Peak Finder

Photo: Brussels Peak from the north on the Icefields Parkway

Brussels Peak

  • 3161 m (10371ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
52.5172N -117.823W
Located between Fryatt Creek and Lick Creek 2 km southwest of Mount Christie

Province: Alberta
Park: Jasper
Headwater: Athabasca
Visible from Highway: 93N
Ascent Date: 1948
Ascent Party: R.C. Garner, J. Lewis
Year Named: 1920
Named by: Interprovincial Boundary Survey
Named for: The Brussels was an un-armed merchant ship which was commanded by Charles Algernon Fryatt, a British merchant seaman who was executed during WW I.

The Brussels was an un-armed merchant ship which was commanded by Charles Algernon Fryatt who is honoured by Mount Fryatt. Frank Smythe, a widely travelled mountaineer who wrote numerous books related to climbing and mountains during the 1940's, wrote that, "It is a conspicuous object from the road, and strongly resembles one of those minor dolomite peaks which jut out surprisingly from an otherwise normal landscape." He went on to be, for some reason, unkindly critical of the mountain writing that there is, "no particular grace or dignity about it. In fact it is one of those absurd little mountains that shouldn't be there, stuck on an otherwise impeccable landscape as an afterthought." He was perhaps referring to how different its profile is compared to the "sisters" to its left and right.

His attitude towards the mountain may have been coloured by the fact that he made three attempts to climb it and was unsuccessful (At least one of his attempts was with Bruno Engler in 1946 -see "A Mountain Life" pg. 71). He later wrote, "Most mountains have their weaknesses, but not so Brussels. Most mountains have cracks or chimneys leading though otherwise impassable cliffs or pitches; but the cracks and chimneys on Brussels peter out into overhangs or are merely incidental, beginning and ending nowhere. Most mountains have ledges whereby difficulties can be circumvented, but there are few ledges in the cliffs of Brussels."

In 1948 the mountain was considered to be the last of the major summits in the Rockies which had not been climbed. During July of that year two Americans, Ray Garner and Jack Lewis climbed the mountain but only with the use of controversial and new climbing technology which involved drills and expansion bolts. Even with these the climb was a monumental struggle.

Many Canadian climbers and Frank Smythe were outraged, Smythe writing, "I still regard Mount Brussels as unclimbed, and my feelings are no different from those I should have were I to hear that a helicopter was to deposit its passenger on the summit of that mountain just so that he could boast that he had trodden an untrodden mountain top."

Photo: Brussels Peak (courtesy Larry Stanier)

Looking south to Mount Christie (left) and Brussels Peak from the Icefields Parkway

Looking south to Brussels Peak (left) and Mount Lowell

Looking south to Brussels Peak from the Icefields Parkway

Looking south to (l-r) Mount Christie, Brussels Peak, and Mount Lowell from the Icefields Parkway