Mount Waddington

Last updated
Mount Waddington
Mount Waddington (250499056).jpg
Highest point
Elevation 4,019 m (13,186 ft) [1]
Prominence 3,289 m (10,791 ft) [1]
Isolation 562 km (349 mi)  OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Listing
Coordinates 51°22′25″N125°15′48″W / 51.37361°N 125.26333°W / 51.37361; -125.26333 Coordinates: 51°22′25″N125°15′48″W / 51.37361°N 125.26333°W / 51.37361; -125.26333 [2]
Geography
Canada British Columbia relief location map.jpg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Mount Waddington
DistrictRange 2 Coast Land District
Parent range Waddington Range
Topo map NTS   92N6 [2]
Climbing
First ascent 1936 by Fritz Wiessner and William House [3]
Easiest route Rock/ice climb

Mount Waddington, once known as Mystery Mountain, is the highest peak in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Although it is lower than Mount Fairweather and Mount Quincy Adams, which straddle the United States border between Alaska and British Columbia, Mount Waddington is the highest peak that lies entirely within British Columbia. [4] It and the subrange which surround it, known as the Waddington Range, stand at the heart of the Pacific Ranges, a remote and extremely rugged set of mountains and river valleys.

Contents

It is not as far north as its extreme Arctic-like conditions might indicate, and Mount Waddington and its attendant peaks pose some of the most serious expedition mountaineering to be had in North America and some of the most extreme relief and spectacular mountain scenery.

From Waddington's 13,186 ft (4,019 m) fang to sea level at the heads of Bute and Knight Inlets is only a few miles; across the 10,000-foot-deep (3,000 m) gorges of the Homathko and the Klinaklini Rivers stand mountains almost as high, and icefields even vaster and whiter, only a few aerial miles away, with a maw deeper than the Grand Canyon, comparable in relief to the Himalayas (to which the terrain of British Columbia was compared by colonial-era travellers).

Mount Waddington is the namesake of the Mount Waddington Regional District, which takes in the seaward slope of the Waddington Range and the adjoining coastline and parts of northern Vancouver Island adjacent to Queen Charlotte Strait.

Discovery and exploration by Europeans

Summit of Mount Waddington as viewed from the northern end of Bute Inlet Mount Waddington from Bute Inlet.jpg
Summit of Mount Waddington as viewed from the northern end of Bute Inlet

In 1925, while on a trip to Mount Arrowsmith, Vancouver Island, Don and Phyllis Munday spotted what they believed to be a peak taller than Mount Robson, the then accepted tallest peak entirely within British Columbia. In the words of Don Munday, "The compass showed the alluring peak stood along a line passing a little east of Bute Inlet and perhaps 150 miles away, where blank spaces on the map left ample room for many nameless mountains." [5] While there is debate as to whether the peak they saw was Mount Waddington (Don Munday observed that the feat is impossible), [6] they almost certainly saw a peak in the Waddington Range, and this led the Mundays to explore that area.

Over the next decade, the Mundays mounted several expeditions into the area in an attempt to climb it. [7] Known to them as "The Mystery Mountain", in 1927 the height was measured at 13,260 feet by triangulation; [8] they reached the lower summit in 1928, deeming the main summit too risky. On their recommendation the Geographical Names Board of Canada gave it the name Mount Waddington after Alfred Waddington who was a proponent of a road route, known as Waddington's Road, and again later the same for a railway, via the Homathko River valley and Bute Inlet, which would connect to Vancouver Island via Seymour Narrows.

In the summer of 1934, two expeditions attempted to climb the mountain. The first expedition, made up of climbers from Winnipeg, made their attempt on the northwestern flank which had not been explored by the Mundays. After crossing Tatlayoko Lake and making their way down the Homathko River, they then spent two days constructing a bridge over Nude Creek before reaching the Tiedemann Glacier on June 23. It took them three days to reach the shoulder of Mt. Waddington at 3,200 m (10,500 ft). They attempted the summit on June 28 but poor weather and route conditions on the final tower forced them to retreat, 180 m (590 ft) from the top. [9] The second expedition, consisting of climbers Neal Carter, Alan Lambert, Alec Dalgleish and Eric Brooks from British Columbia, made their attempt from the southeast. [10] [11] On June 23, they established their base camp on the Franklin Glacier. [10] The ascent abruptly ended three days later when Dalgleish fell to his death from the southeast ridge. [10] [11]

