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Mount Sir Sandford  British Columbia   #2299
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Selkirk Mountains / Big Bend Ranges / Sir Sandford Range

Height: 3519 m -> 11545 feet
Prominence?: 2707 m above Canal Flats Pass
Line Parent?: Mount Assiniboine (177.2 km away, at bearing 119 degrees)
Greater Parent: Mount Elbert (1650.0 km away)

Location:   51.65667,-117.86750     51:39:24, -117:52:03   11U 439992 5723209 (22 km NW of Meadow Lodge). (62 km SE of Mica Creek). NTS Mapsheet: 082.N.12   AreaCode: FL17/GI56
First Ascent: 1912 Howard Palmer, E.W.D. Holway, Rudolph Aemmer, Edward Feuz Jr.
Sir Sandford's South Face
This peak is #21 on the Height List for British Columbia . This peak is #6 in Prominence List for British Columbia .With the completion of the railway in 1885, and the subsequent climbing activity near Rogers Pass, it was only natural that someone would set eyes on the great peak to the North. Like many mountains at the time, it came to the attention of Wheeler in 1901 while surveying near the railway. He calculated its lat-long and altitude, and at that time gave it its name.

However because of the narrow bush filled valleys, it was years before any expedition was mounted to climb the peak. In 1906 and 1907, two American students, Merkle Jacobs and Edward Heacock thrashed deep into the hinterland to attempt to reach the peak. However deep in the bush, a boulder rolled over on Jacobs, breaking his femur. Heacock went for help and got another explorer, Doctor Charles Shaw and others to thrash into the woods for 2 days and properly set Jacobs leg. However he still couldn't travel, and apparently remained in the woods for 2 months while his leg healed. Finally Jacobs was brought out on a stretcher in late August, as winter was approaching.

The following year, in 1908, the great pioneer of the Northern Selkirks, Howard Palmer spotted the peak from the top of Hermit mountain. What follows is a tale similar to the Mundays discovery of Mount Waddington, 30 years later. It took Palmer and various partners five repeated expeditions into the area, to work out a feasible approach. Finally on June 10, 1911 (very early in the year, one would note), they reached the northwest ridge. However the wind was so strong that it became too difficult to cut the necessary steps and handholds in the ice to get around a rock buttress. So they were forced back. It was not until 32 days later, on July 12th, that the again attempted the route, but this time were driven back by avalanche danger.

Up until 1912, Palmer was content to work all the problems out for themselves, without having professional guides and packers limiting their freedom to do what they wanted, and on their own schedule. However later the same summer, a certain George Culver of Winnipeg upped the stakes by going into the area with two Swiss guides, and making it to within 300 meters of the summit. When Palmer heard about it, he must have known time was running out, because in 1912, Palmer and Holway gave in and hired the same two guides, the legendary Edward Feuz Jr. and Rudolph Aemmer. They arrived at base camp on June 23, and set off at 1:00 AM by candle lantern. The guides choose to vary the route by traversing left, rather than straight up. This worked out well, and at 9:00 AM they were on the summit ridge. However the stretch from the ridge to the summit itself was made treacherous by a long snow wall and cornice, that forced some very exposed step cutting, with the snow sliding away below at every step into the void. But finally, with the Swiss Guides, they were on top. Howard Palmer was THE great pioneer of the North Selkirks, like Don and Phyllis Munday became to Mount Waddington.

Name Notes: Named after Sandford Fleming, perhaps the greatest railway engineer in Canadian history. Born on July 7 1827 in Scotland, he became one of the foremost railway engineers of his time, in charge of the initial survey for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Fleming also designed the first Canadian postage stamp, which was the first pictorial stamp issued anywhere in the world. Fleming's lasting fame however, results from his contribution to the development of Standard Time Zones. Before Fleming, every community across the world set its own time, based on high noon, and times between towns were somewhat undefined. Ottawa had a different time from Montreal, and Montreal from Quebec. With the advent of railways, more precise time was required to co-ordinate the life and death issues concerning train right of ways on single track railways. Fleming proposed a scheme to standardize the time within hour wide bands of space. This meant that 12:00 Vancouver time would be the same thing as 12:00 Kamloops time, regardless of the actual time of high noon. Prior to railways and telegraphs, there was no need to co-ordinate times that closely, because neither news nor people could travel fast enough to make any difference. Sandford Fleming died in Halifax in 1915.

Trips within 1 km
72 2009.07.30 Northwest Ridge of Sir Sandford Andrea Petzold


Paper Maps
1:400000Canadian Rockies Gem Trek
1:600000Southwest Alberta & Southeast British Columbia Gem Trek

Subject Photos   View Thumbnails
25 Mount Sir Sandford from Pioneer Peak Jeff Volp
14 Northwest Ridge of Mount Sir Sandford Andrea Petzold
13 Alpenglow on Sir Sandy Doug Brown
12 Summit Ridge of Mount Sir Sandford Andrea Petzold
11 Bergschrund Traverse on Northwest Ridge of Sir Sandford Andrea Petzold
7 Sir Sandford's South Face John Scurlock