine being that Canada was put on the map.

The Best Exhibit

“None of the other countries had anything to compare with our exhibit,” reaffirmed the speaker. Mr. Wheeler’s foresight was still further demonstrated. Before the Canadian delegates left this country for Europe, he had prepared at Ottawa a paper on Canadian National Parks. This, Mrs. Henshaw read at the Congress, and it proved to be—with the exception of the reference to France—to be the only contribution on the subject of national Parks, although one whole day was devoted to this question alone, so important does France consider the problem at the present time. “The tie that bonds together France, Belgium and Canada, is one that will live forever and ever; that tie is made with blood,” continued the speaker. But the Congress at Monaco revealed the Canadians in a new relationship which had never been known during the war; they thought of the people of this land as a people with whom they could share their playtime, with whom they could spend their holidays climbing the beautiful mountains which were so graphically described for them in the films and photographs shown. At the Congress, Mrs. Henshaw came to realize, too, that the Alpine Clubs were not only for climbing: for were not Alpinists comrades, no matter what they were interested in. The wider sphere of the European Alpinist was revealed to her. They had high ideals, great motives. Papers on reforestation, a question of vital interest to France just now; on national parks, on the opening up of the country, were given. And the debates on these matters were intensely interesting. France today is in great need of wood; the question of the reforesting of her hills and mountains, therefore, loomed big in the discussions, while there were commercial and business aspects of the other questions which would not enter the mind of the nation so generously furnished with all nature’s gifts as this land of Canada. In conclusion, Mrs. Henshaw once more referred to the popularity of Mr. Harmon’s photographic exhibits. It was impossible to get near them at any time during the Congress, and the joy of the French when they learned these were to be given to France knew no bounds. Her final words were of gratitude to Mr. Wheeler for his careful forethought in making arrangements for the two delegates, a forethought which could only have sprung from the disinterested love of Canada and the mountains which he had made the Director’s association with the Alpine Club in this country.

Did Much Good

Mr. Byron Harmon, who is spending the Winter on Vancouver Island, spoke very briefly after Mrs. Henshaw finished her interesting statement re the Alpine Congress at Monaco. He attributed to Mrs. Henshaw the arrangements whereby the Canadian Rockies films were shown in London before the Royal Geographic Society after they had been shown in Monaco, and said he thought they had done much good in calling attention to the beauties of the mountains in this part of the world. Subsequently they had been shown in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Colonel William W. Foster, who presided at this important little gathering of Alpinists, after extending a welcome to Mrs. Henshaw and Mr. Harmon, referred to the fact that the Club was meeting in the home of the Director and Mrs. Wheeler, the founders of the organization. It was an opportunity, he thought, to recall the objects and motives of the society, viz., to be something of national benefit. “Many perhaps have joined the Club with more personal reasons,” he admitted, but at the same time there remained the fact that there were higher ideals, and these must not be lost sight of. Was it not possible that in withholding a grant from the Club the Government were prompted by the belief that this was an institution existing solely for the giving of pleasure to its members, losing sight of the fact that the organization had ideals far beyond that. “But so long as our won members fail to throw out the idea that the Alpine Club of Canada is an institution of great national benefit, not to British Columbia alone, but to the whole country and far beyond that, we cannot expect to impress other people as we would wish with the meaning of our organization,” he said. He referred to the big national parks in this province, Mt. Robson Park, Strathcona Park, Garibaldi Park, three wonderful national assets; yet as the present time there is not a dollar being spent on any one of them. This showed that the people as a whole, the Government as a body, failed to recognize their importance. A very serious duty, therefore, devolved on all lovers of nature, to point out to people of this province what a wonderful heritage was here, so that these things might be conserved for the generations to come. “We must make our Government understand that a sacred duty devolves on them to conserve these playgrounds for the people,” reiterated by the speaker. Any one of these parks would be coveted by any one of the other countries represented at that Monaco Congress. They were gifts of Nature which should be passed on unimpaired as a gift to the people who were to come after this generation. In conclusion, Colonel Foster referred once more to the magnificent work which had been done by Mr. Wheeler; the club owed him a great debt for holding to the high ideal with which he had begun the institution.

Memorial Fund

Director Wheeler reported re the Memorial Fund, a fund established with the object of raising some permanent memorial to those of the Club members who had made the supreme sacrifice in the late war. No decision had yet been come to with respect to the form which this memorial should take. Pressure had been brought to bear to have it take the form of an Alpine hut; another suggestion was that a tablet should be placed in the club house at Banff, and a parchment register. This latter was more favored than the former, and a committee was appointed to consider the form of the tablet, General [Stanley] Mitchell being the chairman. Any suggestions would be welcomed by him. During the evening, Captain [Horace] Westmorland reported re the Returned Soldiers’ and Nursing Sisters plan for a memorial, saying that about $600 was in hand for the proposed memorial, which they plan to erect at the club house at Banff. This will probably take the form of shower baths. The formal part of the meeting concluded, the members gathered round to examine the interesting collection of photographs brought back from Monaco by the two delegates, the hostess in the meantime serving delicious refreshments, which were the more welcome in view of the long drive back to Victoria which was in store for most of the guests.



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – Robert McCaw

Secretary/Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Executive Committee – William Alldritt, William Drewry, Francis Robertson, Margaret Cowell, Jennie McCulloch, William Everall


January 10 – Club meeting at the home of William Everall. Horace Westmorland and Alan Campbell gave talks.

February 14 – Club meeting. Frederick Longstaff gave talk.

February 29 – Talk by Rev. Arthur Sovereign on Mt. Garibaldi.

March 7 – Club meeting at the home of Jennie McCulloch. George Winkler gave talk.

March 28 – Club 15th annual banquet at Brentwood Hotel.

December 13 – Club meeting to elect executive at the home of Gordon Cameron.

Section members who attended the ACC Summer general camp at Lake O’Hara: Arthur and Clara Wheeler, William Foster, Jennie McCulloch.

Alpine Club Meeting

Reported in the Daily Colonist Friday January 7, 1921, p.6.

The regular monthly meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will be held at the home of Captain and Mrs. W. [William] Everall, 1742 Fort Street, on Monday evening, January 10, at 8 o’clock. Following the regular business, Captain H [Horace] Westmorland will give a continuation of his last year’s lecture on “Rock Climbing in the Dolomites,” and an illustrated lecture by Mr. A. [Alan] J. Campbell on the “Mountains of Northern British Columbia”.

May Have “Movies” of Assiniboine Camp

Reported in the Daily Colonist Thursday January 13, 1921, p.18.

All British Columbia members of the Alpine Club of Canada would enjoy seeing the “movies” taken of the Mt. Assiniboine Camp held last August. A letter read by the Vancouver Island section president, Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, at the Alpinists’ meeting held Monday night [January 10] at the home of Captain and Mrs. [William] Everall, 1742 Fort Street, placed before the society an opportunity of showing these pictures to the city, and there is a possibility that steps may be taken to secure these in the near future. A private screening of one of these “movies” taken at Mt. Assiniboine was seen a few days ago in New York by the General Publicity Agent of the Canadian Pacific Railway, who has written to Mr. S. [Stanley] H. Mitchell, secretary of the Alpine Club of Canada, Sidney, B.C., referring to the interest which this animated picture aroused. “It was very entertaining, and we are supplying a print for projection at the dinner of the New York Branch of the Alpine Club of Canada next march,” said the writer of the letter. “If you see any good opportunity of showing these films I could secure prints for you.” The meeting last night, while the regular business meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the club, proved of more than routine interest, Mr. A. [Alan] J. Campbell, of Sidney, who has been engaged with Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler on the Boundary Survey work, and Captain [Horace] Westmorland giving lantern talks of a very entertaining character. The former devoted his attention to that part of the Canadian Rockies which he had traversed in connection with the Survey, while the latter described ab expedition which he made into that part of the Alps of Southern Tyrol known as The Dolomites. While technically differing very radically, both in subject and delivery, the lectures had the something in common which always appeals to the Alpinist., describing in both instances’ feats of prowess and endurance in the big out-of-doors which is the playground of the climber. Mr. Campbell started his story at North Kananaskis Pass, showing among other points Lake Maude (named after General Maude), Turbine Canyon, a circular hole bored almost perpendicularly through rock; Mt. Jellicoe on the North side of the pass; Mt. Beattie, Mt. King George, Mt. Queen Mary, Palliser Pass, Spray Pass, White Man Pass, Mt. Assiniboine group. Moving northward he showed a new field, Mt. Forbes, and Forbes Creek, Lyle Glacier, Mt. Bryce, Mt. Alexandria, Mt. Clemenceau, Mt. Saskatchewan, and Mt. King Edward. Captain Westmorland’s views of the Kleinezinne representing a sheer pillar of rock rising 2,000 feet above the surrounding mountain, is one of the finest bits of Alpine photography which has ever been seen by the club members, while other pictures in which he and his guide were seen scaling giant escarpments in the Dolomites gave a splendid idea of the sure-footedness and intrepidity which is needed in this class of climbing. Director A.O. Wheeler moved a vote of thanks to the two speakers, including Mr. [Kenneth] Chadwick, of the Astronomical Society, who had operated the lantern. Colonel Anderson moved that the Vancouver Island section of the Club approve the proposal that Lake O’Hara be the site of the 1921 camp. This met with general assent of the members. Rev. A [Arthur] H. Sovereign, of Vancouver, wrote offering to give a lecture to the local section on March 1. His subject will be Mt. Garibaldi, and lantern pictures will be given as illustration. This offer has been accepted with thanks. A letter from the Secretary of the Engineering Society suggested that the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club unite with various other societies, among them the Astronomical Society, the Society of B.C. Architects, the Professional Engineers’ Association, for general headquarters which would afford a place which might be used for the meetings of the society. Major [Frederick] Longstaff will give a paper on “Alpine Club Huts for British Columbia” at the next meeting, February 14. The meeting concluded with a hearty vote of thanks to Captain and Mrs. Everall, whose hospitality included the serving of delicious refreshments at the end of the more formal part of the proceedings.

Will Lecture on Alpine Club

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday February 3, 1921. p.6.

Tomorrow evening, at 8 p.m., Arhtur O. Wheeler, Director of the Alpine Club of Canada will lecture in the exhibition room of the Provincial Library on “The Alpine Club of Canada in the Canadian Rockies.” No man knows this region of glaciers, forests and waterfalls better than Mr. Wheeler, as he worked there for several years laying out the boundary between British Columbia and Alberta which runs along the very highest ridge of the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Wheeler is also an artist and an expert photographer, and he has a unique series of views of what is probably the finest scenery in the world. This lecture, like all others given under the auspices of “The Provincial Arts and Industrial Institute of B.C.” is open free to the public.

New Provincial Park

Rev. A.H. Sovereign Will Lecture on “Mt. Garibaldi” at Girl’s Central School, March 1

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday February 20, 1921, p.5.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada has made arrangements with the Rev. A. [Arthur] H. Sovereign, of Vancouver, whereby he will give a lecture on “Garibaldi” at Girl’s Central School on the evening of Tuesday, March 1, at 8:15 o’clock. The lecture will be illustrated by a series of lantern slides, many of which are colored. In addition to views of the Mount Garibaldi area, the lecture will show on the screen features of other Canadian national playgrounds, namely Strathcona, Robson and the Rocky Mountain Parks. Mr. Sovereign is an enthusiastic member of the Alpine Club, and his lecture is being looked forward to with pleasure.

Will Lecture on “Mount Garibaldi”

Rev. A.H. Sovereign, Of Vancouver, Will Lecture At Girl’s Central School On Tuesday Re “Mount Garibaldi”

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday February 27, 1921, p.24.

Everyone who loves the mountains, whether for their big freedom and beauty of scenery, or as something challenging in prowess of the climber and athlete, will want to hear Rev. A. [Arthur] H. Sovereign, of Vancouver, tell on Tuesday evening of his ascent last year of Mt. Garibaldi. Mr. Sovereign is speaking under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the Girl’s Central School, and is bringing with him a collection of lantern slides which will furnish graphic illustrations of the big playground which has been set aside as a National Park for the people of British Columbia and Canada. Garibaldi Park covers over three hundred square miles of country, all of it over 3,000 ft. above sea-level, and the boundaries so fixed as not to embrace timber limits already sold. The country set aside is peculiarly interesting from the Alpinist’s viewpoint, as, although the actual climb from base to summit is as high as many that enjoy more conspicuous position on the map, their actual altitude is comparatively low owing to the fact that they spring almost directly from sea-level. This makes the “going” easier, in one sense, to the mountaineer who suffers from thin air at the higher altitudes. But, in other respects, the peak offers all the difficulties beloved of the true Alpinist. “The whole Garibaldi country is volcanic,” says an authority. “Garibaldi, Mountain, Table Mountain, Castle Towers and Black Tusk and a score of others are volcanic. Black Tusk Mountain must have been a tremendous peak at one time. Now its head and its throat is a sinister basaltic plug projecting 800 feet into the air. From the shoulder of the Black Tusk one can see over twenty lakes, some large, some small, including the gem of all lakes, Lake garibaldi, which is much larger than Lake Louise. It will be hardly necessary to recall that Miss Gladstone, of Victoria, had the privilege of planting on the summit of Mt. Garibaldi the flag signifying that the park had been formally “opened” to people of British Columbia by the Government.

Alpine Club Meeting

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday March 5, 1921, p.6.

This regular monthly meeting will be held at the home of Miss J. [Jennie] L. McCulloch, 912 Linden Avenue, on Monday, March 7, 1921, at 8 p.m. After the transaction of the business of the evening, Mr. George E. Winkler will give a talk on “The Geology in the Vicinity of Victoria.”

Make Presentation

Vancouver Island Section of Alpine Club of Canada Honors Miss McCulloch, Shortly To Be Married

Reported in the Daily Colonist Wednesday March 9, 1921, p.8.

On the occasion of her approaching marriage, Miss Jennie McCulloch, for nearly ten years secretary of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, has been presented by the members of the organization with a handsome travelling clock. The little ceremony took place Monday [March 7] evening in connection with the regular fortnightly meeting, which was held at her home, 912 Linden Avenue. Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, the president of the section, making the presentation on behalf of the members, after he had proposed a vote of appreciation to Miss McCulloch for the invaluable services she had rendered to the organization during her long term of office. The recipient in responding spoke of the pleasure she had taken in the work and in her whole association with the club. Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, Director of the Alpine Club of Canada, reciprocated on behalf of the larger body, the good wishes and congratulations of the Vancouver Island section. Lt.-Col. W. [William] W. Foster, of Vancouver, president of the Alpine Club of Canada, attended and accepted an invitation to be present at the annual dinner to be held at Brentwood on Monday, March 28. The address of the evening was given by Mr. G. [George] E. Winkler, who spoke of “Geological Processes,” particularly as affecting this part of Vancouver Island.

Annual Dinner of Victoria Alpinists

Delightful Function Held, Following Traditional Custom, At Brentwood Hotel

Reported in the Daily Colonist Tuesday March 29, 1921, p.9.

The annual dinner of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada was held last evening [March 28] at the Brentwood Hotel, twenty of the members and their friends rallying for the occasion and enjoying to the full the excellent dinner and the programme of speeches and “movies” which were the culminating pleasures of the occasion. Daffodils and jonquils, very charmingly arranged, formed the table decorations, and Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, president of the local section, presided at the head of the table. Others who attended the dinner were Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada and Mrs. [Clara] Wheeler; Mrs. McCaw, Captain and Mrs. [Horace] Westmorland, Captain and Mrs. [William] Everall, Colonel Anderson, Miss [Jean] Mollison (Vancouver), Mr. [Stanley] Mitchell, secretary of the Alpine Club; Miss [Margaret] Cowell, Miss Sara Spencer, Miss Innes, Mrs. Healey-Kerr and Captain Hill. The toasts, all of which were proposed by the chairman, Mr. McCaw, were as follows: “The King,” responded to by the singing of the National Anthem by the entire company; “The Alpine Club of Canada,” responded to by Mr. Mitchell; “The Mount Everest Expedition,” responded to by Captain Westmorland; and “Major Wheeler and Bride.”

View Moving Pictures

The addresses were all in very apt vein, although brief, and the company repaired about half-past nine o’clock to the adjoining room to see the moving pictures of Mount Assiniboine Camp, held last Summer south of Banff, and of some of the beautiful mountain district in the Windermere country. These pictures, which are issued by the Associated Screen News of Canada, were seen for the first time by the local members of the Alpine Club, several of whom figures in the scenes reproduced with such fidelity. Mr. Goforth operated the lantern. After the pictures Director A.O. Wheeler delivers his annual address, in which he referred to the work done by the club during the past year, more particularly speaking of the Congress on Alpinism held at Monaco last May, and in recognition of his work in connection with which and with the advancement of Alpinism generally, the Prince of Monaco had created him an officer of the Order of St. Charles. Mr. Wheeler also spoke of the forthcoming camp to be held at Lake O’Hara, near Laggan, during the last week in July and the first week of August. In his concluding paragraph he touched upon the fact of appointment of his son, Major E. Oliver Wheeler, to the Mount Everest expedition, a fact of which he was quite naturally proud, as are all members of the Alpine Club of Canada, Captain Westmorland having referred earlier in the evening, and expressing the sentiment of the entire gathering when he voiced their enthusiastic approval of the choice of so well-fitted a man for the difficult task.

Eastertide Wedding at Christ Church

Miss Jennie McCulloch and Major Frederick Longstaff, Well-Known Members of Alpine Club, Married

Reported in the Daily Colonist Thursday March 31, 1921, p.8.

Many friends, both of bride and bridegroom, were at Christ Church Cathedral yesterday morning at eleven o’clock to witness the nuptials of Miss Jennie Long McCulloch and Major Frederick Victor Longstaff. The bride is the daughter of Mrs. McCulloch, 912 Linden Avenue, and of the late Mr. W.F. McCulloch, former Government Assayer, Victoria, while the bridegroom is the son of Mrs. Longstaff, of Ightham, Kent, and the late Lieutenant-Colonel L.W. Longstaff, of “Ridgelands,” Wimbledon, London, England. The Rt. Rev. the Bishop of Columbia performed the rite, and the wedding music was played by the choir organist, Mr. C. Eden Quainton, B.A., the Processional Hymn, “O Perfect Love,” being sung as the bridal party entered the church and passed down the aisle to the chancel steps, and the Mendelssohn Wedding March pealing forth as they left the Cathedral at the conclusion of the ceremony. The church was very beautiful with the Easter decorations still in place, daffodils, jonquils, and ferns tracing the lines of the chancel-rail and being massed in the window and around the font, while the stately Easter lilies filled the alter vases. The bride was accompanied, when she entered the church by Dr. [Irene Bastow] Hudson, although she was given in marriage by her mother, Mrs. McCulloch. She was remarkably handsome in smartly tailored costume of cream viyella, the tunic of which was elaborately trimmed with fine braid, and a long ermine stole and picture hat of cream georgette trimmed with orange blossoms completed with her toilette. In addition to the lovely shower bouquet of white carnations and spirea which she carried, she wore her corsage bouquet of real orange blossoms, the gift of Miss Kathleen Agnew who is at present visiting in California. The bridegroom’s gift, an heirloom brooch of sapphires and amethyst, was fastened in the bodice. Major Longstaff wore his uniform as a member of the Territorial forces. Miss Margaret Cowell made a pretty bridesmaid, in her frock being of navy charmeuse, with which was worn a picture hat of dark blue georgette and French braid. A big bouquet of pink sweet peas and snapdragons which she carried added a pretty touch of color, and as an ornament she wore the heavy gold curb bracelet given her by the bridegroom. Mr. F.B. Mitchell, of Sidney, B.C., acted as the best man. Mrs. McCulloch, the bride’s mother, wore a handsome dress of black satin, with a hat ensuite, and a lovely old scarf of Chantilly Lace. After the service at the church the wedding breakfast was served in the private dining room at the Empress Hotel, covers being laid for eighteen. Major and Mrs. Longstaff sailed by the afternoon boat for Vancouver, enroute for England and France, where the honeymoon is being spent. They will make short visits in Toronto and Montreal before embarking on April 20 on the SS “Victorian,” and in England will visit with the bridegroom’s mother at Ightham before crossing the Channel. They intend returning to Victoria about the first of August, and will then take up their residence on Gonzales Road. The bride wore as a going away dress a smart costume of navy gabardine with toque to match, and black fox fur.

Alpine Club Meets to Elect Officers

Vancouver Island Section Will Continue to Meet Monthly During Ensuing Year-Director Meets Members

Reported in the Daily Colonist Thursday December 15, 1921, p.8.

Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw was re-elected chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the meeting of this organization held last Tuesday [December 13] night at the home of the secretary, Mr. Gordon Cameron, Belmont Avenue. Mr. Gordon Cameron was re-elected secretary, and the committee chosen consists of Miss [Margaret] Cowell, Captain [Horace] Westmorland, Captain [William] Everall, Major [Frederick] Longstaff, Mr. [Frederick] Godsal and Mr. G. [George] E. Winkler. The meeting welcomed Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, who recently returned after spending about eight months in the mountains, and who came in from Sidney to attend the proceedings. During the election of the officers, he took the chair. Other business was of secondary importance, but general interest to the members. It was decided to hold monthly meetings of the section every second Tuesday, the January meeting to be at the home of Major and Mrs. Longstaff, Highland Drive, while the February meeting will be in connection with the general meeting of the Alpine Club of Canada on February 11 at the home of the director, Sidney. Captain Westmorland has invited the club to hold its March meeting at his home. It was announced that an article by Major E. Oliver Wheeler, son of the director on the Mount Everest expedition, would appear in the annual journal of the Alpine Club. Major Wheeler is a member of the club, and also a member of the Mount Everest expedition.



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – Robert McCaw

Secretary/Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Executive Committee – Horace Westmorland, George Winkler, Frederick Godsal, Margaret Cowell, Frederick Longstaff, William Everall


January 10 – Club meeting at the home of Frederick Longstaff.

February 11 – Club meeting at the home of Robert McCaw.

February 22- Club monthly meeting at Spencer’s with talk given by Frederick Godsal on Alberta in 1882.

March 14 – Club meeting at the home of Horace Westmorland.

March 27 – Club’s 16th annual banquet at the Empress Hotel

April 17 – Club trip to Goldstream.

June 12 – Talk given by Edward Wheeler on Mt. Everest to Alpine Club at the Empress Hotel.

June 21 – Club committee meeting at the home of Robert McCaw to discuss a trip to Mt. Arrowsmith.

July – Club trip to Mt. Arrowsmith.

November 14 – Club meeting at the home of Frederick Longstaff. Colonel Richard Greer gave a talk on the mountains of India.

December 12 – A club luncheon was held at Spencer’s tearoom at12:15 p.m. The guest speaker was Frederick Godsal who gave a talk on the Selkirks and his expedition around Queen Charlotte Islands.

Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at Palliser Pass: Arthur, Clara Wheeler and Lindley Crease.

Alpine Club Meeting

Reported in the Daily Colonist Tuesday February 14, 1922, p.9.

Among the visitors present at the meeting of the Alpine Club of Canada held on Saturday evening [February 11] at the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, Granite Street, were Miss Pearce, of the Calgary section of the club; Miss Nora Bell, of the Winnipeg section; Mr. Graves, chairman of the Vancouver section, and Colonel [William] Foster, president of the parent organization, and Mrs. Foster, Vancouver.


Joint Climb Proposed

Reported in the Daily Colonist Wednesday February 15, 1922, p.6.

At the meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, held last Saturday [February 11] evening at the home of the chairman, Mr. Robert D. McCaw, Captain [Horace] Westmorland proposed that the Vancouver Island section and the Vancouver section might join in an expedition up “The Lions” sometime during the coming Summer. Mr. Graves, chairman of the Vancouver section, who was present, fell in with the idea, intimating that he thought the proposal would be very popular with the Mainland members. The matter will be taken up, and some suggestions for the date, etc., submitted to the two organizations if it proves welcome to the membership of the bodies affected.

Mountains Asset to Present And Future

Colonel Foster, President of The Alpine Club of Canada, Tells Members It Is Duty To Conserve National Parks

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday February 19, 1922, p.9.

The great role which national parks play as breathing places and playgrounds for the people was emphasized by Colonel W. [William] W. Foster, president of the Alpine Club of Canada, in an address which he gave a few days ago at the home of Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, chairman of the Victoria section, at a joint meeting of the two organizations. “There is sometimes a very great lack of appreciation of the national aspect of our parks,” said Colonel Foster, after referring appreciatively to the recent creation by the Government of two new Provincial parks at Kokanee and Mt. Assiniboine. “A club like the Alpine Club exists because it recognizes that one of the elementary things in a good government is the improvement of the human unit. After all, our natural assets, such as mineral, timber, fisheries, etc., are as nothing compared to the character of the people from which a great nation is built.” The speaker claimed that in all modern legislation any movement directed to the welfare of the citizens was represented, as one of its activities, by the opening up of parks as breathing places. This was true in the municipal sense. It was also true in the national sense. National consciousness evidenced itself almost at the beginning by the setting aside of great areas as playgrounds for the people.

Not Recreation Only

“But in setting aside an area of this character it is not entirely and solely with the idea of recreation. It means also conservation of the native fauna and flora. It would be a tremendous crime, if we allowed the wild life of this Province to suffer the fate of the buffalo on the prairies, for instance, simply because of the lack of national consciousness. Over and above this, however, is the idea that all these big areas are to be of big value to the nation, through the improvement of the health and character of its people. Colonel Foster referred to the stimulating character of such grand scenery as the great mountain districts of British Columbia held. No one could get away into the mountains without feeling better fitted to come back to everyday life of the town and city. At present many of these wonderful areas were so remote that it was very difficult indeed to get to them without great sacrifice of time and money. But the time would come, he felt sure, when they would be accessible to a much greater number of people than at the present time.

Expenditure On Parks

“The views that any money spent for park purposes is wasteful and extravagant on the part of the Government is very selfish, very local,” said the speaker. If no other reason existed than to conserve these parks for the future generations, that was sufficient. The speaker spoke appreciatively of the C.P.R. parks, Yoho, etc. Canada has already done much in the way of making national parks. Nor had the British Columbia Government been remiss. Mt. Robson Park has many special features. It would be a tremendous pity if that Mt. Robson Park were allowed to pass out of British Columbia, said Colonel Foster, touching on the suggestion that owing to the expense of its upkeep the Provincial Government was considering transfer of the jurisdiction of the Mt. Robson Park to the Federal Government. “One knows that it is very difficult for the Government to spare money for park purposes, but surely it does not require any gift of prophecy to see that an area like the Robson Park would justify the expenditure of the comparatively small sum required for its upkeep at the present time,” said the Alpine Club president.

Strathcona Park

He spoke of the beauties of Strathcona Park, Vancouver Island, to which, up to the present, very few people had had access. In so far as location was concerned, this park was unique, although perhaps it lacked something in the way of the kind of spectacular feature which would appeal to the man on the street. “Yet it possesses a combination of beauties such as it would be difficult to find surpassed,” said the speaker, who recalled visits that he had made to this area some years ago. The British Columbian, perhaps, had not a proper appreciation of scenery because he saw so much every day. But when one thought of the future of this country, of a time when it is more densely populated and when the cities had spread out and obliterated the beauties of nature, then there would be greater appreciation. For the generations to come it was the duty of the present to see that these natural gifts were preserved.

Commercial Assets

In the concluding part of his address Colonel Foster spoke of the national park as a commercial asset to the Province and the nation. Last year the Canadian Pacific Railway had brought into the Rockies about 90,000 people, over ninety percent of whom were from the United States. In other words, scenery such as British Columbia’s could be capitalized. This in fact had been done on a much vaster scale in other and older countries. Switzerland last year, despite the changes caused by the war, derived a revenue of something like $200,000,000 from her tourists. This was capitalizing her scenery. Italy had always reaped, and was still reaping a tremendous harvest from her tourists. France also. Before the war, her tourist traffic had reached vast numbers. New Zealand had a sense of commercial value of her scenery, and had a special bureau devoted entirely to the issuing of information about parks and scenery. Yet New Zealand was more than one thousand miles away from the nearest neighbor from whom it could expect tourists. Still, it found it profitable to conduct a campaign of this find. In view of this, what should not Canada do with such great tourist resources as it possessed to the South? “We have a great deal to accomplish. Until the day dawns when our own citizenship realizes what a tremendous thing this scenic aspect is to us, it is impossible to expect that we shall have visitors in the volume we should like to have them,” warned the speaker. “I have noticed in Victoria some doubt as to whether tourist traffic is very remunerative,” he continued. The experience of other countries had proved to be so. The real point to consider was the advertising which the tourist did after he left. The value of the tourist traffic must be considered as something quite apart from the immediate return.

Enormous Areas

British Columbia had eight times the area of Switzerland, with glaciers and alplands and snow peaks as wonderful as could be found there. Not long ago these were virgin to the foot of the white man. But methods of travel had rapidly changed. Areas a few years ago unknown were opened up to the people through the building of railways and roads. This made it possible to contemplate a tremendous increase of tourist traffic, and into Canada would pour some of that wealth which would otherwise be spent in the mountains of Europe. Ten per cent of the money spent by the tourist in Europe today equaled the wheat crop of Canada. This quite apart from the advertising. Surely this was proof of the commercial asset aspect of the tourist. In conclusion Colonel Foster spoke with appreciation of the work done by the railways, by the Alpine Club of Canada through its annual holding of camps in the Rockies, of the Alpine Walking Tours recently organized by Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club, and of the congress held last year at Monaco. All these things had done much to bring the Canadian Rockies to the attention of the world.


Alberta 1882

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday February 26, 1922, p.4.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada held their monthly luncheon at Spencers’ at 12:15 on Tuesday, February 22. In absence of the chairman Robert D. McCaw, Mr. Gordon Cameron, the secretary, presided. About twenty sat down. After lunch Mr. Frederick W. Godsal gave a very interesting address on “Alberta in 1882.” He began by regretting that the weather that morning compared so unfavorably with that of “Sunny Alberta” in 1882, where rain was practically unknown in the Summer months, and in thirty-five years he was there he never used a sleigh in Winter, as there was seldom snow fit for the purpose, and he had sometimes done ploughing in January and February. He took his audience with him from Ottawa by Union Pacific Railway to Ogden, the Mormon City, thence north by Utah Northern Railway, then only narrow gauge, to Silver Bow, thence by stage to Butte City, where he and his companion (son of Senator Cochrane) received the useful advice to “keep to the middle of the street and mind your own business; this is a tough town,” and of this they saw evidence; two days later the ‘vigilantes” “cleaned up” the city. Such was law and order in Montana then, so different from that maintained by the N.W.M. Police just north of the Montana boundary. American cowboys coming to work in Alberta territory “shed their six-shooters at the boundary line as trees shed their leaves in Fall.” From Butte they drove to Helena, where was the only bank in the West, and it was to this that the officer in command at Fort Macleod had to come about two years before to obtain money to pay the police, and that large sum was safely carried through the lawless country by an unsuspected agent. From Helena they travelled by an American stage coach across the Rocky Mountains by night and day to Fort Benton, on the Missouri River, and on the coach and later in Benton they had their first experience of an American Western bishop. Fort Benton was the base of supplies for all Alberta territory, passengers and freight coming up the Missouri River. I.G. Baker & Co., of St. Louis and Fort Benton, had stores at Fort Macleod and Fort Calgary. They held contracts from the Canadian Government to feed the police and Indians, and they “ran” the country, and did it well, and in a liberal Western spirit.  Her Majesty’s mails had United States stamps on them in that part of Canada – Canadian stamps were only “scraps of paper” – only United States money was used, and not much of that, and nothing under 25c, “jawbone” was the rule till we turned over our beef in the Fall – cattle were the only estimate of a man’s worth, the first origin of the word money in Latin, “pecus,” or cattle. Our two annual holidays were May 24 and July 4, and we all kept them heartily. Our first member at Ottawa, D.W. Davis, the head of I.G. Baker & Co’s business in Alberta, was a “galvanized Canadian,” as we called Americans who became Canadian citizens. In fact, in those happy days, with an invisible boundary line in every sense of the word, we realized all the aims and objects of the newly-formed British-American League; but for many years past the Alpine Club of Canada has been accomplishing this same purpose; its membership knows no boundaries; one rope holds us together; the love of the mountains; one rope will hold the two countries together in common dangers and for mutual help. Among the officers of the N.W.M. Police (“royal” had not been added then) at Fort Macleod then was Inspector Dickens, a son of Charles Dickens. The Pincher Creek district, where Mr. Godsal had a lease for cattle ranching, is west of Fort Macleod, adjacent to the Rockies, and was called then “God’s country,” and in the opinion of Lord Lorne, who visited it in 1881 as Governor-General of Canada, it worthily deserved the name. The poet Cowper wrote: “God mad the country, man made the town,” and there was no town then within many hundreds of miles. There were no doctors, they were not wanted; a strong-armed lady from Ontario eased our toothaches with the forceps. There was no diseases or noxious weeds in God’s country – when the first young lawyer ventured to argue a point of law before Col. Macleod, the judge, he was told from the bench, “We want justice, not law, in this country.” Indians were honest then and could be trusted, but now, alas, they, too, are more civilized! There were some noble white women in Alberta in 1882, or soon after, doing their bit in opening up that country for Canada. Among others, Mrs. Macleod, wife of Col. Macleod, after whom Fort Macleod and Fort Calgary were named; also, her negro servant, “Auntie,” who used to say “Me and Mrs. Macleod were the first two white ladies as cum to this country.” Another lady among many was Mrs. Skrine, a poetess, who under the nom-de-plume of Moira O’Neill, wrote those splendid lines on the “Word of the Young Northwest,” words that appeal to the spirit of an old-timer, and he only can appreciate: “A word she breathes to the true and bold. A word mis-known to the false and cold. A word that never was spoken or sold. But the one that knows is blest.” In 1921 the fine house of Mr. and Mrs. Skrine, where they are “ranching” in Ireland, was burned by Sinn Feiners at night, while they were taken into the garden in their night-dresses. Mr. Godsal described the joys of prairie travel in early days, and its etiquette; also, one of the cattle round-ups with 100 riders and 500 saddle horses, and his experience of being host on the prairie, etc. He closed by briefly describing his experiences in the Rockies near his ranch (some of the mountains have changed in appearance since 1882); and how, unfortunately, and without any justification, officials at Ottawa have changed the names given to well-known peaks by the members of the Palliser Expedition in 1858. Surely Western mountains belong to Western men and women who were wise enough to come West, he maintained.


Alpine Club Holds Anniversary Dinner

Vancouver Island Section Banqueted Last Evening at Empress Hotel — Lantern View Address

Reported in the Daily Colonist Tuesday March 28, 1922, p.9.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada held its sixteenth anniversary dinner last evening [March 27], the event synchronizing with similar events held by all the local sections throughout the Dominion. Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, president of the Island organization, preside and at the opposite end of the table, round which were grouped twenty-four guests, was Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada. Others present included Mrs. [Clara] Wheeler, Mrs. R.D. McCaw, Major [Frederick] and Mrs. [Jennie] Longstaff, Colonel [Henry] and Mrs. Gale, Captain [Horace] Westmorland, Mrs. J.M. Young, Miss P. Pearce, Mr. Alan Thomson, Miss Campbell, Mr. Lindley Crease, K.C., Miss E. [Emmeline] Savatard, Miss P.M. Innes, Mr. Goddard, Miss Margaret Cowell, Capt. W. [William] M. Everall, Mr. and Mrs. Wright. The banquet was set in the private dining-room, the table being attractively arranged with daffodils. After dinner there was a characteristically enjoyable programme, commencing with a toast to “The King.” The succeeding items were as follows: Toast to “The Alpine Club of Canada,” proposed by Mr. Lindley Crease, responded to by Director A.O. Wheeler; the annual address of the director; two songs, very charmingly sung by Mrs. R.D. McCaw; some reminiscences by Capt. H. Westmorland, of rock climbing in the English lake district; toast to “The Mount Everest Expeditions, Past and Future,” proposed by Mr. R.D. McCaw, who told something of the history of the expedition, referring particularly to the splendid work thereon last year of Major E. [Edward] O. Wheeler, and to the fact that two other Canadian Alpine Club members, Dr. A.W. Wakefield and Dr. Longstaff, are accompanying the present expedition. An illustrated address by Director Wheeler concluded the proceedings, his narrative being in the nature of a picture tour along the summit of the Rockies with the Interprovincial Survey. These lantern slides, as well as those shown by Capt. Westmorland, were particularly fine. Mrs. Wheeler operating the lantern during Mr. Wheeler’s address. Votes of thanks to the chairman of the evening, and the committee composed of Miss [Margaret] Cowell, Major Longstaff, Capt. Westmorland, Capt. Everall, and Messrs. [Frederick] Godsal and [George] Winkler, and to Mr. Thomson, who was responsible for the very attractive souvenir menu-programmes, brough the happy annual gathering to an end.

Director’s Address

Director A.O. Wheeler, in his annual address to the club, said in part: “On the occasion of our sixteenth anniversary it gives me great pleasure to report that the standing of the Alpine Club of Canada is an excellent one, and that it is rapidly recovering from the depression occasioned by the war. The great hills of Canada are coming more and more into prominence, and their popularity is increasing year by year. Those who understand their surpassing beauty and manifold attractions can readily understand why this is so. The great speed at which the world revolves today necessitates a more concentrated process of revitalization, and this can only be accomplished by a return to a civilized form of the life primeval. We find it everywhere in the desire and intent to get into the great out-of-doors for the short period of our vacations.” Mr. Wheeler referred to the Mount Everest expedition undertaken last year and to be reattempted this: “Perhaps the outstanding event of Alpine history for the past year is the expedition to explore the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, with a view to reaching the summit among the clouds. The first year’s results have been carried to a successful climax through the combined organization of the Alpine Club and the Royal Geographic Society. Great work, requiring much physical and scientific effort, was done, and a possible route of ascent has been found. It now remains to be seen whether human endurance can stand the strain or whether, by the application of scientific methods, physical possibilities can be adapted to the high altitude of the summit at 29,002 feet above sea level, according to the present accepted determination of the height.

“The following cablegram was sent by me on December 17 on behalf of the club:

“Col. Howard-Bury, Royal Geographic Society, London:

Welcome home and congratulations from the Alpine Club of Canada.”

“A reply came shortly after:

“Canadian Alpine Club, Victoria:

Expedition thanks you for welcome congratulations.

Howard Bury.”

“The cablegram was read at the great meeting held at Queen’s Hall, London, on December 20, to hear the report of the expedition. “Our special interest, apart from our Alpine interest and interest throughout our affiliation to the Alpine Club, lies in the fact that our club was represented upon the expedition by Major E. [Edward] O. Wheeler, one of our members. His share of the work was to map the great mountain and its vicinity by Canadian methods of photo-topography, which he is introducing to the Himalayan Mountains under the authority of the Survey of India, of which he is an official. “The work was accomplished, and to him and to our club and to our country will belong the credit of the first detailed topographical map of this monarch of all the mountains of the world. I say to our country belongs the credit, because the Canadian photo-topographic methods which he employed and which rendered the map possible have been devised and carried to a high state of efficiency by that well-known scientist, Dr. E. Deville, Surveyor-General of Canada for more than forty years, an honorary member of the Alpine Club of Canada. “Major Wheeler will not be with the expedition this year. His work is done. He will be in Canada in June on furlough, and, I feel sure, will then tell us of his experiences, both at the campfire and by addresses to our various sections. His chief, the Surveyor-General of India, offered him the opportunity of again going, but he declined, feeling that the requirements of this year’s expedition did not properly belong to his alpine sphere of work.

Two A.C.C. Members

“This year again the club will be well represented. Two of our life members are upon the expedition: Dr. Tom Longstaff and Dr. A.W. Wakefield. No better representatives could be had. The former is well-known as a famous explorer in the Himalayas, who still holds the record for the highest complete ascent there, viz, Mount Trisul, 23,406 feet. Dr. Wakefield also has held a record for the biggest 24-hour run on a mountain course in the North of England—something like 80 miles of ups and downs. His record, however, while with the Grenfell Mission on the Labrador coast, is perhaps better known to us; and we ourselves know his powers of endurance, particularly against the ravaging effects of extremely low temperature of water as applied in form of a plunge at frequent intervals into the icy depths of mountain tarns and glacial torrents. “We will follow the movements of the expedition this year again with the most heartfelt interest, and will hold our breath in sympathetic tension as the climbing party makes headway up the snowbound heights; and our prayer will be that this great attempt of supreme endurance and effort, of bulldog pluck and perseverance, may attain the final aim, and that no untoward circumstances, such as the death of the renowned scientist and explorer, Dr. Kellas, of last year may attend this glorious endeavor for Alpine supremacy.

Annual Camp

“The 1921 camp at Lake O’Hara Meadows was a great success, only marred by the very sad accident, resulting in the death of our well-loved member, Dr. W. [Winthrop] E. Stone. “One hundred and fifty-seven persons were placed under canvas, and the programme rendered possible by the exceptionally fine location gave unlimited satisfaction to all present. Many of the old-timers there recalled the first famous camp, held upon nearly the same ground in 1909, and when a distinguished group of visitors from the Alpine Club, who were our guests, gathered round the camp fire and told us of their travels and conquests amidst many distant mountain ranges of the world.” Among those whom Mr. Wheeler mentioned as being at the 1921 camp were Edward Whymper, Professor Chas. E. Fay, an honorary member of the great Alpine clubs, and past president of the American Alpine Club and Appalachian Mountain Club; Mr. W.D. Wilcox, “whose wonderful photographs, the result of his early explorations, when the glories of the mountains were new to all of us, have become cynosure of the North American continent; the Reverend Dr. Nichols, of the Appalachian Mountain Club, and Mr. B.S. Comstock, who became a member of the club in 1907. The director paid tribute to the fine work of the president, Col W. [William] W. Foster, and other officials at last year’s camp. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company had helped much, and thanks were due to Mr. C.E. Ussher for loan of the Swiss guides, Edward Feuz and Christian Hasler; also, for car accommodation at Hector Station and for baggage facilities. The director referring to the fatal accident at Mt. Eon while the Alpine Club camp was in progress last year, said: “By it we lost one of our most devoted and enthusiastic members, Dr. W. [Winthrop] E. Stone, president of the Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, who joined the club in 1911 and made his first appearance at our Sherbrooke Lake Camp. Most miraculously, Mrs. Stone, who was with him at the time, was saved after spending eight days alone on the mountain, during six of which she was trapped on a narrow ledge and could neither ascend or descend. In connection with her rescue much credit is due to the Swiss guide Rudolph Aemmer, who was in charge of the party that found her and who carried her off the mountain on his back—a splendid feat of strength and skill—as she was then too weak to travel by herself.” At the annual camp a sum of $500 has been subscribed to provide a memorial to Dr. Stone. This amount was sent to Mrs. Stone to be applied by her as she might wish. Mrs. Stone decided that she would best like to have the amount used to create a loan fund at Purdue University for the sue of young men or women, to be known as the “Winthrop Ellsworth Stone Memorial Fund, established by the Alpine Club of Canada.” This she desired in view of the fact that her husband’s life work had been the education of men and women, and that he had a peculiar affection for his friends of the Alpine Club of Canada.

Message To Club Members

As it is not possible that she could write to all the members of the club, Mrs. Stone has asked me to say to the members through the medium of this address “That she is very grateful to the members of the Alpine Club of Canada for the memorial fund created as an expression of the esteem and affection held for her husband; also, for the sympathy and help extended to her . . . The fund is now about three thousand dollars—a wonderful thing—keeping Dr. Stone’s life interest going for all time.” Death had also removed from the list of honorary members the late Lord Bryce, “whose record as a mountaineer is as well-known as a statesman, and whose name is associated with the biggest mountaineering clubs of the world.”


Apart from the activities of the Alpine Club at its annual camp there is little of interest to record of climbs in the Canadian Rockies. It was ascertained that the summit of Mt. Eon, 10,860 feet, had been reached by Dr. Stone prior to the accident, and its first ascent belongs to him. A record to that effect was placed in a cairn erected at the summit by the party who recovered the body. Mr. Wheeler reported that the walking tour to Mt. Assiniboine, operated successfully by way of the Spray Lakes and seemed to give much satisfaction to all how traveled over it.

Annual Camp

Activities for 1922 were forecast. Two sites had been proposed: One at Palliser and Kananaskis Passes and one at Larch Valley, close by Moraine Lake. A full description of the two proposals was set forth in the latest issue of the Gazette, and a referendum ballot was taken to ascertain the feeling of the club’s members. So far 153 ballots had been received. Of these, 130 were marked in favor of Palliser Pass, and 23 in favor of Larch Valley.


The clubhouse will soon be open as usual from the middle of June until the middle of September. It is proposed this Spring to erect a Summer house at Banff for the chief purpose of having there two German machine guns presented to the club by the president, Colonel Foster, which were captured during the action at Damery.

Mount Logan

Mr. Wheeler referred, in closing his address, to the suggestion concerning an expedition to make the ascent of Mt. Logan—the highest known Canadian mountain, 19,850 feet—which had been made by Professor A.P. Coleman, past president of the club. It seemed a suggestion well worthy of further consideration.


Proposed Scheme Would Injure Parks

Director A.O. Wheeler Opposes Suggestion Which He Believes Would Spoil Large Areas Belonging to People

Reported in the Daily Colonist Thursday March 30, 1922, p.8.

“To my mind our national park reserves are a sacred trust that has been created not alone in the interests of Canadians, but in the interest of the whole Nature-loving world, and I hold that the encroachment of commercial enterprises, apart from the interests of the parks, should be absolutely forbidden,” claims Director A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler of the Alpine Club of Canada, referring to a proposed scheme recently brought to his attention, which would, he believed, spoil large areas of Glacier Park in the United States and Waterton Lakes Park in Canada. The matter has been brought under his observation in a communication from the national Parks Association of the United States, which has called his attention as Director of the Alpine Club of Canada to the scheme to dam the St. Mary and Waterton Lakes, and so create a huge reservoir to be used for irrigation purposes on the prairie lands of Southern Alberta. If carried out this scheme will, it is claimed, flood large areas of Glacier Park in the United States and of Waterton Lakes Park in Canada, to the very great detriment of both these national reserves,” said Mr. Wheeler, who stated that he had been in communication with the Commissioner of National Parks on the same subject. “These parks belong to the people; they are for our benefit and recreation, and should be held inviolate for such purposes. They provide health, happiness and revitalization to great numbers, and are not for the purpose of providing dividends for commercial corporations. I hold that from a commercial aspect in the long run the return will be greater than that serving any private interest. Canadians will appreciate these great national assets and their splendid bearing as factors to the welfare of our citizens and should encourage and combine to protect them from harm. A National Park Association, if one is not already in existence, should be formed, and I feel that a body such as the Alpine Club of Canada should give such as organization its fullest support. No doubt in due course the present question at issue will come more directly to the notice of our members. It is an important question, for any action taken in connection with the Waterton Lakes Park matter will create a precedent that will apply to all future policies of a similar nature,” contends the Alpine Club Director.

Beneficial Organization

The Alpine Club of Canada, which on Monday evening celebrated the sixteenth anniversary of its organization by banquets held by the various sections throughout the Dominion, was first organized at Winnipeg on March 27 and 28, 1906, under the auspices of the Canadian Club of that city, and with Mr. A.O. Wheeler, present director of the society, as its first president. In his capacity as the foremost member of the club, Mr. Wheeler went the following year to attend the Jubilee Dinner of the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Alpine Club, “the mother of all Alpine Clubs,” at London, England. An account of the gathering was given by Mr. Wheeler at the meeting of the Alpinists held last Monday evening at the Empress Hotel. At the dinner he sat next to Sir Alfred Wills, a well-known jurist of the British Columbia Bar, and a famous climber, in the early days, of the European Alps. His book, “The Eagles’ Nest,” is a classic of mountaineering. He was then one of the two survivors of the little band who founded the most famous Alpine Club of the whole world, to which the Alpine Club of Canada today is affiliated. The other survivor, C.T. Dent, was also present. His book “Mountaineering,” is also justly famous, and has been incorporated in the Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes. Mr. Wheeler proceeded to indicate the place of the Alpine Club among the character-building influences of today. It was a noble and patriotic institution, a wonderful influence for good, making the best kind of men and women, making good and loyal citizens, and making true and life-long friends. Reference was made to the camp held last Summer at Lake O’Hara. Among other celebrities present on that occasion was L.S. Amery, a well-known war-correspondent and official of the British Government, who had described that camp-fire circle as follows: “Two hundred jolly people gathered around a great camp-fire sending sparks up towards the watching stars; all around the silent forests, and above them the towering grey peaks with their white glaciers. It is a great bivouac that.” Before concluding his address Mr. Wheeler turned to Mrs. Young, one of the guests, and extended a special welcome to her as the popular hostess at Glacier House in the early days of mountaineering in British Columbia.


Annual Banquet Guests

Reported in the Daily Colonist Wednesday April 5, 1922, p.8.

Mr. Arthur O. Wheeler, of Sidney, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, was one of the guests of honor at the annual dinner of the Vancouver section of the Alpine Club last Friday [March 31] evening at Glencoe Lodge. Colonel William W. Foster, who was president of the Victoria section for some years, was also present, having transferred his membership to the mainland organization since he and Mrs. Foster went there of live. Miss Jean Mollison, another former member of the Victoria section, was another of the guest-of-honor.


Alpine Club

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday April 13, 1922 p.9.

The postponed outing of the Alpine Club of Canada which was to have been held last Saturday [April 9] at Goldstream, will be held on Monday, April 17. All members intending to be present will notify the secretary. All members of the Natural History Society are invited. They must provide themselves with old clothes, food and hob nail shoes. All friends of the Alpine Club are also invited. The party will meet at 8:30 at Esquimalt Station, take the train for Goldstream, and return about 5:30 o’clock.

Excursion In Hills Proves Enjoyable

Alpine Club Members’ Expedition In Goldstream District Yesterday Was Popular Outing

Reported in the Daily Colonist Monday April 18, 1922. p.3.

The Alpine Club expedition in the Goldstream district yesterday [April 17] was an unqualified success. Mr. George E. Winkler, the geologist who conducted the party, making an admirable host as well as a splendid guide. The party of about fifteen which participated in the outing came home with a considerably increased knowledge of the rock formations of the district, while Mr. Charteris Pemberton contributed much interesting information about the trees and shrubs which were seen. The excursion party met at Goldstream station at 9:30, proceeding immediately on a tramp which started northward on the main line of the E. & N. After traversing the track for a short distance, they turned down the old trail leading past Wall River, then turning into the prospectors’ path leading to Goldstream Hotel. From this point they proceeded by way of the Goldstream River towards the Malahat, leaving the road to turn up Scarrett Mountain, where they investigated the old copper claim. A halt was made at a mountain spring for luncheon, after which the ascent was continues to the summit, reached at 2 o’clock. Before descending half an hour was spent enjoying the glorious view of Victoria, William Head, and the wide sweep of the sea and distant mountain. The afternoon tramp made a detour in the direction of Prospect Lake, from which point the trail was followed back to Goldstream station in time to catch the evening train to the city. Additional to Mr. Winkler, the cicerone of the party, were the following with the expedition, some being members of the Natural History Society: Mr. Charteris Pemberton, Mr. Adams Beck, Mr. [Frederick] Godsal, Mr. Lawrence Earle, Mr. Goddard, Mr. Gordon Cameron, Mrs. Thomson, and Misses Innes, McLintock, Peggy Hodgins and [Ethne] Gale.

Ascending Mount Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday May 14, 1922. p.16.

Three Memories, by “Cumbrian.” [Horace “Rusty” Westmorland]

Few Victorians and still fewer of our Summer visitors know what a delightful expedition it is to the summit of Mt. Arrowsmith, and how very accessible the mountain is by motor car from Victoria. My first visit to the mountain some years ago may well be taken as proof of this. We were a party of three men, all very fit. It was before the war and resultant disabilities, and all were climbers of some experience. The exigencies of our third man’s profession only allowed him from 1 p.m. Saturday till 9:30 a.m. Monday for the expedition, therefore, speed was essential. One Saturday afternoon in the first week of June, 13, we piled into a powerful car with our rough climbing kit, mountain boots, ice axes and that most aristocratic of all ropes, an “Alpine club rope,” with its red strand of distinction woven into the hemp, and were soon speeding our way over the Malahat with its lovely glimpses of the Saanich Inlet, arriving in good time for dinner at Nanaimo. After dinner we soon reached Parksville, and swinging to the left through the big timber we at length came to the Chalet at Cameron Lake a little after 9 p.m. With a long day ahead of us, we arranged for an early awakening and turned into bed. We awoke to a fine morning. The early mists floating amongst the tops above bluff sides of the lake were like gossamer. By 6:30 a.m. we were on the trail, mounting steadily towards our objective, over five thousand feet above us. It is a common mistake to estimate the physical exertion required to climb a given mountain by the altitude of that mountain. A peak of 10,000 feet does not necessarily involve greater exertion than one of 6,000 feet. It is a question of ratio – from what elevation do you commence your climb? – with, of course, in the case of very high mountains due regard to the rarefaction of the air. The elevation of Cameron Lake is 604 feet and the summit of Mt. Arrowsmith is 5,976 feet above sea level. Thus, one has to ascend 5,372 feet. I have in the Alps and the Rocky Mountains, climbed peaks of ten, eleven and twelve thousand feet which gave no greater muscular effort.

Showing snow-capped peaks of Arrowsmith

Showing snow-capped peaks of Arrowsmith

Difficult Going

The Arrowsmith trail, after leaving the Alberni Road is crossed, leads at a good climbing gradient to the “Bridge,” and at this point becomes much steeper, resorting to the zigzag progression of steep trail. On this slope the trail has been almost obliterated by a slide, and fallen timber rendered its passage both arduous and slow. We were glad after two hours of it to reach the easier going of the long valley above. Another hour of steady going and we were rising over the steep slopes which lead to the Hut. Here we found the snow still a couple feet deep but fairly hard, and we were soon at the Hut. This typical mountain hut is built of logs with a rood of cedar shakes and stands at some 4,000 feet elevation on a rounded shoulder affording a magnificent view across the virgin forests and mountain ridges of the Island. Unfortunately, the peak of Arrowsmith is hidden by the “hump,” or lesser peak, of the mountain. Several parties have climbed this hump, which has an elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level, and thought they were on the summit of Arrowsmith. Others have climbed it and from seeing the fine view of snow-draped cliffs of Arrowsmith, have cried “enough.” We sat on an outcrop of rocks in front of the hut refreshing the inner man from the supplies in our rucsacs, with thirty-five-hundred-foot grind behind us, the real pleasure of mountaineering before us, we reveled in the keen air and magnificent views. There was a great temptation to linger here over our pipes, but, choosing the better part, we struck off behind the hut straight up towards the top of the hump. The snow in the upper slopes was deep and hard, and it was necessary to kick steps. Rapid progress was made, however, and in less than an hour we were rewarded from the top by the sight of the real Arrowsmith still retaining and gleaming in his Winter coat of snow and ice. All eagerness to reach his hoary old summit, we raced down the far side of the hump to the “col” which connects the two peaks. After crossing the easy walking of the “col,” or saddle, we started up the snow slope, to the left of one ridge which leads up to the big “couloir,” terminating in a snow cornice on the summit ridge of the mountain.

At The Summit

On the left side of the couloir is a moderately steep rock buttress. We decided to cross the lower part of the couloir and take to the rocks of this. All moving together, we did not rope up. We found the buttress easy scrambling. The ridge, once reached, three possible summits remained to be climbed. It was difficult to decide which was actually the highest point, so we climbed each in turn, the one to the westward giving us the impression of being the highest, and on it the survey cairn. The views are magnificent. To the north the mountains of Strathcona Park; east and west seawards, and south to the Malahat; in the immediate foreground on all side’s steep cliffs and snow slopes, and everywhere below the splendid timber of the Island. In descending we retraced our steps along the ridge to the everchanging cornice above the couloir. This we cut a way through with ice axes, and by kicking steps started to descend. The snow was exceptionally steep her, nearly 60 degrees, and we decided to postpone any voluntary glissading until we had descended a hundred feet or so. At this point the angle becomes less severe, and in a glorious standing glissade we sped down this perfect snow to the level of the col below. The remainder of the descent was without incident. We slightly skirted the Hump to avoid unnecessary climbing and from there another glissade took us to the Hut. A steady tramp of two hours or so down the trail and we were again at the Chalet, to the delights of hot tub and dinner about 6:30 p.m. With the pleasurable weariness of a hard day in our muscles, we enjoyed driving down to Chemainus after dinner. We slept there at the Horse Shoe Bay Hotel, rose early on Monday morning and delivered our industrious third man at his office door at 9:30 a.m. Thus, completing this most enjoyable expedition in the forty hours between Saturday noon and Monday morning.

Another Expedition

My second visit was three weeks later. In fact, the first was a reconnaissance for the second. The party was a large one, sixteen or eighteen, many of whom were of the weaker sex, some of little climbing experience. For this visit we had been fortunate in that the Provincial Government had cleared out the trail, this enabled us to use park horses to get blankets and supplies to the Hut, which materially easied the walking. One sunny day the Alberni train debouched onto the Cameron Lake platform our large party, and by starting almost immediately we reached the Hut about seven in the evening. The Hut has in one-half of it a form of sleeping bench, and after we had cut brush for this the ladies retired and we bivouacked on the kitchen floor. The next morning was fine and we had breakfasted and were on our way to the Hump by 8 o’clock. We three of the earlier visits each led a party of five or six, and found it advisable to rope up on the steep snow slopes, for an involuntary glissade terminating on broken rocks has serious consequences. By the time we reached the big couloir one of the ladies on my rope, who was unsuited for mountaineering both temperamentally and in physique, looked as if she would need nursing along, if she was to complete the ascent. She was placed therefore, as second on the rope as we started the last steep slope, a precaution which proved a wise one, for the lady fell out of the steps no less than seven times, each time being saved by the rope from a helpless head-over heels slide down the steep snow to the jagged rocks nearly a thousand feet below. Thus, between kicking steps and hauling this embryo mountaineer back into them the time passed quickly and we soon reached the summit. Unfortunately, the clouds were low and our large party, much to our disappointment, did not share the wonderful views we had enjoyed so much three weeks earlier. We descended easily and safely until only the steep slope of the Hump lay between us and the Hut. One of our party had unfortunately unroped and as their leader stood below one of the ladies of the party, to help her into the steps, she slipped and fell against him, sending him headlong down the steep snow to the screes below. By good fortune the leader escaped with nothing worse than a badly lacerated arm, whilst the lady concerned, steadied by falling against him, was able to recover her footing in the step.

Where Mountain Climbers Recuperate: The hut on Mount Arrowsmith, showing the only means of entry and egress. Photo by R. Westmoreland

Where Mountain Climbers Recuperate: The hut on Mount Arrowsmith, showing the only means of entry and egress. Photo by R. Westmoreland

Tragedy Recalled

This mishap, of no serious consequence, brought back to my mind Mr. Edward Whymper’s account of the terrible tragedy which befell four of his party during the first descent of the Matterhorn and which marred that brilliant mountain conquest. As Mr. Whymper’s party of seven were commencing their descent of the difficult part which from Zermatt appears to slightly overhang, great care was being taken, only one man moving at a time. The leading guide, Michel Croz, had laid aside his axe and in order to give the second man, Mr. Hadow, a young man of little mountaineering experience, greater security was actually taking hold of his feet and placing them one by one into their proper positions. As Croz was in the act of turning round to go down a step or two himself, Mr. Hadow slipped, fell against him and knocked him over. He and Mr. Hadow flew downwards. In another moment Hudson was dragged from his steps and Lord Francis Douglas immediately after him. Mr. Whymper says: “All this was the work of a moment. Immediately we heard Croz’s exclamation old Peter and I held on as tightly as possible. The rope was taut between us, and the jerk came on us booth as on one man. We held but the rope broke midway between old Peter and Lord Francis Douglas. For a few seconds we saw our unfortunate companions sliding downwards on their backs, spreading their hands in endeavoring to save themselves. They disappeared one by one and fell from the precipice to precipice to the Matterhorngletscher below, a distance of nearly four thousand feet in height. So perished our comrades. At this moment a sharp-eyed lad ran into the Monte Rosa Hotel saying that he had seen an avalanche fall from the summit of the Matterhorn to the Matterhorngletscher. The boy was reproved for telling idle stories. He was right nevertheless.” The remainder of the party reached the Hut without mishap. Here tea was consumed in vast quantities, ropes coiled, rucsacs packed and very soon the whole party was jogging down the trail to Cameron Lake. My third visit was last year [1921] and was notable for its discomfort, and failure to achieve our object. We were a party of five, of whom three were ladies, and we were much too early in the season. A great deal of heavy timber had fallen across the lower portion of the Arrowsmith trail, and the scrambling over and under these six- or seven-foot butts was very tiring, and as we did not leave the Chalet until 3 p.m. we could all spare the time they took to negotiate.

An Abode of Gloom

In the long valley above, we found snow which became deeper and deeper as we advanced, the only indication of our trail was the blazes on the trees, and these were few and far between and difficult to pick up. This valley gives one the impression of being haunted. There is a freedom from underbrush which makes the trees stand up gaunt and eerie, they have long grey lichen whiskers and no bird whistles in their branches. All is silent and awestricken. Even the wind is stilled, and one finds speech only possible in whispers. Momentarily one expects little brown gnomes to appear suddenly from behind the next tree. It is a gloomy forest. On the steep slope to the Hut one of the ladies exhausted and sank down speechless in the snow knowing that she carrying a small flask of brandy, her own companion suggested that she take some to revive her. Then, in spite of our own concern and sympathy, we could not but be amused when our friend gasped, “No, I will keep the brandy until I really need it.” Fortunately, we were able to persuade her to encroach on her supply of spirits and she was soon able to continue. As the last glimmer of daylight vanished, we reached the Hut, only to find snow up to its eaves, and only entered it by cutting a hole in the snow near the roof of the porch and sliding down this snow funnel to the damp recesses of the Hut below. The stove having rusted away, we had to light our fire on the outcrop of rock outside. After a hot supper we spent a chilly night, all five of us in a row on the sleeping bench, alternately dozing and wishing for dawn. The following morning, we left the Hut at 8 o’clock. The clouds were low and rain was in the air. Working our way across the steep slopes of the Hump to a rock buttress on the right, we found that it would be necessary to descend an easy rock wall of a hundred feet or so. Valuable time was wasted on passage of this wall, which a stronger mountaineering party would have descended, all moving together in a few minutes. Consequently, when we reached the next ridge from which I planned to get my bearings the clouds had descended and all that could be seen was a white wall of mist on all sides. Thinking I had reached the ridge leading to the big couloir, I led off along it to the right only to find after half an hour’s going that I must be wrong. Unroping, the ladies found scanty shelter on a ledge whilst two men went on to reconnoiter. Rain was now falling heavily, and it was very cold. After some time was spent in looking for a familiar landmark, I recognized a rock chimney looming up through the mist which gave me my position, and we made our way back in the driving rain to the rest of our party, whom we found wet through and very cold from their trying wait. Although there was still time to complete the ascent, we unanimously agreed to “call it a day,” and hit the trail to hot baths and hot food. Just then, for a moment only, far above us, through a rift in the driving mists, appeared the white cliffs of the summit of Arrowsmith. Magnified by the mist effects, it was a grand sight – our only reward for our labor and discomfort. At 3 p.m. we were enjoying the kindly ministering of Mrs. Monks and her sister at the Chalet, warm and dry and well fed.

Cokely Cabin halfway up the CPR Trail from Cameron Lake to Mount Cokely

Cokely Cabin halfway up the CPR Trail from Cameron Lake to Mount Cokely


Telling Of Expedition

Reported in the Daily Colonist Thursday June 8, 1922, p.6.

Major E. [Edward] Oliver Wheeler, who has just arrived here from India, the only member of the Mount Everest expedition who has reached Victoria to date, will be the guest of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada at a reception at the Empress Hotel on Monday evening [June 12], and has consented to give an informal talk about this very interesting excursion of explorers and scientists into the heart of the Himalayas. A limited number of tickets for the reception are available to any of the public who may be interested. Full information may be secured by communicating with Captain [Horace] Westmorland, Major [Frederick] Longstaff, R. [Robert] D. McCaw, president of the section, or Gordon Cameron, the secretary.

Explorer Tells of Expedition

Major Wheeler Speaks at Reception Given In His Honor By Victoria Section of Alpine Club

Reported in the Daily Colonist Wednesday June 14, 1922, p.3.

Before the end of the present Summer the world will probably receive the news of the ascent of Mount Everest by the expedition which is now working its way to the summit of this giant peak of the Himalayas. An audience of Victoria Alpine Club members and others was privileged on Monday evening [June 12] to accompany the expedition in imagination, thanks to the very fascinating account given by Major E. [Edward] Oliver Wheeler, M.C., a member of the 1921 Everest Expedition, who has just returned from India. His address was the feature of a reception given in his honor at the Empress Hotel by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, and by means of narrative and lantern slides he gave his listeners a very much more intimate idea of the extraordinary difficulties which had to be met and surmounted by the explorers than will be the privilege of most of those who depend on the press dispatches for news of the expedition. The pictures were very fine, and in themselves would have constituted a very interesting description of the ice-girt peaks and frozen valleys of the altitudes which were explored by the little party of intrepid men sent by the Royal Geographic Society. Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, president of the local section of the Alpine Club, presided and introduced the speaker, and before the formal part of the proceedings came to an end and the gathering repaired to the Empress dining-room for supper, Mrs. Longstaff [Jeannie McCulloch], on behalf of the organization, presented Mr. Wheeler’s bride with a big bouquet of pink carnations and sweet peas, welcoming her to Canada and wishing them both a very enjoyable holiday. Mrs. [Clara] Wheeler, of Sidney, was also among the audience.

Higher Than Supposed

Major Wheeler’s story brought forth some interesting facts, not the least of which was that the height of Mount Everest will probably be found to be greater, rather than less, than the 29,002 feet hitherto reported, an additional 138 feet being added to allow for the refraction in the measurements. His account of the expedition began with the departure from Darjeeling in May last, and stage by stage he took his audience up past the last strongholds of civilization and plant life into the frozen fastnesses of perpetual ice and snow. Last among the plants which they saw were rhododendrons and primulas, the former a luxuriant and heavily-flowered shrub in the lower altitudes, and finally dwindling to a tiny bush with diminutive blossoms as they pushed onward into the higher altitudes.  There were pictures of some of the “transportation wagons” used by the expedition Yaks, used by the Tibetan natives to supply food and clothing, tent cloths and transportation; also of the oxen, donkeys and mountain ponies, all hardy animals, although lacking something in speed. The coolies employed by the expedition were also of a very fine type, hardy, strong on the hills, but slow on the rock, and who always insisted on taking their boots off when going over this king of rough country.

Not Impressive

“Everest is not a very impressive mountain when seen from the point at which we had our first real view of it,” said major Wheeler. However, after projecting this picture Major Wheeler showed a very wonderful photograph of the mountain taken from the west side, with the intervening valley fairly bristling with glistening spears of ice ranging from fifteen to a hundred feet in height. The Kharta Valley approach, unlike the northern approach to Everest, is distinguished by more friendly-seeming country. The former is through a country of granite rocks; the latter is over gneiss formation, and shows more vegetation, more houses and of a better kind, with willow, scrub juniper, scrub rhododendrons and even barley. “One has to be right away from the trees for a time to realize how much one misses them,” recalled Major Wheeler, referring to the many weeks when the expedition was in country devoid of any form of vegetation. A picture of a Tibetan house, unexpectedly commodious looking and unlike the hovel which the uninformed student anticipated, indicated the character of the building which the expedition occupied as headquarters camp for the final and most important stage of their work. Photographs of the successive moves of the expedition right up to the point where the explorers turned back to Kharta were shown among them one of the camps at the 20,000 feet station where the party remained for a few days to become acclimatized before attempting to go higher. “You can acclimatize up to 20,000 feet. After that, I think one deteriorates physically. So, after two days’ ‘joy riding’ around this part of the country we started on the final splash,” proceeded Major Wheeler who ran off a few further lantern slides to show the point to which the two climbers of the party ascended on Everest. Altitude and wind were the chief obstacles. “There is no technical difficulty whatever. It is simply a question of altitude and weather,” he summarized, referring to the chances of the 1922 expedition reaching the summit. A supply of oxygen would offset the difficulty of the altitude; although he personally had never used it, he had been told that the inconvenience of having to carry the heavy tank of oxygen on one’s back and the disagreeable taste were some discouragements to carrying a supply. The expedition of this year is planning, with long focus lens, from the summit of an adjacent peak, to take cinematograph views of the party on the summit of Everest.


Will Climb Mountain

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday June 22, 1922. p.18.

At a meeting of the local branch of the Alpine Club of Canada, held last night at the home of president Rober D. McCaw, it was decided that another attempt would be made to climb Mount Arrowsmith. Captain Horace Westmorland, who has already made the ascent, is in charge of the committee struck in preparing plans for the event. In the summer of 1913, some twenty members of the club made the ascent under Major William W. Foster.

Leaving For Mount Arrowsmith

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday July 15, 1922, p.8.

Mr. Henry J.S. Muskett, Mr. Jack Musgrave, Mr. Joseph Bridgman and Mr. Lindley Crease are among those leaving today with the Alpine Club on a trip to Cameron Lake and Mount Arrowsmith.

Mount Arrowsmith from Port Alberni circa 1914

Mount Arrowsmith from Port Alberni circa 1914. Joseph Clegg photo

Mountain Climbing Proves Attractive

Recent Ascent of Arrowsmith By Local Club Draws Attention To Holidaying Features Of District — Beauties Of Alberni Area Seen By Climbers

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday August 6, 1922, p.23.

