Mount Waddington, once known as Mystery Mountain, is the highest peak in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada at 4,019 metres (13,186 ft). Although Mount Fairweather and Mount Quincy Adams, which straddle the US border between Alaska and British Columbia are taller, Mount Waddington is the highest that lies entirely within British Columbia. It and the subrange which surround it, known as the Waddington Range, stand at the heart of the Pacific Ranges, which is to say it is in a remote and extremely difficult set of mountains and stupendous river valleys.
[2-Mt. Waddington and Angel Glacier]
It is not so 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.
[3-Approaching Angel Glacier on Mt. Waddington]
From Waddington's 13,000'-plus fang to sea level at the heads of Bute and Knight Inlets is only a few miles;
[4-Homathko Canyon - click to enlarge]
across the 10,000 foot deep 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 Himalaya (to which the terrain of British Columbia was compared by colonial-era travellers).
[5-Across the Homathko Icefields - click to enlarge]
[6-Mt. Combatant from Mt. Waddington]
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." 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. Known to them as "The Mystery Mountain", in 1927 the height was measured at 13,260 feet (by triangulation); they reached the lower summit in 1928, deeming the main summit too risky. On their recommendation the Canadian Geographic Board 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.
Mount Waddington takes in the seaward slope of the Waddington Range and the adjoining coastline and parts of northern Vancouver Island adjacent to Queen Charlotte Strait.
Research: wikipedia, biouvac.com
Photo Credits: -snowislife, -underscoremouse, -Dru! CC=nc-flickr.
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