Storms, Cold, Hunger Faced Students Charting Rockies
"We just had a cup of flour among the five of us. The closest town was several days away, but there might be food on top of the mountain--7000 feet up through snow and storm. Then again, there might not."
That's the story of four College students and a Yale man, who this summer climbed 11,000 feet into the Canadian Coast range to map an area never before seen by human eyes. All are members of the Harvard and Yale Mountaineering Clubs, which ran a half-dozen expeditions during the vacation.
The student were W. V. Graham Matthews '45, James C. Maxwell '50, George I. Bell '48, Harry C. King '49, and William Fix of Yale. On July 22 they set up base camp in the mountains of British Columbia, 250 miles above the United States border.
Chart 100 Miles
"Our big plan was to chart 100 square miles of land around Remote Mountain," said King. "But first we had to get food. We had only carried provisions for a few days."
An airplane was supposed to drop food at the mountain top camp on July 25, but storms cancelled the flight. On July 28, some of the men climbed to high camp and waited again for the plane. They saw it approach, circle several times, then fly away--without dropping any food. The winds were too strong.
"The situation was getting grim," said King. "Food was very low at base camp."
Once Fix turned to the group, referring to a kind of compressed cereal, said, "Gentlemen, you have six doughboys. You may do with them what you wish." That day each person had one doughboy and a cup of tea for food.
Not until August 1 did the air lift come through. The group climbed to high camp to get it, and then split into two groups. Fix and Bell took their surveying tools up Remote Mountain, while the others started to scale Hardship, Privation, and Ribbon.
"Hardship" and "Privation"
The climbers named these mountains from a newspaper clipping that described the last group to attempt a scaling: "They told stories of hardship and privation. They were forced to ration themselves."
Ribbon got its name, said King, because it looks like a ribbon. All the new names and maps went to the Canadian Board of Geographic Names for approval.
The band returned to base camp in August with six first ascents behind