With the Canadian Alpine Club.
I. The Club House and the Camp.
'The Alpine members of the British Association who are guests of the Canadian Alpine "Camp" this year include many noted men of the Alpine Club of the British Isles, and the party will be under the leadership of Professor Harold Dixon, F.R.S., of the University of Manchester.'
Such was the official announcement in the Canadian Gazette, and the 'party' and its 'leader' had to try to live up to it.
The invitation had been originally made to Whymper, Woolley, Collie, and myself. The letter inviting these four had been sent to the local secretaries of the British Association at Winnipeg, but was only forwarded to the office in London some months afterwards. The Council sent me the letter, asking me (as the senior member of the Association) to make arrangements for any members who wished to climb.
Meantime Whymper had written that he did not intend to go, Collie found himself tied to Skye, and Woolley could not be sure of the time. Thus, by the elimination of the fittest, Dame Fortune transferred the uncertain honours of leadership to me.
As so often happens in getting up such a party, things go swimmingly at first and the disappointments come later. From the descriptions which reached me of the Canadian Alpine camps, I gathered that our party might be called upon not only to walk but to talk; it was therefore very gratifying to receive the definite promise of Haskett-Smith to join us: and while Woolley was still a 'possible,' I felt that the A.C. would be properly represented. But when first Woolley, and at the last moment Haskett-Smith declared they could not go, I began to think we should be something of an Alpine frost.
I fear I must have sent Wheeler, the president of the Canadians, rather a lugubrious letter, for, in addition to my page 2 disappointments, I was hors de combat with a torn muscle in my leg and congestion of the lungs. Wheeler, however, replied most cheerily. 'Bring anybody you like, climbers or non-climbers, and we'll give you all a good time.' I hope these pages will show how well he kept his promise.
With returning spring the barometer rose. I found some walking and mild scrambling possible in April; and when I made sure of G. A. Solly, A. L. Mumm, L. S. Amery, G. Hastings, and A. M. Bartleet, I felt happier. Encouraged by Wheeler's letter we made up our numbers with younger climbers and with ladies, and of course at the end I had so many applications to join 'the party' that I had to sternly refuse. Several went out on their own and joined the Club as graduating members, and one or two crossed the Pacific and met us at the Camp.
We arrived at Banff, by the 'Pacific Express,' at 6.20 a.m. on Wednesday, July 28, having disposed of an early breakfast in the dining-car. We were met by the Secretary of the Alpine Club, who soon had our lighter baggage packed on 'skips.' We then packed ourselves on top, and so drove up through the woods, about two miles, to the Club House, which is perched among the pines on the side of Sulphur Mountain. It was hard for us to grasp the fact that less than four months ago the site of this Club House was an unbroken mountain slope. What a substantial monument it is to the energy and capacity of the executive! Here we were welcomed by Mrs. Wheeler, who combines the onerous offices of Quartermaster-General and of Guardian-Angel of the Club, and by Mrs. Parker, whose love for literature and mountains makes her an ideal proselytising secretary. Under their auspices we entered at once on our mountain régime by sitting down to our second breakfast, where we were introduced to the members of the Canadian A.C. who were making a stay at the Club House on their way to the camp at Lake O'Hara.
We are royally entertained by our hosts, and live, literally, upon the fat of the land. Most of our party enjoy the national dish—fried bacon and beans. O dura ilia! How I envied them. Still, the advantages of vegetarianism ought to be tested, and here was the opportunity.
