Located in the Bow River Valley west of Stewart Creek. Kananaskis Park, Alberta
Looking west to Middle Sister (left) and Little Sister from the Trans-Canada Highway
One of the most photographed views in the Rockies, The Three Sisters are probably recognized by more people driving along the Trans-Canada Highway than any of the other mountains in Alberta. They are also the peaks most associated with the community of Canmore, which has evolved from a railway siding and coal mining town to its current status as a thriving tourist related community.
Middle Sister is the peak in the centre of the group.
Mr. M.B. Morrow was the general manager of the Canmore Coal Co. from 1914 to 1926. As a member of the Alpine Club, he is recorded as the first person to climb the Second or Middle Sister above Canmore. Following his departure from Canmore, he evidently resided in Montana. A couple of his friends carried out his last wish which was that his ashes be taken to the top of the Second Sister. Following his death his friends had a stainless steel box made. His ashes were sealed in the bottom portion. On the top of the lid was engraved the following:
I hope you enjoyed your hike up here as much as I did.
Signed: M.B. Morrow”
Inside was the following engraving: “The lower section of this box contains the ashes of Mont. B. Morrow (born March 2, 1874 in Princeton, Illinois, U.S.A. - died April 17, 1964 in Missoula, Montana, U.S.A.). He was the operating officer of the Canmore Coal Mines from 1914 to 1926. On August 12, 1921, he became the first person recorded to climb the middle peak of the Three Sisters.”
Mr. Morrow was a Life Member of the Alpine Club of Canada and he loved the mountains. His ashes were carried up by two friends.
I climbed the 2nd Sister in 1997 and noticed that the lid was missing and thus all the engraving. I suspect that the hinges were not stainless steel and had rusted away.
-Marty Dewis -22 February, 2000
Although James Hector did not name the mountains, the geologist of the Palliser Expedition clearly appreciated the view from what is now the Canmore area and wrote in his diary, "Towards evening an excellent camping place was reached opposite a mountain with three peaks, which forms a very imposing group. In a nearby clearing we made camp and stayed for several days making a geological study of the rock formation." It was Albert Rogers, a nephew of Major Rogers, the discoverer of Roger's Pass in the Selkirk Mountains, who named the three peaks in 1883. He recalled, "There had been quite a heavy snowstorm in the night, and when we got up in the morning and looked out of the tent I noticed each of the three peaks had a heavy veil of snow on the north side and I said to the boys, 'Look at the Three Nuns.' They were called the Three Nuns for quite a while but later were called the 'Three Sisters,' more Protestant like I suppose." It is thought that the three were individually known as "Faith," "Hope," and "Charity" during the three years that the group was known as "The Three Nuns." The name "Three Sisters" first appeared on Dr. George Dawson's map of 1886 and it is quite likely it was he who thought that the name Three Sisters would be more appropriate.
The highest of the Three Sisters, Big Sister, was first climbed in 1887 by James J. McArthur. The lowest, Little Sister, is a much more difficult ascent and was not climbed until 1925 by a party led by Canmore's most illustrious mountain man, Lawrence Grassi.
*A hiking route to the summit is described in Gillean Daffern’s Kananaskis Country Trail Guide Volume 1.
For a panoramic view from the summit of the Middle Sister visit www.canadasmountains.com.