Forgot your password? | Register Here

NYC - Lecture Series w/ Olaf Sööt: The Mystery Mountain

North, in Alaska, the land rises gently from the Arctic Ocean. South of Patagonia, it plunges into the Drake Passage at Cape Horn. In between, at the western edge of the Western Hemisphere, there is a 10,000 mile range of peaks, one of the longest features on our planet. Parts of the crests see lots of visitors, but sections remain that are wrapped in mystery.

In Canada, west of the well‐traveled Rockies is a parallel coastal range that bears the full assault of the Pacific winds and snows. It is a lot more like the Alaska Range than the well traveled Canadian Rockies inland. Here Mt. Waddington, the highest peak in BC, rules the coast. While the Canadian Rockies are easily accessed, the coastal mountains are guarded by all sorts of defenses: archipelago of rocky islands, steep‐walled fjords, crevassed glaciers, dense forests and the storms that move in from the Pacific. But many, who are lucky to see this place in sunshine, believe that this is one of the most beautiful spots in the 10,000‐mile range between the Arctic Ocean and Cape Horn. The Mystery Mountain takes the explorer to this most spectacular place.

It also describes the climb of Mt. Waddington, of one of world’s major peaks that see few suitors and fewer successes. While Everest is climbed by scores of people every year and commercial expeditions take you to the high points on all the continents, Waddington is climbed only by a few. It was spotted from Vancouver Island in 1925 by Don and Phyllis Munday, who named it “The Mystery Mountain.” They organized several expeditions into then untouched British Columbia wilderness, but never reached its highest summit. Mt. Waddington was not climbed until 1936.

The Coast Mountains offer everything from dense forests, alpine meadows and sparkling lakes to huge glaciers, ice falls and difficult rock leading to its summit. All this works in concert to create one of the grand prizes in mountaineering. Many of us never get a chance to feel for ourselves the crunch of crampon points on a glacier or revel in a welcome warmth of a morning sunburst over a rock ridge after a shivering bivouac. This audio‐visual presentation takes us there and is a celebration of the western world’s majestic high places.

Olaf Sööt is an engineer, explorer, and photographer, who has spent a lifetime unveiling the patterns of the natural world. The joy of unraveling the secrets of nature has characterized his career, both in his gift with the camera and in his grasp of technical concepts. His unique engineering designs can be seen in the Metropolitan Opera in New York, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, and in the magic behind the Cirque du Soleil’s “O” show at the Bellagio, Las Vegas. His innovations range from solving serious problems in the fields of energy, transportation, and handicapped access, to designing unique rides and attractions for the major theme parks for Walt Disney and Universal Studios in the US and overseas. Olaf and his wife Gitta have explored rivers, lands, and mountains on four continents. They have chronicled their journeys on film, including a 10,000 mile odyssey along the mountains of the Western Hemisphere from Alaska to Patagonia.

For more information please see and

Date: 02/04/13

Time: 6:00 Reception, 7:00 Lecture

Location: New York City Headquarters, 46 East 70th St., New York, NY

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free to EC Student Members, $5 with Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Payment must accompany reservation. Tickets are secured only when a credit card is provided at the time the reservation is made. Reservations made without a credit card are not secured and tickets will be forfeited by 6:50pm the evening of the lecture.

Reservations are suggested on a first-come, first-served basis. Please call 212-628-8383, or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Back to top
The Explorers Club ®, World Center for Exploration ®, The Flag and the Seal are registered trademarks of The Explorers Club. Use by others is strictly prohibited. Photographs appearing on this website are used by permission and may not be copied or re-used in any manner.

Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste