Main text

Renovations continue. Thanks for your patience.

In Defence of Arthur Moffatt.

Introduction.

Moffatt died of hypothermia in the afternoon of 14 September 1955 after his canoe capsized in rapids on the Dubawnt River in what is now Nunavut.
The defamation of a dead man began in 1959 and continued to 2014. The assertions made of him convinced the entire paddling community, and likely also members of the general public, that the cause of his death was his own incompetence.
But, If everyone agrees what the story was, then it is certainly not true.
[Kenn Harper, Wilderness and Canoeing Symposium (Toronto, February 2018); paraphrased]. https://www.wcsymposium.com/sites/default/files/2018_wcs_program_v10.pdf

My assessment of the primary accusatory literature.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!

[Sir Walter Scott, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field. (1808)]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmion_(poem)

My sources.
Aside.
When I announced the opening of the blog to public view,
http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=45362
one CCR member asked how I knew what happened, for I wasn’t there.
Response. That same consideration did not deter two dozen persons from publishing accusations of a dead man.
Tyrrell sources.
In the summer of 1955, Arthur Moffatt set out to retrace the central portion of the Tyrrell (Joseph Burr and James Williams) expedition of 1893. To guide him, he had consulted both their books; as well, he had obtained JBT’s maps and his journal, and he had corresponded with JBT.
I possess copies of JWT’s book, JBT’s book, and JBT’s maps.
I lack JBT’s journal (likely a key item), known to have been possessed by Moffatt.
I possess copies of Moffatt’s two letters to J B Tyrrell. I lack JBT’s response (likely a key item) to the first.
Reference. Ancillary 3. Tyrrell evidence and the fatal rapids.
Participant sources.
I possess copies of the following publications.
The key third article (of four) of LeFavour (1955).
The Sports Illustrated article (1959). It contains edited excerpts from Moffatt’s journal, plus a faithful condensation of the journal of Lanouette (Moffatt’s bowperson) for the day of Moffatt’s death.
The article (1988) and the book (1996) of Grinnell.
The two articles (2012 and 2013) and the book (2014) of Pessl; the latter contains also excerpts from the journal of Franck.
The full journal of Lanouette. Thanks to him and his daughter Elizabeth Emge, I recently published it at CCR.
http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=181&t=46535 et seqq.
Participant correspondence.
I have corresponded extensively with Pessl, much less with Lanouette, yet less with LeFavour, only incidentally with Grinnell.

Summary.

The evidence of Moffatt’s journal, and that of participants Franck, Lanouette, LeFavour and Pessl, reveals every accusation made of Moffatt to be false, save the seven documented below. Of these, the sole accusation of substance (that regarding the rapids where Moffatt died) is addressed immediately below.
Moffatt’s defamers used the following techniques.
1. Redactions of exculpatory evidence.
2. Falsehoods. Assertions falsified by evidence known to the accuser, aka alternative facts.
3. Fabrications. Assertions with no basis in evidence, in short dreamed-up.
4. Deceits. Conscious misrepresentations of evidence known to the accuser.
And I suggest it to be not beside the point
first that Moffatt was unable to defend himself, and
second that the dead are easy targets for bullies.
Contrary to what so many defamers succeeded so well in convincing so many to believe, the cause of Moffatt’s death was not incompetence on his part. The cause was rather faulty advice from a source that had proved so reliable that the party had previously experienced not one dump, not one pin, and but one swamp; indeed, the only dumps of the entire trip occurred in the rapids where he died.
Moffatt’s defamers were outstandingly successful, for they deceived the entire paddling community (including senior and highly respected members of it), plus the general public, for 55 years regarding the cause of his death.
Summary. We wuz had.
Reference. The primary portion of Bibliography documents the publications of Moffatt’s accusers, the secondary portion the publications of those whom they deceived.

The cause of Moffatt’s death.

On 14 September 1955, Arthur Moffatt died of hypothermia after his canoe capsized in rapids on the Dubawnt River in what is now Nunavut. One of the seven true assertions made of him is that those rapids had not been scouted. But the evidence leads me to conclude that Moffatt’s decision was justified by the information available to him at the time. And so I ask the reader to refrain from judging Moffatt until s/he has gone over the twelve evidences that I now present.
References.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

Evidence 1.
Although reaches of the Dubawnt river above the fatal rapids are highly dangerous, the Moffatt party had experienced not one dump, not one pin and but one swamp in the eleven weeks prior to Moffatt’s death in the afternoon of 14 September 1955. In fact, the only two dumps of the entire trip occurred in the rapids where he died.
Opinion. This prior success testifies to both
1. the skill and the caution of the members of the Moffatt party, and
2. the accuracy of the rapids advice provided by J B Tyrrell to Moffatt.
Unfortunately, JBT’s advice failed Moffatt that afternoon.

Evidence 2.
List of major features documented on J B Tyrrell’s map (possessed by Moffatt) for the reach between Wharton Lake and what is now called Marjorie Lake.
Wharton Lake, two rapids (with descents of 15 and 6 feet), a small lake, a rapid with a portage of 18 chains, a turn to the north, a featureless reach (no rapids), Lady Marjorie Lake.
Comment. Moffatt died in the reach between the turn and Marjorie Lake.
Reference. https://barrenlands.library.utoronto.ca/content/zone-6-1893

Evidence 3.
The relevant passage in J B Tyrrell’s book (also possessed by Moffatt).
Below Wharton Lake the river flows at first eastward, and then southward, for four miles to a small lake, in which distance it rushes down two rapids with descents respectively of 15 and 6 feet. …Five miles below the small lake is a rapid with a descent of twenty feet, past the lower part of which a portage 400 yards long was made over a hill of boulders… At the foot of this rapid the river turns at right angles and flows northward for seven miles as a wide shallow rapid stream, through low country… Lady Marjorie Lake…was entered at the south end….
Comment. Not surprisingly, Tyrrell’s map and his book agree regarding the features; I note only that 18 chains = 400 yards (close enough).
Reference. Ancillary 3. Tyrrell evidence and the fatal rapids.

Evidence 4.
Moffatt’s journal for 10 September (four days before his death) includes the passage can’t risk an upset now.
To me, that passage evinces a cautious approach to rapids and so is exculpatory.
Reference. Moffatt’s full journal for 10 September is provided in Ancillary 1. Accusations.

