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Photo: Mary Jobe (courtesy Whyte Archives)

Mary Jobe Akeley

(1878-1966) Mary Jobe Akeley, an American schoolteacher, was described as tall and strong and a woman of determination and great endurance. During her first visit to Canada in 1905 she completed a trip in the Selkirk Mountains with friends. In 1909, together with another woman named Bess MacCarthy, she joined Howard Palmer and others on a Dominion Topographic Survey expedition to the Mount Sir Sandford area in the Selkirk range. Later that summer she visited the Rockies for the first time and returned numerous times in later years to climb and explore, becoming a regular at Alpine Club camps. In 1914 she approached Curly Phillips with the idea of exploring the high mountains to the north and west of Mount Robson. During this and the following year she travelled extensively in the area of Mount Sir Alexander, coming very close to making the first ascent of the mountain. In August, 1914, Mary Jobe and Margaret Springate visited the area with guides Curly Phillips and Bert Wilkins. They ascended the north glacier to an altitude of 7800 feet. Curly returned the following summer, again with Mary Jobe, coming to within 100 feet the summit with Frank Doucette and John C. Tyler before being stopped by an overhanging cornice. In 1924 she became the wife of Carl Akeley, an explorer and natural scientist who worked in Africa. On their first visit to the continent Carl died of disease in the remote mountains of the Congo. Jobe remained to complete his work and when she returned to the United States in 1927 she became an advisor in the development of the African Hall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. She never again returned to the Canadian Rockies where Mount Jobe has been named in her honour. [Additional Information: Smith, Cyndi. "Off the Beaten Track". Lake Louise: Coyote Books, 1989]