By day we stretch our limbs on Sulphur Mountain, some 8,000 ft. high, or make boating excursions up the Bow Biver or on Lake Minnewanka. Then we swim in the Sulphur Bath, fed direct with hot-water (with more than a suspicion of H2S, in it) from the mountain side. A dive into hot water is a delightful novelty. At night there is music followed by impromptu dances, and one night was consecrated to my lantern lecture on the Rockies—on behalf of the Club House fund—a performance which caused unexpected amusement. At 4 p.m. on the eventful day I went down with the President to Banff to see that things were ready at the 'Opera House,' carrying my slides and some pretty ones borrowed from Woolley and Collie. The man who was to run the lantern—he answered to the name of Bob—had promised to meet us at 4. No one was about. We got out the lantern (a new one of American design) and managed to put the lenses right and get the thing ready. But no screen and no current was to be found. At 6.15 Bob turned up, optimistic and merry. He knew where the terminals and fuses were to be got at—but he had no connections or appliances for joining up the lantern. However, he sent out for sticking-plaster to cover the wire joints, and swore loudly he would have screen and everything ready by 8, the lecture being advertised for 8.30. So I went back to the Club House for a meal, and when I returned at 8, a screen of sorts, made of four bed sheets quaintly pinned together, formed the proscenium, but no current had Bob succeeded in obtaining. At 8.5 a messenger was sent on the best horse we could find to the electric station—four miles away—to request the services of an electrician. Luckily one was found and came, but he was in a still merrier mood than Bob. Meantime the audience page 4 collected on the veranda of the Opera House, and as the mosquitoes were active, they demanded admittance. I told them the lecture was very unlikely to come off; but they didn't seem to mind that, and planked down their 50 cents. Then I got up and explained matters as tactfully as I could, and suggested we should either clear the chairs out of the hall and have a dance, or begin with a concert and see what happened. The audience good humouredly accepted the suggestion of a concert, and various members of the company were kind enough to 'oblige.' At 9 o'clock, in the middle of a chorus, a loud noise at the back of the gallery announced that the electrician had arrived. After half an hour's struggling a half-moon appeared on the screen, so Hastings took the slides to the gallery, and after a few sharp discussions the sheets were illuminated. I climbed the stage and made a start. The lantern was about twice the right distance from the screen, so that only the middle of the picture was visible; and the efforts of the operators to bring the summits into view on the sheet caused shouts of laughter. One elusive peak I chased across the screen with the pointer, but the whole thing disappeared before I could traverse the stage. After half an hour a voice came down from the gallery, 'Sorry, we must put the light out, but the wire's red-hot and the floor is smoking.' So we had a dark interval, during which I told a story, and then, amid great cheering, the light came up again and I rushed along to the end, breathless, but in time. I hope they 'cleared' a few dollars for the Club House out of the 'entertainment.'
The ladies' quarters consisted of some dozen tents arranged like ours. The six British ladies (English, Scotch and Irish) had one tent, so had to lie close. We found the evening meal (I don't say 'tea' because they were all teas) set out on three long tables under a large 'fly-tent.' Pine stems, roughly 'smoothed' with the axe, formed the benches. Here we were waited on assiduously by our hosts, and afterwards were introduced to the 'charmed-circle' of the camp-fire. Seated round the blazing logs, in the centre of an amphitheatre of mountains, and looking up at their snowy peaks, clear-cut against the sky long after the forests below were lost in the black of night, we each fell under the spell and became one of the worshippers. The glow of the huge fire lighted up fitfully the ways to our tents, and soon the last camp-fire song was mingling with our dreams.
Next morning six of us made an early start—not unreasonably early—for Mount Odaray, which had just been struck out from the 'official' climbs on account of a 'blocked' chimney and the danger of falling stones. To qualify as an active member each aspirant has to go up something over 10,000 feet, including rock or snow for four or five thousand feet-There were many 'graduating' members in the camp, all eager to be led up the necessary peak, and the danger from stones was very considerable for a large party. Hastings and I took Mrs. Spence between us, and V. A. Fynn took Pilkington and page 6 Priestley. I think we only made one mistake in the ascent-taking a narrow chimney up the first peak, which I found rather small to negotiate even with Hastings to stand upon. However, I managed to wriggle up, and Hastings came up more in the open. It was annoying to find the other party (who had found the orthodox staircase) sitting above us enjoying our struggles. But we had some consolation in hearing that Solly (whose guiding instinct is almost uncannily developed) took his party up the same chimney a few days afterwards. The descent of the first peak into the gap leading to the second needed care, as the rocks were steep and friable, and led on to a small but steep ice slope. A few steps brought us on to the snow and then the blocked chimney was immediately opposite us. This we were told was the crux of the climb, but it was not difficult. It was not easy, however, to get out of the chimney above without sending down showers of rock.