Evidence 5.
On 13 September, the Moffatt party ran without incident the two rapids with descents respectively of 15 and 6 feet, traversed the small lake, then began the portage 400 yards long.

Intermediate summary.
With respect to the reach from Wharton Lake to the end of the portage completed in the morning of 14 September, Moffatt had found all features to be as described by J B Tyrrell, in Evidences 2 and 3.
Opinion. Moffatt had due cause to trust JBT’s advice when he paddled, without a scout, the reach where he died, that downstream from the portage.

Evidence 6.
The full content of Moffatt’s journal for 13 September (the day before his death) is provided in Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
Opinion. The key item provided there is the phrase Following Tyrrell’s route.
What interpretation of that phrase is credible but that Moffatt had route advice from Tyrrell (J B, not J W) and was following it? That is, the passage is exculpatory.

Evidence 7.
Background material related to the events of 13 and 14 September.
The river between Wharton and Marjorie Lakes…had been traveled by Tyrrell in his trip 60 years before and was described in his journal: there were five rapids, the first two rough but shootable, the third long and heavy requiring a portage of a mile and the last two apparently easy for they were mentioned only as “rapids”. Because this route was described we took it, being careful to look over the first two which were indeed rough. Hurrying as we were, no foolish chances were taken. [LeFavour. The Evening Recorder, Amsterdam NY. Part 3, page 8, 29 December (1955)].
Aside 1. LeFavour refers to J B Tyrrell’s journal (contents unknown) as the source. And so the source was not JBT’s response (contents also unknown) to Moffatt’s letter of 18 December 1954.
Aside 2. I documented above that neither JBT’s book nor his map (both possessed by Moffatt) mentions the rapids where Moffatt died.
Comment. On 13 September, the Moffatt party ran without incident the first two rough but shootable rapids. These are the rapids with descents of 15 and 6 feet mentioned in JBT’s book and shown on his map. That same day, the Moffatt party began the portage of 400 yards around the long and heavy rapids. That portage was completed in the morning of 14 September. That afternoon, Moffatt died in the two apparently easy rapids that followed.
Intermediate summary.
LeFavour’s remarks regarding these first three features (the rapids with descents of 15 and 6 feet and the portage) agree completely with those of J B Tyrrell (both in his book and on his map), except for the length of the portage.

Evidence 8.
The events of 14 September.
After completing the portage of 400 yards in the morning, the Moffatt party continued downstream, stopping for lunch.
A few hours later, the canoe carrying Lanouette and Moffatt overturned, as did that carrying Pessl and Franck, this in the reach described in J B Tyrrell’s book only as a wide shallow rapid stream, and shown on his map as featureless.
…one is struck by how close all six came to perishing in the cold water… If the one canoe had not managed to stay afloat while going over the second drop, nobody would have survived. If Peter Franck had not had the skill (or luck) to keep the last canoe upright when George fell in, it is difficult to imagine how any of them would have survived… [Luste, Grinnell book, p 295].

Foretaste.
In the next item, participant LeFavour provides key evidence (not mentioned in JBT’s book, nor shown on his map) regarding the reach that Moffatt died, that below the portage.

Evidence 9.
That of LeFavour for 14 September.
At 3 p.m. we were again on the river…we hoped to get a good way up Marjorie Lake in the calm before dark. A mile downriver the roar of the next rapid reached our ears… As we coasted into the top of it all appeared to be well. You could see the bottom, the water, though white, was apparently shootable. Tyrrell had indicated by his neglect that the rapid was an easy one, and it seemed to be just that. [The Evening Recorder, Amsterdam NY. Part 3, page 8, 29 December (1955)].
Opinion.
The key passage is Tyrrell had indicated by his neglect that the rapid was an easy one.
It was in this rapid (and the one that followed) that Moffatt died.

Evidence 10.
That of Lanouette for 14 September.
Background. Ancillary 2. Lanouette evidence and the fatal rapids provides the full journal of Moffatt’s bowperson for the day of Moffatt’s death. The Sports Illustrated article provided what I assess to be a faithful condensation of it.
The relevant part of the SI condensation.
After a fine lunch of fish chowder, we shoved off again at around 2:30. The weather was still dismal, although the wind had dropped. In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon. This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids. At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing serious. We didn’t even haul to shore to have a look, as we usually did. The river was straight and we could see both the top and foot of the rough water quite clearly, or we thought we could. We barreled happily along. We bounced over a couple of fair-sized waves and took in a couple of splashes but I didn’t mind because I had made an apron of my poncho and remained dry enough. I was looking a few feet in front of the canoe for submerged rocks when suddenly Art shouted “Paddle”.
I took up the beat, at the same time looking farther ahead to see what we were trying to avoid. It was surprised to see two lines of white. I looked at them in helpless fascination. It was too late to pull for shore.
[SI article, p 85 (1959)].
The key passage (provided in both Lanouette’s journal and the SI condensation) is the three sentences This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids.
Interpretation. Moffatt knew there to be two rapids below the portage, but Lanouette’s surprised comment evinces that he had been incorrectly advised (by J B Tyrrell) regarding their severity. Only when it was too late to pull for shore did Moffatt realise that JBT’s advice (which had proved worthy of his trust for the previous 11 weeks of the trip) had failed him in the afternoon of 14 September 1955. He could only tough it out.
Opinion. That three-sentence passage is the key to understanding the cause of Moffatt’s death, for it evinces that Moffatt had been misled by J B Tyrrell’s advice. Unfortunately for Moffatt’s reputation, that passage went unmentioned in all the 55 years of the accusatory literature.

Evidence 11.
That of Pessl.
We were following Tyrrell’s journal description of the river conditions approaching Marjorie Lake. Tyrrell’s river descriptions had proven dependable previously and indicated benign conditions entering Marjorie Lake following the last portage. [private correspondence]
Note. The last portage is the one completed in the morning of 14 September.

