Peak Finder

Photo: Looking west to Mount Fryatt from the Icefields Parkway

Mount Fryatt

  • 3361 m (11,027ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
52.5503N -117.911W
Located in the Athabasca River Valley, 3 km southeast of Geraldine Lakes and northwest of Fryatt Creek

Province: Alberta
Park: Jasper
Headwater: Athabasca
Major Valley: Athabasca
Visible from Highway: 16, 93N
Ascent Date: 1926
Ascent Party: J.W.A. Hickson, Howard Palmer
Ascent Guide: Hans Fuhrer
Year Named: 1920
Named for: Fryatt, Captain Charles Algernon (Capt. Fryatt was a British merchant seaman who was executed during WW I.)

Mount Fryatt dominates a group of peaks lying between the Athabasca and Whirlpool Rivers in Jasper National Park.

An example of a "horn" peak, Fryatt has been sculpted by glaciers eroding it from all sides leaving a horn shaped summit. The mountain is a prominent landmark while driving along the Icefields Parkway.

During the early months of the First World War, the German navy sent their submarines into action around the British Isles for the first time. British antisubmarine measures were largely ineffective as the small patrol ships, often in appalling weather, were spread too thinly given the large area to protect. So the British began to arm their merchant ships and Winston Churchill, in his role as First Lord of the Admiralty, ordered that if their ships were threatened civilian merchantman captains were to, "immediately engage the enemy, either with their armament if they possess it, or by ramming if they do not" and he continued, "Any master who surrenders his ship will be prosecuted." Thus a civilian captain was placed in the position of being a "franc-tireur," an individual outside the armed services who attempted to injure enemy military personnel, which carried the risk of being executed by the enemy or being prosecuted by their own government for cowardice which carried a similar penalty.

On March 3, 1915 Captain Fryatt of the railway ferry Brussels successfully dodged an attack by a u-boat and sailed home to a hero?s reception and received a gold watch from the ship?s owners. Shortly afterwards, on March 28, he was intercepted again, this time by U-33, and as the surfaced submarine was lining the Brussels up for a torpedo shot, Capt. Fryatt turned and attempted to ram the submarine which was forced to crash dive in order to avoid him. At one point, the submarine was close enough that Capt. Fryatt reported, "You could have easily hung your hat on the periscope." The submarine then disappeared and was not seen again.

His actions apparently made Capt. Fryatt a marked man in German eyes. Over a year later, during the night of June 22, 1916, the Brussels was intercepted by a flotilla of German torpedo boats and taken into Zeebrugge. Capt. Fryatt was tried before a military court-martial on July 27, found guilty, and promptly shot.

The outcry in Britain was enormous as the government made the case that Capt. Fryatt, "saved his vessel and the lives of his passengers and crew by skilfully avoiding an attack." The British regarding the execution as judicial murder aimed at terrorizing merchant seamen and, as in the case of Edith Cavell, the German harshness backfired on the diplomatic front. Their action was widely condemned in the world's press, particularly in the then neutral United States where the New York Times termed it "a deliberate murder."

Mount Fryatt was named in 1921 in order to honour the captain of the Brussels and the railway ferry itself had a mountain to the south of Mount Fryatt (Brussels PeakJ.W.A. Hickson and Howard Palmer led by guide Hans Fuhrer. They were forced to bivouac following a thunderstorm on the summit, returning to their camp 28 hours after setting out.

Photo: Looking south to Mount Fryatt from the Icefields Parkway

The summit block of Mount Fryatt from the Icefields Parkway

Looking west to Mount Fryatt from the Icefields Parkway

Looking west to Mount Fryatt from the Icefields Parkway

Looking west across the Athabasca River to Mount Fryatt

Looking west to Mount Fryatt from the Icefields Parkway