Coleman Glacier

Feature type: glacier
Province: Alberta
Location: Alta-BC boundary, head of Smoky River (Alberta)
Latitude: 53° 10′ 41″ N,
Longitude: 119° 2′ 52″ W
NTS Map: 83E/03
Official name: Geographical names in Canada
Arthur Philemon Coleman

Arthur Philemon Coleman

Arthur Philemon Coleman (1852–1939), a professor of geology at the University of Toronto, was the first white man to attempt to climb Mount Robson. In 1907, accompanied by his brother Lucius and George Kinney, he approached via the Robson River valley, and climbed above Kinney Lake. The pack-trip from Laggan (Lake Louise) consumed most of their resources, and snow in early September quashed their hopes for that year. Coleman returned in 1908, guided by John Yates and Adolphus Moberly up the Moose River Valley. The party spent 21 days in the area, but only twice were there two successive days of good weather. On one climb they reached almost 11,000 feet (3350 m), but were turned back by darkness.Born at Lachute, Canada East, Coleman studied at universities in Ontario and Germany. He was a fellow the the Royal Geographical Society and second president of the Alpine Club of Canada. He started his explorations in the Rocky Mountains in 1884. The first climber to pay serious attention to peaks in the vicinity of Athabasca Pass, in 1892 and 1893 Coleman led parties hoping to climb the famous mountains Brown and Hooker, which botanist David Douglas had described in 1828 as being over 16,000 feet (4880 m) high. Coleman discovered their heights were less than 10,000 feet (3050 m).

He was author of The Canadian Rockies (1911) and Ice ages, recent and modern (1926), and was joint author of Elementary Geology (1922). He died, unmarried, in Toronto.


  • Coleman, Arthur Philemon, 1852-1939. The Canadian Rockies: new and old trails. Toronto: Henry Frowde, 1911
  • Newell, George R. “To the top of Mt. Robson.” Pioneer Days in B.C. 3 (1977).
  • Wallace, W. Stewart. MacMillan Dictionary of Canadian biography. Toronto: MacMillan, 1978
  • Swanson, James L. George Kinney and the first ascent of Mount Robson. Banff: 1999

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