LOOK BACK: Ralph Rosseau was a Port Alberni teacher and outdoorsman

Mount Rosseau was named in his memory

This photo, taken in the 1940s, shows Ralph Rosseau hiking in the snow near Port Alberni. Rosseau was a dedicated teacher and outdoorsman who was killed when a snow bridge collapsed while he was hiking near Mount Septimus. Rosseau Chalet on Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Rosseau are named after him. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN13777 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)

This photo, taken in the 1940s, shows Ralph Rosseau hiking in the snow near Port Alberni. Rosseau was a dedicated teacher and outdoorsman who was killed when a snow bridge collapsed while he was hiking near Mount Septimus. Rosseau Chalet on Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Rosseau are named after him. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN13777 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)

Ralph Rosseau of Port Alberni was known as a dedicated teacher and outdoorsman.

Rosseau was a teacher in Bamfield for many years, teaching out of the community’s one-room school house. According to the Bamfield Historical Society, he taught gymnastics and P.E. to students on a wooden tennis court where West Park is today.

In 1942, Ralph was hired as a teacher at Eight Avenue School in Port Alberni. In 1950, he moved to the newly-built Gill School on Beaver Creek Road, where he became the school’s first principal.

Rosseau was an avid outdoorsman who loved to climb. But in July of 1954, Rousseau was killed in a climbing accident on Mount Septimus (near Great Central Lake).

According to an article in the West Coast Advocate, a small party—including Rosseau, his wife, fellow teacher Alma Currie and Ulf Bitterlich—branched off from a larger party for a side trip around the rear of Mount Septimus to Margaret Lake. While the party was crossing a snow bridge, it collapsed and Rosseau was “dropped some 30 feet into a narrow crevice and was crushed by snow, ice and rocks which rained down on him.” He was 47 years old.

In recognition of Ralph’s love of the mountains and his work with government survey crews, the highest peak to the east of Mount Septimus was named Mount Rosseau in his memory. A log cabin on Mount Arrowsmith was also named the Rosseau Chalet.

Port Alberni