Thursday, July 25, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 101

 The Lions from Mt. Crown, Vancouver, B.C, early 1900s


Since I have been putting up so many blog posts about hiking I thought this postcard of The Lions in British Columbia, Canada might be appropriate for this week’s Thursday card.

The card features a photograph with a white border and has a divided back with the stamp amount given as one cent.  This dates the postcard to between about 1910 and 1930.   No photographer or card publisher is noted on the card.  It is an unused card so there is no cancellation mark with a date and no message to give any additional clues.  The two young men in the picture do not look like they are typical hikers or climbers since they are wearing rather nice street clothes and do not have backpacks or other gear except for the binoculars being used by one. 

The Lions are the two peaks seen at the upper right side of the card.  Located along the North Shore Mountains near Vancouver, B.C., Canada they are referred to as East Lion, 5,269 ft or 1,606 m and West Lion, 5,400 ft or 1,646 m and can be seen from Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast and the Howe Sound Islands.  The Lions Gate Bridge was named in their honor.  The peaks have become one of the most recognizable Vancouver landmarks. 

The Lions are a popular hiking destination, however, most hikers begin at Lions Bay and stop at the ridge which takes about four hours and gains 4,199 ft or 1,280 m.  Going beyond the ridge requires rock climbing equipment and climbing experience.  No hiking or climbing is allowed on East Lion because it is in the Greater Vancouver watershed. 

The first ascent of West Lion happened in 1889 when a group of hunters who were following a herd of goats found they had reached the top of the mountain and had no where to go but down.  East Lion was not scaled until 1903 when three brothers set out to do it.  They had virtually no climbing experience, did not know how to use the rope they took only because they heard that climbers used ropes.  They pulled themselves up the mountain by grabbing hold of small shrubs and bushes.  These same brothers also climbed West Lion.

Originally the native people called these peaks The Sisters and there is a story about them and how they got that name.  The peaks were renamed The Lions around the year 1890 by a Canadian judge, John Hamilton Gray. 

For additional information about the Lions, the naming of the peaks and a more detailed account of the ascents see:

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