Peak Finder

Photo: Simon Peak (courtesy Glen Boles)

Simon Peak

  • 3322 m (10,899ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
  • Hiking and Trails
52.6567N -118.318W
Located on the continental divide 1 km northwest of McDonnell Peak; one of the peaks of Mount Fraser

Province: Alberta/BC
Park: Jasper/Mount Robson
Headwater: Athabasca/Fraser
Ascent Date: 1924
Ascent Party: Alfred Ostheimer, M.M. Strumia, J. Monroe Thorington
Ascent Guide: Conrad Kain
Year Named: 1920
Named by: Interprovincial Boundary Survey
Named for: Fraser, Simon (A fur trader and one of Canada's most well known explorers, Simon Fraser was the first to cross Canada and reach the Pacific. He discovered the Fraser River.)
Popular Hike: Tonquin Valley
Journal Reference: AJ 37-323 38-56

Located on the Continental Divide at the head of the Bennington Glacier and the head of Simon Glacier, Mount Fraser is on the border of Jasper and Mount Robson parks. It is made up of Simon Peak, Bennington Peak, and McDonnell Peak. (Simon Peak is the highest of the three.)

In his book, "The Glittering Mountains of Canada," J. Monroe Thorington wrote, "From high peaks of the Whirlpool we had glimpsed its [The Tonquin Valley] towers and glaciers in the north, and had looked into misty, forested valleys at Fraser headwaters. We knew that Simon Peak, the highest elevation of Mount Fraser and the loftiest summit of the Divide between Fortress Lake and Yellowhead Pass, had yet to be climbed. And so we went."

The difficulties had been less than expected, and upon reaching the summit wrote, "It was a pleasurable surprise to find a rock outcrop on the very highest point of our mountain, and we sat down in a comfortable spot to have lunch. It was not the best of days for a distant view, as smoke hid many of the far peaks that we had hoped to see. Most spectacular, however, was the gorge of Bennington Glacier. Formed by the snows that lie in the northern cirque of Mount Fraserí¢ä‰åä‹¢s three peaks, it winds sinuously below the barren west wall of the Ramparts and disappears around the corner of Casement - the lowest portion of visible ice being more than four thousand feet below our viewpoint."

Mount Fraser and Simon Peak are named for one of Canada's most well known explorers, Simon Fraser.

MOUNT BENNINGTON AND McDONNELL PEAK

Mount Bennington's name has a direct connection to Simon Fraser in that he was born near Bennington, Vermont. His father, Simon Fraser sr., and his mother had emigrated from Scotland in 1773. Senior was a Loyalist during the American Revolutionary War and was taken prisoner by American troops at the Battle of Bennington. He eventually died in 1779 following harsh treatment in a military prison.

But even after the peace of 1783, Fraser's family was harassed by their American neighbours. Consequently in 1784, Isabel Fraser sold their farm and, like thousands of other United Empire Loyalists, fled to Canada with her young family that included Simon Jr. who was only eight years old.

Regarding McDonnell Peak's name, McDonnell was the family name of Simon Fraser's wife. She was the daughter of Colonel Allan McDonnell of Ontario.