The view from the top was splendid. Victoria, Lefroy, and Hungabee are just across the O'Hara Valley—in which the green lake and our white tents were nestling—with Mts. Biddle and Goodsir to the W. and S.W., and away in the distance the fine peak of Mt. Assiniboine. We came down the blocked chimney accompanied with a meteoric shower of shale, but without difficulty; and we carefully avoided the narrow cleft by which we had wormed up the lower peak. On our return it was announced that Mrs. Spence was the first lady to climb Mount Odaray, and she was gazetted as a 'graduate' with due honours. These honours lists are posted on a large tree just outside the diningtent, together with the lists of the next day's climbs and the 'guides' chosen to accompany each party. We have two Swiss guides, brought over by the C.P.R.—Edouard and Godfried Feuz—and Conrad Kain, engaged by the Club. A. L. Mumm had also brought his Swiss guide, Inderbinnen, and they all had a busy time taking aspirants up Mt. Huber, the official 'graduating climb.'
On August 4 we wandered up the valley to the S.W., visiting Lake McArthur at the foot of Mt. Biddle, whose great glacier melts into the lake, throwing off small bergs of white ice to navigate the blue waters. We found a few rocks to scramble about on and made tea in the forest.
On Thursday, the 5th, we all volunteered as 'guides' to take graduating members up Mt. Huber, and Hastings and I v/ere assigned to three novices, Mrs. Spence also joining us. We had a long 2 hrs.' grind up a steep shaley slope to the col below the rocks—eight or ten parties all struggling up by slightly different routes. By the time we reached the col two of our novices were obviously done; indeed, one promptly turned back. And then a storm (which had been threatening for the last half-hour) fell on us with a lash of hail. We huddled under the lea of what cover we could find, and braved it for 40 rains. Then the absurdity of fifty-six people trying to get up iced rocks on such a day, where long waits would be necessary, was borne in on us. We had a short consultation, and the English 'guides' decided to climb down. Our example was quickly followed, and all but three ropes were soon racing down to camp. One party did get up. Two others, after an hour's wait below the 'roped rocks,' gave it up in a state of freezing despair. I believe it would have been dangerous to take more than one novice on a rope under such conditions. The graduating climb gives immense zest to the camp, and many of the men have become good craftsmen by acting as guides, but there is, it seems to me, a possibility of zeal getting the better of discretion where so many novices go together. Again, one climb does not make a mountaineer. One learns, I think, very little on one's first climb; it is only on his second or third that a man is able to look about and take notice of how and why things are done. Possibly two or three passes would make a better training than one mountain. But I must admit that the 'graduating climb' gives a wonderful impetus to the Club.
Our failure on Mt. Huber in no way damped the enthusiasm at the camp fire that evening. Amery gave an amusing account of some climbs in Basutoland, and Hastings, after much persuasion, described his attempt on Nanga Parbat with Collie and Mummery. We enjoyed some excellent recitations and songs by members of the Club.
Next day several of our party (Solly and Mrs. Solly, Miss page 8 Maclay, Mrs. Spence and 1) were escorted by the Vice-President of the Club, J. D. Patterson, on the 'two-day' round. The route was up Abbot Pass between Victoria and Lefroy', down the Victoria Glacier, up the Lefroy Glacier, and over the Mitre Pass to a small standing camp in Paradise Valley. As usual I found the first 2 hrs. rather trying, but recovered when we reached the snow. We sat by the lovely little Lake Oesa and ate our luncheon, and then had a weary grind up broken shale till we reached the snow. The upper part of the pass is a wilderness of loose slabs ready to slip before you tread on them. On the col I was on familiar ground, at the foot of the snow slope of Mt. Lefroy. Here we saw the last of Hastings, Mumm and Amery, who ran down the snow to Lake Louise en route for their long tramp to Mount Robson. We followed more cautiously. To avoid the seracs under Mt. Lefroy we crossed over to our left beneath the hanging glacier of Victoria, and had to wind round several crevasses; but Solly's guiding instinct was not called upon, for the well-worn track of previous parties could not be mistaken.
