Located in the upper Dutch Creek Valley east of North Fork Pass. Park, Alberta Major headwater Oldman River.
Photo: Gould Dome from the west (courtesy Ed Michalski)
Lieutenant Blakiston was very impressed with the high distant peak (Tornado Mountain) that he saw through the Oldman River Gap in 1858 and recorded in his journal, "I was now looking through the gap in the near range through which the river issues, I saw a very decidedly dome-shaped mountain. It afterwards proved to be, when seen from the plains, and also from the top of a mountain in the Kootanie Pass, the highest and almost the only peak rising above the others in this part of the mountains. After the distinguished British naturalist, I named it Gould's Dome.
John Gould was an ornithologist and wrote large, lavishly illustrated books including a five volume work entitled "Birds of Europe." During his career he wrote over forty books with 3000 coloured plates. Blakiston was very interested in natural history and must have, at some point, been impressed by Gould's work.
The mountain remained Gould's Dome for fifty-seven years until it was renamed by Morrison Bridgland of the Boundary Commission in 1915. The Interprovincial Boundary Survey, led by Richard Cautley and Arthur O. Wheeler were delineating the Continental Divide and thereby the boundary between British Columbia and Alberta. Wheeler was most impressed by the mountain and wrote that, "the precipices of Tornado Mountain rise fully 2500 feet and the gigantic rock buttresses that stand out, separated by huge, cavernous chimneys, are awe inspiring. The survey members made the first and second ascent of the mountain and their report reads, "Tornado Mountain is a storm centre of the locality and, on the occasion of two ascents, the party had narrow escapes; first, through a cloud-burst accompanied by sheets of hail, which caused the mountain to run wild, torrents of water cascading down its slopes in every direction, and rockfalls, loosened by the water, crashing on all sides; on the second occasion, a fierce electrical storm encircled the summit and severe shocks were felt by members of the party. For days at a time dark thunder clouds, rent by vivid flashes of lightning, were seen to gather around the summit, and similar storms were encountered while on other adjacent heights. Wheeler wrote: "I never saw a mountain break loose like that before... Still mountains are mountains, and you must take them as you find them."
These experiences generated the idea to rename the mountain Tornado. The peak to the south was given the name Gould Dome even though it is not dome shaped at all. It is some 205 metres lower in elevation and considerably less impressive. We can only speculate as to whether Thomas Blakiston and John Gould would have approved of the change.