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The Rex Gibson Tragedy:
Fatal Fall on Mount Howson 1957

From the Victoria Times Colonist August 22, 1957.

Famed Climber Dies on B.C. Peak
Maj. Rex Gibson Plunges to Death

Maj. Rex Gibson, famous Saanichton mountaineer who sometimes used to talk of "roping up for the last climb," has been killed in his fourth attempt to scale an unclimbed northern B.C. peak.

His body today is tied to a rock 500 feet up a gully that runs up a cliff on 9,000-foot Mount Howson, 40 miles east of Terrace.

He apparently lay there for two days before he died following a Sunday mountain-climbing mishap. A falling rock had struck Major Gibson on the head and he fell, dragging two companions with him.

Six members of the B.C. Mountain Rescue Group are scheduled to fly to the scene today in an RCAF plane to try to retrieve the body and fly it out by helicopter.

Waiting here at their Mount Newton Crossroads home last night were Mrs. Ethne Gibson and their four-year old daughter.

They were stunned on hearing, like the rest of the world, only last night of the mishap that had taken the life of the president of the Alpine Club of Canada and one of Canada's foremost mountaineers. Major Gibson was in his middle 60's.

The tale came out as two other mountaineers, who fell with him for 200 feet down the gully, reached hospital at Terrace last night.

They are Dr. Sterling Hendricks of Silver Springs, Md., and Don Hubbard of the National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C. Hendricks has a broken arm and rib injuries and Hubbard a broken knee.

They were brought out by two companions who had remained at a base camp, Dr. Alex C. Faberge of the University of Missouri and Alvin Peterson of Washington.

Dr. Hendricks said the three were climbing on one rope, with Maj. Gibson in the lead, when a small rock from above hit the major on the head "and we all fell about 250 feet down the gully."

"I went to get help from the other two at our base camp, and Don stayed with Rex. Rex died there two days later before we could move him."

Maj. Gibson won the military Cross in the First World War and in the second taught mountaineering warfare to Canadian troops at Jasper, Alta. He has led many ascents and expeditions.

Major F.V. Longstaff, 50 King George terrace, who joined the Alpine Club in 1911 and is still climbing at 78, said Major Gibson joined the club in 1930, coming from the English counterpart.

"This was a real shock to me. He was a capable, industrious member of the club - this was his second year as president. He was a great stickler for safety in mountain climbing , too."










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