Part 1: Jeannette Peak - The Idea
There are unclimbed mountains in the Rockies? And only 45km from Valemount, B.C ., and Jasper, Alta. … really? YES! Exploration can still be had…
Jeannette Peak 3,089 meters / 10,135 feet. Located 45km SW of Jasper & 45km SE of Valemount, in the Selwyn Range of the Canadian Rockies – just outside Mount Robson Provincial Park.
A year ago, on a road trip through northern British Columbia while checking out potential places to live, we landed in Valemount, BC. A few months later, when researching potential climbing projects, Jeannette Peak caught my eye. It was at the top of the list of unclimbed peaks in BC due to its ultra-prominence (1,657m / 5436ft) and right out of Valemount - THAT landed it on our “someday” list.
Almost exactly a year later, upon Lonnie’s return from an attempt to solo Mt. Hunter in Alaska, the explorer was not satisfied with simply hitting the ice crags around Canmore… so up popped Jeannette.
A bit of research revealed that the mountain was unofficially named after the ill-fated USS Jeannette, an arctic exploration ship that became trapped in the ice from 1879 to 1881. Although the ship ultimately succumbed to the pressures of freeze-up, the 33 crew survived the sinking but 20 died later while sailing towards land. It was believed that with their ship trapped in the winter sea ice, polar explorers could use the ocean current drift to traverse across the pole.
As a young explorer, while researching sea ice drift for his North Pole expedition, Lonnie read The Voyage of the Jeannette by George W. De Long. Climbing Jeannette Peak seemed a fitting coincidence given his polar exploration background. As it stands, the mountain has no officially registered name, but it may have a First Nations name – which we are currently investigating.