Located on the continental divide at the head of Paradise Valley; east buttress of Opabin Pass. on the border of Banff & Yoho parks, Alberta/BC border. Major headwaters Bow & Columbia rivers.
Photo: Looking west to Mount Hungabee (centre) and Ringrose Peak (right) Mount Temple (courtesy Alan Kane)
Together with Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy, Mount Hungabee is one of three peaks over 3400 metres which dominate the Continental Divide in the general Lake Louise area. At 3492 metres Mount Hungabee is the highest of the three.
Mount Hungabee lies at the heads of three valleys, Paradise Valley which flows into the Bow River, Opabin Valley in the Lake O'Hara area of Yoho National Park, and Prospector's Valley in Kootenay National Park. Samuel Allen recognized the peak's geographic significance in 1894 when he named it using the Stoney Indians' word for "chieftain."
In his book, "The Rockies of Canada,"Walter Wilcox describes the mountain as it is seen from Paradise Valley as follows: "The upper part of this valley is hemmed in by an encircling line of mountains, and abruptly terminated to the south by a bare precipice which rises in a wedge-shaped peak called by us "Hungabee" or the chieften."
In Volume I of the Interprovincial Boundary Survey, Arthur O. Wheeler wrote, "It (Hungabee) is the central peak of the region and one from which five distinct valleys radiate, all famous for their scenic beauty."
The first ascent of Mount Hungabee by Herschell Parker, Christian Kaufmann, and Hans Kaufmann was an exciting day as the party had to make its way across a gap in the arete leading to the summit. Parker later wrote, "...slowly and carefully, while firmly grasping the rock on one side, Christian thrust his feet forward until they touched the other and his body bridged the chasm; then a strong forward swing, and he stood safely beyond the gap. For me, aided by the rope, the matter was far less difficult and soon we made our way over the intervening arete, gained the corniced summit, and Hungabee, the grim old 'Chieftan' was conquered."