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Odd Landmarks Abound in British Columbia

Mountain ridges around the world are often as famous for being given unusual titles as they are for being destinations in themselves. For instance, consider Cornwall’s “Brown Willy,” a mountain whose name was lent to a meteorological phenomenon called the Brown Willy Effect (seriously).

Further south in Antarctica, in the late 1950s an expedition group from the Victoria University of Wellington observed a series of peaks formed by talus slopes, ridges where stones accumulate along the base, which gave them an imposing appearance they likened to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Hence, the ridges themselves were dubbed “Apocalypse Peaks”. Nearby one will also see the appropriately named “Mount Terror”, a name shared by a similarly imposing mountain found in Washington state.

Which brings us to the peculiar mountain names associated with areas in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the wilderness areas a little north of Vancouver, British Columbia. My survey of the area had actually begun with a pet project, of sorts, which involved trying to find landmarks associated with Albert Ostman’s purported kidnapping by Sasquatches in 1924 (for instance, during his escape, Ostman noted his ascent to a ridge from which he was able to see Baker Mountain, which would have been a good distance south of his position at the time, well beyond Vancouver, in fact).

Toba Inlet

Toba Inlet

Combing the area with Google Maps, I began at Toba Inlet, where Ostman claimed his adventure in search of a lost silver mine had first begun. Heading inland and due northeast, as Ostman had said he traveled, there are some noticeably strange mountain names that begin to turn up; here are just a few examples: “Cockscomb”, “Interesting Mountain,” “Interesting NE2,” “Interesting N4”, “False Portal Peak,” “Munk Peak”, “The Fang”, “The Three Chieftains”… the list goes on.

Further northeast within the Ts’yl-os Provincial Park, peaks dubbed “The Rhino”, as well as “Snow White Mountain” exist. Another interesting pair are dubbed “Beauty” and, on the nearest ridge, “The Beast”.

I also liked “Prophet Peak” and “Resurrection Mountain.” However, none among them quite stood out like “Mt Brockenspectre.” Originally named “The Cleaver”, the mountain in question was scaled in 1971 by Glenn Woodsworth and Arnold Shives, who gave it the new name. “Brocken” is also the name of the tallest peak in Northern Germany, for which the Brockenspectre derives its name: it is the appearance of a large shadow cast on moisture ahead of a hiker, when the sun or another light source illuminates them from behind.

Brocken

Interestingly, many believe that this is the source behind some purported Bigfoot encounters, where people hiking during a mist will claim to see the silhouette of a “giant” humanoid off in the distance. The theory was mentioned by researchers Loren Coleman and Mark Hall in their book True Giants, specifically citing similar legends of a “big man” that is said to haunt the summit of Ben Macdui in the United Kingdom.

As a final note of speculative interest, it is interesting that both locations–Ben Macdui and Mount Brockenspectre–exist in regions that where there are legends of purported “giants”, as with the Sasquatch in the case of the British Columbian wilderness. It’s enough to make one wonder about the nature of some of the encounters with mystery humanoids, and the interesting parallels between such beliefs in different parts of the world.

For a complete listing of unusual names for various locations around the globe, visit this link.

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