Name Notes: Named in 1886 by Otto Koltz after James J. McArthur (JJ) who was a surveyor that mapped the Canadian Rockies in the vicinity of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Lake McArthur which is below Mount Biddle is also named in his honour.
He worked for the Dominion Land Survey from 1886-1893 and mapped 5000 square kilometres at 1:20,000 scale with a contour interval of 100 feet. Through the course of his work he made many ascents, and in one year climbed 43 peaks higher than 2500m and travelled 640km in the rugged mountain terrain. On these ascents bulky and heavy equiment was carried along.
One of his most memorable ascents was of Mount Stephen, where while on a steep glaring surface he wrote "A slip on this glare surface meant death, and how we were to get down again caused us no little anxiety." There was also the final summit ridge which is very narrow and "required all our nerve to crawl about one-eighth of a mile along the top of those half-balanced masses to the highest point of Mount Stephen 6,385 feet above the railway track." After all of this, when they reached the summit forest fire smoke prevented any surveying at all.
Arthur O. Wheeler was a good friend of McArthur's and wrote of him: "He is a quiet, unassuming man, who has probably climbed more mountains in these regions than any other person, and has made a large number of first ascents... In all kinds of weather, through snow, over ice, and in pouring rain, many a difficult ascent has been accomplished, many privations encountered and much hardship endured; the only record being a few terse paragraphs in the Departmental Bluebook..."