At the angle of Mt. Lefroy we caught sight of Lake Louise and the 'Chalet,' now grown out of recognition. We went along the Lefroy Glacier at such a pace that we nearly caught the first party' which had started 2 hrs. before us. The Mitre Pass was fairly steep, but the snow was good and we got to the top without difficulty. I thought I saw a white tent in the dark wood below. We glissaded down the snow and loose shale, spirited with the thought of a prompt supper at the camp which (we had been told) lay at our feet. Alas! when we reached the valley nothing was visible but a fairly broad stream and a wood. Our 'Vice' thought the camp must be down the river. But the President had told us the camp was visible from the pass and therefore must be across the river and through the forest. So we crossed the river, with some difficulty, and strode into the forest. Then we had out our map, and it was already too dark to see. We lighted a candle and again penetrated into the forest and shouted and howled. It was just coming home to us that we should have to make a very cold and supperless bivouac—quite romantic, as one lady remarked—when another lady suggested we should all howl together. We did make the most discordant yell, with all the agony of darkness, cold and hunger thrown in, and then most musically came to us an answering call from the depths of the forest ahead. A few hundred yards, though we stumbled over bushes and fallen trees, seemed nothing, and there was party No. 1 busy round the fire cooking page 9 supper for us and wondering where we had been hiding. We had lost just an hour looking for the camp. Our willing hosts were soon waiting on us, and we turned in warm and refreshed. The night was cold and the blankets not quite enough to go round, so we had to snuggle together for warmth, and were not altogether sorry to get our boots on and take a turn with the frying pan and kettle for early breakfast. We cleaned up the camp, extinguished the fire carefully and nailed up the boxes of provisions and candles, lest inquisitive bears or porcupines should nose out the eatables. Then we marched up the Wastach Pass at the E. of Hungabee and down into the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Turning to the W., we crossed the Wenkchemna Pass between Hungabee and Neptuak, and then, after a long descent down scree, we came to the curious rock called the Eagle's Eyrie, where we ate our luncheon, and, as the day was young and the sun hot, we slept peacefully on the grass. Then we ascended the Opabin Pass up a fine snow-slope to the W. of Hungabee and heard a call from Fynn and Oliver Wheeler (son of the President), who had climbed it that morning and were descending the W. face. It was the second ascent of Hungabee, and the first made without guides. The descent of the Opabin Pass was easy until we reached tree level, and then we lost our way half a dozen times and had several fine rock scrambles before we got down to O'Hara.
On reaching the camp we heard that Whymper had arrived and that he was to give the 'oration' at the camp fire that night. With a voice that age has not weakened, he read to the large listening circle messages from many old members of the Alpine Club, and declared his regret that this was to be his one and only appearance before the Canadian Club. The orator then became an auctioneer, and various items of climbers' outfit were disposed of for the benefit of the Club. True to his word, he departed early on the morrow.
Sunday, August 8, was another day of packing, for the camp was to break up on the morrow. It also turned out a day of unexpected literary effort. After luncheon the President produced a large 'Minute Book/which had been presented to the Club, and declared that it had been kept for me to make the first 'minute' in it. In vain were the protests that a Minute Book was meant to record the resolutions and proceedings of the Club; I had got to make the first entry on any subject I pleased. These 'opening remarks' cost me many a grievous pang throughout the afternoon. Whether it is the high air, or the exercise, or the vegetable food, or a page 10 combination of all three which produces this mental atrophy is hard to say. A lithe and grey-haired member of the Club, whom I knew for a week before discovering in him an old Christ Church contemporary, is an ardent vegetarian and preaches the doctrine to all and sundry. 'Look at me!' he exclaims, 'my limbs are not stiff with age, my mind is not worried by thought, I am now a perfect man—a man as God made me.' With the blank page of the 'Minute Book' open before me, and a desire to do anything but think, I imagine I must have been approaching the 'perfect man.'
I wish I could have found words to express in that Minute Book what each and all of our party felt, for we should have liked the Canadian members to know what enjoyment we found in our visit, and what admiration we have for the splendid work the Club is doing for mountaineering and for Canada. I find it, indeed, hard to believe that only twelve years ago I thought the Canadians, as a people, so indifferent to their wonderful mountain heritage, that I could write in this journal, 'I fear the Canadians have not yet reached that state of over-civilisation which drives people to climb for the mere fun of the thing.' This reproach has passed away. To-day hundreds of Canadians have a living interest in the mountains, and in the preservation of their romance and beauty, thanks to the strong will, the practical sense and the enthusiasm of Wheeler and his officers. More power to their elbows! Of such material is our empire made.
