Peak Finder

Photo: Mount Paul (centre) from Samson Narrows; Monkhead Mountain and Mount Warren at right (courtesy Dan Neil -Cloud to Ground Panoramas)

Mount Paul

  • 2805 m (9,203ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
52.6169N -117.435W
Located in the Maligne Lake Valley at the southern end of Maligne Lake

Range: Queen Elizabeth
Province: Alberta
Park: Jasper
Headwater: Athabasca
Visible from Highway: Maligne Lake Road
Ascent Date: 1928
Ascent Party: W.R. Hainsworth, M.M. Strumia
Year Named: 1911
Named by: Mary Schaffer
Named for: Sharples, Paul (Paul was Mary Schaffer's nine year old nephew. He accompanied her 1911 expedition to Maligne Lake.)

Mount Paul is most impressive from "Samson Narrows," probably one of the most recognized viewpoints in Jasper National Park. They lie eight kilometres from the north end of the lake, just over half way to the end. When Mary Schaffer's party reached this point they thought that they had reached the end of the lake until, after navigating the narrows, "There burst upon us that which, all in our little company agreed, was the finest view any of us had ever beheld in the Rockies." It is from here, with the small, treed, Spirit Island in the foreground, that Mount Paul rises, tower like, 1134 metres above the lake. The group originally referred to this mountain as "The Thumb."

In 1911, during her second visit to the lake, Mary Schaffer was accompanied by her nine year old nephew, Paul Sharples. The previous winter Paul had suffered from whooping cough and was taken along on the expedition because Mary felt he needed a summer of fresh air and sunshine. As they passed below the narrows they, "?looked up to the great buttresses of the Thumb, and sighed a long sigh at the wonderfulness of it all. Even the small boy was silenced by the splendour of the scene for the time being, and then the little voice uttered?'I suppose I am too little a boy to have a mountain named for me'". Mary responded by saying, "No, I think if you stayed a very good boy for the rest of the trip and not?"(mentioning a few lapses of good behaviour chronic to small boys), "we might call that mountain Mount Paul? But remember this, that if you fail to keep your part of the bargain, off comes the name? He promised, but the name had to be removed twice; however, it was on there when we left. So I hope it may remain for many years to come, to mark the visit of the first white child who navigated those waters."

-from "1911 Expedition to Maligne Lake" by Mary Schaffer

-According to the above the original Mount Paul was a lesser peak to the west of what was originally "The Thumb" but there is no mountain to the west of "The Thumb." However the mountain formerly known as "The Thumb" now carries the name of Mary Schaffer's nephew Paul.

[Additional information: "A Hunter of Peace" edited by E.J. Hart]

[Additional information: "No Ordinary Woman" by Janice Sanford Beck]

Looking north to Mount Paul from Coronet Creek (courtesy Gillean Daffern)

Looking northwest to Mount Paul from Warren Creek (courtesy Gillean Daffern)