Thomas Hammond Hall
Thomas (Tom) Hall was born on November 24, 1941, in Lexington, a cultured, affluent town in the heart of the beautiful, rolling countryside of Kentucky's bluegrass thoroughbred race horse farms. As the son of a Quaker, Tom went to a Quaker college in Indiana where he graduated in 1963 with a major in Mathematics. He then moved to Indiana University to study Astronomy but after a year he switched and finished with a Masters in Physics. At this time Tom still didn't know what he wanted to do but to avoid the draft and to get nearer the mountains he decided to stay in school and went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver where he received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1973.
Tom married Pamela Davison in 1970 and the couple moved to Edmonton in 1973 where Tom took a two year appointment as a Research Associate with the University of Alberta. Unfortunately, after one year Tom resigned as he wasn't inspired by what he was doing and on a whim he took a job on a ship as a Purser with the Northern Transportation Company LTD. which delivered goods to Inuit villages. After "kicking around for a year" he decided to pursue Forestry as a career and moved to Fredericton in 1975 where he attended the University of New Brunswick. After a year and a half he received his Masters in Forestry and took a job with the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. However, the urge to move back to the West Coast was becoming unbearable. In 1978 Tom and Pam and their nine month old daughter Caroline moved for the last time to Victoria to a position as a Research Scientist with the Canadian Forestry Service at its BC/Yukon regional research laboratory. He was with them for two years then move to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests where he remained until he retired in 2001. During these twenty-one years he worked in Timber Supply Analysis, Land Use Planning and Forest Recreation.
As a young child Tom was introduced to the outdoors by his father where they hiked in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a place his family vacationed most summers. However, it was a family trip in 1957 to California where Tom fell in love with the west. In the summer of 1963, after graduating from college, Tom and two others drove west in a VW beetle to Prince Rupert, then by ferry to Ketchikan, Alaska where they worked for two months in the fishing industry, by ferry to Skagway and on to Fairbanks and into Denali National Park before coming home via Dawson City. While at Lake Louise in Alberta the trio climbed the 9,000 foot Fairview Mountain and for the first time Tom saw the real mountains of North America. From the summit he looked across at the North Face of Mount Temple which reminded him of the infamous Eiger he had seen while on a family holiday in Europe. Tom was also surprised by the clarity of the water in the lakes and rivers as he was used to seeing the muddy water of Kentucky. He found the vast openness of the landscape and the physical challenges available very appealing. In the summer of 1964, Tom again came west with school mates where they backpacked in the Wind River Range and the Teton Mountains of Wyoming and into Mounts Assiniboine and Robson in the Canadian Rockies.
In 1965 Tom came out to Seattle and enrolled in a mountain climbing course where he climbed Mount Rainer, Mount Shuksan and Mount Olympus. All Tom could think about now was mountain climbing! In 1966 Tom joined a team of nine others to the Saint Elias Mountains of the Yukon with the intention of climbing not only Mount Logan but King Peak. The party flew in from Alaska to the west of Mount Logan and proceeded up the Sella Glacier, using a little Arctic snowcat to help ferry loads. Six climbers made the first traverse of King Peak via the West Ridge to King Col, while Tom and the other three took the normal route to King Col. Once all ten met at King Col, Tom along with Pete Hall and Art Davidson climbed the fixed ropes to the summit of King Peak (July 13) to retrieve equipment that had been left up there. Five days prior to that Tom, Pete Hall and Edward Nester had made the first ascent of Queen Peak (July 8), a 17,300 foot peak north of King Peak. The whole team then reached the summit of Mount Logan on July 17. The ascent of Mount Logan took twenty-seven days and during that period they only had three days where they were unable to climb, an unprecedented spate of good weather for the region.
In 1967 when Tom moved to Vancouver, he joined the British Columbia Mountaineering Club (BCMC) and then in 1968 took part in a trip in which about twenty-five from the club flew into the Coast Mountains via Mosley Creek. Twelve of them moved over to the Teidemann Glacier and up to Bravo Peak where they divided into three teams of four and, in turn, climbed the summit tower of Mount Waddington. Tom also climbed the distinctive satellite spire known as "The Tooth". During the six years in Vancouver Tom went out mostly with small groups rather than larger club trips and climbed most regularly with his companion Colin Oloman. During this time, Tom did new routes on Mount Habrich (Gambits Groove) and The Copilot with Dick Culbert and Bob Cuthbert, the 1st ascent of the Northwest Face of Castle Towers Mountain in Garibaldi Park which Colin Oloman and the 1st winter ascent of Canadian Border Peak in the Chilliwack area. However, at the end of this period Tom's focus moved away from technical climbing.
moved to Victoria he joined the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine
Club of Canada but participated in only a few climbing trips. However,
he was active with the Executive and in 2001 took on the role of Chairperson
of the section until 2004. Tom still enjoys day hikes in the local hills
around Victoria and the Olympic Mountains, attending club functions, wood-working
around his house and being a grandfather to his granddaughter. In the
eight to ten years that Tom was actively climbing he was a force to be
reckoned with and today his manner hides the force that drove him to climb
at the standard that he did.
Everett Jr., Boyd. "The West Ridge to Logan." The American Alpine Journal. The American Alpine Club. New York. Vol. 16. 1967. p. 259-264.
Fairley, Bruce. A guide to Climbing and Hiking in Southwest British Columbia. Gordon Soules Book Publishers LTD. West Vancouver, B.C. 1986.
Illner, Reinhard. "El Capitan." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 1993. p. 15-16.
Hubbard, Mike. "Albert Edward." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 1993. p. 44-45.
Hall, Tom. "East Sooke Park." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 1994. p. 16.
Ascah, Catherine. "Castle Towers." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 1994. p. 24-25.
Odgers, Chris. "Gowland Range Traverse." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 1994. p. 41.