1967 Yukon Nuggets
The Centennial Range
The Yukon has always been a special place for mountain climbers. The vast landscape of the St. Elias has provided challenges for mountaineers around the world. In 1967, Canada was involved in all manner of special projects to celebrate 100 years of confederation.
David Fisher of the Alpine Club of Canada, Monty Alford with the Yukon Water Resource board and David Judd of the Yukon Territorial government administration presented a plan to climb peaks in the St. Elias Range. The Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition was born.
The idea was to have 13 teams, of four climbers each, scale 13 unnamed peaks and name them after each of the 10 provinces and two territories. 1967 also marked 100 years since the American purchase of Alaska from Russia. It was decided to have a team of four Canadians and four Americans climb the highest unnamed mountain, and call it Good Neighbour Peak.
The Canadian climbers were led by Monty Alford while the American leader was Vin Hoeman. Good Neighbour Peak, rising 15,700 feet, was conquered on June 25. The second part of the project, the climb of provincial and territorial mountains was scheduled to begin on July 8th. None of the mountains had been climbed before. A support staff of more than 250 people assisted in this massive operation.
The actual ascents took place between July 13 and July 25. Nine of the peaks were conquered. Climbers attempting the other four were unable to reach the summits. The event captured the imagination of Canadians during that special year back in 1967.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.