Now that the cult of “the holiday at home” has gained such favor it is appropriate to call attention to the possibilities of Vancouver Island of “Alpine Climbing at Home.” The expedition made recently by some members [Horace Westmorland, Lindley Crease, Henry Gale, Ethne Gale, Peggy Hodgins, Richard Greer, George Winkler, Joseph Bridgman, Henry Muskett, Jack Musgrave, Rant and Netzer] of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada to Mount Arrowsmith was not the first made under the same auspices to this interesting peak, but it helps once more to call attention to the holiday possibilities of the district. The latest attempt by the Alpine Club, moreover, achieved something that the former expedition did not; it made the real summit of Arrowsmith. On the former occasion, it seems such a bank of mist obscured the highest peak, some distance beyond the first apparent summit of the mountain, that the party returned quite confident of having attained their objective. Curiously enough, one or two members of the expedition have made ascents of the mountain on several subsequent occasions with the same innocent confidence that they had climbed to the utmost elevation. Clouds have always hidden the real summit. But this year acting on the information of Mr. [Frederick] Godsal, who made a solitary expedition to Arrowsmith a year ago and whose report of the trip added another still higher eminence to the group, the Alpinists this year set out with a new objective in view.

A Novelty

This, of course, gave the trip novelty as well as the customary pleasure. Captain [Horace] Westmorland, who organized the expedition, and who has made the ascent of Arrowsmith some four or five times, had the pleasure of seeing the real ultimate summit for the first time. Curiously, although owing to the many forest fires, the usual wonderful view of the surrounding country was almost totally obscured, the clouds which had hitherto cut off the main peak chose to make generous compensation by not appearing. Leaving the main party at the old summit, Colonel [Henry] Gale and Mr. Lindley Crease crossed the intervening rock valley, and, their every step watched with breathless interest by those behind, these two roped together and clinging precariously by hand and toe, climbed the sheer wall of snow, ice and rock to the craggy eminence which is the penultimate goal of all that Arrowsmith has to offer. An idea of the nearness of the main summit to that which has so often been mistaken for it may be judged by the accompanying photograph which was taken by Captain Westmorland from the latter. The rocky cairn which has been added to by Alpinists whose names history does not reveal can be seen as a tiny speck. Mr. Lindley Crease, with arms outstretched, was on top of this at the time the picture was taken. Another curious fact about this “hidden peak” is that it lies so near the commonly-considered summit that the two parties, those left behind and those who went forward, could hear distinctly the conversation which was being carried on among the members of the two groups.

Mount Arrowsmith, 1910

Mount Arrowsmith, 1910. Leonard Frank photo

What May Be Seen

In the ordinary way, meaning when the weather is clear and there are no forest fires, the view from the summit of Arrowsmith is magnificent. To the Alpinist mountaineer accustomed to the Alps or Rockies, it is something new, for after piercing the ribbon of cloud that will almost invariably be seen floating somewhere below, there is the glory of great timbered hills stretching interminably to the north, but interrupted here and there with the gleaming snow of Mount Albert Edward or Alexandra Peak in Strathcona Park. Eastwards beyond the yellow sands of Qualicum and Parksville, are the Straits of Georgia, with Lasqueti and Hornby Islands floating in the haze of sea and atmosphere. Westward, as ever “an enchanted land,” may be seen the head of the Alberni Canal and the green tunnels which are the tree girt hills rising out of the fjords of the Pacific. It is a scene more idyllic than the Alpinist is accustomed to see, lacking in the repent savagery which is inspiration to many climbers, but holding the happier magnificence which must appeal to the greater majority of nature lovers.


Kuth-Kah-Chulth was the Indian name for Arrowsmith long before the more commonplace title was attached to the mountain by the navigators of the last century. A peak but 5,976 feet in altitude, it has a relative significance for outreaching the apparent height. Mt. Assiniboine, for instance, over 12,000 feet, and one of the highest peaks of the Rockies, rises from a surrounding country which has an altitude of something like 8,000 feet above the starting point. Mount Arrowsmith springs almost from sea level, and climbers who have made the ascent in a single day have quite an achievement to their credit, although in the case of the Alpine Club expeditions the mountaineers have spent the night at “The Hut,” 4,200 feet up, or with 1,776 feet of the summit. The custom is to make an early start in the morning, after organizing the party into “ropes,” headed by experienced Alpinists. This year the expedition left camp about seven o’clock, after a rather restless night owing to the swarming mosquitoes, and it was after five in the afternoon when they returned. A brief rest for tea, then the long jog down the mountain to “The Chalet,” reached about eight o’clock, the men bearing heavy packs containing blankets. Mrs. Monk, always a perfect hostess, provided a dinner which more than fulfilled expectations, and most of the members of the party were only too ready to retire early to bed. The one mishap of the journey had a happy ending. A member of the expedition, an experienced climber and woodsman, trusting too much to his sense of direction, plunged on through the woods after making a detour to avoid a fallen tree in the path, and lost the way. On realizing his position, he made for a point where he could see the summit of Arrowsmith, and, nothing deterred by the deepening darkness and the prospect of a night in the woods with only mosquitoes and the lonely drum of grouse for “Lights Out,” he retraced his steps for the only landmark which he knew. By singular good fortune he ran straight into the old camp at “The Hut.” Wearied a little by his rough wanderings in a trackless forest with the extra heavy weight of his pack dragging at his shoulders, he would have remained here for the night. But the thought of the anxious companions searching the woods decided him in favor or renewing the journey. It was nearly seven o’clock when he reached “The Chalet.” Things were as he anticipated. Captain Westmorland and the other members of the expedition who had left “The Hut” last felt a little uneasy when they arrived at “The Chalet” to find one of the party missing. A search party was being organized, and some preliminary scouting had already been done, when the lost man, to use the happy phrase of the woods, “blew into camp.” Most of the available court plaster of the hotel was required to repair the nasty scratches and bruises inflicted by snags and logs stumbled against in the inky gloom of the forest. But otherwise the involuntary venture suffered no ill-effects. A swim in the lake in the early morning and a delicious breakfast of mountain trout prepared the climbers for the trip back to Victoria. A ten hours’ motor ride through cedar scented forest, with glimpses of cultivated valleys and curving shores, is by no means a disappointing finale to such an expedition.

Origin Of Name

“Arrowsmith Mountain,” Captain Walbran wrote in 1900 in his information book on British Columbia Coast Names, “was named about 1853 after Aaron Arrowsmith and his nephew John Arrowsmith, noted English cartographers. The former was born in 1750 at Winston, Durham. From an obscure beginning he rose by diligence and industry to great prosperity, his publications, topographic and hydrographic maps and charts being noted for the accuracy and care with which there were constructed. He died in London in 1823. His nephew, John Arrowsmith, was one of the founders of the Royal Geographic Society.” It is interesting to learn, further, that Captain Richards, R.N., hydrographer, adopted the name of Mount Arrowsmith for this Indian-named Kuth-Kah-Chulth when he made a survey of the Island in 1864. He gave the height of Arrowsmith as 5,976. This has never required correction. As the outstanding rock mass of Southern Vancouver Island, the geology of the mountain is interesting. Arrowsmith has a serrated summit, owing to the fact that it was higher than the glacial mass which covered this part of the Island. It therefore, carried its own small glaciers during the glacial period, and it was these which eroded the cirques which may still be seen at the summit. The rock formation consists partly Vancouver volcanics of the Mesozoic era (the geologic period familiarly known as the Age of Reptiles), partly of the Paleozoic era. Those who are interested in geology will see evidences of this on all sides in andesites, tuffs and other rocks of this period. The range of which Arrowsmith forms the southern part divides the coal-bearing Cowichan group of the Cretaceous period on the east coast from the smaller occurrences of the same group on the west in the Alberni Valley.

Fauna And Flora

In the recent expedition to Arrowsmith were four whose special purpose in making the climb was to collect botanical specimens. Among the rarer plants which they found were the Lewisis pygmea, which is not found in the lower altitudes. Three varieties of ranunculus, white, pink and yellow; two varieties of Phlox, pink and mauve; azaleas, which bloom in profusion even above the snows which surround the hut during the first two weeks of July; pinguiculas, moscampium, the pentstamen menzesii, a little creeping variety with big purple blossoms; the calmia latifolia, or pink-blossomed swamp laurel; a tiny scented orchid of the habaneria variety; two or three varieties of sedums; white and mauve heath, which grows profusely over and around the rocks, and which in the later Summer makes a comfortable bed for the tentless camper; onicas, red columbines, several saxifrages, including the bronchilis and orientalis varieties, the lutkia pectonatia, a very small and feathery-blossomed variety of spiraea, and the waxy-flowered moneses. The trees grow conspicuously smaller before “The Hut” is reached, and about 5,400 feet up they cease altogether. The Winter snows must be heavy. The branches of the mountain balsam and the yellow cedar show indications of the weight of the snow which they carry during the many months of the year. “The Hut” itself has more domestic proof of this, the front porch, built of stout “shakes” and limbs of trees, having recently caved in. Deer and grouse are among the inhabitants of the mountain. Even humming birds may occasionally be seen among the gaily-colored butterflies sipping the honey from the flowers in these semi-Alpine regions. When built in 1911 by the C.P.R., “The Hut,” which is partitioned to make two rooms, was fully furnished with stove and cooking utensils. It is an unfortunate reflection on human society that these commodities have been treated with such ill-respect by some discourteous visitors of recent years that there is nothing usable left of this furniture. An open air “cooking range” of stones has been substituted. One of the regrets of the thrift-loving members of the Alpine Club expedition was that the kettle and “billy-can” carried up the mountain with the food supplies and blankets by the hired packer had to be left behind with some of the tinned beans and salmon when the party left.

Trail Built In 1911

Anyone who makes the trip up Arrowsmith today will admire the enterprise and ambition of the men who made the climb previous to the opening of the trail in 1911. Mr. Clarence Hoard engineered this project for the Canadian Pacific Railway. For some years the path was in good condition, but hurricanes of more recent times have thrown enormous trees across the trail in some sections. These are a serious impediment, particularly to the man who carries the pack. And without a pack one cannot take quite the same measure of experience and pleasure from the trip. It is hoped that the C.P.R. may seem fit to put the trail into good shape again, at least, as far as the Canon. Now that the war is over and tourists are coming in greater and greater numbers to the Island, it would surely repay the company to encourage them in every way to this part of the country by giving them easier access to the mountain. At present many get discouraged from attempting to climb long before they have really commenced it. For the real obstacles of the path lie in the first few hundred feet. The whole Arrowsmith district is very interesting historically, and as an objective for the mountaineer, the naturalist, the motorist and holiday-maker, it should continue to draw ever increasing numbers. Cameron Lake, which lies at the foot of the mountain, and which enjoys the distinction of possessing a reasonably comfortable hotel, was named as long ago as 1860 by Captain Richards, H.M.S. Plumper, after the Hon. David Cameron, first chief justice of Vancouver Island. Cameron was a Scotsman who came to Vancouver Island in 1853, having been given a position in Nanaimo in the Hudson’s Bay Company in connection with the coal mines. He died in Belmont, Esquimalt, in May 1872. The Arrowsmith and Alberni region was inhabited by the once numerous and fierce Nitinat tribe of Indians, which in 1864 had many villages in the district. The Alberni Canal, visible from the summit of Arrowsmith, and twelve miles distant from “The Chalet,” was named as long ago as 1791 by Lieutenant Francisco Eliza, a Spanish navigator of the time, after Don Pedro Alberni, captain of Infantry in the Spanish army, who was in command of the soldiers in the expedition in charge of Eliza. Eliza, it should be mentioned, was sent by the Viceroy of Mexico, Count de Revillagigedo, to occupy the West Coast of Vancouver Island after Martinez had returned to California in 1789. The Colonist of April 5, 1860, and again in April and May the following year, records the establishment at the head of the Alberni Canal of a sawmill from which spars were exported. The same year a farm was cleared in the valley for the supply of employee needs, this being the first regular farm on the Coast between the Alaskan Peninsula and Sooke. The sawmill was closed down in 1863, but it affected lasting results by opening the district, as Charles Taylor, who was an employee, was the first independent homesteader of the district. His farm, which was the nucleus of the present industrious farming community of Alberni, was named in 1864.

First Train

Long before the first train was run across the Island to Alberni, Arrowsmith had been climbed. The railway was built as far as Cameron Lake in 1910. The first train arrived in Alberni on December 21, 1911. The trail up Arrowsmith was opened in 1912. But there was a penciled record in “The Hut” recording that F. [Francis] Kermode was at that point in July 1906. He protests that he was not the first, “The Hut” did not exist at that time; the inscription was placed there by him on a subsequent visit. He went as far as Cameron Lake, on the first occasion, by wagon road, crossing the lake on some old logs, and then taking the trail up to the Old Copper King Mine. From there he had to break into a trackless wood, following along to the ridge of the mountain practically where the present well-defined trail lies. He was in search of botanical specimens, and carried a heavy pack. Others who made the climb in pre-trails day included Dr. Mason, of Victoria; Mr. Stanley Smith, Mr. David Stevenson, Mr. Leonard Frank (the Alberni photographer who has furnished some of the finest photographs in circulation of the mountain), Dr. Fletcher, of Ottawa, who was up the mountain with Mr. J.R. Anderson, of Victoria, in 1903; Mr. [Theodore] Bryant, postmaster of Ladysmith, who made the ascent even prior to that; and many others. Mr. Kermode recalls that two or three years ago when he was up Arrowsmith he found ptarmigan eggs. Ptarmigan are essentially a bird of mountainous regions; and as long as the ptarmigan make Kuth-Kah-Chulth her haunt there will be interest in Arrowsmith for every nature lover, whether scientist or Alpinist.


A party of mountaineers pictured before the climb of Mt. Arrowsmith.

Mr. Lindley Crease and Colonel Gale, who were detailed to climb the “ultimate summit” of Arrowsmith, are shown first and fourth respectively (reading from the left) in the accompanying picture. Captain Westmoreland, who led the expedition of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club to Kuth-kah-chulth this year, is seen standing next to Colonel Gale. Others in the party who made the major climb were Miss Peggy Hodgins, Miss Gale, Colonel Greer, Mr. J. Bridgeman and Mr. G. Winkler. Some idea of the mosquito audience is hinted in the cowled state of some of the climbers. Messrs. H. J. S. Muskett, Rant, J. Musgrave and Netzer were members of the botanizing party.


Ascent of The Comox Glacier August 1922

Recorded in the diary of Harold Banks

The following is an account of a traverse from Comox Lake to Buttle Lake via the Comox Glacier and on to Campbell River by four men from August 16 to 26, 1922. The account relates the first recorded ascent of the Comox Glacier and several peaks surrounding the Aureole Snowfield. There are two drafts of the story. The first draft was written by Cumberland’s Harold Edwin “Bing” Banks (1901 – 1987) while the second draft has been edited by his wife Beatrice Ellen “Nellie” Banks. For the most part the route and descriptions balance each other; however, there is one glaring discrepancy which is the description of the “huge tree only five feet high that covered an area of a city lot.” In the first draft they camped beneath it on the 5th day, while in the final draft they camped beneath it on the 3rd day. Unfortunately, we will never know for sure which is the accurate version, but the tree was somewhere between Lone Tree Pass and Rees Ridge.


Ten Days of Thrills On The Comox Glacier’s and Buttle Lake August 16 To August 26 [1922]

By Harold Banks

Being one of three men who planned on a holiday in the woods, we were in doubt on where to go, after much thought it was decided we would try and get on the glacier [Comox Glacier]. About this time Rev. G. Kinney made himself known and was asked to accompany us. The party now consists of James W. Tremlett, Alfred McNevin, George Kinney and yours truly. Mr. Kinney has got the credit of being the leader which is not the truth as A. McNevin and myself were the ones to first plan the trip. With 75 lbs of a pack we set out for the Trout or Little Lakes. Here we made our first and only mistake, we started the climb from the First Lake [Willemar Lake] and had to retrace our steps back to the Third Lake [Forbush Lake] because to the conditions on the South Cruikshank. We then climbed Mount Evans [Kookjai Mountain] and dropped from here down to what is now called Ester Lake [Tatsno Lake]. We camped for the night. This is a wonderful spot for the camp as at that time there was an abundance of flowers and we saw plenty of game. On the third morning we left here and followed the ridge clear through to the glacier. We took a good number of pictures along the way and they were used to good advantage on our return. We pitched camp on the ridge about 400 feet below the ice. Here in the evening we got a big pile of bush and after dark it was set on fire. This fire was seen by some of the Courtenay people as we were told after. During this we had the unusual pleasure of being above a good heavy thunder storm. We could see the clouds rolling up the valleys and after an hour or so it started. The lightning and rolling of the cloud was a sight never to be forgot. We turned in at about 9 under a clear sky. The next morning the 4th day found us not so lucky about weather as the storm had raised and settled over the glacier. We packed up and got up on the ice, crossing over to the south corner to the Dome. It was so foggy we did not attempt to climb so retraced our steps to the site of the present cairn which we put up calling this Point Bing after me. Here we came on to a wonderful view. Looking down at our feet were two lakes. The one to our left and looking north had a hanging glacier that has a sheer drop of 50 to 60 feet into the lake and the lake itself was of a skimmed milk color and was full of ice bergs. This we called Milk Lake [Milla Lake] which is at the head of the Shepard [Shepherd] River which drains into Buttles Lake. The other on our right was of a different nature. Here you look down on a small stand of timber and rock slides at the head of the lake. We decided to drop down on this side as it was pretty wet and the weather was getting thick with poor visibility. I think if we had of known what we were in for we would have chosen some other route. Here we dropped down a hanging leg of the glacier and had a number of close calls. At the lower end of this ice there is a good sized stream [Kweishun Creek] of water and from a distance ice and water flow of indigo color and one has to pause and take a second look. From here we had some pretty stiff rock work with no bush for hand or foot hold. There was plenty of heather but it is poor stuff to risk a handhold on. Here we struck another large body of snow, which hangs at an angle of 45 degrees down to within a few feet of the lake. In crossing this we broke into a small stand of timber and as we are good and wet from the rain we pitch camp and after a good drink of hot tomato soup and a change of clothes we soon feel ourselves again. We roll in under our fly and wake up to a clear morning sun. This being Sunday the 19th, our 5th day, we decide we won’t make an early start. Mr. Kinney reads for a while to us all from his bible and after lunch we pack up and cross around the head of the lake. Here we encounter a monstrous rock slide. Boulders as large as a house, but the going was quite easy and after you leave the slide and come around onto the north shore of the lake you can with a little hunting pick up some fine specimens of crystle. Because of this reason we named this Crystle Lake [Mirren Lake]. We now climb a small hogsback and too our delight can see a third lake to the north east and still at our feet. We did not drop down to this lake and called it Nevin Lake [Memory Lake] after one of our party. Here in a small hollow we pitched camp under a huge tree that only stood about 6 feet high but a trunk as large as a mans body and covered an area of 50 sq ft. We spent two glorious days here. You can roam from this camp on to the second glacier [Aureole Snowfield] which is only a few mins of a walk away. We split up here into 2 parties and started out taking pictures. We would have had a wonderful group if all had turned out, but bad luck seemed to dog Mr. Kinney for he only got half a dozen pictures out of 12 rolls. Myself took the pictures on number 2 group and got a good bunch of snaps of this glacier. We roamed around here for two days and climbed the main peaks which are all named after one of our group. The peak on the south end of this glacier is Sky Pilot Peak [Iceberg Peak] after Mr. Kinney. The one that juts out on the northwest corner is Tremlett Point [Mount Celeste or Rees Ridge]. These are not really large peaks but points of rock that jut out of the ends of the glacier. On top during the day the sun was real hot and would melt the ice so that by mid afternoon there would be ruts in the ice and surface of the glacier a foot deep and wide. It froze hard at nights and these would be all smoothed out in the morning. Here we encountered numerous wild flowers which Mr. Kinney picked and pressed for future reference. This book got lost or we should have had a good collection of flowers. Ptarmigan were plenty full here and so tame you could go right up a covey and walk in among them. Here we made a mistake we did not take any pictures of them at all. From here you can see over the whole distance and what an eye full there is. Very much to out regret we had to move on as not knowing how long it would take us to reach Buttles Lake we could not tarry. Leaving camp we traveled across the glacier, turned north west and after such wonderful sights stopped for lunch. While we were resting here we could by looking west and see Buttles Lake. We were in between Shepard [Shepherd] and Ralph Rivers which drained into Buttles. Dropping down here we crossed the Shepard about a mile up from the lake and turning followed the course of the river we came out on the lake shore at exactly 6 in the evening. While we traveled pretty fast this is not a hard trip for a one day hike, and I don’t think that a better route could be found, as Mr. Reece [Harold Rees] and party came along by pretty near the same. Here while the rest were making camp I put up our one rod and rigged up some flies. Going back to the mouth of the river I had a dozen of the finest trout in so many minutes. This sure is one paradise for the fisherman. At that particular season you can get all the fish you could use in a very few minutes. The next morning we started in to build a raft, after a little discussion we changed this to two because of the lighter weight. Two cedar logs about the size of a telephone pole were used with a couple of split pieces to tie them together, on this we put cedar bark and a mast, hoisted a blanket and at dusk set out for the bottom. At daylight we put into shore and had breakfast. While here we spotted a boat coming down the lake and after much shouting and a few shots of our gun they came over. They turned out to be Americans and the whole bunch of us piled into the boat and in half an hour reached the cabin. Here we spent the day and a night. The next morning we left here at day light and after a hard day travel pitched camp at a lake just above Forbes Landing. From here the next morning we traveled to Campbell River and on reaching here we indulged in our first big home cooked meal for 10 days, traveling by car we reached Cumberland completing a round trip of the grandest mountain and lake trip in the world.

En-route to the Comox Glacier, 1922

En route to the Comox Glacier, 1922

Comox camp, en-route to the Comox Glacier in 1922

Comox camp, en route to the Comox Glacier in 1922

Lunch, en-route to the Comox Glacier, 1922

Lunch, en route to the Comox Glacier, 1922


Final draft: Ten Days of Thrills On The Comox Glacier’s and Buttle Lake August 16 To August 26

By Harold Banks

Being one of three men, James W. Tremlett, Alf McNevin and Myself, who were planning a trip, but did not know what we wanted, it was finally settled to try and get on the Glaciers and cross over to Buttles [Buttle] Lake. About this time Mr. [George] Kinney asked if he could make a fourth member and was readily accepted. With Seventy-five lbs of a pack we set out for Trout Lakes as we had decided that this should be our route. We had spent a lot of time climbing the different mountains around the lake looking for an easy way in. Arriving here we made our only blunder. We climbed from the First Lake [Willemar Lake] and after a hard day’s climb found we could not go that way. We dropped down to the Third Lake [Forbush Lake] and spent the night here. The next morning we were off early and climbing Mount Evans [Kookjai Mountain]. We continued along the ridge and camped at what is now called Ester Lake [Tatsno Lake]. This is a wonderful spot. Plenty of game to be seen in the evening coming down to the lake to drink. The following morning (the third) we got a good start and continued along the ridge taking many snaps [photos] as we went along. This is the best and the easiest route into that country as has since proven. Coming up to within 400 feet below the glacier we made camp. Here we were lucky in running onto an old Red Cedar for wood, as we were now far above the timber line. The only evergreen to be seen was here in the small hollow. It was not more than 5 feet high, had a trunk as large as a man and had a spread of branches that covered a good city lot. After supper we had the unusual sight of watching a good sized thunder storm. We could see the mass of cloud rolling up the valleys below us. It was sure a sight, having a blue sky above our heads, stars by the thousands and a full moon. In our blankets under our strange tree we were all soon asleep. After a hasty breakfast (our fourth) we were all excited to be away. Now we were so near the ice. The weather was beginning to look bad. The storm of the evening before had risen and was above our own heads and the mists and fog was beginning to drift around us, with a spatter of rain. After a short climb we were on the ice. Crossing to a point of rock we built the cairn which now stands calling this Point Bing. The fog had settled in by now and we had very poor visibility. Crossing to the south end of the Dome we found as well that it was too foggy to attempt the climb. Coming back to the cairn we had to travel very slowly as we could hardly see a yard. There was a good many crevices [crevasses] in the ice. Some of these were only a few inches in width at the top but opened up as they got deeper. Others were too far to jump as we had to follow along till we could cross. Some were so deep we could not see bottom and could faintly hear running water in them. Later in the day we had the best of luck as the fog broke for a short while and we got a wonderful snap of the open end of one of these crevices. On returning to our camp we had a wonderful view from here. Looking north we could see another large glacier [Aureole Snowfield]. At our feet, a thousand or more feet below us were two lakes. The one on our left was a wonderful sight. Like an opal in its setting. There was a hanging glacier which extended down into the lake. With its sheer ice face of 40 or 50 feet into the water which was of a skimmed milk color. The lake was full of ice bergs which had broken off the face of the glacier. The lake on our right was of a different nature. It was crystle clear (with a small stand of trees at one corner) set in a small nitch in the almost sheer rock walls that surrounded it. There was a large rock slide at the head end. We decided to drop down to this lake and make camp in the trees. Here we encountered a dangerous task. We had to drop down almost a sheer wall of ice and rock. It had started to rain and the fog had begun to get thick again. After some tense moments we were safely down and after looking back up, we wondered how we had completed such a feat. We made camp in the trees and soon had our fly up, a good fire going, hot soup and dry clothes on. We were all happy. With a light rain falling, we were soon asleep. On waking in the morning it had stopped raining. Being Sunday, our 5th day out, we decided on a rest. After a good breakfast Mr. Kinney read to us for a while from the Bible. After lunch, we packed up and made a short climb to the mountain on the other side of the lake. On coming around the end of the lake we found some very fine specimens of crystles and more were to be found on the small mountain. Hence we gave this lake and mountain the name Crystle [Crystal] Mountain and Crystle Lake [Mirren Lake]. We made camp on the ridge that runs from this mountain to the second glacier [Aureole Snowfield]. At our feet we could see a third lake and this we called Nevin Lake [Memory Lake] after Alf McNevin. Here we took a number of wonderful snaps looking back the way we had come. After supper we made a hurried trip up onto the ice of the second glacier. Arriving back in camp we soon were in our blankets asleep. The morning sun woke us to a clear frosty world. Our water hole had frozen over to a thickness of half an inch of ice. We soon had breakfast over and were away to a day spent in seeing all we could, getting as many pictures as possible. Climbing up on the ice we could see the lower end of Comox Lake, and over the valley. Continuing along we came to a point of rock sticking out of the ice. This we climbed and called Point Tremlett [Mount Celeste]. Here we ate our lunch and after gazing at the wonderful view we started back. Dropping down to the south east corner we found ourselves looking at Milk Lake [Milla Lake]. From the north end this was a wonderful sight. We took pictures here and they are among our most prized pictures. The Hanging Glacier with its sheer fall into the lake, while above this is the point we called Point Bing, on the left with the back of the glacier in the top centre and the Dome looming up on the top right corner. Returning we came to another small peak at the extreme end of the ice. This Mr. Kinney said he wanted to climb. The rest of us went on to camp and soon had supper ready. Mr Kinney returning stated he had built a cairn on top of the rock. After we decided to call this point after him. So it was called Sky Pilot Peak [Iceberg Peak]. After supper we soon were all in our blankets and asleep. The next morning our 7th day saw us under pack and off to new sights. Crossing the glacier we headed for Buttles Lake. Following the ridge pretty well all the way we dropped down to a small lake in a wonderful meadow. Here flowers of all hues and shapes were blooming. Deer were plentiful and we saw elk tracks in a patch of snow. Continuing along this ridge we soon came to the outer end and, behold, we got our first glimpse of Buttles Lake. We ate lunch and were soon on our way. Dropping down into the timber we crossed the Shepard [Shepherd] River turned and followed the river down to its mouth. Here we pitched camp at exactly 6 P.M. having made the trip from the second glacier out to the lake in the one day. Putting our only fishing rod up we soon had a fine catch of trout for supper. The following morning (our 8th day) found us making a couple of rafts. Taking two cedar logs about the size of a telephone pole we spiked these together. We had packed these same spikes with us. Then cutting a small sapling for a mallet we made two long sweeps for each raft. By evening we were on our way. With a blanket for a sail and our own sweeps going, we traveled all night. Going into the beach we had breakfast and while we were resting a boat came down the lake. We hailed the rowers and they came in. The pair turned out to be a couple of USA tourists who asked us to hop in and ride with them. This we did and were sure glad to be rid of our crude rafts. After a short while we reached the Government Cabin at the lower end of the lake. We spent the rest of the day here resting and fishing in turns with one rod. Plenty of fish were there in the catching. We turned in early and were soon asleep. Rising early we were off to Campbell Lake reaching it at noon. Here we had lunch and continued on till dark where we ate cold kippers and rolled in tired out. On awaking we found we were only about a mile above Forbes Landing. Getting breakfast we started out for Campbell River, reaching it at noon. We phoned for a car to come for us and we were back in Cumberland for supper ending a trip not one of us will ever forget.


Summary of the Route Taken During the August 1922 Expedition

by Lindsay Elms

After leaving Cumberland on 16 August, the party travelled up Comox Lake and the Puntledge River to Willemar and Forbush Lakes. From Forbush Lake they climbed up to Comox Gap and ascended Mount Evans (Kookjai Mountain) and camped (day 2) at Ester Lake (Tatsno Lake.) They then continued over Blackcat Mountain and down to Lone Tree Pass and then up onto the Comox Glacier, however, camp at the end of the 3rd day was on the slopes between Lone Tree Pass and the glacier. The next day they climbed up and over the glacier and then descended down to the Kweishun Creek where they camped in a grove of trees at Mirren Lake. Days five and six were then spend at a camp near the Aureole Snowfield where they climbed Point Tremlett (Mount Celeste/Rees Ridge) while George Kinney climbed Sky Pilot Peak (Iceberg Peak.) Day seven they descended off the ridge and down to Shepherds Creek where they then hiked out to Buttle Lake. Days eight and nine were spent travelling down Buttle Lake and the Campbell River. It appears they spent their last night at McIvor Lake near Forbes Landing. Finally, after ten days they arrived in Campbell River where they were picked up and driven back to their homes in Cumberland.

Climbing Face of Maxwell’s Mountain. Saltspring island

By Captain H. Westmorland

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday September 10, 1922, p.12.

At the invitation of Captain [Victor] Best, of Ganges, Colonel [Richard] Greer and I [Horace Westmorland] went to Salt Spring Island on August 18 to attempt to scale the 700-foot rock wall which forms the upper portion of the southwest face of Maxwell’s Mountain [Baynes Peak], which is so clearly seen in profile as Fulford Harbor is entered from the sea. On Saturday, August 19, we motored from Capt. Best’s home at Ganges to the Fulford-Burgoyne Bay Road and from Maxwell’s farm had a good look at the rock face. It appeared from this viewpoint that a way might be forced up the cliff by a shallow scoop which terminates on the rock face in a deeply cut chimney a few feet to the right of the main buttress. Continuing to the Burgoyne Bay wharf, we had another view of our objective from a different angle, and still the same chimney offered the best route to attempt, affording as it did, a possible way up the cliff at its highest point. Other chimneys both to the right and left of the main buttress would have been an evasion of the rock face at its best, and we therefore decided not to consider them at present.

Ascent Begun

Setting the aneroid down by the sea at zero, we struck into the bush by a logging trail accompanied by Capt. Best and two of his boys, who very kindly carried our ruck sac and climbing rope for us. About an hour’s steady walking took us to the broken ledges below the cliff and a few minutes easy scrambling to the foot of the great rock wall, where we halted for a rest and a sandwich before tackling the difficult part of the climb; the aneroid here read 1,350 feet above sea level. After staving off the cravings of the inner man, Colonel Greer and I roped up, and taking our leave of our companions, who intended to return from this point, I took the lead, and traversing round the foot of the main buttress, made two unsuccessful attempts to lead up the initial 50 feet of rock face, but at a third attempt a little further to the right was more successful. Our great difficulty was the nature of the rock. The whole 700 feet of the cliff is “conglomerate” and the embedded pebbles and “cobble stones” came away when tested as holds in a most treacherous and disconcerting manner, and as heavy showers of rain had now commenced to fall, the whole surface of the rock was slippery. A few short pitches from ledge to ledge brought us to the foot of the shallow chimney we had selected from below. From here the leads were exceptionally long. Several times in succession the writer led out 85 to 90 feet of rope before reaching a stance from which he could be confident of holding the second man in case of a slip.

Difficult Chimney

The type of climbing was unpleasant, there being a good deal of vegetation in the back of the shallow chimney. This vegetation we alternately a help or a source of danger, as it was, respectively, firm or loose. There was also a prevalence of moss, which when cleared away, revealed only smooth roundnesses and not the clean-cut holds we hoped for. Whenever possible we employed the method known to climbers as “backing up,” but for considerable distances the walls of our chimney were either too indefinite or too far apart to permit of it. The leader found the long length of rain sodden rope hanging from the waist a serious handicap to balance, and after a particular steep 90-foot lead up the wet rocks it was a relief to find the chimney cut deeply into the face of the cliff, forming a narrow cave,  on the slopping floor of which it was possible to lie down in temporary safety and comparative comfort for a breather before singing out the customary “Come on” to Colonel Greer and gathering in the slack of the rope as he mounted slowly upwards to this airy haven of rest. On his arrival we studied the prospect before us. High above our heads the smooth walls of the chimney projected over the sheer face of the cliff. Direct progress upwards was barred by the overhanging roof of the cave, and though we thought it possible to overcome the difficulties of the chimney itself by back and knee methods, whether or not a way could be forced out of the cleft to the rock face either to right or left we could not foresee. From where we rested the true right wall appeared the more possible of the two, and when the second man had anchored himself facing the right wall, by bracing myself across the chimney and raising each shoulder alternately to gain a little height in the strenuous method known to mountaineers as “backing up” was rendered a little more strenuous than usual by the overhang of the retaining wall. Some twenty feet of this brought me to the outside edge of the top of the chimney on a level of its roof, and if we were to succeed in our attempt an exit had to be made on the rock face to the right or left. The right wall on which we had pinned our hopes proved to be unclimbable, wet and holdless. The left wall was more broken, though offering only rounded and moss grown holds. However, twelve feet up the face, a sturdy little pine, affording a good belay from which to manipulate the rope for my second man as he climbed the difficult chimney, and further, a safe starting point for the final pitches above. I therefore decided to endeavor to reach this tree.

Rather Hazardous

For this change of plan it was necessary to turn and face the left wall, and in this exposed position, with inadequate holds, great care was required, and even when the movement was completed position was only maintained by bracing a leg across the chimney, not by any definite holds. I did not envy Colonel Greer who was waiting below, doubtless wondering whether or not the pitch would “go,” and, if it would, why I did not get on with it. Feeling that I would need all the intrepidity ascribed to mountaineers by a certain parson during a sermon he preached in Keswick, of all places who likened the steadfastness required in the endeavor of life to that “of the intrepid mountaineer who courageously climbs upwards, cutting his steps in the roaring avalanche,” I pulled myself cautiously round the edge of the rock wall to the exposed rock face, and by careful balance worked a way slowly upwards until I could thankfully grasp the friendly pine and belay myself behind it. Greer then came up in much better time, and victory was in sight, for only two problems remained—a steep rock face above us and then a short traverse to the right. A possible solution of the steep face above us could be seen where great masses of the conglomerate were split in huge poised blocks, but a closer inspection showed them to be unsafe. I then tried again a little further to the right, but fifteen feet up found the slippery holds inadequate, and had to descend. A few feet to the left the rock was steep to the verge of overhanging, but there were small holes here and there which looked firm. The situation was almost Dolomitten in the sheerness of the direct plunge downwards of over 600 feet “as straight as a beggar can spit,” and the firmness of those holds was comforting. Greer, looking upwards, could see little excepting the well nailed soles of my climbing boots. Our friends below, just as I was on the worst part, were calling anxiously, as they could not see us for the driving mist, and I had the same sensation as a golfer when someone speaks of the middle of his swing. Every faculty was required to preserve balance on the slippery rocks, and the calls were a distraction. The rope swinging from my waist dislodged a small piece of rock, which struck Greer on the forehead, but seeing my precarious position, and having heard my muttered remarks on the subject of the people who shouted unnecessarily, he with the self-restraint of a stoic, remained silent.


The pitches had increased in severity as we climbed higher up the face, but this was the last real difficulty, and after some thirty feet I was able to crawl on to a safe resting place, a shelf of rock with a shallow cave-like roof. Colonel Greer joined me on this shelf, and from it we traversed to the right along a narrow ledge requiring a delicate touch to the top of the cliff. The aneroid read just under 2,000 feet. The rock wall had given us a climb of nearly 700 feet, and we had taken over four hours over it. We announced success to our, by now anxious friends in a triumphant Engardine yell, coiled our hundred-foot Alpine Club rope, lighted our pipes, and with thoughts turning to hot tea swung along through the mists in a wide detour to avoid further contact with the cliff, and sloped down to Burgoyne Bay, where a most hospitable welcome awaited us, tea, bully beef and cucumber sandwiches being the much-appreciated order of the day. We were informed by the islanders that the face had not been ascended in the past, and we cannot recommend it as a rock climb in the future. The conglomerate is treacherous and insecure, and the cliff is excessively steep and forbidding. We enjoyed the climb, for there is always joy in the successful overcoming of difficulties, and there is a curious sense of enjoyment to be derived from being wet through and very tired. A legend is told of an Indian maiden who stilled the fluttering’s of her broken heart by jumping from the top of this rock to the abyss below. Probably the cliff is better suited to that purpose than as a playground for cragsmen.


By Lindsay Elms

This feature had been named Mount Baynes c1859 by Captain Richards, RN, and so-labelled on British Admiralty Chart 2840, 1861, however local residents began calling this Mount Maxwell at about the same time resulting in the May 2, 1911 decision to adopt “Mount Maxwell (not Mount Baynes)”. Through correspondence with local authorities on Saltspring Island, it was agreed in 1939 to designate the highest point on the landmass Baynes Peak and name the newly-created surrounding park Mount Maxwell Park. The following information comes from British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906 by John T. Walbran. “[Saltspring Island] …Captain Richards when surveying here evidently wished to associate the island with Rear Admiral Baynes, commanding at the time, 1857-1860, the Pacific station, his flagship, staff and officers etc. He therefore named the highest mountain Baynes, after the Admiral; Ganges Harbour after the flagship; Fulford Harbour after the captain; Burgoyne Bay after the commander; Southey Point after the admiral’s secretary; Mount Bruce after the previous commander in chief; and Cape Keppel after a friend of Admiral Baynes.”


West Coast of Vancouver Island – The Alberni District

Miners Of the Sixties

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday October 22, 1922, p.23.

China Creek, which comes into Alberni Canal about eight miles from Alberni on the east, named on account of the Chinese placer seekers who worked there in the early sixties, was the scene of the earliest mining in this district. It is estimated that between 1862 and 1895, since when there has been little, if any, activity on this creek, about $40,000 in placer gold was taken out by primitive methods—shovel, rocker, pan and sluice. There was also some hydraulicking on this creek. As placers are deposited by a natural process of concentration by the extensive erosion of surrounding country, though they are not to be entirely depended upon as an index finger to the lodes, in this case they directed prospectors to the Golden Eagle Basin, where the Golden Eagle and other claims near the head of China Creek showed good gold values with their copper ores. A number of pioneer miners were attracted by these claims in the basin of Douglas Mountain [Peak], reached by pack trails from the settlement forming then in Alberni Valley, and then the King Solomon group was located on the divide at the head of McQuillan Creek, a tributary of China Creek, named after Frank McQuillan, a pioneer prospector. The DeBeaux Hotel [built and owned by Robert DeBeaux] was located near the mouth of China Creek in those days, [it was actually at the confluence of Mineral Creek and China Creek] and was a favourite stopping place for the prospectors and miners en-route to the Golden Eagle, Thistle and other claims in the hills. Snowslides interfered much with the early work at the Golden Eagle, one of the first lode properties located hereabout. Probably the earliest lode property located at this district was that on Copper Mountain [Mount Hankin], about half way up, where an old tunnel was run in 1865 following a cropping of chalcopyrite which suddenly gave out. To cope with the snowslides on the Golden Eagle a lengthy tunnel was driven in the early nineties. On the Thistle claim, about five and one half miles from DeBeaux’s Hotel, an average of about ten men were employed for many years, and in 1902 a San Francisco company brought the property, built a road seven miles long from Underwood’s Landing, on the Canal, and for about two months had over a hundred men at work. Franklin River, named after a former auctioneer [Selim Franklin* who became the chairman of the Vancouver Island Exploring Committee of 1864 which saw Dr. Robert Brown elected as the expedition leader] of Victoria, was on the route of the early prospectors from Alberni Canal, and on Granite Creek, a tributary, placer mining was done in the early nineties, good pay being found in some of the crevices. But the creek was rapid, boulders large, and it was found that ground sluicing would not pay. Some benches showed colors, but not rich enough for hydraulicking. Numerous locations have been made at different times in the vicinity of Granite Creek and its branches, gold-copper properties with good values in gold, some showing free gold. At the head of Franklin River is a large abrupt escarpment, almost perpendicular, of limestone, and a similar exposure occurs on the west side of Mount Douglas, at the head of China Creek, resembling several other similar large deposits at Horne Lake, Kennedy Lake, Nootka Sound, and also on Texada Island.

Old time prospector sitting on Copper Mountain (Mt. Hankin) late 1890’s.

Old time prospector sitting on Copper Mountain (Mt. Hankin) late 1890’s.

Miners of Alberni District

Though no minerals of any consequence have been shipped from the Alberni district since 1902, before which year a number of shipments were made from the Monitor and Nahmint mines, recent development indicate that before long some of the properties will likely soon begin shipping again. The Monitor, which has been developed to some considerable extent, is on the westerly side of Alberni canal, about eighteen miles from Alberni. It was staked in 1898 by Captain Hanson and in 1899 acquired by a syndicate headed by Dr. G.W. Maynard. After doing fairly extensive development work and equipping the mine with buildings, wharf, bunkers, aerial tram, compressor and pumping plants, and making regular shipments by the West coast steamer from late 1900 to the winter of 1901-2, operations were discontinued. From then, except for a short time in 1910, when the mine was bonded to the national Finance Co., of Vancouver, which did not exercise it option, the property remained idle until a short time ago. About 1914 the property was acquired by Leonard Frank, a photographer of Alberni, at a tax sale, and in the Summer of 1916 was leased to J.A. Skene, of Seattle. In 1918 work was again interrupted as a result of litigation over the property, this being settled in 1920, and it is expected that development will be resumed and the Monitor will again be a shipper. In 1901 and in 1002 there was much mining development on Alberni Canal. Both the Monitor and Hayes—the latter now known as the Three Jays—had considerable crews at work, and both were lively camps. The Nahmint Company’s property, which was earlier known as the Hayes Mine being named after Colonel Hayes, who became involved regarding moneys, Captain John Irving was induced to invest in the property and, as a result, went into retirement for a time, after which he went to Tonopah and Goldfields, where he made a fortune. The Hayes mine was closed in 1902 and abandoned 1910. When the caretaker left in that year the mine buildings were sold for old lumber, much of the camp equipment was dismantled and removed. The Crown-granted claims reverted to the Government for unpaid taxes, and the Hayes mine passed into history. About 1916 an Act was passed enabling the Government to lease mineral claims reverted for taxes, and when the demand for copper ore was at its height owing to the war demand in 1916, W.G. Tanner and Associates, of Seattle, leased the mine from the Province and proposed to reopen it and attempt to treat the ore, if too low grade to ship direct, by the oil-flotation process. Little, however, has since been done, and the property stills awaits development. Mineralization of the Monitor is a combination of chalcopyrite, magnetite, some iron pyrites and a little pyrrhotite. Trial shipments to the Trail smelter have yielded nine per cent copper, with a trace of gold and 1.10 ozs. Of silver to the ton. In 1917 some new ore bodies were found, and following upon the partial development of these, Samuel Ryder, of St. Albyns, England, negotiated for the cash purchase of both the Monitor and Happy Johns groups, and authorized the construction of wharf, bunkers, shops, equipment, power house and compressor plant so that shipments could be made regularly to a coast smelter. Before the work had been done, however, in 1918, litigation occurred between J.A. Skene, through whom the purchase had been negotiated, and the owners, and work was halted until this suit was settled, which occurred in October, 1920. It is expected that the work will soon take place here as well as at the Monitor. Other promising prospects on the Canal are the Kitchener, on Chesmuket Creek, near Smith’s Landing, about fourteen miles down the canal, and about 500 feet from the C.N.R. grade, which shows nine per cent copper, and the Canadian claim, staked 1916, about a mile from Smith’s Landing, on the railway grade, samples from which assayed seven per cent copper. The Edith, on the Canal, one of the earlier locations, samples about eight per cent copper. This property is interesting because it is one of the few instances where comparatively high-grade copper content occurs in chalcopyrite disseminated through pyrrhotite. The Gladys, another property about a quarter-mile from the Edith, has not been operated for some time, and the old tramway is now in a sad state of disrepair.

The Big Interior

The most extensive occurrence of copper ore, so far as at present known, in the Alberni district, is on the Big Interior group, about ten miles by trail westerly from the west end of Great Central Lake, in an upland basin hemmed in on three sides by precipitous cliffs a thousand feet high, on which rest a snow cap, terminating in peaks which are two thousand feet above the lake below. This group was staked in 1899 by Joe Drinkwater and Davie Nichols, two well-known prospectors of Alberni, when they were crossing Vancouver Island from the head of Bedwell Sound and Bear River to Alberni. Since then the property has had various vicissitudes, but Drinkwater maintained his interest, and, in association with M. Tebo, of Alberni, in 1919 bonded the property to Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co., of Trail, which sent a force of mining engineers to the property to make geological and topographical surveys and systematically sample the extensive outcrops. About this time, though, complications arose with regard to title to two of the four claims, and the party of engineers was withdrawn until the matter is settled. The claims hold a vast quantity of ore. They are at present difficult of access, in a basin of the Big Interior Range, one of the highest on the Island, at an elevation of about 6,000 feet above the sea. The route is from Alberni to Great Central Lake by launch, about twenty-three miles to its head, and ten miles by trail up Drinkwater River to that picturesque basin among the mountains, where the overflow from beautiful Della Lake pours over Della Falls, a sheer drop of about 2,000 feet at the foot of Big Interior Mountain. The trail from the river camp, nearly under the falls, to Della Lake, is about a mile long, but steep and rocky, there being a difference in altitude between its ends of 1,650 feet. A light aerial tram is installed to take in supplies up the mountain from the river camp, travel by the trail requiring hand and foot holds. The river camp is at an altitude of 1,700 feet, Della Lake 3,350 feet, Big Interior basin 3,525, and Big Interior Mountain 5,700 feet. The lake, covering about three-quarters of a mile, and fed by glacial streams flowing slowly down the mountains, the most important being the creek heading in Big Interior basin, about half a mile northwest, which is filled with an immense glacier. The mines are reached by following up the creek from Della Lake, and across the glacier to its northerly side, where a precipitous cliff about a thousand feet high is mineralized over its whole face from decomposition of pyrite for a width of 3,000 feet from east to west, apparently along the strike of the mineral bearing zone. The width of the zone, north to south, is not defined, as the surface of the basin, which covers about half of the four claims, is covered by the glacier, and the mineralization extends under the ice for an undetermined distance. The deposit is evidently a very extensive one, with low grade copper ores ranging up to about five per cent in more enriched parts.

Looking at Big Interior Mountain from the basin showing unique mineral colouration – Lindsay Elms photo

Looking at Big Interior Mountain from the basin showing unique mineral colouration – Lindsay Elms photo.

The Ptarmigan Group

Adjoining to the west on the same strike is the Ptarmigan group, owned by an English company, the dividing line being the summit of Big Interior Mountain, and this group is on the Clayoquot side of the drainage and more accessible from Bear River than Alberni. Mineralization is similar; in fact, the material hereabout strongly resembles that of the noted Britannia Mine of Howe Sound, which has been found to be amenable for treatment by the oil-flotation process. The inaccessible location, distance from the coast, and short season in which the property could be reached by the present trail via Drinkwater River and Della Lake was a handicap against interesting capital; but in 1919, as stated, the Consolidated Co. bonded the Big Interior. Mining experts consider that if diamond drilling shows the ore-bearing formation deep-seated, of sufficient extent, and carries ore of commercial value proportionate to the surface showing, there would not be any serious difficulty in driving an adit from the Drinkwater River at the base of Big Interior Mountain. The distance is roughly estimated at about a mile, and such an adit would have about 1,800 feet backs over it when under the glacier and nearly 4,000 feet when under the West Peak. From head of Drinkwater River a railway could easily be driven down the valley to Great Central Lake, with average grade of 150 feet to the mile, along the southerly shore of the lake, with grade of about ten feet to the mile, to a connection with the E. &. N. Railway. One of the finest water powers could be developed from Della Falls, and sufficient electricity generated to drive all machinery for concentrating and mining plants of large capacity, as well as electricity for electrifying a railway.

They All Went Overseas

It is expected that development would have been begun some years ago on the Ptarmigan group but for the war in Europe. About 1913 representatives of the Earl of Denbigh bought this group, and it was proposed to continue development. The old aerial tram which has been in use at the Tyee mine at Mount Sicker was purchased from the Tyee Copper Co. The Ptarmigan Copper Mines, LTD., was organized, the trail up Bear River valley repaired, and a new bridge built across the river at the canyon. Everything was ready for development in 1914 and then came the war, with the result that practically every man in the employ of the company enlisted and the company abandoned work. The owners, or their staff, had no time for mining until after armistice, and in 1919 Mr. Harry Johnson, chief engineer, returned from overseas service and paid a flying visit to the property, on which, since the war started, there had not been even a caretaker. The camp buildings at the mouth of the Bear River were found in a sad state of disrepair, and the contents, which included a large quantity of dynamite as well as general mining stores, were ruined. The cables of the tramway were found quite rusty, but possibly good enough for light loads. The wagon road was overgrown and in bad condition. Nothing has since been done.

Worked Free Gold with Arrastra

About half a mile southeast from Big Interior group is the Della group, staked about 1900 because of the discovery of a vein of gold-bearing quartz by Joe Drinkwater, of Alberni, and Alvin Engvik, of Vancouver, who later built an arrastra [a primitive mill for grinding and pulverizing (typically) gold and silver. Its simplest form is two or more flat-bottomed drag stones placed in a circular pit paved with flat stones, and connected to a center post by a long arm. With a horse, mule or human providing power at the other end of the arm, the stones were dragged slowly around in a circle, crushing the ore. Some arrastras were powered by a water wheel.] and operated it by water power for some time in an attempt to save the free gold that could be panned from samples of quartz taken from outcroppings. Below the surface the quartz contained too much iron pyrites and too little free gold to be treated by this method, and the arrastra was abandoned. The total distance that fissuring can be traced by several outcroppings of rusty iron-stained quartz is about 400 feet. Shafts had been sunk and open cuts made on nearly all of the outcroppings, but as the shafts were all full of water they could not be examined, neither could much data be obtained from the open-cut work, because most of these were filled with debris. The main work done on the fissure consists of an open-cut 35 feet long, 8 feet deep, by about 5 feet wide, with a shaft sunk at the northerly end of the cut, of unknown depth, as it was full of water. The locators yearly continued to do the necessary treatment work to hold their title. In 1915 J.B. Woodworth, of Vancouver, bonded the property and proposed starting systematic development work. His intention was, if conditions as to extent and grade of ore were found to warrant it, to erect a concentrator, but owing to the fact that in 1916 deep snow covered the surface later than usual the work was postponed. There is ample water power for all purposes. No further work has yet been done.

The arrastra for crushing the ore at Della Lake and some of the workers

A before and after of the tailings from Della Mine 1994 – Lindsay Elms photo

Tailings from the Della Mine.

An old mine shaft and an ore bucket on the shore of Della Lake 1994 – Lindsay Elms photo

An old mine shaft and an ore bucket on the shore of Della Lake 1994 – Lindsay Elms photo.


Tells Alpine Club of India’s Hills

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Wednesday November 15, 1922. p.4.

The Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada meet at the home of Major and Mrs. Frederick Longstaff, Highland Drive, last night. A lecture on India and its mountains by Colonel H.C. Greer was the feature of the evening’s programme. Arthur O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, spoke about the club’s camp at Palliser Pass last Summer. The next regular business meeting of the local section of the club will be held in January at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler, Sidney.

Club Luncheon

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Monday December 11, 1922. p.19.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will hold a luncheon on Tuesday at Spencer’s tearoom at12:15 p.m. The speaker will be Frederick W. Godsal, who will give a talk on the Selkirks and his expedition around Queen Charlotte Islands.

Annual Camp of The Alpine Club of Canada

Reported in the Daily Colonist Thursday December 14, 1922, p.13.

Annual Camp of The Alpine Club of Canada

Annual Camp of The Alpine Club of Canada

The annual camp of the Alpine Club of Canada held at Palliser Pass this Summer, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, has made history in this region for the year 1922. The site chosen was forty-five miles from Banff, the headquarters of this mountaineering, club in practically a new region and quite unknown to the general public. The outlying camp at North Kananaskis Pass, eight miles distant from the main camp, was in a district even more remote than the one in which the main camp was held, and, until this Summer, few parties had been in. What the club accomplished this Summer is on par with the previous record, which has from the beginning done feats worthy of note: feats that have called the whole world’s attention to the club. At the Alpine Congress of the Allied Nations, held at Monaco in May, 1920, the Alpine Club of Canada came only second to France in its exhibits. The route to camp was via the Walking and Riding Tour Camps, Eau Claire. Fishing Camp and the Trail Centre from where this well-known route was left for the last lap of the three-day trip, fourteen miles distant to Palliser Pass. Pack Trains left the Trail Centre (the transportation and mail centre) for Palliser Pass and Assiniboine daily, and from the main Alpine Club Camp to Kananaskis Pass as often as parties wished to leave. The Alpine pack train left Trail Centre for Banff, and from Mt. Assiniboine to Banff, four times a week, covering over one hundred miles. These camps of the Walking and Riding Tour, which we used en route, are permanent camps of the Banff-Mt. Assiniboine Tour; the camps were comfortable and the meals excellent. Mr. [Arthur] Wheeler opened this district for those wishing an easy access into the heart of these great hills, at a moderate cost, and they are now part of these hills—hills still in their virgin beauty, many miles from civilization. The site of the camp was ideal. There were two lakes in the camp grounds, a stream and four waterfalls which tumbled hundreds of feet, adding considerably to the beauty of the meadows in which the tents were pitched. The setting for this village of tents—and there were many dozens—was delightful.

The Dining Tent

The dining tent was a huge affair. The kitchen tent was back of this; not far distant was the office tent. Behind this stood the art gallery—a tent where photographs of the camp and various mountain subjects of the previous year were exhibited. Prizes were awarded for the best in each class. The tea tent, a place of welcome to climbers after an ascent, and in fact to all in camp was near. Four o’clock was the social hour of the afternoon, when the mountaineers’ favorite beverage was served. The men’s tent was not far from the lake, and the women’s quarters were near the two waterfalls. A drying tent was in this section, with a stove and wood pile, used for odd purposes. Still further on tents were pitched for married couples. There were tents for the cooks, tents for the packers, tents for the handy boys who chopped wood and waited on table. A small, interesting-looking tent with a sign “Guides” outside took the place of the village blacksmith, only in this case mortals came to be shod when nails and spikes persistently came out of boots. Truly a village these tents all made, a village curfew was the moon when high in the heavens—a village without a church, but where the Infinite spoke from mountain summits, flowers and streams, a place where all was peace and harmony, for to be wholly one with Nature in a primeval spot is to be at one with God. It seems a pity so few take advantage of an outing such as the Alpine Club of Canada affords. More first ascents were made from this camp than in any previous one, this on account of its being a new region. The first ascents were: Mount Queen Mary, Mount Birdwood, Mount Tipperary, Mount Smuts, Mount Maude and Mount King Albert. There was also a trip of exploration in a region that was almost unknown. These hills of Canada that this mountaineering club holds their annual camp in, lure and continually call to those who have been in them once; to know these hills is to love them and return again as to a distant friend.



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – Horace Westmorland

Secretary – Jennie McCulloch

Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Executive Committee – John Ford, William Everall George Winkler, Gordon Cameron, Robert McCaw, Margaret Cowell, Robert McCaw


January 9 – Club meeting at the home of William Everall where executive members were elected. Frederick Godsal gave a talk about a 2,400-mile trip across B.C. to Alberta and back.

February 13 – Club meeting at the home of Robert McCaw. Talk by Arthur Wheeler and Alan Campbell on Interprovincial Boundary Survey.

March 28 – Club’s 17th annual banquet at the Dominion Hotel.

November 24 – Club talk at Empress Hotel given by Sir James Outram on “The Canadian Rockies.”

Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at Larch Valley July 26 – August 9: Arthur and Clara Wheeler, Frederick Longstaff, William Foster.

Section members who passed away in 1923: Clara Wheeler.

Officers Chosen by Alpine Club

Captain Westmorland Heads Mountain Climbing Enthusiasts

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Wednesday January 10, 1923. p.7.

Officers were elected by the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada at a meeting in the home of Captain and Mrs. William Everall last night are as follows: Chairman, Captain Horace “Rusty” Westmorland; secretary Mrs. Jennie Longstaff; treasurer, Gordon Cameron; committee, Miss Margaret Cowell, Gordon Cameron, William Everall, John P. Ford, George Winkler and Robert D. McCaw, the latter being chairman of the photographic committee of the club. Mr. McCaw, the retiring chairman, in his annual report, outlined the activities of the club during the year. He recalled that many successful expeditions had been carried out, and that individual members had achieved various triumphs in climbing particularly difficult peaks. Mr. Godsal told the meeting about a trip which he made last Summer when he traveled about 2,400 miles overland for $50 from Vancouver to Edmonton, thence to Calgary and back to the coast via Edmonton and Prince Rupert.

Alpine Club

Reported in the Daily Colonist Sunday February 4, 1923, p.6.

The regular monthly meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will be held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, 2099 Granite Street, om Tuesday evening, Feb. 13, at 8 o’clock. Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler and Mr. A. [Alan] J. Campbell will give addresses on the “Interprovincial Boundary Survey,” illustrated by lantern slides.

Alpine Club at Annual Dinner – Anniversary Brings Mountain Climbers Together

Annual Gathering of The Vancouver Island Section Held Last Evening at Dominion Hotel.

Reported in the Daily Colonist Thursday March 29, 1923, p.5.

At its seventeenth anniversary dinner held last evening [March 28] at the Dominion Hotel the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada drew up and enthusiastically adopted a congratulatory message to be forwarded to the 1922 Mount Everest expedition, this being coupled with every good wish for the success of the proposed 1924 expedition. Captain [Horace] Westmorland, chairman of the section, presided at this anniversary dinner, among the honored guests at which were Mr. Arthur Wheeler, of Sidney, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, and Mrs. [Clara] Wheeler. The occasion brought together a good representation of the members of the local organization, who did full justice to the excellent menu provided by the Dominion Hotel management. The tables, arranged in horseshoe formation, were charmingly decorated by Miss [Margaret] Cowell and Mrs. [Jennie] Longstaff with daffodils and violets sent from Mrs. Wheeler’s garden at Sidney. The toasts and responses thereto provided the major part of the speechmaking of the evening, being as follows: “The King,” proposed by the chairman; “The Ladies,” proposed by Colonel [Richard] Greer, responded to by Miss [Ethel] Bruce; “Mount Everest Expedition,” proposed by Captain Westmorland; and “The Alpine Club of Canada,” proposed by Mr. Lindley Crease, was responded to by Mr. A.O. Wheeler. Captain Westmorland gave a graphic account of the fight with circumstances, altitude and the elements encountered by the 1922 expedition, showing how both speed and endurance at the great elevation reached were governed by the lungs. In addition to the disability arising from this source, the climbers had to content with a dearth of the kind of food, as the higher they went the more difficult it was to bring up supplies in time and in sufficient quantities to meet the need. They use of oxygen, and artificial stimulant the advantages of which were demonstrated by the expedition, had the disadvantage of stimulating the appetite when food was at a premium. The climbers, [George] Mallory and [Henry] Morshead, in the first instance, [George] Finch and [Geoffrey] Bruce in the second, went “all out,” keeping only enough reserve to get back to camp. The former reached 26,985 feet; the latter succeeded in getting to 27,235 feet, and a half mile nearer the summit than the preceding party.

Inexhaustible Treasure

“Our mountains, the Canadian Rockies, possess inexhaustible treasures for the generations to come,” said Mr. Lindley Crease, in proposing the toast to the Alpine Club of Canada. The scientist, the geologist, the botanist, climber and artist alike would do a national service in developing the knowledge of the mountains. The speaker noted that in this, the seventeenth anniversary of the Alpine Club of Canada, the organization could boast of a membership of over 700. Mr. Wheeler, the director, in responding, gave a comprehensive review of mountaineering activities for the year of 1922. So far as the Alpine Club of Canada was concerned, the activities of the society had been outstanding, much good mountaineering work having been done both by the club’s members and by others. The club entered the new year in good condition, with interest well maintained and membership growing. Reference to the 1922 Mount Everest expedition touched on the fact that the Canadian Club had been represented on this as on the 1921 expedition, Dr. T. [Tom] G. Longstaff and Dr. A. [Arthur] W. Wakefield being members of the Alpine Club of Canada. Major Edward, O. Wheeler, the club’s representative in the 1921 expedition, had spent the Summer in Canada, and had met many of his old mountaineering friends. The director referred to the forthcoming Summer’s camp. The ballot for the choice of the sites does not close until the end of march, but thus far the vote had shown three to one in favor of Larch Valley, near Moraine Lake. This location would provide excellent facilities for climbing the Ten Peaks.

War Memorial Tablet

The war memorial tablet had been received, and would be duly installed at the clubhouse, Banff, this Spring. The matter of an expedition to climb Mount Logan, 19,850 feet, the highest known Canadian mountain, had been receiving some attention. The director also spoke of the meeting of the British Association for the Promotion of Science, to be held at Toronto next year, when, he suggested, the club might hold a camp at Mount Robson, and perhaps be able to entertain such members of the English Alpine Club as came to Toronto to attend the associations meetings. In conclusion, after reviewing some of the individual mountaineering feats of Canadian Alpine Club members and others during the past year, Director Wheeler entered a protest against Spray Lakes Development Scheme, whereby this lake basin would be converted into a source of supply for a power plant. Such scheme would, in his opinion, completely destroy the beautiful valley which is a main thoroughfare to many of the most beautiful scenic centres of the Southern Canadian Rockies. Major [Frederick] Longstaff’s brief eulogy of the mountains, and particularly of the floral beauty which is to be found in the higher altitudes long after Spring has passed in the lower levels, concluded the speech-making part of the programme. Mrs. Robert D. McCaw’s charmingly sung “Pickaninny Lullaby,” and Montague Phillips’ “Wake Up,” were among the other attractions of the gathering, Miss Bradshaw playing her accompaniments very systematically. The affair concluded with an informal social, cards and dancing engaging the attention of those who remained.

Mrs. A.O. Wheeler Laid to Rest at Banff Cemetery

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Wednesday September 5, 1923. p.9.

Impressive services were held at St. George’s Church, Banff, on Monday September 3 over the remains of Mrs. Clara Wheeler, of Sidney, V.I. who passed away suddenly after attending the Alpine Club annual camp on August 28. Canon Montgomery officiated in the presence of a large congregation. Conspicuous among the large number of beautiful floral tributes was that from the Alpine Club of Canada of which Mr. Wheeler is the founder and director. In the centre of a solid mass of white flowers was a replica of an ice axe in white and scarlet carnations, surrounded by a floral rope. The sections of the club in Vancouver Island, Toronto, Saskatoon, New York and Calgary also sent floral tributes. At the service hymns “Rock of Ages” and “Abide with me” were sung with the Nunc Dimittis at the close. The pallbearers were C.A. Richardson, Major W.J.S. Walker, L.B. Moffat, Lionel C. Wilson, A.B. Ballantyne and Ralph Rink, five being members of the Alpine Club of Canada.

Lecture Reminder

Reported in the Daily Colonist Friday November 23, 1923, p.10.

Members were reminded of the public meeting under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, which will be held in the Empress ballroom tomorrow night, at 8 o’clock, at which Sir James Outram will give an illustrated lecture on “The Canadian Rockies in All Their Grandeur.”


Explorer To Give Lecture on Rockies

Sir James Outram, Well-known English Mountaineer, To Lecture At Empress Saturday Evening.

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday November 24, 1923, p.14.

Under the auspices of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada, Sir James Outram, the famous English explorer and mountaineer, will lecture on Saturday evening in the Empress ballroom. His subject is to be “The Canadian Rockies,” a theme on which he is eminently fitted to speak, having, perhaps, climbed more British Columbia mountains of 10,000 feet than any other English mountaineer. Sir James was a guest of the Alpine Club at its annual camp last Summer at Yoho Valley, and proved a very popular member of the party. On that occasion he met Professor Fay, of Tufts College, Massachusetts, another ardent mountaineer, whom he first met twenty-three years ago, and had not seen since. The lecture on Saturday evening will be generously illustrated with lantern slides of the Rockies. Sir James is outspokenly opposed to the school of mountaineering which makes climbing a mere feat of athleticism, and would have climbers go into the heights with their eyes open to the beauties of nature. It is anticipated, therefore, that he will tell much about the flora and fauna to be found in the higher altitudes. During his stay in Victoria Sir James will be the guest of Mr. Lindley Crease.

Alpinists Elect Officers for Year

Mr. R.D. McCaw Will Be Chairman of Local Section of Club — Mount Logan Expedition Discussed

Reported in the Daily Colonist Saturday December 5, 1923, p.9.

Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw was elected as chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the annual meeting of the organization last evening [December 4]. He succeeds the retiring president Captain H. [Horace] Westmorland, whose unavoidable absence did not interfere with the reading of his interesting resume of the section’s activities during the past year. Other officers elected for 1924 are Mr. Gordon Cameron, treasurer; Capt. W. [William] M. Everall, secretary; committee, Mrs. F.V. [Jennie] Longstaff, Miss [Margaret] Cowell, Messrs. [William] Dougan and [George] Winkler. The chairman in his annual report, outlined some of the year’s activities. He recalled the meetings at which the speakers were Mr. [Frederick] Godsal, Mr. A. [Alan] J. Campbell and Sir James Outram and the expedition to Mont Arrowsmith and Larch River. In conclusion he said: “Now, just a word about the future. It has been suggested that we should arrange mountaineering talks in the clubrooms of organizations which obtain young people, with a view to enlisting young and active recruits for the Alpine Club; perhaps at the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A. Perhaps some of the more advanced schools and at kindred organizations like the Engineers Institute. I think the idea a good one. “I wish to mention very specially the loyal spirit and hard work of the honorary secretary, Mrs. Longstaff. In spite of illness in her home Mrs. Longstaff has never failed us. I thank her sincerely. Mr. Cameron, the honorary treasurer, has many times set aside his personal convenience to be present and help us; with his name I think also of the members of the executive. “Mr. McCaw and Mr. Campbell have both very willingly assisted by operating the lantern at out lectures.”



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – William Dougan

Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Secretary – Mrs. Robert Healey- Kerr

Executive Committee – George Winkler, Jennie Longstaff, William Dougan, Margaret Cowell


January – Photo exhibition of the Rocky Mountains

March 15 – William Foster talk “The Lure of the Trail” at the Empress Hotel

March 29 – Club’s 18th annual banquet held at James White’s “Killarney Lake” in Saanich

April 5 – Club and community trip to Mt. Braden

May 3 – Club trip to Mt. Finlayson

October 8 – Arthur Wheeler marries Emmeline Savatard.

Section members who attended the ACC general summer at Mount Robson: Arthur Wheeler, Stanley Mitchell.

Views of Rockies Being Shown Here

Local Section of Alpine Club Arranges Exhibition of Photographs For This Afternoon.

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday January 10, 1924, p.5.

An exhibition of magnificent photographs of the Rocky Mountain scenery is being held at 622 View Street today, tomorrow and Saturday by the local section of the Alpine Club of Canada. The pictures, which are loaned by the Alpine Club of Canada, number about one hundred, and are excellent examples of photographic art, depicting the grandeur of the Rockies and showing the lofty peaks where Alpinists love to climb to the clouds. Among the pictures are some by Dr. Winthrop E. Stone, who came to a tragic death while climbing in the Rockies. The exhibition, which is the Central Building, View Street, on the ground floor, is in charge of Mr. George E. Winkler, a member of the executive of the local section of the Alpine Club. The pictures will be on view from 1 to 9 o’clock today, tomorrow and Saturday. In the window will be shown a map of Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada, which has never yet been surmounted by man. The Alpine Club of Canada intends making an attempt to reach the top, nineteen thousand feet above sea level, and a box for donations to the fund for the expedition will be on hand at the exhibition to receive donations. The purpose of the pictures here is to arouse increased interest in the Alpine Club, and to give some conception of the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Dr. Stone, who is mentioned above as having taken some of the photographs being exhibited, was president of Purdue University. He met his death on Mount Eon on July 17, 1921, at the moment of achieving its first ascent. The unique map of Mount Logan to be exhibited in the window is work of Major Harold F. Nation, of the Provincial Mineralogist’s Department.


Big Street Display of Alpine Scenery Staged Tonight

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday January 12, 1924. p.2.

A great outdoor display of wonderful Canadian Alpine scenery will be staged in View Street outside the Central Building at 8 o’clock tonight, it was announced today by George Winkler. The exhibition by feature slides will be put on by Robert D. McCaw, chairman of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada. Crowds will watch the exhibition from the street. At the same time the exhibition of Rocky Mountain photographs by the local section of the Alpine Club will be continued at 622 View Street.

Lantern Slides to Be Seen Outdoors

Local Section of Alpine Club Will Throw Mountain Views On Screen Tonight

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday January 12, 1924, p.7.

