William Putnam III (1924-2015) was born in Boston, Massachusetts and developed a love for the outdoors at an early age. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the 10th Mountain Division, an elite group of soldiers trained in skiing, mountaineering, and winter warfare. After the war, Putnam continued his passion for mountaineering and became one of the most accomplished climbers of his time.
In the 1950s, Putnam moved to Vancouver, BC, where he became a respected member of the mountaineering community. He was known for his technical skills and ability to lead expeditions with humor and grace. Putnam’s many accomplishments include first ascents in the Coast Mountains, the Rockies, and the Himalayas. He was also a pioneer in avalanche research and helped develop Canada’s first avalanche forecast system.
Putnam’s love for aviation was also a significant part of his life. He obtained his pilot’s license in the 1950s and owned several planes throughout his lifetime. He combined his passions for mountaineering and flying by using his planes to access remote mountain ranges and named several peaks after aviation-related terms.
Two of the most notable peaks named by Putnam are Skypilot and Co-pilot, located in the Coast Mountains near Squamish, BC. Skypilot Peak (2,210 m) is a prominent peak visible from Highway 99 and is a popular destination for hikers and climbers. Co-pilot Peak (2,175 m) is a nearby peak that is often climbed in combination with Skypilot.
The story behind naming these peaks is a testament to Putnam’s humor and creativity. According to local legend, Putnam was flying his plane over the area when he noticed the two peaks side-by-side. He reportedly commented to his co-pilot that the peaks looked like they were “flying together,” and decided to name them Skypilot and Co-pilot.
Today, Skypilot and Co-pilot peaks are popular destinations for flightseeing, mountaineers, and outdoor enthusiasts, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. However, the best way to experience their beauty is from the air, on a scenic flight tour with Sea to Sky Air. Their experienced pilots and comfortable planes offer a unique perspective of the rugged terrain, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of these peaks and the surrounding area in a way few others have.
William Putnam’s legacy lives on through his mountaineering accomplishments and passion for aviation. His creative spirit and sense of humor are evident in naming Skypilot and Co-pilot peaks, which have become iconic landmarks in the Coast Mountains of BC. Whether you’re an avid mountaineer or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, a scenic flight tour with Sea to Sky Air is the perfect way to experience these peaks and the surrounding area. Book your tour today and discover the magic of Skypilot and Co-pilot peaks.
“William Putnam: Climbing Legend,” Canadian Mountain Holidays.
“William Putnam, Mountain Climber, and Aircraft Enthusiast,” The Globe and Mail.
“Skypilot and Co-Pilot Peaks,” Outdoor Vancouver.