This peak is #5 on the Height List for British Columbia . This peak is #4 in Prominence List for British Columbia .The first expedition to the mountain was organized in 1907 by A.P.Coleman. At that time, the closest access was via the Canadian Pacific Railway to Laggan (now Lake Louise), and then several hundred kilometers north into the Jasper area on horseback. The Grand Trunk Pacific railway (now CNR), which runs right by the mountain, was not completed till 1914.
On August 3rd 1907, late in the season, Coleman and Reverend George Kinney left Laggan, and 39 days later, on September 10, they reached Kinney Lake. For the next 6 days they explored various approaches to the mountain, but due to the snowfall, they were unable to make a serious attempt at the summit. On September 16th they headed east to Edmonton. The next year they returned, this time on the north side via the Moose and Smoky Rivers. This time Kinney made it onto the north shoulder at 3200 m, before having to turn back, after 21 days in the area.
The next year, 1909, Kinney set off alone for the mountain. On the Athabasca River he met up with a guide known as Donald "Curly" Phillips (see Mount Phillips, and the two of them teamed up to attempt the summit. On July 24 1909 they attempted the summit and reached 3350 m. After reprovisioning their bivouac camp, they again attempted the summit on the 26th, this time reaching 3650 m. On August 12, after a period of bad weather, they established camp at 3200 m. On Friday, August 13, 1909 they headed for the summit in mixed weather. They finally reached the huge cornices along the crest of the peak, and on this day, the Reverend uttered his controversial words "In the name of Almighty God, by whose strength I have climbed here, I capture this peak, Mt. Robson, for my own country, and the Alpine Club of Canada."
In the absence of conclusive proof, mountain historians have debated if the peak was really climbed to the absolute summit on this date. Over the next four years, there were several other attempts, but it wasn't until the official Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) camp of 1913 that the peak was climbed for certain.
The first official ACC Camp was in 1911 and included both Conrad Kain and George Kinney. By this time, Canada's second transcontinental railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific, which today is the Canadian National route through Yellowhead Pass, was almost complete. The rails went as far as Brule Lake, about 40 km northeast of Jasper. From there, the party used packhorses along the railway right of way to the Moose River, over Robson Pass and to Berg Lake. The objective of this expedition was mainly exploration, not to climb Mount Robson. However, Conrad Kain did manage to sneak in a solo first ascent of the spectacular Whitehorn Mountain, and later Resplendent Mountain.
The ACC camp of 1913 was organized by A.O.Wheeler, and contained a huge number of the "big names" of the time: Charles Fay, A.P. Coleman, and again A.L.Mumm. On July 30 1913, the summit team of Billy Foster, Albert McCarthy and Conrad Kain started their ascent of Robson. On July 31, they climbed the Robson Glacier the icefall, and reached the Dome. Conrad then led the way up the northeast wall, (Kain face), cutting the famous steps in the 60 degree ice slopes, reaching the crest of the SE ridge by noon. From there they headed across the "Roof" of Robson and on to the summit, where the famous words were spoken:
"Gentlemen, that's as far as I can take you". just as the clouds parted revealing they were on the summit.
The descent was via the west side of the mountain, thus completing a traverse. See Bob Hughes epic description of their 1976 retracing of the route.
Name Notes: Adopted in 1912. Mount Robson is believed to have been casually named after a mis-pronunciation of Colin Robertson, a guide for the North West Company in the early 1800's. The first written reference to the name is by George McDougall, a fur trader, in his diary of 1827.