Lantern slides of mountain scenery will be shown at 622 View Street this evening at eight o’clock by Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, chairman of the local section of the Alpine Club of Canada. The pictures can be seen from the street. The local section of the Alpine Club has been exhibiting some fine Rocky Mountain photographs at 622 View Street, Central Building, since Thursday, and is gratified with the large number who have visited there to see the pictures, which will also be on view today.

Climbers Get Close to Heaven in Hills

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 3, 1924, p.15.

By Frederick W. Godsal. A.C.C.

The charm of mountain-climbing is often as great a mystery to those who have not tried it as is the attraction of golf to those who have not handled a club. But those who have not played golf admit that it has fascinations from the moods and devotion of their golf-playing friends. Alpine climbers, however, will claim a higher place for their favorite pastime. In the first place, while golf, like other mundane pursuits, is of the earth only, and more or less level earth, too, mountain climbing takes one above the earth, as it were, and nearer heaven; out of the world with its strife, tempers and sordid aims, to close communion with Nature and its Creator. From the top of a high mountain, looking around on peak beyond peak, on vast snowfields, forests, lakes and streams, with clouds floating below one, and only space above, one seems to be, though on the world, yet not on the world; and thus, looking down over the world and its glories, Heaven seems nearer; and to reach this vantage point, as in one’s struggle through life, has not one had to endure manfully, climbing patiently, overcoming many difficulties and dangers, resisting temptations, ordering our steps carefully and obediently to our guide, ever looking upward?

Fellowship Promoted

The use of the rope, too, in dangerous places, tends to develop the best spirit in man, unselfishness and thought for others. It helps one to realize how much one’s life is bound up with the lives of others, and theirs with ours; we do not live for ourselves only in the world; the course of our lives is knit together and interwoven in a marvelous way. It is most striking to a thoughtful observer how this brotherly, unselfish spirit pervades the meetings of the Alpine Club of Canada. In no other gathering together of one or two hundred people for two weeks in this more noticeable, and this direction alone, apart from its healthy exercise and mental training of young Canadians, and its other aims and objects, the A.C.C. is doing a good work for Canada that is little known to the outside world. This spirit may be described in Moira O’Neill’s fine line on the Northwest of Canada:

“But could we know and forever know,

The word of the young Northwest!

A word she breathes to the true and the bold,

A word misknown to the false and the cold,

A word that never was spoken or sold.

But the one that knows is blest.”

Hills Abode of Good

But have not mountains had an influence for good through all time? Was it not on a mountain top that God spoke to His people through Moses, and there all that was good was taught to men? And was not Moses a better man for his climb? And when we descend from our mountain peaks, are we not also struck, as Moses was, with disgust at the sight of the worship of the Golden Calf, the money-grabbing pursuits of the people in the plains below? Was it not on a mountain that our Lord spoke of His wonderful sermon of love and unselfishness? And the top of a high mountain was the scene of the Transfiguration, when Peter said: “It is good for us to be here.” And was it not a mountain our Lord was wont to repair, when he wished to get away from the world and be nearer to the Father in prayer? But text upon text, incident upon incident, might be quoted in the world’s history, showing the close connection between mountains and all that makes for good. The effects and influence of scenery on the human mind is well-known, and ten days among the finest of our mountains and their eternal snows and glaciers, camping in their lovely valleys, in gardens of Alpine shrubs and flowers, communing with Nature in her grandest forms, and most sublime moods, cannot but work good on even the hardest mind. One evening the fun around the camp fire was arrested by a most wonderful vision of departing sunlight on the peaks of Mt. Victoria and Mt. Huber. Everyone instinctively stood up as before the majesty of Heaven, and gazed in silence. Such are some of the joys of Alpine climbing.

The Lure of the Trail

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday March 8, 1924, p.6.

Colonel William W. Foster, of Vancouver, president of the Alpine Club of Canada, will be a visitor in the city next week, and on Saturday, March 15, in the Empress Hotel ballroom will give an illustrated lecture entitled, “The Lure of the Trail.” Colonel Foster will speak here under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club.

Press clipping of the announcement that Col. W. W. Foster will speak. "The Lure of the Trail"

Press clipping of the announcement that Col. W. W. Foster will speak.

Scenery an Export Says Col. Foster

President of Alpine Club in Lecture Emphasizes Importance of Preserving National Parks

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday March 19, 1924, p.3.

“The most thriving export trade we have today is the memory of our scenery which goes out of our country with the departure of our tourist visitors,” declared Colonel W. [William] W. Foster, president of the Alpine Club of Canada, in the course of a delightful lantern lecture which he gave on Saturday night at the Empress Hotel. Colonel Foster came to Victoria under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada which arranged the affair with the object of helping the fund which has been opened toward the financing of the Mount Logan expedition which is to take place in the Spring of 1925. Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, president of the local section, presided, and Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, director of the club, was among those present in the audience. Colonel Foster gave much interesting information about the national parks of Canada, and made an earnest appeal for the preservation of the wonderful natural beauties which are included within their boundaries. “Once scenic beauty is obliterated it cannot be replaced,” he pointed out. Those who had set aside the great national park areas, of which there are nine in Canada, had been intended an act of beneficence for the generations to come as well as for the present. The science and art of today might look like very small achievements to the people of a thousand years hence, but the present had at least one finer possession to hand on than anything that the future would have, its scenery, which could never be improved upon, never altered, except to its disadvantage. The investment represented was small, $710,000 for the whole nine national parks. But it was a magnificent investment, the annual returns through tourists, etc., amounting to something like $20,000,000. In 1923, about 200,000 tourists visited these parks, the majority of them from the United States. Scenery was a very profitable export, as it did not depreciate in the slightest degree. Americans in Europe, it was pointed out, spent annually $100,000,000. Coming to Canada the same Americans always declared that the scenery here was far superior to anything they had seen in Europe. Yet Canada played up her granaries and her wheat fields far more than she advertised her national parks. If the Dominion catered as deliberately to the tourist as did Europe, ten percent of the returns would equal the whole wheat crop of last year. Reference was made to the National Parks Association, a society founded with the object of protecting the parks from commercial interests which would be likely to injure their natural beauty. Reference was also made to the Provincial parks, Col. Foster noting with regret that these had been neglected, while at the same time condoning a government for its failure to expend large sums on the upkeep of these areas. The public would undoubtedly resent expenditure of Strathcona Park, for instance. “We are simply trustees: we should see that these great areas are preserved intact for prosperity,” said the speaker. “Victoria had no equal in the world as a city of natural beauty of setting. No province in the Dominion could boast such scenic attractions, all that Switzerland possessed and many others to be found within the borders of British Columbia.”


Mount Braden to Be Climbed

Object For Community Climb Chosen—Unique Hike Under Auspices of Alpine Club To Start At Goldstream Station

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 23, 1924, p.29.

Mount Braden, a mountain situated a few miles southwest of Goldstream station on the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway, has been selected as the objective of the Community Climb being held for the general public under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada on Saturday April 5. This mountain is about 1,500 feet in height, and can be ascended without difficulty, experience in climbing being unnecessary. From the summit an excellent view will be obtainable of the surrounding country. Mr. George E. Winkler, who has been named by the executive of the local section of the Alpine Club as the leader of the Community Climb, is making plans for the event which is something unique in the history of Victoria. All those who intend to participate are asked to send in their names as soon as possible to Mr. Winkler, Box 1256, City. The party of climbers, which it is hoped, will be a big one, will leave Victoria on the morning of April 5, returning on the evening train.

Community Climb Is to Be Unique Event

Public Invited to Participate in Hike to Top of Mount Braden Next Saturday Under Auspices of Alpine Club—Rev. Robert Connell Will Speak at Summit on Geographical, Historical and Other Features—Mountain Named After Mr. John Braden

A line drawing of the route to Mt. Braden.

A line drawing of the route to Mt. Braden.

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 30, 1924, p.2.

An opportunity to tramp a quiet, woodland road and mount by winding trails to the summit of a mountain from whose top the climber views the land and sea spread out in glorious panorama is offered to the people of Victoria when the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club holds its community climb next Saturday [March 5]. The public is invited to join in the trip to Mount Braden, which lies about three and a half miles to the southwest of Goldstream Station, on the E. & N. Railway, from where the actual hike will commence. This is the first time that such an event as the community climb has been held here, and it is an attempt on part of the local section of the Alpine Club to interest the citizens in exploring the delightful territory which lies close to the city. The hiking party will go out to Goldstream on the 9 o’clock train on Saturday morning, and from there will tramp to Mount Braden. Mr. George E. Winkler, a member of the executive of the local section of the Alpine Club and who, as a prospector, has gained an intimate knowledge of the country to be traversed, will be in charge. The route lies a short distance up the Humpback Road, then away to the right along another road which continues practically to the foot of the mountain going through forest of big fir and cedar, with a stream close by. After the road ends, a trail continues on. A few days ago Mr. Winkler and a friend went out to Braden and blazed a trail to the top from where the existing trails ended.

Fine Panorama

Reaching the top of the mountain the party will be able to see Victoria lying about fifteen miles to the east, with the Gulf of Georgia and the San Juan group beyond, while to the south will be the Straits of Juan de Fuca lined on the far side by the magnificent Olympics. All about will be hills, stretching away on the west to the Pacific Ocean. The panorama is worth the climb. Another feature will be the talk by Rev. Robert Connell on the geological, historical and other aspects of what will be seen on the trip. Mr. Connell speaks entertainingly and authoritatively upon these subjects. He will deliver his address from the summit. Lunch will be eaten at some convenient spot along the route, and the party will return to Goldstream in time to board the train which reaches there at 4:25 in the afternoon. Students of tree and plant life, geology and other branches of nature study will find the trip of interest. No experience in climbing is necessary, as Mount Braden is not difficult of ascent. Those making the trip are advised to wear old clothes, bring sweaters and wear heavy shoes. Each individual is to take his own lunch. There will be fine cold water available on the route, and if tea or other refreshment is desired it will have to be provided by those wanting it. Some may wish to take along thermos flasks or bottled soft drinks. The hikers are advised to carry some candy, raisins or figs to eat on the trail.

How It Was Named

Mount Braden rises to a height of fifteen hundred feet west of Mount McDonald. It is named for Mr. John Braden, Victoria pioneer and former member of the Provincial Parliament. He was in the habit of going on numerous hunting expeditions into the hills west of Victoria, and as the territory usually covered began to be hunted out, he resolved to go to new fields. So it happened that Mr. Braden made trips alone and without disclosing the route he followed, and invariably came out with a deer. His friends and others were curious as to this new Eldorado of the hunter, and attempts were made to follow him, but he used to go out from the city during the night and pursue his way into the woods to his chosen spot while the pall of darkness still hung upon the earth, with the result that he kept his secret for some time. At last, however, it was given away when he took a party of friends in and one of them was sighted by a rival aggregation. The mountain, which has yield up so many fine deer to Mr. Braden’s unerring rifle, and which became very popular once its value as a hunting ground was learned, was named Mount Braden after the man who made use of it. A competition will be held among the photographers of the party, a prize going to the one securing the best picture on the trip. Already quite a number of people have informed Mr. Winkler of their intention to make the climb, and numerous inquiries are being made augurs well for the project.


Alpinists Ascend Big Saanich Mountain

Members of Local Section of Alpine Club of Canada Celebrate Anniversary with Climb and Supper

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 1, 1924, p.3.

A novel but thoroughly appropriate manner of celebrating their anniversary was adopted by Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada on Saturday [March 29], the annual dinner, which has been the customary mode of marking the occasion, being replaced by a climb up Big Saanich Mountain and a picturesque camp supper on the forested shores of Lake Killarney. Not all of the twenty-six members who joined the camp for the annual rally in the evening were able to leave the city early enough to carry through the whole programme, only nine making the ascent of Big Saanich Mountain. The rendezvous was Mr. James White’s Summer camp at Killarney Lake, and this first section of the party, under Mr. William Dougan’s guidance, started from this point at eleven in the morning, carrying luncheon to be eaten at the summit. They returned to camp about 5 p.m. The major section of the party which drove out in the afternoon via Prospect Lake contented itself with a tramp to Heal’s Lake and back to Killarney Lake, where they joined the other section at the informal and jolly meal which the knapsacks furnished. Mr. and Mrs. James White, who had kindly provided the luxury of their camp and tables, canvas roof, etc., were very cordially thanked on behalf of all present by Mr. Robert D. McCaw, presiding of the section, in the course of an impromptu speech which he gave during the programme which took place after the supper, when the party gathered round the crackling fire. Camp songs, stories and guessing games which tested the contestants’ knowledge of mountain names, were other items in this delightful part of the day’s event. Reverend Robert Connell was called upon for a speech, and gave an interesting little history of the geology of the district. The annual address of Mr. Arthur O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, was the big feature of the occasion, Mr. Robert McCaw reading this in the unavoidable absence of the director, who was in Vancouver at the annual dinner of the section there of the Alpine Club. Another enjoyable item was the recitation by Miss Eleanor Everall, daughter of Captain William Everall, secretary of the club. This manner of celebrating the anniversary of the society met with such universal approval that it is probable that the annual meetings will take this form on all occasion’s hereafter. Those who made the ascent of Big Saanich Mountain under Mr. Dougan’s guidance were, Miss Sara Spencer, Miss Schwartz, Miss Smith, Mrs. Worsley, Colonel Wooley-Dodd and Messrs. Lindley Crease, Frederick Godsal and Hinton.

Hiking Party is Steadily Growing

Community Climb is Finding Favor Here—Leader Urges All Motor Cars Be Left At Goldstream—Party Coming In From Sidney

Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday April 4, 1924, p.8.

The number of people who have announced their intention of going on the community climb tomorrow [April 5] to the top of Mount Braden, near Goldstream, is steadily increasing. Mr. George E. Winkler, who is in charge of the outing, which is under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, has received assurances that members of the Alpine Club, the Natural History Society, the teachers Association and the Vancouver Island Prospectors’ Association will attend. Parties of ladies are going along, and a group is coming in from Sidney to make the trip. The community climb is for the general public, and all anyone needs is the fifty-five cents for the round trip to Goldstream on the railway and a lunch to eat on the mountain. No special clothes are required. Old clothes and comfortable boots are the main essentials. If the weather is threatening tomorrow morning the climb will be automatically cancelled. It is hoped, however, that the day will be fine, clear so that the view from the summit of Braden will be at its best. Considerable of the hike is to be along a beautiful road through the woods, and Mr. Winkler is anxious that no hikers shall go along that highway with motor cars. He urges that those who go out in cars leave the vehicles at Goldstream and travel the rest of the distance on foot, as the presence of automobiles detracts from the pleasure of the pedestrians. Rev. Robert Connell has kindly consented to give an address at the top of Mount Braden on geological, geographical, historical and other features. From where the audience will be perched upon the rocks an admirable view will be obtainable of the surrounding country. Specialists in geology, trees, plant life and so forth are going on the hike, and these will be able to give interesting information to those not versed in such matters. A camera contest is another feature of the climb. A prize will be given for the best photographs taken on the trip, and it is expected that there will be quite a number of cameras along. The hikers will go out to Goldstream on the 9 o’clock train tomorrow morning, returning on the afternoon train which leaves Goldstream at 4:25.

Community Climb Annual Feature

Alpine Club to Have Public Outing Yearly—Event Has Stimulated Interest in Trips to Points Near City—Photos Judged

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday April 23, 1924, p.9.

The community climb inaugurated this year is to be an annual affair, the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, under whose auspices the outing was held, has decided. The number of people who attended the climb which was held a week from yesterday, testified to the interest here in country tramps. Mount Braden was comparatively little known, a very large number of people never having even heard of it before. The discovery that a fine walk and excellent view is available to those who care to make the trip will undoubtedly result in walkers making use of the route. There are numerous trips which can be made not far from Victoria, lakes, streams and far-fetching panoramas being included in the scenes which meet the eye. Mount McDonald, Mount Skirt, Mount Finlayson and Goldstream Mountain, for example, are reached without difficulty from Goldstream Station. Photographs taken on the community climb have been submitted to the Alpine Club to be judged, and the first prize has been awarded to a picture taken by Mr. G.H. Lofts, 856 Selkirk Avenue; the second prize goes to Mr. A.C. Hunter, 1843 Crescent Road. Mr. Hunter states that anyone wishing copies of his pictures may obtain them from him. The members of the local section of the Alpine Club will climb Mount Finlayson on May 3, and further climbs will be held during the season. The community climb has stimulated interest in the Alpine Club and Captain William Everall, October Mansions, will be glad to provide any information which may be desired in regard to the organization.

Dark photo of group gathered on the summit of Mount Braden.

“These are some of the people who participated in the community climb. They are shown gathered upon the summit of Mount Braden, listening to a talk by Mr. George E. Winkler, leader of the climb, on the geology of the district.


Climbing Party Goes Up-Island

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday May 3, 1924. p.9.

About thirty members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and guests boarded the train this morning for Goldstream, from which point they set out for Mount Finlayson. The party expected to reach the summit of Mount Finlayson about 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Mountain Climb Staged by Club—Alpinists and Friends Enjoy Outing

Summit of Mount Finlayson Reached by Party Which Sets Out From Goldstream.

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday May 6, 1924, p.3.

A most enjoyable climb to the summit of Mount Finlayson, on Saanich Inlet, was carried out by the members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and their friends on Saturday [May 3]. Some of the twenty-five people, more than half of whom were guests of members, left Goldstream for the mountain about half past nine in the morning, with Mr. George E. Winkler as guide. Following a trail through the woods, past the western shoulder of Mount Skirt, the climbers paused for a lunch at a small stream at the base of Finlayson. The ascent was made from the eastern side, no difficulty being experienced, and on the summit the beautiful view, which took in the Olympics, the Straits of Juan de Fuca, Victoria and its environs, and glimpses of Saanich Inlet and nearby mountains was enjoyed. Cameras were much in evidence throughout the trip. The descent was made on the northwestern slope, quick time being made to the road which wound past the mountain on that side. Up to that time the party had been under the usual Alpine Club discipline, with the members of the party numbered, and other precautions taken, but once the road was reached and the roll called to be sure that everyone was down, the climbers were allowed to do as they wished. Following the descent, Mr. Robert D. McCaw, president of the local section of the Alpine Club, expressed the pleasure of the members at having the guests with them and also conveyed the thanks to Mr. Winkler for his work in locating the trail in advance, and in acting as leader. The climbers returned to Goldstream by way of the road and came into the city by train.

Grainy photo of the Mount Finlayson climbing party on the summit.

“The Members of the Vancouver Island Section of the Alpine Club of Canada and Their Friends Climbed Mount Finlayson, Near Goldstream on Saturday, May 3. The Party Is Shown on the Summit.”

Vancouver Island Lakes and Woods Call City People

Streams, Forests and Mountains Offer Days Of Enchantment—Familiar Urge of the “Itchy Foot” Felt Again—Paradise of Pacific Lures With Irresistible Summons “Come-Hither”

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 25, 1924, p.18.

(By Edith M. Mustard)

‘T’WAS just a rush of trembling wings, a sudden rapturous note;

The scent of tender, growing things and butterflies afloat.

Though timid signs to see and hear, they shouted loud to me;

Old Winter’s gone wake up my dear,

It’s Spring—come out and see.’

Vancouver Island in the Springtime spells Paradise on the Pacific Coast. The beautiful motor roads which abound lead without fail to delightful vistas of mountains, seas and sky; vistas which charm the weary traveler into partaking of the lotus buds of forgetfulness and dreaming away the enchanted hours. The Island has an irresistible “come-hither” in her eye and all Summer long, in her answer to the lure, friends and visitors come flocking. From Honolulu and Japan; from the land to the south of us and from all over Canada they come. Some arrive in limousines, others in Fords; some remain a week and others, more fortunate, for months, but having once come they see and are conquered. Doubtless the most popular of all the Summer trails leading away from Victoria is the Island Highway itself, known far and wide for its magnificent Douglas firs and lazy streams; for views it affords mountains and sea, sun drenched and sparkling on clear days, or misted to a pale mauve on hazy days.

Ho For Della Falls

Last year, as the Summer came on space, we felt the old familiar urge of the “itchy foot.” We succumbed without a struggle and the Island Highway claimed us as its own. Della falls was our objective and possibly Della Lake, but Della Falls we determined to see, cascading down two thousand feet of mountain side to lose its waters finally in the blue depths of Great Central Lake, nine miles distant. The party arrived by various routes and we picked up our outfit at Alberni. When finally assembled for the trip our conveyance resembled a light delivery wagon understudying a truck, for bundles to right of us, boxes to left of us, blankets behind us rattled and fluttered. Indeed, we felt that for once we were going to make an impression. The white road ribboned away beneath our wheels and the second night found us at Great Central Lake, a most picturesque spot. There was a moon, too, a moon that shook its silver radiance on splashing waterfalls and placid lake and made us think of other moons and still other “knights.” The lapping of the water lulled us to sleep, but we had wished to enjoy a confidential bedtime chat (belonging to someone else), all we need do was prop our ear in a comfortable position and listen to the remarks trickling through the partitions. Unfortunately, however, when the conversation ceased the snores began and we heard them particularly well, too.

Charming Great Central

There is a mysterious attraction about Great Central Lake—it beckons you on and on, and if you follow its course, reveals many miles of the most delightful lake scenery imaginable. The wooded hills dip dainty feet in the blue waters and then stretch up and up to admire their reflected loveliness from dignified heights. No devastating breath of fire nor steel menace of the axe have laid their glory desolate; remote and serene they have come, apparently, fresh from the hand of God. Unable to resist the lure, we hired a launch in the morning and made our way to the far end of the lake. The owner of the launch played the part of guide and encyclopedia and entertained us as we went. He was a rather picturesque figure with a coquettish eye and fine features; a cheek full of Old Chum and (as he solemnly assured us) “a disposition, not too course.” At all events his heart was in the right place for he sallied forth midstream presently and hooked a couple of trout which he presented by their tails with his compliments. We relieved them of their heads and outer coverings, amid a shower of scales and curses, while the rest of the party stood by with camera and threatened to snap the dirty deed. Presently, however, the owner of the launch climbed aboard his craft and headed for home and with him went our last link with civilization, for our guide-to-be developed tooth-ache and had to hasten back to town. Thus, it came about that we set out next morning guideless, mapless and alone. Little did we think then that our guideless state would prove such a blessing, for being Scotch, there were moments when the knowledge that we were thus saving ten dollars a day was all that kept us up.

The Beginning of The Trail

Our directions had been sketchy in the extreme but we followed them faithfully and located the path. In five minutes, we were swallowed up in the forest. The tall timbers rose around us like pillars in a cathedral, running up and out to press feathery fingers to the blue above. In open spots the path was so overgrown with bracken, with shrubs and with weeds that we needed a formal introduction and then were apt to pass it by with a stony stare. However, w adjusted our packs and trudged on. Our trail led us through queer places where huge mossy rocks, that must have been there before the trees began to grown, were hurled about fanatically. Although it was midday, with the sun blazing hot overhead, the forest was shrouded in semi-twilight and the ancient silence of untouched timber, a silence that fled away at our coming and crept up behind us again as we passed. We had been requested not to shoot the bears should we meet any, but since we hadn’t even a stick-pin with which to protect ourselves, we felt that the bears were somewhat safer than we. At all events, we met nothing more savage than squirrels and they took it out in talk. Scarcely a bird raised its note, though we did startle a partridge and her small family near the end of the journey. And still the trail ran on, past thrilling gorges, over creeks where bridges were gone and beside gossipy little streams. The voice of the Drinkwater Falls shouted to us long before we reached them and fell to liquid murmurings as they dropped behind. We dined frequently, thus lessening our packs, but there was no way of lessening the blankets. The butter too, was a problem. It seemed impossible to get it comfortably placed and felt the heat. We carried it in our hat, we might add, has never been the same since. It has a peculiar listless droop which we feel neither time nor trimming can ever quite correct.

The Mosquitoes Dine

When we paused in shaded spots to rest and to admire, the mosquitoes fell upon us thankfully; great, raw-boned, ravenous fellows they were and on comparing bites later we felt convinced we were the first square meal they had enjoyed during the year. They dined on us from soup to salad, but it tickled our fancy to reflect that the Alpine Club (who were to follow us the next week) would certainly provide the dessert. As the heat increased, we grew thirsty, and draping ourselves over rocks, drank long and gratefully from a crystal stream. It had a peculiar flavor and, as we reflected on the matter, our eyes encountered the complacent gaze of two large toads upon whose property we were evidently trespassing. Unwilling to poach upon such doubtful preserves, we left without a backward glance. Finally, the timber fell away and we entered a forest of ferns and small shrubs. This ended abruptly and we found ourselves in the midst of an avalanche. The mountain must have slipped at some time and, for half a mile down its side and many yards across, rocks and huge boulders were heaved about in a terrific fashion. Then the night dropped down and, as the grass was wet from recent rain and it was impossible to light a fire under the trees, we slept on the avalanche, with a rock to mark both head and toes and a last year’s coat around us. The party was parked for the night. We felt then we had never properly appreciated the predicament of the babes in the woods, for the cabin we had been told of had not presented itself. Neither had the Falls, and here we were. But where were we? We didn’t know. We found ourselves cupped in a valley with a sheer mountain cliff towering before us, blocking the horizon, and away in the distance snow-capped peaks spread whitened wastes to hem us in.

Photo of a log cabin.

Joe Drinkwater’s cabin on Drinkwater Creek at the base of Della Falls.

Falls Are Reached

The sky was dark blue and gleamed frostily with a million starry tapers; the hoarse voice of the stream in the valley drowned the noisy sighs of the hoboes on the rocks. But, hist! What is this that outdoes the sky and river and makes the dizzy senses reel? It drifted softly down the breeze and made our very marrow freeze and then we stiffened up to sneeze—Ye Gods! A skunk! “Eyes grow dim, figures increase and teeth depart,” but there’s no deceiving a good nose on a matter such as this. Humbly we hoped that the creature’s native shyness would prove greater than its natural curiosity and that it might pursue nocturnal investigations in other quarters. The suspense was awful, but presently it tripped past our sylvan retreat and took our blessing with it. When we rose next day on stiffened joints to greet the jocund morn, we shook the dew from our features and looked about us. And there, gleaming in the morning sun, were the Della Falls—two thousand feet high—drifting down the mountain side like misty chiffon. And then we pondered. Should we go on or should we go back? We had seen the beautiful Della Falls, but what of Della Lake, two thousand feet above, and the ptarmigans we had heard of hopping about in the snow? We said: “Let them hop, they have nothing else to do. As for us, we intend to spend the remainder of our life in a wheel-chair, watching the other bird doing the hopping.”

A Hazardous Ascent

We were aware, too, that the trail to the lake led us up over that two thousand feet of almost perpendicular mountain side and that ropes were needed, also a ladder, not to mention a guide. Moreover, we had been told by one who knew, that a man once making the ascent got half way up and was so overcome by what towered above and yet more by what hung below, that he lay flat on his face and wept aloud, unnerved by sheer terror. In view of all this, we felt it was wise to retrace our steps. The ptarmigans were not depending on tinned salmon hidden under the bed seven miles back at camp, but we were, and the thought of it lured us on, even as hidden treasure has lured men on from time immemorial. The future being settled to our satisfaction, we turned our thoughts to breakfast. It was a silent meal—it had been our first experience sleeping “a la rock pile” and we hadn’t liked it. However, we felt that life would look brighter when we had removed some of the grime from our features, so we took towel and soap and started the hazardous trip. We climbed over rocks and around them; under a felled tree and down its trunk; over more rocks and more boulders and arrived finally, breathless but triumphant at the stream. Then despair overtook us—we had lost the soap. We had never been in so vast and soapless a solitude and we thought wistfully of the cake we had left behind us, reposing moistly in a tin on the back porch. Then we tore our hair (there was no comb) and joined the ranks of the great unwashed. With one last look at the glories spread before us, we turned, adjusted our blankets silently and retraced our steps—back to tinned salmon and soap and finally civilization.

Formal portrait of Della and Joe Drinkwater.

Della and Joe Drinkwater for whom Della Falls are named – Kay Dukowski photo

Conquerors of Robson’s Lofty Peak

Three photos showing mountaineers on top of a peak, the guide (Conrad Kain) and a group of climbers.

Conquerors of Mt. Robson

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday September 3, 1924, p.5.

Members of the first parties of Alpine Club members to climb Mount Robson, 13,068 feet high and Monarch of the Canadian Rockies. Upper photograph shows first party actually on snow ridge at the summit of Mount Robson, with Conrad Kain, noted Canadian guide in the lead. Upper right, Miss M.H. Gold of Edmonton, a member of the third party to reach Robson’s summit. Lower group, right to left: Back row, M.C. Geddes, Calgary, who also took part in the first ascent of Mt. Geikie, in Jasper National Park: T.B. Moffat, Calgary; H.F. Lambert, Ottawa; A. Drinnan, Calgary, and T.B. Porter, Saskatoon. Front row: J. Saladana, guide and packer; W.A.D. [Don] Munday, Vancouver; Mrs. W.A.D. [Phyllis] Munday, first woman to reach the peak of Robson; A. [Albert] H. MacCarthy, of Windermere, B.C., who is credited with taking part in first actual official ascent; Miss Annette E. Buck, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Harry Pollard, Calgary photographer, who packed a camera to Robson’s peak to secure the first pictures of a climbing party at the summit. C.N.R. photos.

Strathcona Park is Island Paradise of Nature Lovers

Eight Hundred Square Miles of Mountain, Lake, Stream and Forest Offer Unrivalled Attractions to Tourist Away from Beaten Highway—Lies 120 Miles North of Victoria. Alpine Flowers and Game Abound Throughout Area

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday September 7, 1924, p.32.

By E.M. Young

At a recent meeting of the Associated Boards of Trade of Vancouver Island a resolution was passed urging upon the Government the completion of the Island Highway to Strathcona Park. This recalls once more the importance of this magnificent national park not only to Vancouver Island but the whole Provence. Strathcona park has not, of course, so large an area as Jasper Park in Alberta, which has become so greatly frequented by tourists within the last few years. It has not been so widely advertised because the long-promised improved facilities for reaching it has not yet been undertaken by the Government. But it is, after all, the principal national park or playground in British Columbia, and when its beautiful attractions become better known, Strathcona Park is bound to become one of the most popular tourist resorts on the continent. Situated in the centre of Vancouver Island, it is almost equal distance between Victoria and Vancouver. Measured in direct line, it is approximately 120 miles from Victoria and 100 miles from Vancouver. On the other hand, Jasper Park is over 530 miles from both Victoria and Vancouver.

800 Square Miles of Beauty

Forming a right-angled triangle of more than 800 square miles, Strathcona Park is an Alpine area of the most beautiful and varied description. No other stretch of land in the Province affords so grand a panorama of mountain and glacier scenery, surrounded be emerald and turquois-hued lakes with their various canyons, gorges, dashing falls and cascades. Strathcona park is not yet quite ready for the easy-going, sight-seeing motorist. It is not, as somebody said, “a well-groomed park or meadow.” Good roads have yet to be built and other tourist conveniences provided before even the ubiquitous Ford begins to penetrate its “silent spaces” to any great extent. Nevertheless, to the Alpine climber, the sturdy pedestrian, and to the hunter or fisherman, Strathcona Park offers the most striking attractions of a stretch of “God’s own country,” in all its wild and primeval beauty and variety. As there are still no hotels, chalets or farms in this magnificent playground, the tourist must take his tent and his provender along with him.

Appeals To Outdoor Man

It is because, therefore, that Strathcona Park is now only available for the hardy outdoor tourist who can ride a horse or tramp in over the trail at the end of the motor road at Upper Campbell Lake that the completion of the highway referred to is so necessary. And here may be mentioned the two usual routes by which tourists from Victoria and the Mainland may reach Strathcona park at its north-eastern boundaries, making Buttle Lake the chief objective. Tourists from Victoria can take the train to Courtenay from which city motor stages leave along the Island Highway for Campbell River Here cars are procurable for the short trip to Forbes Landing, which Mr. John Forbes calls the “entrance to the world-famous Strathcona Park,” and which he declares is a “hunter’s heaven and a fisherman’s paradise.”

Buttle Lake

From Forbes Landing the objective is Buttle Lake which is on the eastern side of the Strathcona Park triangle. Here there is a “sleeping cabin” with accommodation for about twenty-five people, although tourists are advised to take their own tents and camping outfit. Buttle Lake is one of the most beautiful reaches of water on the whole Island. It is more than eighteen miles long, with an average width of about a mile, and is situated at an altitude of 725 feet. It was named after John Buttle who explored the region in the early eighties. Bold promontories indent the shore line of Buttle Lake, into which glacier-fed streams fall in leaping waterfalls and dashing cascades. Great forests of trees surround the lake, the waters of which reflect the nearby towering peaks and glaciers.

Mountains And Glacier

There are quite a number of those mountains and glaciers in the park, all over 6,000 or 7,000 feet above the level of the sea. Northwest of Buttle Lake are Mount Elkhorn [Mountain], 7,240 feet; King’s Peak, 7,000 feet; and Mount [Colonel] Foster, 7,200 feet high. South of Buttle Lake are Taylor Glacier, Big Interior Mountain, Mount Tyre and Mount Septimus, all between 6,000 to 6,500 feet in altitude. One of the most interesting of these is Mount Elkhorn, sometimes called the Matterhorn of the park. The peak rises above the well-crevassed glacier, a little distance from which the Elk Stream breaks over a ledge forming twin falls of great height and sparkling beauty. The Elkhorn has for many years been a favorite resort of the Canadian Alpine Club and with climbers from all over the world. In the ascent, at between 2,000 and 3,000 feet high, are found beautiful pink and white heather.

Alpine Flowers

At higher ranges, various Alpine flowers grow in grassy patches. South and west many peaks are seen with snowfields and glaciers between, until, step-cutting up a steep ice slope the summit of 7,240 feet is reached. From here a glorious view of the surrounding country, of mountain peaks, glaciers and lakes can be obtained. These peaks are of volcanic origin, and the whole mountain formation underwent glacial action many years ago. The Elk River is the chief tributary of the Campbell River, dissecting Mount Elkhorn with its north and south forks in deep valleys until it joins its parent river. At the junction of the South Fork with the main Elk River, six miles below Drum Lake, there is a valley which affords excellent camping ground.

Tourist Hotel Proposed

It was recently proposed to erect a hotel at this picturesque part of the Elk Valley to serve as a centre for ascents of Elkhorn. Crown Mountain (north of the park), and for trips to the other varied points of interest in the vicinity. This apparently awaits the completion of the highway to the park for which the Associated Boards of Trade are seeking. Few areas of British Columbia abound so generously in animal and bird life as Strathcona Park. Deer are plentiful, and around the north fork of Elk River and the Salmon and Gold Rivers, the lordly elk is frequently seen. Beaver, otter and marten, scarce elsewhere on the Island, are still to be found in the confines of the park. Of fiercer game, the black bear, panther or cougar and wolves give evidence of being very far from extinct. But more interesting to the nature-lover are the many rare and lovely flowers which bloom and flourish in this Alpine region of Strathcona park. In the valleys and up the crags of the mountains grow white and purple heather, primrose moss, Alpine edelweiss, phlox, gentians, pentstemon, rhododendrons, valerian and many other lovely flowers. They color with many gay hues the uplands right up to the edge of the snowfields and glaciers.

To Finish Highway

It is stated that approximately $300,000 had already been expended on the road to the park, and it is estimated that about $55,000 would be adequate to cover the cost of completing the highway. It was, therefore, suggested by the Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade as good business to go ahead and finish the work for the following reasons.

  1. It would stimulate the tourist traffic “by several hundred percent.”
  2. It could make use of and link up the road that will ultimately be built into the Sayward valley. And this valley promises to be one of the best faring settlements of Vancouver Island.

If also, adequate transportation facilities into Strathcona Park are provided, the certain result would be not only a substantial increase in the Summer tourist traffic, but also of the Winter travel to Vancouver Island.

Reservation Suggested

In this connection a strong demand has recently made for reservation of a park area round Strathcona Park. It is suggested that tracts of land that should be preserved along scenic highways and points of interest could be exchanged for tracts that are still owned by the Government, but which are in position of no scenic value. In various parts of the Island there has been in recent years some rather wanton destruction of timber along scenic highways to the detriment of their picturesque effect. It is a good thing, therefore, that steps are taken in time to prevent this quite unnecessary spoiling of popular tourist routes and resorts such as the beautiful district of Strathcona Park.



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – William Dougan

Secretary – Mrs. Robert Healey-Kerr

Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Executive Committee – Robert McCaw, Margaret Cowell, Frederick Godsal, Sara Spencer.

Photographic secretary – William Everall


January – Club meeting elected William Dougan as chairman.

March 10 – Club evening at the home of Arthur Wheeler with a talk on the Interprovincial Boundary Survey by Arthur Wheeler, Alan Campbell, Norman Stewart.

April 18 – Club trip to Mt. Work and Heal Lake.

April 18 – Club’s 19th annual banquet at James White’s “Killarney” home in Saanich.

December 10 – Annual General Meeting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. [Robert] W. Healey-Kerr 1537 Gladstone Ave.

Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at Lake O’Hara: Arthur Wheeler, Frederick Longstaff, Muriel Aylard (graduated on Mt. Yukness west face).

Mountaineers Plan Climbs on Island

Vancouver Island Section of Alpine Club of Canada Holds Annual Meeting-Elects Officers

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday January 15, 1925, p.3.

At the annual meeting of the Victoria and Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, held on Tuesday [January 13] evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Cameron, St. David Street, Oak Bay, plans were discussed for some club activities during the coming Summer, which will give the members some opportunity to climb together some of the mountains of Vancouver Island. A trip up Mount Arrowsmith is one of the most popular suggestions, and the new executive may be expected to give some pronouncement in connection with this in the coming month. The election of officers resulted as follows: Chairman, Mr. William H. Dougan; secretary, Mrs. Jennie Longstaff; treasurer, Mr. Gordon Cameron; Executive committee; Miss Margaret Cowell, Miss Sara Spencer, Mr. Robert McCaw and Mr. Frederick Godsal. Captain William Everall will act as photographic secretary for the section.

Alpinists Elect Officers for Year

A.F. Dougan Becomes Head of Victoria and Island Section

Reported in the Victoria Daily Times Thursday January 15, 1925, p.5.

The Victoria and Island Section of the Alpine Club of Canada held its election of officers this week at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Cameron, St. David Street, Oak Bay. A.F. Dougan was chosen chairman; Mrs. F.V. [Jennie] Longstaff, secretary; Gordon Cameron, treasurer, with an executive committee of Miss [Margaret] Cowell, Miss Sara Spencer, Messrs. [Robert] McCaw and [Frederick] Godsal. Captain [William] Everall will act as photographic secretary for the section. Plans were laid for an active Spring, including suggestions that parties climb Mount Arrowsmith, before spreading future afield in search of adventure.


Head Alpine Club

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday January 17, 1925, p.6.

Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan, 986 Heywood Avenue, is the new chairman of the Victoria and Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. He was elected at the meeting of the organization this week. First reports of the meeting had it that A.F. Dougan had won the chairmanship victory, but these reports were incorrect.

Alpine Club Meeting

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 8, 1925, p.6.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will meet at the home of Mr. Arthur and Mrs. Emmeline Wheeler, Sidney, on Tuesday evening March 10, at 8:15 o’clock. The programme, by Sidney members, will consist of mountain talks with lantern slides by Messrs. Wheeler, [Alan] Campbell and [Norman] Stewart, of the Interprovincial Boundary Survey, and a selected address by Mr. [Stanley] Mitchell. Cars will leave Campbell’s Drug Store at7:15 p.m. sharp. Members who wish transportation should telephone 5304Y by Monday, March 9.

Alpinists Guest of Club Director

Mr. and Mrs. A.O. Wheeler, Sidney, Entertain Members Of Island Canadian Alpine Club.

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 12, 1925, p.10.

Mr. Arthur O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, and Mrs. Emmeline Wheeler on Tuesday [March 10] evening entertained very delightfully about thirty members of the Vancouver Island section of the society, including fourteen from Victoria, at their home at Sidney. Short addresses on mountain climbing subjects provided the chief entertainment. Mr. [Alan] Campbell, of Sidney, gave an interesting talk, copiously illustrated with lantern slides, on his climb over the snowfields from Mount Columbia to Mount Clemenceau, a distance of 25 miles. Mr. Norman C. Stewart contributed a highly descriptive paper on the Caribou Road, using a map to illustrate his references, and taking his audience all through the district lying between Ashcroft and Williams Lake, a distance of some 150 miles. Mr. [Stanley] Mitchell added an interesting account of a cave at Banff, the description of which was humanized by some amusing reminiscences of the old Scotch guide who accompanied him. The programme was concluded by Mr. A.O. Wheeler’s lightning sketches of some of the outstanding mountain climbers, illustrated with photographs. Another speaker during the evening was Mr. [Frederick] Godsal, who in a few words told something about the use of the ice axe. At the close of the very enjoyable evening, which included the serving of delicious refreshments, the host and hostess were accorded a hearty vote pf thanks by their guests. Mr. [William] Dougan, president of the Vancouver Island section, who acted as spokesman, referred appreciatively to the generous welcome and kind hospitality shown by Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler. Among the guests were Mr. and Miss Leonard and Miss Sylvester, members of the Calgary branch of the Alpine Club of Canada.


Sir James Outram 1864-1925

An Appreciation

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 26, 1925, p.4.

Some years ago there was some talk among English critics of the apparent disappearance of the Spirit of Wonder, the essence of Romance. But romance never disappears. There are always zealous disciples to hand on the torch brightly blazing. Those who have read “In the Heart of the Canadian Rockies,” by the late Sir James Outram, will recognize that it is pervaded by the romantic spirit, in this lying the reason that it appeals to many who have not yet learned the charm of the mighty hills nor fathomed the secrets of the snow. While details have changed since the book appeared in 1905, more trails lead through the wilds, and some sanctuaries have been desecrated, yet the body of the book is of perennial value. It should be in every Canadian library, but it is a curious fact that such books appeal more to British and American readers than Canadian. Sir James Outram was born in London in 1864, the grandson of the famous General of the Indian Mutiny and first baronet of the name. He was educated at Haileybury, where he distinguished himself at football, among other things, and thence proceed to Pembroke College, Cambridge. On graduating he was ordained and held several cures in the Church of England, but in 1900 a complete breakdown of health necessitated an absolute change, and he was ordered abroad. Canada and Canadian mountains called him with an irresistible appeal. Those were the days of the far-seeing Van Horne. Already he had realized the possibilities from a mountain and a tourist point of view of the Canadian Rockies. The absurd title “The Canadian Pacific Rockies” would never have been given by Van Horne, who had a sense of humor. Swiss guides had been imported, but the day was not yet, and the Rev. James Outram, as he then was, was allowed their services for long periods practically without charge. He never tired of expatiating on the value of their training and constantly highly skilled service. He could not have made the records he did without them. Generally, he climbed with Hans and Christian Kaufmann, but occasionally with P. Sarbach, C. Hasler, Sr., and others. Outram became prominent in the Canadian Rockies for the first time in 1901. He was then associated with the late Edward Whymper, the conqueror of the Matterhorn, who was sixty years old when he “discovered’ the Canadian Rockies. He was too old to make difficult climbs, so he arranged with Mr. Outram to climb for him and report discoveries. It was then reported that Whymper had come especially to make the first ascent of Mt. Assiniboine, the Canadian Matterhorn. He made no attack, but the same year Outram conquered it on an expedition of his own. In 1902, Outram was again in the Canadian Rockies and in that year did his best work, making many first ascents of the highest peaks, some until then, like Mt. Brown and Hooker, of somewhat mythical fame. He even took part in the search for those tw0 famous mountains of Douglas, reported to be respectively 16,000 and 17,000 feet in altitude. Among the greater peaks ascended for the first time in this wonderful year were Mts. Columbia, 12,294 ft.; Forbes, 11,902 ft.; Lyell, 11,495 ft.; Bryce, 11,507 ft., and Alexandra, 11,214 ft. In that same year Outram met the future founder of the Alpine Club of Canada and spent two weeks with him in his camps in the Selkirks, while he was engaged in the survey of the region for the government. Thus, his mountain interest became known and when the club was formed, he was elected one of the earliest honorary members. He was a frequent guest at the annual camps and always a centre of interest. One striking characteristic of Outram was his speed on motion, and his records of the times taken on various climbs while exactly accurate as far as he was concerned, may mislead those who do not know. Even so late as the 1916 camp of the Alpine Club of Canada he led a training climb up one of the peaks of the massive range and outspeeded men far younger in years who thought they were in fairly good condition. In 1921, he married Miss Lillian M. Balfour, of Brighton, who survives him. He spent some years in business in Vermillion, Alberta, and also in Calgary, but his heart was in the mountains. In the last Summer of his life he greatly enjoyed a journey made with Professor and Mrs. E.V. Huntington through the mountains northward from Lake Louise amidst his old friends of the great Columbia Icefield to the Alpine Club camp at the foot of Mt. Robson. There he seemed full of vitality and happiness. It had been a fitting epitome of his great days. Sir James was well-known as a charming and instructive lecturer. Almost at the end he periodically delighted audiences by his fluent and enthusiastic descriptions of the many wonderful and unique attractions of our mountain regions. His early religious training had enabled him to appreciate the perpetual presence in the great hills of the Almighty Creator, a realization of which comes so forcibly to all who visit these sanctuaries of the earth in reverent spirit. We feel this inspiration breathing through all his association with mountains and mountaineers. He passed away this month in Victoria, and after service in Christ Church Cathedral, was buried in the beautiful Royal Oak Park cemetery, a few miles from the city. Pallbearers included Lindley Crease, Stanley Mitchell and Capt. Masey representing the Alpine Club of Canada.

James Outram

James Outram

Alpine Club Dinner

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 14, 1925, p.6.

The annual dinner of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will take place next Saturday evening [April 18] at “Killarney,” Prospect Lake, the Summer home of Mr. and Mrs. J. [James] J. White.


Outdoor Banquet Held for Alpine Club Annual

About Twenty Members of Vancouver Island Section Gathered Yesterday for Yearly Meeting, Mountain Climb and Tramp at “Killarney,” Summer Camp of Mr. And Mrs. J.J. White, Prospect Lake—Director’s Address Read by President Of Section

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday April 19, 1925, p.6.

“Rain or shine” is a recognized rule among seasoned mountaineering club’s outdoor programmes. It was observed by about twenty members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada yesterday, when, despite low-hanging clouds and intermittent spatters of rain, they went out to Mr. J. [James] J. White’s camp at Prospect Lake for their annual meeting and a few hours’ hiking in the district. A small party went out in the morning, and, led by Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan, president of the club, made the ascent of Mount Work (Big Saanich Mountain). Reaching the summit (1,445 feet) at noon, they enjoyed their luncheon when the weather and the view were at their finest, and returned to camp about four o’clock. Those who were unable to go out in the morning organized themselves into a second expedition, which left camp about 2:30, and under Mr. A. [Alan] J. Campbell’s guidance, went over to Heal’s Lake, and, led by Mr. White, through the romantic “Alababa” Cave discovered two or three years ago by some boys who were exploring the neighborhood.

Annual Dinner

“Killarney,” the Summer camp of Mr. and Mrs. White, is a charming retreat on the shores of a small circular lake about two miles beyond Prospect Lake. Three years ago, in response to the invitation of these Sidney members of the Alpine Club, the Vancouver Island section conceived the idea of holding their annual dinner in proper mountaineering fashion, out-of-doors. It proved very popular, and each year since then the gathering has taken place at the same rendezvous. The conditions at the camp are ideal for such a purpose, Killarney Lake is in a pocket of the Highland District, sheltered on the west by the Highland terrain, and by dense forest on the north, south and east. The camp is pitched on an elevated part of the shore, and a twenty-foot awning stretched between overhanging arbutus and Douglas fir, with two giant bonfires crackling nearby and, throwing out their genial warmth, furnished the dining hall. The hospitable board held a generous spread of fare far more luxurious than the alpinist is accustomed to enjoy in mountain camp conditions. Erythroniums and trilliums, gathered fresh from the woods, formed the decorations.

Director’s Address

The banquet had little in the nature of formality, the sole item on the programme being the reading by Mr. W.H. Dougan of Director A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler’s annual address, which is yearly delivered almost simultaneously before all sections of the club throughout Canada. In this address Mr. Wheeler particularly referred to the Canadian Alpine Club’s biggest undertaking of the year, the Mt. Logan expedition, which is sailing from Seattle for Cordova by the S.S. Alaska on May 2 next. The personnel of the party has been selected. The expedition is under the leadership of Mr. A. [Albert] H. MacCarthy, who is now in the Yukon, working with a preliminary party to get supplies for the expedition placed at caches along the route to the mountain, so as to be available when the party goes in in May. Other members of the expedition were mentioned, Mr. H.F. Lambert, of the Geodetic Survey of Canada, acting as assistant leader; Colonel W. [William] W. Foster, of Vancouver, chairman of the expedition committee.


The financial story of the expedition provoked an appeal from Mr. Dougan to the Vancouver Island section for help in this direction. The amount originally called for had been $11,500, not yet fully subscribed. The accomplishment of the expedition’s success the director anticipated as “the crowning effort of his alpine career.”

District Flora

Reverend Robert Connell, president of the Victoria Natural History Society, and one of the guests of the gathering, was asked to say a few words about the flora of the district which he had noted during the day, and, in response to questions, disclosed that among the flowers which had been seen on the way to the summit of Work Mountain were valerianella, collinsia, dwarf mimulus, dodecatheon (peacocks), calypso (lady’s slipper), fennel, camas, flowering current, two species of yellow violet, false box, montia (Spring beauty), dogwood, and several varieties of ferns, including the folded sword fern, bladder fern, parsley fern, sword fern and polypody. The proceedings concluded with a very hearty vote of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. White for their generous hospitality in throwing their open their camp and going to so much trouble in the preparations.


The Glacier

Interesting Trip to Foot of Comox Mountain

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 13, 1925. p.1.

More and more interest is being taken in the country back of the strip of littoral, which forms the inhabited part of Vancouver Island; that expanse of valley and mountain, unknown save to the trapper and the prospector. Last week Messrs. G. [Geoffrey] B. Capes and W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul made a traverse into country at the foot of the Comox Glacier; and Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood explored the country at the source of the Brown’s River. Both found wonderful country. Below is a graphic description of the trip to the glacier country. “Leaving Comox Lake about 11.50 we followed the trail on the south side of the Cruikshank River; it was very good in parts, winding through timber and lined with bushes of luscious looking huckleberries and blueberries. There were two little bluffs, the crossing of which gave us an inkling of what was to come. We had been walking about an hour when the trail disappeared in a pleasant, shady tangle of Devil’s club and salmon berry, but mostly Devil’s club. The thorny limbs of the Devil’s club were thick, and the large thorny leaves sought the light high above our heads. There was no help for it, we struggled to the river bank, to find the water too deep for wading; we crawled on our hands and knees; we chopped at branches; we walked hopefully through any opening, usually to find the way blocked; and finally zigzagged into better country.

The Trail and Devil’s Club

Thereafter, being wiser, we waded the river, walking the shingle bars, and taking to the woods when convenient. In two hours, we reached the south fork, along the east bank of which we turned. As the going was bad, we took to the stream, and later crossed to the other side, where after a time we struck a trail. One set of the blazes were thick with age, a second set had the appearance of not being more than a year old. We followed this trail, which wound around the base of the mountain; crossing every now and again, some dry creek bed full of boulders. We noted with interest the good judgment of the gentlemen who had blazed the trail; they had done anything to avoid Devil’s club, preferring a steep hard climb to going through it. After several miles the trail climbed steeply, then descended to the creek, where we lost it in the brush. After some deliberation we mounted the slope again, and continued in a south westerly direction; the steep mountain sloping up on the one side, and down below the noisy little creek. In choosing our direction we hoped for the best, as we were in a valley, we had little choice, unless we climbed the mountain. Our vision was limited by the trees, and down below the greener foliage which marked the course of the creek. About seven we descended to the creek, at a point where it forked; and pushing through the brush, followed the branch going westerly. At 7:30 we flung down out packs on a large island of shingle. An hour was spent cutting boughs and making camp; after a supper of bacon and eggs and much tea we sought our blankets.

Climbing With Packs

The following morning after some discussion as to the direction we should take, we started about 7:45 in a north westerly direction up the mountain side; and soon discovered that climbing with packs on our backs was not quite so easy as going along the level. The way was steep, but the footing good, and we had no difficulty for perhaps two thousand feet, when a series of bluffs barred our way. By this time our clothes were soaked through in perspiration and we were wondering about the chances of water on the top. A way was found up the bluffs and the angle of the climb became less acute; but by this time we stopped more often for a short rest. Not far from the top a glimpse through the now thinner timber of a high snow topped mountain informed us we had missed our goal. Though we had set out with an objective, the fact that we did not know if we could climb the objective when we got there, and that we were seeing a new country, and that in any case the sun was shining and the forest and mountains were thee for our benefit, did not permit us to be downcast. What could not be done on this trip could be done at another time. So we forced our weary legs to carry us and our packs ever upward. Long ago we had left behind the Devil’s Club and the red huckleberry. Small blueberries grew on scrubby bushes. There was less timber, and the trees were smaller, some pine and yellow cedar.

The Gleaming Glacier

The slope grew easier, the top seemed nearer, but ever as we climbed a bluff, another appeared a little higher; but at last after three or four hours, we emerged on the top; and the first or perhaps the second sight that greeted us, was the gleaming glacier, towering above us; the other was a little lake nestling in a hollow. The latter was the more important for the moment as our one fear had been that we might have to descend for water. A more or less flat mountain top lay before us, the surface covered with rock, flat rock easy to walk on; buttresses of rock; steps and terraces of rock; the soil between the rock was peat mostly covered with heather. The timber was small and scattered, and appearing between the trees and above, the snow-covered summit of the Dome, known so well in Courtenay as the Glacier. Dotting the surface here and there were ponds and little lakes, small bushes growing around the sides of some; others bounded by rocky walls; some clear, others covered with water lilies. By the side of one of these, in a little dip in the peaty ground we flung down our packs; although only half the day was gone, we decided to camp in this spot for that night.

A Bird’s Eye View

After a meal, during which we drank much tea, we wondered over our mountain, as we called it. First we made for the corner, from which in one direction, we looked down on Comox Lake, and beyond where Comox Valley was hidden in its veil of smoke from the bush fires. In every direction a panorama of mountains: we could mark the valley of the Cruikshank, and the creek up which we had travelled. In a few minutes we knew more about the lay of the land than we had learnt in the years we had lived in the district. Having gazed, compared the country with our map, taken bearings with our compasses, we turned away and strolled towards a ridge much higher than we were. After the limited view of the wooded valley, it was a great relief to be able to see long distances, and to be able to walk in comfort. We reached a spot where we climbed down on to a rocky perch, and before us across the valley, was the whole face of the glacier. From the round Dome, the snow formed a kind of semi-circle, ending in an ice cliff, the face of which might be anything from 100 to 300 feet thick.

The Dome

The ice cliff was not smooth, but eaten into, giving one somewhat the impression of a huge mouth, with about half its compliment of teeth; near the edge of the snow on the surface, the smoothness was broken, as if huge chunks of ice and snow were about to break off and slide into the depths below. From the base of the ice cliff, numerous little threads of water ran down the almost perpendicular mountain side, dropping every now and then into space, and striking the mountain again, until at the bottom it ran off in many little creeks. We observed the creek on which we had camped, winding its way up the valley, and ending in a big patch of dirty looking snow, some two thousand or so feet below the summit of the glacier. We studied this point with some care, wondering could we have climbed the glacier had we followed the creek. To the right a rocky slope ended in the snow; it looked possible yet doubtful; one thought of what would happen should a slip be made. A little to the left was what appeared to be a three-sided chimney; this also looked possible; once climbed one would be on a snowy slope leading to a kind of connecting mountain between the Glacier and another but smaller mountain. This snowy gap bore two trees, wide apart. To the left of the chimney there was a mountain bridge joining the main mountain at the top of the chimney, the end nearest to us curving down very steeply; next to this again was a mountain forming one side of our creek. We thought it possible, one might find a way between the bridge and the mountain to reach the two tree gap, from which it seemed as if one would be sure to reach the Glacier summit.

Gay With Flowers

Leaving this comfortable observation point, we dipped down, over rocky terraces, into a small valley, across which rose the ridge we had been making for; our mountain and the ridge made a rough “L.” A small creek led downwards but the water in it could be reckoned by drops. On this sheltered slope the vegetation was thick and luxuriant; open glades looking fresh and green, were studded with purple and yellow daisies, and surrounded with what we took to be rhododendron bushes, with small cream colored blossoms. Returning to camp we enjoyed a bathe in the warm water of our little lake, then after supper we went back to the observation point overlooking the Comox Valley; but smoke haze was thicker than before. The only new discovery we made was a small lake, probably the source of the South Fork of the Cruikshank. Up at that height we expected to spend a cold night, but it was not bad, a little chilly in the early morning hours. After a leisurely breakfast and a swim, we hoped to have a better view of the Comox Valley, but except for the topmost peaks of the Coast Range, standing out above the smoke, we saw nothing new. On our way we surprised a buck standing in full view upon a rock.

Two Caves in Glacier

Returning, putting on our packs, we paid a last visit to our view point of the Glacier; the morning sun being at our backs, we had a better view of it than the day before; we noticed the square openings of two inaccessible caves in the mountain side. From there we dipped into the valley and at the highest point of it, we dropped our packs, and in twenty minutes had climbed to the top of the ridge. Another view opened before our eyes; in one direction Comox Lake; in another innumerable mountains and valleys. Northwards towards Mount Washington, lay a long flat mountain along the summit of which, one could probably walk for eight miles on level ground. Below us lay a lake some sixty acres in extent, the outlet of which looked to us to take a tremendous drop, almost at the edge of the lake.

White and Purple Heather

The ridge we were on must have been about three miles long; a series of little mountains and little valleys; on the open mountain tops between the rock, the soil was covered with heather, both white and purple; the valleys were covered in bush and small trees; we followed the ridge alternately climbing and descending; some of the climbs quite steep; the little valleys were knife edged; on one side looked down upon the lake, on the other into the depths of a far deeper valley. After some three hours travelling, we reached a pinnacle, from where we could not have been more than half a mile from the Glacier; at our first viewpoint the water tumbling down the mountain had looked like threads of ice; now we could see the actual movement of the water.

The Deep Abyss

Bending over, one looked down some thousand or fifteen hundred feet into space; an open slope lay below where snow still nestled in the shady spots. Between our ridge and the Glacier lay a steep mountain, looking as if broken off at one time from the ridge. To the right a long valley opened out. On our return we crossed three patches of snow, the only snow we touched on our trip; although below us there was plenty. It was nearly four o’clock when we reached our packs; we had a little difficulty finding a place to build a fire, the soil being dry and peaty; after a meal about 4.45 we began our homeward journey. Our intention was to follow the creek down; for a short distance all went well; then we came to a drop, impossible to descend, so we clambered up the mountain side and came back to the creek later; there was thick brush on the mountain, which while it gave us something to hold onto, made the travelling difficult. Several times we had to leave the creek in this way, until at last it ran through a narrow canyon, at the entrance of which it dropped sheer some sixty feet. Thereafter we kept to the mountain side.

New Kind of Thistle

The way was very steep, and the inclination was to keep mounting when we wanted to go down; the easier routes always seemed to lead upward. The long limbs of the vine maple, and sometimes long cedar branches, enabled us to cross places which otherwise would have been dangerous to attempt. Occasionally a spot would be reached where there was nothing to hold on to, and down below a steep smooth slope, ending most likely at the edge of a precipice; but these places had to be crossed. Usually at these times the packs had a habit of asserting themselves; we were both carrying things in our hands; one, the billycan; the other, the axe and a flour sack containing plants, which we called Flora. Three times the billycan clattered down the slope, but retrieved none the worse except for some small dints. In one of the most difficult spots we observed a form of thistle new to us.

Deer Make Good Trails

After some hours of travel, we discovered that any well-worn deer trail proved an excellent guide; we found that we could go anywhere the deer went; and any place they avoided we could not pass; sometimes we would lose a tail but always found another. Often, we reached an impasse, and had to scramble back, climb higher and try again elsewhere. Dusk was on, our destination appeared close, the noise of the main creek reached us; and even some straggling Devil’s club grew here and there; we were becoming hopeful. We arrived once more on the creek, walked a short distance, stopped, and gazed some three hundred feet into space; as far as we could see on either hand, there was no chance of descending. It was a quarter to eight, so we climbed back into the timber, flung down our packs, then had supper on a rock in the middle of the creek. We had not much energy left, after travelling ten hours.

Difficult Going

The next morning we started northwards along the mountain side, and after seeking in vain for a place to descend, with some difficulty we retraced our steps, crossed the creek, and struck a deer trail which led us to the top of a bluff; the descent from there looked possible although not easy; so after casting about we found a safe way round the end of a huge boulder, and on to a rock slide covered with fallen timber; we scrambled down without trouble and finally found ourselves on the trail we had followed on our way in. The trail eventually disappeared among some Devil’s club; so crossing the creek we climbed a little way into the timber, where for some time we had good going, until the way became too steep, forcing us through a jungle of brush, through a swampy place, back on to the creek. After this we waded the creek, walking the shingle bars, or taking to the woods as suited best. We at last reached the Cruikshank River. After a rest and a meal, we crossed the river, and found a trail on the north side, which we followed until it stopped at a shingle bar; having by this time passed the bad patch of devil’s club on the south side of the river, we crossed over on a log and struck the trail which brought us out again at the starting point on Comox Lake.

Geoffrey Capes collecting water during 1925 trip to Comox Glacier

Geoffrey Capes collecting water during 1925 trip to Comox Glacier.


Mountaineers Sail Thursday

Ss. Shidzuoka Maru Sails Thursday with Famous Japanese Mountaineers Who Recently Conquered Mount Alberta, 11,875 Feet High

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday August 26, 1925, p.15.

Mr. Y. Maki, famous Japanese Mountaineer, and five companions of the Alpine Club of Japan, will sail for the Orient when the Nippon Yusen Kaisha liner Shidzuoka Maru departs from her on Thursday. The party only recently conquered Mount Alberta, one of the highest and most formidable peaks in the Canadian Rockies. The party was assisted in its mountain climbing feat by Mr. Hans Fuhrer and Mr. H. Kohler, Swiss guides of Jasper Park. Mount Alberta is 11,875 feet high. With Mr. Maki are Messrs. S. Hashimoto, H. Hatano, N. Okabe, T. Hayakawa and Y. Mita. After a week’s journey with saddle horses from Jasper Lodge, the party began reconnoitering about the base of Mount Alberta. A day was spent searching for the most favorable approach, and the base camp was established near the Athabasca River. On July 20 the climb was started. After sixteen hours of continuous effort the climbers reached the summit at 7:30 p.m. July 21. They spent the night on a snow-blanketed ridge with-out fires, while the thermometer dropped to four degrees below zero. The descent was made the following day in fourteen hours. At the highest point of Mount Alberta, a rock cairn was built and an alpenstock, emblematic of the conquest, was lodged in the monument. The mountaineers will embark on the liner here, coming from jasper Park over the C.N.R. line. Shortly after his arrival in Japan Mr. Maki will go to London to spend considerable time with Prince Chichibu, second son of the Emperor of Japan, and an enthusiastic mountaineer.

What Opportunities Does Canada Offer?

Miss D.E. Pilley, London Newspaper Woman Here Studying Conditions

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday October 13, 1925, p.3

What opportunities does Canada offer to educated English women? A big part of the reading public of Great Britain awaits with interest this answer which will be given to this question by Miss D. [Dorothy] E. Pilley, a London newspaper woman who is visiting Victoria in the course of a Dominion wide tour. Miss Pilley has been on Vancouver Island for the last week, part of the time in Victoria, studying conditions generally and opportunities for women particularly. She reached Canada last July, representing several of the London newspapers, The Daily Express, T.P. O’Connor’s Weekly, The Daily mail, The Westminster Gazette, and The Daily News, to all of which she is contributing articles. She came West with the immediate object of camping with the Alpine Club at lake O’Hara, and after that enjoyable experience and some further visiting in the mountains at Banff, Glacier and Mount Assiniboine, came on down to the coast. She “hiked” one hundred miles, spending three days on the trial going in, and two days coming out, an experience which she recalls with pleasure. She seems to regret that this tour and the mountain camps organized by Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, director of the Alpine Club of Canada, are not better known and patronized than they are.

Interests Are Patriotic

In addition to her newspaper work Miss Pilley is organizing secretary of the British Women’s Patriotic Aid, the president of which Lady Cowan, is expected in Victoria almost any day. Lady Cowan and her husband, Sir Henry Cowan, came over to the United States last Summer for the purpose of attending the session of the Interparliamentary Union at Washington, D.C., to which Sir Henry was sent as a delegate. Sir Henry is a member of Parliament for North Islington. Both have considerable reputation as speakers. The object of the British Women’s Patriotic Aid, Miss Pilley explains, is to co-ordinate the patriotic efforts of British women. To this end it organized patriotic lectures, and is conducting a direct campaign against communism. One means they use to combat the spread of the doctrine is education. British Communists have established Sunday schools throughout England for the purpose of undermining the faith of the children in God and government. The British Women’s patriotic Aid has conducted a house-to-house canvas for the purpose of warning mothers, many of whom do not seem to know what kind of Sunday school their children attend. “We have been instrumental in closing quite a number of Communistic schools,” says Miss Pilley, although she does not by any means claim that theirs is the only organization working along these lines.

“Empire Week” Supported

One of the activities of the Patriotic Women’s Aid in which Canadian women should be most interested, thinks Miss Pilley, is the “Empire Shopping Week,” which Lady Cowan started in 1921, the idea of which is to demonstrate the vast resources of the Empire. London shops have responded to the appeal by making magnificent displays, and everything displayed is labelled, so that people can know from what part of the Empire it comes. “And now we want this movement to be reciprocal in the Dominions,” says Miss Pilley. Other activities sponsored by the Patriotic Women’s Aid are immigration of children and physical training among cadets.


Public May See Mt. Logan Scaled

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday November 19, 1925, p.3.

The opportunity to be afforded the public of Victoria to hear Col. W. [William] W. Foster, D.S.O., describe the scaling of Mount Logan during the past season. Col. Foster, who is past-president of the Alpine Club of Canada and Canadian national Parks’ Association, will illustrate this lecture with lantern views taken during the ascent of the mountain. The lecture will be given next Tuesday evening [November 24] in the auditorium of the Chamber of Commerce. Col. Foster comes under the auspices of the local branch of the Engineering Institute of Canada. In view of the tremendous interest that centers about Mount Logan the institute has decided to give the public the full benefit of the lecture and the splendid views that will be shown. It is therefore the desire that the auditorium be filled next Tuesday to hear the lecture. There is no admission charged for the evening and it is particularly requested that as many ladies as can attend be there. The lecture begins at 8:15.

Club Meeting

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday December 4, 1925. p.9.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will hold a meeting next Wednesday night at the home of the secretary. Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr, 1537 Gladstone Avenue.

Alpine Club Holds Annual Meeting

Mr. W.H. Dougan Re-elected Chairman of Vancouver Island Section

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday December 10, 1925, p.9.

At the annual general meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada held last evening [December 9] at the home of the secretary Mrs. R. [Robert] W. Healey-Kerr, 1537 Gladstone Avenue, the following were elected officers for the ensuing year: Chairman, W. [William] H. Dougan; secretary, Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr; executive committee, Mr. R. [ Robert] D. McCaw, Miss [Margaret] Cowell and Mr. Gordon Cameron. The chairman Mr. Dougan, in a brief address, gave a synopsis of the activities of the section for the past twelve months, and there was also read a satisfactory financial statement from the treasurer, Mr. Cameron. Before dispersing the meeting, on motion of Mr. McCaw, moved a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Kerr for their hospitality, both on this occasion and during the Summer, when they had entertained the club at their Summer home.

Is Timber Sold in Strathcona Park?

Road to Buttles Lake is Again Discussed

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday December 10, 1925. p.7.

Despairing of the government to continue the Island Highway through to Buttles [sic] Lake, it is reported the Automobile Club of British Columbia may undertake the task. Strathcona Park and its importance as a tourist trade attraction to Vancouver Island formed the subject of quite an animated discussion at the meeting of the Tourist Trade Group of the Chamber of Commerce at Victoria. With little prospect that the government, which owns the park, will undertake anything looking to early development of the place as a summer home for campers and visitors, the suggestion was made that an appeal be made to try and have something done by private enterprise. The Automobile Club of British Columbia, it was reported by Mr. R.R. Webb, had already had the matter of doing something along this line placed before it. The suggestion was that by means of concession obtained from the Provincial Government allowing capital to be interested in a scheme which would result in the cutting of auto roads and bridal paths and the erection of summer hotels and camp sites, the place could be converted into one of the great attractions of the Pacific Northwest. To accomplish anything in this line it would be necessary, it was pointed out, to have the road continued to Buttles Lake. The situation at the park was explained by Mr. Webb, who had intimate knowledge gained at first-hand concerning the place. In addition to this the secretary Mr. Palmer, presented extracts from the report of Mr. R. [Reginald] H. Thomson, engineer, charged with the laying out of the park. These showed that at the time Mt. Thomson had in view the making of a great attraction for summer tourists. Mr. F. Waring and Mr. J.A. Griffith, who were both enthusiastic over the possibilities presented in this connection, felt it would be a mistake for any division of energy in connection with the carrying out of the proposition in view. They, therefore, advocated the fullest co-operation on the part of all organizations that might be interested in this work.

Is Timber Sold?

