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Photo: Looking north to (l-r) Bison Tower, Cromwell Tower, and Engelhard Tower from the Icefields Parkway

Engelhard Tower

  • 3210 m (10,532ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
51.9097N -116.639W
Located at the head of Bison Creek and the head of Totem Creek; 0.5 km north of Cromwell Tower on south portion of Mount Murchison

Province: Alberta
Park: Banff
Headwater: Saskatchewan
Major Valley: Mistaya
Visible from Highway: 11, 93N
Ascent Date: 1938
Ascent Party: E. Cromwell, Georgia Engelhard
Ascent Guide: Edward Feuz jr.
Year Named: 1973
Named by: W.L. Putnam
Named for: Engelhard, Georgia (Georgia Englehard was a prominent climber in the Canadian Rockies during the early twentieth century.)(see biog.)

Mount Murchison was named by James Hector in 1858 after Sir Roderick Murchison who was at that time the director of the Geological Survey of Great Britain and had recommended that Hector be chosen as the geologist on the Palliser Expedition. In a letter written in 1859, Sir Murchison thanked Hector, "for attaching my name to this culminating point." The base of Mount Murchison covers an area measuring five km by seven km. There are two high points on the main summit (northwest and southeast). They are 700 metres apart. Seven "towers" in excess of 3050 metres (Engelhard Tower, Gest Tower, Feuz Tower, Bison Tower, Cromwell Tower, Hall Tower, and South East Tower) lie to the southeast and have been unofficially named. It is a rather unique mountain and Bow Pass is probably the best point to get a feeling for its areal extent and the fact that it has so many individual summits of approximately the same elevation. It is said that the Indians believed that Mount Murchison was the highest peak in the Rockies. Georgia Engelhard 1906-1985) A native of New York, >Georgia Engelhard enjoyed hiking in the eastern US as a child and studied art in college later and after abandoning painting, and focused on photography. She had visited the European Alps in her teens and climbed with her father in the Mount Ranier area in 1926. Later that year the family visited the Canadian Rockies and Georgia climbed Pinnacle Peak with Edward Feuz. Jr. She was a regular visitor to the Rockies, visiting fifteen summers during the next three decades. Georgia grew to love the Canadian Rockies. After reaching the summit of Mount St. Piran in 1929 at the age of 23, she wrote: "The lake and valley were still in deep shadow, but the surrounding peaks, all I had climbed, were bathed in golden rosy light. I was seized by an indescribable ecstasy, filled with the joy of conquest. They were all mine -my beautiful, private, world of mountains. Yet, at the same time, I felt how infinitesimal I was. It was an unforgettable experience." During 1931 she climbed a total of 38 peaks in the Rockies and the Selkirks. She stood on the summit of Mount Victoria eight times that summer, seven of the trips being part of the filming of the movie, "She Climbs to Conquer." An outstanding lady climber who completed 32 first ascents in the Rockies and Selkirks she, to some extent, competed for first ascents with Katie Gardiner who completed 33. In 1935 she climbed in Europe for the first time. She was joined by Eaton "Tony" Cromwell, a veteran mountaineer whom she married in 1947 after several years of climbing together in the Canadian Rockies. They retired to Switzerland spending their final years enjoying the Alps together. During the last forty years of her life, Georgia never returned to the Canadian Rockies where she had spent much of her youth. [Additional Information: Smith, Cyndi. "Off the Beaten Track". Lake Louise: Coyote Books, 1989]

Photo: Looking up Murchison Creek to Hall Tower (left) and Englehard Tower from Highway #11