Photo: Looking southeast to Mount Sparrowhawk from the northern end of Spray Lake on the Smith-Dorrien Road
- 3121 m (10,240ft)
- First Ascent
- Naming History
Located east of the Spray Lakes Reservoir, 3 km south of Mount Lougheed at the head of North Ribbon Creek
Visible from Highway: 1, 742, 40S
Ascent Party: R.C. Hind, L. Parker, Mr. and Mrs. H.H. Rans
Named for: HMS Sparrowhawk was a British warship that was sunk during the Battle of Jutland. (see story) WW I
Connected to a Mount Bogart by a long, high ridge, Mount Sparrowhawk lies to the left of the grassy slopes of Mount Allan when it is viewed from Highway #40 near the turnoff to Kananaskis Village. A large cornice of snow forms each winter on the eastern slopes of the ridge, just to the left of Sparrowhawk and lingers into late summer when it is sometimes the only snow to be seen from this viewpoint.
Although her crew performed valiantly, HMS Sparrowhawk's role in the Battle of Jutland was not one to bring fame and honour to the Royal Navy. She was one of a flotilla of eleven destroyers proceeding through a very dark night with absolutely no idea of where the enemy was and with only a very vague idea of the position of other British ships. In the course of the battle, the destroyers turned to fire torpedoes and as a crewmember of the Sparrowhawk related, "the helm was put over and orders passed to fire the remaining torpedo. The HMS Broke, ahead of us, had also put her helm over but, just as we were both turning, she was hit forward, and when she should have eased her helm and steadied to fire a torpedo, as we were doing, I saw that she was still swinging to port with her helm jammed, and coming straight for our bridge at 28 knots. I remember shouting a warning to everyone to hold on, and to the forward gun's crew to clear the forecastle, just as she hit us."
HMS Contest, following in the night, failed to see the damaged Sparrowhawk and sliced off her stern, leaving the crippled ship to lie where she was, unable to steam. At dawn, the Sparrowhawk's crew was horrified when a German light cruiser appeared. Bravely they prepared to engage the much larger enemy warship with their only remaining operable gun while "dead in the water." Much to their relief the enemy ship did not open fire, but "settled down forward, then stood on her head and sank." She was the Ebling which had been severely damaged in an earlier engagement and had been trying to reach the Danish coast. An hour later HMS Marksman appeared and took the Sparrowhawk in tow but when both hawsers, broke, the unfortunate Sparrowhawk was ordered sunk by British gunfire.
Mount Sparrowhawk honours the brave crew and this rather unfortunate ship.
*A hiking route to the summit is described in Gillean Daffern?s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Volume 1.
For a panoramic view from the summit of Mount Sparrowhawk visit www.canadasmountains.com.