The question arose as to whether the timber in the park was in whole or in part alienated. It was considered that this matter was something that should be ascertained before any steps were taken. A committee was therefore appointed to investigate this aspect of the situation and also to gather further information regarding the feasibility of carrying out the scheme as suggested. The committee consists of Messrs. D.W. Campbell, J.A. Griffith, Herbert Kent, B.R. Kerr, R.R. Webb and J.W. Archer.


Mount Mumm

Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday December 11, 1925, p.4.

Sir,—With reference to the enclosed item entitled “John Munn’s Ground Sought by Descendent of Early B.C. Resident,” the Mount Munn next to Mt. Robson which is referred to by Mrs. Jessie Munn Macleod as having been named for John Munn, who died in Quebec in 1859, is evidently intended for Mt. Mumm, which is situated directly opposite Mt. Robson, across the summit of Robson Pass. Mt. Mumm was named by me in 1911 in recognition of A. [Arnold] L. Mumm, past vice-president of the Alpine Club (Eng.), who has made a name for himself in Alpine circles as a climber in the Himalayas and Caucasus and a traveler in many parts of the world. Mr. Mumm is a member of the publishing firm of Edward Arnold & Co., of London, England. He is a very much respected member of the Alpine Club of Canada, and has been attendant at many of the annual camps during the past twenty years. The mountain was named at the time of the Alpine Club of Canada expedition to the Rainbow Mountains in 1911, of which group Mt. Robson is the kingpin. There is no mountain named Munn that I have ever heard of.


Director. Alpine Club of Canada, Sidney, B.C. December 9, 1925.

[Unfortunately, some of the above information by Arthur Wheeler regarding Mt. Mumm is incorrect as the mountain that he is referring to was named Mumm Peak not by himself but by J. Norman Collie who made the first ascent with Arnold Mumm and Swiss guide Moritz Inderbinen in August 1910.]



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – William Dougan

Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Secretary – Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr

Executive Committee – Robert McCaw, Margaret Cowell, Gordon Cameron


April 10 – Annual club meeting at home of James White at Lake Killarney, Sidney.

Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at the Tonquin Valley: Arthur Wheeler, William Foster, Stanley Mitchell, Frederick Godsal.

Alpine Club Dinner

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 6, 1926, p. 6.

The annual meeting and outing of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will be held Saturday [April 10] at the Lake Killarney Summer camp of Mr. and Mrs. [James] White, of Sidney, kindly thrown open for the occasion. Those who can leave the city in the morning will be given the opportunity to join an excursion to the top of Big Saanich Mountain, this party will leave camp at 11 o’clock. There will be an afternoon walk leaving camp about 2:30, for late arrivals. Those who wish to join the outing should bring provisions, and full information about transportation facilities may be had by telephoning 3911R.

Strathcona Trail

Local Party Scale Quartz Creek Mountain in Snow

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 8, 1926, p.1.

Gradually the country over the high ridge of Quartz Creek Mountain [Mount Becher] is being explored by nature-lovers and climbers: and they all are eloquent of its rugged beauty and possibilities. With Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood as its leader a party of a dozen or so had made preparations to go up Strathcona Trail to the top of Quartz Creek Mountain on Good Friday [April 2]. The start was to be made at daybreak but when the first light came it showed leaden skies with little or no visibility and the party was postponed. Two members of the party set out later but ran into a snow storm while still low on the trail and apart from the delight of a day in the open saw little but snow and trees. Another hike was planned and executed on Easter Monday [April 5]. The party consisted of Mr. H. [Hamilton] M. Laing, the ornithologist, Mr. Cecil [Cougar] Smith, the cougar-hunter and trail leader, Mr. C.S. Wood, City Clerk of Courtenay, Mr. J.M. Mitchell, City Solicitor of Courtenay, and Messrs. Fred Wood and Ian Inglis. A great deal of snow had fallen and trail had to be broken from about two thousand feet to the head of Quartz Creek Mountain, which the party reached. But it was very hard work. Each member of the party took his turn at trail breaking. There were nothing but blazes to follow although these are well defined. However, the wonderful views obtained compensated the whole party for the rigors of the climb. The sky was a deep blue and to the east looking back over the peaceful Comox valley and the blue waters of the gulf: and to the west with its jumble of snow-clad mountains, the view was crystal clear.

Stopping to make a brew on Mt. Becher 5 April 1926. Left to Right: Murray Mitchell, Fred Wood, Ian Ingles, Geoffrey Capes, Clinton Wood

Stopping to make a brew on Mt. Becher 5 April 1926. Left to Right: Murray Mitchell, Fred Wood, Ian Ingles, Geoffrey Capes, Clinton Wood

Ideal for Winter Sports

After the recent snow storm the foliage of the trees was fantastically white and beautiful. At the top of the mountain where it was proposed to build a cabin, there is a good deal of open country which should be ideal for winter sports such as

snowshoeing, ski-ing and tobogganing. And the Strathcona Trail has the advantage of accessibility. Once the trail was broken it was no trick for the party to come down from the altitude of about five thousand feet to Bevan, where their cars awaited them, in three and a half hours. With pack ponies, and a little clearing of the trail and with a cabin at the top of the mountain it could be made a jaunt, which the less robust could take without too much travail. Three hours away from the mild temperature of Courtenay, those who delight in winter sports could enjoy themselves at an altitude of five thousand feet until well into May. And in the summer time there is the whole of the country beyond to explore.

On the summit of Mt. Becher 5 April 1926 – Clinton Wood, Geoffrey Capes, Fred Wood, Ian Ingles

On the summit of Mt. Becher 5 April 1926 – Clinton Wood, Geoffrey Capes, Fred Wood, Ian Ingles


Alpine Club Holds its Annual Outing

Lake Killarney, In Highland District, Is Rendezvous For Enjoyable Assembly—Campfire Meeting

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday April 11, 1926, p. 6.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada yesterday afternoon held its annual meeting at “Killarney,” the summer camp of Mr. and Mrs. James White, of Sidney, which for several years has been very hospitably been thrown open for the occasion. The early morning thunderstorm did not abate the interest of those who had announced their intentions of joining the gathering, and fifteen members railed on the shores of Lake Killarney in the charming forest retreat to participate in the outing. Big Saanich Mountain expedition being abandoned owing to the sodden condition of the undergrowth after the rain, the afternoon resolved itself into two smaller expeditions, each most enjoyable. One was to Durrance Lake, the other to Aladdin’s Cave, where under Mr. White’s personal guidance, tyros were initiated into the ghostly wonders of the subterranean cavern. Supper time brought the explorers together once again round the hospitably spread table, set beneath a great “fly” in the open, with a crackling bonfire nearby radiating its cheerful warmth.

Strathcona Park

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday May 27, 1926, p.2.

The admission of the Hon. T.D. Pattullo, Minister of Lands, that the government can do nothing to prevent the logging off of a large area of Strathcona Park will sadden but not surprise a good many members of the Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade. Two years ago, the board was asked to endorse a resolution asking the government to spend money to complete the road into Forbes Landing. A member then said he had heard that much of the timber in the park had been sold and could be logged off at any time, and it was suggested that before any further action was taken information should be sought. A question was asked in the Legislature and it was admitted that some parcels had been sold but no further action was taken: now it has been admitted that these parcels have been sold and will shortly be logged off. Mr. Pattullo says “you cannot both have your cake and eat it; we cannot keep timber standing and hope to build up a timber industry.” The minister also intimated that the government had been offered the timber for half a million but they had not the money to spare. We might say to Mr. Pattullo that too often the timber cake is eaten and the people of the district get nothing but crumbs in the way of industry, for that is what happens if the logs are not manufactured into lumber on the spot. The very least the government should do if they cannot prevent the cutting of the timber is to follow the good example set by the E. & N. Railway and compel the owners to manufacture on the spot. If a casual glance at the map of Buttles Lake and vicinity showing the areas sold, can be relied upon, it would appear that when all the privately owned timber is taken off, Buttles Lake will be surrounded by blackened stumps. We ought to have a full statement from the minister as to what timber has been sold, when, and to whom? It would also be pertinent to inquire if similar conditions obtain in other “parks.” Where big towns have grown up, names of streets soon lose their meaning: Covent Garden, for instances, is far from being a garden, but if Strathcona Park is logged off it will bear as much resemblance to a garden as Strathcona Park will to a park.

Strathcona Trail

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday May 27, 1926, p.5.

In the City of Courtenay is a street named the Lake Trail Road. Many years ago this was the route used by those who wished to visit the beautiful Comox Lake which nestles in the centre of the historic Comox Alberni pass, with the magnificent Dome [Comox] Glacier towering over it on one side, one end of the crescent pointing to Alberni on the West Coast, the other to Courtenay on the East Coast of Vancouver Island. Abounding in fish with its many numerous beaches and its numerous mountain streams dashing into it from the wonderful alpine area on the north west, it offers itself a paradise to the sportsman and nature lover. Strathcona trail leaves the old Lake Trail at the village of Bevan, crosses the Puntledge River and leads at an easy grade away up over the foothills of the Beaufort Range. At an altitude of 3,000 feet, which can be easily reached in two hours either on foot or horseback, one can get a magnificent view of the Courtenay-Comox districts, the Straits of Georgia with the beautiful Coast Range rearing its jagged snow-clad peaks on the eastern horizon.

A Fine Lookout

After leaving the vantage point, the trail winds through a most delightful natural park area unique in its absence of undergrowth and windfalls, broken by a long stretches of open meadow lands and save for the blazes on the trees, untouched by human hands. Two hours of easy travelling takes one by a very uniform grade to an elevation of 4,000 feet where a truly splendid panorama of the East Coast of Vancouver Island and West Coast of the Mainland can be seen. A short half hour’s climb from this point and the mountain top is reached where at an elevation of 5,000 feet one can gaze to their heart’s content on some of the most magnificent scenery on Vancouver Island, nay, in the world.

Some Fine Peaks

Mount Albert Edward, Alexandra Peak and the great Dome Glacier rear their rugged ice-clad heights just across the way, and Comox Lake gleams like a jewel far below; Alberni is seen in the misty distance; Quinsam Lake makes a glint of blue away to the north; the Comox Valley stands in detail before your astonished eyes. Individual buildings are picked out with ease. But most interesting of all, away to the north west stretches the practically unexplored portion of Vancouver Island. Here is the birth place of the Cruikshank, Oyster and Brown’s Rivers dotted with countless lakes, rich in Alpine flora and inviting in its virgin purity. From this point which is covered with snow until the month of June, one can return to the highway at Courtenay in less than three hours.

Into Mountain Fastnesses

The Strathcona trail, however, winds on across the unknown territory right into the mountain fastnesses of Albert Edward. It is now hoped that with government assistance the trail will be continued through the pass between Alexandra Peak and Mount Albert Edward to Buttles Lake and the famous Strathcona Park, a distance of only twenty-three miles from the City of Courtenay and through splendid scenery for its entire length. It is expected that this summer a string of pack horses and saddle ponies will be available, if desired, for those who wish to visit this truly wonderful area.

Leave Strathcona Park Alone!

Protest Against Despoilation of Public Assets

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 24, 1926, p.4.

That the desire of retaining Strathcona Park in all its virginal and natural beauty is becoming more and more universal, is evidenced by the fact that public bodies, not only on Vancouver Island, but on the Mainland are taking up the cudgels against those who would dispose of the timber for commercial purposes. The latest protest is from the Vancouver Island Branch of the Alpine Club of Canada, who at a recent and well-attended meeting passed the following resolutions:

“In view of the report that Strathcona Park, which for over fifteen years has been recognized as the property of the people and is the only area set aside for a National Park on Vancouver Island, may be disfigured by the cutting of timber for commercial purposes, this organization protests most emphatically against such actions. This protest is based upon the general principle that once an area has been set aside for the use of the people in general—not only for the generation but for all time—it should be beyond the power of any but the people’s representatives in Parliament to alienate any portion of it.

Beauty Park Threatened

“It might be pointed out that in the United States, where the economic value of parks has been more fully recognized, the late President Harding enunciated the doctrine that once an area has been dedicated to the use of the people it should remain inviolate and free from the intrusion of our modern civilization. In connection with Strathcona Park the timber is so situated that logging operations will not only mar the beauty of the park by despoiling it of the great attraction of a stand of wonderful timber, but at the same time the present method of logging will create a dangerous fire hazard. There is a further point to consider, and that is, the outlet for this timber being via the waterways, which are another of the big attractions of the park; to cut and market the timber would in turn spoil the waterways and as a matter of fact defeat the whole purposes for which the park is created.

Timber Not Replaceable

“The contention has been made that in time the timber could be replaced but it would take many hundreds of years to grow timber of equal beauty and in the meantime the damage would be done and the park rendered useless. It might further be pointed out that any immediate return for the present-day speculator is indefinitely small compared with the economic value of the timber in its present state as an integral part of the park, and the return from the park that could be obtained in the development of national character, and its direct contribution to the more material wealth of the nation in the advertising, investment and settlement that follow the trail of the tourist.” The Victoria Chamber of Commerce is also becoming interested in this great natural asst and have appointed a special committee composed of Messrs. D.W. Campbell and C.P. Hill to make a thorough investigation. At a recent meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Campbell reporting on Strathcona Park subject, said that it had been decided by himself and Mr. Hill that it would be inadvisable to make any definite recommendation at present. Mr. Campbell went on into history of the timber holdings on the lake that have been alienated. From the year 1907, when these were taken up the various transactions were referred to until 1914, when they were formally transferred to the Vancouver Island Lumber and Trading Company, of which Mr. Alvo von Alvensieben was managing director. He felt that the timber had not properly become the property of the Crown under the head of alien property provisions during the war.

Timber An Asset

The timber so alienated extends along practically the whole south shore of Buttles Lake and also along one half of the north shore. To cut this would remove from the shores the green timber that would be reflected into the lake. Mr. Campbell said neither of the previous governments were to blame for the situation. The Park came into existence under an Act in 1911. The government of the day could not be blamed for the condition that arose, while the present Government also appeared to be free of the blame. Mr. C.P. Hill also spoke to the report and said it had been found that the Government was quite friendly to the move which had been on hand. It was decided to refer the matter to the directors of the Chamber with a recommendation that it be made the subject of a resolution to come before the Associated Boards of Trade at the annual convention. It was further recommended that the Vancouver and New Westminster Boards of Trade should be asked to aid in this move as Strathcona Park would become as asset to the whole Province.

Strathcona Park to be Preserved

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 22, 1926, p.4.

There is now every prospect that logging will be stopped in Strathcona Park; it will be taken up on the floor of the Legislature at Victoria. At the next meeting of the Legislature the Conservative Party will launch a scheme not only to preserve Strathcona Park but other beauty spots. The preservation of Strathcona Park will be one of the subjects of debate at the meeting of the Island Board of Trade at Port Alberni. Mr. R.H. Pooley is firmly of the opinion that no cutting should be allowed in Strathcona Park. “Strathcona park should certainly be preserved not only as an asset for Vancouver Island, but for British Columbia, and, in fact Canada as a whole,” Mr. Pooley declared. “We shall take up our cudgels in defense of the park, and not only that, but I am in favor of purchasing other timber areas to protect the beauty of our roads.

Pay Fair Price

“My proposal is that the government pay the owners of private timber in the park a fair price, nothing exorbitant, for their holdings and put them beyond all possibility of cutting. I do not blame the present government for the fact that there is private timber in the park, of course, nor is the former Conservative government to blame either, because the timber in question was alienated before the park was created. To allow it to be cut and the park desolated, however, to my mind, would be a terrible mistake. We should preserve not only Strathcona Park, but also stretches of timber beside the highway at various points,” Mr. Pooley asserted. “First of all, I would suggest the purchase of timber in the famous Cameron Lake forest, east of Alberni, where thousands of visitors can annually motor through a stretch of the most magnificent trees in the world. I would also favor the preservation of some of the Nitinat forest which, in some ways, is even finer than that at Cowichan Lake to the West Coast of Vancouver Island. What timber should be preserved in this way, of course, would be a matter for careful consideration and investigation.”

The Last Chance

Mr. Pooley emphasized that the present offers the last opportunity of preserving some of British Columbia’s finest timber stands. In a few years the chance will have passed, he pointed out, as the logging industry is rapidly eating into every timber area accessible by road. “The tourist crop is certainly the most valuable Vancouver Island produces,” he said. “How can we expect it to continue if we cut all our timber and leave nothing but the wilderness of stumps which follow modern logging operations? When timber areas like Cameron Lake are gone and our roads are lined with hideous wastes barren of vegetation, how can we expect tourists to come here? I believe a system of preserving timber along the highways is not only sound from the sentimental standpoint, but from the standpoint of good business as well. The point to realize is that we must make our decision soon. We have our chance now of keeping at least some reminders of our present forests. In a little while we won’t have this chance. We should start by putting Strathcona Park beyond all possibility of desolation which would certainly follow the logger there. There at least we can preserve the natural beauty of our Coast.”

Government Is Ready to Buy

Mr. Pooley’s announcement makes certain that the whole question of timber preservation, at which the Legislature has long nibbled but never taken any definite action, will receive full attention in the next session. This discussion, it is learned, will be welcomed by the government. Members of the government explain that they are not hostile in any way to schemes of this sort. The government’s attitude, as set out by Hon. T. [Thomas] D. Patullo, minister of lands, is that if the people want to pay the bill, it is quite ready to expropriate the necessary timber in Strathcona Park and elsewhere. Mr. Patullo simple asks whether the tax payers think it worth their money to undertake such a programme. The opinion of the Legislature on the question thus is considered desirable by the administration. As a matter of fact, it is known that Mr. Patullo himself has had the whole question of timber preservation under careful advisement for a long time. He had investigated the possibility of saving stands of timber along various highways, and also the precise effect of logging along the shores of Buttle Lake, in the heart of Strathcona Park, where the privately owned timber stands. On these question Mr. Patullo will be ready to offer some definite advice to the Legislature himself.


At Upper Campbell Lakes

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 29, 1926, p.2.

By Mrs. M. Morrison

On the road to Upper Campbell

There’s a river murmuring;

Where by-path hugs the mountain,

There the woodland songsters sing,

And the breeze from out the fir trees

Bears a healing on its wing.


Friends, this would be full of beauty

For discerning eyes to see.

And the woodland fairy’s beckon

Where the soul likes best to be,

And the music in the tree tops

Make a mystic symphony.


If you are weary of life’s trouble

And would fain lie down and rest,

Seek the mystery of the woodland

When all natures at its best.

Let your soul gain strength and beauty

Close to mother nature’s breast.


You will find your faith grow stronger

And your eyes get clearer sight

When you’ve listened to the whisper

Of woods in deep o’night,

And there comes a breath of healing

With the wind adown the height.


There the peace past understanding

That is nature’s gift you take,

As you stand and watch the water

Into myriad wavelets break,

As frightened loon takes cover

‘Neath the surface of the lake.

Strathcona Park

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 12, 1926, p.2.

Mr. [Thomas] Patullo went and saw, and Strathcona Park conquered. It was almost a foregone conclusion that it would, for to one at all susceptible there is no propaganda so strong as the appeal of natural beauty. The minister’s trip has evidently been a revelation, and its outcome promises to be most satisfactory. The Vancouver Island wonderland is not only to be preserved, but is to be enlarged if the Legislation can be persuaded to provide the funds. If the Legislature hesitates, we would suggest that Mr. Patullo make arrangements for a summer session in the park, next year, that he take a bundle of fishing rods instead of the mace, and that flapjacks and slices of bacon be allowed to do duty for bills and orders of the day. If he plays his cards this way he will win, without a doubt. We hope, now that Mr. Patullo has seen the park and has appreciated its attractions and its possibilities, that he will use his influence to have it made more accessible. If the government will let the people in, and make it a playground, they will find no difficulty in keeping the logger out and in saving it from becoming a wreck.


Timber Will Not be Logged Off

Minister Makes Announcement Re-Strathcona Park

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 12, 1926, p.4.

As announced in last week’s paper, Strathcona Park will be preserved. Mr. [Thomas] Patullo came back with his announcement after his trip with other government officials up Buttles lake. They went in on horseback to Buttles Lake and explored it in a canoe. Among other matters which will be studied is the possibility of increasing the size of Strathcona Park by including within in it some particularly fine areas near its present reserve. “There is good commercial timber bordering the lake in places,” Mr. Patullo said, “but one would not choose it as ‘show timber.’ For many miles on either side of the lake there are stretches of non-commercial timber which, from the bird’s eye view, are quite as pleasing as the commercial stands. There are a number of areas at the mouth of creeks flowing into the lake that are very attractive, and these should be preserved. These areas will serve as points from which visitors can radiate up through the deep gulches and to heights reaching as high as 6000 feet. Strathcona will be a resort for those who have leisure and the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of its rugged beauty. The shore line of Buttles Lake is too sheer for enjoyment of swimming and bathing by small children, and in this sense the lake will not become a popular resort. Strathcona is essentially alpine in character. There are some areas, not now a part of the park reserve, to which consideration might be given, but the undertaking is one of considerable magnitude and requires careful study.”


Hold Meeting in Mountains – Part I

Mayor And Alderman Take Trip to Brown’s River Source

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 19, 1926, p.1.

The Courtenay City Council held its regular meeting on Monday night in the centre of Vancouver Island under the snow crest of Mount Albert Edward, or they might have done if the Mayor had not been too busy flipping pancakes for the crowd, the City Clerk in rustling balsam boughs for the bunks of Anderson’s old cabin and Ald. [William] Douglas in wrangling the horses. Officially, the object of the trip was to set up a water notice on Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie], which is now recognized as chief source of Brown’s River and this was done properly and in order. The city under this water notice will have the right to take enough water to supply the City of Victoria—or Courtenay when this gets as large as our somnolent neighbor down to the south. It was on Saturday night that Ald. Douglas and City Clerk [Clinton] Wood swam the four horses across the river to the old barn on the Puntledge. Thither the rest of the party followed them on Saturday night to be in readiness for an early start on Sunday morning.

Hit The Hay Early

The whole party consisted of four horses and eight humans and they very literally ‘hit the hay” early in order to get a good start. Save for the shuffling of horses’ feet just on the other side of the stall there was silence for a space until the City Clerk rolled out of the hay at half past three announcing that it was daylight in the swamp and it was time to be up and doing. The dawn of the dun day had come and the Mayor, who learned in all wood craft, soon had the “billy” boiling on the fire and in a few minutes there was tea strong enough to put hair on any chest. The Man of Law, who takes his straight, thought that it was a trifle too skookum but the rest acclaimed it as of “sergeant major” strength. Meanwhile Alderman Douglas had fed and watered the horses. In passing it may be mentioned that it is pretty hard to imagine anyone less like the average portly alderman. “Bill” learnt dog and mushing in the Yukon and horses and packing in the American southwest and since there isn’t much that the Mayor doesn’t know about horses, there is not much danger of the crowd losing their packs. The City Clerk, too, seems to have assimilated a good deal of lore regarding cinches and horse craft and it was no more than half past six when the cavalcade was ready to march. The horses were an assorted lot from the sturdy pony “Sparke-plug” to the twenty-six year old, Minnie, who at a pinch could carry a load along with the best of them though a trifle slow.

A Half Mile Straight Up

About the trail from Bevan. It’s probably not more than a mile and a half to the First Look-Out but it’s straight up. Recently the Mayor has prevailed upon the government to cut a few logs on the trail. “How far,” said the road foreman—who really does look like an Alderman—“how far is this log that needs to be cut?” “Oh, about half a mile from the bridge,” said the Mayor, but he neglected to tell the foreman that that half mile was almost straight up. Anyway, the log was cut.

Up Went the Pack Train

Up went the pack-train, three mounted, one pack-horse and the hikers making good time with the real aid of horse’s tail or a rope trailing from a pack. Up they went: past the first Look-Out where an incomparable view can be obtained of the whole of the Comox Valley: but most of the outfit had been up before several times and so were blase of this particular view: up to Anderson’s first cabin at an elevation of two thousand feet. For twenty years Tommy Anderson, who is now driving a truck out of Merville, set fur-lines in this country and he built himself cabins into the back of beyond which have come in very handy since. In the one on Goose Lake, Tommy lay for three weeks with a broken leg, all by himself and no attendants but the squirrels and an occasional deer—then he was found.

At the First Cabin

After the first cabin the big trees are left behind and there is more open country; beaver ponds and thousands of acres of upland huckleberry of a most delectable flavor. Signs went to show that Brer Bear also found these berries very much to his liking. They are, indeed, delicious and grow in profusion. Now the going is easy through glade and pond—most of them dry this season and this year- until the high rocks are reached, with stunted balsam scattered here and there, and the heather gay with blue, white and red flowers of sub-arctic species. Up goes the cavalcade following the tree-blazes over the north shoulder of Quartz Creek Mountain, a huddle of bare rocks a thousand feet above the trail which crest the divide at four thousand feet down as steeply as it went up through bare passes until the thick forest is reached and horses and men are sliding down fast to the lands below. The worst trouble is with the yellow jackets nests on the trail—there is a wild rearing and lashing out of hooves and an angry buzzing of insects while some of the party got a red hot needle in their ankles—but it was nothing serious. Down again into the wooded country. There is a marked difference in the vegetation of the east and west slopes of the mountain: on the east slope it was so dry that a fiery glance might have set fire to the moss and the bark: on the west slope descending into the valley of Goose Lake the trail was boggy and damp with many springs. Through the boles of the trees on the steep decline one or two incomparable glimpses could be obtained of the delectable country beyond, of its dark tarns on the mountain side still full of water from some hidden source and far below the shine of Goose Lake lying in its meadow.

The Goose Lake Meadows

Down to Goose Lake where Tommy Anderson set his second cabin at an altitude of 3,300 feet in a pleasant grove of trees and here the party made its halt for the night. Rough-Rider Douglas off-saddled and fed the horses and in a few minutes the tea was on the boil over a brisk fire. Just below the cabin trickled a pellucid stream and a few minutes away, the Goose Lake meadows. Set in the middle of the hills where but few white men had seen it till Courtenay began to take an interest in her water works here lies fifty acres of fine pasture, all green with wild grass. The horses were soon munching in it and a picture taken of it would give the impression of some prosperous ranch rather than a meadow where foot of kine [archaic for cows] or sheep has never trod, a play-ground for the deer and the beaver. The meadow tilts gently towards Goose Lake, the object of the party’s expedition. After a hearty meal the Mayor, Chairman of the Board of Works Douglas, Alderman [Theed] Pearse and the Learned Clerk set out on an exploration of the sources of the city’s water. To the east rises a great bastion of rock, one side of the great gorge of Brown’s River: below lie the two lakes. Goose Lake lies about north and south and is about three quarters of a mile long but not very wide although at the exit where Brown’s River begins the water is dark and deep, probably thirty to forty feet.

Geese But No Fish

A small trickle is passing over the stones at the outlet and Brown’s River tumbles steeply down in dark pools. Strangely enough is the clear waters of all these mountain lakes there are no fish but there are many goose feathers and presently the Man of Law with his glasses picked out five magnificent specimens of the Canada goose standing in the water and watching. Presently as the little party moved they rose out of the water with their melancholy “honk-honk”: their deadly foe, man, had arrived. These beautiful Canadian birds evidently breed here and it is one of their ports of call on their southbound flight over the continent: long may it remain a sanctuary for these, the finest and most sagacious of all Canadian birds. The lake on which the geese were seen lies to the east of the main Goose Lake and is higher than it. A twelve foot dam thrown across the outlet would raise water on 100 acres two feet! The water notice was posted by the Mayor on a tree at the foot of Goose Lake where at a very small cost a dam could be thrown across which would conserve all the water Courtenay is ever likely to want. Round Goose Lake were to be found salmon berries as big as logans and everywhere was rank vegetation.

Hold Meeting in Mountains – Part II

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 26, 1926, p.3.

Not the least of the fascinations of this secluded plateau in the centre of Vancouver Island is its aloofness. Thirty-five to forty years ago it was better known than it is to-day: colors of gold were found in a stream on one of those lakes and one of the party picked up a rusty pan, which fell apart in his hands—no doubt a memento of those days. But nothing worthwhile was found and beyond a few trappers like Tommy Anderson these smiling meadows and gleaming lakes have been left to the deer and wild geese. There are no government maps of it, although logging companies have been more enterprising, and it is unsurveyed: from Courtenay to Buttles Lake there is not one man who makes his home in this country. Of course there is a reason: wild Nature here is sheltered and protected by a four thousand foot ridge which rings it on all sides and till the little mining syndicate of Cumberland cut their mining claims at the foot of Mount Albert Edward there was no trail.

An Unspoiled Paradise

Here is a paradise for those who love the wilderness not five miles away from the reek of petrol and hard surfaced roads! Will this country ever be settled? Why not? Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] lies at an altitude a thousand feet lower than that of Calgary and the whole of this wild plateau is completely sheltered from the cold winds which make zero weather so trying on the prairies. How do we know this: because there are no dead-falls in the bush: no south-easter or norther has rushed through here and snapped the trees down. Snow falls early and would protect the earth and what grows in it from the severity of the frost. However, we have plenty of land at low altitudes that is to be developed yet and the charm of this plateau is its aloofness from modern life and its untamed solitude. On a brilliant morning the party broke camp at Goose Lake and crossed the meadows for the high plateau to the west, up the trail through defiles of timber until it emerges on a sunlit plateau from which the snow-clad mountains to the west can be seen. Here is our old friend the Glacier, still bathed in snow and ice but with the black masses of rock showing through, and with it other giants of the snow-line. There is nothing but scrub-pine and hemlock scattered over great areas, berry land through which the trail strikes due west towards Nootka Island.

A Woodland Tragedy

Here and there lie dark pools of water, cupped in the heather and here only a few feet from the trail was spread that gay morning a wood-land tragedy. It was all written there plain for a hunter such as Bill Douglas to see. There lay the victim, a three spike buck, fat as a seal from this upland grass. Twenty-five feet away was the scrub tree from which the great cat had sprung as the deer stooped to drink. The claws had raked on neck and flank and the struggle had been feeble and the deer had been thrown down by the force of the impact from the spring. There the deer lay as it fell, save for a hole in the neck and side where the cougar had fed. This was beyond Gosse Lake, a body of water about four times as large as Goose Lake and in the watershed of the Oyster, and about half way to the cabin which the mining syndicate of Cumberland has established at the foot of Mount Albert Edward. It is a commodious cabin as cabins go and is the way with the prospector and the fur-trader where civilization has not come, food and shelter is yours for the taking. If you need it, take it; the unwritten law which is seldom or never broken being that you replace what you can. This our party scrupulously did.

Down Came The Mists

It was the intention of some of the party to scale the seven thousand foot slope of Mount Albert Edward and get a glimpse of the open Pacific to the west. But it was not to be. Even before the party reached the welcome cover of the cabin the mists had shut down until the bush was dripping. The next day it was worse; a steady drizzle set in. Naught could be seen but the trail ahead and careful watch had to be kept for the next “blaze” as the little party wound their way back over the high plateau to Goose Lake meadows and up the tremendous climb to Quartz Creek saddle; over the huckle berry glades beyond and down to Bevan, where the rain ceased and the heavy, moist atmosphere of the Coast brought out the sweat and the stride lagged; a great contrast to the inspiring air of the upper levels. And so home and to bed, as Pepys would have said.


Tragedy in Woods

Remains of Miner Lost 13 Years Ago Found on Cruikshank River

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 11, 1926, p.1.

Lost, himself, in the peaks and valleys of the rugged country back of Comox Lake, Harry Rees stumbled upon the last remains—a boot, a rifle, a few bones of another man, who had been irredeemably lost thirteen years ago. He marked the place as well as he could and then set himself the task of finding his own way out. This done he informed Mr. Conway, the Government agent, at Cumberland, who sent word to the provincial police at Courtenay, who took up the search. There is very little doubt that the remains are those of a man named Cook, a miner who was lost in 1913. At that time the strike was on and many miners having nothing else to do went trapping and hunting. Cook and a partner went into the broken country on the south east branch of the Cruikshank River and built a cabin. One day they both went out and Cook never came back. His partner after vainly searching for him came out and gave the alarm and for days hundreds of men were scouring the bush—but all in vain. It so happened that Mr. Rees was a member of the search party for Cook and he has no doubt whatever that the identification is correct. Under the lee of a tall crag on a little ledge he found a boot. Thinking that it might be of some use to him he was proceeding to take it out with him when he found bones in it and jumped to the correct conclusion.

Other Lost Men

On the report first reaching Cumberland, it was thought that the remains might be that of George Ellison who was lost in the mountains some twenty-three years ago. Old-timers, however, say that the remains found could not possibly be that of George Ellison, as he was lost in the vicinity of Percy McDougal Mountain, which is in an entirely different locality from that which this skeleton was found. A very extensive search was made for Ellison but his body was never found. The next day Constable Condon went back with Mr. Rees and after one of the hardest trips he had ever experienced, says Constable Condon, they found the spot where the boot was and proceeded to make the search. Under two or three inches of moss they found a rifle and a revolver, the butt-end of the rifle half moldered away. With these pathetic, scanty few remains of the tragedy they came out and another mystery of the woods has been solved.



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – Arthur Wheeler

Secretary – Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr

Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Outings Committee – Claude Harrison

Executive Committee – William Dougan, Robert McCaw, Margaret Colwell, James White


January 11 – Club annual meeting at the home of Arthur Wheeler.

February 12 – Club meeting at the home of Arthur Wheeler.

March 26 – Club’s 21st annual banquet held at Shore Acres, Sidney.

May 7 – Afternoon meeting and expeditions at the home of James White at Lake Killarney.

June 18 – Club trip to Cattle Hill.

July 30 – Club trip to Grouse Nest Farm.

August 27 – Half-day trip to Mt. Newton led by Claude Harrison.

October 8 – Half-day trip to Mt. McDonald.

November 19 – Club trip to Mt. McGuire, dinner at Sooke Hotel.

October 8 – Half-day trip to Mt. McDonald.

Section members who attended the Alpine Club general summer camp at The Upper Yoho Valley: William Foster.

Section members who passed away in 1927: Frederick Elworthy.

Club Meeting

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday January 8, 1927. p.9.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will hold its general meeting on Tuesday, January 11, at Suite 18, October Mansions, beginning at 8 p.m.

A.O. Wheeler Named Alpine Branch Head

Elected To Chairmanship of Vancouver Island Branch of Alpine Club of Canada

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Wednesday January 12, 1927. p.11.

Succeeding William H. Dougan, Arthur O. Wheeler of Sidney was appointed chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at their annual meeting of the section last night. Mr. Wheeler was the founder of the Alpine Club and until a few months ago one of the directors. Hearty applause greeted his nomination as chairman. Other officers elected for the year were: Secretary, Mrs. Robert Healey-Kerr; Treasurer, Gordon Cameron. The Committee comprises William H. Dougan, Miss Margaret Cowell, Mr. Robert D. McCaw and James J. White (Sidney). Mrs. Kerr, secretary, reported having sent greetings to the Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Minneapolis sections of the society. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler extended an invitation to the club to hold the next meeting at their Sidney home on February 8. The annual dinner of the section will be held in March.

Club Meeting

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday February 12. 1927, p.9.

A meeting of the Vancouver Island branch of the Alpine Club of Canada will be held this evening at 8 o’clock at the home of the chairman Arthur O. Wheeler, Sidney. Dr. Fred Bell of Vancouver, president of the Alpine Club of Canada is expected to attend the meeting.

Alpine Club Celebrates Twenty-First Birthday

Mr. A.O. Wheeler, Director for Twenty Years, Recites Something of Club’s Achievements at Annual Dinner of Vancouver Island Section

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 27, 1927, p.10.

The coming-of-age anniversary of the Alpine Club of Canada was celebrated by the Vancouver Island section of the society last evening [March 26], when twenty-one members and friends gathered at “Shore Acres,” Sidney. Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, chairman, for twenty-one years a director of the organization of which he was one of the founders, rehearsed something of its history and achievements and at the same time extended congratulations to the club as a whole on having attained its majority. Mr. Wheeler’s address was given in connection with the toast of “The Alpine Club of Canada.” On March 27, 1906, organization took place at Winnipeg as the half-way point between East and West, and although a mere handful of people were associated with that interesting event then, the club had grown until today it had become a power among the big Alpine Clubs of the world, both in respect of the number of its members and their achievements in the field of mountaineering. Moreover, it had done much in advertising the Canadian Rockies as a magnificent playground for the finest type of sport. Continuing this part of the activities, the club, it was announced for the first time, would this year meet in annual camp from July 18 to 31 in the Upper Yoho Valley.

Recalls Work of Club

Recalling something of the work of the club, Mr. Wheeler referred to the building in 1909 of the clubhouse at Banff, when about twenty members of the world-renowned English Alpine Club, among them the celebrated mountaineer, Edward Whymper, hero of the Matterhorn, and Lieutenant-Colonel Amery, Secretary of the State for the Dominion. In 1913 the Alpine Club, through two of its members conquered Mount Robson; and in 1924 the first women reached the summit of the mountain, both ladies being members of the Alpine Club. In 1925, under the direction of the club, a successful expedition attacked Mount Logan, the highest peak of the Canadian Rockies. In 1921 the Alpine Club was represented at the Allied Congress of Alpinism at Monaco, and drew much notice owing to a fine exhibition of photographs of the Canadian Rockies which took the whole of the space allotted to the club and a portion of that allotted to the United States. On the occasion the club was represented by Mrs. Julia Henshaw, of whom the Prince of Monaco conferred the Cross of the Order of St. Charles. Mr. Wheeler did not mention that he also had the same decoration conferred upon him. Following Mr. Wheeler’s address, the evening was given up to informal conversation and music, Mrs. McCaw singing several solos, and the gathering joined in the signing of some choruses. The big tea room and living room at “Shore Acres” were given up to the club for the evening, dinner being served at a long table in the former, decorated with daffodils and greenery. The guests included the director, Mr. A.O. Wheeler, Mrs. Emmeline Wheeler; the surveyor general, Mr. J. [Joshua] E. Umbach; chief geographer, Major G. [George] G. Aitken; Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan, Mr. and Mrs. A. [Alan] J. Campbell, Mr. and Mrs. R. [Robert] D. McCaw, Rev. Robert Connell, Mr. J. [Joseph] C. Bridgman, Mr. C.C. Pemberton, Mr. Gordon Cameron, Mr. A.S. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. James White, Mrs. [Robert] Healey-Kerr, Mrs. And Miss Ingram, Miss McMullin, Miss [Ethel] Bruce and Miss [Margaret] Cowell.

Club Meeting

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Monday May 9, 1927. p.9.

Members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, were entertained on Saturday afternoon [May 7] at the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. James White of Sidney. Arriving at Lake Killarney the party broke up into groups and started off on various expeditions. James White and Alan J. Campbell acted as trail layers in the first paper chase and the first “hounds” to arrive home was Leonard Bapty. The expedition to Heal’s Lake was headed by Frederick Godsal. Following dinner, a speech by Arthur O. Wheeler, who is also the honorary director and found of the Alpine Club of Canada.

Alpine Club Plan to Hold Regular Outings

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday June 1, 1927, p.9.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada recently drew up a list of proposed expeditions to be followed during the summer months, and members and friends are requested to reserve these dates and join the outings. The outings are to be as follows: Saturday, June 18, to “Cattle Hill,” conducted by Rev. R. [Robert] Connell. The Victoria Natural History Society and the Prospectors’ Association are joining in this expedition. Members and friends, who are invited, will leave by C. & C. bus, Government Street, not later than 1:45 p.m. It is requested that those intending to join the expedition communicate with the secretary, Mrs. [Robert] Healey-Kerr, 6490L, in order that the requisite accommodation may be reserved. Saturday, July 30, Grouse Nest Farm, conducted by Mr. E.C. Warren. Saturday, August 27, Mount McGuire, conducted by Rev. Chapman. Saturday, September 17, open for suggestion.

Mt. Arrowsmith Climb Enjoyed

Large Party Takes the Trail Up Island’s Famous Mountain

Wealth Of Flora Adds Great Interest To Ascent Of Various Peaks And Ridges

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday July 7, 1927, p.18.

CAMERON LAKE, July 6.—Quite a large number of people started to climb Mount Arrowsmith on Confederation Day, most of the party being Vancouver people. Among those on the climb were the following: Mr. Lester Martin, Mrs. W. Martin, Miss Cameron, Miss Gintzburger, Miss N. Fraser, Miss E.A. Milledge, Messrs. R.E. Knight, B. Clegg, Wynne Edwards, A. Wynne Edwards, J. Andrews, S. Henderson, Fred H.H. Parker, and Mr. and Mrs. J. Speer. Nanaimo was represented by Mr. and Mrs. [Cyril] Berkeley, Mr. and Mrs. Simpson and Mr. and Mrs. [Arthur] Leighton. Most of the climbers arrived at the foot of the trail up the mountain by stage from Nanaimo, having reached that city by boat from Vancouver. Here they put up their boots and packs. There is no difficulty in finding the approach to the mountain, situated on the main Alberni road., on the shores of beautiful Cameron Lake, about thirty-seven miles from Nanaimo, and about half a mile from Cameron Lake station where the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway maintains a daily service from Victoria and Alberni with the exception of Sundays. A few yards past the turning to the Chalet, there is a sign pointing to the mountain trail.

Seven Mile Trail

The trail is about seven miles long with an exceptionally easy grade. Here and there a tree has fallen, but there are no serious obstacles. Originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as a pack trail for horses, with very little expenditure it could still be used for this purpose. The path is full of interest to the botanist and those fond of natural history, the flora changing continually with the altitude. A short distance up there is a mountain torrent [McBey Creek named after Thomas McBey who lived on Cameron Lake], over which a substantial bridge has been built. At some time or other a large tree was swept against it, knocking it slightly out of its true position, but it appears to be as solid as a rock. On a warm day it is delightful to feel the cool air surrounding this torrent whilst standing on the bridge. About half-way up the mountain there is a level plateau, where the trail follows the stream for a mile or so. This plateau is well timbered, principally with yellow cedar, and there being no underbrush it has a park-like appearance. Here is a popular halting place for refreshments and a rest before the final climb to a rocky bluff on which a cabin stands, built for the convenience of climbers. This cabin was built many years ago by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, and has been rather neglected lately, and needs repairs in the way of some new flooring and stove pipes; but construction must have been on very sound lines as it gets completely buried with snow in Winter and the enormous wight of this does not appear to have impaired it.

A Welcome Shelter

The elevation of the cabin is reputed to be about 4,400 feet above sea level, so it will readily be seen how welcome such a place is as a shelter and also to leave blankets and food supplies while the main climb is undertaken. The timber now gradually thins out and is replaced by rhododendrons, blueberries and plants that like to grow above the timber line. This in turn gives place to heather, white and purple, and round the cabin are Alpine meadows. The view from the cabin is magnificent, and the weather fortunately clear. There was much debate as to which peak was the famous mystery peak Mount Waddington, and several large peaks being climbed by different members as the genuine article. Point Grey and Stanley Park were easily picked out, and of course the peaks above North Vancouver and in Garibaldi Park. The cabin is quite free from snow now, though there are a few patches in sheltered places surrounding it. All the rock cairns marking the trail to the “Hump,” Mount Cokely, are free from snow also. On the south side of the “Hump” the flowers are out in such profusion that the botanists of the party went wild with delight. After the botanists had regaled themselves with the splendours of nature, a tramp was made up the ridge to the North Peak. Higher up this ridge the bare rock showed through the snow. So after a rest on the first peak, while the trained scientist in the party made the necessary topographical observations, the party scrambled over the second peak.

The Last Rock Climb

From this was a long walk along a fairly level ridge to the third peak, which stands immediately opposite the real summit of Arrowsmith. Then dropping down a few hundred feet to the narrow column, where ice axes were left, as on the bare rock face they would only be a hinderance, most of the ladies were now roped and the party moved up the arête. The rock climbing now became quite interesting, and some of the climbers were glad to make use of the permanent rope left by the geodetic survey party last Fall. (This rope is probably good for this year, but should not be trusted too much next year.) From the top of this rope nothing remained but an easy scramble to the final peak, which was reached at 10:30 a.m., four hours after leaving the cabin. Here lunch was partaken of whilst the camera shutters clicked like machine guns. Some of the party went over the West Peak, whilst one of them scrambled to the Eastern Ridge. Here there are many minor summits, but only three which deserve the name of peaks. When the wanderers returned they found the main party carefully lowering the ladies down the cliff, the descent being more difficult than the climb. Whilst this was being done one of the party, Mr. Fred H.H. Parker, went up the third peak, and essayed the ascent of the fourth peak. This fourth North Peak presented a very interesting problem in rock work, although it is not nearly so formidable as it appears. A narrow ledge joining the upper and lower parts of the rock face presents the key to the puzzle, and after crossing this the balance is easy. This is probably the first time this ascent has been made, and should be noted carefully by all who have scaled Mount Arrowsmith, or those who intend to.

Exhilarating Glissade

On the return, the column between the first and second peaks led to a perfect snow slope. Four of the party enjoyed a most exhilarating glissade down this side, incidentally gaining half an hour over the main party. The remaining portion of the trip was a botanists’ paradise, many specimens having been obtained of beautiful Alpines. The official data on the heights of the various points of interest are as follows: The cabin, 4,400 feet; Mount Cokely, 5,200 feet; Mount Arrowsmith, 5,976 feet. The distance from the main Alberni road to the cabin has been traveled in three and one-half hours, and to Mount Cokely in four hours.

Profusion Of Plants

The following plants, among others, were observed on the trip, most of them in flower. On the trail or close to it, these specimens were seen: Twin Flower (Tinnea borealis); Prince’s Pine (Chimaphila Umbellata); Calypso Bulbosa; Phlox Douglasii; Moss Champion; (Silene Acaulis) Penstemon Menziesii; Rhododendron Albiflorum; Blueberry (Vaccinium Ovlifolium); Thimbleberry (Rubus Parviflorus); Bronze Bells (Stenanthium Occidentalis); False Heather (Phyllodoce Empetriformis); Orchidaceae (at least six species); Pyrola (four species). Above the cabin, particularly to the south side of the “Hump” were found: Caltha Ceptosepia; Saxifraga (several species); Lewisea Columbiana; Pontentilla (two species); Dodecatheon (one species); Wallflower; Spirea Pectinata; Anemone (two species). Flowers and plants around Cameron Lake were: Lily (Lilium Parviflorum); Indian Paint Brush (Castilleja Angustifolia); Coral Root Orchid; Blue Penstemon (Penstemon Diffusus); Common Vetch (Vicia Angustifolia); Wintergreen (Pyrola Asarifolia); Nineback (Physo-corpus Opulifolius); Harebell (Campanula Rotundifolia).

Club Meeting

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday July 21, 1927. p.9.

The next outing of the Alpine Club of Canada, Victoria section, will be held at Firwood Farm, the home of E.C. Warren, on Saturday, July 30. Cars will leave the Campbell Building at 1:15 p.m. on that date for the farm at Sooke Harbor, and anyone intending to join the party should get in touch with Mrs. Healey-Kerr, phone, 6490L, who is in charge pf transportation arrangements. Each person is asked to take provisions for the camp supper. Hot water for tea will be provided on the grounds.

Snowball Party on Arrowsmith

Qualicum Beach Sextette Climbed Peak

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 28, 1927. p.1.

Qualicum Beach, July 28.—On Friday a party of six from Qualicum Beach, including Misses Margaret and Molly Mackenzie, aged eleven and thirteen, climbed to the summit of Mount Arrowsmith, returning the same evening. They reported lots of snow-balling and tobogganing there. They bathed in the small lake on the top saying that the water was fine and warm. A most enjoyable day was spent.

Over Glacier to Buttles Lake

Cumberland Party Had Wonderful Experience In Mountains

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 11, 1927. p.1 & 5.

Cumberland, August 10.—On Sunday July 31st, six old sourdoughs shouldered their packs at the mouth of the Cruikshank River on Puntledge lake, and made the long hike over the glacier, through the mountain country to Buttles Lake, and down to the Upper Campbell, and thence out to Forbe’s Landing where they landed August 6th, tired from their long hike, but enthusiastic over the beautiful country through which they had passed. The scenery they claim something magnificent. The glacier seen so plainly from Comox and Courtenay, stands out in majestic beauty from the other mountains, and at close range an awe-inspiring sight with its stupendous cliffs of solid ice, hundreds of feet thick. The country between the glacier and Buttles Lake is dotted with small but beautiful mountain lakes. Lower down are valleys carpeted for miles with moss, with little or no underbrush. On some of the higher levels mountain flowers are abundant and in several places there are stretches of one and a half miles covered with blue and white heather. The party which consisted of the following members, Joe Rees, Harry Rees Sr., R. Struthers, R. James, Joe Millar and D. Aitken, left the mouth of the Cruikshank River at 5:45 a.m. on July 31st, and proceeded up the river to the North Fork. From this point on the party began to climb, and when it came time to camp for the night, they found themselves resting at an elevation of 3,000 feet.

Fine Alpine Lake

The next morning after a good breakfast thoroughly enjoyed in the mountain air, the ascent was continued. At an elevation of 3,5000 feet the party came to a beautiful lake some 1½ miles long. From this point to an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet was a continuous chain of small lakes. It was near one of these lakes that the “old man” of the party, H. Rees, saw a large black bear giving chase to a deer, something which is rather unusual.

Saw Electric Storm

On the second day they reached an elevation of 5,500 feet near the glacier but had to descend to 4,600 feet to get into the timber line, to make camp for the night. Next day the ascent continued from 7:30 a.m. till 2 p.m., at which time the party found themselves at an elevation of 6,400 feet, the highest reached on this trip. While resting at this elevation, an electric storm of some magnitude was seen over the great central lake district. The descent towards Buttles lake was now begun, and at 3:30 p.m. on August 3rd the party found themselves at Shepherd Creek, reaching the shore of Buttle lake at 7:45 p.m. Nearly the whole of the next day, August 4th, was spent making a raft to transport the party down the lake, and at 6 p.m. the raft was completed and the long paddle started. At midnight camp was made for a long needed rest. The whole of August 5th was spent on the raft, reaching the Government Lodge at the lower end of Buttles Lake at 2 a.m. on the morning of August 6th. Upper Campbell Lake was reached at 11:45 a.m. the same day, where camp was made till the next day. Mr. Joe Rees had with him a very accurate instrument for measuring altitude, and it was found of the greatest value for determining heights. Ptarmigan, grouse and deer were seen in abundance in the mountain country. Harry Rees, the “old man’ of the party, says he will be ready to go again in a few days.

Complete Work on Arrowsmith

Cokely Geodetic Station of Island Peak Now Finished—Mr. Ney And Party Leave for Mount Joan to End of Season’s Operation

Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday August 12, 1927. p.18.

CAMERON LAKE, Aug. 11—Mr. C. [Cecil] H. Ney and his party of nine men have been on Mount Arrowsmith for the past week, where they completed the occupation of Cokely Geodetic Station; this will supply the control points to correct all local surveys in the vicinity, and that of Barkley Sound, where the hydrographic survey will shortly continue on charting operations. The main camp was situated on the south side of beautiful Cameron Lake, and on August 9 all the paraphernalia, including pots and pans, tents, tools and instruments, were taken by boat over the lake and then packed by the men to the railway.

To Mount Joan

The party left on the afternoon train for Bainbridge to encamp at the foot of Mount Joan in the Beaufort Range, where they will occupy the last station for the season’s work. If weather conditions hold out they will probably complete their operation in about two weeks. Next year Mr. Ney will be working between Smithers and Prince George for the purpose of establishing controls in that neighborhood, probably arriving in May and continuing to work until October. Major McCallum, district surveys engineer, of Ottawa, made his official call on August 8, staying at the Chalet [Cameron Lake Chalet] overnight and leaving the next morning by train to inspect some work in the neighborhood of Smithers, between this town and eastwards. He will remain for the rest of Summer. Major McCallum was well pleased with the progress made on this very difficult piece of work.

Praise Triangulation

The Geodetic Survey of Canada has carried out a system of precise triangulation across Vancouver Island into Barkley Sound, from points on Georgia Straits, comprised in the main Coast net, from the forty-ninth parallel of latitude to the Alaskan Boundary. Geodetic stations have been in place on the following mountains and islands: Mount Arrowsmith, 6,000 feet; Mount Cokely, 5,200 feet; Mount Joan, 4,800 feet; Mount Handy, 4,300 feet; Mount Lucky [Lucky Mountain], 4,100 feet; Mount Klitsa, 5,400 feet; and Mount Tzartus, 1,000 feet. The islands consist of Shelter, Great Bear, Roch Green Islets, Sail Roch, Bird Roch, Bold Bluff, San Jose Lighthouse and Cape Beale Lighthouse. The geodetic triangulation stations are permanently marked on the mountain summits by bronze tablets, the shanks of which are leaded into holes drilled into the solid rock. This forms a work which will last indefinitely. The hole is about one inch in diameter, and each tablet bears the following inscription: “The Geodetic Survey of Canada Triangulation Station. For information, write to the Director at Ottawa.” The precise centre of the tablet is marked by a small hole and represents the true geodetic point.

Identification Marks

At some of the station’s cairns of rock, usually four feet in diameter, and about six feet high, have been built over the bronze tablets to assist in locating their positions, whilst at others, lamp stands for electric signal lamps aid in location. Great accuracy is obtained by the geodetic engineers on this type of work, representing one part in one hundred thousand. Ninety years ago, the principal countries of Europe inaugurated their geodetic surveys and have continued their work ever since. Ponderous instruments were then in use, which involved great labor in their tramps to the mountain summits. The Geodetic Survey of Canada has lately acquired from Switzerland several theodolites of the most modern design and extreme accuracy, which at the same time have been so reduced in weight and bulk as to greatly minimize the labor transporting the instrument equipment to the mountain stations. The work in Canada has been carried on a small scale for the past twenty years by a small staff of specially trained engineers. Anyone wishing to know any details of the Summer’s work in this vicinity should write to Mr. C.H. Ney, care of Geodetic Survey, Beaver Creek, B.C.

Scenes Finer Than in Alps

Comox Party Has Wonderful Trip in Beaufort Range—Travel Over Glacier and by Chain of Lakes in Remarkable Week’s Outing

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 14, 1927. p.19.

Cumberland, Aug. 13—To Mr. J. Rees, Comox Lake, Cumberland, and his party, goes the honor of being the first party this year to climb the famous glacier, situated in the Beaufort Range of mountains surrounding Comox Lake. The scenic grandeur of this trip, according to Mr. Rees, outrivals anything even the Alps can offer. Magnificent mountains, a gleaming glacier, limpid lakes, awesome canyons and huge primeval forests. Mile upon mile of Nature in the rough—heroically cast to thrill and inspire. This vacation paradise was visited by Mr. Rees and a party of Cumberland residents last year, and so delighted was Mr. Rees that he organized another party this year, composed of Messrs. H. [Harry] Rees Sr., J. [Joe] Rees, D. Aitken, D. James, R. Struthers and J. [Joe] Millar. The party left the residents of Mr. J. Rees, at the foot of Comox Lake, Cumberland, on Sunday, July 31, about 4:15 a.m., traveling to the mouth of the Cruikshank River in Mr. Rees’ launch. It was the intention of the party to travel from Comox Lake to Buttles Lake, nine miles from Campbell River, via the glacier. Leaving the mouth of the Cruikshank at 5:15 a.m., the party arrived at the north fork of the river at 10:15 a.m., the elevation being found to be 700 feet. A short stop was made for lunch at this point, and at11 a.m. the ascent of the mountain [possibly Mount Ginger Goodwin] between the north and middle forks was commenced. Traveling was found to be pretty hard all day and no water to be found until 7 p.m. when Mr. Rees discovered water in a small pot hole at an elevation of 3,000 feet. After satisfying their thirst, the party proceed once more, and on coming to a small creek off the middle fork, decided to camp for the night, the time being 8 o’clock, concluding a hard day’s travel, from 5:15 a.m. The elevation at this point was found to be 2,200 feet.

Second Day’s Travel

On the morning of August 1, camp was broken, the party commencing to climb again at 7 a.m. All morning it was found to be fairly hard traveling, but with plenty of water available. At 10 a.m., at an elevation of 3,500 feet, Welcome Lake was sighted, and at 11 a.m. the party reached Salt Run Lake, the elevation of which was found to be 3,550 feet. After lunch, and a short rest, the journey was recommenced, Rock Island Lake being reached at 1:30 p.m. Mr. J. Rees, who took all the elevations, found this lake to be 3,800 feet. At 2:40 p.m., View Lake, at an elevation of 4,000 feet, was reached and a halt called for lunch. At this stage of the journey the party distinctly saw a black bear chasing a deer, a most unusual occurrence, stated Mr. Rees. At this point many photographs were taken, the view being superb. During the course of the trip over 100 photographs were secured. After the photographing, packs were hoisted once more, the party climbing until 6:30 p.m., reaching an elevation of 5,500 feet and very close to the glacier. It was decided at this period to descend to the timber line and make camp, elevation at the timber line being recorded as 4,000 feet.

Ascending The Glacier

On the morning of August 2, the climbers left the camp at 7:30 and commenced to ascend the glacier, having lunch near the top at 11:45. At 2 p.m. the highest point was reached (6,400 feet) and, stated Mr. Rees, the sight was truly wonderful. Wild flowers in abundance were found close to the glacier, also lots of game—deer, grouse and ptarmigan. At 3 p.m. the party commenced to descend on the Buttles Lake side of the glacier, Deer Lake being the reached at 6:30 p.m., elevation 4,000 feet. On August 3 a start was made, at 7:30 a.m., for Shepherd Creek, good traveling being found all the way, the party passing Pear Lake at 9 a.m., and arriving at Shepherd Creek at 2:30 p.m. Starting down the stream from Buttles Lake the latter was reached at 7:45 p.m. On the morning of August 4, it was decided to build a raft and travel down the lake, but it was not until 6 p.m. that the journey could be commenced; the “path-finders” in this case traveling by raft until 12 p.m. At 2 a.m., on August 5, the lower end of Buttles Lake was reached, camp being made in a government building. A start was made for Upper Campbell Lake at 8 a.m. on August 6, which point was arrived at at 11:45 a.m., arrival at the lower end of Campbell Lake being made at 6 p.m., where camp was made for the night—thus finishing what Mr. Rees described as the most wonderful trip he had ever experienced.

The Journey Home

On Sunday last several friends from Cumberland and district left by car for Campbell River and conveyed the party back to their homes. Fourteen lakes were passed on the trip from Comox Lake to Buttles Lake, all being plentifully stocked with fish, and with game in abundance. Some magnificent views were obtained, and those who had cameras secured some lasting memories of a glorious trip.

Grainy black and white half-tone image of climbers.

Party of hardy mountaineers from Cumberland, the first of the year to climb the famous ice field. They had a wonderful week’s outing among the lakes and summits of the big Island range. Standing are Messrs, R. Struthers and Joe Rees. The gentleman in front is H. Rees, sixty-four years of age, who make the trip without fatigue. On the left are R. Jame and D. Aitken (in shirtsleeves).


Mt. Newton Is Scene of Trip

Local Section of Alpine Club Couple Outdoor Exercise with History of District

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday August 30, 1927. p.5.

A trip up Mount Newton, Saanich, constituted a very enjoyable August outing of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada on Saturday [August 27] afternoon. Leaving the city by motor at 1:15, the party, consisting of about twenty-five members and friends, reached the foot of the hill and began their ascent about half past two o’clock, and shortly after 5 the main part of the outing was concluded, when the party wound up at Mr. John Dean’s for tea. At the top of the mountain Mr. Claude Harrison, who acted as guide, directed the attention of the gathering to some of the nearby islands, fortunately visible owing to the fine, clear day, and told his listeners something about the history of each. During this short stop at the summit, Mr. Kenneth M. Chadwick also read an excerpt from The Colonist of 1859, giving a brief history of the neighborhood, and particularly referring to the character of the Indians in the district, and recommending the reader of the period who felt like making an exploration of the area to hunt for remains of Indian palisades. The same excerpt also mentioned Cole Harbor, and recalled that Cole Harbor was named after a Mr. Cole who was the first member of Parliament for the Saanich district. A close student of Indian customs and history, as well as the Indian language, this gentleman was mentioned as having had a great deal to do with the tribes living in his district at the time. Mr. Cole afterwards became prominent in the Royal geographic Society in England. The next expedition of the club will be on Saturday, September 17, in the Leech River district, and will be conducted by Mr. Harrison.

Arrowsmith Not in Kindly Mood

Wind and Wet Make Hard Climb for Party of Victorians—Muggins Safely Rescued

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday September 8, 1927. p.12.

CAMERON LAKE, September 7.—At about 1 o’clock on Saturday afternoon a party of seven left the Chalet to go up Mount Arrowsmith. The leader was Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, who came equipped with instruments, provisions, rope, blankets, etc., intending to spend two nights away. Although the weather was exceedingly doubtful, the mountaineers were not to be deterred from their plans, and went off in good spirits. Mrs. Harrison accompanied her husband, and the rest of the party consisted of Miss J. Gibson, Mr. K. Preiswerck, Mr. N. D’Arcy, all of Victoria, Miss Marion Coote, of Vancouver, and Mr. G. Mead-Robbins, of Elk Lake. Mr. Preiswerck, a native of Switzerland, has had previous experience and described the club houses erected at convenient places in the mountains in his own country. The packing of the equipment was no small undertaking, the ladies taking about twenty pounds and the men about thirty-five pounds each. A packer was engaged to take up about forty-five pounds to reach the party later. On arrival at the cabin, it was decided to stay there for the night. Although this shelter was originally well built, it has suffered at the hands of vandals who apparently thought of their own convenience first to the detriment of those who should follow. About half of the flooring has been torn up, probably being used for firewood. Luckily the roof is watertight, but as there is no stove the discomfort from the smoke when a fire is lighted on the stove base is very trying, as only a portion of it escapes through the opening made originally for the stove pipe. The original plan was to camp out in silk tents on Mount Cokely, but owing to the unusual heavy rains it was found impossible to find a suitable place. All night the rain continued to come down in torrents, and next morning, in spite of the weather, Mount Cokely was scaled and the party passed on down by Ice Lake, and all but the final peak of Mount Arrowsmith was reached. Throughout the entire distance a hailstorm, with rain, prevailed, accompanied by a strong wind, blowing at an estimated rate of sixty miles per hour. It was necessary at times to crouch on the rocks to save being blown over, and in some places it was so terrific that small stones were blown out of place. The visibility, owing to the fog and rain, was naturally poor, and this, coupled with the fact that the party was drenched to the skin, decided their return to the Chalet. Two other climbers had left the Cameron Lake early on Sunday morning, but turned back at Mount Cokely as they considered it unsafe to proceed. They had come in contact with the larger party and brought word that the others would be down at 3:30 p.m. The packer arrived soon after this, and later the others came in, but not all together. However, the kind hostess at the Chalet knew what to expect and had fires going, hot water for baths and tea prepared. In one case a set of clothing was provided to save the unfortunate one from having to go to bed. The effects of the warmth and refreshments were wonderful, and the spirits rose accordingly, and soon there was a jolly party getting ready for the evening meal. There was, however, one great trouble in the minds of some; the question was being asked, “Where is Muggins?” Muggins is the Chalet dog, petted and loved by hundreds who have visited Cameron Lake. Muggins had started from the cabin with two of the ladies and turned back. The anxiety was the more intense because Muggins generally sees the climbers down first, and then runs on to the Chalet. But morning came and still Muggins had not returned. Shortly after the Victoria party had left for home, a man and a boy with a dog started up the trail to find Muggins, expecting to go right up to the cabin. They were agreeably surprised to find that still one other climber had started up the Mountain early that morning and was returning with Muggins. It was learned from the man that Muggins was found outside the cabin, at first not too friendly, but after having had some breakfast given him he knew he had a friend. When found on the trail he seemed to be in the pink of condition, wagging his tail and looking immensely pleased, as though he knew someone had come for him.


Alpinists Visit Historic Camp

Leechtown, Sooke District, Scene of Gold Excitement of 1864 Explored Yesterday

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday September 18, 1927. p.9.

A visit to historic Leechtown in the Sooke district, constituted the September expedition of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. About thirty people constituted the party, which left Victoria by C.N.R. train at nine o’clock in the morning, Mr. Claude L. Harrison taking charge of the expedition from the very beginning and making a splendid guide to the various points of interest on arrival at Leechtown. The party returned to the city in two sections, the first entraining at three o’clock and the second at seven. The outing was pronounced a great success in every respect, and during the la fresco luncheon, eaten near Beacon Bar, thanks was expressed to Mr. Harrison for his kindness in conducting the expedition. On arrival at Leechtown at 10:30, the visitors were taken down to the sandbar at the junction of the Sooke and Leech Rivers, where there was pointed out the spot where gold was first found in the district by Lieut. Peter John Leech, leader of the successful branch of the party sent out by Victoria citizens early in 1864, under Dr. Robert brown, to explore Vancouver Island’s mineral resources. From here Mr. Harrison led the party on to the site of the old Governor Kennedy residence on the other side of the Sooke River. Here the two hoary apple trees planted by Governor Kennedy’s daughters during a visit which they made to the district in 1865 were found, one of them with a few apples on the upper branches. The expedition from this point continued up over the Kennedy Flats, in its heydey a busy little mining camp boasting about 2,000 citizens and some thirty saloons as well as stores and warehouses. Evidence of the game which still is found in the district was seen in a big deer shot the previous afternoon by a hunter.


Although the country is practically uninhabited, there is a well-defined trail for some distance beyond Kennedy Flats, and the guide left the party along this almost up to Beacon Bar before beginning the ascent of William’s Mountain. From the summit of this, where a short interval was allowed for a rest, a fine view was obtained of Dynamite Hill, Jack Mountain, and Empress Mountain, where the Alpine Club intended making a trip one day. A slight detour was made on the return trip. After luncheon the party broke into two sections, one proceeding to the station to catch the afternoon train back to the city, and the other, still under Mr. Harrison’s guidance, resuming its exploration of the country. At Macdonald’s Lake interesting and rare plants were collected, among the specimens being a sundew, an insectivorous plant, and Labrador tea. Mount Macdonald, above the lake, was also climbed. In collecting their specimens, the visitor took great care not to mar the beauty of the lake in any way.

Visit Talc Mine

The talc mine, about a mile north of the station, was visited during the afternoon, and the methods of working explained. The mine employs about eight or ten men, and is steadily shipping. The talc is produced in three grades, the finest quality being sold for face powder, the coarser grade for rubber roofing and tinting the walls. Before leaving the district, the party retraced its steps up the Sooke and Leech River a short distance, and Mr. C.C. Pemberton, as an authority on trees, called attention to the giant poplar, wild cherry, small-leaf maple, and alder growing beside these streams. An interesting instance of root-transformation was indicated in an alder, the ground-root where it left the soil to enter the water. Some further references by Mr. Pemberton to interesting tree growths, and Mr. Harrison’s recital of some of the legends concerning the district, filled in the tie until the train arrived.


Mount Albert Edward is Conquered by Expedition

Remarkably Interesting Climb is Made by Party Which Included Hon. T.D. Pattullo, Surveyor-General, and Chief Forester

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday September 25, 1927. p.3.

Several interesting climbs have been reported from Up-Island areas during the past few weeks, but none more ambitious character than that undertaken by a party which set out from Courtenay on August 27 with the summit of Mount Albert Edward as its objective. Although only three of the party actually achieved the goal, the expedition was unanimously declared to have been a great success, and the record of the outing, The Colonist correspondent states, has awakened renewed interest in the possibilities of the mountain as a climbers’ paradise. Glaciers and “red snow” were found, and bear, and ptarmigan and quantities of deer, wild geese, grouse and other game were seen. Mount Albert Edward is east of Buttle Lake, and just outside the Strathcona Park area. It is about twenty miles west, in direct line from Courtenay. Shown on the map as 6,968 feet in altitude; an aneroid record taken at the summit indicates over 8,000 feet. But some doubt as to the veracity of the latter figure is entertained by climbers themselves, as they reached the summit during a hurricane and in dense fog, with the barometer falling. Altogether the expedition took five days, during which about sixty miles of country were traversed, and some secondary exploration work accomplished. The party comprised Mayor [John] McKenzie of Courtenay; Alderman W. [William] Douglas, who was appointed “horse wrangler”; Constable M. Condon, self-appointed chef; and Messrs. John Brown and [Bob] Gibson, who made up the vanguard; and the Hon. T. [Thomas] D. Pattullo, Minister of Lands; Surveyor-General J. [Joshua] E. Umbach, Chief Forester P. [Peter] Z. Caverhill; Mayor A. [Alec] Maxwell of Cumberland; Alderman H.E. Wallis, Alderman T. [Theed] Pearse, Dr. [Frank] Moore, Surveyor Donald Cameron, and Mr. V. Bonora.

Vanguard Leaves

The vanguard of the expedition left Courtenay at 4. p.m., on Saturday, August 27, led by Mayor McKenzie, Alderman Douglas, Constables Condon, and Messrs. John Brown and Gibson, the vanguard also including seven horse and four mules which were used as mounts and for packing the tents, sleeping bags, commissariat supplies, etc. The Puntledge River was crossed early in the evening on the bridge owned by the Comox Logging Company, and before dark camp was pitched immediately opposite the Bevan Mine. The advanced party had just finished breakfast the following morning when they were joined by the Hon. T.D. Pattullo, Mr. J.E. Umbach, and the eight other members of the party mentioned above. By 9 a.m. the whole group was on the march and by 1:30 p.m., after a brisk morning’s work, they had reached the top of Quartz Creek [Mount Becher] Mountain (4,000 feet). After luncheon the party took a survey of their surroundings discovering that the mountain offers a magnificent view, not only of the Comox Valley and Cumberland, but of the Gulf Islands, Powell River, and other Mainland points were clearly visible.

