Peak Finder

Photo: Looking east to Foster Peak from the upper Kootenay River Valley

Foster Peak

  • 3204 m (10,512ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
51.0653N -116.162W
Located northwest of Floe Lake at the headwaters of Floe Creek

Range: Vermilion (BC)
Province: BC
Park: Kootenay
Headwater: Kootenay
Major Valley: Kootenay
Ascent Date: 1933
Ascent Party: Katie Gardiner, Ken Jones
Ascent Guide: Walter Feuz
Year Named: 1932
Named for: Foster, W.W. (W.W. Foster completed the first ascent on Mount Robson in 1913 with A.W. MacCarthy and Conrad Kain)

Katie Gardner and guide Walter Feuz are best known for completing numerous first ascents in the Kananaskis Valley. However, during the summer of 1933 they visited Kootenay National Park to attempt some first ascents in the Vermilion Range and Walter invited a young twenty-three year old friend from his home town of Golden to join them. The threesome completed the first ascent of Foster Peak and the trip is one of many stories which make up the book, "Ken Jones -Mountain Man" by Lorne and Kim Tetarenko. Ken recalls that, "It was not too hard of a climb" but has vivid memories of an incident which took place on the summit. As described in the book, "when we got on top Katie wanted a picture." Walter came up with the brilliant idea of, "Ken, why don't you go out there on the cornice an take a look, and see if that snow cap at the summit is safe for us to stand on." Katie and I will hold onto you with the rope." I reached out with my ice axe and stepped out onto the snow. Pfffft, I was through! I looked down and saw through the hole between by feet, three thousand feet or more straight down to Floe Lake! "Yep, there is definitely a cornice here, nice view though." Katie, Walter, and Ken returned the following month to do some more climbing in the Vermilion Range to the north of Foster Peak. After reaching their campsite at the treeline below the Rockwall by noon, Ken and Walter left to do some preliminary reconnaissance, got carried away, and made the first ascent of a second mountain. The following day Katie, Walter, and Ken made the first ascent of yet another peak, Mount 10240. Ken remembers that Katie was primarily interested in first ascents that summer and there seemed to be real competition between her and another outstanding lady climber of the era, Georgia Engelhard. The two placed fourth and fifth in the list of first ascents by "non-guides," Katie edging out Georgia 33 to 32.

Photo: Looking northwest to Foster Peak from near Floe Lake (courtesy David Wasserman)

Foster Peak July 1, 1933 (Ken Jones Collection)

Ken Jones on the summit of Foster Peak -First Ascent July 1, 1933 (Ken Jones Collection)