Clutterbuck and Lees, men and mountains

Clutterbuck and Lees

"Clutterbuck and Lees stand guard over the head of Granite Creek" is the caption of this wonderful photograph taken by modern adventurers on "a climbing expedition in the old style" in 2004. I wonder if they knew of the men after whom these mountains are named, and their connection to this landscape.

W.J. Clutterbuck and J.A. Lees, two early British "tourists" made their way to western Canada shortly after the CPR railroad was completed. Their book, A Ramble in British Columbia, BC 1887, is revealing both of the geography and inhabitants of the upper Columbia in the year 1887. Lees and Cluterbuck spent August through October exploring the waters of the upper Columbia and Kootenay rivers. Their account of dry fly fishing is the first record of using that fly-fishing method in Canada. The book also records the running of chinooks, now extinct, and the spawning grounds on the Upper Columbia River.

These English gentlemen travelled the world in search of fly-fishing adventures, and also wrote Three In Norway by two of them, a few years earlier than their expedition to the Canadian Rockies, after which two mountains are named for them.

In 2004, a group of Canadian adventurers recorded their own experiences climbing Mount Clutterbuck, and hiking the area that remains a pristine wilderness, much the same as it was when Lees and Clutterbuck were there over a hundred years ago. Here's a photograph of them descending the Clutterbuck Glacier.

This trip was a grand adventure into a remarkable, very seldom visited, wilderness area – easily the largest area in BC I have seen without a clearcut. The climbing was generally excellent on wonderful granite, our weather was spectacular with 9 consecutive sunny days, and new friends made the experience complete.


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