Howse Peak
3290m (10794ft.)

Located on the continental divide in the Mistaya River Valley at the head of Chephren Lake; western buttress of Howse Pass. Banff Park, Alberta/BC border. Major headwaters Saskatchewan & Columbia rivers.
Latitude 51; 48; 50 Longitude 116; 40; 45, Topo map 82N/15

Panorama viewpoint: Silverhorn Creek Bridge. Can be seen from Highway 93N

Naming: Howse, Joseph (Joseph Howse was a Hudson''s Bay Company trader who crossed Howse Pass in 1809, two years after it was discovered by David Thompson. Howse had been in charge of Carlton House, near present-day Prince Albert from 1799 to 1809.) Official name.

First ascended in 1902 by J. Norman Collie, H.E.M. Stutfield, G.M. Weed, H. Woolley, guided by Hans Kaufmann. Journal reference AJ 21-372.

Photo: Howse Peak from the Icefields Parkway
More photos

Other Information
Photo: Looking south to Howse Peak from Mount Chephren (courtesy Alan Kane)

With an elevation of 3290 metres, Howse Peak is the highest mountain in the range which lies to the southwest of the Icefield Parkway from the Saskatchewan River to Bow Pass. Geographically it is significant because at its summit the Continental Divide makes a ninety degree turn and trends northeast-southwest for twenty kilometres, one of the largest shifts from the general northwest-southeast trend of Interprovincial Border. Howse Pass lies beyond the mountain and the huge basin occupied by the Freshfield Icefield lies even farther to the west.

A dome-shaped mountain when viewed from the Icefields Parkway, the base of Howse Peak is composed of dark, almost black limestone that forms a steep cliff with little indication of layering and virtually no snow highlighting. In contrast, the upper portion of the mountain is primarily reddish tinged layers of dolomite which allow for attractive patterns of snow highlighting in early summer.

Howse Pass and subsequently Howse Peak was named for Hudson''s Bay explorer Joseph Howse. As part of the quest for a passage to Native groups of present day British Columbia, Howse and a party of seventeen traversed the pass in 1809. David Thompson of the North West Company had journeyed through this pass two years earlier. Yet, Thompson named the area after Howse whom he had met near the Kootenay Plains in 1809. The Pikuanni carefully guarded this stretch of the Rocky Mountains. They did not want either explorer to gain direct access to trade with western Native groups, such as the Kutenai. The Pikuanni were a formable threat which was possibly why Thompson went north, where he eventually explored and utilized the Athabasca pass. Although, Howse returned to England with a 1500 pound profit from a successful season trading with the Flathead peoples of present day Kalispell, Montana, the pass was deemed too dangerous for future trade. The Howse pass was not used by the Hudson''s Bay Company for another twelve years.(Jennifer Howse)

Norman Collie and party completed the first ascent of Howse Peak in 1902.

Climbing Routes
North-East Buttress V 5.8 A0
One of the most aesthetic routes described in the book. It was the hardest route in the Rockies in its day; very impressive for 1967. Not only is the climb long, it is sustained throughout. The rock quality reaches both extremes; mostly it is good, though really shitty in a few spots. The situations on the buttress are superb and the technical climbing is excellent. The climb can be completed with a light pack with one bivi. Anticipate at least two days for a round trip. And don''t forget crampons and axe: you''ll need them on the way up as well as on the way down. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 171

North Face VI 5.9 A3
A serious, modern alpine route with sustained difficulties throughout. "The Gash" contains an awkward and difficult crux, while in the upper sections above the hanging glacier the belays and protection become "difficult" and provide a phenomenal cerebral exercise. There is, however, an escape from the trauma of the upper section if your brain can''t take it. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 172

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