Murchison is one of those peaks that is not climbed all that frequently despite being quite accessible, possessing serious elevation differential, involving some interesting scrambling, and being only a proverbial stone's throw lower than the magic eleven thousand-foot mark. It is, as well, an imposing and impressive massif, filling a huge section of 82 N/15 (Mistaya Lake) and dominating the SE corner where the North Saskatchewan and Mistaya Rivers intersect and where, not coincidentally, the Banff/Jasper Highway connects with the David Thompson.
According to Boles, et al., in "Place Names of the Canadian Alps", the peak was name after Sir Roderick Impey Muchison (1792-1871), a prominent English geologist who identified the Silurian System and recommended [Sir James] Hector for the post of geologist to the Palliser Expedition. He was president of the Royal Geographical Society and a notable figure of British science. Boles suggests that the local Indians felt this peak, though well east of the divide, was the highest of the Rockies. Historical records indicate that they were not the only ones who felt this way: many of the early explorers and trappers in the Rockies also made this assumption, an assumption no doubt encouraged by the massiveness of the mountain and the close approach one could make from the surrounding valleys.
There is some controversy surrounding the first ascent, a controversy deriving from the fact that Murchison is, like so many peaks in the Rockies, a double summit. Both the NW and the SE summits, separated by 0.8 km, appear from several angles to be of equal height. J.N. Collie, H.E.M. Stutfield, G.M. Week, and the guide Hans Kaufmann undeniably made the first ascent of the NW peak in 1902. Since that time,... To see the full trip report you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)
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