Peak Finder

Thunder Mountain from Highway #22 near the Oldman River Bridge

Thunder Mountain

  • 2335 m (7,661ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
49.8392N -114.358W
Located in the Oldman River Valley south buttress of "The Gap"

Range: Livingstone
Province: Alberta
Headwater: Oldman
Major Valley: Oldman
Visible from Highway: 22
Ascent Date: 1792
Ascent Party: Peter Fidler
Year Named: 1915
Named by: Morrison Bridgland
Named for: The name must be related to thunderstorms in the area.

Thunder Mountain has the distinction of being the first peak to be climbed by a non-native in the Canadian Rockies.

During December 1792, Peter Fidler travelled from Buckingham House (near the site of Elk Point) on the North Saskatchewan River, east of Calgary to the present site of High River. Later he travelled south through Happy Valley which lies between the Livingstone Range and the Porcupine Hills (the route now followed by Highway #22). On December 31st, after studying the "Oldman's Bowling Green" in the vicinity of the Oldman River Gap (where the Oldman River passes through the Livingstone Range), he ventured through the Gap on the south side of the river to the point where Racehorse Creek joins the Oldman River, becoming the first white man to actually enter the Canadian Rockies.

Later that day he, "climbed up a gentle ascent, this making an angle of more than 60 degrees with the horizon, and after much fatigue I got to the top in 2 1/2 hours time, from which an extensive view may be seen. There was only a few places within the eyes extent that is higher than the place I stood on." Peter Fidler had become the first non-native to climb a mountain in the Canadian Rockies. He wrote, "This height I measured and found it to be 3250 feet above the level of its base." Today's topographical maps indicate an elevation difference of approximately 3150 feet. There seems little doubt that the mountain Peter Fidler climbed was Thunder Mountain.

The Indians who Fidler was camped with became quite concerned during his absence and, "sought me everywhere" never thinking I would undertake the great trouble and fatigue of ascending to the summit of the mountain.


Additional information regarding Peter Fidler may be found at:

[Additional information: "Peter Fidler -Canada's Forgotten Explorer" by J.G. MacGregor]

Photo: Looking south-southwest to Thunder Mountain from the Oldman River Valley Road

Looking west to Thunder Mountain from the Willow Creek Road

Thunder Mountain from Highway #22 near the Oldman River Bridge