(The Mystery Mountain Project Facebook page)

Mystery Mountain Hop: Documentary recounts quest for largest peak on the B.C. coast

Film available on Amazon Prime explores expedition of Don and Phyllis Munday to Mount Waddington

It is the largest peak on the B.C. coast and the namesake of Vancouver Island’s most northerly regional district.

And a century ago, to colonial explorers it was a mystery.

A landmark exploration of Mount Waddington is the subject of a new documentary now available on Amazon Prime.

Back in 1926, a young couple set out into the British Columbian wilderness in search of an undiscovered mountain — taller than any peak in the Canadian Rockies – that experts said didn’t exist.

Nearly a century later, a group of six amateur mountaineers set out to re-create their epic journey. Their adventures in the B.C. backcountry are the subject of a new Canadian feature documentary, The Mystery Mountain Project.

RELATED: Kayakers to visit B.C.’s ‘secret coast’ first visited by Spanish explorers in 1770s

RELATED: A Friday the 13th near-full moon brings out Vancouver Island’s midnight walkers

The documentary recounts the original expedition of Don and Phyllis Munday, a mountaineering husband and wife team who were far ahead of their time. In an age when women were expected to be housewives rather than mountain climbers, the couple set out as equals, determined to find and climb the undiscovered B.C. peak they nicknamed Mystery Mountain.

They took to the B.C. wilderness, avoiding grizzlies and avalanches to reach their goal. After locating and mapping Mystery Mountain, the Mundays returned with the first photographs of what is now known as Mount Waddington.

“For there to be a mountain of that size that most people didn’t even know existed on the coast of British Columbia was a huge surprise in the early 1920s,” says Bryan Thompson, a Toronto history buff and the leader of the expedition.

The Mystery Mountain Project follows a team of adventurers from Ontario, Quebec and Alberta as they retrace the Mundays’ steps. This expedition, sponsored by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, would be an ambitious feat on its own, but was made even more so by their commitment to only work with gear used in 1926. No modern, lightweight jackets or packs, no GPS or freeze-dried food and no bug spray.

While navigating their way through the rough terrain of the Homathko Valley, an area of dense rainforest leading to Mt Waddington, the modern-day team soon realized they may have bitten off more than they could chew.

The project was organized by the Canadian Explorations Heritage Society (CEHS), an NGO dedicated to bringing wilderness history to life through expeditions and educational activities.

The film’s director, Greg Gransden, is a veteran screenwriter and producer whose work has appeared on the National Geographic Channel, Discovery Canada, History Television and others.

His previous film, Hobnails and Hemp Rope, was also supported by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and won best director at the Moscow International Festival of Mountaineering and Adventure Films.

Members of the Mystery Mountain expedition, including director Greg Gransden, its leader Bryan Thompson and team members Susanna Oreskovic and Stuart Rickard are available for interviews.

The film’s trailer can be viewed here. The film is available for viewing on Amazon Prime

For more information about future CEHS expeditions, click here.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Have a story tip? Email: editor@northislandgazette.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Arts and Entertainment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Workers at Kitimat General Hospital were presented with a large variety of food packages in appreciation of the last year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The donations came via local Epicurean representative Kerri Weightman who collected money for the purchases. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Hospital workers receive food donation

Workers at Kitimat General Hospital were presented with a large variety of… Continue reading

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Most Read