Camp At Goose Lake

After about an hour’s rest the party proceeded over a picturesque trail to Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] where tents were pitched and a bivouac made for the night. Abundant fodder for horses and mules was found in the big natural meadows surrounding the camp. The evening was spent around a roaring camp fire with yarns and pipe tales, but everyone was tired enough to turn in by eleven. Monday, August 29, the self-appointed chef and the “horse-wrangler” were astir by 4:30 a.m., and the Minister of Lands was a close third as an early riser, taking a dip in the stream at 5 a.m. The fine weather of the previous day had passed and “cloudy and foggy” took the zest off the third day’s programme. It was 10 a.m. before the expedition broke camp at Goose Lake. The Up-Island correspondent’s description of the remainder of the day’s programme is reproduced verbatim: Crossed a seventy-five-acre natural meadow, and through winding canyons and draws reached “Forbidden Plateau,” 4,100 feet above sea-level. Here the scenery was truly grand. Occasionally we would glimpse the snow-clad peaks of the Dome Glacier [Comox Glacier] and Mount Albert Edward. Numerous lakes were seen, some small and some quite large, but each one was a mountain jewel in its own particular setting. Several flocks of geese were seen, and judging by their excited honking they evidently resented the invasion of their sanctuary. We descended from the plateau into Panther Lake Basin. Here the trail follows the shoreline of the lake, affording a splendid view of this beautiful body of water, with Mount Albert Edward for a background. Mushrooms the size of cabbage were found along this trail. After traversing a number of natural meadows and passing several more unnamed lakes we came to our camping site located about one mile from the base of Mount Albert Edward. Game appeared very plentiful in this section as several deer, coveys of grouse, and one black bear were seen by the members of the party. At this stage the party were beginning to get “trailbroke,” and every member, without a single exception, got busy and assisted in pitching tents, getting firewood, hobbling horses, and other chores. Our chef excelled himself in “slinging out” good eats, and after the repast was over willing volunteers helped to wash up the dishes. After camp cleaning a roaring camp fire was built and was soon surrounded by the entire party, as we were now at an elevation of 4,100 feet, and it was quite chilly. Constable Condon, our chef, appointed himself chairman, and each member of the party was compelled to tell a bed-time story. Everybody complied. By 11 p.m. lights were out and the camp fire was burning low.

Rain and Fog

Tuesday, August 30, the day on which the actual ascent of Mount Albert Edward was planned, furnished but poor weather for the crucial part of the expedition. Rain and fog made even the lighting of the morning camp fire difficult, and breakfast was carried to the tents to be eaten. Only three enthusiasts could be found willing to venture the climb to the summit of Mount Albert Edward, viz, Mayor McKenzie, Mayor Maxwell, and Alderman Douglas. Leaving camp at 8 a.m. they reached the base of the mountain and took a preliminary survey, ultimately deciding, as deer hunters accustomed to spending the day in wet clothes during the hunting season, that the weather could do them no particular hurt, and that having gone so far they might as well attain their objective.

Red Snow

After a stiff climb they got above the timber line, and here, among the eternal snow, they found instances of the peculiar phenomenon known as “red snow,” well known in certain localities of the Alaskan coastal glaciers, and also in Greenland, but rarely recorded on Vancouver Island. The color arises from a slow-germinating microscopic plant which thrives in the snowfields. “Snow which has its surface periodically disturbed offers the “red snow” plant little chance for growth. It resembles fresh blood, and the illusion can hardly be dispelled when handfuls are taken up and examined,” reports The Colonist correspondent.

Summit Reached

Ptarmigan were found quite plentiful up among the snow. The climbers encountered a terrific gale blowing from the southeast, and the thermometer registered just eight degrees above freezing, so a conference was held in the middle of a snowfield before proceeding. It was decided, however, that the programme must be adhered to despite the weather, so pressing through the storm they reached the summit at 1:10 p.m. A hurricane was blowing, but a momentary glimpse was secured of a lake surrounded by snowfields in a canyon about 3,000 feet below. As in the case of the Mount Arrowsmith expedition of a week later, fog was encountered at the summit in conjunction with the high wind. The aneroid, which had been carefully checked after leaving Courtenay, showed an altitude of slightly over 8,000 feet, but as the glass was falling a little doubt was felt by the mountaineers as to the veracity of their instruments. Remaining at the summit of Mount Albert Edward long enough to inscribe their names, the trio started back to camp once more. On their way back down the mountain they saw numerous deer. It was still foggy, but as they descended the wind lessened. Hungry and wet through they reached camp shortly after 4 p.m., and were greeted with a welcome hot meal. The day’s achievement was the main subject of discussion at dinner, served at 7 p.m., when the successful climbers were heartily congratulated on their feet. Mr. Pattullo having to return to Victoria, camp was broken early the following morning. Mr. Pattullo being accompanied by Messrs. Caverhill, Umbach and McKenzie. This section of the party made the twenty-mile trip back to Courtenay the same day, and attended a dance in the evening. The remainder of the party took the return in more leisurely fashion, pitching camp about 3 p.m. at Goose Lake, and after a preliminary survey of the country, spend the night there. Next morning Mr. Donald Cameron, surveyor, assisted by Alderman W. Douglas, chained off Goose Lake so that Mr. Cameron could compute the area. This done the party continued on its way to Quartz Creek Mountain, lunching at the top for the second time in five days, and reaching Courtenay about dark.

Climbers Scale Mount McDonald

Party of Seventeen Victorians, Under Mr. C.L. Harrison’s Guidance Enjoy Outing

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday October 9, 1927, p.36.

The lure of the skyline attracted a group of seventeen Alpine Club members and their friends into the Goldstream country yesterday [October 8] afternoon to scale Mount McDonald, conspicuous, looking westward from the city, as the mountain of the lone tree. The expedition was under the able guidance of Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison. The climbers left the city by motorcar shortly before 2 o’clock, and drove out to the schoolhouse on Humpback Road. Here cars were parked and heavy wraps discarded. The ascent of the mountain was made up the southeast face, which offers some interesting rock work. Although one or two showers of rain came down before the top was reached, the weather on the whole was ideal so far as actual physical exercise was concerned, and even when the summit was attained the clouds and mist had considerably lifted so that an impressive panorama was viewed from the advantageous altitude of 1,436 feet. A fine sweep of the Olympics lay exposed to view above the mist banked in the Straits, and all around crowded the nearer islands and hilltops, among the higher ones being Empress Mountain, 2,184 feet, which had already been decided upon as a climb for next Spring, Mount Finlayson and Mount Work (Big Saanich), and Mounts Paterson and Clinkhorn. Just visible through the drifting mists were Glen Lake, Langford Lake and the Goldstream Lakes, and the Humpback reservoir immediately beneath. Camp was reached again shortly after five, and soon the climbers were enjoying an al fresco tea, another detail of the outing most generously attended to by Mr. Harrison, who was accorded a vote of hearty thanks by Mr. Gordon Cameron. Three cheers and a tiger from the assembled gathering endorsed the sentiment. The return to the city was made shortly after 7 o’clock.

Climbing Mt. Arrowsmith 25 Years Ago

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday October 16, 1927, p.21.

In view of the recent articles which have appeared in the public press regarding the attempts to “scale” Mount Arrowsmith, the following description of one of the several excursions made in former years may prove of interest and help to dispel the idea that there is any difficulty in ascending this mountain.

By J.R. Anderson

“On Monday, July 20, 1903, Dr. [James] Fletcher, Rev. G. [George] W. Taylor, the writer [James Anderson] and his constant attendants started by private conveyance from Wellington on a partly scientific and partly pleasure excursion, our objective point being Mount Arrowsmith, but Cameron Lake, about thirty-five miles distant being the point at which the road is left. The road to Cameron Lake is an excellent one and most interesting—the forests passed through alone being worth the journey. Along Nanoose Bay are to be seen numbers of Arbutus trees of great size and length; these are growing amongst firs, and one that we measured is some twelve feet in circumference. About twenty miles from Wellington is Parksville, where we stopped for lunch. My companions made a good many captures during the afternoon, principally of moths.

Reach Lake

“We reached the lake about five, and, fording the Qualicum River, which takes its rise in this Lake, we camped on the lake shore. Here we met Mr. Stephenson and Mr. [Theodore] Bryant who preceded us with the same object in view. During the evening the packers we had engaged arrived from Alberni. We thought we were to have had Indians, but they turned out to be two young Englishmen, Harry Smith and Walter Watson, by name. Out hearts rather misgave us when we saw out packers, as they did not seem the right sort of stuff for such work. They, however, turned out very well, Harry especially being the handy man, who undertook the cooking and mending for the party. Cameron Lake is a beautiful sheet of water bounded on both sides by high mountains; it is about four miles long by about half a mile wide. The road to Alberni then ran along its northern bank, Mount Arrowsmith lying to the southward and westward. On Tuesday morning Messrs. Stephenson and Bryant and their dog appeared bright and early with their packs on their backs, the dog doing his full share, ready for the trail. We followed about two hours later, leaving our tent standing and all unnecessary impedimenta behind. The packs were nevertheless quite heavy enough—so much so that before we attained the first bench our packers declared they would have to divide the packs and return for the rest.

Copper King Mine

“Ascending from Cameron Lake, the trail leading to the Copper King Mine is taken. The ascent is very steep, but a trail, indifferent as it may be, makes all the difference. At an altitude of perhaps fifteen hundred feet from the lake the Copper King Mine is reached, where there is a shack. By this time our packers were ready to drop for want of water. We were told that water was to be found here in the old tunnel, but after a fruitless search we had to give it up and proceed upon our journey. We were afterwards told that the water is in another tunnel where the house stands. The trail ended here, and we thenceforward proceeded as best we could over the rocks and fallen trees, a fire having killed off all the original growth of hemlock with which this hill was covered principally, and our way was therefore obstructed not only by fallen trees, but by the dense undergrowth of young hemlock, firs and brambles—to say nothing of the rough nature of the country which is here very rocky and cut up in every direction by ravines. After reaching a point near the summit and finding a small grove of hemlock which had escaped destruction, we took a rest and gave our packers the contents of a flask of water which I had brought with me. They then returned for the rest of their loads. The view from this point is very good; lying right below is Cameron Lake, which, from our coign of vantage shows all its shoals and rocks and the sinuosities of its shore line; at the outlet our camp and then the Qualicum River Valley stretching away to the eastward.

Tangled Undergrowth

“I left Dr. Fletcher and Mr. Taylor at this point, and struggled through a tangled mass of undergrowth and fallen timber in search of water, as we were all by this time in a terrible state of thirst, and I was afraid our packers would collapse if they did not have water on their return. It seemed to be the irony of fate that, with a lake of water in full view, it was as unattainable as if it were in another world. The country hereabouts is indescribably arid and dreary and I was about giving it up as a bad job when, scarcely crediting my eyes, I beheld in a hollow a swamp. It seemed too good to believe at first, but I soon investigated, and never did water taste better, especially after I had improved it by the addition of a modicum of another kind of liquid. Filling my flask, I made my way back to our resting place, where my companions were regaled with swamp water. It was several hours before our packers reappeared almost exhausted for want of water, and, as may be believed, they enjoyed the small quantity I had brought back. After a good rest we proceeded to my swamp, where we camped for the night on a level place on the edge of the swamp, with Mount Arrowsmith and its hoary head in full view. It did not take long for all of us to recuperate, and Dr. Fletcher, with his usual activity, went off in search of entomological specimens, and he returned with the news that a few hundred yards further on was a running stream. However, we were too comfortable then to move, and so we declined his inviting efforts to get us to view his find. At the altitude we were at—which I do not think was more than 2,500 feet above the level of the sea—I was surprised us to find many Alpine plants, such as the native Heather Byanthus and Cassiope, Rhododendrons, etc., which I have seldom seen lower than 6,000 feet or thereabouts. There was also quantities of a small salal, botanically known as Gaultheria myrsinities; the large called G. shallon, Staghorn Moss or Club Moss, Lycopodium claratum, Pentstemon diffuses, a small Alpine Spirea S. pectinate and other semi-Alpine plants.

Making New Start

“After a good dinner and a night’s rest, the mosquitoes waking us early, we had breakfast and made a start about 6 a.m., and almost immediately entered the green timber, where the walking was very nice, the ground being carpeted with moss and plenty of water everywhere. We kept ascending slightly, after crossing Dr. Fletcher’s stream, keeping on a ridge which led directly towards our objective point, until, reaching the southwesterly end of the ridge we emerged from the forest to the open ground and beheld close to us, but divided on every side by deep ravines, Mount Arrowsmith. After doing some botanizing and discussing the situation, we came to the conclusion that there was nothing left but to descend, so, turning to the left, we descended some eight hundred feet through a beautiful forest in which walking was good, until we came upon a fine stream which takes its rise at the foot of Mount Arrowsmith. This valley is heavily wooded with fine timber, a large proportion being yellow cedar, but intermixed with Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar, Here we determined to camp and devote the next day to ascending the mountain. We accordingly pitched out tent, which I may mention is simply a sheet of drilling weighing but a few pounds, but capable of being made into a very comfortable rainproof tent; had luncheon and, leaving our two packers in camp, we proceeded up the wooded rise which is the foot of the mountain proper. In about an hour and a half we were just emerging from the heavy timber when we were greeted with a halloa from a short distance up the mountain. It proved to be Messrs. Stephenson and Bryant. These gentlemen kindly offered to go down and pack our gear up. We demurred somewhat, as it was no small matter. They however insisted, so Dr. Fletcher returned with them, whilst Mr. Taylor and I, relieving Dr. Fletcher of his impedimenta, proceeded to ascend. After gaining the level, or the comparatively level, country at the top of the first rise, the country is very picturesque, interspersed as it is with open patches, little ponds, small streams and a variety of Alpine plants, amongst them the rare onion, probably Allium Vancouverense of [James] Macoun, but which we called Allium Nevii, a beautiful plant of the Portulaca family, Caladrinia Columbianum, Cladothamus pryolaeflorus, and of course the usual plants found at this altitude. Here in doing a little botanizing, I accidently left Dr. Fletcher’s butterfly net, which he had entrusted to my care, but which I did not miss until I was asked for it some time later. After a lapse of some hour, we heard the hallooing of the pack train who joined us soon after but minus Laddie, who was probably hunting bears, but who after a time turned up, and we proceeded through a belt of woods on Mount Arrowsmith itself, and camped about the snow line. The weather the next morning was not propitious. Heavy mists rolled in from the sea, which wet everything, even penetrating under the tent. We made a start, leaving one of our packers in camp, the other, Harry by name, accompanying us; and if I may be allowed to digress, I may say that Harry is quite economical in the use of his H’s, often withholding them when they are wanted, but making up for it by his generosity in misplacing them. Now Harry, during an after dinner talk round the camp fire, made the remark that he thought the mountain to which we were bound must have been named after him, as he was called Arry Smith. It was some little time before we all realized the full force of the joke. Stephenson and Bryant had camped a little higher up the mountain and they joined us, acting as guides.

Reach Old Camp

“We had not proceeded far when we came upon an old camp, and, on investigating, we discovered an old toboggan hewn out of the trunk of a tree which was partly embedded in the moss at the foot of the snow-field and in perfect state of preservation, decay at high altitudes being very gradual. We then knew we had come upon Prof. Macoun’s camp of sixteen years previous; he having mentioned in his account of that trip that he had left his young son in camp with one of the Indians and they together had constructed a toboggan and amused themselves by sliding down the snow bank. The youth of our party, Dr. Fletcher, essayed a slide on the long disused toboggan and was photographed in that dignified position by Mr. Bryant. Proceeding to ascend, the rocks are here covered with that most lovely of Phlox, Phlox douglasii, ranging in color from nearly white to a lovely deep lilac and with a delicate odor which pervaded tha air all about; also a fine crucifer with brilliant orange blossoms, called botanically Erysimum elatum; quantities of a beautiful purple Pentstemon, which climbs over the rocks, a white Caltha, besides the usual Alpine plants, and numbers of others. The climbing after this was very disagreeable on account of the melting snow which saturated the moss-covered rocks with water. On reaching the summit, a glorious view bursts upon the sight. Away to the westward, the Pacific is seen in all its majesty; a little to the north the Alberni Canal is in view, and the village of Alberni; still farther to the north is Somass River, Sproat Lake and Great central Lake; to the northward the Beaufort Range rises in peak after peak, with Cowichan Mountain in the distance; further to the eastward lies Comox and the islands between Vancouver Island and the Mainland—Denman, Hornby, Lasqueti, Texada and a multitude of smaller islands. Still further to the east the course of the Qualicum River, which takes its rise in Cameron Lake, is traced to the sea, and the various settlements along the east coast are in full view—Qualicum, French Creek, Parksville, etc. Nanoose Bay lies about southeast, and to the southward is a magnificent stretch of mountain, lake, forest and stream. Across the Straits are to be seen the Olympian and Coast Ranges. It may be imagined therefore from the feeble description I have attempted to give, that scenery is by no means scarce from the top of Mount Arrowsmith. The peak we were on [Mount Cokely] lies to the eastward of that Dr. Fletcher and I ascended two years previously, on which occasion we went from the Alberni and Cowichan trail, the two parts of the mountain being divided by a horrible defile. Our camp was prettily situated in a level place on the slope of the mountain and surrounded by stunted trees. Small streams, fed by the melting snows above, formed miniature cascades in all directions; one of these near the camp fell into a basin, in the rocks, making an excellent bathtub. Dr. Fletcher and Mr. Taylor availed themselves of the opportunity to have a bath, but I declined, snow water baths not being to my taste. They assured me, however, that it was not cold, and, strange to say, the water was not as cold as might have been expected, considering its source, and the surroundings being mostly snow. This is accounted for by the fact of the hot August sun beating down on the rocks over which the water necessarily flows.

Must Grow Fast

“Plants in these altitudes, as may be expected from the short season of growth, have to exercise the greatest expedition in maturing. As soon as the snow disappears, in fact peeping through the edges of the snow fields, is the soft green herbage. Only a few feet further away the plants are in bud; still further the full bloom and then the seed. This is the home of the marmot, the specimen of which in the museum here is called, the “Hoary Marmot.” This I presume is a mistake, as the Island variety is a very black, about double the size of a large cat, whilst those on the Mainland are grey properly, I should think, the “Hoary Marmot”; and in comparison as to size, I should say will average a little smaller. These animals hibernate during the Winter, their quarters, lined with dry grass and herbage, being underneath large detached boulders. Where they congregate in colonies of a dozen or more. The Indians frequently dig them out during the dormant season, when as they may express it, the marmots are “delate mimloose”—quite dead, and make no movement whatsoever. The position of the animal is most peculiar, being rolled u in a ball with their tails curling round their heads. As soon as the snow begins to go and the Spring vegetation shows, the marmot emerges from his Winter quarters and begins foraging for food, which consists of the stems and roots of the plants growing in the vicinity, which they easily cut with their formidable incisors. Their shrill, metallic whistle is a sure note of alarm, and as soon as it is sounded, numbers of others on all sides join in. At such times they establish themselves on the large rocks under which their habitations generally are. In hunting them, as a rule, unless they are shot through the head, they manage to get into their holes and are lost. The flesh is not bad—something like a rabbit—but tough unless properly and thoroughly cooked. Dr. Fletcher and I on another occasion were regaled with a dinner of marmot, which our Indians cooked whole, with the skin on. When it was done, the skin came off easily and the flesh was well done underneath.


“The ptarmigan is also at home in these hyperborean regions, keeping close to the snow line and feeding on the tender green shoots of the blueberries which grow abundantly at these altitudes. These birds, as you are probably aware, are white in Winter and partly grey in Summer. A curious superstition regarding this bird, which is called Makma-ka, exists, or did exist, amongst the natives of the Island, and possibly the Mainland as well, to the effect that the mere act of cooking them provoked the wrath of the elements to such a degree that snowstorms engulfed the luckless traveler in the mountain fastnesses, where sure death could be the only result. As for eating the flesh, it simply meant sudden death to anyone who was foolish enough to attempt it. On a previous occasion, when we were reduced to biscuit and tea, I shot some ptarmigan one morning at the same time that we obtained a good supply of venison and other game, and on my remarking that we could cook the ptarmigan the Indian I had with me used his utmost endeavor to dissuade me, urging that he could be arrested for murder on his return. I, however, ate the ptarmigan and was looked upon with wonder thereafter; but I think the back of the superstition was broken. One of the commonest plants in these mountain regions is the Wild Hellebore, Veratrum viride [also known as Indian poke]. This plant is poisonous in some cases, certainly to horses in poor condition, and in former days, when the trip to Cariboo was accomplished with pack horses, the plant got to be known by the name horse poison, on account of the number of horses that were lost through this agency. The elk or wapiti, however, seem to eat it with impunity, in places the tops being all eaten off by these animals.

Windy and Cold

The wind was very keen on the summit and the cold was accentuated by the cold mist which rolled up from the ocean. Therefore, not being in the best of health at the time, I determined to retrace my steps, leaving the doctor and Mr. Bryant to descend by another route. Harry prepared a good meal, which we enjoyed as only hungry men can, not waiting for the stragglers. The weather coming on bad and threatening, we determined to get down that night to our comfortable camp amongst the Yellow Cedars, so as soon as Dr. Fletcher and Mr. Bryant returned, which was some hours later, and had had something to eat, we packed up and proceeded down to the valley below, leaving Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Bryant, who made an appointment to join us in the morning. With the greatest good fortune we picked up Dr. Fletcher’s net on the way down. I had made up my mind that I had left it at the side of a little pond where we had rested, but when it was not found there, I decided it was lost for good; however, following our trail as nearly as possible Mr. Taylor stumbled upon it at a place I had laid down to dig up some plants.

Interesting Adventures

Dr. Fletcher and Mr. Bryant, after parting from us on the top of the mountain, had some interesting adventures and picked up some nice botanical and entomological specimens. The encounter they had with an infuriated mother ptarmigan who was guarding her offspring was well worth the extra fatigue they of necessity had to endure, and Mr. Bryant was enabled to secure some photos of the mother and her chickens which are well worth preserving. One represents the mother walking over the prostrate tops of the small juniper and other similar plants, in her attempt to dislodge the doctor, who is also represented, but not walking on bushes; in another the doctor is represented with a chicken in his hand but which, I regret to say, is rather indistinct. As it turned out, we were most fortunate in our determination to move down the valley, as a high wind came on during the night, during which Messrs. Stephenson and Bryant’s tent was blown down, and they described the conditions on the mountain as having been excessively uncomfortable. We did not feel it where we were camped, and having plenty of wood we had a fine fire and dried ourselves and our gear off during the night. Firewood, I may say, is not easily obtained on the tops of these mountains. There is an abundance of wood in the hollows, but it is mostly green, and the dead trees are so tough that it is impossible to break them, therefore everything has to be chopped.

Well Timbered

The timber on Mount Arrowsmith consists principally of mountain hemlock (Tsuga pattoniana), yellow cedar, balsam fir (Abies Subalpina) [Abies lasiocarpus] and some spruce (Picea engelmannii). Dr, Fletcher and I expressed a desire to have a section of one of the small trees in order to test its age, but on account of the difficulty of cutting out a section and the weight in packing it out we had to give up the idea. About 9 o’clock the following morning, Messrs. Stephenson and Bryant made their appearance and we then broke camp and made our way out, the last of us reaching our camp at Cameron Lake about 5 p.m., pretty well tired out. Dr. Fletcher and I were most tired or the slowest, but because Laddie had taken it into her hear to run a deer which she was intent on killing. As we did not see the finish I am unable to say whether she accomplished her laudable purpose or not. You may judge of our astonishment and delight when Mr. Stephenson produced from his pack a section of the tree we most coveted. The rings showing the tree to be at least 200 years old; its birth, therefore, was contemporaneous with some of the notable events of history, and if it could speak it perhaps could tell us of the ships of the early discoverers which appeared off the coast in its infancy. The results of this trip were not as satisfactory as could be wished. The weather was unpropitious and therefore entomological specimens were not much in evidence. It also had the effect of curtailing our stay on the mountain. Nevertheless, we all enjoyed the outing very much, and if opportunity offered, I would like to repeat the trip under more favorable conditions.

Previous Ascent

On a previous occasion I made the ascent with Dr. Fletcher, from the other or western side. On that occasion we left the wagon road at the summit and took the Cowichan Lake road, along which we drove for about three miles, when we had to take our packs, the wagon being unable to proceed further. We kept the trail for a few miles further, then struck across Cameron River and up the mountain side. We, however, kept too far to the southward, thus unnecessarily lengthening our journey and getting out of the range of water, from the want of which we suffered severely, being six hours without it. We eventually gained an altitude of about 5,000 feet, where to our joy we came upon snow, and camped. The next day we proceeded to the summit by a gradual ascent. On our return we descended straight down to Cameron Lake and found the way, although steep, much shorter than the route we adopted going up. I have come to the conclusion, since trying both routes, that this was is preferable to the other, especially if the Cowichan Lake road were sufficiently improved to allow a wagon being taken to the point at which it is left. We found on this slope much greater quantities of Lupines, Arnicas and the yellow Crucifer, previously alluded to. The Devil’s Club (Fatsia horrida) [now Oplopanax horridus], although beautiful to look at, is well named, being a horrible nuisance in climbing mountain sides where they are intersected with water courses. Let me conclude by advising those members of the Natural History Society who want to do some mountaineering within easy distance of Victoria, to try Mount Arrowsmith. My two experiences of it have placed me in the position of being able to give the best advice as to routes and necessary arrangements, and it will give me pleasure to furnish the fullest information whenever I am asked.”


Arrowsmith is Conquered

Party Learns by Rough Experience Something of Real Summit of Peak—Trip Well Worth While—Alpine Flora Proved Beautiful

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday October 16, 1927, p.33.

CAMERON LAKE, Oct. 11.—On a bright sunny afternoon in midsummer some people [Rev. H. [Harry] V. Hitchcox, Mr. R.C. Walbroth, Capt. Lake and others] left the Chalet determined to reach the real summit of Arrowsmith. Leaving the main highway a few hundred yards past the turning into Cameron Lake, a path leads up the mountain on the left. This is easily found, as a sign has been placed on the road by the Automobile Club and is of great assistance. Winding steadily upwards, a beautiful deeply-shaded steep walk unfolds itself; this walk, originally built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, has been exceptionally well laid out and until recently has been used by pack horses, and could still be utilized in the same way with a small amount of repair work. Climbing in zig-zag fashion for about three-quarters of an hour, a beautiful stream is reached and crossed by a well-made bridge. This, though apparently quite safe at the present, has had a tremendous blow, and is now lying at an angle, probably the result of a log in high water.

View taken from Mt. Cokely (The Hump), showing the North Ridge of Arrowsmith in the foreground, with the South Ridge and Summit of Mt. Arrowsmith in background. Ice Lake lies beneath, with blocks of snow, like icebergs, floating in it, half submerged. Route followed by climbers was to extreme right-hand side of photograph, facing; a long steep scramble on to the first peak is clearly seen, then the recond [sic] peak, then the third peak, dropping down from the latter on to column, then up arrette [sic] to Summit, which is unmistakable.

View taken from Mt. Cokely (The Hump), showing the North Ridge of Arrowsmith in the foreground, with the South Ridge and Summit of Mt. Arrowsmith in background. Ice Lake lies beneath, with blocks of snow, like icebergs, floating in it, half submerged. Route followed by climbers was to extreme right-hand side of photograph, facing; a long steep scramble on to the first peak is clearly seen, then the recond [sic] peak, then the third peak, dropping down from the latter on to column, then up arrette [sic] to Summit, which is unmistakable.

From The Cabin

Later, a zig-zag well-defined stony track, with hairpin bends and here and there a fallen tree; a mile or so beside a bubbling mountain stream with easy access; on again and the goal for that night is reached. The cabin, this also was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway to serve as a shelter, built on a rocky bluff, a magnificent view is obtained from this spot. Allowing for several halts, this trip took four and a half hours and is about seven miles long, with an elevation of 4,400 feet. Sleeping was essayed in the open, but was badly impaired by mosquitoes, which at this time of year were very friendly. Breakfasting the next morning at 5 o’clock, an early start was made. The day was perfect, cloudless and not a breath of wind. None of the party knew the route, but had studied some excellent notes, and a very good map was in their possession. This had been made by Mr. Fred H.H. Parkes, of Vancouver, who had been up earlier in the season.

Left to right: Rev. Hitchcox, "Muggins," Mr. R. C. Walbroth, Capt. Lake; Mt. Cokely (The Hump) in background.

Left to right: Rev. Hitchcox, “Muggins,” Mr. R. C. Walbroth, Capt. Lake; Mt. Cokely (The Hump) in background.

Mount Cokely

The next point to be reached was Mount Cokely, familiarly called the Hump. This entails no difficulties, the path from the cabin having been marked by rock cairns, and is about twenty minutes’ walk. Mount Cokely has an elevation of 5,200 feet and was occupied last Summer by the Geodetic Survey party of Ottawa. Due, no doubt, in part to a cairn erected there, many of the uninitiated think they have reached the summit of Arrowsmith, which is a very different story. Leaving Mount Cokely behind, the next tramp was up the ridge to the North Peak, Ice Lake lying beneath, cold and uninviting. One of the party failed to climb the first peak, which is somewhat of a steep scramble, so remained behind. From the North Peak the party went on to the second peak, keeping along the ridge until the third peak was gained. This stands immediately opposite the real summit of Arrowsmith and cannot be mistaken. Here a second member of the party fell out, as the stretch had been a long one.

Lion Hunter Handicapped

Dropping down a few hundred feet, a narrow column is reached which led to an “arete.” Here dangles a rope left recently by the Topographical Survey party. This offers a greater sense of security to the majority of would-be climbers. The Chalet dog, “Muggins,” who up to now had been well to the fore, remained behind, lying down on a discarded skirt, those acrobatic feats being beyond him. The only lady in the party who climbed this last part is of the opinion that it is no fit work for a woman, and her ideas should be heeded as she is the type possessing indomitable courage and will power, having among other feats shot a lion in Africa.

The Summit

After the climb up the rope about 100 feet in length, nothing remains but an easy scramble, a natural chimney to the right being another asset in reaching the final peak, 5,976 feet, marked by a cairn and cylinder on which the survey party scratched their names and the present climbers added their initials. The usual descent is by the same route. However, this party decided to vary it a little in order to gain time, and tried a column between the first and second peaks which led down to a snowfield. On this they had their hopes of a glissade. One of the climbers slipped and got badly cut and bruised as a result of an attempted slide. The remainder skirted the snow, bearing to the right, hugging the face of the cliff, and so downwards by an easy gradient to the foot of the first ridge from whence North Peak had been made, then up the shaley sides of Mount Cokely and back to the cabin for supper. This whole climb took nearly twelve hours, many halts having been made to take photographs and collect plants. There was very little snow encountered and the visibility was good. Of fauna nothing was seen but the spoor of a bear and deer where they had quenched their thirst. Glorious flora, however, ran riot. Under the radiant sunshine the tones of the alpine marguerites mingled with the red and white heaths against a background of grey granite were most impressive.

Ice Lake on Mt. Cokely.

Ice Lake, taken from foot of the Hump, with two peaks of North Ridge above it. East portion.

National Park on Big Plateau

Col. W.W. Foster Believes It Would be a Great Asset

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 27, 1927. p.1.

Speaking before the Canadian Club in Cumberland on Friday [October 21], Col. W. [William] W. Foster, D.S.O., made a strong plea for a national park on Vancouver Island. Mr. Theed Pearse was in the chair at the Union Hotel and there were about forty present. Owing to what he had seen and heard since he had been in the district said Col Foster, he thought that they had a wonderful opportunity to get a Dominion park established here. He knew that the Dominion government wanted to establish a park on Vancouver Island to complete their chain from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but when they took over a park area they stipulated that they must have all rights of timber, mineral and game. He thought that to better further their aim they should establish a branch of Canadian National Parks Association and ask that a park should be established on Vancouver Island. A park here would certainly be a great asset as it would be so much more accessible than any other of the parks on the Mainland. Continuing to speak of the effect of the national park, Col. Foster pointed out their effect on the character of the people in getting them to appreciate the beauties of nature. He went on to describe the characteristics of the different national parks in Western Canada, mentioning among other things their value as game reserves. He believed that if the Dominion government were offered an area with none of the natural resources alienated, they might take it over and if they took it over he believed that they would develop it properly. The title of Col. Foster’s lecture was “Alpine Scenery in British Columbia” and with the aid of slides he gave a very vivid description of some of the phases of his climb up Mount Robson and also up Mount Logan. At the end of the lecture he was given a very hearty vote of thanks.

Red Snow

Rare Phenomenon on Mount Albert Edward

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 27, 1927. p.1.

One of the features that attracts most attention in the plateau in the mountains behind Courtneay is red snow. It is found above the six thousand foot line on Mount Albert Edward. The discoloration is so vivid, so red, that most climbers not recognizing it, believe that some predatory animal has made a kill. As far as is known it does no occur anywhere else on the island and very few places on the mainland. The discoloration is, in fact due to a tiny plant, protococcus nivalis. It belongs to plant division No. 1 called the Thallophyta. Thallophytes are purely cellular, with no parts specialized to do the work of roots, stems and leaves. This phenomenon is also a genus of algae and appears on the surface of snow, tingeing extensive tracts in the Artic regions and certain coastal glaciers, in an incredible short time with a deep crimson. This plant, which may be regarded as one of the simplest form of vegetation consists of a little bag or membrane forming a cell. A large number of these are commonly found together, but each one is separate from the rest, and is to be regarded as a distinct individual. The protococcaceae include a number of algae, some of which occur as isolated cells, while others consist of cells once distinct, which have united to form cell colonies. These cell colonies have a definite shape peculiar to the species, and are called caenobia. Cell division occurs usually by internal cell formation and the cells always at first become distinct from each other, though they unite afterwards to form caenobia. They reproduce asexually by means of zoospores and most of them sexually by the conjugation of zoospores of smaller size. The color is due to the pigmentation of the microscopic plant just described and the impression on first viewing red snow is that some large animal has been killed or badly wounded. The illusion can hardly be dispelled when handsful are taken up and examined. The deeper a person digs in the snow the more pronounced the color becomes. Botanists have not yet arrived at a satisfactory conclusion just how the spores are brought to a certain locality.

Big Horn Sheep on Island Plateau

Herd of Fifty Will Be Led in Over Quartz Creek Trail

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 27, 1927. p.8.

As of the result of the visit of Hon. T. [Thomas] D. Pattulo to this district and the plateau in the centre of the island behind Bevan a flock of mountain sheep will be liberated in the foothills of Mount Albert Edward. They can roam on other peaks of the mountains in the Strathcona Park area which bounds the big plateau on one side. Mountain sheep were liberated in the Cowichan Lake district some years ago and one of them was seen again recently, proving that the band is still in existence. Big Horn mountain sheep, monarchs of the highest Rockies, will roam the wilds of Vancouver Island for the first time as a result of plans announced today by Mr. M.B. Jackson K.C., chairman of the Game Conservation Board. A carload of fifty sheep, the gift of the Federal Government national park authorities, will arrive here from Banff during the next few days and will be released in Strathcona Park. Their first home will be Mount Albert Edward, where natural conditions are thought to be ideal for them, and where they will be rigorously protected from hunters.

Elk and Sheep

“The successful establishment of mountain sheep will make the Island a paradise for hunters,” Mr. Jackson said. “In addition to the usual game of the Coast the Island already has substantial herds of elk, which are increasing as a result of protection. In addition mountain goat have been brought here by the board and have established themselves in the Cowichan Lake district, where they were recently sighted for the first time since their arrival several years ago. With Big Horn added to the game population, the Island will have a wonderful variety of wild life. Naturally, the new additions to the Island game will be given complete protection for years until they have become well established. Some day they will attract large numbers of hunters because the game areas of the island are so readily accessible.”

Big Horn are Tame

The introduction of Big Horn to the Island will be the latest step in the most important experiments undertaken by the game board. First muskrats were brought here and have flourished until they promise to become important economically as fur producers. Then mountain goat were released in the Shaw Creek Game Reserve on Cowichan Lake. As they were not sighted for years, it was thought that they had found this climate unsuitable or had fallen prey to cougars. Recently, however, a game warden sighted a band of substantial numbers, showing that the goats had come to stay. Encouraged by the success of the goat experiment, Mr. Jackson asked the Federal Government to co-operate with the Game Board in the introduction of Big Horn here. The Federal authorities agreed to send a carload of the animals from Banff National Park, where they are so tame that tourists are able to take pictures of them at a distance of a few feet. Introduction of sheep into Strathcona Park will add another charm to the Island reserve. Sheep there will enhance the mountain character of the park in which rise many snow-capped peaks. Here the Big Horn are expected to live and multiply providing a new attraction for visitors. If they become as tame as they are at Banff, the animals will be seen frequently by people exploring the Strathcona wilds, around Buttle Lake.

Alpine Club Plan Mt. McGuire Trip

Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday November 4, 1927, p.20.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada has arranged an outing at Sooke on Saturday, November 19, Mr. Claude L. Harrison will act as guide for an expedition up Mount McGuire in the morning, and those intending to join the party are advised to take luncheon and wear proper climbing outfit. For the afternoon a walk in the Sooke district has been planned for those who cannot join the morning walk. Dinner will be served in the Sooke Hotel at 6 p.m., and will be followed by an impromptu dance. Those wishing particulars are asked to telephone the secretary, 6490L, or Mr. C.L. Harrison, 4667.

Plateau to be Home of Game from Alpine Parks

Big Horn Rocky Mountain Sheep Will be Introduced to District in Neighborhood of Mount Albert Edward

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday November 6, 1927, p.5.

Courtenay, Nov. 5 – Big Horn Rocky Mountain sheep are to be added to the game that abound in the high plateau on Vancouver Island behind Courtenay. This is the result of the plans just announced by Mr. M.B. Jackson, K.C., chairman of the Game Conservation Board. The Big Horns are due to arrive here from Banff immediately. The car load will consist of fifty animals, and on arrival will be conveyed to Strathcona Park, where they will be released in the neighborhood of Mount Albert Edward, whose upper portions are covered in snow. Winter and Summer, and where natural conditions are said to be ideal for those animals. For some years after their introduction to this huge area the sheep will be very carefully protected; and it is expected that their numbers will substantially increase as time goes on. The sheep are the gift of the Federal Government National Park authorities, and there is little doubt that the decision was actuated by the enthusiastic reports brought out by the members of a party, which included the Hon. T. [Thomas] D. Pattullo, Minister of Lands, which went on an expedition of investigation into Mount Albert Edward in August last. On their return the members of the party were unanimous in their opinion that the area is ideally suited for the establishment of a game reserve. The Big Horn mountain sheep, monarchs of the highest Rockies, will be the first of their kind to be brought to Vancouver Island. According to Mr. Jackson, the successful establishment of mountain sheep will make the Island a paradise for hunters. In addition to the usual game of the coast, the Island already has substantial herds of Elk, which are increasing as a result of protection. In addition, mountain goats have been brought here by the board and have established themselves in the Cowichan Lake district, where they were recently sighted for the first time since their arrival several years ago. With Big Horn added to the game population, the Island will have a wonderful variety of wild life. Naturally the new additions to the Island game will be given complete protection for years until they have become will established. Some day they will attract large numbers of hunters because the game areas of the Island are so readily accessible. The Introduction of Big Horn to the island will be the latest step in the most important experiment undertaken by the Game Board. First muskrats were brought here and have flourished until they promise to become important economically as fur producers. Then mountain goats were released in the Shaw Creek game reserve on Cowichan Lake. As they were not sighted for years, it was thought that they had found the climate unsuitable or had fallen prey to cougars. Recently, however, a game warden sighted a band of substantial numbers, showing that the goats had come to stay. Encouraged by the success of the goat experiment, Mr. Jackson asked the Federal Government to cooperate with the Game Board in the introduction of Big Horn here. The Federal authorities agreed to send a car load of the animals from Banff National Park, where they are so tame that tourists are able to takes pictures of them at a distance of a few feet. Introduction of sheep into Strathcona Park will add another charm to the Island reserve. Sheep there will enhance the mountain character of the park, in which rise so many snow-capped peaks. Here the Big Horn are expected to live and multiple, providing a new attraction for visitors. If they become as tame as they are in Banff, the animals will be frequently seen by people exploring the Strathcona wilds in the neighborhood of Buttles Lake.

Mountain Climbers are Organized

Courtenay Organization will Open Up Hinterland of Island

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 10, 1927. p.1.

On Friday night [December 4] in the City Hall, the Courtenay-Comox Mountaineering Club came into being and the following officers were elected:

President                                 C.S. Wood

Vice President                         Wm. Douglas

Secretary-Treasurer                Dr. F.H. Moore

Directors                                 J. McKenzie, W.A.B. Paul, G.B. Capes and Fred Duncan.

In proposing Mr. [Clinton] Wood as president of the club, Ald. [William] Douglas warmly eulogized the part Mr. Wood had taken in arousing interest in the hinterland behind Courtenay. He pointed out that it was largely though his efforts that the true source of Brown’s River had been discovered, and that any general interest had been taken in the beautiful country in the mountains behind Courtenay. Mr. Theed Pearse, together with the president, was asked to prepare the constitution and by-laws of the club. As one of the chief aims of the club was to foster the plan to have the big plateau on the edge of the Buttles Lake country declared a Dominion Park and taken over by the Dominion government as such, it was decided to affiliate with the National Parks Association. Assistance has also been proffered to the Game Board and to the National Parks Association to help placing bighorn sheep which are to be taken in by way of Bevan this winter. It was learnt that it might be some time before the sheep could be taken in as they would have to be re-conditioned before they could be placed in a new location. One of the immediate objects of the association was to establish a camp site and set up a shack under the shoulder of Quartz Creek Mountain [Mount Becher]. This was to be done by Thanksgiving Day and a determined band of members and prospective members aroused their respective households long before the dawn Monday with the intent of making an early start. But as it seemed to rain ever harder the trip was reluctantly called off. As there is now much snow on Quartz Creek Mountain it is likely that the erection of a cabin will be impracticable this year. However, other expeditions will be arranged and winter sports organized by the club this season.


Alpine Club Plan Very Busy Year

Vancouver Island Section, At Annual Meeting Last Night, Re-elects Mr. A.O. Wheeler

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday December 15, 1927, p.6.

A year of unprecedented activity lies ahead of the members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada if the recommendations of the president and programme convener submitted at the annual meeting last night are followed. A series of “sky-line” trips, organized as alternating fort-nightly half-day and whole-day climbs, was submitted by Mr. Claude L. Harrison, and the president, Mr. Arthur O. Wheeler, made a strong recommendation that the club should hold a two or three-week camp in Strathcona Park, or in Mount Garibaldi district, either of which offered difficult high climbs for the more ambitious. An address on “equipment and Climbing” by Mr. J.P. Forde, Dominion Government resident engineer for British Columbia, was the feature of the meeting, but before this was delivered the annual meeting took place. Election of officers resulted in the return of Mr. A.O. Wheeler to the office of president, and of Mrs. Healey-Kerr to that of the secretary. Both elections were highly popular, and were greeted with applause. The election of a committee of six, to whom the matter of selection of subcommittees on transportation, entertainment, outings, etc., is entrusted, resulted in the naming of Mr. Claude L. Harrison, Mr. Robert D. McCaw, Mr. James J. White (Sidney), Mr. William H. Dougan, Mr. Gordon Cameron and Miss Sara Spencer.

Survey Of Events

Mr. Wheeler’s survey of events of the past year included a report of the annual camp at Yoho last Summer, when Mr. and Mrs. Noel Odell, the former a member of the Mount Everest expedition, were honor guests, and the suggestion that next year the annual camp should be held at Maligne Lake. Mr. McCaw reported for the committee on revision of by-laws, and Mr. White extended, on behalf of himself and Mrs. White, an invitation to their Summer camp at Lake Killarney in the Spring, this being heartily applauded. The president and Mrs. Emmeline Wheeler bought an invitation to the club to hold its January meeting at their home at Sidney. This was also accepted. In his address on equipment and climbing Mr. Forde gave many valuable suggestions concerning clothes, shoes, climbing paraphernalia and food to be taken on mountaineering expeditions, emphasizing that the comfort of the climber and the success of the climb depended on getting to the top of the mountains so much as on getting comfortably and safely and happily to whatever point was attained. So important was this matter of proper clothing and equipment that he considered leaders of climbing parties were quite justified in refusing to allow any improperly equipped person to join the expedition.

Explains Use of Ropes

Some time was occupied by the speaker in explaining the use of the rope, the procedure under certain weather conditions, (although in bad weather was sternly discouraged). Swiss nailed, well-fitting boots, heavy wool stockings, woolen underwear, whipcord knickerbockers, a Norfolk coat of the same material, loose-fitting flannel shirt, suede coat, knitted sweater, an old felt hat, loose cotton gloves with warm over-gloves, puttees, green amber goggles, a rucksack, and ice axe were mentioned as among the more important personal equipment requirements. Many practical tips on climbing, particularly in roped parties, were given, with constant emphasis on the discouragement of careless or casual actions in terrain which has constant potential dangers, the philosophy of the good climber being contained in the lines: “He who climbs and comes away, will live to climb another day.” A cordial vote of thanks to the lecturer was followed by adjournment for refreshments.


ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – Arthur Wheeler

Secretary – Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr

Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Outings Committee – Claude Harrison


January 11 – Club meeting at the home of Sara Spencer with a talk on bird migration by L.E. Taylor.

February 11 – Club meeting at the home of Arthur Wheeler. Talk about an expedition to Glacier Bay given by Mr. John Forde and Claude Harrison discussed a possible joined camp with the CDMC.

February 25 – Club trip to Sooke River canyon led by Claude Harrison and George Winkler.

March 2 – Talk titled “In Camp with the Alpine Club” given by Col. William Foster.

March 10 – Club walking tour starting from Sooke Hotel.

March 27 – Club’s 22nd annual banquet at Empress Hotel with an illustrated talk by the French Consul from Vancouver M. Paul Suzor about big game hunting in B.C. and other travels.

April 9 – Club trip to Mt. Matheson area led by Claude Harrison.

April 21 – Club trip to the fossil beds on the Leech River led by Robert Connell.

April 24 – Club meeting at the home of Sara Spencer with and illustrated talk by Clinton Wood on Forbidden Plateau.

May 5 – Annual club picnic at Mr. and Mrs. James White’s Summer camp at “Killarney” in Saanich. Trip up Mt. Work.

May 12 – Half-day trip to Bear Hill.

May 11/12 – Two-day club trip to Leech River led by Claude Harrison.

May 19 – Club trip to Bear Hill near Elk Lake led by Claude Harrison. Members retired to the Harrison home in Uplands for afternoon tea.

May 24/24 – Club overnight trip to Leech River and falls.

June 9 – Club general meeting at the Belvedere Hotel. Members to discuss purchasing 149 acres in Sooke Hills.

July 28 – Club trip to the Sooke Park.

August 20 to 30 – Annual camp to Forbidden Plateau. A joint trip with Comox District Mountaineering Club.

September 22 – Club trip to Buck Hill.

October 6 – Club trip to Mt. Braden.

October 20 – Club trip to Mt. Finlayson.

October 20 – Club trip to Mt. Douglas and talk by South African guest Dr. J.H. Jones.

October 24 – Talk by Claude Harrison for Tourist and Trade group and Alpine Club members.

November 17 – Club annual meeting at the YMCA. Committee officers elected.

November 24 – Club trip to Shield’s and Grass Lake.

Section members who attended the ACC annual camp at the Lake of the Hanging Glacier: Arthur Wheeler, Frederick Godsal, Mrs. B.A. Godsal (nee Finlinson), Irene Bastow Hudson.

Section members who passed away in 1928: John Nairn.

Bird’s Migration Topic of Lecture

Alpine Club Hears Interesting Address at Home of Miss Sara Spencer

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday January 12, 1928. p.6.

Before the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada last evening at the home of Miss Sara Spencer, an interesting address was given by L.E. Taylor on “The Migration of Birds.” A series of slides depicted the routes taken by various species and added much to the interest of the lecture.

Glacier Bay Lecture

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday January 28, 1928, p.8.

Mr. J.P. Forde, district engineer of public works and past president of the Alpine Club of Canada will give an illustrated lecture to the Sidney Board of Trade at the Sidney Auditorium on Saturday, February 11. As Mr. Forde’s subject is to be his expedition to Glacier Bay, the Board of Trade is extending an invitation to all the members of the Alpine Club to hear the lecture, which will begin at 8 o’clock, concluding at 10.

Local Climbers Make Plan

Camps Will Be Built at Mount Albert Edward and Quartz Creek

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday February 2, 1928, p.1&4.

Writing to Mr. H.E. Beasley, general manager of the E. & N. Railway, Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, president of the Courtenay-Comox Mountaineering Club set forth in felicitous terms the advantages of what for want of a better name is known as “The Forbidden Plateau,” a titled coined in an article in the Vancouver Province by Mr. Ben Hughes. The E. & N. Railway own the base mineral rights and the timber of the Plateau. Mr. Wood wrote: “From investigations which we have made we are convinced that here on Vancouver Island we have something unique to offer to the recreation and health seeking public. Not more than eight miles from the present terminus of your railway is the beginning of what has been called “The Forbidden Plateau.” This plateau is a table land about a hundred square miles in area, lying between Courtenay and Strathcona Park, from 3,000 to 4,000 feet in altitude, dotted with numerous tarns, with large areas of Alpine meadow lands where deer can be seen feeding at midday almost any time of the summer months. An ideal site for a health resort or a tourist hotel, why should we not have on Vancouver Island a resort similar to Banff? To the west of the plateau rises the Beaufort Range, which will afford the alpinist mountain scenery which will compare with any in the world. The large areas of red snow on Mount Albert Edward and the proximity of this area to the sea beaches should make it unique in the ways of parks. Less than an hour’s drive could take one from summer to winter.” Mr. Wood asks that all mineral rights, etc., should be surrendered to the government who might then take it over as a park, adding: “I do not think that we are unreasonable in asking you to consider this, as I believe that the value to the E. & N. railway which would result from increased tourist traffic would more than compensate for the value of the land, etc.”

Members To Be Graded

The letter was read at the meeting of the Courtenay-Comox Mountaineering club at the City Hall on Friday night. Mr. Beasley briefly replied, saying that he had referred the matter to the E. & N. Lands department. He also asked for a sketch showing area which has been sent him. By-laws were passed at the meeting. Members are to be graded:

A.-Those who have climbed Mount Albert Edward.

B.-Those who have climbed to the top of Quartz Creek.

C.-Those who have gone up to a point on Quartz Creek, but not to the top.

D.-Associate members.

Summer Camps

The executive was empowered to make arrangements for a summer camp at the foot of Mount Albert Edward. This would be for the convenience of members and visitors who want t travel light into the plateau. There, they would find food and blankets and shelter. It is proposed to charge a sum just covering expenses. It was also empowered to make arrangements for a camp of Quartz Creek Mountain [Mount Becher]. Mr. Theed Pearse was appointed historian and his will be the job of docketing all reports which are turned in by members. Professor [John] Davidson, of the University of British Columbia is to be asked to bring in his natural history club for their summer camp this year to the Forbidden Plateau. It was announced that Mayor Motherwell of the Fisheries Department had promised that he would let them have 30,000 Kamloops trout fry to stock the Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] and the club will assist in taking them in.

Club Lecture

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday February 4, 1928. p.24.

An interesting illustrated lecture will be given under the auspices of the Sidney Board of Trade, entitled “Up To Glacier Bay,” by John P. Forde, Dominion Government Engineer, in the Auditorium, February 11, at 8 p.m. The Alpine Club of Canada have been invited to attend and a cordial invitation is extended to all residents of Sidney and North Saanich.

Alpine Club Meet at Sidney Hall

Mr. J.P. Forde, Dominion Government District Engineer, Gives Interesting Address

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 12, 1928, p.2.

A description of the coast country around Glacier Bay and of some other parts of the Northerly Pacific coast were given before an audience at Sidney last evening by Mr. J.P. Forde, district engineer for the Dominion Government. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Sidney Board of Trade, with about forty members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada in the audience. After the meeting at the Board of Trade Hall the Alpine Club section of the audience repaired to the home of the president and Mrs. Wheeler for a short business session, during which Dr. [Fred] Bell, of Vancouver, chairman of the Alpine Club of Canada, gave a short address, reminding members of the forthcoming Summer camp in the Rockies. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison also reported plans for some of the sectional outings the first of the new year to be on February 25 in the Sooke country.

Alpinists Plan Big Expedition

Two Parties Go into Sooke for Climb February 25

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Friday February 17, 1928. p.15.

An outing to Sooke Harbor district is the first expedition on the programme of the Alpine Club of Canada of Victoria in 1928, and is set for February 25. Two parties, one under the direction of Claude L. Harrison, which will leave Victoria after assembling at Bastion Square at 8:45 a.m., and another, under George Winker, to start from the same place at 1:30 p.m. for a shorter trip, have been drawn up. Both parties meet late in the afternoon at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke Harbor, for dinner at 6:30 o’clock. Those wishing to join these parties must communicate with the secretary before Monday evening next. Those joining the party must wear the necessary equipment. Other activities which have already been arranged in connection with the club include a lecture by Colonel William W. Foster of Vancouver, former president of the Alpine Club of Canada, who will address a meeting at the Empress Hotel on March 2 on “In Camp With the Alpine Club.” This will be illustrated with numerous beautiful lantern slides. The C.P.R. has kindly lent the Empress ballroom for the occasion in recognition of the part which the Alpine Club has played in advertising the attractions of the Rockies and other mountain playgrounds of Canada. The date of the annual dinner of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada has been fixed for Tuesday, March 27, at the Empress Hotel, when the speaker will be Paul Suzor, French Consul for Western Canada. At the meeting on Saturday night last, at the home of the president, Arthur O. Wheeler, Sidney, Mr. Claude Harrison called attention to the formation of a mountaineering club in the Comox District, which would probably make an expedition into the Mount Albert Edward country sometime during the coming season. The suggestion was made that the Victoria section of the society might join with the Comox organization in a Summer camp. Mr. Harrison also called attention to a request which was being placed before the Government for the setting aside of certain lands in the Comox and West Coast districts as national parks, and the chairman, Mr. Wheeler, was asked to name the members of a delegation which would join one from Comox which is to interview the Premier in the near future.

Alpine Club Plans Outings

Open Busy Season with Sooke Climb February 25

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Tuesday February 21, 1928. p.4.

With Claude L. Harrison as convener of its outdoor activities, the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada is already planning a busy 1928 season which will open with a climb in the Sooke district on Saturday February 25. Mr. Harrison will conduct the all-day expedition leaving Bastion Square at 8:45 a.m. and George Winkler will lead a second party from Bastion Square at 1:30 o’clock. The members of the two parties will meet at the Sooke Harbor Hotel at 6:30 o’clock for dinner. Transportation will only be arranged for those who telephone the secretary 6490L before next Monday evening, and only those wearing regulation equipment will be allowed to join the parties. During the next few days a delegation from the Comox District Mountaineering Club will be reinforced by some members of the Alpine Club to interview the Government and request the setting aside as national parks of certain lands in the Comox and West Coast district. The club also announces the annual dinner of the Victoria section will take place at the Empress Hotel on Tuesday, March 27, when Mr. Paul Suzor, the French Consul at Vancouver, will speak on “Big Game Hunting in the Andes and Elsewhere.” Colonel William Foster will give a lantern lecture under club auspices at the Empress ballroom on Friday, March 2, his subject to be “In Camp with the Alpine Club.”

Col. W.W. Foster to Speak

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 26, 1928, p.2.

Colonel Foster, who arrived in the city yesterday, will speak here again on Friday under the auspices of the Island Branch of the Alpine Club of Canada, on "In Camp With the Alpine Club," with lantern slides. The lecture will be given at the Empress Hotel. In the above picture he is shown with Capt. A. H. McCarthy.

Colonel Foster, who arrived in the city yesterday, will speak here again on Friday under the auspices of the Island Branch of the Alpine Club of Canada, on “In Camp With the Alpine Club,” with lantern slides. The lecture will be given at the Empress Hotel. In the above picture he is shown with Capt. A. H. McCarthy.

Alpine Club Excursion

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 26, 1928, p.7.

An excursion was held yesterday [Saturday February 25] under the auspices of the local Alpine Club branch to Sooke District. One party left on the morning train of the C.N.R. in charge of Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison while the afternoon party was directed by Mr. G. [George] E. Winkler. The Harrison party visited the Sooke River canyons, and had some interesting experience of rope work. All met later at the Sooke Hotel, where an excellent dinner was served, the dinner being followed by a dance. Among those in attendance were mayor and Mrs. J. Carl Pondary, and Mr. A. [Arthur] O. and Mrs. [Emmeline] Wheeler, of Sidney.

Alpine Club Camp

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 1, 1928, p.9.

“In Camp with the Alpine Club” is the subject of the illustrated lantern lecture to be given tomorrow night at the Empress Hotel by Colonel W. [William] W. Foster, a former president of the Alpine Club of Canada and one of the party which scaled Mount Logan two years ago.

Splendor of the Rockies Told — Col. Foster Holds Alpinist Enthralled with Beautiful Scenes

Victoria Alpine Club Given Illustrated Address on Rocky Mountain Expeditions

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday March 3, 1928, p.6.

Glistening peaks, lakes of amethyst blue, emerald green and many other hues, mountain flowers and mosses, purple heather, white grass, snow lilies, rugged moraines, flinty spires, cloudy summits and luxuriant valleys, tumbling waters, cataracts, glacial streams and prodigious glaciers were only a few of the many beautiful scenes flashed upon the screen, and which were admired by the large audience that heard Colonel W. [William] W. Foster, for some years was the president of the Canadian Alpine Club when he lectured on “Camps of the Alpine Club of Canada,” at a meeting of the Victoria Alpine Club, held at the Empress Hotel ballroom last night [March 2]. In his opening remarks, Colonel Foster told the audience what the Canadian Alpine Club had done to preserve the natural scenery of this country. The organization had sponsored the Canadian National Parks Association, which was now doing excellent work in conserving natural parks. The speaker first conducted his audience, through the medium of slides and verbal description, to Banff by the new road through the Columbia River Pass, Sinclair Pass, and Kootenay River. The scenes along the route were magnificent. The coloring of the slides appeared to be extravagant, but the speaker said that one hardly dared to tint the pictures in their natural color, so varied and brilliant were the hues in rock formation, flowers, lakes, streams and glaciers. The expedition into Assiniboine and to Mount Logan kept the audience enthralled. Slides showing Alpinists climbing treacherous slopes, hanging on the verge of precipices and chasms, stirred all. That beautiful white mass, towering above all the other rugged peaks of the Rockies, Mount Robson, was shown and described from all angles. Colonel Foster took his listeners on a climb up Mount Robson. Scene after scene of beauty and massive splendor passed before their eyes, and each succeeding view seemed more beautiful than the last. To go into detail of the many Alpine camps and climbs would enthrall too long a story, but it is sufficient to say that the speaker satisfied the layman as to why “those crazy people climbed mountains.” He spoke of the expedition planned by the Canadian Alpine Club this Summer to the mountain at the head of Butte Inlet, which has been discovered to be even higher than Mount Robson, which formerly was considered the highest in Canada. The scenes shown on the screen gave some concept of the magnificent beauty of that country, and what was in store for those Alpinists who might participate in the climb.


Officials Hear Case for Park

Mountaineers Meet C.P.R. Officials During Visit to Comox District Regarding Forbidden Plateau — Valuation Will Be Made of Lands

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday March 7, 1928, p.1.

A deputation from the interests associated in the effort to secure a national park in the Forbidden Plateau, west of Courtenay, met Mr. Grant Hall, first vice-president, and Mr. D.C. Coleman, second vice-president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, on Monday evening at Union Bay, travelling with a party north for the purpose of laying before the C.P.R. executives the argument for setting aside the property for public purpose. They explained that they were making representations to the Dominion Government with regard to the proposed reserve on Vancouver Island, which might involve the alienation of lands belonging to the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway. After a lengthy discussion it was agreed the deputation, which represented the British Columbia division of the Alpine Club, the Courtenay Mountaineering Club and the Courtenay-Comox Board of trade, that the deputation should furnish the company with the exact description of the lands required, after which an examination would be made of them on behalf of the company, and the committee would be advised as the valuation placed on the property, which is said to have valuable timber upon it. Mr. Grant Hall and Mr. Coleman had a pleasant journey over the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway system, and during the brief stay at Port Alberni they inspected the site of the assembly wharf on the waterfront. They spent Monday night in Cumberland, and came straight through from Courtenay during the morning. Last evening, they left on the night steamer for Vancouver.

Trying Bridle Path

Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday March 9, 1928, p.11.

Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, who had been invited to inspect some of the recently constructed bridle paths in the Sooke district, is arranging a walking trip to start from the Sooke Hotel tomorrow morning [March 10] at 10:30 o’clock, and any members of the Alpine Club who would care to join the outing are invited to do so provided they arrange their own transportation and luncheon provisions.

Letters to the Editor

Mystery Mountain

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 11, 1928, p.4.

Sir – There is more trouble about Mount Mystery. You rightly went for the local representatives in British Columbia of the Geographical Board of Canada for deciding to call it Mount Waddington. My latest information—and this is first hand—is that the Geographic Board of Canada, sitting in Ottawa, has decided to call it Mount Dawson, to perpetuate the memory of the well-known Canadian geologist. I learn further that the Alpine Club of London and the Royal geographic Society are adhering to the name “Mystery.” We shall have to fight to keep the name “Mystery.”

John Bensley Thornhill, Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, BC., March 9, 1928.

Mountaineering Delegate Chosen

President of the Courtenay and District Club Will Attend Parks Association Convention

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 15, 1928, p.13.

Courtenay, March 14 – Among the matters discussed at a meeting of the executive of the Courtenay and District Mountaineering Club on Monday night, was that of sending a delegate to the annual meeting of the National Parks Association, to be held in Vancouver on March 23. Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, the president of the club, will attend the convention. An invitation had been received by Mr. Wood from Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler of the Alpine Club to attend a meeting held in Victoria, when the matter of a joint Summer camp is to be discussed, and the matter will be further considered. It is hoped the National History Society will see its way to share in the proposed Summer camp to be held on the “Forbidden Plateau,” adjacent to Courtenay. An invitation is being extended to Professor [John] Davidson, of the University of British Columbia, president of the society. As soon as the disappearance of the snow on Quartz Creek Mountain [Mount Becher] makes it possible, a start will be made of a permanent log cabin at a point on this mountain within comparatively easy reach of the summit of Mount Albert Edward.

Talking on Parks

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday March 20, 1928, p.15.

All members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada are invited to hear the lecture which will be given this evening at the Chamber of Commerce by Mr. J.C. Campbell, publicity officer of the Parks Branch of the Department of the Interior, Ottawa. Mr. Campbell has some movie pictures of the last Summer’s Alpine Club camp in the Rockies, which will interest members here. The lecture will begin at 8 o’clock.

Investigates at Courtenay — National Parks Board Goes North for the Week-End

Mr. J.C. Campbell to Report on Possibility of Reserving Forbidden Plateau for Public

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday March 21, 1928, p.1.

Mr. J.C. Campbell, director of publicity of the Parks Board of the Dominion Government, who is now in the city, visited Courtenay on Sunday staying over Monday morning to investigate the possibility of the establishment of a national park embracing the Forbidden Plateau area from the standpoint of the Federal Government. This was a result of interviews on Friday and Saturday in Victoria between Mr. Cory, Deputy Minister of the Interior, from Ottawa, and Mr. Claude Harrison, chairman of the outing committee of the Alpine Club of British Columbia, and Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, president of the Courtenay Mountaineering Club. On Monday morning Mr. Campbell addressed a representative gathering in the City Hall at Courtenay of business men, including members of the Board of Trade and the Courtenay Mountaineering Club. While there Mr. Campbell acquired much first had knowledge of the Forbidden Plateau taking away with him many photographs taken within this magnificent area. The organizations at Courtenay are feeling confident, if the present negotiations with the C.P.R. terminate satisfactorily, that a national park on the Forbidden Plateau will soon be an accomplished fact.

Alpinists View Park Pictures

Scenes in Canadian National Parks are Placed on Screen at Chamber Of Commerce

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday March 21, 1928, p.4.

Scenes of surprising beauty and grandeur were shown to a large audience of members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada in moving pictures screened by Mr. J.C. Campbell, director of publicity for the National Parks Branch, Department of Interior at the Chamber of Commerce last night [March 20]. The moving pictures depicted scenes in various parks of the Dominion, including Jasper and Mount Robson and Banff. One of the most interesting films showed animal life in New Brunswick. Deer, moose and birds were taken in remarkable “close-ups.” Another film of outstanding interest was photographed from an airplane in flight over the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Campbell made a short address on the subject of national parks and their preservation and on the development of the tourist business. He was tendered cordial thanks by Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, president of the local Alpine Club.

Alpine Club at Annual Dinner

Vancouver Island Section Rallies, Fifty Strong, on Twenty-Second Anniversary of Organization

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday March 28, 1928, p.5.

Fifty members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and their friends gathered at the Empress Hotel last evening [March 27] for the annual club dinner. In addition to listening to interesting addresses by the president, Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler; the Hon. J. [John] D. MacLean, Premier of British Columbia, and M. Paul Suzor, French Consul at Vancouver and eminent big game hunter and Alpinist, the members were presented by Mr. Claude Harrison, programme convener, with a survey of plans for the outdoor activities for the coming Spring and Summer months. These were heard with enthusiasm. The programme begins with an all-day outing on April 9, in the Mount Matheson district, and concludes with a ten-day camp in August at the Forbidden Plateau in the Comox District. A number of other interesting outings, include the annual picnic at the Summer camp of Mr. and Mrs. J [James] White at Killarney Lake; a two-day outing in the Leech River country on May 11 and 12, a day-and-night camp over new trails in Sooke district early in July. Addressing the Vancouver Island section as honorary president of the Alpine Club of Canada, Mr. Wheeler, following his custom since the organization of the club, brought greetings on the occasion of the twenty-second anniversary of the organization. His message was a resume as well as a forecast, and among the incidents of the past year specially commented on was the discovery of the exact altitude of Mystery Mountain [Mount Waddington] now definitely fixed at 13,200 feet, higher than Mount Robson, hitherto regarded as the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. Expressing the hope that Mr. and Mrs. Don Munday, who have shown great perseverance in their efforts to attain the summit, would meet with success, Mr. Wheeler nevertheless thought it would be necessary to organize a strong party with bases for supplies, as done by the Mt. Logan expedition, in order to carry out the feat satisfactorily. Members were reminded of the forthcoming 1928 annual camp of the Alpine Club in the Rockies, at the Lake of the Hanging Glaciers. In his survey of the year the president referred to the regrettable accidents which accounted for the death of two well-known guides, [Malcolm] Geddes, on Mount Lefroy, and [Fred] Slark, on Mount Redoubt, and to the death of an old member, Mr. A. [Alfred] L. Mumm, of the English club, who had on more than one occasion been in camp with the Canadian Alpine Club in the Rockies.

Climbing And Hunting

Responding to the toast of “Our Guest,” a distinguished big game hunter and Alpinist M. Suzor French Consul in Vancouver, entertained the gathering after dinner with a vividly interesting talk on the Andes, Portuguese East Africa and Northern British Columbia. Lantern slides, operated by Mr. Wheeler, furnished a splendid series of pictures by way of illustration, those of the Andes being exceptional. The trip, taken in 1906, took him into a little-frequented part of Ecuador and Chile, one of the special feats which he attempted, without success, being the ascent of Mount Chimborazo, over 21,000 feet high, a peak climbed by Edward Whymper, a Britisher. To the Alpinist the speaker held out the lure of two virgin peaks within forty miles of Quito, a special attraction of the country to the climber being the absence of mosquitoes from the upland. Among the numerous slides shown, one of the dormant volcanos, Pichincha [15,500 ft], on the slopes of which Quito itself is built, was one of the most interesting. Its crater is 2,400 feet deep. A series of big-game pictures from Portuguese East Africa was followed by a few slides recording a hunting trip in the Cassiar and Cariboo districts of British Columbia, and, more recently, in the Sooke district, Vancouver Island brought the lecture to a close. On motion of the president, Mr. Wheeler, a very cordial resolution of thanks was passed to M. Suzor for coming from Vancouver to lecture to the society. The dinner arrangements were admirable. The committee in charge was, Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw (convenor), Miss [Margaret] Cowell, Miss [Sara] Spencer, Mrs. Wheeler, Mrs. [Robert] Healey-Kerr, Mr. Wheeler, Mr. [Kenneth] Chadwick and Mr. [Gordon] Cameron. Daffodils were effective decoration of the table, this detail being in charge of Mrs. [Emmeline] Wheeler, Miss Spencer and Miss Cowell. Mrs. McCaw, accompanied at the piano by Mr. McCaw, added to the pleasure of the evening with two delightful vocal solos.

Forbidden Plateau

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 24, 1928, p.7.

Miss Sara Spencer has very kindly lent her home, 930 Moss Street [the Spencer family mansion on Moss Street was known as “Llan Derwen,” Welsh for “under the oaks” and was donated to the City of Victoria as an art gallery by Sara in 1951], for a meeting tonight of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada, when Mr. [Clinton] Wood, of Comox, chairman of the Comox Mountaineering Club, will give an address on “The Forbidden Plateau.” A series of lantern views of the area will be introduced for illustration. The meeting which will be open to members and friends of the club, will begin at 8 o’clock.

Forbidden Plateau Vividly Described

Chairman of Comox Mountaineering Club Addresses Local Alpine Club Members

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday April 25, 1928, p.9.

In anticipation of the ten days’ camp which the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada intend holding at the “Forbidden Plateau,” in the Comox country, some time during August, Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, chairman of the Comox Mountaineering Club, last evening entertained the members of the local organization with a description of the area. The meeting took place at the home of Miss Sara Spencer, Moss Street, to whom a cordial vote of thanks, accompanied by the singing of “She’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” was passed on a motion of Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, president of the Alpine Club. Warm appreciation of Mr. Wood’s address was also expressed, the subject being splendidly illustrated with lantern slides and photographs of the country described.