Evidence 12.
That of George Luste.
Aside. I regret that I did not ask him about his sources for the following.
A general comment.
Referring to accusations made prior to the publication of Grinnell’s book in 1996, Luste provided the following.
Over the years, a number of unfounded versions or representations of the Moffatt accident have made their way into the canoeing literature… It seems as if a liberal amount of imagination has been invoked by these writers to change the facts so they fit their preoccupations and desires for culpability. [Grinnell book, pp 293&294]
A specific comment.
Art Moffatt, following Tyrrell’s notes, was not expecting the rapid in which he swamped and then died. [Grinnell book, p 284].
What interpretation of this passage is possible but that Moffatt had been misled by the advice of Tyrrell (J B) regarding the severity of the rapids where he died?
Summary.
These evidence provided in Grinnell’s book (the primary source for Moffatt’s accusers) went unmentioned in every publication of the 55 years of the accusatory literature, primary and secondary alike.

An opportunity?
In the light of the evidences provided above, the reader may wish to assess the following assertions regarding the rapids where Moffatt died.
1. …the Moffatt party races against winter …In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance. [Sports Illustrated article, bottom of right column, p 76 (1959)]
2. Increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye. [ibid, p 82]
3. …misjudging Tyrrell’s descriptions of the rapids they would encounter before entering Marjorie Lake… [Inglis, 1979]
4. …Moffatt died of exposure after they dumped in a large rapid they did not scout. [Che-Mun, Outfit 99, Winter 2000].
5. The men talked less and took more risks. On September 14th,… all three boats plunged over two sets of waterfalls the paddlers hadn’t bothered to scout…. [Kingsley, Paddle North, top of p 189, 2014]
6. The Moffatt party grew careless scouting rapids as they raced winter to the end of the river. [canoeing.com writer or editor. http://canoeing.com/meet-bob-ohara/]
Conjecture. Assertions 3 through 6 were inspired by the two of the Sports Illustrated editor.
References.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

Aside regarding blind probes.
My limited understanding of such matters has it that the running of rapids without a scout is so common as to have acquired a title, namely making a blind probe.
Many parties made blind probes and got through successfully, but many others dumped. Indeed, two defamers had the courage and the integrity to state that they had dumped because they had made blind probes.
Reference 1. Murphy, James. Moffatt, Myth and Mysticism [Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Outfit? Spring 1996, pp 5 & 11]
Reference 2. Thum, Bob. In Down a Dead Man’s River. [Charlie Mahler. Che-Mun. Outfit 122, Autumn 2005, starting on page 4].
http://www.ottertooth.com/che-mun/122/chemun122.pdf
But Moffatt did not make a blind probe! As I documented above, his dump resulted solely from incorrect advice provided by a source that he had learned to trust over the previous eleven weeks. To repeat, J B Tyrrell had advised Moffatt that there were no significant rapids in the reach remaining above Marjorie Lake, and so he led the way down them, without a scout, to his death.

How did it go so badly wrong,

that Arthur Moffatt was falsely accused for 55 years regarding the running of the rapids where he died?
The evidence leads me to conclude that the primary cause was two redactions of exculpatory evidence made by the Sports Illustrated editor, and one such made by participant Grinnell.
It bears explicit mention that the SI article (1959), Grinnell’s article (1988) and Grinnell’s book (1996) constitute the entire evidentiary basis (that provided in publications of the participants) for all those years.
And so it disturbs me considerably that Grinnell had participated in the writing of the SI article.

Redaction 1 made by the Sports Illustrated editor,

that from Moffatt’s journal entry for 10 September.
0. The following provides the full documentation relevant to Evidence 4, above.
1. Moffatt’s full journal entry for that day is provided in Ancillary 1. Accusations.
2. The Moffatt passage relevant to the abovementioned items running scared and can’t risk an upset now:
Finished portage across sand beach about 200 yds, this am by 10:30. Then on – everybody running scared now; third day of snow, strong north wind, freezing all day. Frozen feet a real worry, our boots being porous as blotting paper.
… Finished portage 5:30, I cooked caribou, beets, pudding + tea. Made portage north side – should be on south but this side easier to get to–can’t risk an upset now.

3. The Sports Illustrated version of this passage.
We’re all running scared. This is the third day of snow. There is a strong north wind. It has been freezing all day. Frozen feet are becoming a real worry, our torn boots being as porous as blotting paper. [SI article, p 82, middle of right column]
4. Comparison of the two versions.
The SI editor published
the passage running scared (which is detrimental to Moffatt), but not
the passage can’t risk an upset now (which is favourable to Moffatt).

Redaction 2 made by the Sports Illustrated editor,

that from Moffatt’s journal entry for 13 September.
0. The following provides the full documentation relevant to Evidence 6, above.
1. Moffatt’s last journal entry (that for 13 September) is provided in full in Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
What interpretation of the phrase Following Tyrrell’s route contained there is possible but that Moffatt had possessed route advice from Tyrrell (J B, not J W) and that he was following it the next day, when he died?
2. A version of that entry was published in the Sports Illustrated article (1959) [lower right column, p 82].
On comparing the two versions, one sees that the SI editor redacted the phrase Following Tyrrell’s route.
3. I ask that reader reflect on the light shed by the phrase Following Tyrrell’s route on the following assertions of the SI editor.
…the Moffatt party races against winter on the Barren Grounds …In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance. [SI article, bottom of right column, p 76]
Increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye. [SI article, top of right column, p 82]
4. Interpretation.
Given that the redacted phrase Following Tyrrell’s route calls into question the truth of both these assertions, such was the editor’s motivation for redacting it.

Summary and Conclusion.

Summary.
The SI editor redacted two exculpatory evidences from Moffatt’s journal, one for 10 September and one for 13 September. One redaction of exculpatory evidence could easily have been an accident, but surely not two such.
More importantly, the SI editor published the following falsehoods regarding the cause of Moffatt’s death.
1. …the Moffatt party races against winter …In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance. [SI article, bottom of right column, p 76]
2. Increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye. [SI article, top of right column, p 82]
Conclusion.
The Sports Illustrated editor set out to fabricate a case against a dead man.

The redaction made by Grinnell.

The evidence of participant Lanouette.

