Viewpoint: Names in a canister capture history

by Ermes Culos Stand on the craggy summit of Beartooth Mountain on any clear day and you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Powell Lake. At least, it was such a view that greeted us (Stefan Culos from Seattle, his uncle Tony from Powell River, and me, Stefan’s father, the undersigned, from Ashcroft) on  Sunday morning, August 23.

This gorgeous view of the lake is impressive enough, but anyone standing on the mountaintop is rewarded with spectacular vistas all around. Twin Peaks and Rainbow Mountain are not too far off on one side, while Mount Baldy and Mount Slide stand guard on the other side. Farther off to the north Mount Denman stands tall and to the southeast, toward the head of Jervis Inlet, can be seen the snowy heights of Mount Alfred. Ragged and craggy, all of them.

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Judging by the canister kept carefully protected inside the summit cairn, the experience of standing atop Beartooth was a memorable one not just for us, but for a good many other Powell Riverites who have climbed it in past years and left their names and impressions up there.

Powell River is justifiably proud of its heritage and fantastic surroundings. It should also take a lot of pride in those of its hardy residents whose adventurous spirit is reflected in the ragged mountains that form the backdrop of the Townsite.

We took photos of the sheets inside the canister, and although—and unfortunately—some of the photos are blurry, most of the names do show up clearly. Among these: (September 18, 1982) Dave Markland, Bob Perry, Pete De Vito; (August 4, 1984) Andrew and David Culos, both eight years old, Stefan Culos, 12, Ken and Mike Parsons, Tony and me, Ermes Culos; (August 11, 1988) Roger Mallory, Wally Green, Gary Cullen; next day, Mark and Ann Paterson; (September 10, 1989) Owen Gaskell, Jim Stutt, Tony Matthews, Walter Kubany, Rick Pallyard and their friend John; (June 28, 1986) Keith Heyes and three companions; (September 3, 1988) Phil, Kenny, Derek, David Sturm; (July 1, 1991, Day five of five) Doug Wood, Colin Dionne, who indicated they had just done all Rainbows and Twin Peaks; (July 24, 2004) Tony and Egidio Culos; (July 22, 2006) Bob Perry, Rob Southcott; (September 6, 2008) Matt McDowell, Tye Leishman; (August 1, 2010) Christie, Colin and Jamie, who said they paddled from the Shinglemill and all is well; (September 14, 2014) John Rapp and Rolf Widmer; (June 27, 2015) John Rapp, Chad Lavoie, Jason Addy. At least another half dozen names could not be read.

We looked in the canister for the names of parties who climbed Beartooth prior to 1980 and could not find them. On our way down from the mountain it occurred to us that hidden inside the cairn there may be another canister containing the names of earlier climbers, possibly dating back to the time of famed Powell River climber PR Lockie in the 1950s.

It would be great if someone could confirm the existence of such a second canister.

Ermes Culos is a hiker living in Ashcroft, BC and can be reached at eculos@hotmail.com.

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