Livingstone Range
Livingstone Range (82G; 82J)

The Livingstone Range forms the eastern edge of the Rockies from the Highwood River in the north to the Crowsnest River in the south.

Thomas Blakiston was an important assistant to John Palliser as the Expedition carried out extensive explorations of western Canada from 1857 until 1860. Lieutenant Blakiston was travelling south through the valley which now contains Highway #22 in August of 1858 when he paused at the Oldman River and enjoyed the view to the west. He described and named the Livingstone Range writing in his journal, "The gap through which I had seen this mountain (the peak now known as Tornado Mountain) was in the eastern or near range, of very regular form, extending, with the exception of this gap, for a distance of five and twenty miles without a break. The crest of the range was of so regular a form that no point could be selected as a peak, I therefore gave the whole the name of Livingston's Range, it is a very marked feature when seen from the plains outside." (Literature regarding Dr. Livingstone sometimes has the name spelled "Livingston," as Blakiston did in his journal when the range was named, and at other times "Livingstone" as on Palliser's 1865 map.)

Dr. David Livingstone was a British explorer, geographer, and missionary who for thirty-two years travelled throughout Africa from the Cape to the equator and from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. In doing so he laid the foundation for British title in many parts of the continent. Understandably, fellow explorers such as John Palliser and his contemporaries revered Dr. Livingstone and Palliser is said to have felt privileged to have sat beside him at a meeting of the Royal Geographic Society.

Thunder Mountain, one of the peaks of the Livingstone Range, has the distinction of being the first mountain to be climbed by a non-native in the Canadian Rockies.

During December 1792, Peter Fidler travelled from Buckingham House (near the site of Elk Point) on the North Saskatchewan River, east of Calgary to the present site of High River. Later he travelled south through Happy Valley that lies between the Livingstone Range and the Porcupine Hills (the route now followed by Highway #22). On December 31st, after studying the "Oldman's Bowling Green" in the vicinity of the Oldman River Gap (where the Oldman River passes through the Livingstone Range), he ventured through the Gap on the south side of the river to the point where Racehorse Creek joins the Oldman River, becoming the first white man to actually enter the Canadian Rockies.

Later that day he, "Climbed up a gentle ascent, this making an angle of more than 60 degrees with the horizon, and after much fatigue I got to the top in 2 1/2 hours time, from which an extensive view may be seen. There was only a few places within the eyes extent that is higher than the place I stood on." Peter Fidler had become the first non-native to climb a mountain in the Canadian Rockies. He wrote, "This height I measured and found it to be 3250 feet above the level of its base." Today's topographical maps indicate an elevation difference of approximately 3150 feet. There seems little doubt that the mountain Peter Fidler climbed was Thunder Mountain.

The Indians who Fidler was camped with became quite concerned during his absence and, "sought me everywhere. . . never thinking I would undertake the great trouble and fatigue of ascending to the summit of the mountain." -Dave Birrell www.peakfinder.com

[Haig]