In 1935, a group of climbers from the Sierra Club of California made three attempts from their base camp at the Dais Glacier. The group failed in two attempts on the south face due to stormy conditions, poor route conditions and falling ice. Two climbers succeeded in reaching the northwest summit (first climbed by the Mundays) on a third attempt but proceeded no further. [10]

First ascent

On July 4, 1936, Fritz Wiessner, Bill House, Elizabeth Woolsey and Alan Willcox reached the head of the Knight Inlet. For the next twelve days they ferried loads to their base camp at Icefall Point on the Dais Glacier. While on the glacier, they were joined by another expedition led by members of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club and the Sierra Club. Wiessner and House agreed to allow the others a first chance at the summit but this group failed to find a route up the south face. [3]

On July 20, Wiessner and House first attempted the line of a great couloir that comes directly down between the main summit tower and the northwest peak. It was an excellent line for quickly ascending but they were unable to traverse onto the south face proper due to poor rock conditions and were forced to retreat to base camp. By 3 am the next morning they were already climbing up a couloir to the right of the face. Good weather the past few days had cleared most of the snow away from the ledges making for good climbing conditions. Following the left branch of the couloir, they reached a snow patch in the middle of the face. The final 1,000 ft (300 m) of the south face then presented a fierce hurdle of "sheer forbidding-looking rocks" as noted by Wiessner. While Wiessner initially started in boots, he quickly changed to rope-soled shoes and gave his ice axe and extra rope to House. Wiessner led several pitches up technically difficult rock including several overhangs. After traversing east across the face they rested on a ledge just below the southeastern ridge, a full 9 hours since leaving the snow patch on the south face. After climbing a short chimney they finally reached the small snowy mass at the top, 13 hours after their start in base camp. They aborted their earlier plan of descending the shorter north face and retraced their ascent line, reaching their tent on the Dais Glacier at 2 am. The ascent to the summit and back to base camp had taken over 23 hours. [3]

Notable ascents

Climate

The Waddington Range massif is known for fierce as well as unpredictable weather, located as it is at the brunt of the warm, wet winds that soak the British Columbia Coast, of which it is the highest point. Precipitation levels in the area of the peak are among the highest in the Coast Mountains.[ citation needed ] The peak has an ice cap climate (EF). [14]

Climate data for Mount Waddington Peak 1981-2010 (51.372 -125.262)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)−9.6
(14.7)
−10.4
(13.3)
−9.8
(14.4)
−8.5
(16.7)
−4.6
(23.7)
−2.1
(28.2)
1.0
(33.8)
1.7
(35.1)
−0.2
(31.6)
−4.8
(23.4)
−9.0
(15.8)
−9.9
(14.2)
−5.5
(22.1)
Daily mean °C (°F)−12.6
(9.3)
−13.8
(7.2)
−13.6
(7.5)
−12.1
(10.2)
−8.1
(17.4)
−5.2
(22.6)
−2.1
(28.2)
−0.8
(30.6)
−2.3
(27.9)
−7.6
(18.3)
−12.2
(10.0)
−13.2
(8.2)
−8.6
(16.5)
Average low °C (°F)−15.6
(3.9)
−17.3
(0.9)
−17.3
(0.9)
−15.7
(3.7)
−11.7
(10.9)
−8.3
(17.1)
−5.1
(22.8)
−3.2
(26.2)
−4.3
(24.3)
−10.3
(13.5)
−15.4
(4.3)
−16.5
(2.3)
−11.7
(10.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches)592
(23.3)
382
(15.0)
403
(15.9)
349
(13.7)
123
(4.8)
115
(4.5)
130
(5.1)
144
(5.7)
164
(6.5)
676
(26.6)
721
(28.4)
586
(23.1)
4,385
(172.6)
Source: http://www.climatewna.com/ClimateBC_Map.aspx

Access

To reach Mount Waddington, one could take a long approach originating from Vancouver, with the bulk of the journey consisting of a long boat ride through the Strait of Georgia and the Knight Inlet, taking up to three days. A shorter water approach from Port McNeill, British Columbia, a northern community of Vancouver Island accessible by scheduled daily air connections and/or road from Victoria, reducing the water journey to less than a day may be undertaken.