The Yoho Expedition.
Miss Vaux—my Quaker friend of twelve years ago—has joined our party, so, with Mrs. Solly and her sister and Mrs. Spence we have four ladies and twenty-eight men—a proportion the ladies fully appreciate. Next morning four of the more active start for Mount Burgess, while the rest of us move camp across the ridge into the Yoho.
The ponies are sent back to Hector, and Otto has instructions to bring up supplies to the highest part of the Yoho Valley, which we are to reach on Wednesday evening. So for two days everything has to be carried. The 'boys'—all volunteers from the Club—are nobly loaded. One or two carry packs of 60 to 70 lb.; two real boys of nineteen carry 50 lb. apiece. I feel quite ashamed of my light ruck-sack, but soon find that the addition of a lady's camera and of a few other trifles makes up a very reasonable load for a hot day. The President sends us on ahead while the camp is still packing, so I renew my old experience of following a 'blazed' trail. It wants a pretty sharp look-out to spot the slight 'bend over' in the grass and scrub where men have walked, and to see the white notch on the trees every sixty to a hundred yards as the trail twists and turns through the forest. Once above the tree-line one can steer for peak or pass easily enough, and there was no difficulty in ascending the Niles Pass, where we were to wait for the President. It was a hot grind up quite easy slopes and slabs by the west side of Mount Niles. At the top of the pass we looked down a fine snowfield on to the great Daly Glacier. North of us rose Mount Balfour, which I had tried to bag in 1897. As we sat on the col, munching our luncheon and 'cooling off,' we were hardly aware of the black clouds racing up from the south. Within ten minutes the blizzard was searching our bones and the hail cutting our faces as we cowered together under what protection we could find. Then the rear guard came up with the President, who pointed out the position for our second camp, high on the slopes of the Yoho Valley by the ice-fall of the Daly Glacier. Off we started, glissading down the snow, and first one and then another put their feet through and skipped out laughing. With old-world caution two of us roped on to the ladies—but of course we didn't hit upon a crevasse. The President added a touch of grimness to the page 12 comedy by lining us up when we reached the ice and calling the roll. 'Twenty-eight. All aboard!' And Harmon stepped from the rank and photographed the regiment as we moved off in file. Diagonally across the great ice-field the line advanced at the 'double,' and reached the rocks just at the right-hand of the blue ice-fall. The narrow ledges were trying to the overladen 'boys'; it was no easy thing to balance on them, and the hand-holds were all rotten. At the foot of the rocks we pitched our camp and were soon busy levelling the soil for our tents. Before we were through, the storm circled round upon us again, and all the packs had to be thrust into one tent. As the night came on it was still wet and cold and the 'boys,' most of whom preferred to sleep in the open on fine nights, crowded into the men's tent. Then the President entered and said the ladies were going to make room for two of us in their tent—and Solly and I were the selected victims. We took our sleeping bags across, stumbling in the dark through a muddy stream. The ladies said they would require twenty minutes to go to bed, and then they would 'ring' for us by beating on a tin frying pan. I set up a lantern for them with a cardie guaranteed to fall out in forty minutes, and then Solly and I sat over the fire drying our lower halves and getting soaked above. The men had long turned in and their lights were out; but from the illuminated ladies' tent peals of laughter spread into the night and echoed from the cliffs above. Half an hour went by and the laughter waxed shriller. Three-quarters of an hour—and we two grimly watched the moving shadows silhouetted on the canvas. Then sudden darkness fell—the candle had gone—and there was silence for a space. Then a light appeared again under the canvas, and the laughter rippled out again. Ten minutes more and we determined to go over and expostulate. So Solly and I approached. And then the laughter was accompanied by a tocsin on the frying-pan. They were in bed. I opened the flap and spoke a word and addressed them by name. And silence fell on the camp.
I pass over the agonies of the night. As I have said, the ground was slanting and I had to lie across the slope at the mercy of the feet of the sleeping four. Towards morning I found both legs pushed through the tent and my feet freezing. Not often have I got up gladly with the morning sun; but next morning did look glorious, and without wishing to flatter the mountain tops unduly, I think there was a little heavenly alchemy in the air outside.