For the convenience of the reader, I repeat the relevant part of the SI condensation (a faithful one) of Lanouette’s journal for 14 September.
In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon. This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids. At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing serious. We didn’t even haul to shore to have a look, as we usually did.
shore. [SI article, p 85 (1959)].
Opinion, also repeated for the reader’s convenience.
The key item is the three sentences This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids.
What interpretation of this passage is possible but that Moffatt had been misled (by J B Tyrrell’s advice) regarding the danger posed by the rapids where he died? In more detail, Lanouette and Moffatt were surprised because J B Tyrrell had advised Moffatt that there were no significant rapids in the reach between the portage (completed in the morning of 14 September) and Marjorie Lake.
Opinion. That three-sentence passage is exculpatory, for it evinces that J B Tyrrell’s advice had proved to be incorrect.
Reference. The evidences provided at the beginning of the Main text.

Grinnell’s version of the above passage.
In a few minutes we heard and saw rapids on the horizon…
At the top, the rapids looked as though they would be easy going, a few small waves, rocks—nothing serious. We didn’t even haul to shore to have a look, as we usually did.
[Grinnell book (1996), top of p 202].

Comparison of the two versions.
Grinnell redacted the three-sentence passage
This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids
and replaced with an ellipsis.
Interpretation of the redaction.
As I remarked above, that passage is exculpatory,
What interpretation of his redaction of that passage is then possible but that Grinnell intended to conceal exculpatory evidence regarding the cause of Moffatt’s death?

Summary.
Grinnell’s redaction of this exculpatory evidence regarding the cause of Moffatt’s death, alone and in itself, convinces me that he had set out to defame Moffatt.
As well, he published many falsehoods and fabrications, for example those regarding the holidays and the inquest, all prejudicial to Moffatt.
And rather than object to the falsehoods of the SI editor, he actually assisted the latter’s defamation of Moffatt, as I document below. Had Grinnell chosen rather to tell the truth, Moffatt’s reputation might well have been rescued; had his family not suffered enough already?
Grinnell’s book (which is anything but A true story) ignited the flames of the accusatory literature (both primary and secondary) that burned for another 18 years. In fairness though, much of the later defamation resulted also from the independent falsehoods published by James Murphy.

Conclusions.
Grinnell set out to fabricate a case against a dead man.
Grinnell betrayed Moffatt.

The collaboration of the Sports Illustrated editor and Grinnell.

Again, in both his article (1988) and his book (1996), Grinnell had the opportunity to object to the falsehoods and the fabrications of the SI article (1959). Unfortunately, he chose not to do so, and so those items polluted the Moffatt literature for another generation.
1. I need repeat that both the SI editor (two instances) and Grinnell redacted exculpatory evidence regarding Moffatt’s decision to run without a scout the rapids where he died.
2. I bring now to the reader’s attention that Grinnell had collaborated in the writing of the SI article, specifically the Epilogue. I refer here to Grinnell’s comments regarding death by hypothermia, the rescues, the revised plan to reach Baker Lake, the crossing of Aberdeen Lake, etc.
Given that Grinnell’s first publication (his Canoe article of 1988) appeared 29 years later, he and the SI editor must have corresponded, at the very least. Indeed, I have cause to believe that they had met through intermediaries, perhaps even in person.
Conclusion. The SI editor and Grinnell colluded to defame a dead man, yet more evidence that Grinnell betrayed Moffatt.

Assessment of the evidentiary basis of the accusatory literature.

I define that basis to be publications that contain original evidence of the participants.
It consists of three items only: The Sports Illustrated article (1959), Grinnell’s Canoe article (1988) and Grinnell’s book (1996).

The evidence of Moffatt.
The only such evidence available to Moffatt’s accusers was a few edited excerpts provided in the Sports Illustrated article (1959).
Aside. Pessl’s book (2014), which provides unedited excerpts, appeared too late to influence the literature.
As I document elsewhere, the SI editor redacted the exculpatory phrases
(a) can’t risk an upset now from Moffatt’s journal for 10 September, and
(b) Following Tyrrell’s route from Moffatt’s last journal entry (that for 13 September).
Opinion. One redaction of such evidence could have been an accident, surely not two.
Conclusion.
No content of the SI article can be trusted.

The evidence of Lanouette.
Opinion. I have learned to trust everything written by Lanouette.
Reminder. Sports Illustrated published a faithful condensation of the journal of Moffatt’s bowperson for the day of Moffatt’s death.
Aside. Only the condensation was available to the public until Lanouette provided the original, assisted in its transcription, and gave me permission to publish it. Reference. Ancillary 2. Lanouette evidence and the fatal rapids.
The key passage, provided in both the original and the condensation, is the following three sentences.
This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids. [SI article, middle of p 85 (1959)]
As I document fully elsewhere, Moffatt and Lanouette were surprised because J B Tyrrell had advised Moffatt that the last two rapids, those where Moffatt died, were of no concern.
A request.
I ask that the reader assess, in the light of this evidence (published in the SI article itself), the truth of the SI editor’s assertions (mentioned also above):
1. …the Moffatt party races against winter …In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance. [SI article, bottom of right column, p 76] and
2. Increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye. [SI article, top of right column, p 82]
Conclusion.
The SI editor set out to fabricate a case against Moffatt.
It follows, as surely as the night the day, that no content of the SI article is credible.
Aside.
Unfortunately for Moffatt’s reputation, this exculpatory evidence of Lanouette was ignored in all the accusatory literature (primary and secondary alike) of the next 55 years, except by Grinnell (who redacted it).
The gentlest interpretation. The failure to mention this exculpatory evidence of Lanouette speaks to the diligence of Moffatt’s accusers, most of whom are known to have accessed the SI article.

The evidence of Grinnell.
I remind the reader that Grinnell (in his book) redacted the passage
This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids and replaced it with an ellipsis.
Again, to me, this passage is exculpatory, for it evinces that Moffatt and Lanouette had been misled by the rapids advice of J B Tyrrell, advice that had proved so reliable that the party had experienced but one swamp, not one pin, and not one dump in the previous 11 weeks.
The redaction of this exculpatory evidence, alone and in itself, convinces me
that no publication of Grinnell can be trusted, more generally
that Grinnell had set out to fabricate a case against Moffatt.
Aside. I have yet to document fully, even so much as to count, the accusations made by Grinnell, many of which are known to be false in one way or another. Should that task (which is on my to-do list) be completed, the result will be posted in Ancillary 1. Accusations.

