Mt Farnham…103 years later

Following a brutally early “subalpine” start in Wilmer, Kirk Mauthner (ACMG guide who has worked with our CKCS Teens Climbing Camp since the first one in 2009) and I lurched onto the summit of Mt Farnham via the seldom climbed south ridge, and were back home, door to door, in 15 hours.

Judging from the dearth of names in the thin summit register, left there in 1975 by the Alpine Club of Canada, less than 100 people have stood atop the highest peak in the Purcell Range since Conrad Kain, Bess and Albert MacCarthy climbed it in 1914. It was great to see so many familiar names of ACC members and their ACMG guides.

The views of the surrounding high peaks and glaciers in the central Purcells were as magnificent as I remember when I climbed Farnham Tower 42 years earlier (Kirk first climbed Mt Farnham 25 years ago).

Spending a big day in the hills like this every once in a while helps build appreciation for the accomplishments of pioneer mountaineers like Kain and the MacCarthys (and contemporary pioneers like Kirk), and for the companionship of the rope that such exploration inspired. And, as an added bonus, the regenerative powers of nature.


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Kirk Mauthner finds a delightful pitch of lichen-coated rock amidst the rubble midway up the south ridge route on Mt Farnham, with a not-too-shabby backdrop of Commander glacier, Jumbo peak and Commander peak.

Kirk Mauthner finds a delightful pitch of lichen-coated rock amidst the rubble midway up the south ridge route on Mt Farnham, with a not-too-shabby backdrop of Commander glacier, Jumbo peak and Commander peak.