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Photo: Looking south-southwest to Mount Strachan from near the Lineham Creek Bridge on Highway #40

Mount Strachan

  • 2682 m (8,800ft)
  • Naming History
50.3825N -114.817W
Located on the continental divide in the Elk River and upper Highwood River Valleys; north buttress of Gunsight Pass

Range: High Rock
Province: Alberta/BC
Park: Kananaskis
Headwater: Bow/Kootenay
Major Valley: Highwood
Visible from Highway: 40S
Year Named: 1918
Named for: Strachan, Lt. Henry VC (Lt. Strachan was a Canadian cavalryman who was awarded the Victoria Cross during WW I.)

The high pass between Mount MacLaren and Mount Strachan is known as Gunsight Pass because of its "V" shape when viewed certain vantage points.


Most people think that the ground action of the First World War was restricted to trench-type warfare and it suprises many to learn that Canadian cavalry saw action. Harcus Strachan led a cavalry charge of 129 mounted Canadians and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts. He later rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel and commanded the 1st Battalion of the Edmonton Fusiliers during WW II.

Harcus Strachan was serving as a Lieutenant with the Fort Garry Horse in France during the fall of 1917. The following account of the action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross appeared in the London Gazette on December 18, 1917: "He took command of the squadron of his regiment when the squadron leader was killed. Lt. Strachan led the squadron through the enemy line of machine-gun posts, and then, with the surviving men, led the charge on the enemy battery, killing seven of the gunners with his sword.

All the gunners having been killed and the battery silenced, he rallied his men and fought his way back at night through the enemy's line, bringing all unwounded men safely in, together with 15 prisoners.

The operation - which resulted in the silencing of an enemy battery, the killing of the whole battery personnel and many infantry, and the cutting of three main lines of telephone communication two miles in rear of the enemy's front line - was only rendered possible by the outstanding gallantry and fearless leading of this officer."

Another report of this amazing story appeared in "The Victoria Cross" and reads: "The men went forward at the gallop to an objective dear to any cavalryman's heart. A battery of field guns lay before them. A good horse, firm ground, and guns to be taken - a cavalryman wants no more. The Canadians charged down upon them, and in a moment were among the guns, riding the gunners down or sabring them as them stood.... There was a brief melee of plunging horses and stumbling artillerymen. Then the business was finished."

The mountain was named in Lt. Strachan's honour in 1918.

Looking west to Mount Strachan (left) and Mount Muir from Highway #40

Photo: Looking west to Mount Strachan (left) and Mount Muir from Highway #40

Looking west to Mount Strachan from Highway #40