The evidence of LeFavour
is completely worthy of the reader’s trust. But it was unavailable until he provided me with the key third of his four articles and gave permission to publish its contents.
1. The first key LeFavour passage,
namely no foolish chances were taken,
has particular relevance to the assertion In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance. [SI article, bottom of right column, p 76]
2. The second key LeFavour passage (recorded the day before Moffatt’s death) namely Up to that point we had shot five caribou and by doing so had saved enough meat to see us through. Now it was not even necessary to spend time hunting
has particular relevance to the assertions
game grows scarce [SI article, bottom of right column, p 76], and
the caribou were long gone. [Kingsley book, middle of p 188; Up Here, lower right column on p 90].

The evidence of Pessl and Franck
is completely worthy of the reader’s trust.
But it appeared too late to influence the literature, with the following exception:
Kingsley [Paddle North, top of p 202 (2014)] made incidental mention of the Pessl comment People revealed themselves as imperfect [Kesselheim, Canoe & Kayak (2012)].

Summary.
With the exception of that trivial item provided in Kesselheim’s article, the only participant evidence available in the entire 55 years of the Moffatt literature was that provided in the SI article (1959), Grinnell’s article (1988) and Grinnell’s book (1996). These are what I call the three pillars of the accusatory literature.
But I documented above that both the SI editor and Grinnell, among other actions, redacted exculpatory evidence regarding Moffatt’s decision to run those rapids without a scout.

Conclusion.
Given
first that the evidentiary basis of the accusatory literature of those 55 years rests solely on the Sports Illustrated article, Grinnell’s article and Grinnell’s book, and
second that both the SI editor and Grinnell redacted exculpatory evidence,
I conclude that the entire accusatory literature (primary and secondary alike) has no more substance than a house of cards.
More succinctly, we wuz had for 55 years.

The character of the Moffatt literature and the accusations made of him.

In all the publications made over those 55 years, in not one instance was evidence provided in support of an accusation. That is, the entire accusatory literature (primary and secondary alike) consists of nothing but assertions.
Given that Moffatt was dead and so unable to defend himself, his defamers had free rein. The evidence leads me to conclude that many of them took maximal advantage of that fact.
I documented above the redactions (I suggest them to have been coordinated) made by the SI editor and by Grinnell. Other means (falsehoods, fabrications and deceits) were used by them and others to defame a dead man. But there are so many of each that it would destroy the flow even to list here only the major items. And so I refer the reader to the correspondingly entitled paragraph provided in Ancillary 1. Accusations.
Given the sheer number of the assertions (two persons each made two dozen, independent at first glance), I found it to be a much simpler task to document all the true assertions. In more than three years of research into Moffatt’s death, I found seven such. Précis of them follow; full responses are provided in Ancillary 1. Accusations.

True assertion 1. Paddles.
The three spare paddles had been left behind in Stony Rapids. [Sports Illustrated, p 72 (1959).
Repeated without mention of the source by Inglis (1978), then by Kingsley (2012 and 2014).
Response. The spares were delivered the very next day.
Assessment. Perhaps a documentary assertion by the editor. Picking of the little red fruit by Inglis and Kingsley.

True assertion 2. Radio.
Source. We carried no radio. [Two instances on p 11 of Grinnell’s book (1996)].
Repeated without mention of the source as follows. …they didn’t even bring a radio. [Kingsley (2013)]
Response. Moffatt requested, but was refused, permission to carry a radio. And it bears explicit mention that possession of a radio would not have averted his death.
Assessment. Picking of the little red fruit by Kingsley.

True assertion 3. Provisions and fat.
The assertions of Luste.
1. …it is evident that not enough food, or specifically, food with high caloric comment, such fat, was purchased for the trip. This long, on short food rations, would have consumed much, if not all, of the body fat their bodies started with. [Grinnell book, middle of p 286]
2. The Moffatt party was woefully short of provisions and caloric energy sustenance… [Grinnell book, top of p 288].
Provisions. Moffatt had cause to believe that the initial supply of provisions would suffice for the entire trip, but he was seriously mistaken in this. On the other hand, a major resupply of provisions was obtained on 7 September.
Fat. The initial food supply contained none.
Reference. Moffatt’s first letter to J B Tyrrell, as provided in
Ancillary 15. Moffatt’s preparations.
Likely little fat was obtained from fish in the six weeks from the start to 5 August. In the next six weeks, some was obtained from the five caribou, and perhaps some from the fish and the ptarmigan.
The assertion of Kingsley.
The Moffatt expedition was clearly unprepared in the material sense. Not enough food–neither in quantity nor quality. [Kingsley. Back and Beyond. Lake, Issue 6 (2013); p 14].
Assumption. This is a paraphrase of Luste’s comment.
The evidence of Pessl.
I lack the background in nutrition science to assess the quality, but Pessl comments as follows:
The lack of fat in our diet, on the other hand, probably contributed to a serious caloric deficiency that may have exacerbated our discomfort in the cold, wet season and may have resulted in reduced energy and endurance. [p 162] I note though that Pessl does not suggest that lack of fat played a role in the events of 14 September.

True assertion 4. The supply of sugar and its distribution.
The supply.
1. A week later Pessl announced that we had consumed half our sugar supply while covering less than one-third the distance to Baker Lake. [Grinnell article (1988), p 20, top of right column; undated]
2. Confirmation. Had a grumpy outbreak over the sugar situation. We are now 1/2 through the supply and only about 1/3 of the distance to Baker Lake. After much discussion, we decided to give each man a 5-day ration from each 5-lb bag, thus allowing about 1/6 lb/day. Each will carry his own supply and use it according to his taste. Hope it works. [Pessl, 29 July, p 56; Hinde Lake]
3. Aside. It is on my to-do list to measure the distance remaining. But, given that the early part of the trip (the ascent of the Chipman River to the basin of the Dubawnt) was slow, perhaps the more important measure is the time. The dates provided in the journals lead me to conclude that Pessl’s one-third is an accurate measure of the time elapsed.
The distribution.
1. Grinnell asserted several times that Moffatt was taking more than his share of the sugar. [Grinnell book: pp 34-37 and 80&81)]
2. Confirmation. Once, Pessl caught his mentor, Moffatt, stealing extra sugar from the bag. [Kesselheim, Alan. 57 years Ago. Canoe & Kayak, May 2012, starting on p 46].
Summary.
Both concerns (the supply of sugar and its distribution) were resolved on 29 July.
Reference. Ancillary 1. Accusations.