Describes Trip

To give his matter practical value, Mr. Wood, with the aid of a map, described a trip which he and two companions took through the Forbidden Plateau country last summer. Starting from Comox with pack horses they had entered the area via Mount Becher, some views of which were shown. From the summit of this mountain a wonderful panorama opened up, among some of the points visible being Seymour Narrows, the Coast range on the Mainland, Mount Waddington (Mystery Mountain), Texada Island, Mount Arrowsmith, Mount Baker, the entrance to Vancouver Harbor, the Nine peaks, the mountains of Strathcona Park, a long range of permanently snowclad, unnamed mountains on the west, between 6,000 and 7,0000 feet in altitude; and Mount Albert Edward and Alexandra Peak. The country around Mount Becher was pictured as dotted with hundreds of lakes, nestling among hills sparsely covered with trees or treeless. Open, parklike country lay between Becher and Mount Albert Edward to the West, this area offering ideal camp sites. Scenically, Mount Albert Edward was in the form of a gigantic crater with the north side blown out, the narrow rim dropping shear on both sides, ornamented with “red” snow. A curious formation, resembling a colossal stairway, gave an interesting and picturesque appearance.

Paradise Valley

Alexandra Peak and glacier were described as offering attractions to the climber. Exploring Oyster River his party had come down at one place to what they christened Paradise Valley, because of its beauty and charm. A spot apparently never hitherto invaded by man, they had found deer even at midday feeding quietly, so unacquainted with huntsmen that they showed no alarm and had allowed visitors to approach within 50 feet. One of the photographic views endorsed this interpretation of the district, showing ptarmigan on the snow, unstartled, within a few feet of the three mountaineers. In moving the vote of thanks to Mr. Wood, Mr. Wheeler recalled an expedition to Strathcona Park, under the auspices in 1912, his memory of which made him ready to endorse all that the speaker had said about the fascination of this section of Vancouver Island from the alpinist’s standpoint.

Fossil Beds are Visited by Club

Victoria Alpine Club Members Explore Spot in Sooke Country with Rev. Robt. Connell

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday April 26, 1928, p.6.

The fossil beds between Otter Point and Sheringham Point were visited by the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada last Saturday [April 21], about thirty members making the trip under the guidance of Reverend Robert Connell. Leaving the city by motor shortly before nine o’clock the party reached Muir Creek, twenty-six miles out, in time to have luncheon before proceeding to the fossil beds, the origin of which was explained by Mr. Connell. Numerous excellent examples of fossilized animal and vegetable life were secured to illustrate the talk, and various members of the expedition brought away souvenirs of the outing in the form of fossilized shellfish, splints of fossilized wood, etc. A detour was taken on the return route to the motors, and the wild flowers of the district formed an interesting subject of study during this period. Before embarking again for the city alfresco tea was served.

Second Outing

This was the second successful outing within a fortnight, Mr. Claude Harrison having conducted a party of twenty-seven up Mount Matheson on Easter Monday. From the top (1,150 feet), reached at 2:30 after an early start from the city, a fine view was obtained of Matheson Lake, Sooke Harbor, Victoria, Empress Mountain, Pedder Bay, Port Angeles, the Olympics and nearer eminences. The club is now back into its regular climbing stride once more, and will have frequent outings during the Summer. The annual visit to Killarney Lake, Summer camp of Mr. and Mrs. James White, will take place on Saturday, May 5. As usual there will be a morning expedition up Big Saanich Mountain, conducted by Mr. William Dougan. The section will leave Killarney at 10 o’clock, arranging to lunch on top of the mountain and return to Killarney about 3, in time to meet the group going out for the afternoon only.

Going Under Canvas

The following week, Friday, May 11, the club will go under canvas for the first time this season. This will be for a two-day expedition in the Leech River district, with the Leech River Falls as the goal. As the entire distance to be traversed will be about twenty miles, it is considered advisable to pitch camp after the first ten miles or so, working up the north fork of the river the first day and returning on Saturday or Sunday. Mr. Claude Harrison will conduct this expedition, and will be glad to receive well in advance the names of those who intend to accompany the party.

Buttle Lake Residents Visit Campbell River

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday April 26, 1928, p.8.

Mr. Con Reid and Mr. H. [Harry] E. Rogers of Buttles Lake, were visitors at Campbell River over the week-end.

Harry Rogers outside his cabin on Buttle Lake with Jack Horbury 1930s. Brian Ross collection.

Harry Rogers outside his cabin on Buttle Lake with Jack Horbury 1930s. Brian Ross collection.

Forbidden Plateau, Land of Romance Mystery Haunts Ideal Park Area of Island Interior

Scenic Marvel Thrills Travelers in Region Of High Mountains and Mists — Wonderful Panorama From Mount Albert Edward, 7,000-Foot Giant of Proposed Park Lands; Game Abounds in Paradise Shunned by Indians; Rugged Island Territory

Reported in the Victoria Daily Times Tuesday May 1, 1928, p.11.

Vancouver Island wants a playground! The people of Victoria and the farther northern towns have long been urging a great reservation land, beautiful, rugged, typical of the inland wilds, to be preserved for future generations, to be used as a haunt for summer recreation seekers, to be a memorial to the pioneers of the early days. They have asked that this playground be kept as a Dominion Government Park, and, in seeking, they have found the most desirable area. It is the Forbidden Plateau. The Forbidden Plateau and adjacent mountain country is precisely what is required for park purposes. It is surrounded with legend and romance. It is wild, unspoiled and a marvel of scenic splendor. The eastern boundary of the Strathcona Park, which is not a Federal reserve, and probably never will be, meets and comprises, in its central portions, the western boundary of the Forbidden Plateau park area. The latter, the suggested park, lies wholly within the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway belt. It is grant land. The northern boundary required takes in a portion of the famous Buttle Lake. Four or five miles of this sheet of water lie in the E. & N. land belt. The general trend of the northern boundary will be true east. The eastern boundary of the park would run in a southerly direction to Comox Lake, taking in two or three miles of the shoreline of this body of water. Thence, it would run south and west to meet the east boundary of Strathcona Park again. Thus, would be formed the southern line.

Slide, Kelly, slide! Kelly slid. But he did not want to. This traveler was careless on the hard crusted snow on the side of Albert Edward.

Slide, Kelly, slide! Kelly slid. But he did not want to. This traveler was careless on the hard crusted snow on the side of Albert Edward.

Easy Way In

Through the Forbidden Plateau lands lies the most feasible route into the mountains of Strathcona Park. There is a good trail from the town of Bevan, which winds for twelve or fourteen miles up to the plateau itself, doing a climb of something like 4,000 feet. There, at the foot of great Mount Albert Edward, the trail ends on the Forbidden Plateau. There is no mountain on Vancouver Island which has so wonderful a view from its peak as has Albert Edward – great, snow-girt sentinel, rearing 7,000 feet high above the clouds. There is only one mountain which is higher, and that is the mighty Victoria Peak, nearly 7,500 feet, just outside the northern boundary of the Strathcona Park, at the headwaters of the White River, a tributary of the Salmon, which runs to the sea through the valley of the same name and has the town of Sayward at its mouth.

Perpetual Snow

Albert Edward is under a mantle of perpetual snow. In the hottest years its easterly side is always white with the garment of Winter. While it is high, it seems to be particularly favored in that there is seldom fog here to shut out the amazing view. July and August are the clearest months. From its summit there is a long ribbon of blue to be discerned to the eastward, the Straits of Georgia, dotted with its islands, and behind that again the hills north of Vancouver. Actually, on the clearest days, Vancouver itself is visible – the smoke of the city marking its location. In the far distance looms the white-topped Coast range. To the west is the Pacific Ocean and, north and northwest, the mountains of Strathcona Park. Nor is it difficult for the average climber to reach the peak from which these scenes are stretched before him, a mighty panorama painted in soft tones by the wizard hand of nature. It is by the arete, or backbone of the mountains that the ascent is made.

Grainy black and white photo of Mount Albert Edward.

View of the great Mount Albert Edward, second tallest peak on Vancouver Island, mighty sentinel of the Forbidden Plateau country, standing 7,000 feet high, perpetually snow-girt and from which one of the most remarkable panoramic views to be obtained in America is visible. Climbers can see from its summit for hundreds of miles about. Albert Edward is not inaccessible. It is a comparatively easy climb to its highest altitudes.

Red With Snow

The back slope of Mount Albert Edward is red snow. It sounds preposterous, but it is so. Sometimes this remarkable growth appears in the mountains of British Columbia, but on Albert Edward it is common. It is something of a mystery to all but the students of nature. As a matter of fact, the phenomenon is a sort of vegetable growth, blood-red in color, and cover great patches of the mountain snow. Travelers there have mistaken these red blotches for the scene of some wilderness carnage. A party once asked if it had seen the red snow, declared that they had not, but that they had come across a place where it appeared a great number of animals had been killed, for the snow was covered with blood. This was the red snow.

Dotted With Lakes

The top of the Plateau itself, at the base of Mount Albert Edward, is a unique alpine area. It is dotted by more than twenty lakes, some of them a mile in length, the habitation of great numbers of Canada geese and a variety of bird life. The goose is exceptionally tame there, and will allow persons to approach within twenty feet or less of it. The ptarmigan are there in hundreds, feeding on the berries of the juniper. Deer, too, are numerous. The lakes are the headwaters of the Oyster River, the Cruikshank River, Brown’s River and several smaller streams. From the plateau, as far as the eye can see, stretches a sea of bell heather, purple, yellow and white, with patches of hare’s tail and other alpine plants in endless variety and profusion. The pine trees grow in queer, gnarled, gnomish shapes, stunted and dark, their crazy limbs giving the whole area a grotesqueness. The junipers are dwarfed as well.

Typical late Spring snows on the shaded places of the Forbidden Plateau. Again the dwarf, scrubby timber, the only sort that grows in this wild country, is pictured.

Typical late Spring snows on the shaded places of the Forbidden Plateau. Again the dwarf, scrubby timber, the only sort that grows in this wild country, is pictured.

Lovely Scenery

The view from the plateau, aside from its own beauty, is wonderful. Its height and its proximity to the sea are sufficient to give a magnificent view of the Straits of Georgia, the islands northward and the mountains of the Mainland. The trail leading into Forbidden Plateau is another picturesque feature of the country, winding past the mighty waterfall of Brown’s River and innumerable potholes, through woodland and valley, a delight to every traveler who passes over it. For fourteen miles, approximately, this trail moves into the park land. It was built by men of the district, unassisted, unencouraged, their only ambition being to reach the Forbidden Plateau and allow others the opportunity thus afforded of viewing its matchless beauty.


The Forbidden Plateau derives its name from ancient Indian legend and superstition. It was known to the Indians and looked upon with a sort of awe. The suspicion seems to have been that it was forbidden land, probably haunted by spirits of the dead. Perhaps the red snow had something to do with its isolation, or the shapes of the grotesque trees at twilight. In any event, Indians shunned it like a plaque. In consequence, animals and birds found it a haven of refuge when hunted and driven from the lower hills. That is way they swarm about the place in abundance. The Forbidden Plateau is a sort of birdland paradise. By honorable understanding hunters never go there, never disturb the complete peace and tranquility of the mountain lakes and heather slopes. Towering above the valley lands, Mount Albert Edward stands in all his glory. Albert Edward is the king of the surrounding country, but close beside him looms the great bulk of Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain, difficult of ascent, buttressed with great bluffs from which it takes its name, and Alexandra Peak, 6,500 feet in height. Both are interesting climbs and will provide objects of entertainment for the Alpine Club of Victoria when that organization camps on the Forbidden Plateau this summer with the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club.

Only Glacier

Toward the southern portion of the Forbidden Plateau, and towards the eastern boundary of Strathcona Park, lies Comox Glacier, the only one on Vancouver Island. Strangely enough, it is visible from the decks of all northbound steamers traveling to Skagway, and the nearby hillside is marked by a gigantic cross of snow, long an object of comment. The glacier was once extensive, reaching, in centuries past, to a point close to Comox Lake. At the present time, it ends about six or seven miles from the west end of this lake. The Alpine Club and others with it, will go into the Plateau with a long pack train from Bevan. Arrangements are already under way to establish a large camp in the park area. There will be a number of visitors from the Mainland on this expedition and a big section of the party will be from Island points.

On the trail before the sun is up. Horses are the easiest mode of travel in this country of big spaces, for the trails are well defined and the travel easy for mounts unless the traveler is actually intent upon climbing. Even then horses can take him to the base of operations.

On the trail before the sun is up. Horses are the easiest mode of travel in this country of big spaces, for the trails are well defined and the travel easy for mounts unless the traveler is actually intent upon climbing. Even then horses can take him to the base of operations.

No Timber

The timber in the Forbidden Plateau country is utterly valueless from a commercial standpoint. Except on the lower reaches of the Cruikshank and Oyster Rivers, and in the vicinity of Dove Creek and Brown’s River, there is nothing merchantable. The area required for park purposes does not include any timber stands. The beauty of the location will not be marred in the slightest by the removal of every stick of merchantable timber in its vicinity, since the plateau is so high that it is destitute of valuable trees. There is only the ghost-like, gnarled and picturesque pines and junipers, which might well be the spirit trees of dead forests. Realizing the great value of this park area, particularly since it adjoins Strathcona Park and affords a comparatively easy way into the peaks of the great stretch of mountain country, strenuous efforts have been made of late to acquire this portion of the E. & N. Railway belt for Dominion park purposes. If it is acquired, a road to the plateau would be constructed in place of the trail existing, in all probability. Grant Hall, vice-president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, has intimated his agreement to the plan. W.W. Cory, Deputy Minister of the Interior, has also signified that he is willing to see the Forbidden plateau lands a government park. T.D. Pattullo of the British Columbia Cabinet has been interviewed and, from his words, hope is entertained that before long the land in question may be acquired.

Land Of Marvels

Vancouver Island’s whole mid-section, including the Plateau lands and the great stretch of the Strathcona park, wherein lies the long sheet of trout-filled waters known as Buttle lake and the headwaters of the Campbell River, is a country full of natural marvels. Travelers to these parts never forget the majesty of Buttle Lake and the grandeur of the shore scenery. The lake lies in a setting of mountains, forest-girt, blue and tranquil at times, ruffled by winter storms or tinted by the banners of the morning or of sunset. The lake winds through promontories, wooded like the mountainsides above them, or is bordered by great, raw-rock cliffs, with clinging, precariously-rooted plants and shrubs. There are bays and sheltered nooks along this shore where the deer come down to drink, and their footprints leave the shore dotted where they ran in hundreds. For this lake country abounds with game, safe from the arms of the hunters, who must stop at the park boundaries. The tourists or holiday-maker who reaches Buttle Lake is infrequent. Only occasionally do parties go further than Forbes Landing or Upper Campbell Lake, where the Sutherland brothers are the guides and master fishermen of the district.

Starvation Diet

There is a quaint story told of two young men who went into that rough country not very long ago and whose expedition almost ended in tragedy. But they laugh about it now and recall with expressions of rapture the glories of the place. They took the trail from Upper Campbell Lake and left the Sutherland cabins with the expectation that one of the Sutherland boys would bring their supplies, their food, over the trail. But there was a misunderstanding. The food did not come for several days. Since the young travelers expected it momentarily, they went on up Buttle Lake in a dugout canoe and returned one blistering hot afternoon, completely out of grub, but with the prospect of a raid upon their provisions, which they expected from down the trail. The provisions had not come. A long paddle back up the lake took them to the hospitality of a lakeshore dweller. But the next day, when their provisions were still lacking, their pride kept them suffering in silence. Besides, they had to take back the dugout canoe to the owner. They were faced with two alternatives: to wait for their provisions or to cut short their excursion and head out along the trail to Upper Campbell Lake. They chose the first – and starved.

But They Liked It

“If it had not been for a bent pin and home-made fly, and the education of those Campbell River trout, we might have starved,” said one of them. As it was they subsisted on fish and hope for several days. When at last, they were feeling the need of further nourishment, they took to the trail in disgust … and met the Sutherland ponies with their provisions half a mile out of their lakeshore camp. Buttle Lake, with all its tributary streams is the source of the roaring Campbell River, chilled by the mountain water from melting snow and ice-capped peaks, is one of the gems of this upper Island interior. Beside it lies the Forbidden Plateau country, steeped in Indian tradition and legend, mysterious, silent, haunted … a land of blood-red snow, where trees are stunted and flowers carpet the ground for acres without a break. It is a land of contrast and of, consequently, greater appeal and charm. It is a land which, once visited, can never be forgotten. It throws a spell of magic, but there are things that happen in it, legends of its past, that can be woven into a nightmarish freak of fact and fancy.

Alpine Club Has Annual Picnic

Forty-Five Members Guests at Killarney of Mr. and Mrs. White — Climb Work

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 6, 1928, p.20.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada yesterday [May 5] demonstrated several years’ cumulative appreciation by responding in unprecedented numbers to Mr. and Mrs. James White’s annual invitation to their Summer camp at “Killarney,” in the Saanich District. Forty- five members, after a day of diverse mountaineering or hiking excursions in the district, rallied round the hospitable board prepared by the hosts and their daughter, and expressed their gratitude by presenting a big picture of Mount Assiniboine as an addition to the fine collection of mountain scenes which Mr. and Mrs. White already possess. The presentation was made by the club president, Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, following an address in which he made eloquent tribute to the generous spirit shown by Mr. and Mrs. White in throwing their camp open each Spring to the society’s members. The little ceremony was followed by three resounding cheers and a tiger for the host and hostess and the singing of “For They Are Jolly Good Fellows.” Mr. White made a happy little speech expressing thanks for the gift. A second presentation during the evening was to the club secretary, Mrs. [Robert] Healey-Kerr, to whom an ebony cane, suitably engraved, was given in appreciation of her indefatigable efforts on behalf of the club. Mr. Gordon Cameron, the club treasurer, made the speech of thanks, and the presentation was made by Mr. Claude Harrison, convenor of the outings committee, this ceremony taking place after supper, when the members were assembled round a roaring campfire. Three cheers and a tiger were added for the recipient in this instance also.

Programme Success

The days programme was one of the most successful of the year. Leaving the city by motor at 9 o’clock, sixteen members an hour later started their day’s climb from Lake Killarney. Led in two groups by Messrs. C.L. Harrison and [William] Dougan, the expedition made an almost complete circle of Mount Work before ascending, the route being via Heals Lake, Durrance Lake (where a halt was made for luncheon), Fourth and Third Lakes. The final ascent was begun from Third Lake on the west side of the mountain and the summit was reached about 4 o’clock, under ideal conditions, with a magnificent view in all directions. During the fifteen-minute halt for tea a record of the climb was made with the signatures of the members, and inserted in the cairn with the records of the previous years’ ascents already there. A second party of four, led by Mr. Lindley Crease, left Killarney camp at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The two groups returned about the same time to camp, joining the hiking party of twenty which, under Mr. Gordon Cameron’s leadership, walked over to Heals Lake during the afternoon. Botanists with the expedition collected assiduously, some eighteen or twenty different varieties of flora being found on the mountain during the day. Valerian, trilliums, saxifrages, mimulus, Collinsia, and orchids were found in profusion almost to the summit, which is over 1,400 feet.

Hospitality Lavish

Camp Killarney’s generous hospitality was on an even more lavish scale than usual, the customary piece de resistance, Cameronian pie, holding the place of honor on the menu. The great table, spread beneath a canvas fly right on the shores of the lake, was beautifully decorated with bowls of wildflowers, the mysterious beauty of the forest enhanced by Japanese lanterns suspended among the woods, and the final chapter of the evening’s enjoyments, the rally and sing-song round a roaring camp fire, was full of jollity. Among the important matters of business discussed were the forthcoming Leech Falls and Forbidden Plateau camps. Mr. Claude Harrison, as convener of outings, sent out a questionnaire concerning the date of the former, this resulting in a vote favoring May 24, 25 and 26. The expedition, consequently, will take place at that time, the ten days’ camp at Forbidden Plateau will be late in July, the exact time to be announced later. President A.O. Wheeler, who with Mrs. [Emmeline] Wheeler is leaving in a few days’ time for Banff to spend the Summer, called for a final round of applause on behalf of the host and hostess before the gathering dispersed.

Alpine Club Meeting

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday May 8, 1928, p.12.

There will be a half-day excursion of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada on Saturday [May 12]. Members will meet at Bastion Square at 2 p.m., to go to Bear Hill. After the excursion they will return to the home of Mr. and Mrs. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, Uplands, for tea. Those intending to join the outing should communicate at once with the secretary, 6490L, in order to arrange transportation.

Wheeler Leaves for Banff

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Thursday May 17, 1928. p.6.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur O. Wheeler of Sidney, have left for Banff where they will spend the summer months with the Alpine Club of Canada of which Mr. Wheeler is president.

The Alpine Club on Bear Hill

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Tuesday May 22, 1928. p.14.

By Robert Connell

The local branch of the Alpine Club of Canada has taken up with commanding zeal the pleasant business of showing to Victoria the playground possibilities of south Vancouver Island. Two or three times a month the members are off to some of our hills and exploring our coast or tramping our old trails. Some of the trips are to points in the wilds of the Sooke Hills, others to easily accessible places in Saanich or the Highland district. But wherever the chosen trail leads cheerfulness and good fellowship are the order of the day. Last Saturday [May 19] s visit was paid to bear Hill, which rises at the north end of Elk Lake to a height above sea level of 713 feet, so that it is a rival of Little Saanich Mountain (Observatory Hill) and Cedar Hill (Mount Douglas), the former of which is 732 feet, the latter 725 feet. The three hills which have thus resist the forces that have ground down the land surface about them are each composed of different rock substances. Mount Douglas is carved out of the dark Wark diorite, Observatory Hill out of the banded Colquitz gneiss, Bear Hill out of the pale Saanich granodiorite. The cars were left near the north-west tip of Elk Lake and from there by the kindness of one of the land-owners at the base of the hill we struck up through pleasant grassy fields. The area has been pretty thoroughly burnt and blackened trees still lie on the side of the hill. On our descent the cars went by Mount Tolmie village and Cedar Hill crossroad to the Uplands where Mr. Claude L. Harrison, our guide for the day, and Mrs. Harrison entertained us at their delightful home. It was not the normal ending of Alpine Club expeditions, indeed the expedition itself was scarcely a normal one. But even the most devoted of Alpinists must relax and how better than on a Saturday afternoon in mid-May with the air full of the scent of wild flowers, a pleasant hill whose climb may be started so as to leave but 500 feet of ascent, a summit where the view may be taken by imbibition as the company sits around upon the flower-strewn turf, and then half an hour later a stately garden where the tulips stand like guards of honor, row upon row, and within doors the cup of hospitality and friendship.

Alpine Club is Visiting Falls at Leech River Today

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday May 24, 1928, p.9.

This morning a party of about a dozen members of the Vancouver Island Branch of the Alpine Club are leaving by Canadian National Railways line on a two days visit to Leech River and adjacent falls. The party will leave the railway gas car at leech River station and proceed to the forks of the east and west branches, a distance of about seven miles, where a camp will be established and the night spent. Early the following morning the party will set out travelling as lightly as possible, and make the trip to the falls, which at this time of the year will present a magnificent appearance. The mountain will be ascended until the top of the falls are reached, and later by ropes the descent will be accomplished, and the camp reached in time to make the return trip to Victoria by the afternoon car.

Sketch drawing by Lindley Crease during the club trip to Leech Falls.

Sketch drawing by Lindley Crease during the club trip to Leech Falls.


Plateau to be Scene of Camp

Members of Alpine Club Make Plans for Outing — Site Selected on Mount Beecher For Log Cabin With Suitable Accommodation

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 27, 1928, p.11.

Courtenay, May 26. – Matters pertaining to the proposed Summer camp on the Forbidden Plateau were up for discussion at Friday night’s meeting of the Mountaineering Club. In answer to an application for permission to hold the camp and to erect a cabin near the top of Mount Beecher [Becher], the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway land agent wrote granting the request. Members of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada having been asked to co-operate in the camp, correspondence has been exchanged with Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison concerning details of tents and other equipment. Mr. Harrison also promised to send a memorandum of equipment for each club. The date of the camp, after some discussion, was set for Wednesday, July 18, the day of the departure for the main camp from Bevan to Saturday, July 28. This would give the Victoria and Vancouver members of the camp an opportunity of reaching their homes by the end of the month. The packing of the equipment in and out of the plateau was discussed and the question of securing the necessary number of pack ponies and pack saddles considered. It was decided to advertise for tenders for this work, to include fifteen horses for two weeks. Tenders will be received by the camp committee. The chairman of the cabin committee reported that in company with several members of the club he had recently been up Mount Beecher, where a most beautiful site has been selected for the cabin. Running water was at hand, a wonderful view of the whole valley was obtainable and a suitable gulch available for the storage of food. Work on the cabin should be taken in hand at once so that the logs for the construction could be hauled in over the snow before it melts. A rough sketch of a log cabin containing a clubroom 10 by 15 feet, and two rooms for ladies and men respectively, each 12 by 15, was displayed, and contract for its construction given to Mr. Warren, at a maximum cost of $225. Mr. Ben Hughes, who took a party of scouts to the top of Mount Beecher on the 24th, reported that the snow was going very rapidly.

Makes Ascent of Arrowsmith

Old Country Visitor First to Make Climb This Year — Mr. J.A. Parker Goes Up Mountain Twice During Stopover — Delighted with Scenery

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday June 5, 1928, p.13.

CAMERON LAKE, June 4 – The first ascent of Mount Arrowsmith this year was made by Mr. J.A. Parker, B.Sc., M. Inst. C.E., ex-chief engineer Great North of Scotland Railway. Mr. Parker was accompanied by Mr. W. Stone, of Cameron Lake, who was so delighted with the climb that he went up a second time, but not quite so far as on the first occasion. He expressed himself as being highly delighted with the mountain and the district. The views obtained from the summit, of the Pacific and Mount Baker district were marvellous. Mr. Parker is no novice at the game, having scaled all the mountains over 3,000 feet of the British Isles, save two, and done a great deal of climbing in the Swiss Alps and Pyrenees. Mount Arrowsmith, he said, compared with the latter. Mr. Parker is a member of the English Alpine Club and president of three others, including the Cairngorm. He is loud in praise of the Canadian Pacific round-the-world cruise, which he is now enjoying. Others not so fortunate in their day on account of the weather are Messrs. Norman Yarrow and Hew Patterson of Victoria, who climbed the second peak last Sunday [June 2]. These gentlemen, however, are determined they will climb again when conditions are more favorable.

Alpine Club Buys Hut Site

Decision Reached Last Night to Purchase 149 Acres Of Recently-Reserved Park Land In Sooke — Province Will Construct Trail

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday June 10, 1928, p.1 & 2.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada took an important step last night [June 9] in deciding to purchase outright from the Provincial Government 149 Acres of the recently-set-aside Sooke district park of 1,600 acres. The decision was reached at a general meeting of the club held at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke harbor, following a dinner attended by about fifty of the members and their friends who had spent the day climbing and hiking in the district. Mr. Gordon Cameron occupied the chair and put the proposal to the meeting after Mr. Claude Harrison, convenor of the club outings, who has carried through the negotiations with the Government up to their present stage, had given a description of the area for the benefit of those who had been unable to accompany the party which he had conducted earlier in the day to the proposed club property. The members were unanimously in favor of possession of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada a choice camp site adjacent to some of the best terrain in the southern part of the Island. Mr. Harrison and Mr. Cameron were delegated to proceed at once with the work of drawing up the necessary deed of trust. A second announcement which was heard with much enthusiasm by the members was to the effect that the Government had undertaken with the proceeds of the purchase money paid by the Alpine Club to proceed at once with the construction of a trail from the C.N. Railway to the proposed site of the Alpine Club hut within their own park. The newly-purchased Alpine Club area of 149 acres lies to the north of the C.N. Railway and about three miles from the present road terminal on the north side of the Sooke River. The trail which has already been blazed, crosses the Sooke pipeline, and the Sooke Hotel management has undertaken to keep the path in good shape once it is constructed. The club grounds form a wedge-shaped triangle in the west side of the government park of 1,600 acres, and they enclose part of both Grass Lake and Shield’s Lake, which are among the beauty spots of the district. Mt. Shepherd, the Ragged Range, Empress Mountain, and other interesting climbs are within easy distance. The C.N. Railway has engaged to put a flag station at the point where the trail crosses the line once the club hut is constructed. While the club hut will be open at all times to members without charge, except for prolonged holiday uses, the privilege of use will be made available to the general public as well under special conditions.

Alpinists Buy Site at Sooke

Vancouver Island Mountaineers Acquire Club-House Location

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Monday June 11, 1928. p.18.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will purchase from the Provincial Government a portion of the new Sooke Park reservation, to be used as a clubhouse site. The purchase was authorized on Saturday evening at a dinner meeting at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke, after fifty members and their friends had inspected the 149-acre site. The Government has agreed that the purchase money will be expended in development of a trail from the Canadian national railway to the site of the club hut to be erected upon the property. The location of the property acquired by the Alpine Club is three miles from the end of the road on the north side of Sooke River. The tract is triangular, and includes parts of Grass Lake and Shield’s Lake. The Belvedere Hotel management has agreed to maintain the trail to the site in good condition after it is constructed, and the Canadian National Railway has consented to put in a flag station at the crossing of the railway and the trail, as soon as the clubhouse is built.

To Build Trail to Alpine Hut

Government To Assist Alpine Club Resort, Adjoining Sooke Park

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Tuesday June 12, 1928. p.16.

Land which the Alpine Club of Canada is purchasing from the Provincial Government adjoins the recently created Sooke Mountain park, and is not part of the reserve itself, it was explained at the lands Department today. The club is purchasing 149 acres from the Government in the Sooke district on the northwest borders of the park, which comprises 1,600 acres. The purchase money received by the Provincial Government from the Alpine Club will go into the consolidated revenue of the province. The Government has agreed, however, to expend a sum in the construction of a trail from the Canadian National Railway to the proposed site of the Alpine Club hut in the area, it was announced.

Mountain Trail is Busy Place

Mountaineering Club and Forestry Branch Both Active

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 14, 1928, p.1.

Official confirmation of the vote for the lookout station on Mount Beecher [Becher] has now been received. Men engaged by the Forestry Department have been busy cutting out the trail at the foot of the mountain near Bevan so that horses can be taken up and wire will be soon strung to the top of the mountain following the trail. The Comox Mountaineering Club has also commenced the work of erecting a cabin on the top of Mount Beecher and Mr. J. Warren and party have left with their pack train. The snow on the upper levels is going fast and the horses should have no trouble in hauling the logs needed for the cabin. What with Forestry men, Mountaineering club packers and hikers, the Quartz Creek trail is a busy avenue of traffic.

The BC Forestry Lookout on the lower slopes of Mt. Becher

The BC Forestry Lookout on the lower slopes of Mt. Becher.

Alpine Club Explores Lovely Sooke District

Members of Vancouver Island Section Enjoy Three Days At Leechtown and Leech Falls and Visit Area Recently Purchased

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday June 16, 1928, p.7.

The recent activities of the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Island Section, have brought into prominence the possibilities of the Sooke District as a Mecca for tourists and holiday seekers. A few weeks ago the club organized a three-day hike to Leechtown, and Leech Falls, and more recently took a large party up to the roof of the Sooke Hills, in which region the Vancouver Island Section has recently secured 149 acres. On each occasion a trail was blazed along the ridge of the hills which will make the task of other lovers of the wilds less arduous. Other agencies also have been operating to throw open the magnificent scenery of the district to a wider circle. The first of these is the Canadian National Railway, which runs through the district at a convenient point, and the second is the enterprise of the popular manager of the Belvedere Hotel. Mr. Robillard has cut a number of trails for horse-lovers which lead right into the heart of the hills. Photographs procured from members of the Alpine Club disclose that the Sooke District can hardly be surpassed for rugged mountains, delightful rivers and brooks, lovely lakes and stately timber. Not all of these can be reproduced, but the three which accompany this article may be accepted as typical of them all. Lake Shields, on the shores of which the Vancouver Island Section of the Alpine Club will shortly erect a hut, lies as an elevation of 1,500 feet above sea level, and is surrounded by mountains which for wild grandeur challenge the best that the world can boast.

To Stock Lake

Alongside the proposed hut the lake is easily twenty feet or more in depth. A ledge of rock projects over the water conveniently placed for boaters and bathers. At the present moment there are no fish in the lake, but the Alpine Club has arranged to stock it with trout and preserve the waters for fly fishing exclusively. Once introduced the trout will flourish exceedingly for the conditions are stated to be ideal. It is expected that trout will grow to a large size and will attain a weight of four to five pounds. From the time the Alpine Club hut is ready for use there will unquestionably be a constant flow of tourists into Sooke through Victoria. Hitherto facilities for ingress and egress have been lacking, and there has been no stopping place in the hills. With these essentials supplied the Sooke district will come into tis own. The second picture shows one of the recent climbing party standing on a bluff which overlooks the grand valley of the Leech below the falls. The scenery at this point baffles description. There is nothing in the Rockies to surpass it. The valley is a yawning chasm hundreds of feet deep between ranges of hills which stretch all the way to the coast. On the day the Alpine Club visited the spot there was an eagle circling at great altitude against a cloudless sky. That lone bird of great size and rugged strength seemed to typify as nothing else could the wildness, the loneliness and the grandeur of the surroundings at Leech Falls.

River In Repose

The third picture is a scene above the Leech Falls where the river is almost in repose as it passed gently through a glen-resembling the numerous so-called fairy glens of Wales. The Alpine party spent several hours at this point enjoying lunch and drinking in the natural beauties of the spot. It is difficult to realize that the Leech Falls are only some seven or eight miles from Leechtown station on the C.N.R., and are thus accessible to all who enjoy a stiff walk and a good lunch. The trail should be still further cleared and in places the gully crossings could be improved with advantage. Two further factors which tribute greatly to the prospects of Sooke district are the recent action of the provincial Government in dedicating 1,500 acres in the heart of the hills as a mountain park, and the announcement concerning the West Coast Road. The park area has been well selected for its scenic attractions and will be administered by commissioners whose only object will be to protect the interests of the public. The park, of course, will be a game preserve. There are already hundreds of deer in the vicinity. Protection will enable them to flourish as never before. There is an endless charm attaching to wild animals and birds when unafraid of man and it is therefore expected that Sooke Mountain Park will attract visitors from all parts.

Lady member of recent climbing party on picturesque vantage ground overlooking Leech Valley and Falls.

Lady member of recent climbing party on picturesque vantage ground overlooking Leech Valley and Falls.

Mr. C. L. Harrison, outings convener and guide of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, at the site of the hut which it has been decided to build on part of the 149 acres recently purchased by the section in the Sooke district.

Mr. C. L. Harrison, outings convener and guide of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, at the site of the hut which it has been decided to build on part of the 149 acres recently purchased by the section in the Sooke district.

Develop New Sooke Park

Alpine Club to Have Permanent Home in Rugged Country

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday June 23, 1928. p.29.

Victoria Daily Times full-page spread with the headline “Develop New Sooke Park, Alpine Club To Have Permanent Home In Rugged Country.”

Victoria Daily Times full-page spread with the headline “Develop New Sooke Park, Alpine Club To Have Permanent Home In Rugged Country.”

Forbidden Plateau Beautiful Country

Mr. Claude Harrison Returns from Reconnaissance Trip to Site of Alpine Club Camp In Comox

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday July 11, 1928, p.13.

Tremendously enthusiastic over the prospects of the Forbidden Plateau cam to be held from July 20 to 30. Mr. Claude Harrison returned to the city on Sunday evening from a week’s reconnaissance trip in the Mount Albert Edward country, Comox district. As announced a few days ago, Mr. Harrison will take charge of the camp, which has been organized under the joint auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club. Accompanying him on his recent rip were three members of the latter organization, which is giving conspicuous assistance in blazing the trail and getting the camp supplies. “The site which we have chosen for our main camp is a superb one, and commands a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains and valleys,” stated Mr. Harrison on his return. He gave a sketch of the layout of the main camp. At an altitude of 3,300 feet, it will snuggle against the east slope of Mount Albert Edward, furnishing a good base of operations for all the climbing to be done during the six days the camp is in session. Camping equipment is being sent in this week, to be in readiness for the party of forty or fifty which is to leave Comox next Tuesday or Wednesday. There will be some eight or nine tents in all—the headquarters tent, which will be in charge of Mr. Harrison, and which will hold all the camp necessities in the way of first aid equipment, etc.; the visiting men’s tent, two Comox club tents, two Vancouver Island section tents, a visiting ladies’ tent and a big canvas fly which will be used as a mess tent and cook house combined. Nearby a site for the camp fire has been set aside. Two streams run through the camp site, furnishing good water supply both for drinking and bathing purposes.

Two Days Journey

The camp is two days’ journey from Comox, Mr. Harrison states. The Comox Mountaineering Club has undertaken to make an advance party which will take care of the first night’s camp en route to Mount Beecher [Becher] 3,900 feet. This camp, of course, will be of a purely temporary character, and will be broken early the morning of the second day out in order to give plenty of time to make the main camp by the evening of the second day. A few saddle ponies will be available for emergencies on this trip in. The trail is stated to be in splendid condition, and Mr. Harrison pays great tribute to the Comox and Courtenay Mountaineering Club for the splendid type of hut which they have erected at Mount Beecher. “It is quite unique, standing on a prominent point from which there is a magnificent view; at night one can look across and quite easily see the lights of Powell River,” he states. A cataract of fresh water pours over the rocks nearby, and in front of the hut lies a pretty little natural lake which is being drained and the bottom cleaned out before it is converted into a bathing pool some seven or eight feet in depth and 150 feet long. This is where the expedition will stop on the first night out (Friday night). An early start will be made on Saturday morning. In a very short time, following the new zig-zag trail which has been mapped, the party will be 200 feet above the cabin; immediately afterwards the trail drops again, and for several miles the path will be down grade most of the way.

Affords Good View

Mount Albert Edward Pass affords the first good view of the Mount Albert Edward country with its surrounding fine peaks—The Castle [Castlecrag], Mount Alexandra, Unnamed Mountain, Mount Washington, which lies eastward, and Dome Glacier [Comox Glacier]. Before the main camp is reached on Saturday evening the climbers will have traversed some beautiful country hardly hitherto invaded by man, past ancient beaver dams and through great plateaus covered with heather and mountain flowers. A stop will be made at Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] for luncheon. In the afternoon the Forbidden Plateau will be crossed, and Panther Lake passed. The main camp lies near two newly-discovered lakes, on the shores of one, christened Lake Beautiful by the party which has just been exploring the country. Mr. Harrison and his companions spent two or three days last week charting routes in order that time would not be unnecessarily wasted during the period of the camp in exploring ways to the tops of the mountains. There is splendid rock climbing all through this district, it is reported. The rock is of solid formation, and, in the case of Castle Mountain, is very rugged and sharp, quite unlike that of Mount Albert Edward, the arete to which is very easy. Geologically the country is very interesting, and numerous specimens of fossilized crustaceans were brought out by members of the party last week. The chief fauna of the district are deer and ptarmigan, both of which are plentiful and very tame owing to the fact that the country is never hunted over. Every kind of Alpine flower seems to flourish, and all the mountain plateaus are beautiful just now with heather, phlox, wallflower, Alpine crocus and other blossoms. Those who have never seen red snow will have a novel experience during the forthcoming camp, as the reconnaissance party reports that there is plenty of this still on the higher slopes.

Alpine Club Leaves for North Friday

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday July 18, 1928, p.3.

Ten Victoria members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada are leaving on Friday for the Forbidden Plateau, Comox District, for the first annual camp. This party, in personal charge of Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, will proceed direct to Mount Beecher [Becher] cabin, eight miles from Comox, making camp there Friday night, and on the following morning beginning the twelve-mile journey required to reach Lake Beautiful Camp, at the foot of Mount Albert Edward. This will be the headquarters for the subsequent six days, and from here all the main climbs will start. The Victoria members who are joining the expedition are Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Miss [Rena] Jones, Miss Bogue, Miss K. [Catherine] Wollaston, Miss N. [Nancy] Wollaston, and Messrs. W. [William] H. Dougan, K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, Gordon Cameron and Dick Todd. But additional to those will be a party of between twenty and thirty from the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club, who will precede the Victoria contingent into the Mount Beecher cabin, preparing camp for the Victoria visitors’ arrival on Friday.

Where Alpinists Camped

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday July 21, 1928, p.5.

Mount Beecher [Becher] Camp, where the party of nine Victoria members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and about twenty-five members of the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club spent last night. The expedition will continue on its way into the Forbidden Plateau country today, expecting to camp tonight at Lake Beautiful, at the foot of Mount Albert Edward, where the base camp for the week’s climbing in the district is being pitched. This is the first organized expedition to enter the Forbidden Plateau country for exploring purposes, and should do much to stimulate interest in the country and attract other climbers and visitors to this part of Vancouver Island. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, of Victoria, outings convener of the local section of the Alpine Club, and who has conducted numbers of highly successful climbs in the Sooke district, is on the left of the group in the below picture, which was taken last week during his reconnaissance trip into the Forbidden Plateau. Packers and pack horses at that time took in a quantity of provisions in preparation for the camp. The Victoria party left Victoria by stage at 8:30 yesterday morning, commencing their trip to Mount Beecher immediately on arrival in Courtenay.

Alpinists Reach First Objective

Splendid Weather and Other ideal Conditions Experienced at Albert Edward

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday July 25, 1928, p.5.

LAKE BEAUTIFUL, Mount Albert Edward Camp, Saturday, July 22—We are at last installed at our camp at Lake Beautiful. Arrangements for the meeting at Courtenay of the Victoria group, Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, were perfect. After the drive from Victoria on Friday no time was lost conveying this southern party, which was joined at Nanaimo by five others, to Bevan, the head of the suspension bridge. The crossing of this was a “hazardous” moment to some who were unaccustomed to such airy heights, and whilst the main section of the party swayed to and fro high above the river, those in advance used their cameras to good advantage. One operator of a “movie” machine which has accompanied the expedition, clicked merrily away. Several horses had been provided to assist the ladies with the idea of speeding up the party in order that they might reach the temporary camp at Mt. Becher before dark. The mounts did good work. The party made good time from Bevan to Mt. Becher, leaving the former point at 5:30 and reaching the latter at 9 p.m. Here they were met by the members of the Courtenay and Comox District Mountaineering Club which had come in advance and had a bonfire burning merrily as a welcome to the newer arrivals. Dinner was also ready, and the kindness of Mrs. Paul was much appreciated for the excellent manner in which she had superintended the details of the delicious repast. After this the party turned in readily, finding sleeping bags welcome after a somewhat strenuous day. Saturday morning start from Mt. Becher camp was early, 7 o’clock, after a breakfast prepared by the members of the Vancouver Island section, the camp cook having been sent on in advance to the base camp at Lake Beautiful. The night at Mt. Becher was ideal, with a clear sky overhead, while across on the Mainland and far below could be seen the lights of Powell River twinkling brightly. Saturday morning was also perfect, the sunrise outlining the Coast Range and its sharp peaks to perfection.

Arrive At Lake Beautiful

At 1 p.m. the party arrived at the base camp at Lake Beautiful without mishap en route, and everyone in good spirits. Mrs. Annie Sutherland, a well-known caterer of the Courtenay district, had tea ready, lunch having already been eaten at Goose Lake. The site of the Camp at Lake Beautiful could not be improved upon. Directly to the south is the lake, with its several islands and shimmering blue surface; to the north lies the smaller lake, joined by a beautiful waterfall and a short stream; on the west is a beautiful view of the Dome [Comox] Glacier, Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain, Mt. Albert Edward and Alexandra Peak, all covered with snow and outlined sharply against a perfect and cloudless sky. Here at Lake Beautiful Camp the equipment and arrangement is also admirable and reflects great credit upon the Courtenay Club, particular upon its energetic secretary, Mr. Clinton Wood. Ample canvas, camp beds, dining tent and a rubber boat have been provided. The members of the expedition lost no time in inflating and launching the boat, using it as a raft on which they ventured forth in their bathing suits in search of cooler temperatures. Several Canadian geese came at sunset and rested upon Lake Beautiful just as the pack train started back at 8 o’clock for Mt. Becher.

Alpine Club Will Visit Sooke Park

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday July 25, 1928, p.8.

Under the auspices of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada, a party will leave the city at 9 o’clock next Saturday morning [July 28] to visit the site of the new club’s hut in the Alpine Club section of the Sooke Park. Captain [William] Everall will lead the party in the absence of the outing guide, Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, who has taken charge of the Albert Edward expedition. Members and friends who join the expedition are requested to provide their own luncheon and tea provisions with the exception of the actual tea. The party will assemble at Fort and Quadra Streets a few minutes before 9 o’clock in the morning, and it is the intention to return to town before dark.

Local Climbers Scale Mt. Albert Edward and Castle

Number of Large Bucks are Seen Playing on The Snowfields and Many Ptarmigan Are Encountered — View Is Impressive

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday July 26, 1928, p.6.

LAKE BEAUTIFUL CAMP, Mt. Albert Edward, Monday—At the bonfire rally on Saturday night a message was read from Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, president of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, extending good wishes to the Forbidden Plateau expedition. The message was received with applause, and Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, who heads the camp, was requested to send a reply to the president, thanking him for his kindly wishes, and expressing regret at his inability to be present at the camp. At this first bonfire a camp committee was struck, consisting of Dr. [Frank] Moore, Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan and Mr. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick with Mr. C.L. Harrison, manager of the camp, presiding. The remainder of the bonfire meeting was devoted to discussion of the following day’s programme. The first move was to Mount Albert Edward, the second to Mount Albert Edward also, with a camp at the tree-line, some 5,800 or 6,000 feet, with the object in view of trying to scale Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain. This later up to that time was unscaled. This has now been done, the peak proved formidable, but was made by members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and members of the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club with this party

Left On Sunday

The first and second parties left on Sunday morning, some twenty strong, carrying sleeping equipment and food for two days. The two parties reached the top of Mount Albert after a long, grinding climb, in a blazing sun. Miss Nancy Wollaston was the first of the ladies to reach the top, but the whole party was very close together. All names were inserted on the paper record kept in the base of the cairn, in a metal can. The two parties then returned, the first party to the main camp at Lake Beautiful, and the second party consisted of Miss [Alfreda] Berkeley, of Departure Bay, her father [Cyril Berkeley], Miss [Rena] Jones, Mr. W.H. Dougan, Mr. K.M. Chadwick, Dick Todd and Mr. C.L. Harrison (all members of the Alpine Club of Canada), and Mr. [Ben] Hughes and Mr. S. [Sid] Williams, of Courtenay. The location of the tree-line camp was at 6,000 feet, in sight of the base camp. Miss Berkeley showed her skill in making flap jacks, while others prepared tea. From the tree-line camp a bonfire glowed, and a signal was sent to base camp, which was at once replied to. From the tree-line camp not only were the lights of Powell River plainly visible, but the lights of Port Alberni as well. The morning start for the Castle was made after a breakfast cooked in the first light of dawn. The sunrise was beautiful, showing clearly Mystery Mountain [Mount Waddington], Mount Baker and Mount Arrowsmith. The way to Castle Mountain led over a long circuitous route along a saddle to the range running between Mount Albert Edward and the Castle. Care had to be used for some time on the snow, as the slight frost during the night gave it an icy glaze after the thaw of the previous day. While climbing from the Saddle to the range, large numbers of big bucks were seen roaming and playing on the snowfields, and many ptarmigan went to and fro, some with several chicks. The route taken finally led to the back of the Castle, up which the ascent was made.

Castle Scaled

The party arrived together at the top and erected a cairn, placing a record in a sealed metal container, in the base of the cairn. The precipitous face of the Castle was now viewed from a different angle, showing a sheer drop of tremendous depth. At one place a cleft some two feet wide, which the party crossed, showed a depth of about 2,000 feet. The Castle, heretofore unclimbed, had been conquered after a lapse of some five or six hours from the tree-line camp. A smoke signal was sent to the main camp, and was replied to by heliograph [a device by which sunlight is reflected in flashes from a movable mirror] by those watching.

The Return Trip

The return trip had its anxious moments. It was decided to return from the Castle summit direct to the camp at Lake Beautiful via a route heretofore seemingly impossible, and doubtless the reason why the Castle has remained unconquered. The descent from the Castle was naturally an anxious one. A chimney was eventually found, this leading down to the southeast. Here the party descended with the aid of the rope, thence down some 800 feet to a glissade and a snowfield below. The chimney was the only way, for to the southeast lay the Valley of the Cruikshank, entailing some 2,000 feet of cliff work. A route was finally found between the Cruikshank Valley and the ridge from the castle, running northerly. As the party advanced along a sloping open hillside, a large black bear reared up between Mr. Harrison and Mr. Williams, who were then engaged in locating the route and the remainder of the party. The bear stood still, with his head and shoulders clear, and finally bolted between the leader of the party and those following, in plain open view. The cameras unfortunately had been all put into a pack, and so no photo was obtained. The route finally taken was passed a large unnamed lake [Moat Lake] lying between the Castle and Mount Albert Edward. The unnamed lake, a most beautiful one of fair size, was at least three-quarters of a mile long, and about the same width. At the south outlet, a pothole, about twenty feet wide, was discovered by Mr. Hughes. This pothole has no connection with the river out of the lake, being an old one above the present water-level and of considerable depth and diameter. The entry to the camp was made amid cheers from the main body, who, from the base camp, through glasses, had seen the members of the party scaling the summit of the Castle. After a cheery meal served at 8:30 p.m., there was a bonfire, but the climbers turned in early to rest after their long day’s grind.

Scale Virgin Peak on Plateau

B.C. Alpine Club in Camp on The Forbidden Plateau – A Wonderful New Country

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 26, 1928, p.1 & 8.

Climbing a peak that has never been climbed before and the naming of lakes and peaks have been unknown save to trappers and prospectors, have been some of the outstanding achievements of the Courtenay and Vancouver Island sections of the B.C. Alpine club from their camp in Forbidden Plateau. Between twenty and thirty members are encamped on two lake that had never previously been named and are not officially named today. There are scores of such lakes in t the Forbidden Plateau and members are finding them daily in their ramble. For weeks Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, the indefatigable president of the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club, has been preparing for this camp, which will spread the fame of the Forbidden Plateau far and wide. It was largely through his zeal and energy that Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, president of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada, went into the Plateau. He was so enthused that he readily agreed to have their summer camp there this year. It is a new thing for Courtenay and needed a great deal of planning and arranging. Mr. Wood has been greatly assisted by Ald. [William] Douglas who still knows how to throw the diamond hitch and pack horses as well as ride them. Dr. [Frank] Moore and other members of the club have also rendered valuable assistance. It is no light matter to put everything that twenty or thirty people will want on pack horses and take it over a mountain range and a trail to a newly established camp, but it was done without many hitches. The club has the good luck to get Mrs. Annie Sutherland to go up to the camp to act as cook, and they have all been congratulating themselves since. Everyone knows that Mrs. Sutherland can cook and cater, but under circumstances that would have sent the ordinary male cook down the trail the second night out she carried on with a smile.

First Camp at Mount Becher

The party from Victoria, Nanaimo and Courtenay, came up by bus and train on Friday night and immediately drove out to Bevan where pack horses had proceeded them to camp at Mount Beecher [Becher], alias Quartz Creek. Mr. C.L. Harrison, of Victoria was the leader of the party. He combines enthusiasm with expert knowledge of climbing and a gift for leadership that makes him ideal for the camp. Moreover, he is an enthusiastic supporter of the claims of the Forbidden Plateau. The party finally got away from Bevan at about half past five, travelling light. There is no introduction to the trail; it rears up and hits you in the face without any preliminary and in the blistering sun the first mile of the logged-off area is a good test. There into the cool woods and upwards some riding, some being towed with a “life line” from a horn of the saddle, some distaining from any aid but their own feet.

The Party

The party were ladies: Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Miss Bogue of Victoria: Misses Catherine and Nancy Wollaston of Victoria, Miss [Rena] Jones of Victoria, Mrs. [Edith] and Miss [Alfreda] Berkeley of Departure Bay, Nanaimo, Mrs. W.A.B. Paul, Mrs. [Mary] Wood; and Messrs. C. [Cyril] Berkeley, W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul, K. [Kenneth] W. Chadwick of Victoria, W. [William] H. Dougan of Victoria, Mr. C.L. Harrison and Dick Todd; Courtenay was represented by Messrs. C.S. Wood, and Ben Hughes. They found awaiting them at Camp Becher Dr. Frank Moore, Sid Williams and the Bridges brothers and Mr. Warren who had been doing the freighting. Very soon Mrs. Wood, assisted by Mrs. Paul, was making a fragrant meal on a fire which Dr. Moore and Sid Williams had started, and it was not long before everyone turned in for the early start next morning.

Pleasant Open Country

Breakfast and saddling and packing, and over the top and down the trail to Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] and the Forbidden Plateau. It was cool under the big trees. There was a very early stop at Goose Lake and then over the pleasant rolling and open country between Goose Lake and Panther Lake seeing the big mountains for the first time to the west. At Panther Lake were Farmiere and his gang, who had been cutting the trail through. Then in good time to the camp, where Mrs. Sutherland was ready for the party on the rock ridge between the two lakes. Here, too, was Mr. Eugene Croteau, invaluable in lending a hand at anything. Mr. Croteau knows the conditions in any high elevation camp, having lived in the Kootenays, and he was seldom stuck in an emergency.

The Camp Fire Plans

Round the camp fire that night Mr. Harrison laid down some of the things required of a good mountaineer. He said he had planned to let everyone rest after their strenuous day getting into camp, but the weather was unusually fine and the big peaks so free from mist or cloud that he thought would be tempting providence if they did not attempt to climb the next day. Accordingly, two climbs were arranged, one for the giant of the Forbidden Plateau, Mount Albert Edward, and the other for the Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain which has never been climbed before.

Warm Water Bathing

So next morning, after a bathe in the warm and pellucid water of the lake, the party streamed out of camp en route for the two objectives. All of them worked forward to Albert Edward first, pack horses going as far as the foot of the rim of the first big wall. In fact, they went a little farther and Nellie, who was a little indisposed, decided that it was altogether too much for any sensible horse and began to roll down hill, packs and all, until she brought up against a tree. It rained packs for a few minutes. Then the humans had to shoulder their own burdens up the slope through the trees and a steep little chimney (which was roped) into a different world, a world of shining little ponds and twisted, gnomish trees and finally the snow. Here right on the timber line, Mr. C.S. Wood established the Castle camp for the Castle Mountain explorers. Those who climbed to the cairn at the top of Mount Albert Edward were Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Wood and Stuart, Mr. and Mrs. C. Berkeley and Miss Alfreda Berkeley, Mr. [Arthur] and Mrs. [Alice] Leighton, Mr. and Mrs. W.A.B. Paul, Mr. Ben Hughes, Mr. Sid Williams, Mr. Eugene Croteau, Mr. H.E. Wallis, Dr. Moore, Miss Rena Jones, Miss Bogue, Miss Nancy Wollaston, Mr. W.H. Dougan, Mr. K.M. Chadwick and Dick Todd.

Hard, Hard Work

Up and up in the hot sun, over bare rock and snow. It was quite easy climbing but it was hard, hard work and some of the party were inclined to agree with Dr. Moore just before he reached the top that “climbing was just one form of insanity.” However, it was a different story when he got there.

A Safe Mountain

There are a few mountains so high and yest so safe to climb as Mount Edward Albert. In the most unlikely places, in the clefts of rocks, grew gay Alpine blooms. Notable for its delicious perfume is the wall flower, a delicate yellow and dainty. Mauve flowers set in in emerald pin-cushion, is the sylene acaulis and many others. In small depressions in the great cornice of snow that tops the mile long arete leading to the top can be seen a faint pinkish color which changes on the surface being disturbed to a vivid pink—the rare red snow. One noted scientist is going to make the trip to the top to see this phenomenon. Mr. Sid Williams, with the agility of a chamois, was at the top first, and the honor of being the first woman to reach the top went to Miss Nancy Wollaston of Victoria. It was a magnificent panorama on the top.

A Wonderful Panorama

Tot the east the Comox valley bordered the Gulf of Georgia but everywhere else as far as the eye could travel in the brilliant sunshine, north, south and west heaved up great peaks, few of which have been scaled and named. Here is a great and comparatively unknown world. Gradual and regular as was the ascent from the south, the front face of the great mountain falls two or three thousand feet, sheer to Buttle Lake. Across the Gulf of Georgia arose the serrated skyline of the Coast Range, and to the north towering head and shoulders above them all—Mystery Mountain which the Munday’s [Don and Phyllis] had just succeeded in scaling after two failures. From this height there is no doubt about the right of the great mountain to supremacy. To the south Mount Baker shimmered in the heat haze. After signing names and putting them in the bottle, the little party descended, making excellent time. At the tree line they left ten stalwarts, who were to attempt Castle Mountain on the morrow. Mayor [John] McKenzie and Ald. Douglas came into camp on Monday night and on Tuesday morning went on to Mount Albert Edward. From Mount Albert Edward they descended into Strathcona Park and explored Ralph River. They believe that it will be quite possible to get into the park with a pack train from this side. Late arrivals at the camp will be Miss Sara Spencer who is coming up from Victoria with two other ladies tonight, and Mr. Lindley Crease and party of nine who are also coming up from Victoria late this week.

Next week. The Castle Climb.


Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 26, 1928, p.2.

That the Alpine Club of British Columbia has established one of its camps in the Forbidden Plateau may be of considerable importance to Courtenay. Visitors are delighted with it. From this camp they could go out on twenty days in succession and never cover the same ground twice. Every excursion would disclose new unnamed lakes and valleys and hills, for this is virgin country. This is extraordinary considering that it is not more than six hours from tidewater, but the explanation is that nothing has been found there for the capitalist to covet—nothing but its great natural beauty. And so in the centre of Vancouver Island has abided a province, known only to a few, a very few trappers, prospectors and timber cruisers. They have gone to more fertile fields and it remains unmolested and unspoilt since its great mountains were heaved up. And there it is at out back doors to enjoy. One man is chiefly responsible for the attention which it has attracted and that is, of course, Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood. He has made the development of the Forbidden Plateau his hobby and he rides that hobby with a tenacity that is wholly admirable. He has received very valuable aid from Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, president of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. The average man believes that mountaineering simply consists in seeing who can get to the top of a particular mountain first. There is emulation of course, among mountaineers, but it is much more than that. The true mountaineers must of necessity by kindly and considerate of the man coming before him or behind him on the trail and the rope. Under the sting of hunger and thirst and the hardships of the climb he must be able to control himself and think first for others. In these days of speed and thrust it is a fine training for anyone.


Rugged Life in Island Wilds

Buttle Lake and Park Lands in Forbidden Plateau Area Charm

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday July 28, 1928. p.28.

Victoria Daily Times full-page spread with the headline “Rugged Life in Island Wilds, Tourists and Sportsmen Invading Beauty Spots of Interior..”

Victoria Daily Times full-page spread with the headline “Rugged Life in Island Wilds, Tourists and Sportsmen Invading Beauty Spots of Interior..”


Alpinists Have Enjoyable Week

Variety Given to Programme of Island Mountaineers at Forbidden Plateau

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday July 31, 1928, p.4.

LAKE BEAUTIFUL CAMP, Mount Albert Edward, Friday July 26—Tuesday was spent in packing the tree-line camp back to lake beautiful in the morning, where by arrangement the party met a full party from the main camp at a certain point and all went to the newly-discovered Moat Lake, where tea was served. Mr. William Douglas and Mayor John McKenzie joined the party at this point. Wednesday was made “camp day,” being devoted to water sports in Lake Beautiful, and Miss Rena Jones contributed to the good humor of the occasion by composing an original song which introduced the various members of the party; a clever characterization in verse. The usual bonfire singsong closed a recreational and entertaining day. Messrs. W. Douglas, J. McKenzie, H.E. Wallis, Sid Williams, Stuart Wood and Dr. Frank Moore, were the most active members of the expedition, making an ascent of the Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain. Thursday was another eventful climbing day. The climbers were divided into three parties, as follows: Party No. 1, led by Mr. Claude Harrison, climbed an unnamed mountain distinguished by a peculiar stratic formation; Party No. 2, led by Mr. William Douglas, went to Goose Lake; Party No. 3, led by Mr. Adrian Paul, to the Cruikshank Valley.

Cairn Is Erected

The mountain with the strata face [they called it Trench Mountain but is now known as Strata Mountain] was climbed easily, and a cairn was erected on the summit. The mountain is about 5,500 feet in height and lies between Circle [Circlet] Lake, at the head of the Oyster River, near Mount Albert Edward and Lime Rock Mountain. The geological formation kept Miss Rena Jones, who is the expedition’s leading geologist, puzzled. On its easterly side many peculiar trenches, formed by nature, line the face; below the trenches is a lime-rock formation showing remarkable pits resembling well-marked quarries. On the mountain were many tracks of wolf and bear and deer. Lunch was eaten at the summit, snow being used in the tea-pot. The party then crossed the mountain and went into the valley between it and Mount Albert Edward to Circle Lake, thence returning to camp. The second party had an interesting day at Goose Lake, which they reported to be of considerable area, and with a fine sandy beach. Dick Todd, a popular young member, had his birthday in camp, and to mark the occasion a special dinner was served, with a large birthday cake in the centre of the table. Mr. Clinton Wood also arrived, bringing into camp a large drum of ice cream, a present to the camp from the Comox Creamery. This delicacy was very opportune and welcome and made the birthday more popular than ever. Hearty congratulations were voice to the celebrant. A well-attended campfire chorus, led by Dr. Moore, closed the main part of the day.

At Goose Lake

On Friday it was decided that almost the entire camp would spend the day at Goose Lake, the report of this section sounding so interesting. Bathing suits and the rubber boat were packed along, and an elaborate lunch prepared. The cooking staff is accompanying the expedition. Those who had already gone to Goose Lake are planning to visit some other mountain. Saturday, it has been decided, will be a day of rest and water sports. The principal object of the expedition to the unnamed mountain with the interesting facial strata (led by Mr. Claude Harrison) was to locate its exact position by angles from Mount Albert Edward, and also to see if any fossils could be found in its strata. The latter object, at least, was attained, Mr. Harrison finding fossils at 5,000 feet. Some of these he brought down, others, unfortunately, were broken, and some were too hard to break away from the surrounding rock.

Castle Mountain is Picturesque

Mountaineers Find Many Wonders on Forbidden Plateau

Reported in the Comox Argus August 2, 1928, p.1 & 4.

It was down to bare essentials at the Tree Line camp after the Mount Albert Edward party had passed through. Taking stock of the food, it was found that there was plenty of flapjack flour, sugar and tea and butter—fare good enough for mountaineers. Dead wood of the dwarf juniper made a fine blaze on which to cook flapjacks, bacon and tea. Later a fine camp-fire was built at the top of the escarpment overlooking the Forbidden Plateau at an elevation of 5,500 feet. As usual with the dusk came a chill wind out of the north, but the thick mat of the little trees made a wonderful wind-break at the back and in front was the great blaze. Below was the little cluster of tents at Camp beautiful, where a single flare announced the arrival of the Mount Albert Edward camp home: to the east the cluster of lights showed Powell River and to the south west, pricked out on the skyline, were the lights of Alberni. Heather under the junipers made a wonderful spring mattress, and round the camp fire the leader of the little band revealed a store of wood and Indian lore.

Four mountaineers carry sticks on an icefield.

Carrying wood.

The Castle Party

The Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain party were Miss Alfreda Berkeley and Miss Rena Jones, and Messrs. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, W. [William] H. Dougan, Ben Hughes, Sid Williams, K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, C. [Cyril] J. Berkeley, Dick Todd and W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul. Not even a bear disturbed the dreams of the party that night. Everything was left at the tree line for the assault of Castle Mountain. In a preliminary survey, Mr. Harrison had decided that an attack on the mountain was not practicable from the camp side; if approached at all it must be by the long saddle, the continuation of the range from Mount Albert Edward, and his judgement proved to be absolutely correct. The little party edged over the rock and snow of the saddle, gradually climbing higher and higher. At the foot of the castle there came into view that most entrancing sheet of water, which the party decided to call Moat Lake since it was at the foot of Castle Mountain. Its turquoise-blue coloring is as deep as Lake Louise.

Snow Packs Brought Relief

As the morning wore on the sub was blistering hot on the bare rock, and snow blindness would probably have resulted without the dark glasses with which all were equipped. Deer were plentiful and unafraid, and little herds of them stringing across the snow made a fine picture. Ptarmigan and their chicks were a common feature. The tremendous heat of the sun was greatly relieved by snow-packs. Most climbers hold that the eating of snow makes for weakness and fever, but it is a tremendous temptation when climbing under such a sun with never a stir of a breeze. By the direction of Mr. Harrison, a handful of snow would be placed on the head under a hat and it was great relief.  From the main saddle a way was easily found by a knife-edge arete to the Castle. From the distance it had appeared that the saddle continued uninterrupted to the snow fields of the Dome, but one nearer view this proved to be a delusion—two great valleys would have to be descended and climbed. Up and up the narrow ridge of rock to the mountain top, with Sidney Williams in the lead, and all at once the little party was there and another virgin peak had been conquered.

A Picturesque Climb

In every way the Castle is picturesque and spectacular. The main peak stands up stark and with a tremendous drop to the valley below. It is cleft into two unequal fragments by a chasm of a foot or two wide only. The party at the camp had evidently been watching for us, for almost at once we were at the top regular flashes helioed with a mirror [heliograph] began to come from away below. The signal was answered with a fire of heather plainly to be seen by the watchers. Then to the building of the cairn and recording the names of the party who made the ascent of the fine peak. While the view from the top was not as extensive as from Mount Albert Edward, it was at least as beautiful.

Castlecrag Mountain before the 1946 earthquake

Castlecrag Mountain before the 1946 earthquake.

Down A Chimney

With a natural desire not to go over the same ground twice, Mr. Harrison conferred with Mr. Dougan and set out in the hope of finding a way down from the back of the mountain. A narrow and precipitous saddle was followed out. After a little climbing a chimney down to a long scree and a snow field was found, a drop of about 600 feet in all. Each one of the party was roped and let down the first and most precipitous portion of the climb separately, then there was the long traverse down the scree and finally a glissade on the snow. At the foot of the snow-slide one entered abruptly into a fairyland of green pastures and flowing streams, and tree-dotted glens and valleys. Down one of them a black bear lumbered at a surprising rate of speed and there was evidence of game in plenty. There were no trails but none were needed; it was open country and easy going. Our way took us through the tree tops of the dense growth bordering Moat Lake. Fed by snows of the Castle, which towers at its head, the Moat Lake is like one of Maxfield Parish’s engravings out of the Arabian Nights. Its green waters are evidently very deep and it must be a mile long. Its rocky shores are densely clothed with trees and a number of islands are scattered in its brilliant waters. The pioneer party was in too much of a hurry to get back to camp to explore this unknown and most fascinating lake, but several of its members promised themselves that they would come back this way again before they broke camp. The way home from Moat Lake was through pleasant upland pastures and clucking mountain streams, hastening to the valley of the North Cruikshank. The pioneer who first named Castle Mountain had an accurate perception. From this side its resemblance to a medieval keep of some predatory baron is most close and remarkable. And so home to an excellent supper. On Tuesday the whole camp rested after strenuous days, and the remainder of the time in camp was spent in excursions. One of the most interesting of these was to an unnamed hill not far from the camp, which had attracted attention by reason of its striated. It was hoped to find some interesting fossils and rock exposures but in these respects it was not very interesting. What was interesting, however, was the trench-like depression at the top of the mountain. These very closely resemble trenchers, so closely indeed, that the mountain has been called Trench Mountain [Strata Mountain]. Another very interesting and more strenuous trip was to Mount Washington, a familiar feature of the Comox Valley. Having in mind a former expedition to this peak, the party were watching for a large expanse of meadow land and this they found. The climb from this side of the hill was much more precipitous than from the Comox Valley, but the view from the top was worth it. Also, the botanist among the party found a new gentian, sky blue in color and acres and acres of them.

A Difficult Trip

The road into moat lake was thoroughly blazed and the lake explored, the party having lunch on one of its islands under the shadow of Castle Mountain. On the day that the main party went to Mount Washington, Messrs. Paul, Berkeley and Williams planned a trip down the valley of the North Cruikshank River. They found the going very difficult, the slopes being precipitous and the undergrowth thick and tangled. Their objective was the broad expanse of upland seen from the Castle on the right bank of the Cruikshank, but above it several thousand feet. In the late afternoon they climbed up the slope a little way and had then to decided whether they should turn back or sleep out. They decided to cut down the rations and stay out all night, and proceeded on their way. Right in the way of their climb they came upon a most beautiful waterfall cascading down from the hanging glaciers to the river. It is quite probable that all this country has never been travelled by man before. There is certainly no sign of and as it is difficult of access and holds no lure for anyone but a mountaineer, it is quite possible that the little party were the first human beings to enter on this slope. There is quite a wide area of small lakes [Carey Lakes], and dwarfish trees with patches of snow. The party slept out that night without blankets, keeping up the fire they had lit. The party enjoyed wonderful weather all the time they were in, and this is remarkable since at the altitude of the camp it is so often cloudy. Later comers including Miss [Sara] Spencer and party and Mr. Gordon Cameron and party of Victoria were not so fortunate and their view of Castle Mountain and its vicinity was limited by mist and clouds. Mayor [John] McKenzie and Ald. [William] Douglas carried out some explorations separately, which may lead to interesting developments next year. They climbed Castle Mountain and other spots, and Mr. Douglas got some very fine photographs.