It was the anniversary of our attempt on Mount Balfour twelve years ago. We file off under the President's eye at 7.30. page 13 For an hour and a half we carry our sacks, most of the 'boys' heavily laden. Then we reach the edge of the long Balfour snow-field, and we stack our packs on the last rocks. We have a sip of water and a prune by way of second breakfast, and then rope up in a 'four,' a 'five,' and a 'three,' to suit our ropes of 80, 100, and 60 feet. The snow rises gradually and we make good progress, Godfried Feuz leads with Mrs. Spence, J. I). Patterson and myself on first rope. Solly's party is second, and three boys make the third. When we at last reach the Bergschrund a slight detour of forty yards brings us to a practical bridge of good snow, small but sufficient for our wants. The slope above is fairly steep to the ridge, along which we proceed partly on rock and partly on snow until we reach the final summit in four hours and a quarter from the camp. The last half-hour we walked in mist, but the sun soon broke through and we enjoyed fine dissolving views as the cloud cleared first on one side and then on another. Balfour is an easy climb; indeed, it is rather a fine walk than a climb—once you are on it. Our difficulty twelve years ago was that we never got on it. It looked very tempting to go down one of the two sharp rock aretes to the north, one of them almost pointing to our next camp. But our packs had to be recovered. Twenty feet down the north-east face we found a place to sit on out of the wind, and here we took our luncheon and looked down on Lake Turquoise, Lake Margaret and Hector Lake—the scene of our old camp in the Bow Valley. We should have tried Balfour from there, and not from our higher camp at the Upper Bow Lake. It is easy to be wise when one is on the top.
We took a short cut to the snow-bridge over the Bergschrund. Thence we followed our steps over the long snow-field, revelling in the glorious sea of mountains before us. Such a confusion of peaks seemed piled together that it required some care to pick out the several ranges we knew so well—the sentinels and lines that keep watch over Lake O'Hara. All too soon the rocks were reached, and we strapped on our packs reluctantly.
Then the guides led us a long traverse to the north, under the Trolltinder—a western spur of Mount Balfour—until we were stopped by steep cliffs. We had to circle back some distance along the edge until we struck a steep couloir which was half filled with hard snow. Godfried led down, followed by Mrs. Spence and myself. Where the snow had melted the couloir was full of loose stones. It was difficult to keep close together. A slide of shale and stones accompanied our movements, but nothing serious happened until we were two-thirds of the way down. Then a cry from above and I saw a huge page 14 boulder starting down the gulley. Godfried made a run for it, I gave a hurried look round: it was impossible for us to get out of the gulley in time. So I stood on the right side of the narrow 'shoot,' while Mrs. Spence, a few feet below me, clung to the left wall. I watched the boulder strike twice and come spinning through the air straight at me. I sprang across the gulley, not looking, I fear, exactly where my feet would strike, but watching the boulder fly by about two feet from my head. The boulder had, of course, set a shower of satellites in motion, and whether one struck me or whether my foothold gave way I don't know, but in an instant I was carrying Mrs. Spence down the gulley, and we went down rolling over together in an involuntary but firm embrace. Luckily my side came against the rock wall, and the pressure being distributed over a large area acted as a brake without breaking any bones. Next moment we had stopped and for the first instant were aware only of a pair of eyes close to our own with large notes of interrogation in them. 'Are you hurt?' was what the other eyes said. 'If so, I'm so sorry, for I'm all right.' And then we picked ourselves up, to the relief of our friends above, and nothing was found broken. We were not sorry to escape from 'Boulder Gulley.'
When we reached tree-line a sharp eye detected the faint blue patch in the opposite forest denoting the location of the third camp. We plunged down through the wood, now, as ever, my idea of purgatory. And when we emerged, out of wind and out of temper, near the foot of the Wapta Glacier, we found a formidable stream before us. After many attempts at finding a stone bridge, most of the party ascended and crossed the glacier; one of the boys and I took off our stockings and waded the two streams. It was pretty hard to stand against the rush, but the ice-cold water was delicious. We got pretty wet, but soon dried ourselves by the camp fire, I wish one could do this sort of thing with impunity in England! Our camp that night, in the thick forest near the Twin Falls, was one of the most beautiful of our experiences. Most of us slept in the open.
