Women Conquer Mount Evans: 0051.0690

SCALING MT. EVANS FULL OF THRILLS. – Lofty Peak Lies High In Purcell Range. – Party of Ladies Made Ascent With Guide Recently and Enjoyed Experience Immensely. –

            This has been an exceptional year around Cranbrook and Kimberley in the number of parties who have taken to mountain climbing as an outdoor sport.  Mount Fisher has been the most outstanding objective, but it is known that there are several other peaks that require equal physical endurance and skill.  One of these is Mount Evans, which lies in the Purcell range, about 25 miles north-west from Marysville.  The attached story has to do with a recent trip made by a party of three young ladies up to the Evans Brothers’ property, and the scaling of Mt. Evans by two of the ladies.  The altitude of Fisher Peak is estimated at 9250 feet, and the altitude of Mt. Evans is said to be even higher, although we have no figures of the exact height.

            This trip was undertaken by miss Marjean McLure and Miss Helen McLure, of St. Mary’s prairie, and Miss Margaret MacDonald, a school teacher of Vancouver, who was here on a visit with the two other ladies.  The actual ascent was made only by the McLure sisters, with William Evans as guide.

            Miss Marjean McLure gives a graphic description of the trip and their experiences and we shall let the young lady proceed with the narrative:



            “For five days we slept and ate as only those who have spent a hard day in the mountains can sleep and eat.  These five grand and glorious days, which comprised our holiday were spent in the heart of the mountains, our headquarters being the Evans Brothers’ camp on White Fish creek.

            “A perfect holiday in a perfect place with perfect hosts, Messrs. Charles and William Evans.  And could they cook!  Hot cakes like we never tasted before.  Mulligan – well just ask Dr. Miles or Senator King if it wasn’t the best they ever tasted.  Oh, yes, we discovered the secret of Evans Bros. Famous raspberry jam.  The main essential is “get the berries,” and believe me, its no cinch picking wild raspberries, in fact we almost got more thorns than berries.  The rest of the essentials are comprised of the outcome of years of experimenting upon the subject.  Combine these and the result is perfection plus in the form of raspberry jam.  Oh, well, it all goes to prove that there are tricks in every trade.

Climb Mt. Evans

            “Our greatest achievement was our ascent to the topmost pinnacle of Mt. Evans, but before telling of our climb I would like to say a little about the history of the mountain.  Mt. Evans lies in the Purcell range, which is one of the oldest ranges of mountains in the world.  It is situated about nine miles above St. Mary’s lake on the south side of White Fish creek.  William Evans, better known as “Bill,” claims the honor of being the first man to reach the lofty peak.  The next two men to reach the top were his brothers, Charles and the late Jack Evans.  “Bill” made his first trip to the apex of the peak over 30 years ago and since then both he and Charlie have looked down upon the world several times each from the peak, which now bears their name.  About 1910 the mountain was officially named Mt. Evans by Dr. S.J. Schofield, then dominion geologist.

            “During the past few years quite an number of men have scaled the mountain, but only last week did the great peak succumb to womankind, Helen and myself being the first two of our sex to ascend the peak of Mt. Evans.

            “The mountain rises on three sides leaving only one possible way of ascent.  We spent the night in Pollen basin, which is a two-mile climb from the cabins on White Fish creek.  It is in this basin where the much talked of claims of the Evans Bros. are situated.  And, by the way, this basin was named after the late Col. C.H. Pollen, whose death was mentioned in the last issue of The Courier.

            “We started our climb at 8:30 a.m. with Billy Evans as our guide.  Time was no consideration so we ambled along enjoying life as we went.  After zig-zagging back and forth at the lower end of the mountain, which faces towards the West, we eventually came out on top and followed along the cliffs for probably three –quarters of a mile.  On the east the mountain drops like a perpendicular wall and from the top of the wall it slopes down towards the west like the roof of a house.  So far the climb had been gradual and steady.  What impressed us most of all during this part of the trip was the weird-looking trees.  Although they were small and very stunted they appeared to be almost ancient and were literally covered with moss.  From this point, where the timber ended, the mountain widened out and a most peculiar sight met our gaze.

            “Before us lay several acres of land which might almost be described as “flat.”  This place, which our guide termed the “picnic grounds” was covered with short grass, moss and heather.  Beyond this the mountain again rises fairly rapidly and at the same time becomes much narrower.  The traveling is now entirely over rocks – rocks so old they are round with age and covered with black moss.  We soon reached what appears to be the peak from Pollen basin, but it is only the first peak.  On this we found a cairn of stones and on top of this cairn we discovered a can, inside of which was a paper containing the following names: J.P. Dick, G.J. Knighton, H.M. Moll – Sept 3rd, 1932.

            “About a quarter of a mile away and towards the south-east the main peak towers in rugged splendor.  This quarter of a mile was really the only dangerous part of the entire climb, for in order to get from one peak to the other it is necessary to cross a narrow ledge only a few feet in width.  To the north the ledge drops hundreds of feet straight down into Kelly basin named after the Kelly’s of Fort Steele.  On the other side the drop is not nearly as far nor as steep, but great caution has to be taken for fear of a misplaced step in either direction.  The peak itself rises in the form of a triangle with perpendicular walls on two sides and a more gradual slope on the third.  The top of the peak is about 12 feet square with a cairn of stones in the centre.  We left our names on a piece of paper in a can on the top of this cairn of stones.  From the top of this peak on a clear day, according to our guide, you can see from beyond Golden in the north to away down into the U.S.A., besides the many ranges of mountains lying east and west.

            “Although we saw some wonderful scenery we did not see all there was to see on account of smoke.  After half an hour on top we started downward and were in Pollen basin again by 2:45 p.m.

            “The next day found us no worse off for our trip.  We packed our belongings, hiked nine miles out to St. Mary’s lake, and rode the remaining 15 miles home on horseback.

0051.0690: Women Conquer Mount Evans

First hand account from the first two women that conquered Mount Evans.

Medium:  Newspaper - Text
Date:  August 23, 1934
Pages:  2
Publisher:  Cranbrook Courier
Collection:  Columbia Basin Institute (0051)


Mount Evans ascent guide mountain climbing ladies camp pinnacle geologist basin claims


People arrow Evansarrow
People arrow MacDonaldarrow
People arrow McLurearrow
People arrow Milesarrow
People arrow Kingarrow
People arrow Schofieldarrow
People arrow Pollenarrow
People arrow Dickarrow
People arrow Knightonarrow
People arrow Mollarrow
People arrow Kellyarrow
Sports arrow Mountain Climbingarrow
Physical Features arrow Mountains arrow Mount Fisherarrow
Physical Features arrow Mountains arrow Mount Evansarrow
Physical Features arrow Mountains arrow Purcell Rangearrow
Cities arrow Marysvillearrow
Physical Features arrow Creeks arrow White Fish Creekarrow
Physical Features arrow Lakes arrow St. Mary Lakearrow
Cities arrow Fort Steelearrow
Transportation arrow Horses and Mulesarrow


For additional features, including access to full text resources, become a member.

Find out more about Memberships.

Share what you know

Share what you know

Do you have additional information about this resource?

Please share what you know.

This resource may be protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History.