The Return Home

The party moved out from their camp, which they had grown to known and like so well, on Sunday and came straight through to Courtenay, a long hike. They stayed in Courtenay that night and on Monday went out to the fossil beds on the Puntledge River, where some good specimens of ammonites were found.

Picnic At Kye Bay

At night they were the guests at a picnic at Kye Bay, where Mrs. [Annie] Sutherland and Mrs. [Mary] Wood served an excellent supper. After supper a big camp fire was lit on the shore and the Misses Moore and Miss Elsie MacLagan gave a number of graceful dances and tuneful songs in the pavilion. Dr. [Frank] Moore was also prevailed to sing and did so acceptably, and Sidney Williams showed what an excellent mime and comedian he is. Later around the camp fire Mr. C.L. Harrison expressed his thanks for the great hospitality the party from Victoria and Nanaimo had received and how delighted they were with the plateau, and Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood and Mr. P. L. [Leo] Anderson [president of the Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade] briefly replied. The party left on Tuesday morning for home.

Back From Mountains

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday August 15, 1928, p.8.

Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson has returned from a mountaineering trip in the Rockies and Selkirk’s, part of which time she spent in camp with the Alpine Club of Canada.

Boy Scouts on Forbidden Plateau

Troop Having Great Time in Camp

Reported in the Comox Argus August 9, 1928, p.1.

Courtenay Boy Scouts are in camp at Camp Beautiful on Forbidden Plateau. Ten of them with four adults went up on Thursday night and they will be out on Saturday morning. The members of the party were scouts Tom Hughes, Jim Macdonald, Len and Jack Avent, Stuart Wood, Bill Stewart, Keith Hall, Rodney Beaven. They were accompanied by Messrs. J.H. Avent, Ben Hughes and Copp Sr., the two former coming out on Monday and leaving Mr. Len Rossiter in charge. The party were lucky enough to get most of their food packed in by a horse going in to bring out stuff for the Mountaineering Club, and the rest of their belongings they took on their back clubs. They found the long climb from Bevan to Mount Beecher rather arduous and were very glad to see Stuart Wood waiting for them with a fire going. Soon with a good supper under their belts they were happy and bright and early they started out for Camp Beautiful where they landed shortly after noon, and the soup Mr. [Len] Rossiter had ready for them was a life saver for the whole party. Next day was an easy hike to Moat Lake with lunch on the island there, and home again by way of Circle [Circlet] Lake, and Brown’s trail and Whiskey Meadows. They took some pictures at the head waters of the Oyster River coming out of Circle Lake. Next day should have been Mount Albert Edward but the clouds obscured the big peaks and the troop went for a ramble into the canyon of the North Cruikshank. They climbed down the rocky gorge 1500 feet to the meadows below and then found a draw which brought them out to camp again—a very enjoyable hike indeed, with a wonderful meal of beans ready for them when they got back. The weather was thick when Messrs. [Ben] Hughes and Avent left on Monday morning but no rain had fallen and the boys were able to find lots to do round the council fire and in camp. They will be out on Saturday.

Climbers Visit New Camp Site

Small Party of Vancouver Island Alpine Club Goes Over New Sooke Trail

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday September 11, 1928, p.3.

Six members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada visited the camp park at Sooke on Sunday. The party left Victoria at 5:30 a.m. arriving at the Sooke Road terminus an hour later. The ascent of the recently-opened Government trail was started about 6:45, under Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison’s leadership and the hut site at the lake was reached by 9 o’clock. Here a fire was made and breakfast enjoyed alfresco fashion, the hikers spending the rest of the day looking over the ground. The lake waters are warm, and some of the members went in for a swim before the party started back to Sooke. One of the special objects of the expedition was to secure photographs for the purpose of making lantern slides to be used in connection with a public meeting under Alpine Club auspices in the near future, when the story of the Forbidden Plateau camp will be told by Mr. Harrison.

Alpine Club has Pleasant Outing

Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson and Mr. Hudson Entertain Members at Country Home

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday September 11, 1928, p.24.

Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson and Mr. Hudson were hosts to the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada on Sunday afternoon, entertaining about thirty of the members at their country home in the Sooke district. Those who arrived in the early part of the afternoon made a short excursion into the hills, returning in time for tea, which was served in the garden. At the meeting which followed plans for the club’s Winter programme were discussed, and it was decided to hold one other excursion this month. This will be on Saturday, September 22, to Buck Hill near Seventeen-Mile House, and will be under Rev. Robert Connell’s leadership. The sentiment of the members was almost unanimously in favor of making the club’s future work something in the nature of a training for the difficult climbs which are set in connection with the main Alpine Club camps in the Rockies or such as those experienced in connection with the recent Forbidden Plateau camp. Rock work and rope work will, consequently be sought. The meeting also discussed a proposal to hold a public meeting under Alpine Club auspices, at which slides would be shown of the Forbidden Plateau country and the new club site at Sooke. Mr. Harrison reported that the trail to the latter was now complete, and in excellent conditions with the exception of the last half-mile or so. The opening of the beautiful Sooke country tapped by this trail, constructed by the Government, was highly commended, and the hope was expressed that the public at large would appreciate what an asset the area would be if the natural life and beauty were preserved and protected in the same sense as in the big national parks of the country. Before the members dispersed a very hearty vote of thanks was extended to Mr. and Dr. Hudson for their generous hospitality.

Alpine Outing

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday September 20, 1928, p.7.

The expedition which the Alpine Club (Victoria section) is making on Saturday to Buck Hill, will leave the Vancouver Island Coach Lines Depot, Broughton Street, at 10 a.m. Members joining the expedition are advised to take their own provisions, sufficient both for luncheon and tea. As there is no water at the top of the hill, those requiring drink should provide themselves with this.

Do Arrowsmith in Single Day

Four Victoria Boys Ascend and Descend 5,958 Feet in Fifteen Hours

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday September 23, 1928, p.9.

The recent accomplishment of four Victoria boys in climbing to the summit of Mount Arrowsmith and back in a single day has excited the envy of many who have been defeated in the attempt by bad weather or other unfortunate circumstances. The party, composed of Messrs. Charlie Fraser, of the Quadra Investment, Limited; Peter Millman, of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory staff, and Jack Speck and Cyril Wightman, of the Colonist business office, made the climb to the summit and back to their base at Cameron Lake in less than fifteen hours without mishap, and ideal weather which permitted them to get a magnificent view from the top. Leaving Victoria by motor at 2:10 p.m., on Saturday they had their worst experience in the early stages of the trip when they discovered, on reaching Duncan, that they had left their provisions behind. This was not too difficult to remedy, however, and after a short halt for restocking purposes, they proceeded on their way, at 5:45 reaching Nanaimo, where they had supper, and at 7:45 making Cameron Lake. Here, at the auto camp, they put up for the night, turning in early in preparation for the early start to be made in the morning. Not all of them slept too soundly to enjoy the beauty of the moonrise over the lake. At 4 a.m. they were up, experiencing a slight delay by having to recook their meal because the table upset in the middle of breakfast. The start up the trail was begun at 6:25 a.m. The first several miles of easy going had the usual fault of monotony where the view is cut off by tall timber and enclosing hills. The cabin was reached at 9:45, with a simultaneous opening of the gorgeous panorama which a clear day discloses at this point. A big fire near Horne Lake was noted from here, where a three-quarters of an hour halt was made. The Hump [Mount Cokely] (5,000 ft.) was reached at 11:40 a.m. Here a fine view of Arrowsmith Range was seen. There was some snow here, and the climbers ate their lunch. At 12:45 they started down the Hump, beginning the most difficult and interesting part of the ascent. Although it was early in September no fresh snow had come to cover the peaks, and it was only in the lower spots, where the sun and wind had not sufficiently penetrated to dissolve the last Winter’s fall, that they found snow. Two of the party ventured a swim in Ice Lake, but found the water very cold. The route taken involved the crossing of about six minor peaks before the true summit was reached. The third peak from the last was found difficult to negotiate without a rope, and the last peak, almost perpendicular, proved the worst of the climb. Millman reached the summit first, and from the cairn (5,958 ft.) took a picture at 2:55 p.m. The old rope, which had been commented upon by several previous climbers, probably put there by some benevolently-minded person in years gone by, is still swinging from the top of Arrowsmith, but the boys did not use it as they thought it might be frayed in unsuspected places and unsafe. The view from the actual summit was slightly marred by haze. Eastward there was a fine prospect, but a lot of mist lay westward. Two eagles circled over the peak, and it was very hot. The summit was left at 3:10. The descent at first was fraught with difficulties, and it took the boys more than two hours to get back to the Hump, just about exactly the time it had taken them to go from the Hump to the summit. From this point the descent was rapid. The cabin was reached at 6:15, by which time they were beginning to feel the effects of their arduous day. A short stop for refreshments and then the trail once more, arriving at Cameron Lake at 9:15 p.m. Coffee and soup were made before turning in “dog tired” for the night. Next morning at 10:30, thoroughly refreshed after a swim in the lake, the boys started back to Victoria, which they reached in leisurely stages late in the afternoon.

Summer Camp Much Enjoyed

Thirty-One Participate in Outing on Forbidden Plateau — Interesting Reports Handed In at Meeting of Courtenay Mountaineering Club

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday October 2, 1928, p.15.

COURTENAY, Oct. 1 – At the meeting of the Courtenay Mountaineering Club on Thursday night (September 28), in the city hall, some interesting reports were turned in. The club’s president, Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, gave some interesting particulars of the ten-day Summer camp on the Forbidden Plateau, commenced in July. Thirty-one campers had participated in a most enjoyable time under almost ideal weather conditions. Of this number fifteen of the campers were visitors from Victoria and five from Nanaimo, all of whom were members of the Alpine Club. The camp had been quite successful from every point of view, and it had been found possible to make the finances break even. A vote of thanks was passed to Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, of Victoria, who was in charge of the camp, for his donation of cutlery and crockery for the club’s cabin on Mount Beecher [Becher]. Mrs. A. [Annie] E. Sutherland was also accorded a vote of thanks for her assistance and for practicing the culinary art under difficult conditions at camp Mr. William Douglas, the club’s vice-president, gave an interesting report on the construction of the cabin, the heavy work of which had been done. Under his supervision the cabin committee is forming a bee to finish the cabin so that it may be available for Winter sports. At present it is roofed with shakes and a stove has been set up, but windows and a door have to be provided and the log walls chinked up. During the ten-days’ camp the mountains to be climbed included Albert Edward, Castle Mountain and Mount Washington. The honor of being the first woman to climb Mount Albert Edward went to Miss Nancy Wollaston, of Victoria, and the honor of being the first woman to reach the Forbidden Plateau goes to Mrs. C.S. [Mary] Wood. Several new members were added, including Mr. Dobson, of the Royal bank staff, formerly an active member of the Vancouver Mountaineering Club; Miss Allen, of the Courtenay High School staff, who is a keen student of natural history, and Mr. Roland Aston. Mr. Harrison, who has over one hundred good lantern slides of photographs taken in the charming area of the plateau, has already shown the slides in Victoria, and it is expected that he will show them in Courtenay in the near future. It is probable that next Summer a camp of considerable proportions will be seen on the plateau, which may include the Natural History Society of British Columbia, the British Columbia Mountaineering Club and a strong contingent of the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club.

Alpine Club Plan October Outings

Expedition to Mount Braden and Mount Finlayson to Take Place — Programme Arranged

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday October 2, 1928, p.17.

The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will have two October outings, the first on Saturday, October 6, to Mt. Braden; the second, on Saturday October 20, to Mt. Finlayson. The Mt. Braden expedition will leave town at 10 a.m., and will be an easy walk; the Finlayson expedition will leave the city at 9 a.m. and will separate into two parties, one climbing the mountain and the other taking a less strenuous trip in the district. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison will lead the former. Intending climbers are reminded that the rules laid down for dress and equipment must be observed. Members will carry the usual luncheon provisions, except that tea will be provided. In addition to these outdoor events the club in co-operation with the Tourist and Trade group of the Chamber of Commerce will have an evening meeting on Wednesday October 24, when Mr. C.L. Harrison will show pictures of the Forbidden Plateau camp and of the Sooke Valley camp held earlier in the Summer. Admission to this evening entertainment will be by invitation, and members of the Alpine Club who wish to attend should send their names to Mrs. [Robert] Healey-Kerr, phone 6490L, so that seats may be reserved. Invitations are being sent to all the service and tourist clubs and to the Victoria and Oak Bay High Schools.

Forbidden Plateau as Game Reserve

Comox Mountaineering Club Think it Should be Set Aside

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 4, 1928, p.1.

The Comox and District Mountaineering club went on record at its meeting on Thursday night as desiring that the Forbidden Plateau area should be kept as a game reserve. It was pointed out that there was a trail in there over which horses could be taken now, and it was quite a temptation for hunters to go and destroy the wild life which existed in there so abundantly. The suggestion came from Mr. Claude Harrison of Victoria. Mr. William Douglas turned in a report on the hut on Mount Becher. There was still owing $180 on its erection but it was covered by a note. It was resolved to have a bee soon in order to complete the shingling of the cabin and finishing of it so that it will be habitable for parties that wish to spend the night there during the winter. Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood had on a view a very remarkable collection of views and pictures of the Forbidden Plateau most of them taken by himself. In finish and artistry, they would do credit to a much larger playground than the Forbidden Plateau. He reported that the camp had been an outstanding success, and after all accounts had been paid there had only been a deficit of $11.40. Thirty-one members had registered and many peaks had been climbed. A vote of thanks was passed to Mrs. [Annie] Sutherland and others who had worked so wholeheartedly to make the camp the success it was. Mr. Wood said he had reaped a great deal of experience from the camp, which he was sure would be invaluable in the future. There was some talk of creating a junior section for the club, but this was left over until it was discovered what the boys thought about it themselves.

Alpine Club Holds Saturday Outing

Dr. J.H. Jones, South African Visitor, Entertains Members with Description of Basutoland

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday October 21, 1928, p.6.

Thirty members of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada participated in the outing to Mount Douglas yesterday [October 20] afternoon. After making the little climb the expedition went to Hamsterley Lakeside [on Elk Lake] for tea, where Dr. J.H. Jones, a former resident of South Africa who is leaving for England next week after a several months’ visit with relatives here, gave an informal description of climbing in the Drakensberg Mountains with the natal Mountaineering Club. The Drakensberg Mountains separate Natal, Basutoland and Orange Free State, and provide sites for the itinerant camps of the Alpine Club. Dr. Jones gave a vivid description of the rugged, precipitous, and arid character of the mountains, which rise to an altitude of 11,200 feet in places. On the Natal side there is an almost perpendicular drop in places; the “tourist route” is from the natal side, but the more strenuous from the Free State side, and on the occasion described by Dr. Jones the Alpine Club used the latter to reach their annual camp. The first day was occupied in reaching the camp, the next day in making the ascent of four or five thousand feet, part of the route taking them over the “high road” into Basutoland, a way for pack ponies only. The description of the view over Natal from the plateau found at the top of the mountain was interesting, Dr. Jones drawing comparisons between the arid scenery of South Africa and the heavily timbered country of British Columbia. The lecturette concluded with an amusing short story illustrating the fondness of natal mountain cattle for garments left by campers to dry after “wash day” in camp. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison acted as chairman, and expressed the cordial thanks of the audience, coupling with the expression sincere good wishes to their guest in his forthcoming travels.

Claude Harrison to Lecture on Island Plateau

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Saturday October 20, 1928. p.6.

Under the joint auspices of the tourist trade group of the Chamber of Commerce and the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, Claude L. Harrison will deliver an illustrated lecture on “The Forbidden Plateau” next Wednesday [October 24] night in the Chamber of Commerce auditorium. The lecture will commence at 8:30 o’clock. Mr. Harrison is very familiar with this mountain fastness known as Forbidden Plateau,” not far from Courtenay, having led an expedition of the Alpine Club there this year. He has a collection of fine pictures showing the wonderful scenery in that part of the Island.

Mr. C.L. Harrison to Talk Tonight

Will Give Illustrated Address on “The Forbidden Plateau” in The Chamber of Commerce

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday October 24, 1928, p.12.

Mr. Claude L. Harrison will give an illustrated lecture on “The Forbidden Plateau” tonight at 8:30 in the Chamber of Commerce auditorium. The gathering will be held under the auspices of the Tourist Trade Group of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. Mr. Harrison was in charge of the joint camp of the Alpine Club and the Courtenay and Comox District Mountaineering Club on the Forbidden Plateau in Comox District on July 1, and obtained a large collection of interesting pictures, which will be shown on the screen this evening. The lecturer will also discourse on the newly created Sooke Mountain Park at Sooke, and some beautiful views of this territory will be shown.

Beauties Of Scenery Told

Forbidden Plateau Is Described by Mr. C.L. Harrison, Who Recently Had Charge of Alpinists

Reference To Sooke Reserve

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday October 25, 1928, p.5.

Crinolines and old-time frock coats played a large part in the lecture which was given by Mr. Claude L. Harrison on the “Forbidden Plateau” to a packed audience at the Chamber of Commerce last evening. The chairman introduced Mr. Harrison, explain that he represented the Alpine Club of Canada. He enlarged upon the association which existed between the Alpine Club and the Chamber of Commerce. This association, he said, had always been a very close one. Mr. Harrison, in rising to deliver his lecture, said that before he spoke about the “Forbidden Plateau” he would take his hearers to the nearer and better-known district of Sooke. There has been some fear, he said, as to the establishment of a permanent home for the Alpine Club, and this fear had continued until the Government had given them the right to purchase some land at Sooke. From the hills of this property, looking in the direction to the lake, one could obtain a perfect bird’s-eye view of Victoria. The lecturer then threw upon the screen some slides taken from early photographs of the Leech River gold rush. Crinolines and old-fashioned tall hats were much in evidence, and the most sporting male article of headwear seemed to be a cricket cap, which appeared to have come straight off the head of W.G. Grace. The wonderful timber of the Sooke Hills was there, however, and the views of the lake seemed to have gained in beauty by their antiquity. This lake, the lecturer explained, had no fish, but it was proposed that it should be stocked next Spring. In speaking of the “Forbidden Plateau,” he said that it was situated but a few miles west from Courtenay. It was a highly situated piece of property, dotted with very beautiful lakes and covered with white and purple heather. It had an average height, explained Mr. Harrison, of 2,800 to 5,000 feet above sea level. His own observation had proved it remarkable for its frogs and toads, he remarked. Why the plateau was designated “forbidden” he was at a loss to understand. He had traced the matter, with utmost diffidence to an Indian legend, which said that certain parties of their tribe went into the interior for the purpose of hunting elk, and never returned. From this fact, he explained, a superstition arose. Nevertheless, the lecturer’s exhibition of photographic slides of the plateau went far in vindication of the Indians’ theory, the gigantic crevasses and fissures which were thrown on the screen telling their own story.


Leech River Park Urged

Chamber Endorses Suggestion for Playground In Watershed – Mr. Claude L. Harrison Expresses Desire for a State Reserve

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday October 27, 1928, p.12.

“Over and over again American visitors have said to me. ‘For Heaven’s sake leave some of the big sticks around,’” said Mr. J Williams, in pointing out the advantages of forming a park in the Leech River area, at the luncheon meeting of the directors of the Chamber of Commerce yesterday, a suggestion which received endorsement. Mr. Claude L. Harrison described the project which lay very close to his heart. The Leech River area, he explained, is about thirty-one square miles in area. It adjoins the Sooke Watershed, belonging to the city, and is not taxable. Two years ago the Government put a reserve on it which would last for ten years. If the scheme of making this piece of land into a public park should materialize, he was perfectly satisfied in his own mind that the Government of British Columbia would give support. He had been over the ground in question, he said, with the publicity agent for public parks, who was very enthusiastic about the scheme. The possibility existed of the Government eventually extending the proposed park to a point on the West Coast of the Island. One of the main advantages of the Leech River area, from the point of view of a park was its extreme accessibility. There were fifty miles of trails, said Mr. Harrison, and the district was one of the most beautiful around Victoria, besides possessing a great deal of historical interest. “We are getting more and more people in Victoria,” he went on, “and we want some place for them to go, beside the Malahat Drive.” He described the beauties of the Sooke River approach to the district, and pointed out many other advantages, which more than outweighed the single objection, that the trees were valuable. In his opinion citizens should preserve a certain number of magnificent trees, and he felt that this in itself constituted a very good reason for having the park.

“Forbidden Plateau” at Victoria

Big Crowd Hears Mr. C.L. Harrison Lecture

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 1, 1928, p.1.

Speaking to a packed house in the Chamber of Commerce rooms at Victoria last week, Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison gave an excellent description of the Forbidden Plateau. The lecture was illustrated by slides made from photographs by Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, and a moving picture camera of Mr. Harrison’s. Mr. Harrison spoke of the club’s aims in visiting this region, which he said, was about twenty miles due west of Courtenay and which could only be reached over a torturous trail from the small town of Bevan. Primarily the party of thirty-five which made the trip entered the region to scale Mount Albert Edward and Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain, as well as to make a brief survey of the country. The principal interest in the trip was the climbing of the Castle, since the summit of that mountain had never before been reached, he said.

Indian Legend

Before dealing with the actual climbing of the mountain, Mr. Harrison explained to the audience the derivation of the name “Forbidden Plateau.” A near as he could trace it, the name was taken from an Indian source which had as its background an Indian legend. Parties of Indians had gone into the country, but had never returned, the legend said. Hence there grew up a superstition about the region, and it was believed that the Plateau was “Forbidden” to the Indian. Mr. Harrison traced the route of the party into the Plateau. The trail from Bevan led to Beecher [Becher] Pass, the only opening in the region. Through it the party passed and along to the Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie], travelling in a country dotted with lakes and alive with game. Finally, after some arduous climbing, the visitors made their camp at Lake Beautiful, a stretch of water named by them.

An Alpine Garden

As they reached the Plateau, the grass and brush which they had been travelling through gave way to heather and alpine plants, and the country took on all the beauty of an alpine garden. The day after they reached Lake Beautiful a party made the trip to the tree-line on the upper reaches of the Plateau., where they made a temporary base for climbs from that point to Mount Albert Edward. Mr. Harrison then showed some of the fine views of this mountain, illustrating the rugged contours of the country and giving some idea of the depth of snow which covered this art of the Plateau during most of the year. Other slides illustrated the ascent of the mountain, while one gave a view from the summit where a cairn was erected.

Fourth Highest

From Albert Edward the party continued to the Castle, the fourth highest mountain on the Island and one which, previous to the visit, had never been scaled. Mr. Harrison showed the difficulties in the path of the mountaineers who could only approach the summit via a horseshoe route which was bounded on one side by a canyon some 2,000 feet deep. Finally, the party reached the top of the mountain, and there too placed a cairn in which they left a written record of the date on which they had reached the summit along with the names of the individuals in the party. Throughout the lecture Mr. Harrison showed interesting views of the country which the club had visited. The differences in vegetation, rock formation, climate and land surface were shown, and some idea of the difficulties which the alpinists surmounted was related.

Scene in Forbidden Plateau

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 15, 1928, p.5.

Scene in Forbidden Plateau, upon which subject Mr. C. L. Harrison will lecture here next week.

Scene in Forbidden Plateau, upon which subject Mr. C. L. Harrison will lecture here next week.

Alpinists Name Year’s Officers, A.O. Wheeler Head

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Monday November 19, 1928. p.22.

Tribute to Arthur O. Wheeler, founder of the Alpine Club of Canada, and for many years a director of that organization, was paid at the annual meeting of the Vancouver Island section Saturday night in the Y.W.C.A. In nominating Mr. Wheeler for the president of the Vancouver Island section, Lindley Crease, K.C., declared that no one in Canada had done so much for the creation and preservation of the mountain parks of the Dominion. Other officers elected as follows: Vice-chairman, Lindley Crease; Secretary, Mrs. Healey-Kerr; Assistant secretary, Kenneth M. Chadwick; Treasurer, Gordon Cameron; Committee, Miss Sara Spencer, Claude L. Harrison, William Dougan, Miss Margaret Colwell, William Everall and James J. White. A lantern lecture on Leech River and the Forbidden Plateau by Claude Harrison, followed the business of the evening.

Alpine Club to Climb on Saturday

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday November 20, 1928, p.5.

An Alpine Club outing has been arranged for Saturday next. There will be two expeditions leaving the city at 8:45 from Eve’s garage, Fort and Quadra, to go into the Alpine Club campsite at Sooke; second, leaving from the same place at 1:45 in the afternoon, to make a shorter expedition in the Sooke River district. Both parties will meet at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke, at 6 o’clock, for dinner. Those joining the earlier party must take luncheon provisions, and observe the regulations about climbing dress and equipment. Friends of members who wish to do so may join the dinner party, but everyone attending is requested to notify the secretary (phone 6490), by midday Thursday, in order that the catering may be arranged for.

City Endorses National Park Near Victoria

Mr. Claude Harrison and Mr. W.H. Kinsman Explain Leech River District Project

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday November 20, 1928, p.6.

The City Council last night, after hearing an outline of the scheme and also viewing some lantern slides shown by Mr. Claude Harrison and Mr. William H. Kinsman, endorsed the project to make the Leech River district a national park, a project that is being sponsored by the Native Sons of British Columbia. Mr. Harrison explained that the leech River district was a beautiful and historic district of some 66,000 acres, connecting with the Sooke Lake watershed, which in turn, connected with the Goldstream watershed which ran down to the head of the Saanich Inlet, taking in Malahat Mountain. There was a strip of land between the Leech River district and the West Coast, which was owned by the Crown, and it was proposed to also have this strip set aside as a park, accessible from Victoria, which would stretch from the west coast of Vancouver Island to the east coast. Leech River had been the scene of a historic gold rush in years gone by. There had been between 2,000 and 3,000 miners working the creeks in that district. There was a rich area of virgin timber, many beautiful streams and lakes and a waterfall some 400 feet high. There would come a time, Mr. Harrison stated, when the city would find it necessary to increase its water supply. This could be done by diverting water from Leech River district into the Sooke Lake system, without spoiling the scenic beauty of the park. Vancouver Island should have something to offer tourists when they came to Victoria, Mr. Harrison said. This was one way of doing it. A four-mile road was all that was necessary to make the park accessible by automobile, while at the present time tourists could get to the district over the Canadian National Railroad.

Gives Lecture on The Plateau

Address by Mr. Claude Harrison Enjoyed at Courtenay — Value of Forbidden Plateau Area as Asset to Country Well Shown by Speaker

Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday November 23, 1928, p.20.

COURTENAY, Nov. 22 – The Native Sons lodge room was not large enough to comfortably accommodate those who went to hear Mr. Claude Harrison’s address on the “Forbidden Plateau” on Tuesday night [November 20]. The speaker was introduced by Mr. P.L. [Leo] Anderson, who played a high tribute to the work of Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, president of the Courtenay Mountaineering Club, in obtaining publicity for the district, and to Mr. Harrison for his untiring efforts to secure the motion pictures of the wonderful mountain scenery close to Courtenay. In a most enthusiastic manner, Mr. Harrison outlined the possibilities and advantages of the “Forbidden Plateau,” during which many excellent lantern slides were exhibited by Mr. Wood, showing the nature of the area. These pictures included photographs of the Summer camp on Mount Beecher [Becher], and a number of those in the hall were able to recognize themselves in the pictures. Comparing the mountains here with those near Victoria, Mr. Harrison clearly showed what great value the wonderful scenery is to Courtenay for publicity purposes. Our so-called useless mountains are in reality our best means of advertising, he said. He had a sound foundation for saying this, because the Alpine Club, with headquarters in London, is very interested in the plateau.

Cosmopolitan Membership

Nearly all the countries in the world were represented by members of the club, some of whom participated in the camp last July. These members had been very deeply impressed with the grandeur of the scenery, which was truly Alpine, and the possibilities of world publicity were simply enormous. The only thing necessary was to invite the various clubs to come and see the plateau. They would certainly come, and the only thing they would take away with them was the most favorable impression of the mountains, which they would pass on to their friends, who in turn would visit the area. This was a very desirable class of visitor, and should, he thought, be encouraged. He made a strong plea for the retention of the standing timber and with the aid of pictures graphically showed how the removal of the timber completely devastates the scenery, proving the trees to be of more value standing than felled. He urged the people of this district to keep trying to get the area reserved as a notion park, declaring that the plateau, with its miles of white and purple heather and fine mountain peaks, has possibilities far beyond the fondest conjecture. The secretary of the Canadian Alpine Club was going to visit most of the large centres of Europe, and a great deal of very valuable publicity will thus be given absolutely free. All this was largely due to the past efforts of Mr. Wood, he said. The conditions in Strathcona Park, he said, were not satisfactory, as all the timber had been sold by the Government. The moment the logs were cut out it would present a sorry sight and it would be done for. He also mentioned the Kye Bay beach and sands, saying that he had been hoping against hope that this beautiful beach would be set aside for the people, as it would be a very big asset to the district.

Motion Pictures

Motion picture of the Summer camp and the ascent of Mount Albert Edward and Castle Mountain followed. Bathing from a rubber boat in Lake Beautiful was depicted and the pictures gave a very good idea of the general nature of the beautiful scenery of the Forbidden Plateau. Mr. William Douglas ably voted thanks of the audience for Mr. Harrison’s visit. This was seconded by Mr. Theed Pearse, and the spectators warmly showed their approval. A dance followed and an enjoyable supper was served.

Alpine Club at New Park Area

Expedition Yesterday Inspected Site of Club Hut At Shield’s Lake, Sooke District

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday November 25, 1928, p.15.

The site on Shield’s Lake of the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada clubhouse, to be built before next Summer, was the objective of fifteen members of the local organization who went out to the Sooke district yesterday morning [November 24]. The morning expedition was led by Mr. Claude Harrison over the recently completed Government trail, which goes over the summit of Long Mountain, 1,750 feet. Shield’s Lake was reached about 1 o’clock by the main party, which bivouacked on the shores for luncheon; a smaller group led by Mr. Gordon Cameron, made a detour and went over to Grass Lake, which is also to be partly included in the Victoria section of the Alpine Club park. Both parties returned to the head of the Sooke River Road in time to meet a second expedition which left the city early in the afternoon for a shorter hike in the district, and the whole party gathered at the belvedere Hotel for dinner. This was in the nature of a farewell to the secretary, Mrs. [Robert] Healey-Kerr, who is leaving today for an extended visit to Europe, during which she will spend some time both in London and Paris. Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, president of the club, who presiding as chairman of the dinner proceedings, extended the best wishes of the members for a very pleasant voyage and holiday, and on behalf of the club Captain [William] Everall made a small presentation which he hoped would “carry sweet memories of Victoria into the Alps. An innovation was introduced by Mr. Lindley Crease, who read from Younghusband’s “Epic of Mt. Everest” the account of Odell’s attempt to find Mallory and his companion, lost on the expedition of 1924. This proved a novel and popular idea, and Mr. Crease was heartily thanked by the chairman. The evening concluded with dancing and cards.

Forbidden Plateau

Crowd Jammed Native Sons’ Hall to Hear Mr. C.L. Harrison

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 27, 1928, p.1.

That Courtenay people are now greatly interested in the Forbidden Plateau was abundantly witnessed by the crowd that gathered in the Native Sons’ Hall on Tuesday [November 25] night to hear Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison lecture on the subject. Before Mr. P. L. [Leo] Anderton introduced the speaker of the evening, the room was crowded for both sitting and standing room, and there were more outside. Mr. Anderton referred to the great amount of work Mr. [Clinton] Wood had done for the Forbidden Plateau and he also paid tribute to the part Mr. C.L. Harrison had done, without thought of remuneration, to make it known to the outside world. Mr. Harrison prefaced his lecture with some remarks emphasizing the importance of the Forbidden Plateau to Courtenay as a district. Looking over Vancouver Island, the only park area they had in it was Strathcona Park and every stick of timber in it was sold.

Tourist Was Great Asset

The tourist was a great asset. He came to the island and spent his money and took nothing away from it except a good look at the scenery. He sizes up the possibilities of business and possibly comes back and puts his money into mining or steel. Mr. Harrison contrasted the mountain climbing possibilities near Victoria with those at Courtenay, very much to the advantage of the latter. Mr. Harrison told his hearers that the Forbidden Plateau was a wonderful area, an area that possessed possibilities that they did not fully appreciate. There were miles and miles of heather, purple and white, Mount Albert Edward which was easy to climb but a long grind, the Castle [Castlecrag Mountain], an interesting climb which presented certain difficulties, and some peaks which he though could not be climbed. It was a tremendous field and right now the Alpine Club of London was greatly interested in it. One of the members in Victoria had recently been in England and he had been giving the Forbidden Plateau a lot of publicity there. Their secretary was also going back to Europe and she was going to show pictures of the Plateau in European centres where there were Alpine Clubs. She would also take with her pictures of the Courtenay valley and district and show them. Mr. Harrison described how the Victoria section of the Alpine Club had been looking for an area on the Island for a camp, and the Forbidden Plateau was just what they wanted. It was a big job for the people of that district to organize a camp and get supplies in over a trail, but they had done it.

Lantern Slides and Movies

At the close of his talk Mr. Harrison threw on the screen some slides of pictures taken on the trip made from photographs taken by himself, Mr. C.S. Wood, and other members of the party. They were exceedingly interesting. Following this he showed a film exposed by himself during the camp. He pointed out the local people as they appeared on the screen and held the attention of his audience from the first word to the last. At the conclusion of the meeting a very hearty vote of thanks was passed to Mr. Harrison on the motion of Ald. Wm. [William] Douglas, and it was carried with three cheers. Afterwards a very palatable supper was served and there was some dancing.

Winter Sports on Plateau

Mountaineering Club will Endeavor to Promote

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday December 6, 1928, p.1.

The annual meeting of the Comox Mountaineering Club was held on Tuesday evening [December 4] in the Native Sons Hall. All the executive officers were re-elected:

President – Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood

Vice -president – Mr. Wm. [William] Douglas

Secretary-treasurer – Dr. [Frank] Moore

The executive committee is Messrs. G. [Geoffrey] B. Capes, W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul, Ben Hughes and Sid Williams. A report was received from the Cabin committee, which showed that doors and windows had been put in the cabin at Mount Beecher [Becher], a stove installed, and flooring was ready to be laid. A vote of thanks was passed to Mr. Claude Harrison for his lecture. It was decided to endeavor to awaken interest in winter sports on the mountain. Executive meetings will be held monthly. The annual fee has been increased to two dollars.



ACCVI Executive:

Chairman – Arthur Wheeler

Vice-chairman – Lindley Crease

Secretary – Mrs. Robert Healey-Kerr

Assistant Secretary – Kenneth Chadwick

Treasurer – Gordon Cameron

Outings Committee – Claude Harrison

Executive Committee – Sara Spencer, William Dougan, Claude Harrison, Margaret Cowell, William Everall, James White.


February 16 – Club trip to Mt. Newton.

February 24 – Club trip to Red Flag Hill.

March 9 – Club trip to Cattle Hill.

March 24 – Club trip to Mt. Braden.

April 1 – Club trip to Sooke Canyon.

April 1 – Club’s 23rd annual banquet held at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke. Talks and lantern slides by Arthur Wheeler on “Roger’s Pass” and Alan Campbell on “Garibaldi.”

April 14 – Club trip to Mt. Skirt.

April 27 – Club trip to Jocelyn Hill and Lone Tree Hill.

May 5 – Club trip to Mt. Jeffrey.

May 18 – Annual club picnic at Mr. and Mrs. James White’s Lake Killarney.

May 24-26 – Club trip to Leech Falls.

June 16 – Club meeting at Sara Spencer’s Moss Street home.

July 1-7 – Annual camp at Shield’s Lake.

August 9 – Club function at Claude Harrison’s home 1039 Richardson Street.

September 16-18 – Camp at Forbidden Plateau.

October 12 – Half-day club trip to Mt. Finlayson.

October 26 – Club trip to Ragged Mountain.

November 9-11 – Club camp at Lake of the Seven Hills.

November 22 – Club talk at the Chamber of Commerce Auditorium on the camps at Forbidden Plateau and the Lake of the Seven Hills.

November 30 – Half-day club trip to Mt. McDonald.

Section members who attended the ACC general summer at Glacier: Arthur Wheeler, William Foster, Lindley Crease, Henry Gale, Frederick Longstaff.

Section members who passed away in 1929: Francis Robertson, Hewitt Bostock.


Serene Sunshine on Mountain Top

Climbing Mount Becher in Winter

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday January 10, 1929, p.8.

On Saturday two members of the Comox Mountaineering Club, namely Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood and G. [Geoffrey] B. Capes decided to ascend Mount Becher on snow-shoes. They found snow at about a thousand feet and from that point to the top waded through it or on it all the way. They left Bevan at nine o’clock and arrived at the cabin at four o’clock. The snow was fairly soft and the climb would have been almost impossible without snowshoes; with them it was not bad going. At the top the found the cabin a mere mound of snow and they had to dig themselves in. While one of the party cleared the door, the other cut down a tree and sawed some of it up for fuel. Once inside, the oil drum heater was soon roaring with coal oil as a starter, but so densely packed was the snow on the roof that it took some time to find the stove pipe. Then it was very snug inside and a good supper was cooked, it was very comfortable. It is astonishing to record the fact that at this altitude only two degrees of frost registered at night. The two climbers came down on Sunday. On the top of Mount Becher they stood above the clouds in serene sunshine, looking down on a world of mist and vapor underneath which was the Comox Valley. Once the trail has been broken it should not be difficult to make on snowshoes; without them, unless there is a thaw and a crisp frost at the upper altitudes, it will be a strenuous climb even though the cabin is there to welcome one at the end of it.

Winter Sports Near Sea

Early in December the same ascent was made under more favorable conditions. The trip is described below by one of the party: If only one owned the magic mat of the Arabian Nights Entertainments and could, by wishing, transfer to the prairies of Swiss winter with their exhilarating atmosphere, and back again to the humidity of the Vancouver Island coast climate, all in one day, the mat would be one of our most cherished possessions, for it is not by the contrast that we value what we enjoy in the way of climate. We do not enjoy the fine days much more on account of the bad one, and would we not enjoy our 1928 model car more if we had to ride in our 1914 model for a week. The morning of December 10th was cloudless at 6 o’clock. By seven, great masses of dark clouds were scurrying across the sky. Our objective was however, the hut at the 4,000 ft. level on Mount Becher so we set out, as planned from Courtenay, and at 8:15 a.m. were watching the dawn spring “rosy fingered” in the east. We thought of the proverb: “red sky in the morning sailors take warning” as we gazed on the beautiful tints in the sky, heralding the approach of the sun away to the southeast. Now we plunged into the heavy timber which clothes in mass of verdant green the slopes of Mount Becher and thereafter our view of the sky was, for the space of an hour and a half, limited to the small patches we could see overhead through the tall, straight Douglas firs, towering on all sides of us. When we reached the thirty-five-hundred-foot level we found that the sky was completely overcast and a few snowflakes were drifting gently down.

Snow At Three Thousand Feet

The trail we found in good condition and no snow was encountered until above the three-thousand-foot level. On emerging from the timber into the sparsely covered sub-alpine area we encountered more snow, which became increasingly deep as the altitude increased. A crust which had formed before the last snowfall made the travelling possible and eleven-thirty found us climbing over the snow-drift at the entrance of the hut. A fire was soon roaring in the big oil-drum heater and a pot of tea reinforced by a substantial lunch effectively appeared the insistent demands induced by the climb and the keen mountain air. The wind had now increased and the dry powdery snow was driving past in great gusts which came roaring down from the peak of Mount Becher and plunged over into the great canyon of Brown’s River. It was so comfortable in the hut that we were loathe to descend to the sea-level from whence we came as we were pretty certain that a howling south-easter was in possession there. However, at two-thirty we started down and as we came out of the timber into the logged off lands at one thousand feet, ran into one of the worst south-east gales of the season. We had kept dry and warm in the higher altitudes but now in the short time it took us to reach our car we got both wet and cold. When we learned that the people of the plain had experienced one of the stormiest and wettest days on record, we felt rewarded for our exertions and are looking forward to repeating the climb at the next opportunity.

Toy Towns Under The Clouds

The wonder is that more people do not take advantage of this wonderland with its myriad beauties, attractions and health-giving qualities within such easy reach of us who live on the Pacific Coast. There were we at two-thirty p.m. in a climate similar to Switzerland in winter and at four forty-five back to where grass was blooming in the gardens. Surely there are few spots so favored by Nature. When on the mountain top and the clouds break into great masses of fleecy whiteness, you look through and down and see thousands of feet below you the cities of the plain looking like toy towns on a painted landscape with the jagged peaks of the Coast Range in the background and the green of the Gulf of Georgia dotted here and there with brown-tinted islands, feelings rise within you which mere words cannot express. This is the moment you seem to understand why Moses, the great lawgiver, ascended Mount Sinai to commune with the Most High.


Alpine Club Plan Spring Activities

Outings Committee Yesterday Drew Up Programme For February, March, April And May

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday January 31, 1929, p.4.

With abundant faith in Victoria’s Winter climate, the outings committee of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada net yesterday afternoon at the office of the convenor, Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, and drew up the Spring programme. This will begin on Saturday, February 16, with an excursion up Mount Newton, leaving the city at 1:30 p.m. The plan of alternating half-day with whole day trips was adopted as far as possible, although the following sequence shows a succession of exceptions. Members will be expected to appraise the secretary, Mr. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, 1827 Chestnut Street, at least two days in advance of each trip which they intend to join. The following is the complete schedule as completed to date: February 16 – Half-day trip to Mount Newton, leaving the city at 1:30; February 24 – whole day, leaving city at 9:30 a.m., Red Flag Hill; March 9, Cattle Hill, half-day trip leaving city at 1:30 p.m.; March 24, Mount Braden, full-day trip leaving city at 9:30 a.m.; April 1, Sooke Canyon full-day trip leaving city at 9:30 a.m.; April 14, Mount Skirt, full-day, leaving city at 9:30 a.m.; April 27, two expeditions first Jocelyn Hill, full-day trip leaving city at 9:30 a.m.; second, half-day trip to Lone Tree Hill, leaving city at 1:30 p.m.; May 5, Mount Jeffrey, full-day trip leaving city at 9:30 a.m.; May 18, annual club picnic as guests of Mr. and Mrs. James White at Lake Killarney; May 24-26, two-day trip to Leech Falls. There will probably be two excursions during June, particulars of which will be published later. Club activities will be suspended during July and August.

Mount Becher

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday February 6, 1929, p.8.

In spite of cold weather, a party of hikers, some of them on snowshoes and skis, went up Mount Becher [Becher] on Sunday [February 3]. Staggering through the deep snow proved to be very hard work, and Mrs. V. Hall, her son Keith, together with Angus and Margaret Galloway, decided to spend the night in the cabin. A good supply of fuel was procured and the party made itself comfortable for the night. Very early on Monday morning, Jack Gregson and Sid Williams returned to the cabin with food and escorted the erstwhile fatigued climbers back to town.

Cougar Walked Over Cabin Roof

Party Of Climbers Had Thrill on Sunday

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday February 7, 1929, p.1.

A party of climbers had the thrill of their lives on the top of Mount Becher on Monday morning when they came out of the cabin and saw that a cougar had been walking on the roof above them during the night. During the night they had heard something on the roof and on looking round the spoor of the beast was plain on the snow and on the roof. The party went up on Sunday morning intending to return the same day, but the trip was too much for some of them and they decided to spend the night on top. Jack Gregson came down to let the people at home know that all was well. He and Stanley Williams went up again early on Monday morning to bring the party down. Tobogganing is certainly going to be a very popular sport until the snow goes. A big six-foot toboggan has arrived and will be taken up this week-end. So new a thing are winter sports on the Coast that the toboggan had to be brought by express all the way from Edmonton. Jack Gregson also has his own toboggan and Miss Allan is bringing hers up from Vancouver. The slides have been much improved and should afford great sport. Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood has imported a pair of skis from Winnipeg and Jack Gregson has made a pair, and several other enthusiasts are thinking up taking up the sport.


Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday February 28, 1929, p.2.

On Saturday afternoon about 6 o’clock, Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood and Stuart arrived at the hut on Mount Becher. At 3 a.m. they were awakened by a loud shout outside, which finally materialized in Donald Hass and R. Bowie, who had not left Courtenay until after 10 p.m. on Saturday. At 11 a.m. additional climbers arrived in the persons of Fred Stephens, Walter Scott, Howard Sutton and Norman Tribe. At about 1 p.m. Bill Dobson and Bill Williams arrived, having maintained their previous record for winter work of two and three-quarter hours. Shortly after, Carey and [Ted] Norcross arrived. The weather was a little mild for perfection, but three members of the party gave an interesting exhibition of submarine tobogganing. On the way down on Sunday afternoon, Howard Sutton, while sliding over the look-out, allowed himself to get pushed under the snow, that is, a large part of him. When the combined efforts of the party failed to release him, a consultation was held to decide whether to excavate or to wait until the spring thaw. Howard gave the casting vote in favor of immediate excavation. When the efforts of the party were finally crowned with success it was found that his pedal extremities had been resisting withdrawal on the principal of the harpoon.


Forbidden Plateau as Public Park

National Park Official Quite in Favor

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday February 28, 1929, p.5.

The lodge room of the Native Sons Hall was packed to the doors on Wednesday evening with an audience that thoroughly enjoyed the lecture and moving pictures given by Mr. J.C. Campbell, director of publicity of the National Parks branch. The audience was made up largely of boys and girls and their frequent applause showed how largely they enjoyed the programme. In his remarks, Mr. Campbell expressed himself as entirely convinced that our Forbidden Plateau is quite up to the national park standard. He pointed out the fact, however, that it lies in the E. & N. railway belt and before the government can begin in the matter, negotiations will have to be completed between the government and the railway. His opinion is that the Forbidden Plateau should be united with Strathcona Park if the time comes when the two can be made into a National Park. He said that we were quite justified in requesting that this area be set aside as a park as British Columbia has but 1600 square miles of park area compared with 9000 square miles in Alberta. He assured us that we could rely upon him and the publicity department to assist us in securing the park. The pictures, some of which took many years to secure, included the Athabaska trail and a trip through Yoho National Park and many scenes of animal and bird life in the various national parks of the Dominion. Mr. Campbell spoke briefly on the work done by the Government in conserving game which has been threatened with extinction. In particular he mentioned the bighorn sheep, elk and buffalo, which are multiplying satisfactorily under government protection. The chairman, Mr. Wallace McPhee, said that for a long time he had been very sceptical about the value of the Forbidden Plateau to the district, but that now he was so thoroughly sold with the idea that in spite of physical handicaps as a mountaineer, he was determined to see it for himself. Mr. Clinton Wood told of the tobogganing and skiing that was being enjoyed on Mount Becher and said that the Mountaineering Club was now striving to increase its membership and replenish its treasury so that better accommodation could be provided at Mt. Becher cabin. A hearty and enthusiastic vote of thanks was given to Mr. Campbell and his operator for the very enjoyable evening they had given.

Forbidden Plateau Up to Standard

Dominion Official Expresses Opinion as To Suitability For National Park Purposes.

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday March 2, 1929, p.17.

Courtenay. March 1. – A packed house greeted Mr. J.C. Campbell, director of the publicity of the national parks branch of the Dominion Government. Before showing excellent pictures of both scenic beauty and animal life in its native condition, covering the national parks of the Dominion, Mr. Campbell expressed himself as being convinced that the area here known as the “Forbidden Plateau,” it quite up to national park standard. The plateau, however, should be joined up with Strathcona Park, when the time arrives to make these two areas a national playground. There was, he said, justification for requesting that this area be set aside as a park, seeing that British Columbia has only 1,600 square miles of park area, whereas Alberta has 9,000 square miles. Mr. Wallace McPhee introduced the speaker. Mr. Clinton Wood, president of the Courtenay Mountaineering club, told those present of the excellent tobogganing, skiing and snow-shoeing that at present was being enjoyed on the slopes of Mount Becher by a number of people. An effort is being made to increase membership of the club in order to provide funds for better accommodation at the cabin on Mount Becher. A hearty vote of thanks was moved to Mr. Campbell for a most enjoyable entertainment.


Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 7, 1929, p.2.

Old Mount Becher is beginning to sit up and take notice these days. The old lady is asking herself, why these sudden invasions of her hitherto peaceful domain, this great commotion that goes on every Sunday on her snow-carpeted slopes? But the old lady is not alone in her thoughts. Courtenay people who have been, have seen and were conquered, are asking themselves why this guardian of the mysterious plateau hinterland has been allowed to keep her glories and her possibilities hidden for so long. The finest winter playground in the country lying at our very backdoors! Where have we been all these years? The cabin of the local Mountaineering Club on Becher was a hive of activity last week-end. Heck Stewart, Tom Hughes and Charlie Forrest arrived at its welcome doorway at six o’clock Saturday evening after a four-hour hike from Bevan. Travelling with their packs, they found the going pretty stiff beyond the Lookout, the trail being obliterated by a fresh fall of snow, about ten inches, but a roaring fire and a bowl of hot soup all round made the trip seem worth while after all. About 7:30 o’clock—it was pitch black then—two cougars began to have a friendly chat seemingly outside the cabin door, and the party of three inside began to feel mighty glad that they were inside, until it developed that the cougars were none other than the two Bills—Dobson and Williams. Their yowls seemed like the real thing, muffled as they were by ten feet of snow against the walls and over the cabin roof, and even Cecil “Cougar” Smith would have been fooled. More soup, and a good healthy supper, and then bedding down for the night. The night was divided off into five hour-and-a-half watches to keep the fire going. At two a.m. the skies cleared and a beautiful day was assured. Breakfast was over at 7:30 and by nine the party were on their way to the top with one of the toboggans. The sun shone so warmly that sweaters and then shirts were discarded and glaring sunburns were the results. The view from the top was unsurpassed, Albert Edward and the [Comox] glacier standing out in a panorama the equal of which one would travel far to see. Picture-taking over, tobogganing came next and some new hills were found that afforded not only speed personified but a sporting chance of being catapulted into a fifteen-foot snow bank. About eleven o’clock another toboggan came roaring down the slope, and as it passed the first-comers they were just able to make out the faces of Walter Scott and Norman Tribe. Then Stan Williams came hurtling down the slope on skis, only to land up at the bottom in a flurry of snow. Another flying form was deposited at the bottom in a like manner and finally untangled itself into the person of Gordon Bryant. They had left Bevan ay 6:15 that morning with a large party, and the others were soon to be seen at the top. They were Messrs. A.T. Searle, Sid Williams, H.J.A. Lait, Leslie Moody, W. [Bill] G. Bell, H.G. Bryant, C. [Cecil] Harper and J. [Jack] Prain. All had their fun out of the toboggans and cameras were very much in evidence. Back at the cabin, lunch was eagerly unpacked and eaten and an hour spent in feasting eyes on wonderful scenery. From the hill opposite the cabin an excellent view was obtained of Comox Harbor, even down to the S.S. Charmer tied up at the pier. The party was reluctant to leave, but it was getting late. Fast time was made coming down by some of the hikers, Williams, Stewart and Dobson making it from the cabin to the suspension bridge at Bevan in one hour and fifty-five minutes.



Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 14, 1929, p.2.

Mount Becher put on a coat of about two feet of fresh snow last week and all parties were declared off. There will be a fresh trail to break most of the way up until a good crust forms, and the lad—or maid—who tackles the job without bear-paw snow shoes will have earned his hot soup when he reaches the cabin. Sid Williams says he is going to do it. The Cobble Hill skiers, Messrs. Parry and West, who were enjoying the hospitality of the Mountaineering Club in the cabin last week, had bad weather. It was snowing a good deal of the time. The fresh snow did not give the skiers much chance of a run but they saw the possibilities of the slopes of Mount Becher and will be back again. A party of ladies had made reservations at the cabin last week-end and were much disappointed that the weather was bad. They will go up when the travelling is better. Mrs. [Annie] Sutherland is going to act as chef of the party, so they will have good rations when they get to the cabin. If there is an easy grade up the mountain, it would be no trick at all to get enough people for a winter carnival. Winter sports on the Coast appear to be something of a novelty and next year when there is a good trail into Mount Becher there should be no trouble in organizing winter sports.

Moonlight Sports on Mount Becher

Mountaineering Party Meet with Ideal Conditions For Winter Sports

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 28, 1929, p.8.

Last week-end, for the first time in two weeks, a party again ventured up Mount Becher in defiance of the assertions of the stay-at-homes that it would be “tough going” and they would be lucky to reach the cabin. But reach it they did, though only after a stiff climb of six hours’ duration. Included in the party were three ladies: Mrs. [Annie] Sutherland, Miss Edna Rossiter, and Miss Margaret Forrest, in addition to Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, Len Rossiter and Stuart Wood. They left on Saturday morning from Courtenay and began the climb from the swinging bridge shortly before noon, reaching the cabin about a quarter to six. Mr. Wood took advantage of the slow pace of the rest of the party to repair the telephone line as far up as the first cabin, and from there he phoned down to Courtenay. It will be some time before the line from here to the top of Becher can be dug out of the snow and re-strung on the trees, so Mr. Wood is proposing to instal the phone in the first cabin in the meantime, as it is not much more than a forty-minute walk from here to the main cabin on Becher.

Supper Was Ready

While he was rigging up the wire, the main party went on with Stuart as guide. They had to do a little digging to make their way into the cabin as the snow had drifted in and was piled up against the door, but when Mr. Wood arrived half an hour later the stove was roaring merrily and supper was almost ready, with Mrs. Sutherland in the role of chief chef. And no hot meal was better enjoyed than that one. About eight o’clock that evening, after the cabin had been cleaned up and sleeping arrangements made, the party sauntered out into the moonlight to have a try at the skis. The moon was out in all its glory and made everything as bright as day, affording the finest view any of the party had ever been privileged to see. Comox Valley and the Gulf Islands, basking four thousand feet below, made a silvery picture alone well worth the long hike. Everyone tried out the skis on a short slide in front of the cabin, with varying success, though all learned the important point that the centre of gravity must be kept well forward—a point learned only at the cost of many a spill and tumble. It was quite cozy in the cabin at night, with the three ladies taking the bunks and the men making themselves comfortable with fir boughs on the floor. At six in the morning, they hustled out to see the sunrise; then breakfast; falling and bucking of a tree for firewood, in which work the ladies did their part, if only to have their pictures taken while doing so. At 8:30 Sid Williams arrived after a three hour walk from Bevan, and fifteen minutes later in trooped Ted Norcross, Trevor Davis, Aubrey, Harold and Jack Hames, Bill Bell, Cecil Harper and Jack Prain.

Snow In Good Condition

All available toboggans and skis were towed up to the summit, and then the fun began. The ladies showed their metal by refusing to be daunted by even the most dangerous slides and took their share of bumps and somersaults with as much enjoyment as the men. The snow was in fine condition for the sport, with just enough light snow over the crust to prevent the toboggans from side-swiping as they careened down the hills. Picture taking conditions were also excellent, the light haze toning down the glare from the snow and also making it much easier on the eyes. It wasn’t a bit cold. Back to the cabin for lunch, and the return trip was started about three o’clock. Better time was made on the way down as it wasn’t necessary to walk all the way. In fact, the ladies hugely enjoyed the slides, though one almost turned out disastrously for Mrs. Sutherland and gave rise to the name of “Break-neck Hill.” She went down it at tremendous speed and landed up at the bottom in a succession of somersaults. At the cabin everyone had a turn at phoning their respective homes and ordering hot meals and hot baths in readiness for their arrival.


Fossils Donated

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 2, 1929, p.2.

Mr. Claude L. Harrison and Miss R. [Rena] C. Jones, of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, donated a collection of fossils, secured during a visit to the ‘Forbidden Plateau,’ of Comox District.

Sooke Canyon is Visited by Club

Hard Day’s Foot Slogging Winds Up with Annual Dinner At Belvedere Hotel And Dance After

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 2, 1929, p.11.

The expedition made by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada yesterday [April 1] proved a great success. The party which left Bastion Street at 9 a.m., was twenty-four strong and drove some three miles up the course of Sooke River, when they shouldered their packs and began the hike to Sooke Canyon. The first view of the canyon was obtained from a ledge 150 feet above the bed of the river. In order to reach this the members were let down a sheer drop by means of a 105-foot rope. Later the members were lowered to the bottom of the canyon and succeeded in getting below the falls by means of the full length of rope brought on the expedition. At this point half the party crossed the river and worked their way down the west bank as far as the suspension bridge, where they were joined by the remainder. The members then climbed to an altitude of 1,100 feet, from which they had a wonderful view of Port Angeles, Sooke Harbor and Mount Empress. The party repaired to the Belvedere Hotel at Sooke Harbor, where the annual dinner of the club was held, in the course of which addresses were given by Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, Mr. A. Ford, Dr. F. [Fred] C. Bell of Vancouver, and Mr. Claude Harrison. After dinner the party adjourned to the rotunda of the hotel, where they were addressed by Mr. Wheeler on “Rogers Pass,” and by Mr. A. [Alan] J. Campbell, whose lecture was accompanied by lantern slides on “Garibaldi.” The evening was concluded with an informal dance.

Island Scenes Shown to London Audience

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday April 10, 1929, p.7.

At a meeting of the Ladies’ Alpine Club in London on March 6 at the Central Hall, Marylebone, some interesting slides of Vancouver Island were exhibited. The slides had been taken and send to England by Mr. Claude Harrison, the chairman of the outings committee of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, and were described by the secretary of the section Mr. Robert Healey-Kerr, who is on a visit to the old country. The members and friends of the Ladies’ Alpine Club were delighted with the views of the Forbidden Plateau and the Sooke District. Mr. Frederick A. Pauline, the Agent-General for British Columbia and one-time Liberal MPP for Saanich, and Mr. W.A. MacAdam, his secretary, were especially interested in the Forbidden Plateau.


Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 11, 1929, p.2.

The first trip made to the Forbidden Plateau under winter conditions was made accomplished by Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood and Mr. Sid Williams last week. They were surprised to find only four feet of snow on McKenzie Lake and all the streams running freely. They left Bevan at seven o’clock at night and arrived at the cabin at Mount Becher at half past ten, good going in the dark. They found the Boy Scouts in possession and passed a comfortable night. On Saturday morning they set out early for Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] and found it pretty heavy going over an unbroken trail. Sid was on bear-paw snowshoes while Mr. Wood travelled on skis. They examined the outlet of Brown’s River and stayed at the cabin at Goose Lake overnight, leaving early in the morning to find their way back down the Brown’s River canyon. It was a steep climb and the ice on the rim of the drop to the river often betrayed them into a glissade which would have landed them into the river but for the trees that provided hand hold. They arrived at Anderson’s cabin on Brown’s River at seven in the evening and were glad to take shelter there, coming on to Bevan the next morning. Mr. Wood got some excellent pictures.

Strathcona Park Is Now Intact

Government Has Bought Timber at Buttles Lake

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday May 9, 1929, p.5.

With the purchase of alienated timber round the shores of Buttles lake, Strathcona park is now intact in all its natural resources and the government can make it a park without and fear of its beauty being marred by logging operations. For many years after the timber round the lake had been sold to Mr. von Alvensieben, the fact that it had been sold was known too very few, indeed. Many resolutions were passed by island boards of trade that the road from Forbes Landing should be carried through into Buttles Lake. Then it was discovered that the timber had been sold and the agitation was dropped insomuch as if the timbered were logged round the lake Strathcona Park would be ruined as a park. The purchase price will be $325,000. The timber represents about a quarter of the waterfrontage of Buttles Lake in the heart of the park area, and if it were logged would mar the beauty of the reserve in the government’s opinion.

Alpine Club Members Picnic at Killarney

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 19, 1929, p.7.

About forty-five members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada enjoyed the generous hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. James White at the Summer camp at Killarney Lake yesterday. The day’s programme began with the climb up Big Saanich Mountain by a party of twelve and closed with the supper and campfire gathering at the lake. Mt. Claude Harrison led the climb in the morning by an untrailed route. The afternoon detachment took a short hike to Heal’s Lake. Both groups met at supper. The campfire programme was unusually enjoyable with singing led by Miss A.M. Charlebois, Miss [Rena] Jones and Mr. Gordon Cameron, and “Birthday Months,” conducted by Major [George] Sisman, was a popular item. An amusing incident was a hoax in which Mr. Harold Dickson was the principal actor, and subsequently he entertained the company with some conjuring tricks by the light of the blazing log fire.

Alpine Club Camp on Historic Leech

Party Of Fourteen Spend Four Days in Open—Beautiful Leech Falls Explored

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday May 29, 1929, p.11.

Emulating the successful experiment of last May, the Victoria section of the Alpine Club of Canada again this year held an Empire week-end camp at Leech River. The fourteen members who constituted the party returned to the city on Monday evening after a four days’ outing which was declared by all to have been even more enjoyable than that of 1928 owing to the cooler temperature. Organized by Mr. Claude Harrison, convenor of the outings committee, the party left early on Friday, May 24, by the C.N.R. coach. On arrival at Leechtown, the site of the historic mining town of the sixties, they were officially welcomed by the mayor [John Craig], with robes and chains of office and address of welcome complete. A visit to the “City Hall” and presentation of the keys of the city was a humorous little ceremony which had, nevertheless, great sincerity of meaning, for the party as a consequence were allowed to cache the bulk of their supplies in the home of the City father. From the beginning the weather proved kind, the occasional little showers keeping the temperature comfortable for climbing. The North Forks and Martin’s Gulch were reached about 2 o’clock in the afternoon and after lunch camp was pitched. The evening was spent around the bonfire. On Saturday an early start was made for the Falls, reached about 11:30. Greater care was taken this year in surveying the ground, and barometric readings showed that there is 500 feet difference between the altitude of the top and bottom of the falls. The rope was used in several places in descending the mountain. Camp reached again about 5:30, and a swim and dinner preceded the Saturday night bonfire. Sunday morning camp was broken about 9 o’clock, and Leechtown reached by 11:30. Camp was pitched immediately in the junction between the Sooke and the Leech, although the fine weather made it possible to dispense with tents. Much spirit was given to the evening entertainment by the appearance of a historic ghost belonging to the old mining town. Two of the campers started back to Victoria at dawn next morning. The remainder, however, walked over to Sooke Lake, and after seeing over the waterworks under Mr. Campbell’s guidance, lunched and caught the train back to Victoria. The party comprised, in addition to Mr. C.L. Harrison, Mrs. [Charlotte] Hadow, Miss [Audrey] Hadow, Miss Hamilton, Miss R. [Rena] C. Jones, Miss Bird, Captain [William] and Miss [Eleanor] Everall, and Messrs. [William] Dougan, [Kenneth] Chadwick, [Reginald] Chave and Dickson.


Alpine Club Plans Camp at Shield’s Lake

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday June 11, 1929, p.10.

At a special meeting of the outing committee of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada it was decided to hold a weeks’ camp at the new site, Shield’s Lake, from Monday, July 1, to Sunday July 7. Fuller particulars will be issued in the next few days, but in the meantime notice is given in order that members and others who are planning to join may notify the convenor, Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, or the secretary, Mr. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, as transportation and commissariat arrangements will be extended or qualified according to the number attending.

Alpine Club to Have July Camp

Recently Purchased Shield’s Lake Site To Be Used For First Time

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday June 19, 1929, p.2.

Shield’s Lake, the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club’s recently purchased park, is to be used for the first time as a Summer camp. A circular issued by the club to members announces that a camp will be held from Monday, July 1, to Sunday, July 7, inclusive. Work in preparation to the camp is already being done by Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, convenor of outings, and Messrs. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick and [William] Dougan having already spent two or three days in the park clearing the site for tents, etc. They found the trail greatly improved, particularly the last mile or so, thanks to the work of Government engineers during the last few months, so that the route in from the end of the Sooke River motor road to the lake will be much easier than hitherto. The camp site is at the left side of Shield’s Lake, which is almost entirely surrounded by the property of the Alpine Club, the remaining part being within the Sooke Mountain Park. The elevation is about 1,500 feet. Those using their own cars for transportation can get within about three and a half miles of the camp, but the circular advises the C.N.R. gas car as the best form of travel, as this crosses the trail some distance up the mountainside, shortening the distance. Details as to time, necessary equipment, etc., will be sent to members who notify the secretary of their intentions to attend the camp. Tomorrow is the final day for giving notice. The secretary will be pleased to receive names up to 7 o’clock.

Camp Views Shown to Alpine Members

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday June 22. 1929, p.5.

Exceptionally fine lantern slide scenes of the three days’ camp held at Leech River in May 24 week, as well as pictures of the Easter-week camp and the Forbidden Plateau and Mount Becher country, were shown by Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison at a meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club, held on Sunday evening [June 16] at the home of Miss Sara Spencer, Moss Street. Mr. Lindley Crease, chairman of the section, presided and expressed the thanks for the members to Mr. Harrison at the conclusion of the interesting talk. The opportunity was taken to discuss the forthcoming camp at Shields Lake, the recently-purchased Alpine Club property in the Sooke country. This camp is to be held from Monday, July 1, to July 7, inclusive. Registration of intending campers was made last night, the total roster of full-time and part-time members being about twenty-five. The camp committee was struck, with Mr. C.L. Harrison as chairman and Miss [Nancy] Wollaston and Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan. This committee has power to appoint other committees required for carrying out the camp. New members received last night are Miss Marjorie Haynes and Mr. H. Dickson. Mr. Harrison issued a general request for anything in the way of camp equipment, such as basins, cooking utensils, empty coal oil tins, canvas or supplies of canned goods.

Cougar Sighted Near Alpine Club’s Camp

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday July 4, 1929, p.12.

An additional touch of adventure was given to the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club’s first Shield’s Lake camp by the sighting of a cougar at the top of the second pass last Saturday. The pack-train was just finishing the climb up the pass when the big cat was seen resting among the rocks. The horses snorted and showed the usual signs of nervousness, but the packer succeeded in keeping them under control. Several of the advance party were already in camp, and the main party has since joined them, but no report is given of any second appearance of the cougar. The camp is getting along splendidly with the programme drawn up for the week. The addition of several more members to the party today will bring the total under canvas to about thirty. A dispatch sent out early in the week reported “excellent weather and everyone in fine spirits.”

Alpinists To Go Under Canvas

Shield’s Lake Camp, Sooke Range, Is Splendidly Organized to Accommodate Thirty-Six

Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday July 5, 1929, p.5.

ALPINE CLUB CAMP, Shield’s Lake, B.C., July 4—The first camp ever held by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada went under canvas on Monday, the camp formally opening with the arrival of the first detachment who reached the trail by C.N.R. gas car and motor during the morning. The weather was blazing hot, and the newcomers found the tea awaiting them most refreshing. The location of the camp is at the West end of Shield’s Lake, on the property of the club, which surrounds the lake with the exception of a small corner in the Sooke Mountain (Government) Park. A beautiful shady point extends into the lake in front of the camp. All underbrush has been removed, and only enough trees allowed to remain for shade and to preserve the beauty of the spot. Facing the lake is the huge dining fly, which protects two long tables, adapted to thirty-six persons. It has rustic tables and two stoves, one of the latter the collapsible type, the other built in Hudson’s Bay style. The notice board and flag staff are in an open clearing, surrounded by the manager’s tent and a group of other tents. The ladies’ tents are a little distance off, in a clearing backed by shady pines, and opposite them are the men’s tents. Rustic wash-basins and other conveniences complete the essential camp equipment in the way of furnishings, etc. In the way of luxuries, the camp boasts two hammocks, slung under the shade, and a rubber boat, which proved useful at the Forbidden Plateau camp. By dint of a tremendous effort on the part of the campers who went in as an advanced party and those who came in later, a heavily timbered thicket has been converted to one of the most beautiful camp sites imaginable. The first day was spent chiefly in settling in, members constructing their beds of boughs and looking after other details which will make for their comfort when in camp. Bathing has been permitted, but at a considerable distance across the lake. A place on the lake’s edge which offers a rocky beach, was selected for the evening camp fire, and the first day closed with the usual Alpine Club reunion round the bonfire, with singing and story telling. The second day, unfortunately, opened with a heavy rain storm and high wind, but although the rain fell heavily for hours in the early morning, all went well, the canvas set up for just such an eventuality withstanding the test perfectly.

Lieut.-Governor Opens Forbidden Plateau Trails

Reported in The Victoria Daily Times Wednesday July 17, 1929. p.1.

COURTENAY, July 17—In the presence of a large and enthusiastic gathering, Lieutenant-Governor Randolph Bruce officially opened the Forbidden Plateau trail this afternoon at 4:30 o’clock. The ceremony marks the first step towards development of this remarkable snowclad Alpine playground, with its clustered lakes, glaciers and scenic attractions. Much of the credit for the construction of the trail is due to the Courtenay Board of Trade. Under the direction of P. Leo Anderton, president, the board has warmly supported Claude L. Harrison of Victoria and the Island members of the Alpine Club of Canada in efforts to have the Forbidden Plateau set aside as a people’s playground and national park.


Forbidden Plateau Now The Bidden Plateau

Lieutenant-Governor Opens New Dove Creek Trail—Save The Trees

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 25, 1929, p.1 & 10.

In an exquisite setting of light and shadow on the banks of a purling mountain stream, under maples and giant cedars, the Hon. Randolph Bruce, Lieutenant-Governor of the province, opened the new Dove Creek trail into the Forbidden Plateau on Thursday afternoon. A heavy shower had fallen under the morning but the sun came out in the afternoon; this was all that was needed to make conditions ideal. Mr. Bruce mounted a horse at the trail, showing that he was no novice in the saddle and he rode across the Dove Creek to the scene of the ceremony escorted by Mr. Wm. [William] Douglas. Here he was greeted by Mr. P.L. [Leo] Anderton, president of the Courtenay Board of Trade, under whose auspices the trail was opened. Ald. Theed Pearse, Mayor of Courtenay, Dr. and Mrs. G. [George] K. MacNaughton and Mr. Claude Harrison of Victoria, who just returned from a trip up the new trail, The Rev. Montague Bruce, past president of the Associated Board of Vancouver Island, and others. Mr. Bruce had been the guest of Col. C. [Charles] H. Villiers at Beaufort House and he was accompanied to Dove Creek by Miss McKenzie, Col. C.H. Villiers and Major A.S. Humphrey. Mr. Anderton briefly introduced Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood. He said that they believed the opening of the trail was going to be a great thing not only for Courtenay but for the whole of the northern end of the Island.

