|Ha Ling Peak
Located in the Bow River Valley; a peak at the northwest end of Mount Lawrence Grassi; southeast buttress of White Man Gap. Kananaskis Park, Alberta
Photo: Ha Ling Peak from Highway #1A near Canmore
Together with Ship's Prow, Ha Ling Peak is a named high point on the more massive Mount Lawrence Grassi (Ehagay Nakoda) that lies between The Three Sisters and Mount Rundle.
This mountain was formerly officially named Chinaman's Peak. Although not made official until 1980, the mountain was named in 1886 in honour of Ha Ling, a Chinese cook at a mining camp. According to the Medicine Hat News of October 24, 1896, the previous weekend had seen a feat of remarkable mountain climbing near the town of Canmore. In the “Canmore Cullings” column in that issue, it was reported that Ha Ling, a cook from China who worked at the mining camps, won a fifty-dollar bet. He bet some of his co-workers that he could climb to the top of the peak, plant a flag, and return to the town in ten hours. Not only did he accomplish the task he did it in five and a half hours. Following pressure from the Chinese Community, the name was removed in 1997 and officially renamed Ha Ling Peak the following year.
However this may not be the end of the story. Writing in the October 4th issue of the Banff newspaper, Lorraine Widmer-Carson reported that Brian Dawson's book, "Moon Cakes in Gold Country -From China to the Canadian Plains," tells a different tale but one that still involves a Chinese cook and the bet. According to Dawson, it wasn't Ha Ling but Lee Poon (a cook at the Oskaloosa Hotel) who climbed the mountain and the bet was for $10.
Both stories involve a Chinese individual who was a cook and who climbed the mountain to win a bet. But what should the name of the mountain be?
*A hiking route to the summit is described in Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Volume 1.