Alfred William Lash
1899 - 1987
Alfred (Bill) Lash was born on November 18, 1899, in Sheffield, England. His parents were Quakers and he attended Ackworth School. During World War I he served with the Friends Ambulance Unit in France. After the war he attended Sheffield University and graduated in Civil Engineering. As a young engineer in Wales he found time to complete a Commerce Degree from the University of London and was awarded a fellowship to study abroad. He attended M.I.T. in Montreal and the second half at the University of Grenoble in France. At Grenoble he was able to learn French and to take up skiing and mountaineering.
Bill applied to immigrate to Canada and South Africa; however Canada responded first. In 1926, during his voyage to Montreal he met his future wife, Dorothy Worth and they were married in September 1927. They had two children: Mallory and Sylvia who were born in Montreal. Being fluent in French he soon found work as a Civil Engineer but during the depression work was hard to find in Montreal so in 1936 the family moved to St. Catherine's, Ontario, where he worked as an engineer for Thorold Pulp and Paper Co. He spent considerable time exploring northern Quebec in search of suitable power sites to develop. In 1946 he accepted the position of Chief Engineer at the newly formed BC Power Commission in Victoria on Vancouver Island. He was delighted to live somewhere closer to the mountains and to a place where gardening could become a year round activity. BC Power Commission amalgamated with BC Electric in March 1962 to become BC Hydro with head offices in Vancouver. Bill took early retirement that year and did some private consulting.
After retiring Bill and Dorothy traveled overseas extensively visiting many places in the USA and in Europe, Iran, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. Most of the trips were made by camper van.
the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada when he moved
to Victoria in 1946 and went on to hold the Chairman's reins for the section
three times: 1954 to 1956, 1961 and 1968 to 1969. The following is a list
of the ACC summer camps that Bill and some of his family attended:
Also attending some of these camps were other island climbers who Bill undertook trips with back on the island: Mark Mitchell, Geoffrey Capes, Ethne and Rex Gibson, Adolf Bitterlich, Elizabeth and Patrick Guilbride and Tom Hyslop.
In 1949 Bill and his son Mallory joined Charley Nash, Geoffrey Capes and Phil Wolstenholmes on a trip to Elkhorn Mountain in Strathcona Park whereupon he made the second ascent of the mountain. In 1954 he joined a large party from the Vancouver Island section of the ACC on their summer camp to the Elk River valley. Along with Mallory, Syd Watts and Patrick Guilbride he made the second ascent of the Southeast Summit of Mount Colonel Foster.
In 1957 one of Bill's close friends, Rex Gibson, died in a fall while attempting the first ascent of Mount Howson in the Coast Mountains near Smithers. In July 1958 an expedition was mounted to the peak with the intention of building a memorial to Gibson and to climb the peak. The party comprised of Bill Lash, John Owen and Adolf Bitterlich, however, before they attempted the peak they climbed to the South Col, built a rock cairn and embedded a bronze plaque in it as a memorial to Gibson. The next day they made the first ascent of the peak in honour of their friend. Bill also made a trip into the Comox and Cliffe Glaciers in 1957 with Elizabeth and Pat Guilbride and Syd Watts where they climbed the Red Pillar and Argus Mountain.
In 1958 Bill received the Silver Ropes award from the ACC in recognition of his Leadership in the mountains.
The next year (1959) he led a trip to the Golden Hinde with his daughter Sylvia, Syd Watts, Jack Ware, Elizabeth and Patrick Guilbride, Connie Bonner, Bob Ahrens and one other both from BC Parks. The three women probably made the first female ascent of the Golden Hinde. In late September 1960, Bill flew into Stewart Lake with Keith Morton and Syd Watts and climbed Victoria Peak. Unbeknownst to them Frank Stapley and Dave Williamson had just a few weeks before made the first recorded ascent of the peak.
During the Canadian Centennial Celebrations in 1967, Bill was invited to join an expedition to climb previously unclimbed mountains near the border of British Columbia and the Yukon.
remained fit and active up until 1985 when he was inflicted with a painful
bout of shingles. He passed away in Victoria in May 1987, at the age of
eighty-seven, while sitting in his garden.