Barbeau Peak, the apex of Ellesmere Island, is the highest mountain in the Canadian Arctic Islands. There is no higher land closer to the north pole, just 550 miles away over mostly ocean.
Barbeau is often called the highest mountain in eastern North America, but that ignores Greenland and the Caribbean Islands, both of which have higher peaks. It would be technically accurate to call it the highest mountian in eastern Canada and the United States, but it lies so far north that traditional notions of "eastern" are largely meaningless.
The mountain was named in 1969 for Dr. Marius Barbeau (1883-1969), a Canadian anthropologist whose researches into the Indian and Inuit cultures helped preserve them from oblivion and gained him international acclaim.
This largely snow-covered peak rises from vast icecaps remininscent of Antarctica. The ascent is relatively easy from the north, and the main difficulty in ascending the peak is extreme remoteness. Getting to the base of Barbeau Peak via air charter service is very expensive.
|1961||Geoffrey Hattersley-Smith and party make the first ascent of Mount Whisler, second highest peak on Ellesmere, and see a distant peak they think might be higher.|
|1962||Hattersley-Smith, Paul Atkinson, and pilot Dick de Blicquy fly past Barbeau Peak and their airplane altimeter tells them it it likely the highest on the island.|
|1967-06-05||First ascent by Dicky Bird, Trevor Mann, Mike Shannon, and Brian Keegan of the R.A.F, with Keith Arnold, via the north ridge. The same day, Geoffrey Hattersley Smith, Uwe Embacher, Bruce Reid (RAF) and Bob Lewis (RAF) also gained the summit, via the south ridge after a west ridge attempt and traverse of the southwest face. This effort was a joint ascent by members of a Royal Air Force expedition and a Defence Research Board party doing glaciological work. They used snowmobiles for the approach.|
|1982, May/June||Ascent by Allan Errington and Albro, Piercy, Robinson, Shadd, and Trafton via north ridge; by Petrie and Williams via west ridge (first ascent of that route). This party climbed many other summits in the range near Barbeau, naming them after famous ships used in Arctic exploration. See AAJ 1983.|
|1992-07-07||Ascent by Australians Eric Phillips, Richard Smith, and Nick Fairfax as part of a 300-km ski traverse of Ellesmere Island. Apparently Phillips and Farfax climbed the south ridge, and Smith, after injuring his ankle, climbed to the summit by another ridge, possibly the north ridge.|
|1996||Attempt on peak by David Graber and expedition, turned back due to bad weather.|
|1998-06-15||Ascent by Candians Tony Daffern and Pete Ford, with American Greg Slayden, via north ridge after a west ridge attempt and northwest face traverse. Later that same day Americans Jack Bennett, Dan Bennett, William Salter, Dave Rotheroe, and Tom Budlong of the same expedition attained the summit via the north ridge. With this climb, Jack Bennett became the first to climb all 13 Canadian province/territory highpoints. Daffern, Slayden, Ford, Bennett, and Bennett skied from high on the north ridge, possibly the first ski descent of the peak.|
|2000||Ascent by Jerry Kobalenko, Canadian sled-traveller.|
|2002-05||Ascent by Matty McNair from the USA; Paul Crowley, Ben Ellis, Emily Edwards, Fernand Noel and Elizabeth van Eyken from Canada; Robert Kimsey and Peter Roberts from the UK; and the Italian Paolo Gardino. This was a commerical expedition that climbed via the northeast ridge.|
|2002-06||Ascent by Americans Jonas Cabiles, Pete Dronkers and Blue Eisele. The approach was from the west, and they descended on skis (Caliles, Eisele) and snowboard (Dronkers).|
|2010-06-27||Ascent by Americans Jack Bennett (his 2nd summit), Tom Bennett (completing the 13 Canadian province/territory high points), Billie Butterfield, Sue Richman, Mitch Sheldon, Dave Green, Rich McAdams, and Donna Calhoun. Their route was from the south, overland from Tanquary Fiord, and was hampered by stream crossings and glacial meltwater.|