Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

The Lions

The Lions are the most iconic and distinctive of the North Shore peaks. The earliest recorded climb of the western Lion took place in 1889, when a group of hunters following a herd of mountain goats, led by Native Chief Joe Capilano, found itself at its base. Party member Dr. Henry Bell-Irving asked the chief to time a young Native runner’s ascent–the return trip took the naked youth under 20 minutes. The steep granite face of the eastern Lion deterred climbers until 1903, when John Latta and his two brothers scrambled to the top without the aid of the rope they had brought along but didn’t know how to use. Some years later, it became a BC Mountaineering Club tradition for a party to climb the Lions on Labour Day weekend, in part to “test” prospective club members, who were required to successfully complete two test climbs before getting the nod.

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WHAT
Famed local mountaineering couple Phyllis and Don Munday gaze up at the Lions. The western Lion reaches 1,646 m and the eastern Lion 1,599 m.

WHERE
The Mundays are standing on Mount Strachan, which is located north of the District of West Vancouver and west of the Capilano valley.

WHEN
This photo dates to 1920; Phyllis and Don Munday had married in Vancouver on February 4th of that year.

WHO
The Mundays’ daughter, Edith Wickham, donated this photo to the North Vancouver Museum and Archives.

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