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Mt Bishop First Ascent In 1909 # 5260

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Date: 1909.10.20
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Caption: First ascent of Mt Bishop in 1909.

PhotoDescr: (The following are excerpts from Fred Mills memoirs, and from a newspaper article decsribing the trip)

During the summer and fall of 1909 all the peaks of the mountains to the west of Indian Arm were explored by the Vancouver Athletic Mountaineering Club (BCMC). Mount Jarrett was named after the club's first secretary "George Jarrett" (now named Mt Elsay), and Mt Bishop after the first President "Joseph Charles Bishop". The Mount Seymour name was retained, but it was more or less located first, but not named by Sanford Fleming in 1877.

On our first ascent of Mt Bishop "Mr Cromie" the former owner of the "Vancouver Sun" was with us, "this was the father of the present owners". When climbing Mt Bishop, I noticed a very fine locality for bear, deer, and goats, in an amphitheatre left by the last ice age, elevation about 3,500 ft, and facing east. The snow lies 30-40 ft deep on it's slopes all year the year around, and late summer or Labour Day is the best time to go there, for the large black and yellow salmonberries will just be ripening.

In 1910, I led a party of four there, up Bishop Creek which we named "Bishop Creek" , and got all the game we could carry down to tidewater. We located the largest "Red Cedar" on the bank of this creek, the largest living tree that I have ever seen. This tree was not a dead snag, but a living tree and still growing, as it must have been since 1066. We made three trips for game to this spot with great success. The bears would come down over the snowfields in the afternoon, and we would be in wait to pick them off. "They were after the berries".

The first ascent to Bishop and Mt Jarrett "Mt Elsay" will be summarized as follows. Dinner was made around a blazing fire opposite Crocker Island, as songs were sung, and stories were told, until time for turning in. The night was warm and the busy gnats made rest and sleep impossible, so the call to rise at 3:30am was more welcome than usual. The last stars were fading when breakfast was cooked, and hot coffee, and bacon did much to brace up every would be climber. The road at the start was up a steep long log chute for some distance, then through magnificent groves of cedar and fir which thinned out higher up, and gave place to blueberry bushes, which made strong hand holds, but required considerable trouble to penetrate. The line of travel was up a steep hogs-back, which bordered a mountain torrent. Near the top of these three bench's were traversed , two of which were thickly scattered with glacier worn rocks. A sharp descent had to be made to reach the slopes of the final peak. The last 700 ft was easy climbing over smooth rock, and the actual top of Mt Bishop was reached at 9:30 am. greeting were exchanged from peak to peak, for the voices of the two parties easily carried across the distance, although when seen with the naked eye the men seemed more the size of ants than human beings. It was decided to call this second peak Mt Jarrett, after the clubs first secretary.

The two parties, one which climbed Mt Bishop, and the other Mt Jarrett met shortly afterwards, descending down Bishop Creek, reaching tidewater at 4:15 pm. Mr Fred Mills, who by the way did most leading, said " this was the most successful trip the club has yet made, they having reached a height within a few feet of the 6,000 mark, in one day without mishap whatever".

The boat cast off at 6:00 pm, filled with a tired and sleepy crowd, but happy and strong with health and strength, that the hills and woods alone can give.

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