Joe Harder grew up in Valemount and graduated at the old high school in 1996. He’s always loved Mount Robson, and recently compiled some interesting factoids on this “king of mountains” in his blog, History and Stuff. He warns that he only has a college diploma in Hotel Management, but is generally literate.
The Texqakallt were the first known inhabitants of the Upper Fraser area. They were nomadic and a band of the Shuswap people. They built lodges and fish drying racks near the confluence of the Fraser and McLennan rivers. Their name for the mighty peak was “Yuh-hai-has-kun”, meaning The Mountain of the Spiraling Road which referred to the strata-like layers of the mountain that angle upwards to the East.
The modern name of Robson was most likely, though not certainly, linked to Colin Robertson, a Scotsman who worked for both the North West Company and Hudson’s Bay Company. One theory suggested in the book Mount Robson: Spiral Road of Art is that Tete Jaune ( Yellow Head or Pierre Hatsination) named the peak after Mr. Robertson who was his employer at the time in 1819. It is worth noting that the original location of Tete Jaune Cache was near the Grand Fork of the Fraser River where it was met by the Robson River (Milton & Cheadle).
The first reference to a name for the mountain is found in the diary of fur trader George McDougall in 1827 – he referred to it as Mt. Robinson. Then, in 1863, Milton and Cheadle, who were crossing the Yellowhead Pass, referred to it as “Robson (or Robson’s) Peak. It is presumed that the name was “carelessly pronounced” and gradually evolved from Robertson to Robson.
Due to its great vertical mass the westerly winds have a difficult time rising up and over Mt. Robson and therefore the summit is often hidden by clouds. Thus another name for it is Cloud Cap Mountain.