Bivouac.com Area Page Home Help Index Login
Sir Donald Range
Parent Area: Duncan Ranges
Area: 72 sq km.Location: Located south and east of Rogers Pass are the beautiful and historic peaks of the Sir Donald range. The range is bounded by the Beaver River on the east, Connaught Creek on the north, the Illecillewaet River on the west and the Illecillewaet neve to the south.
Terrain: A wide selection of routes, almost all of which are on rock, can be found in the Sir Donald Range. The reason for this is that the entire range is composed of the pale blocky quartzite of the Hamill group which is amazing to climb. From class 3's like the Southwest face of Avalanche peak to the alpine wall of the 'Little Face' (North face of the Northwest shoulder) on Mt MacDonald at V,5.8,A3. But the most sought after and heavily visited route would be the Northwest ridge of Mt Sir Donald III,5.2, it is ranked as one of the 50 classic climbs of North America. Both David Jones' book Selkirks South and John Kevin Fox's book the Columbia Mountains of Canada - Central give excellent descriptions of all the major routes on all the peaks in the range.
History: The Sir Donald range not only figures in the very earliest history of Canadian mountaineering, but it also figures prominently in the history of Canada. It was from the slopes of Avalanche Crest that Major A.B. Rogers discovered the pass that now bears his name in May 1881 and set the course for the C.P.R. After the construction of the railroad the sharp pyramid of Mt Sir Donald was a much sought after first ascent, climbed by Emil Huber and Carl Sulzer with Harry Cooper as porter on July 26, 1890. Some of the peaks were also ascended by Arthur Oliver Wheeler during his historical surveys of the Selkirk range.
Alpine Journal Articles
1907 A Day On Sir Donald Frank W Freeborn