True assertion 5. Initially, Moffatt used a bowl larger than the others.
Source. Grinnell’s article (1988) and his book (1996); verified by Pessl (2014).
Response. From 22 August on, Moffatt’s bowl was of the same size as the others.

True assertion 6. running scared
Source. Sports Illustrated (1959); repeated by Kingsley (2012).
My search revealed the SI editor’s source to have been the comment we’re all running scared in Moffatt’s journal entry for 10 September. Reference. Ancillary 1. Accusations.
But Moffatt’s journal for that very day contains also the passage can’t risk an upset now, which the editor failed to mention, and which reflects rather poorly on the editor’s assertions
(a) that the rapids where Moffatt died had been run in desperate haste and
(b) increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye.
Summary. The Sports Illustrated editor chose
to report evidence prejudicial to Moffatt, and
to omit mention of evidence favourable to him.
Opinions. The SI editor set out to fabricate a case against a dead man. Kingsley assisted by picking the little red fruit.

True assertion 7. The rapids where Moffatt died had not been scouted.
I refer the reader to the evidence presented at the top of this text, more completely in the following.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

The character of Arthur Moffatt.
Although a US citizen, he joined the British army shortly after graduation from college, months before December 1941. For four years, he served in the campaigns in Africa and Italy.
But Moffatt was not a combatant, for he was a pacifist. Rather, he was an ambulance driver; he took the wounded and the dying from the very front of the battles to the aid stations in the rear, no job for a coward.
Let the reader compare his character with that of those who knowingly made false assertions of a person unable to respond. The Sports Illustrated editor, George Grinnell and James Murphy come immediately to mind.
Let the reader compare his character with that of Bob Thum, who retraced Moffatt’s route solely to show up a dead man.

The mission of the Moffatt party.
In 1955, Moffatt set out to retrace the central portion of the 1893 Tyrrell-Tyrrell (Joseph Burr and James Williams) expedition of the Geological Survey of Canada; this was the reach from Black Lake (on the Fond du Lac River) to Baker Lake (on the Thelon River). To guide him, Moffatt possessed multiple evidences of the Tyrrell brothers. References. Ancillary 3. Tyrrell items and the fatal rapids, plus other sources.
His was one of first modern trips to paddle the barrenlands; even Eric Morse’s group did not venture there until years later. His was certainly the first party composed entirely of those of European descent to travel any part of the Dubawnt River.
His mission was to document (by film, photos and journal/s) the barrenlands of the Dubawnt/Thelon basin of what is now Nunavut; his camera pack weighed 86 pounds. This was not a recreational trip like that taken by most paddlers, and so I suggest that it not be judged by such standards.
An example. In order to accomplish its mission, the Moffatt party paused as opportunities arose (for example to photograph the caribou and the artefacts left by the native people), and so it could not possibly have had a highly prescriptive schedule. And it had no even one waypoint to be reached by a specified date. But 11 independent sources attest that the Moffatt party had what matters, namely a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake. The reader will see Murphy and MacDonald did with that evidence, in what they alleged to be reviews of Grinnell’s book.
Reference. Appendix 7. Schedule.

The evidence of participant Pessl regarding the mission of the Moffatt party.
1. Moffatt had …the grand concept of retracing J. B. Tyrrell’s epic 1893 journey down the Dubawnt River, creating a film documentary about the journey and sharing that experience in print with the wilderness adventure community. [book, p 165]
2. We were filming a canoe journey along a transect that reflected remarkable changes in the wildlife and natural history of the region. It was the journey that mattered and it was the context of that journey that we were committed to record. [book, p 166].
3. In a very different context, Pessl referred to Moffatt’s intention to provide the basis for a coherent, artistic expression of this classic journey… [book, p 167].

The tipping point.

Preliminaries.

1a. For the convenience of the reader, I repeat the two redactions of exculpatory evidence made by the SI editor:
The phrase can’t risk an upset now from Moffatt’s journal entry for 10 September, and
the phrase Following Tyrrell’s route from Moffatt’s last journal entry, that for 13 September.
1b. One fine day, I’ll compile and report a list of the falsehoods, the fabrications and the deceits of the SI editor. For the moment I express my conclusion that the editor’s following two assertions regarding the cause of Moffatt’s death are falsehoods.
Already nine days behind schedule, the Moffatt party races against winter on the Barren Grounds. The days grow colder, provisions dwindle, game grows scarce. In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance. [SI article, bottom of right column, p 76. Appearing between the Moffatt journal entries for 15 and 18 August].
Increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye. [SI article, p 82, top right column, 7/8 September].
2. I possess no evidence that any accuser knew of the falsehoods and the fabrications of the historian Alex Inglis. [Northern Vagabond. The Life and Career of J B Tyrrell – the Man Who Conquered the Canadian North. McClelland and Stewart. (1978) [pp 52&54].
3. I document elsewhere the falsehoods, etc contained in Grinnell’s article (1988).
4. Elsewhere, I provide Luste’s list of accusations (dates and authors unknown) made prior to the publication of Grinnell’s book (1996 edition, pp 293&294) Given that no defamer identified a source, their effect is not known.
5. A strong candidate for the tipping point is Grinnell’s book (1996). It contains a maliciously redacted version of Lanouette’s journal for the day of Moffatt’s death; I refer here to his redaction of the exculpatory passage This surprised us. Art had figured we had already shot the last two rapids before Marjorie Lake. Actually, what we had gone down were only riffles, and what lay ahead was the real beginning of the first rapids.
And his book is replete with falsehoods, fabrications and deceits. That is, it is anything but a true story, as claimed in its subtitle.
But I question whether it would have had significant impact had its existence not been made widely known by Murphy and MacDonald; had they not acted, it might well have faded into the obscurity that it so richly deserved.
Opinion.
The tipping point of the accusatory literature came with the publication of the Murphy-MacDonald articles (1996), which were alleged to be reviews of Grinnell’s book. But Murphy and MacDonald went well beyond such, for they expressed highly negative opinions of a dead man.
Certainly the Murphy-MacDonald articles broke the dyke; the ensuring flood of accusations continued to 2014.
Bibliography.