A New Switzerland

Mr. C.S. Wood, president of the Comox Mountaineering Club said that the new trail would bring within half a day’s travel, a new Switzerland, full of beautiful lakes and meadows, where the people who lived on the coast could get to higher altitudes. As to mountaineering many of the peaks that could be reached by this trail had never been named or climbed and there were many beautiful lakes that had yet to be named. Hunters could see deer in the alpine meadow quite fearless of man, and naturalists would revel in a wealth of alpine flora. The trail led to Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie], a distance of about fourteen miles, for the first few miles through a fine stand of timber, and owing to its thickness, not much of a view could be obtained until the higher altitudes were reached. For the completion of the trail he had to thank among others Dr. MacNaughton, Mr. Claude Harrison, and Mr. W.P. Regan. Dr. MacNaughton, M.L.A. spoke of the trail as being very much in the public eye. They had heard much of it from Mr. Wood and now, perhaps, it was like Queen Sheba said of King Solomon, that half of it had not been told. It was the beginning of an advertising campaign for the Comox district which they trusted, would bring in many tourists to enjoy the many beauties of this part of the Island. He thanked the committee for their courtesy in asking him to the opening of the trail.

The Dappled Fawn

A very picturesque little incident then occurred. Arthur Wood, the youngest boy who has ever been on the plateau, led in a dappled fawn by a ribbon and presented it to Miss McKenzie along with a bouquet of wild flowers recently culled from the alpine meadows of the plateau. Miss McKenzie thanked Arthur for his gift and asked the history of the fawn which, she learned, had been found on the plateau after it had been deserted by its mother. Arthur also handed to Miss McKenzie and album containing views of the plateau.

A Milestone For Courtenay

Before declaring the trail open his honor said he wished to express on behalf of the community, their deep appreciation of the splendid service rendered by the board of trade in getting the trail through. It was a milestone in the history of Courtenay and the Comox District, this opening of a trail into the most beautiful spots on this very beautiful island and they were not only doing a service to themselves but also to British Columbia in opening the trail. In future the Forbidden Plateau would be the Bidden Plateau and all the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve will want to go into this country which has been a source of joy and inspiration to the army of tourists that were coming into Canada and leaving 220 million dollars behind them, an amount equal to the value of wheat exported out of the country. He often thought that the Island Highway was the most beautiful in the world and they should do something to preserve its beauties or they would be called by the next generation a generation of vandals who allowed all their wooded wealth to be destroyed. They had a hundred thousand aces of timber and surely they could save some for prosperity. Providence has given them the most wonderful country out of doors and it was their duty to preserve some of it as a heritage for their children, who were trusting them to save their birthright while they, their children, had as yet, no say in the matter. Ald. Theed Pearse proposed a hearty vote of thanks to Mr. Bruce, whom he called the chairman of their publicity committee, and Miss McKenzie and this was most heartily given.

Under The Greenwood Tree

A table had been spread by Ald. Ball and his assistants in the shade of a giant cedar and here the company sat down to tea served by a contingent of the Girl Guides. It was a very picturesque scene and it was made more noteworthy by the introduction of the fawn, which was placed on the table and there submitted to be photographed by Mr. [Charles] Sillence. After tea Mr. Claude Harrison was called upon for a short speech, Mr. Harrison, who has done more than any other man to familiarize the public with Courtenay’s Switzerland, spoke of his trip up the trail the day before and what there was to be seen. He also spoke of his vision of a pack trail from Sooke to Horne Lake and then to Goose and Goose Lake trail of the Forbidden Plateau. They would then have seven days horse ride, which would be glorious. Mr. William Douglas was also given his mead of praise for his service in connection with the trail. The ribbon which had been tied across the trail was eagerly retrieved by some of the Girl Guides and after being autographed by Miss McKenzie, will be treasured by them as souvenirs of the occasion, Miss McKenzie also placed her autograph on some of the big fungi that are to be found in the bush.

Island Alpinists Meet Among Beautiful Hills

Local Section Of The Alpine Club Of Canada Holds First Camp At Recently Acquired Shield’s Lake Property At Sooke—Many Hilltops Scaled

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday July 28, 1929, p.40.

In rapid succession neatly lashed bundles of exactly forty pounds each, came from the C.N.R. car, until about half a ton lay piled by the railway line. It was a new stopping place for the railway on its Vancouver Island line, a place where the recently finished trail from the Sooke River Road to the location of the property of the club in the rough hills of Sooke crosses the railway line. Here the packer stood with his trusty and sure-footed pack horse ready to receive the loads and convey them up the mountain trail to the site of the camp. Several members were also on hand as an advance party to set up camp to be opened two days later.

An “Old-timer”

Our packer was S.W. Batten, now of Sooke. It was he who packed the first piano into Dawson City in the Yukon—with two mules— in those good old days of romance. Bristling with tales of the early days when he packed into the Yukon in ’97 and ’98, and later in the Cariboo country he was indeed interesting. Still bright and alert, and ever easy with his well-earned skill, he set about his task and before long his pack train moved eastward on the trail with the first load of the club’s equipment.

Up The Trail

Up over rolling country the pack train went, now over open ridges, now through beautiful avenues of fir, now up through alder groves to the base of Long Mountain. Here the route led up the steep sides of the mountain, following every natural foothold of advantage until the top was gained at what is known as the First Pass. From this point a last look was taken of the Sooke River Valley, for from now on the valley would no longer be visible. What a splendid view lay before us. The valley of the Sooke stretched for miles with its wealth of green. Brown patches in every direction on the higher reaches clearly indicated the general rough, rocky nature of the valley sides. To the south Whiffin Spit and the outer harbor of Sooke were plainly visible, also Port Angeles across the strait, with the majestic Olympic Mountains with their snow tops in the background. From the First Pass the trail pressed further eastward, soon sinking into a valley of giant firs and cedar, where a dried creek left still enough moisture to retain a cool grove of alder. Rising again from the little valley the route followed close to the foot of a high vertical wall of rock, covered with lichens and moss, and thence up a couple of steep grades to the top of Second Pass. Here the general nature of the country seemed to change a little. The large cedar and fir changed into the jack pine, and here and there the white pine with its long cone and shapely contour made us realize we were surely reaching further into the hills. Here and there a glimpse of Ragged Mountain could be seen—a mountain to be climbed later by the present camp—while Mount Shepherd, lying further to the south and west of Ragged Mountain, could be seen at almost every point of vantage. The Third pass was reached with an easy grade after following a stretch of more broken type of country, with clumps of jack pine and small alder groves. Here the trail again descended among giant firs and cedars once more, thence to the lake’s edge. Following the westerly end of the lake the pack train came to a stop at the camp site. Here the advance party, which had reached the place ahead of the packer, were already at work, clearing and laying out the plan of the camp.

Opening Day July 1

Monday, July 1, saw the main party arriving, reinforced from time to time during the week with further groups of mountaineers, members of the club, anxious to explore the rough mountains surrounding their recently-acquired lake and future hut site. The advance guard’s hard work of the three preceding days had perfected the camp complete in every detail, and it was with admiration that the arrivals inspected the rendezvous and its site, after the cook had served the noonday meal. Facing the lake stood the huge dining fly, with its two long tables; to the right and rear stood the cookhouse with two stoves, one the large built-in type lined with stone, and the other the collapsible kind. Behind the cookhouse was the store house, with provisions lining the “shake” shelves. To the rear and toward the left of the dining fly was an open space, around which stood the manager’s tent, with ladies’, gentlemen’s and visitors’ tents tucked in the shade of the pines. To one side of the open space stood a stone fireplace with cans of hot water above the slow-burning fire for general use of the camp, with the wash racks close by. In the centre and close to camp signboard the Union Jack floated from a tall flagstaff. Proceeding toward the lake the members followed a neatly-made path bearing the words “Hadow Trail,” in acknowledgement of the hours spent by Mrs. [Charlotte] Hadow in making it. The trail leads out and around the point, which had been cleared of its underbrush with only the most picturesque trees remaining. From the point a clear view of almost the entire lake was visible. To the west, two islands in front of a considerable area of green reeds, through which the waters of the lake flow westward to Grass Lake; to the east for a distance of about one-half mile, a larger island surrounded by waterlilies; to the north and closer to shore, a range of seven hilltops clearly outlined against the sky; and the south terminating in a long and deep arm one-third of a mile or better. The rest of the day was spent in adjusting bough beds and personal equipment.

Second Day

The second day opened with a heavy downpour of rain and high wind that had persisted from late the previous night. No inconvenience was caused from the sudden change, and it left a beautiful clear day. A full day’s rest (with bathing off rocks across the main arm of the lake made more enjoyable by the rubber boat which proved to be so popular and useful at last year’s camp at the Forbidden Plateau) was generally observed.

Third Day—Mount Empress

The camp was aroused early by Mr. Claude Harrison, the guide and the leader of the expedition organized for Mount Empress. This mountain is very prominent on the skyline of the Sooke Hills as seen from Victoria. From Victoria it is easily recognized as the highest summit in the Sooke Range with a bald top. The party of fourteen was soon underway. Taking a course back over the trail to the top of the First Pass, a compass bearing was taken for Grass Lake. This lake was soon reached, and the stream at its outlet crossed. The lake is a fine stretch of water with several acres of marsh and weeds at its southerly end, and incidentally devoid of fish. From Grass Lake a northerly route was followed for some distance until Bert’s Lake was reached at an elevation of about seventeen hundred feet. Bert’s Lake is a beautiful little sheet of water, the highest in the Sooke Range. At each end there are many lilies, and on this date were bright with flower. Still following a northerly course from this lake, the party proceeded through quantities of jack pine on up until Mount Empress suddenly came into view. It did not take long to cross the ravine and wind up the hot side of Empress Mountain to the top. The party now stood on the highest point in the rough hills of Sooke, with a wonderful view at their feet. For miles in every direction stood vast areas of virgin timber. To the north, miles away, were Sooke Lake, Goldstream Lake, Loon Lake, and then Victoria. Well-known places were readily visible, and some time was spent picking out familiar landmarks. Perhaps the most striking thing about the view of Victoria was the wealth of trees. It presented a very pleasing appearance. To the south appeared the tops of Ragged Mountain and Mount Shepherd, and far in the distance the other part of Sooke Harbor, with the shining Straits and the magnificent snow range of the Olympics as a picturesque background. On the west lay the valley of the Leech stretching for miles towards the West Coast with Surrey Mountain, and far beyond on the skyline what appeared to be Mount Hoops [Hooper] at the head of Shaw Creek on Cowichan Lake, a mountain of 5,100 feet. Lunch was eaten on the summit, water for tea being found in a pond on the very crest. This mall pond, although shallow, generally holds water throughout the entire year, and the water from it quite good. After lunch bearings were taken for the range lying to the north of the lake, in order that the new country might be explored. A last look at the splendor of the surroundings after a cairn had been erected and a record placed in the base, and the party struck off on the new route. Across the ravine at the foot of Empress Mountain over an intervening hill and thence up through quantities of jack pine, the party reached the summit of a hill which they named Hill Five at 2,000 feet. From the top a fine view of the lake was obtained, with the smoke lazily curling up from the camp. A cairn was erected as before, and after signalling the camp the party struck off to the west. Traversing the other two tops named Hill Six and Hill Seven, a chimney was descended which was an easy and short route to the camp where the party arrived at 4:30 p.m. after covering a commendable area of new ground. As evening fell and the bonfire was lighted a clear reflection of the seven hills appeared in the glassy surface of the lake, and by common accord the name, “Lake of the Seven Hills,” was created. The usual bonfire entertainment brought to a close a day thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Fourth Day

The fourth day, Thursday, saw further arrivals to the camp. A trip into the Seven Hills, under Mr. [William] Dougan—that veteran and enthusiastic mountaineer—engaged a large body of the camp. Three more of the Seven Hills were traversed and cairns erected.

Fifth Day

An early start under Mr. Harrison as guide was made to Ragged Mountain. That mountain, with its two tops, is also a prominent feature in the skyline from Victoria. It appears a few miles south of Mount Empress on the skyline, although in reality it lies in a southeasterly direction from it. The southerly summit appears to have a cut-off end. This is more or less the case. The route from the lake was a long one, through a heavily-timbered valley of considerable width to the thick rough sides as it rises from the valley. The ascent was made up the northwesterly end of the southerly top. The day was hot and the climb consequently warm. From the summit a good view of Victoria was obtained. Race Rocks with its lighthouse was plainly visible, as was also Sooke Harbor. Below shone the waters of Glints Lake; to the west and north the wide valley with the Seven Hills and Mount Empress shut off all further view in that direction; to the northeast and about three-quarters of a mile away showed the second top of Ragged Mountain. In the dip there was a small pond but the water was not at all inviting. At the top the names were placed in the cairn, and after lunch and a rest, a new bearing was taken and the party returned across the valley and up again into the hills to the lake, arriving about 4 p.m. A second party (under Dr. Irene Hudson) of almost the entire remainder of the camp went into the Seven Hills and returned shortly after midday. A late bonfire with the usual songs, recitations and stories, brought a long and strenuous day to a close.

A Strange Find

Starting later than usual, a party under Mr. Harrison made a trip on the sixth day into the surrounding hills for the purpose of making certain observations for future reference. While on this trip an unusual variation of the compass was discovered, so pronounced that the needle of the compass completely reversed itself. A note of the location was made, and a very interested party returned to camp in time for dinner. At the close of the bonfire that night—the last of the camp—Capt. [William] Everall addressed the gathering. He eulogized at length the arrangements and the enjoyable time the whole camp had had. He expressed the hope that the hut would soon be an accomplished fact, in order that the members might be able at all times to come and enjoy the delightful place now opened by the club. Mrs. Mackenzie in apt words seconded the vote of thanks proposed by Captain Everall. The evening closed with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Close Of Camp

Sunday was spent in several short trips in the vicinity of the lake and bathing. After lunch the main body of the camp moved out leaving a party of nine to pack the equipment on the following day. Monday the entire camp was again reduced to bundles. The packer arrived toward 2 o’clock, and once more the packing began. By 2 o’clock the remaining party took to the trail and by 4 o’clock were all waiting for the C.N.R. at the crossing. Thus, the second annual camp of the club ended, unanimously voted a camp long to be remembered.

Some of the members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the top of Hill Six, one of the mountains in the Sooke Range explored during the week’s camp held recently at Shields Lake (subsequently renamed Lake of the Seven Hills). The group here seen comprises Mr. W. H. Dougan, Captain Everall, Miss Nancy Wollaston and Mr. Jones.

Some of the members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the top of Hill Six, one of the mountains in the Sooke Range explored during the week’s camp held recently at Shields Lake (subsequently renamed Lake of the Seven Hills). The group here seen comprises Mr. W. H. Dougan, Captain Everall, Miss Nancy Wollaston and Mr. Jones.

On the Southerly Summit of Ragged Mountain, One of the Mountains Which fits Into the Skyline Group Visible From Victoria.

On the Southerly Summit of Ragged Mountain, One of the Mountains Which fits Into the Skyline Group Visible From Victoria.

Typical camp scene showing the unloading of the pack train at the first annual camp at Shields Lake of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. About thirty members attended this camp, and over two tons of supplies, equipment, etc., were carried in by the pack train.

Typical camp scene showing the unloading of the pack train at the first annual camp at Shields Lake of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. About thirty members attended this camp, and over two tons of supplies, equipment, etc., were carried in by the pack train.

The rubber boat, one of the most popular bits of equipment carried in to the Shields Lake camp of the Alpine Club. The lake, recently stocked with fish, is almost entirely enclosed by the camp park and rimmed with a beautiful group of seven hills.

The rubber boat, one of the most popular bits of equipment carried in to the Shields Lake camp of the Alpine Club. The lake, recently stocked with fish, is almost entirely enclosed by the camp park and rimmed with a beautiful group of seven hills.


Comox Glacier Again Scaled

Domes Summit Reached On Sunday By Courtenay Party

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 1, 1929, p.1 & 2.

The first party of Courtenay mountaineers ever to reach the summit of the great glacier, which looks down the main street of Courtenay, arrived there on Sunday [July 28] at a quarter past ten. It was a brilliantly clear morning and it was hoped that the smudge that was lighted on the summit would be seen down below, but apparently it escaped observation. The members of the party were: Messrs. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul, who organized it, Mr. C. [Cyril] Berkeley and Miss [Alfreda] Berkeley of the Biological station at Departure Bay, Nanaimo; Mr. G. [Geoffrey] B. Capes and Mr. Ben Hughes of Courtenay and Mr. A. [Arthur] Leighton, this year’s president of the Vancouver Island Associated Board of Trade. The wonder that the mountain has never been climbed by Courtenay people before, because it forms a most remarkable background to the main or Union Street of Courtenay, the great ice and snowfield standing out on the horizon. Perhaps the reason is that from the Courtenay side it is not readily approachable. Cumberland has been much more enterprising. It is probably this point in the glacier field that the Rev. [George] Kinney, who used to be at the Methodist Church in Cumberland, erected a cairn upon his way to Buttles Lake, and Mr. [Harry] Rees has been in the same country three times. There is such a vast extent of country and such a welter of peaks and snowfields that it is only by very careful study that their exact location can be ascertained. The government has not taken the trouble to explore the centre of the Island except very vaguely and their locations and measurements on maps must be taken as only approximately correct.

Surveyors Swamped Trail

The party went up Comox Lake [July 26] to its head and then took the trail through some fine timber to Trout Lake, one of a string of glacial lakes on the Puntledge watershed. Trout Lake has for many years been the happy hunting ground of Cumberland sportsmen and it is full of fish and delightfully situated. Beyond Trout Lake a party of hydro-electric water surveyors had done meritorious work in “swamping out” a trail among the devil’s club, to the third lake, where they had camped, and which the party also adopted as its base.

Travelling Light

On Saturday [July 27] morning the party left this camp for the Dome [Comox Glacier highpoint], travelling light, without blankets and with sufficient food for two days. The third lake is at the foot of a considerable wooded altitude now known as Mt. Evans [Mt. Kookjai] although it is disputed that this is its real name. Fighting through the bush to its top, a wonderful view suddenly springs to the eye. To the east lies the Comox Valley and the Gulf of Georgia, to the west, peak after peak, snowfield, and glacier after glacier in awful solitude. Coming down from Mount Evans there is a drop of two to three hundred feet to a beautiful alpine valley, which the snow had not left. In it are two beautiful lakes connected by a waterfall. Leading towards the glacial field and above it four or five hundred feet is a long and rocky hogs-back with precipitous sides. The party was lucky to find a deer trail down this which took them five hundred feet below, to a divide between the Puntledge watershed and a branch of the Cruikshank.

The Dome Approach

Climbing out of this divide, one gets on the Dome approach. The party camped well below the timber line and lay out beneath the stars without blankets and with no other protection from the cold north wind than a roaring fire, kept up all night. Everyone was up at the break of day and a start was made for the Dome at a quarter past five.

Dome Is Well Guarded

The Dome approach is broken by a narrow and precipitous cleft which goes down 700 to 800 feet. Indeed, the Dome is well guarded. There has no way yet been discovered by which it can be reached without two at least of these five or six-hundred-foot valleys to be climbed in and out of. Beyond the cleft there is no break in the rise which leads to the great snow field. There is an unusual amount of snow on it and on the great expanse which can be seen from Courtenay there is not a single break in the sweep of dazzling snow leading to the crest and the bare rock summit just in the corner of the picture as seen from Courtenay. Indeed, the whole progress of the party could have been easily noted from Courtenay with very powerful glasses, the climb over the Dome Approach, the long walk over the great glacier and the emergence at the speck of bare rock at its top right-hand corner.

Built Smudge On Summit

There is no doubt that this is the glacier that dominates Courtenay, nor that this is the highest point, but there are four peaks higher than this particular one which might easily also claim to belong to the Dome. The party had taken up with them in their packs enough heather and scrub wood from the timber-line to make a smudge on the summit. The smoke rose bravely into the clear air, but apparently, a quarter past ten on Sunday morning is a little too early for observers and in any case it does not appear to have been seen. There was a rough cairn on the summit but no record in it. Another cairn was built on the same spot and a record made. While the Dome had been scaled before, there is not disputing the priority of Miss Berkeley as the first lady, who had been on the Dome or indeed, on any part of this great and awesome world of rock and ice and snow. Spring has only just come to this region and streams are comparatively small yet, but in a day or two they will roar down the great precipices and open up crevasses in the snow fields.

Another Glacier

Far more spectacular than the Comox Glacier, though not of the same extent, is another glacier, [Cliffe Glacier] which has been noted in photographs taken by Mr. [Harry] Rees and his party and Mr. [George] Kinney and his party. On either side of it stands black and soring peaks four or five hundred feet higher than the Dome and between it flows a glacier which would have seemed immense if it had not to bear comparison with the Comox Glacier. As far as is known neither of these peaks have a name, nor have they been scaled and they are rugged and austere enough to challenge an alpinist. On that particular day of Sunday, in bright and clear weather, could be seen over a low ridge of snow peaks, the shimmer of the open Pacific and at one sweep of the eye there could be seen from this spot the Gulf of Georgia and the open Pacific. Weeks could be spent in this wilderness of peaks, ice and snow and glacial lake without seeing a tenth part of what there is to see. The time at the disposal of the party was limited and the stay on the summit was a matter of less than two hours. The pleasant little valley under Mount Evans [Kookjai Mountain] was reached that night and the party again slept as they stood and walked, before a great fire. Next morning, over Mount Evans to base camp and down to Trout Lake early in the afternoon, where the party rested and waited till they could catch Mr. Rees’s boat down Comox Lake and so home. Careful observations have been made of this trip and further details will be given later in our Mountaineering column. It will be many years before this great Switzerland of the interior of Vancouver Island will be open to the average tourist or hiker, but to the alpinist and one who loves to break fresh ground, here is a paradise.

1929 ascent of the Comox Glacier

1929 ascent of the Comox Glacier

1929 ascent of the Comox Glacier

1929 ascent of the Comox Glacier


On Forbidden Plateau

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 1, 1929, p.2.

Several parties have already made trail of the new Dove Creek Trail. Under the guidance of Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, Messrs. Newton, J. Kerr, E. & N. land agent, Alan Kerr and W.P. Regan, C.P.R. timber commissioner, rode in to the end of the trail last week, for the purpose of examining the timber and getting an idea of the plateau. One member of the party came back from Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] to Burn’s Ranch in two hours and fifty minutes on horseback. On Tuesday, also, Alderman H.E. Wallis, Mr. H.D. Wallis, with Stuart Wood as packer, took the trail from Bevan. They camped at Lake Beautiful and with it as a base, climbed Mount Albert Edward and Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain in one day. They went up Castle Mountain by the ridge from the back and found the chimney in front clear of snow.


Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 8, 1929, p.2.

Sid Williams called up from Port Alberni on Monday night [August 5]. Relatives here had pictured him and Dave Guthrie and Fred Duncan floating down Buttles [Buttle] Lake on a raft, so this was quite a surprise. When Mr. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul and Mr. [Joe] Rees left them on Saturday [August 3] morning at 8 o’clock, on top of the Dome [Comox Glacier], they were looking for a way down into Buttles Lake. They did not find it. The sides were too precipitous to get down without ropes and the proper climbing equipment. Here, evidently, is a climb worthy of some real mountaineer. It also established another thing, namely that this not the mountain that Mr. Rees planted his cairn on as they descended from it into Buttles Lake. When Sid and his party found they could not get down into Buttles Lake they had a council of war and decided to go through Comox Pass to Alberni and climb Mt. Arrowsmith. So, they retraced their steps back to Comox Lake, enjoyed the hospitality of the Comox Logging company at the end of the lake and went through the path to Alberni, fishing and having a good time on the way. They climbed Mount Arrowsmith on Tuesday [August 6]. Miss Marjorie Leedam was with a party that has also climbed Mount Arrowsmith.

The hiking habit is certainly growing and quite a number of people are going into the Forbidden Plateau. Mr. and Mrs. Sammy Watson have been in and on Wednesday morning Mr. Allberry and Mr. Murray of Grantham with their boys Merrill and Jack, left with their own horses to go over the Dove Creek Trail. It is from four to five hours hike to Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] where there is a camp and one can wander where he likes. Outsiders, too, area going in fairly steadily with horses and without.

As to the Dome trail, Mr. Joe Rees went in with Mr. W.A.B. Paul to make sure of the location of the peak that the party from Courtenay climbed. As a result of the trip, he is now convinced that this is not the mountain that he climbed on several occasions, but he still thinks that his mountain is the one that can be seen from Union Street, Courtenay. It would be a nice point to determine this controversy. Coming out from the Dome trail, Mr. Paul and Mr. Rees, travelling light, made it in eight and a half hours, to the head of the Comox Lake. They left Sid Williams and his party on the Dome at eight o’clock on Saturday morning and got to the head of the lake at half past four in the afternoon. But then they lost no time in seeking the trail or finding the easiest way to travel.

Pioneers Always

There are plenty of peaks to climb and many a trail to blaze in that great expanse of rock, ice and snow, before it can be said that it is half explored.

Alpine Campers Enjoy Pictures

Members Of Recent Camps At Shield’s Lake And Upper Sooke River Are Guests

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday August 10, 1929, p.8.

Members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada who attended the camps at Shield’s Lake, Leech River and Forbidden Plateau, in the course of the last year were entertained on Thursday [August 15] evening at a cinema and bridge party, at which Mrs. Hugh Mackenzie and Mrs. Claude Harrison were the hostesses, the affair taking place at the home of the former, 1039 Richardson Street. The varied and novel character of the entertainment proved highly popular; the “movie” pictures taken by Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison at each of these camps being a particularly happy feature of the occasion. The lantern was operated by Mr. Harrison himself, who was heartily applauded at the conclusion of his talk. Supplementary to the camp pictures was a splendid little film showing some of the incidents connected with the recent opening by His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor of the Dove Creek Road leading into Forbidden Plateau; and a film of a two days’ trip down the Cowichan River at its high-water period in the late spring. Mr. Harrison and some of the young members of the Alpine Club composing the party. Because they had never previously been shown, the major interest centred in the pictures of the recent Shield’s Lake camp, held during the early part of July. These gave a graphic suggestion of the little-explored beauties which lie hidden in the hills just beyond Victoria’s western skyline. In showing them Mr. Harrison, who acted as camp organizer and leader, expressed the conviction that the holding of such camps would surely eventually result in a great increase in the club membership, for not only would it make outdoor lovers anxious to reap the advantages of visiting such a delightful playground right at Victoria’s doors, but it would appeal as a very fine training ground for the more strenuous terrain of the parent Alpine Club camps held annually in the Rockies. Anyone who had attended the Shield’s Lake camp and joined the expedition up Ragged Mountain would, he thought, admit value of such work in hardening the muscles for more arduous exercise. The pictures of Shield’s Lake camp showed the advance and main parties debarking from the train and starting up the trail; also, their entry to the Alpine Club park. In the first instance the camp site is shown in its original state, heavily timbered; but later pictures discovered the results of hard labor with axe and saw, with a small village of tents and flys, ranged round two or three simple stone cairns which served as cooking ranges and hot-water tanks. Many amusingly intimate pictures of the actual camp life, meal times, washing-up time, swimming, boating and wash-day furnished a lighter touch in the entertainment. The audience heartily applauded an excellent picture of Mrs. Harrison hoisting the flag the day the camp opened. The photography in all the films was excellent, and the fine scenic features in all the country explored by the three camps was pictured to great advantage. The latter part of the evening was given up to bridge, the serving of refreshments and dancing, and at its close the hostesses were accorded a rousing cheer by way of thanks.


Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 15, 1929, p.2.

For the first time, there are fish on Forbidden Plateau. This is on the testimony of Mayor Theed Pearse and Mrs. Pearse, who have just returned from a very delightful ramble through the country. In both McKenzie and Panther Lakes, little trout that were planted there as eggs have come out in the form of fry and are disporting themselves there. There is no reason to believe that they will not survive for as far as the hatchery men know they have no enemies to fear and there is plenty of plant food for them.

By an extraordinary accident that might never happen again, Mr. H.P. Allberry lost a valuable horse while on a trip into the Forbidden Plateau. The deer flies were very troublesome at Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] camp and the horse was rolling. He rolled against a stump of a tree and it went between his ribs and pierced his heart and the poor beast was dead in a few minutes. Apart from this, Mr. Allberry and Mr. Murray enjoyed their trip very much, but they say you need a week to see the Plateau properly. Some Courtenay school boys are doing quite well ‘guiding’ into the Plateau. Tourists, who come up here could do well to take in guides. There is no danger of getting lost but they are likely to lose a good deal of time and miss many points of interest if they don’t take some one in with them.

The pictures taken by members of the Dome [Comox Glacier] party have excited a great deal of interest. It is quite likely that one of the mountaineering clubs may have their camp situated so that they can tackle some of these unknown peaks next year.


Ascent Of Mount Finlayson

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday August 18, 1929, p.8.

By C.W. Yates

One cool Sunday morning I was motored out to the Goldstream mud flats for the purpose of climbing Mount Finlayson. It is considered one of the stiffest climbs east of the Goldstream River. The two popular ways of ascent are from the North and the West. The latter is by far the harder, as the grade is very steep. We took the west side, as we disliked the idea of going up by the north, as it is facilitated by deer trails. The ascent was moderately hard. The mountain is made up of moss-covered shelves which slope about 30 degrees. Some of them are hard to climb, as the moss is loose and acts on the same principle as when one steps on a marble. About 300 feet from the plateau at the top there are several chimneys which are impossible to climb without a rope. We spent ten minutes looking for a way past them. The party split up, three of us going up a small chimney, while I skirted the mountain till, coming to a suitable crevice, I gained the bracken-covered slopes of the plateau above. The party joined again at the plateau. There were about five other people on the plateau, two of whom had come up the west side, some ten minutes before us. The view from the plateau looking West was glorious. Far below us were the Finlayson mud flats. Opposite us on the Malahat Range one could trace the course of the railway for fully two miles. During the ascent the south-bound train was watched while it crossed a hundred-foot chasm. To the Southwest one could see far in the distance the Humpback reservoir, which is the end of the great Sooke pipeline. To the right of the reservoir towers Mount MacDonald.

The Highest Point

We then climbed to the highest point, which is given as 1,342 feet high. The view from here was magnificent. To the North stretched the Saanich Arm, headed by the south end of Salt Spring Island, while to the East unfolded a vast vista including Mount Baker and sundry other peaks in the Cascades. Southward lay Victoria, which was seen very plainly; but the real thrill was the many small peaks dotted around us for miles. They stretched from Salt Spring Island to the rolling Metchosin volcanics on the South. We were slowly descending the south face after luncheon when a shout from the youngest member of the party told us that we were successful in finding a valuable fern. There was quite a small quantity of it in the dry, open crevices, and we gathered a few specimens to take home. The fern is the Lace Fern (Cheilianthes gracillima). It is very rare, as it is only known to grow in one place on the Island, namely on Mount Finlayson. It is quite profuse in the cascades, I am told; but the fact that it only grows in one place on the Island and a fair amount of it at that, is very curious. The fern itself is quite attractive with little dark green leaves about three inches in length. On the way down I found a very interesting fern. It is the rock brake. I have seen it in only one place before, namely, the Cattle Hills. It is not very common, but occasionally one comes across it in the Sooke Hills. I also found a pink godetia, which I had only seen in two places before, Mount Baldy, near Shawnigan Lake, and the Cattle Hills. This one on Finlayson was probably the rare one which Professor Henry ascribes to Mount Finlayson. The two other times I had found it, it was sure to have been the common kind. All over the rocks were the dead stalks and seed capsules of Langdorf’s mimulus, showing that in early Spring Finlayson must be quite a damp place. The Douglas firs came right up to the summit on the north shoulder, but there were very few trees to be seen on the south and east sides. I saw a few maples on the slopes, but only one cedar.

Wealth Of Orchids

In a shady spot there were three different genera of orchids. They were as follows: The Lady’s Tresses, the Rattlesnake Orchid and Halsenaria elegans. There were a few measly looking stems of the Scarlet Paint Brush, but none in flower. While running down a mossy slope we nearly ran into a wasp’s nest in a spirea bush, but checked ourselves in time. The lower slopes of Finlayson were dotted around quite thickly with dogwood and nut bushes. There was quite a quantity of nuts, on the bushes, but a few were empty as some bug had eaten the kernel. We reached the mud flats, weary and footsore, but triumphant in the fact that he had climbed Mount Finlayson and made three botanical finds.

Pioneer Names

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday August 20, 1929, p.4.

In Letters to the Editor

Sir—Having read an interesting account lately in The Colonist about the “hike” of members of the Alpine Club to their camp at Shield’s Lake, amidst the Sooke Hill, I have been waiting for some abler pen to enter a protest against consigning the names of old pioneers to oblivion. This practice is becoming far too common and attention should be drawn to it before it goes any further. These members of the Alpine Club camp at a beauty spot, and unmindful of those who first blazed a trail to it between forty and fifty years ago, decided that Shield’s Lake is not a good enough name for it and calmly rename it The Lake of the Seven Hills because it shows the reflection of them. Suppose that someone took away their names and renamed them “The Gentleman with the Long Nose” or “The Lady with the Prominent Chin,” or other prominent features. Captain Edward Shields (this is the way the family spell it I believe), as a young man hunted in the Sooke Hills and discovered this lake. He built a cabin there for his headquarters, and may have pre-empted a ranch there too, (but of that I am not positive). He married Miss Louise Charters, one of the old Sooke pioneers, and their family are well-known residents of Sooke and Colwood. He was Captain of various sealing schooners sailing out of Victoria, and was drowned at sea when his boat went down in the early nineties. I think it was the Maggie Mac. Why should not his name remain. It has been held in remembrance for forty years by his friends and neighbors and it is fitting that the place he loved should be kept. To strangers it may not mean much, but the name brings back memories to those who knew him, of a ready smile and a hearty hand clasp. I remember one remark of an old man when news came of the tragedy, “If they ever find Ed, he’ll have a smile on his face, for he gloried in a gale at sea.” But the sea kept its dead. They had tablets to spare for each of the Seven Hills. Haven’t they one to spare on which to inscribe the name of him who gave his name to Shield’s Lake?

Jean Stewart, R.R. No. 2, Victoria, B.C., Aug. 17, 1929.


To Finish Cabin on Mount Becher

Mountaineering Club Meets at Courtenay to Arrange Plans for Future Activities

Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday September 17, 1929 p.14.

COURTENAY, Sept. 16—At a meeting of the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club held in the City Hall on Friday [September 13] evening, plans for future activities were made. After the secretary had reported on the financial standing of the club, it was decided on the suggestion of Mr. W. Adrian B. Paul, to invite members of the Vancouver Island Alpine Club next year to climb the Dome [Comox] Glacier and adjacent peaks. Mr. William Douglas, who has recently been to the top of Mount Becher, drew attention to the untidy appearance of the unfinished cabin, and suggested that as the club has the necessary funds and the material, in the form of logs already on the site, the cabin be completed by obtaining the services of two capable men for four days. It was decided to carry out the suggestion. An invitation was received from the publicity committee of the Board of Trade to members of the Mountaineering Club to join the party, which will include members of the City Council and a number of friends from Victoria for a week’s exploration of the Forbidden Plateau, commencing next Tuesday.

Climbed Mountain at Sayward

Hiking Spirit Spread to Up-Island Valley

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 19, 1929, p.1.

Sayward, Sept. 15.—Miss Nancy Henry, who is spending a holiday from her duties in Vancouver, with her parents, climbed to the top of Mount Kusam [Hkusam Mountain], 4,500 feet, on Wednesday [September 18], accompanied by her brother Alfred. Starting at 6 a.m. they reached the top soon after noon and were able to take a number of fine photos of the valley and straits. The last and worst part of the return journey had to be negotiated by moonlight, through a great pile of windfalls, which have accumulated since the fire of 1922. They reached home about 9:30.

Board Of Trade at Forbidden Plateau

Cavalcade Make Trip into Mountains

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 19, 1929, p.4.

A cavalcade of fourteen horses and twenty-one men took the trail to the Forbidden Plateau via Dove Creek on Tuesday morning under the auspices of the Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade. Included in the party in addition to the members of the board of trade were Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, Messrs. [William] Dougan and [Kenneth] Chadwick of Victoria, Mr. Harlan I. Smith of Ottawa, who is using a thousand feet of movie film on the trip, three Victoria college boys, Ald. Macintyre, Ball and Wallis of the Courtenay Water Committee, and Mr. M.F. Fairbairn of Comox. The vanguard of the party got away from Dove Creek at 7:30 a.m. leaving Messrs. William Douglas and Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood to look after the pack train. They arrived in Skittle’s camp about fourteen miles from Burn’s ranch in time for afternoon tea, the pack train coming in about six. Under the leadership of Mr. P.L. [Leo] Anderton there was a merry camp fire council before everyone turned in for the night. Yesterday the Victoria contingent and Messrs. Ben Hughes and Felix Thomas had to come out, some of them coming by way of Dove Creek others making the circular trip by Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie] and Bevan. Those who remained in until to-day had excellent trips to Moat Lake and Circle [Circlet] Lake. Visibility was not good owing to smoke. The Water Committee party remain until Saturday, releasing one dam and exploring the watershed.

Are Preparing for Winter Sports

Mountaineering Club Meets

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 19, 1929, p.5.

At a meeting of the Comox and District Mountaineering Club on Friday [September 13] night, an invitation was sent to the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada to make their next summer camp in the Dome section. From there they could explore a lot of unknown country and climb some interesting peaks. Mr. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul, who climbed Mount Arrowsmith with the Alpine Club brought up the subject and the executive committee will write and hold out the invitation.

Winter Sports

Now that winter is coming on, winter sports will soon be in vogue again. The cabin on Mount Becher is not yet completed and it should be if full advantage is to be taken of the glorious sport to be obtained. There is still $125 owing on a note for the construction of the cabin, but a more pressing necessity is to get the cabin completed. Mr. William Douglas thought it could be done with one experienced man and a number of volunteer helpers, and the funds are to be raised by a subscription drive for fees from old and new members. As it was felt that no time was to be lost the executive committee was empowered to go ahead and make arrangements. The game board is to be asked to place notices on the Mount Becher and Dove Creek trails showing where the game reserve for the Forbidden Plateau starts. At the present time there is nothing to indicate where it does start although the boundaries have been fixed by order of council. Miss Maud Allen was thanked for the loan of her toboggan for the club at the winter sports last year and Mr. Ben Hughes for the gift of one.

Expedition Has Tried New Trail

Several Victorians Return from Forbidden Plateau, Visited With Comox Organized Party

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday September 21, 1929, p.5.

Six Victorians have just returned to the city after an interesting trip into Forbidden Plateau [September 16-18] with an expedition organized by the Courtenay Board of Trade and led by Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, Messrs. C. [Clinton] S. Wood and B. [Ben] Hughes of the Comox Mountaineering Club and Mr. P.L. [Leo] Anderson, of the Courtenay Board of Trade. The expedition is probably one of the last big parties to go into the Forbidden Plateau this season, although they report that the opening of the new trail into the district last June has resulted in hundreds of tourists and Island residents visiting the former little-known country. The expedition numbered twenty-four men, including several of the Courtenay aldermen and other prominent residents of the Comox district, and Messrs. W. [William] H. Dougan, K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, James and William Gibson and G. Brown Cave [high school boys], of Victoria. Sixteen ponies were taken in for pack and saddle purposes, and helped to speed up the excursion over the new trail. This was found to be in remarkably good condition, and to those who had only visited the Plateau by last year’s trail, the route via Isabella Lake proved very interesting, for while it lies at a lower altitude for the grades are easier, and interesting stretches of forest are traversed. The site of last year’s pioneer Alpine Club camp at Lake Beautiful, was the objective of the expedition, and from this the return route lay over the old trail of 1928, opening up vistas of some of the finest scenery on the Island. At Lake Beautiful a flock of Canada wild geese were found in possession of a pond where last Summer’s tents were pitched, but the fowl were so unaccustomed to visitors that they showed no signs of fear. An enterprising caterer was found at Isabella Lake, where he has done a successful business during the season providing savory hot meals for footsore tourists, with two comfortable tents forming a welcome station for those inclined to tarry overnight. This week’s expedition went in early on Tuesday morning returning to Courtenay on Wednesday. The new trail, it is reported, opens up seven new lakes. In addition to their previous Mount Becher hut the Comox Mountaineering Club has now established an excellent camp at Goss Lake for use of its members. One of the most beautiful lakes in the whole plateau country is Moat Lake, the waters of which possess the brilliant transparent greenish-blue coloring found in some of the more renowned lakes of the Rockies. Tuesday’s expedition broke into three detachments on the return journey, one of these detachments coming out via Moat Lake. Others on the trip included: Geoffrey B. Capes, Frank McPherson, Felix Thomas, R.U. Hurford, John Inglis, A.T. Searle. Mr. Harlan Smith, Dominion Government archaeologist, Captain Carey and F.W. Galloway followed. Bill Douglas who cheerfully assumed the onerous duties of last man on the trail with J.H. Macintyre. H.E. Wallis, brought in the pack horses accompanied by A.B. Hall and Captain Fairbairn with J.A. Warren assisting with the horses. Jim Skittles was camp cook.


Alpinists Plan Autumn Outings

Four More Only in Present Year. Programme Committee Decides at Meeting Yesterday

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday September 21, 1929, p.5.

Four outings to be held between now and the end of November were planned at a meeting of the programme committee of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, held yesterday afternoon. The first of these will be on Saturday, October 12, a half-day trip to Mount Finlayson, leaving the city at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. The second will be on Saturday, October 26, a whole-day excursion to Ragged Mountain, leaving the city early in the morning and returning to the Sooke Hotel in the evening for dinner after the climb. On November 9, 10 and 11 the Alpine Club camp at Lake of the Seven Hills will be visited, when climbers who wish to remain the three days will find a programme to occupy their full time over the Thanksgiving holiday week-end. Those who cannot remain for the entire three days may go in and enjoy the camp for any shorter period. On November 30 the last outing of the present year will take place. This will be a half-day trip to Mount Macdonald, leaving the city at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Those intending to join any of these outings should notify the secretary, Mr. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, in good time in order that transportation arrangements may be affected. There will probably be no further outings after November 30 until February or march. Only members in good standing and their guests will be entitled to attend the outings, and the treasurer, Mr. Gordon Cameron, is revising the membership list in this connection. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, chairman of the outings committee, presided at yesterday’s meeting.

West Coast and Forbidden Plateau

Port Alberni People Discover New Playground

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 28, 1929, p.2. and the

Port Alberni News Thursday September 12, 1929, p.1.

The West Coast has discovered the Forbidden Plateau and is so charmed with it that it is determined to find a route through to it from the West Coast. Mr. J.R. Motion, well-known business man of Port Alberni went up by the Dove Creek trail and was surprised and delighted with what he saw. Mr. Motion has been on the island for 35 years and knows most of it very well, but he has never suspected such an island plateau as this. So impressed was he by it that he addressed a meeting of the Business Men’s Club at the Good Eats Café on Monday at Port Alberni, eulogizing the plateau and urging West Coast men to make use of it. Two other Port Alberni men have also climbed into the plateau and found their way to Mount Albert Edward. They told their story to the Port Alberni News, where it was re-produced on the front page with a cut. The latest wonderland attraction of Vancouver Island—The Forbidden Plateau and Mount Albert Edward—was recently invaded by Mr. W. [William] H. Crowshaw and Fred Rollins of Port Alberni who brought home with them a number of floral specimens collected in the hidden territory and a number of photographs.

An Easy Grade

The hikers took the new trail which starts at Ward’s Ranch, Dove Creek about five miles west of Courtenay. This trail which had just been completed, is about fourteen miles long and is over an easy grade all the way to the plateau. Pack horses and saddle horses are obtainable at Ward’s but the Port Alberni adventurers did their own packing and it took them six hours to get over the trail, including an hour’s stop for refreshments. A large amount of work they report, has been done on the trail, considering the short time the workers were employed on it. When they arrived at the Plateau, which is about three thousand feet above sea level, they found the last trail camp still standing, at Towler Lake, and kept open by Mr. and Mrs. Skittles for the accommodation of the visitors. From this point there is a connection, two and a half miles, with the old Mount Becher trail. The following morning, the hikers crossed several miles of open plateau, and commenced the ascent of Mount Albert Edward, the summit of which was reached in six hours after leaving camp. The ascent is fairly easy, the only objection being the long hike from camp and back. A wonderful view, taking in the Gulf of Georgia and the mainland, was obtained from the summit, 7,000 feet above sea level. Quite a pink snow was observed on the way up. A large variety of alpine flowers were found in bloom in sunny exposers, and a deer was put up within two hundred feet of the summit. A real wonderland with endless miles of open meadows and rolling heather clad hills and containing hundreds of beautiful lakes some of which are two miles in length. A large number of ducks and geese breed on these lakes and some of the larger lakes are being stoked with Kamloops trout. Butterflies, spiders and various insects were noticed on the trip. The floral specimens brought home were white and purple heather, mountain wallflower and mountain daisies. Mr. Rollin now has these planted in his Port Alberni garden, and is confident they will thrive there. The Forbidden Plateau, now reached only by way of the East Coast, could be made accessible from Alberni by means of the old Buttles lake trail. More recently, J.R. Motion, Gordon Motion, Miss Motion, and Miss Lillian Sloman, visited the Plateau, but did not ascend Mount Albert Edward.

William Crowshaw standing next to Mount Albert Edward’s summit cairn, 1929.

William Crowshaw standing next to Mount Albert Edward’s summit cairn, 1929.

Why Plateau Was Forbidden

Mr. Jas. R. Motion Speaks to Port Alberni Club

Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 3, 1929, p.1 & 10.

Speaking before the Business Men’s Club of Port Alberni, Mr. Jas. R. Motion spoke of the “Forbidden Plateau” which he visited recently. Mr. Motion is intimately conversant with the Island and his enthusiasm for this central region is therefore, a great tribute to its attractions. He said—”What a name to give to this wonderland, ‘Forbidden Plateau.’ A name to provoke the human in us to enquire why it should be forbidden, and call to the able-bodied to investigate and see for themselves. When we hear the name ‘Forbidden Plateau’ we think of Indian legends and no double the name was given to this wonderland, by reason, that it was impossible in the early days to induce the Indians from the Comox district to accompany parties into the interior of the island. They could watch their enemies approaching from the sea, but were powerless, when attacked at night, by these enemies who came from the interior of the Island, they knew not where. No doubt these attacks came from the Opitchesahts of Alberni, a tribe now living on the River Road and reduced to between fifty and sixty in number, but at the time a large and powerful tribe, whose territory included Sproat Lake and Great central Lake to the divide and along the banks of the Stamp and Somass Rivers, where remains of their houses are still to be found. Lupsie Cupsie was the farthest south they came, and their homes were there in the early days in the sixties when the sawmill first started in Port Alberni. It was there also that a chief and his son (still alive) owing to a superstitious belief that they were responsible for the death of another son of the head Chief. Later on, the Comox Indians came over in force to retaliate, and finding the old men, women and children on Slaughter Island near the outlet of Sproat Lake, and the men away hunting, they massacred the old people and took the women and children to Comox as slaves.”

How To Get In

“The ‘Forbidden Plateau’ was truly forbidden to many, previous to this year, the only way being to hike in with a pack and this usually took three to four days. This year the Provincial Government built a pack trail so that it is now possible to go in from Ward’s Ranch to the Plateau in from six to seven hours. Pack horses and saddle horses can be hired here, and they make the trip to the Plateau, where there is plenty of feed for horses, and the horses can be used up there to make many side trips to different viewpoints. For information of all, it is advisable to arrange to leave Ward’s Ranch in the morning, either hiking or with horses, so as to arrive at your destination early in the evening, so that all arrangements can be made for camping for the night. We were fortunate in meeting Mr. Skittles in Courtenay and he was our guide to the Plateau. Part of his pack was placed on our pack horse, but the eggs, four dozen, well, he packed them. It was about 1 p.m. when we left Ward’s Ranch, with one pack horse and one saddle horse and five in our party including Mr. Skittle.”

Hornets Make Things Lively

“Our provision list included two dozen eggs, the rider of the saddle horse had charge of one dozen and one of the hikers had the other. Owing to early training I had to try out the saddle horse which was an advantage. After a while, one of our ladies who had never ridden a horse, was riding along nicely, taking good care of the eggs, when the horse was attached by hornets and immediately resolved itself into various antics, the lady jumped off, and nearly all the eggs were bad scrambled. Naturally, I had to ride the horse again, and took charge of the other dozen of eggs. However, after riding some distance, the hornets again attacked the horse and while I remained in the saddle, the eggs suffered, so that of the two dozen, only eight reached the Plateau. No need to tell you of the other incidents of our trip, how we failed to reach our objective that evening, and camped on the edge of a meadow and how it rained. Next morning was clear and beautiful and we soon made our way over the last hill to the Plateau. We made a side trip to Goose Lake [Lake Helen Mackenzie], and then came back and went to Mr. Skittles’ camp at Towler lake.”

Blazed Trail

“There are blazed trails to several of the viewpoints, the Alpine Club having visited the Plateau last year, no doubt coming to the Plateau by Mt. Becher route, which I understand is much harder to climb. Now, as to the Plateau itself, a beautiful undulating plateau, lightly timbered, open enough to ride through almost anywhere, at an altitude of over 3000 feet and with altitudes up to 7000 feet for those interested in that exhilarating sport. Lakes, lakes everywhere, some large, some small, but hundreds of them, of every conceivable shape and size. It is interesting to note that some of the larger lakes are being stocked with Kamloops trout. As to the flora, what a gorgeous scene must be here, when the heather is in bloom and mountain flowers. At the time of our visit most of the bloom had passed, but the wild cotton showed everywhere. We were particularly favored with beautiful clear weather and good visibility.”

Sanctuary For Game

“What a sanctuary for game, we saw geese, grouse and deer and traces of bear. After lunch Mr. Skittles took us to a precipice 1500 feet in height, overlooking the Cruikshank River, down in the valley, timber everywhere. Across the valley of the Cruikshank, rearing itself high to the west, was Mount Albert Edward, and to the south-west the Dome [Comox Glacier] could be easily seen. We followed the precipice southerly for some distance and lying south was the valley of the Cruikshank River wending its way to Comox Lake, a beautiful scene indeed. This view alone was well worth the trip. ‘Forbidden Plateau’ comprises, I understand, an area of 100 square miles within the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway land belt and if it were possible to acquire this territory from the railway company for park purposes and develop this vast area as a national park, what a wonderland this would be not only to the people of British Columbia, but to the western provinces of Canada and the western States of America. One of its great advantages is, it is so easily accessible.”

Pioneers To Plateau

“One word to the men who found the wonderful plateau. First, outstanding must go to Mr. Clinton S. Wood, secretary of the Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade, whose only hobby, outside of his duties as City Clerk of Courtenay, is the development of this wonderland. He, with three companions arrived on the Plateau while we were there, and it was easy to see his enthusiasm for the development. He, it was, who with one or two companions, hiked into the area and found this wonderland, and who blazed the trail so that a pack trail became possible this year. Another gentleman closely associated with Mr. Wood is Mr. Ben Hughes, Editor of the Comox Argus. Gentlemen, I have no hesitation in recommending for your consideration, in your next year’s vacation programme, a trip to the ‘Forbidden Plateau’.”


Courtenay Lake Put on B.C. Map

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday October 31, 1929, p.4.

Courtenay appears likely to be denied the opportunity to call any of the lakes in the Forbidden Plateau after the city which has given such a warm support to mountaineering interests in that section of Vancouver Island, as the Geographic Board of Canada has allocated the name of “Courtenay” to a lake draining into Quilchena Creek in the Kamloops district.

Alpine Club To Give Special Entertainment

Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday October 31, 1929, p.7.

A campfire scene which will reproduce a typical group of mountain climbers gathered for the evening sing-song and entertainment after a day’s hike over the hills, will be one of the features of the entertainment to be given to the Chamber of Commerce Auditorium on Friday, November 22, by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. The campers will be seen in their hiking dress and their programme of choruses and speeches will be typical of a scene at the Forbidden Plateau and the Lake of the Seven Hills camp. During the evening there will also be lantern slides, colored, showing actual photographs of the country around these two camps, with some of the Alpine Club members. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison is also introducing some motion pictures taken during the Leech River expedition and the last camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills. There will be special music items. The programme starts at 8:15 and admission is 50c.


Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 31, 1929, p.2.

Thanks to Jack Gregson, Pat Ellis and certain members of the Courtenay High School, the shingling of the roof of the cabin at Mount Becher made substantial progress on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was the day for the hike up Mount Becher by the Courtenay High School and with Mr. Lundie and Miss Allen at their head they turned out 28 strong. Some of the high school party found the long and steep grades before the Look Out rather trying but they all made the cabin and had an excellent lunch. Six of the girls climbed to the top, Phyllis and Katherine Capes, May Taylor, Elsie Waterfield, Sheila Allard and Roberta Hopkins. Just below the Look Out Mr. Farmer had been busy cutting cedar shakes and when Jack Gregson, Pat Ellis, Tom Hughes and others went up, they took with them a load. Once on top, Gregson and Ellis set to work shingling and before they came down they had out one layer of shingles on one side of the unfinished part of the building. Enough shakes have been cut to finish shingling one layer thick and if only the weather will hold good, five husky hikers could carry up enough shingles to finish the job of shingling well enough to keep out the snow and make the place habitable. This would double the accommodation up there for the winter sports this year. Messrs. R.P. Allard and H.E. Wallis went up on Sunday morning carrying shingles with them.

Alpine Club Camp Is Great Success

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday November 13, 1929, p.20.

Splendid testimony to the fine climate of Vancouver Island was given by the success of the Alpine Club’s Thanksgiving holiday camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke. Two nights were spent under canvas in the beautiful little valley which, within the next year or so, will have the club hut as a permanent nucleus of what is already a very popular resort with the club members. This week-ends camp was under Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison’s direction, and fifteen members in all joined the expedition and spent two nights under the stars. The party went out on Saturday, with five pack horses to help in transporting the equipment demanded by the cooler weather, so there was an ample supply of blankets. Despite the high altitude of the camp and the touch of frost, the usual bonfire gathering in the evening was immensely popular. Sunday was spent in hiking, the whole camp turning out and ranging over the Seven Hills, in fine clear weather permitting an uninterrupted view over the whole southern portion of the Island. Every member assembled for the evening campfire again. Although up to midnight Summery temperatures continued, a sharp frost developed in the later hours of the night, and in the morning the lake was found fringed with ice, while stiff little cakes of ice had formed in basins and drinking cups in which water had been left. Camp broke about 2 o’clock on Monday afternoon, up to which time the weather had remained perfect, and the first rain was encountered only a few minutes before the homeward trail was finished. This was the last major outing of the club for the season, but there is still a half-day outing on the programme, viz., to Mount McDonald on Saturday, November 30.

Prospectors Venture into The Unexplored Fastnesses of Interior Vancouver Island

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday November 20, 1929, p.3.

An interesting account of the wonders of the unexplored parts of the big interior of Vancouver Island is told upon the arrival back in civilization of two prospectors, Messrs. Joe Obingr, of Big Bend, California, and Mr. Jack [Von] Brendel, of Alberni, who have just undertaken an extensive prospect covering the entire Summer and Fall, of the area situated between the headwaters of Bear [Bedwell] River, Bedwell Sound and the Moyeha River, Herbert Arm, this area lying both in and out of the southern boundary of Strathcona Park, where it crosses over the centre of the Island to the West Coast. Mr. Obingr, who is completing an eighteen months’ prospect on the West Coast of the Island, is returning to his home in California this week, and Mr. Brendel to Alberni, and their interesting description of the trip just completed was graphically described to Major George Nicholson, proprietor of the Clayoquot Hotel, while waiting for the Princess Norah to bring them south. While the greater part of their time was taken up in prospecting the Bear River Valley and doing development work on several rich claims they own in the area, an expedition was undertaken to the most inaccessible territory at the higher levels, and it was there the interesting discoveries were made. Both these prospectors have been exploring these rivers for twenty years or more, but this is the first time this particular section has ever been visited by any man, white or Indian. Certainly, there is not to be found any sign of man, no camp sites, survey marks, blazes or other trace of man having gone before.

At High Altitude

The main part of the exploration was conducted at an altitude of 6,000 feet, barometer readings, where when this height was reached after almost precipitous climbing, the land generally maintained this more or less even altitude with the exception of the many high mountain peaks continuing up another two or three thousand feet and which were mostly covered with snow all Summer. A series of benches exist in most places, some several hundred feet above the other and several of these benches, in some cases, several miles in extent, were found to be of hard granite of a high grade and bare, making a most imposing sight when glistening in the sunlight, and, with the sun at a certain angle, being almost blinding in the eyes. The only mineral observed in this area was iron, there being large areas of almost pure iron, covering in some instances hundreds of feet across. It is not thought that there are many other minerals in this high area, and in any case they would be too inaccessible to work. The principal mountain peaks in this area are Mount Septimus, the Big Interior Mountain, and Mount Granite, all situated within Strathcona Park.

View Huge Glacier

In the valley between the high peaks at the headwaters of the Bear River, within the southwestern boundaries of Strathcona Park, was observed the magnificent Taylor Glacier, and though it was during the hottest period of the Summer when the party camped alongside it, little did it appear to be affected in any way by the rays of the sun at that altitude. This glacier appears to be about five miles long and varies in width from five hundred to a thousand feet. By the depth of the valley through which it traverses it must be several hundred feet thick, with a sheer thickness of two hundred feet where it breaks off in chunks and irregular formations at the brink of a steep rocky ledge. With its deep crevasses and irregular serrations, and its green color, it presents a weird and fascinating spectacle. On account of the broken nature of its surface and its deep fissures it is not possible to walk across the glacier, except possibly at certain parts, and then at considerable risk. A few miles across the great watershed the headwaters of the Moyeha River were reached, comprising a series of half a dozen picturesque lakes, all at an altitude of about five thousand feet. These lakes average in length from half a mile to a mile, and unlike the usual type of lake on the Island, surrounded by high and heavily wooded hills, these lakes are open and surrounded by bare rock and granite formation, the water being pure and crystal-like. There is no vegetable or animal growth in the water at this altitude.

Large Waterfall

The barren rock formation around these beautiful lakes is only broken here and there by clumps of white and blue heather, which grows in abundance over these wide-open spaces, and, with the dwarf huckleberry, is practically the only vegetation to be found. Small patches of mountain hemlock and yellow cedar are to be found here and there in the most sheltered bottoms. The lowest of the three lakes emptying into the Moyeha, still at an elevation of four thousand feet, has at its outlet the beautiful lower Moyeha Waterfall, claimed by half-dozen white men who have seen it to be by far the most picturesque waterfall in British Columbia. With a body of water of a million or so gallons per second, the falls have a sheer drop of four hundred feet, the sheet of water being about twenty feet wide at the spillway. A mile or so further up the same river is another waterfall known as the Upper Moyeha Falls. This is from the outlet of one of the upper of a series of small lakes and while almost as picturesque is only a little smaller than its lower sister. The Moyeha River flows into the head of Herbert Arm at the point where Strathcona Park touches salt water on the West Coast. The falls are situated about twelve miles or so inland. A similar series of small lakes exist at the headwaters of most of the different rivers forming from this watershed, and it is pointed out that good waterpower could be provided from them for the development of any claims in the area. Of the more important streams sharing this extensive watershed are the Bedwell, Bear and Moyeha Rivers, flowing to the West Coast, and the streams flowing into the upper end of Buttle Lake, are on the east. During the few warm summer months, the meadows there abound in game, for there is an abundance of mountain berries. Situated in the lower levels of the Bear River district are Ptarmigan, Seattle Mine and numerous other rich claims, principally gold, silver and copper. These are all easily accessible to tidewater on Clayoquot Sound. Quite a number of mining engineers and prospectors were checking up on these various properties during the past summer months.

Moving Pictures of the Forbidden Plateau

Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday November 20, 1929, p.12.

Announcement for presentation of moving pictures of the Forbidden Plateau by Claude L. Harrison

Announcement for presentation of moving pictures of the Forbidden Plateau by Claude L. Harrison.


Island Beauty Is Depicted in Lantern Views

Audience of 400 At Chamber of Commerce Auditorium Present at Alpine Club Entertainment—Camp-Fire Scene Clever Novelty

Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday November 23, 1929, p.6.

The joys of mountaineering on Vancouver Island were presented in a novel and entertaining fashion at the Chamber of Commerce auditorium last evening [November 22], when an audience of more than four hundred people expressed its pleasure in the programme provided under the auspices of the local branch of the Alpine Club of Canada. Among those present was Hon. R. Randolph Bruce, one of the first to traverse the road recently opened into the Forbidden Plateau country, which was portrayed in two of the groups of pictures shown on the screen last evening. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, outings convenor for the Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, acted as chairman and his comments on the still and moving pictures of the Forbidden Plateau, the Lake of the Seven Hills camps, and various minor excursions up the Sooke and Leech Rivers, were lucidly descriptive. The photographic slides were remarkably fine, being hand tinted by Mrs. [Charlotte] Hadow, an active member of the club, who has been able to give an absolutely truthful representation of the colors of the different lakes, rocky buttresses and trees. The second series of movies, finished by some special process by Mr. Young, was exceptionally clear, and with color lantern views proved a splendid advertisement of the beauty of the Sooke country, where the Alpine Club’s permanent house is to be erected within a few months at the Lake of the Seven Hills. In addition to these graphic representations of the mountains there were some other delightful and original features, the most novel being the staging of the actual camp-fire scene on the Forbidden Plateau. This was wonderfully realistic. As the curtain was drawn aside, the jolly gathering of bronzed mountaineers was disclosed lounging in typically unconventional attitudes about a blazing pyramid of logs, clad in their serviceable climbing clothes, khaki shirts and breeches, and heavily-nailed boots, and with alpenstock or ice-axe close at hand. A background of firs and shadowy shoulders of mountain added further realism to the picture.

Camp-fire Programme

With a clever fidelity of detail typical camp-fire programme, such as any member of the Alpine Club has experienced, was reproduced, even to the unembarrassed drying of a shirt by one of the members, Mr. Gordon Cameron, who pushed his way through the circle of fire-gazers and proceeded to make the article fit for wearing on the next mornings expedition. In this cheerful atmosphere of genial comradeship, the company was called up one by one for song, recitation, or story, with choruses and a continuous flow of unconventional repartee between. The whole thing was so natural that the audience was hardly conscious that it was being acted. The opening choruses were all familiar climbing songs: ‘We’ve Been Tramping on the Mountains,” “The More We Are Together,” and “Climbing, Climbing.” Mr. Claude Harrison’s “Orders of the Day, a necessary observance in any camp, were delivered in a matter-of-fact businesslike way, informed the members that two climbs would take place the following morning, and asked for registration of those intending to join or either. The company clamored, then, for a song from Mr. [Robert] McCaw, and he gave “When I Climb Upon the Rocks,” the others joining the refrain, “Haul! Haul!” Mrs. Hadow’s humorous recitation, “The Man With a Single Hair,” followed, and after that Mrs. McCaw, manipulating her powder-puff expertly, sang “My Complexion Lies Up in the Mountains” (to the tune of “My Bonnie”). Breezy little stories by Captain [William] Everall and Mr. Norman D’Arcy, and a duet by Mr. Gordon Cameron and Mrs. [Emily] D.B. McConnan, which cleverly parodized “Madam Will You Walk,” concluded the realistic camp-fire programme. One of its happy features was the presence of Mrs. [Bernice] Chave with her banjo, which made a good accompaniment for the singing. Other musical features during the evening were greatly enjoyed: two solos by Mrs. McConnan, “My Lover Comes on a Ski,” and “The Waters of Minnetonka”; and two numbers by a string quartette composed of Miss Adele Bucklin and Miss Neva Stewart. Their playing of Henry’s “Amarylis” and “On Wings of Song” (Mendelson) was most artistic.

The Pictures

The audience applauded enthusiastically when a picture of Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, founder and for many years’ director of the Alpine Club of Canada, and who was present in the auditorium, was thrown on screen. Mr. Harrison introduced him as “the backbone of the Alpine Club, the grand old man of the mountain.” The pictures which followed were colored lantern slides of the Forbidden Plateau country, showing the beautiful sweep of park lands and serrated, snow-covered skyline, open glades with deer grazing undisturbed (the plateau being a game preserve), great rocky buttresses, typical lake scenes in a country which has hundreds of unnamed lakes, several beautiful pictures of Lake Beautiful where the first Forbidden Plateau camp  was pitched last year, magnificent views of Mount Albert Edward and Castle [Castlecrag] Mountain, with the jade-colored waters of Moat Lake at its base, and some of the snow scenes, including one at Becher Pass which was described as one of the longest toboggan slides in the world. A movie of some of the Alpine Club movements in the same area was both interesting and amusing, beginning with the crossing of the suspension bridge at Mount Becher Pass, the arrival in camp, ascent of Mount Albert Edward and Castle Mountain, traversing some of the snow planes, the building of a cairn at the summit, and the less strenuous happenings about the camp. On the return journey to Comox the party was shown digging for fossils on the Puntledge, some of the results of which have been exhibited in the city since.

Sooke Country

Beautiful slides of the Sooke country also were shown, interest centering especially on the club campsite at the Lake of the Seven Hills. Seen from several angles, looking across the lake, or down from some of the surrounding ridge of hills, it is always beautiful, the pictures illustrated episodes in the several expeditions which have been made by the club, including the last “Winter” camp held over the Thanksgiving week-end. Even so late in the season the two days and nights in the open were obviously enjoyed, and pictures disclosed the members of the expedition ranging over the hills or canoeing on the lake. A further interest was given to this series by the pictures of the stocking of the lake with fish brought from the Cowichan River hatcheries. Some of the difficulties attached to this undertaking became obvious. Among the really amusing pictures were those showing the recipient of the Leech River expedition by the “Mayor of Leechtown,” Mr. John Craig, who gave mock solemnity to the occasion by appearing at the little station in the wilderness in a silk hat and frock coats, and armed with a four-foot-long key which he presented with “the freedom of the city” to Mr. C.L. Harrison and the members of the party. Mr. Craig was present in the audience to enjoy the laughter which this episode provoked. On this expedition the party visited the Leech falls, some very fine pictures of which were shown. Another series illustrated the expedition to the top of Mount Maxwell, Salt Spring Island, last Summer. The two weeks’ Summer camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills furnished a reel of splendid pictures, beginning with Mrs. Harrison hoisting the flag and concluding with the descent to the railway once more.

Alpine Club Ends Season with Climb

Mr. C.L. Harrison Leads Members on Expedition Up Mount Macdonald

Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday December 1, 1929, p.6.

Fourteen members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada enjoyed the expedition up Mount McDonald yesterday, under the leadership of Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, outings overseer. Leaving the city at 1 o’clock, the cars reached their destination off the Humpback Road shortly after 2 o’clock, and the climb was commenced immediately. The summit was made by 3 o’clock and a little time was spent exploring the terrain and enjoying the view. On returning to the foot of the mountain, instead of starting for home at once two flies were pitched, an enormous log fire built, and an al fresco supper prepared, a sing-song concluded the days’ programme. This constituted the final outing of the season. No more climbs will take place until February. In the meantime, attention is concentrated on the building of the club hut. Mr. Harrison announced last evening that the work on this had commenced, the contract for the first part having been let to Mr. S.W. Batten, who is now engaged in the construction at the Lake of the Seven Hills of the main portion of the building. This is being constructed of logs set in upright position, the main room measuring twenty by thirty. Members attending yesterday’s outing were Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Mrs. [Charlotte] Hadow, Miss Audrey Hadow, Miss Janet Bell, Miss Arabella Haynes, Mr. Arthur Haynes, Messrs. Norman and J. Darcy, Captain [William] Everall, Mr. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan and Mr. S. Robinson.

Francis Arthur Robertson 1877 – 1929

Reported in the Canadian Alpine Journal Vol. 18. 1929. p.104.

By W.R.T.

Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Arthur Robertson, D.S.O., member of the Alpine Club of Canada since 1910, died in Shaughnessy Military Hospital, Vancouver, B.C., on November 1, 1929. Born in Ontario, he was educated in Manitoba and graduated from the University there. For some years he was in business in Edmonton, and after studying law moved to Victoria on appointment as Vice-President of the Western Finance Company. Prior to the Great War he held a commission with the 5th Regiment, Victoria, and at the outbreak was given command of the fortifications at Esquimalt. When the 47th Battalion (New Westminster) was formed he applied for a transfer and proceeded overseas as a Major with that battalion. A loss of an eye in November 1916, led to a period in hospital, after which he transferred to artillery, and returned to France as O.C. 12th Siege Battery. At the Battle of Amiens, 1918, while with his battery he was wounded, this time losing a leg. He was mentioned in dispatches in November, 1918, and awarded the D.S.O. in December of that year. On his return to British Columbia, at the formation of the returned Soldier’s Commission, he was made Chairman, and from that time was fully occupied with the problems of re-establishment and of the care of the disabled. In February, 1926, he was made secretary to the Canteen Fund in British Columbia, which positions he held at the time of his death. As an active member of the Alpine Club of Canada he attended several camps prior to 1914, and was one of those at Strathcona Park in August 1912, who climbed Elkhorn Mountain, believed to be the highest peak in the park.


The Next Five Years: 1930-1934


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ACCVI History is a work in progress.