Alternately trails and rough roads do exist from the Chilcotin side of the range, and may be accessed via BC Highway 20, from Williams Lake, departing from the main route to Bella Coola at Tatla Lake to connect to the Homathko River and up a side creek or glacier from there. This inland route is also the access route for the neighbouring Niut and Pantheon Ranges.

Mount Waddington is a popular destination among mountain climbers since it is the highest peak in the Coast Mountains and a challenging climb. It has been compared to Mont Blanc's structure.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

K2 2nd-highest mountain on Earth

K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level, is the second-highest mountain on Earth, after Mount Everest. It lies in the Karakoram range, in part in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and in part in a China-administered territory of the Kashmir region included in the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang.

Mountaineering Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering, or alpinism, is the set of outdoor activities that involves ascending tall mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are also considered variants of mountaineering by some.

Denali Highest mountain in North America

Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 m) above sea level. With a topographic prominence of 20,194 feet (6,155 m) and a topographic isolation of 4,621.1 miles (7,436.9 km), Denali is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak on Earth, after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of the U.S. state of Alaska, Denali is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Mount Robson Mountain in British Columbia, Canada

Mount Robson is the most prominent mountain in North America's Rocky Mountain range; it is also the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. The mountain is located entirely within Mount Robson Provincial Park of British Columbia, and is part of the Rainbow Range. Mount Robson is the second highest peak entirely in British Columbia, behind Mount Waddington in the Coast Range. The south face of Mount Robson is clearly visible from the Yellowhead Highway, and is commonly photographed along this route.

Mount Tyree

Mount Tyree (4852m) is the second highest mountain of Antarctica located 13 kilometres northwest of Vinson Massif (4,892 m), the highest peak on the continent. It surmounts Patton Glacier to the north and Cervellati Glacier to the southeast.

Kamet Mountain in Uttarakhand, India

Kamet is the second highest mountain in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India, after Nanda Devi. It lies in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand. Its appearance resembles a giant pyramid topped by a flat summit area with two peaks.

Alan Hinkes British Himalayan mountaineer

Alan Hinkes OBE is an English Himalayan high-altitude mountaineer from Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He is the first and remains the only British mountaineer to claim all 14 Himalayan eight-thousanders, which he did on 30 May 2005.

Waddington Range

The Waddington Range is a subrange of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It is only about 4,000 km² in area, relatively small in area within the expanse of the range, but it is the highest area of the Pacific Ranges and of the Coast Mountains, being crowned by its namesake Mount Waddington 4,019 m (13,186 ft). The Waddington Range is also extremely rugged and more a complex of peaks than a single icefield, in contrast to the other huge icefield-massifs of the southern Coast Mountains, which are not so peak-studded and tend to have more contiguous icemasses.

Mount Munday

Mount Munday is one of the principal summits of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada. It is 3,356 m (11,010 ft) in elevation and stands in the Waddington Range six kilometres southeast of Mount Waddington 4,019 m (13,186 ft), which is the highest summit in the Coast Mountains.

Kangshung Face

The Kangshung Face or East Face is the eastern-facing side of Mount Everest, one of the Tibetan sides of the mountain. It is 3,350 metres (11,000 ft) from its base on the Kangshung Glacier to the summit. It is a broad face, topped on the right by the upper Northeast Ridge, and on the left by the Southeast Ridge and the South Col. Most of the upper part of the face is composed of hanging glaciers, while the lower part consists of steep rock buttresses with couloirs between them. It is considered to be a dangerous route of ascent, compared to the standard North Col and South Col routes, and it is the most remote face of the mountain, with a longer approach.

Alex Lowe American mountaineer (1958-1999)

Stewart Alexander Lowe was an American mountaineer. He has been described as inspiring "...a whole generation of climbers and explorers with his uncontainable enthusiasm, legendary training routines, and significant ascents of rock climbs, ice climbs, and mountains all over the world...". He died in an avalanche in Tibet. The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation honors his legacy.

Phyllis B Munday, CM (1894–1990) was a Canadian mountaineer, explorer, naturalist and humanitarian, famed for being the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Robson in 1924, and with her husband Don for discovering Mount Waddington, and exploring the area around it via the Franklin River and the Homathko River. Awarded the Order of Canada in 1972 for her work with the Girl Guides of Canada and St. John Ambulance as well as for her mountaineering career. Phyllis' Engine, a prominent rock spire in the Pacific Ranges near Mount Garibaldi, was despite claims to the contrary named for Phyllis Beltz.

