Peak Finder

Photo: Looking west to Mount Balfour from the Icefields Parkway

Mount Balfour

  • 3272 m (10,735ft)
  • First Ascent
  • Naming History
  • Hiking and Trails
51.5656N -116.466W
Located on the continental divide in the Bow River and Yoho Valleys; south buttress of Balfour Pass; west of Waputik Icefield

Province: Alberta/BC
Park: Banff/Yoho
Headwater: Bow/Columbia
Major Valley: Bow
Visible from Highway: 1, 93N
Ascent Date: 1899
Ascent Party: C.L. Noyes, Charles Thompson, G.M. Weed
Year Named: 1859
Named by: James Hector
Named for: Balfour, Professor John Hutton MD (Professor Balfour was a professor of botany at Glasgow University and Dean of the medical school at the University of Edinburgh. He provided much encouragement to the Palliser Expedition.)
Popular Hike: Emerald Lake/Yoho Valley
Journal Reference: CAJ 1-151; App 9-20;

A massive, glacier draped mountain, Mount Balfour dominates the Waputik Icefield. Its steep east-facing cliffs overlook the upper Yoho Valley. The name "Balfour" was originally applied by James Hector to a peak between the Mistaya and Blaeberry Rivers, and it is possible that the present day Mount Chephren or Howse Peak was the one he had in mind. Whether one approaches on the Trans-Canada Highway from the east or the west, Mount Balfour is the first peak on the Continental Divide which is seen. John Hutton Balfour attended the University of Edinburgh where he obtained his medical doctorate in 1831. He subsequently commenced medical practice, but in 1840 began giving lectures in botany and in 1841 was appointed professor of botany at the University of Glasgow. In 1845 he becoming head of the Royal Botanical Garden and Queen's botanist for Scotland. For 30 years John Hutton Balfor was dean of the medical faculty in Edinburgh, where he first introduced teaching in microscopy.

Looking northwest to Mount Balfour (courtesy Marta Wojnarowska)

Looking north-northeast to Mount Niles with Mount Balfour beyond from Mount Yukness (courtesy Sonny Bou)

Looking west across Hector Lake to Mount Balfour (courtesy Rudolf Posch)

Looking north to Mount Balfour

Looking west to Mount Balfour

Photo: Looking northeast through Yoho Pass to Mount Balfour from the Trans-Canada Highway near the Ottertail River

Looking east to Mount Balfour from the Little Yoho Valley

Looking northwest to Mount Balfour, right and beyond Mount Daly from the Trans-Canada Highway near Redearth Creek

Looking northwest to Mount Balfour from the Iceline Trail

Looking north to Mount Balfour (beyond) from the Yoho Lake Trail

Looking northwest across the Waputik Icefield to Mount Balfour from Mount Daly (courtesy Sonny Bou)

Looking south to Mount Balfour from Vulture Glacier (courtesy Marta Wojnarowska)