(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

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including South Surrey’s Pacific Highway should ‘not be left behind’

Ribfest 2019. (Aldergrove Star files)
Plans for Langley RibFest shelved for second year in row due to COVID-concerns

50/50 Rotary Lottery to continue for second year, potentially worth $250,000, set for Aug. 19

Bat Packs are the newest addition to the FVRL Playground, and have everything you need to learn more about bats, and track them in your neighbourhood. (FVRL image)
Bat Packs at Fraser Valley libraries come with echometer to track bats

Packs are the newest part of the FVRL Playground inventory

Walnut Grove Secondary Student Anna Pyper’s artwork is a self portrait that focuses on the effects of the pandemic on pizza boxes with their most missed memory of before COVID painted on the inside. (Special to The Star)
Langley students tackle masks and pre-COVID memories with pizza box art project

West Fine Art Show showcasing art class photography, paintings and sculptures until April 30

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge still driving more, taking transit less

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

MP Todd Doherty took to Facebook after his family recently received threats. (Todd Doherty, MP Facebook photo)
‘I don’t run and I don’t hide’: Cariboo MP says RCMP probing threats made against family

Todd Doherty has also notified House of Commons Protective Services

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

Most Read