Walter Alfred Don Munday was a Canadian explorer, naturalist and mountaineer famous for his explorations of the Coast Mountains with his wife Phyllis, and especially for the exploration of the Waddington Range.

Don Morrison (mountaineer)

Donald Kenneth Morrison was a British climber and mountaineer. Morrison first became known as a pioneer rock climber in Canada, then in England's Peak District and he led three expeditions to the Himalayas. He died in 1977 leading an attempt on Latok II peak in the Karakoram.

1939 American Karakoram expedition to K2 Failed attempt to climb second-highest mountain

The 1939 American Karakoram expedition to K2 was the unsuccessful second attempt by American mountaineers to climb the then-unclimbed second-highest mountain in the world, K2, following the 1938 reconnaissance expedition. Fritz Wiessner, the leader of the expedition, and Pasang Dawa Lama got to within 800 feet (240 m) of the summit via the Abruzzi Ridge – a difficult and arduous route – with Wiessner doing practically all the lead climbing. Through a series of mishaps, one of the team members, Dudley Wolfe, was left stranded near the top of the mountain after his companions had descended to base camp. Three attempts were made to rescue Wolfe. On the second attempt three Sherpas reached him after he had been alone for a week at over 24,000 feet (7,300 m) but he refused to try to descend. Two days later the Sherpas again tried to rescue him, but they were never seen again. A final rescue effort was abandoned when all hope for the four climbers had been lost.

Mount Bute

Mount Bute, also known as Bute Mountain, is a 2,810-metre (9,220-foot) mountain located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Situated at the southern extreme of the Homathko Icefield, Mount Bute has an impressive 800-metre sheer granite west face, and Bute Glacier dominates the north aspect. This imposing mountain is visible from Waddington Harbour at the head of Bute Inlet, in a remote wilderness area that few visit. Its nearest higher peak is Mount Grenville, 13.0 km (8.1 mi) to the east-northeast. Mount Grenville is the highest summit of the icefield. Mount Bute is 63.0 km (39.1 mi) southeast of Mount Waddington, the highest peak of the entire Coast Mountains range.

Goûter Route mountain route to reach Mont Blanc summit

The Goûter Route is one of the two normal mountaineering routes used to reach the summit of Mont Blanc in the Alps, ascending to a height of 4,808 metres (15,774 ft). The route lies on the north side of the mountain, in France. Usually reckoned as the easiest route up Mont Blanc, it is extremely popular with mountaineers, seeing thousands of ascents per year.

Neal Marshall Carter was a Canadian marine biologist, cartographer, photographer, mountaineer and surveyor. He is most famous for his explorations in British Columbia, especially in the Coast Mountains where he made several first ascents.

Franklin Glacier

Franklin Glacier is a mountain glacier in the Waddington Range of the Pacific Ranges in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It lies at the head of the Franklin River adjacent to Mount Waddington, the highest mountain entirely within British Columbia.

References

  1. 1 2 "Mount Waddington". Bivouac.com. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  2. 1 2 "Mount Waddington". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada . Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  3. 1 2 3 Scott, pp. 114-116
  4. "Mount Waddington". BC Geographical Names . Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  5. Munday p. 4
  6. Fairley p. 59
  7. O'Connor, Joe (2 July 2018). "The search for B.C.'s Mystery Mountain: Experts said it didn't exist — then Don and Phyllis Munday found it". National Post. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  8. Munday p. 124
  9. Scott, pp. 113-114
  10. 1 2 3 4 Scott, p. 114
  11. 1 2 "Alec Dalgleish". HikeInWhistler.com. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  12. 1 2 Currens, Kenneth (1978). "Mount Waddington, South Face, Third Ascent". American Alpine Journal. New York, NY, USA: American Alpine Club. 21 (52): 549–550. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  13. Haley, Colin. "Mt. Waddington to Mt. Asperity, high peaks solo traverse; first solo ascents", American Alpine Journal, 2013, Retrieved on 23 June 2018
  14. "ClimateBC_Map". www.climatewna.com. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
Sources