The group is home to Jumbo Mountain which is the second highest in the Purcell Range, although at one time it was assumed to be the highest. It also contains Karnak Mountain, which is the third highest in the Purcell Range, and most of the peaks are near or above 10,000' feet in elevation. It is part of the Main Uplift of the Purcell Range, and the tectonic movements created intense heat and pressure. The heat made the rock more elastic, and the pressure caused the rocks to be folded, faulted, and squeezed upward, forming the high peaks and structures seen today. Because the rock was mainly quartzite and was more elastic from the heat, it had the strength to prevent it from collapsing as it was pushed upwards. This led to the high rugged peaks in the area today, in which vertical relief of over 2000m is not uncommon, and helped to form the steep valleys lush with forest cover typical of the group. The largest glacier in the group is the Commander Glacier, but smaller glaciers and snowfields are quite common, and the Starbird Glacier borders on the NW end of the group. The rock quality in the group itself is variable and consists mainly of friable sediments. There are however more firm outcropping's of Granite, but typically rock quality ranges from reasonably firm to horribly loose. History: Although the group itself is much harder to get into than some of the areas the First Nations saw first, it is most likely there were the first to see the peaks of the Commander Group. They most likely would have went up the Jumbo Creek drainage and saw the S/W aspect of the group. They may have also ventured up Farnham Creek while exploring the Horsethief Creek drainage, although this would have been done by a very small party.
The first white man to visit the group may have been David Thompson, or Thomas Starbird. Starbird was the first permanent settler in the Horsethief Creek valley and was the first white man to discover the Lake of the Hanging Glacier. E.W. Harnden and various others who accompanied him were the first climbers to start venturing into the Main Uplift, and may have seen the group around the same time as Starbird, but he was the first to discover the Lake, so Harnden et al would not have ventured up that way. However, Harnden and his party were the first ascenders of Mount Monica in 1911 which was the first prominent ascent in the group, and they also ascended the W peak of the Guardsmen in 1913. Considering how close they were, it is hard to believe they were not the first to bag Commander, Jumbo, and Karnak.
Between 1915 and 1916 a team composed of the MacCarthy's and Conrad Kain bagged the three prizes of the range, Commander, Jumbo, and Karnak. In the winter of 1919 Conrad Kain made an impressive solo ascent of Jumbo Mountain from Farnham Creek in 4.5 hours. Conrad Kain was also on the first ascent party of the Cleaver. In the summer of 1928 the ACC had a summer camp at the confluence of Horsethief Creek and the Creek that drains the Lake of the Hanging Glacier. It was called Thunder Camp and parties from this camp were the first acsenders of Granite Peak, Mount Maye, and others in the area. An ACC Party climbed and named Camp Peak, which is part of the Stockdale Group.
Between 1960 and the early 1970's the rest of the major peaks were climbed, and particularily notable was the presence the legendary Fred Beckey in 1971, who with J. Rupley were the first ascenders of the steep E face of the Lieutenants. In July of 1973 J. Jeglum and C. Wagner were the first ascenders of all the Egyptian Peaks.
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