Between 1884 and 1908, Arthur Philemon Coleman made eight expeditions into the Rocky and Columbia Mountains, culminating in two unsuccessful attempts to climb Mount Robson, first at age 55 in 1807, with his brother Lucius and Reverend George Kinney, and again in 1908. Three of his earlier excursions, in 1888, 1892 and 1893, were his efforts to discover the locations of Mounts Brown and Hooker, as first described by David Douglas. Reaching Athabasca Pass in 1893, Coleman found that Douglas had erroneously recorded their heights to be sixteen or seventeen thousand feet, when they were only half that size. With a foreword by Chic Scott, Coleman's climbing journals have been edited into one volume for The Canadian Rockies: New and Old Trails (Rocky Mountain Books, 2006). During his western adventures, Coleman crossed path with climbing pioneers Mary Schaffer, Joby Beaver, Frank Sibbald and Adolphus Moberly. "Unfortunately, Coleman and others like him are largely forgotten in this ear of reality TV and a general obsession with Mount Everest," writes Chic Scott. Born in Lachute, Quebec, on April 4, 1852, Coleman graduated from Victoria University at Coburg, Ontario, with a B.A. in 1876. Known as a brilliant scholar, he earned a Ph.D in geology from the University of Breslau, in Germany, in 1881. He mainly taught at the University of Toronto and died in 1939.


The Canadian Rockies: New and Old Trails (Rocky Mountain Books, 2006). $19.95 978-1-894765-76-3.

[BCBW 2006] "Outdoors"