The assertions of Murphy and MacDonald.

Preliminaries.
Reference. Che-Mun, Canoelit section. Moffatt, Myth & Mysticism. Spring 1996, pp 5 & 11.
The assertion of James Murphy is available online at
http://www.canoe.ca/AllAboutCanoes/book_deathbarrens.html ,
those of Andrew MacDonald apparently not.
The assertion of Murphy.
Lack of food, proper equipment and most importantly, lack of a planned itinerary, contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise.
Assertion 1 of MacDonald.
As the summer-length trip wore on, and the progress of their three Chestnut canoes lapsed further and further behind schedule, anxiousness and impending climax accompanies the daily accounts.
Assertion 2 of MacDonald.
One of the implications of a quasi-religious resistance to a pragmatic plan of travel was the death of Arthur Moffat.
Directory.
A preliminary discussion of the three parts of Murphy’s assertion follows immediately. I refer the reader to Ancillary 1. Accusations
for full discussions of them and also of MacDonald’s two assertions.

Murphy’s assertion that lack of food contributed to Moffatt’s death.
Aside. Referring to Moffatt, Murphy contributed also Slightly giddy from lack of food….
1. Murphy provided no evidence in support of his assertion that lack of food contributed to Moffatt’s death, for the excellent reason that no such evidence exists, either in Grinnell’s book (the very subject of Murphy’s review) or anywhere else in the Moffatt literature.
2. Let me point out to Murphy some evidence provided in the very book (Grinnell’s) that he reviewed, this only for the crucial six weeks before Moffatt’s death.
The hunters returned to lead me to their kill…We carried the butchered caribou back to camp and that evening gratefully ate forty-two steaks. [Grinnell book, 5 August, p 98]
After dinner…full bellies…Art’s blueberry Johnny Cake… [Grinnell book, 12 August, pp 116&118]
…we took a holiday to kill our second caribou…[ Grinnell book, ~14 August, p 127]
Dinner was a splendid affair: delicious trout Peter had caught, the best cuts of meat from the caribou Bruce had shot, savory mushrooms…all topped off with buckets of blueberries picked by Joe. [Grinnell book, after 20 August, p 135]
…I went to hunt some ptarmigan. I killed five with my .22 before running out of ammunition, then killed two more with my hunting knife. [Grinnell book, pp 156&157]
Over the ensuing weeks… we killed our third, fourth and fifth caribous… [Grinnell book, after 5 September, p 156]
…we saw…a stack of cardboard boxes with cans of dehydrated vegetables inside… We…raided the dump. [Grinnell book, 7 September, pp 180&181]
3. The evidence of participant LeFavour for 13 September, the day before Moffatt’s death. Up to that point we had shot five caribou and by doing so had saved enough meat to see us through. Now it was not even necessary to spend time hunting. [The Evening Recorder, Amsterdam NY. Part 3 of 4, page 8, 29 December (1955).]
4. Some evidences of Franck and Pessl.
22 August. I was not feeling too well today, probably from eating too much caribou yesterday, … [Franck, in Pessl, p 99].
28 August. We … were so full we could hardly move. [Franck, in Pessl, p 108]
30 August. …I had prepared such a huge breakfast that none of us could have moved much further than the tents anyway. I felt as if I would have crashed right through the bottom of the canoe and sunk like a stone if we would have been loading. [Pessl, p 110]
Conclusion. The assertion is a falsehood.
Reference. Appendix 6. Food.

Murphy’s assertion that lack of proper equipment contributed to Moffatt’s death.
1. Murphy provided no evidence in support of his assertion that lack of…proper equipment contributed to Moffatt’s death, for the excellent reason that no such evidence exists in Grinnell’s book (the very subject of Murphy’s review), indeed anywhere else in the Moffatt literature.
2. Inspection reveals Murphy’s source to have been Luste’s equipment recommendations for paddlers circa 1996. [Grinnell book, pp 297&298].
I knew Luste well enough to believe that he would have been much angered to learn that Murphy had used his recommendations to defame Moffatt, who died forty years earlier.
Conclusion. The assertion is a falsehood.
Reference. Appendix 3. Equipment.

Murphy’s assertion that lack of a planned itinerary contributed to Moffatt’s death.
Clarification. His editor explained later that by a planned itinerary, Murphy meant a schedule.
Response. Murphy provided no evidence in support of his assertion that lack of a schedule contributed to Moffatt’s death, for the excellent reason that no such evidence exists, either in Grinnell’s book (the very subject of his review) or anywhere else in the Moffatt literature.
In his book, the very subject of Murphy’s review,
Grinnell wanders mindlessly between
asserting that the Moffatt party had a highly prescriptive schedule of some undefined sort (the extreme case being a day-by-day schedule), and
asserting that it possessed only a schedule for arrival in Baker Lake.
But he consistently and truthfully asserted the latter.
Conclusion.
The assertion is a falsehood.
Reference. Appendix 7. Schedule.

Summary.
Murphy’s assertion that lack of food contributed to Moffatt’s death is a falsehood.
Murphy’s assertion that lack of proper equipment contributed to Moffatt’s death is a falsehood.
Murphy’s assertion that lack of a schedule contributed to Moffatt’s death is a falsehood.
Reference. Ancillary 1. Accusations

The primary accusatory literature.

At the beginning of this document, I provided the evidence related to the rapids where Moffatt died, and I mentioned the related accusations. And I just mentioned the influential accusations of Murphy and MacDonald. But the primary accusatory literature is far larger, for it consists of the following publications.
Item 1. The Sports Illustrated article (1959).
Item 2. The book of Inglis (1978).
Item 3. Grinnell’s Canoe article (1988).
Item 4. Assertions made prior to 1996, as quoted by Luste in Grinnell’s book of that year (pp 293&294).
Item 5. Grinnell’s book (1996 edition).
Item 6. The Murphy-MacDonald reviews of Grinnell’s book (1996).
Item 7. The Mahler-Thum article/s (2005).
Item 8. Kingsley’s articles (2012 and 2013) and book (2014).
I refer the reader to Ancillary 1. Accusations for my discussion of all these items.

Review of the accusatory literature.