A hot, lazy day followed. Horses to carry our packs again, and no particular peak or pass to bag. So we sat under the Twin Falls, which it seems I was the first to describe in the Alpine Journal in my account of the view from Mount Gordon. When we reached camp No. 4 in Waterfall Valley in the early afternoon, we sat in the shade and told stories, and even played 'Who knows? until sleep stole on us unawares and quotations were hushed—for a time.page 15
The 'boys,' sixteen of them, make an early start next morning for Mount Habel. None of our 'party' join their 'express.' But we wander up the Kiwetinok Pass and look over an unknown district to the west. Then we prospect the north ridge of the President, and resolve to make a first attempt on that side. We luncheon in a rocky canyon by the Little Yoho Falls, and returning find camp No. 5 pitched just across the rushing torrent. A signal to Otto, a whistle to his boy, and a tree is felled and thrown across the stream in less than five minutes. Our President rushes across, fixes a rope as a hand-guide, and in a moment we have a safe bridge for the most doddering of us. We have an early meal and make ready for the return of the boys from Habel. Alldritt, the cook, who is a gymnastic instructor at Revelstoke, comes in first, but within ten minutes they are all back and reclining round the camp fire. We serve them with piles of stew, bacon and beans, and red currant jelly. According to camp etiquette everything is eaten from one tin plate, not necessarily together, but a certain amount of mix is inevitable. They really enjoyed being waited on and they did justice to the fare.
On August 14 we made our longest move. While the 'camp' trekked down the Upper Yoho Valley to the Yoho Pass we walked along the President Range almost parallel with the horses. We all turned out in honour of the President and Vice-President to 'do' their name-peaks. Passing up the snow slopes on the west of the President we struck the northern ridge, and after being foiled by one steep chimney, got round an easier way on to the ridge. Then we had a pleasant scramble, in spite of the friable rock, along the ridge to the summit, which consists of a snow dome and a cornice some forty feet above the last rock and cairn. We had a splendid view, Mount Forbes being particularly well seen to the north and Mount Mummery to the north-west. This was perhaps our best high view, for the Selkirk peaks were plainly visible.
After luncheon at the cairn we deposited the Club 'card,' and then cut steps down the eastern ice-slope and went down steep but broken rock to the col. A short snow slope put us on the ridge of the Vice-President, which we followed to its summit. Then we turned to the south-east, and went down the long snow ridge, enjoying one delicious glissade, until we reached the glacier looking down on Emerald Lake. It seemed an easy descent, but we soon struck lines of crevasses which made a long traverse necessary, and then, when we appeared to be within a few hundred feet of the valley, we were cut off by an impracticable ice-fall. The official descent being page 16 barred, we had to ascend the rocks on the left of the glacier and traverse round broken rock until we were above the Yoho Pass before we could find a route down. This accomplished, we emerged on flowery fields, but the usual half-hour's floundering in the forest followed. That half-hour so winded me that I lay in a ball and gasped for breath. But tea and a swim in the beautiful Summit Lake put us in fettle again, and we gathered round our camp fire with a pleasure only dimmed because we knew it was the last. I think everyone contributed something to the entertainment; and I believe I contributed three 'new' stories drawn from a suddenly-remembered past. Even the cook came out as an unconscious (?) satirist: 'Why, I was told I was to take out a party of scientists; I soon found out what a mistake tliat was.' And so we talked and sang and watched the red sparks from the pine logs glitter upwards into the blue night, while the silent stars looked down. And the spell of it all fell on us, a spell we shall hear calling us back to the West—how irresistibly!
We walked down the Yoho Pass along a good trail, and in an hour and a half reached Emerald Lake and the C.P.R. Chalet. And so we came back to civilisation. It caught us in different forms: some called for beer, some for a daily paper, some for a hot bath. And then we sat down to a sumptuous luncheon, and vegetarianism seemed an absurd doctrine, and life seemed very good. And how the ladies rowed us in boats, and how we drove down in style to Field, and how the English guests entertained their Canadian hosts at a farewell dinner, and how everybody proposed the health of everybody else—surely these things are written in the chronicles of the Alpine Club of Canada, or in that 'Minute Book' in which the British 'Scientist' and 'Leader' wrote the first entry.
Spottiswodde and Co. Ltd. London
Colchester and Eton