From its inception in 1959 to and including 2014, the primary accusatory literature consists of nothing but assertions, opinions, and edited versions of previous accusations.
Exculpatory evidence regarding the cause of Moffatt’s death was redacted twice by the Sports Illustrated editor and once by Grinnell, who had collaborated in the writing of the SI article.
Exculpatory evidence was consciously misrepresented.
Exculpatory evidence was ignored. The prime example: Art Moffatt, following Tyrrell’s notes, was not expecting the rapid in which he swamped and then died. [Luste; Grinnell book (1996), p 284]
Selective use (cherry-picking) was made of evidence prejudicial to Moffatt, especially by two defamers.
Falsehoods, fabrications and deceits were represented as evidence.
Falsehoods, fabrications and deceits were mindlessly accepted as evidence.
No thought was given to whether assertions were credible. Rather, they were accepted and promulgated, indeed embellished.
Over those 55 years, in all those publications, not once was evidence provided. Neither could any such evidence been documented in many instances, for the source was the defamer’s imagination.
Neither was evidence was sought before the accusatory pen was taken up.
In even the best of cases, the accusatory literature consists of nothing but gossip.
The little red fruit was picked repeatedly by two defamers.
I documented the seven true accusations made over those 55 years. I have not counted the false ones, and likely shall not, but I note that two accusers each made two dozen accusations (with no overlap at first sight).
Such courage, such grace, to bully a dead man for 55 years.

Opinion.

Primary responsibility for the defamation of a dead man belongs to the odious triumvirate of the Sports Illustrated editor, participant George Grinnell, and James Murphy.

The most egregious actions of the SI editor:
1. The redaction of exculpatory evidence from Moffatt’s journal of 10 September.
2. The redaction of exculpatory evidence from Moffatt’s journal of 13 September.
3. The assertion of the falsehood that the rapids where Moffatt died had been run in desperate haste.
4. The assertion of the falsehood increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye.

Some of the more egregious actions of Grinnell.
1. His redaction of exculpatory evidence from the condensation of Lanouette’s journal for the day of Moffatt’s death.
2. His assertion of the falsehood that the party had taken holidays on more than half the days of the trip.
3. His many deceits regarding Moffatt.
4. His failure to object to the many falsehoods of the Sports Illustrated editor. In this connection, it bears repetition that Grinnell had collaborated with the editor in the writing of the Epilogue of the SI article.

The triple-header falsehood of Murphy.
Lack of food, proper equipment and most importantly, lack of a planned itinerary, contributed to his [Moffatt’s] demise.

Summary.

At the beginning of this document, I provided all the evidence known to me regarding the cause of Moffatt’s death. To me, the evidence is conclusive: The sole cause was incorrect advice from a source that he had learned to trust over the previous 11 weeks of the trip, indeed in the very morning of the day that he died.
But, over those 55 years, many false accusations were made of Moffatt and were widely accepted and promulgated, indeed embellished. And so I felt it necessary to list some of those accusations, and the conclusions that the evidence led me to reach regarding them.
1.
It is a fabrication that any member of the party lost sense of reality at any time.
It is a falsehood that Grinnell and most of the others had succumbed to a sort of delusion. They felt they were in paradise.
Appendix 1. Reality and Delusion.
2.
It is a falsehood that the party had taken holidays on more than half the days of the trip.
It is a fabrication that an inquest had been held into Moffatt’s death.
Appendix 3. Equipment.
4.
It is a fabrication that the party was inexperienced.
It is a fabrication that the leadership was poor.
Appendix 4. Experience.
5.
It a falsehood that the party raced down the river in order to escape the onset of winter (and so could not afford time to scout the rapids where Moffatt died).
Appendix 5. Pace and weather.
6.
It is a falsehood that game grows scarce.
It is a truth that a major resupply of provisions was obtained on 7 September. And so the assertions provisions dwindle and provisions were beginning to run low are deceits.
It is a falsehood that Moffatt died due to lack of food.
It is a fabrication that Moffatt said He who controls the food controls the men.
It is a fabrication the later embellishment He said with a sardonic smile.
It is a deceit that As the summer wore on, the men grew hungry before, during, and after each meal.
It is a fabrication that When Arthur Moffatt set off for the Barrenlands, he envisioned a land of plenty.
It is a deceit that there were only 15 packs of cigarettes left and a half can of roll-your-own.
It is a falsehood that the caribou were long gone.
It is a truth both that the sugar ration had proved to be inadequate and that Moffatt had been taking more than his share.
It is a truth that Moffatt had originally used a bowl larger than that used by the others.
It is a truth that the Moffatt party shot five caribou in all, the first on 5 August, the last on 5 September.
It is a truth that, a few hours before Moffatt’s death, the party had so much caribou meat on board that it had no more need to hunt.
Appendix 6. Food.
7.
It is a deceit that the Moffatt party was a week behind Tyrrell’s schedule, later that it was nine days behind schedule.
It is a falsehood that Moffatt died due to lack of a planned itinerary, aka lack of a schedule.
It is at best a case of monkey see – monkey do that Moffatt died due to lack of a pragmatic plan of travel, aka lack of a schedule.
It is a truth that the Moffatt party had scheduled arrival in Baker Lake for 15 September, with a grace period of a week, as evinced by 11 independent sources.
Appendix 7. Schedule.
8.
It is a deceit that the Moffatt party was running scared.
It is a falsehood that …the Moffatt party races against winter on the Barren Grounds. … In desperate haste, they take an ultimate chance.
It is a falsehood that Increasingly, the men were taking chances. They now shot down churning chutes of white water, which, a month earlier, they would have scrutinized with a doubtful eye.
It is a falsehood that the Moffatt party grew careless scouting rapids as they raced winter to the end of the river.
It is a falsehood that Moffatt died as a result of …misjudging Tyrrell’s descriptions of the rapids they would encounter before entering Marjorie Lake…
It is a truth that the rapids where Moffatt died had not been scouted.
It is a truth that Moffatt died because he had been misled by advice that had proved worthy of his trust over the 11 weeks prior to his death.
It is a truth that Art Moffatt, following Tyrrell’s notes, was not expecting the rapid in which he swamped and then died. [Luste]
It is a truth that hurrying as we were, no foolish chances were taken. [LeFavour]
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.

Personal reflections.
Moffatt did not paddle the Dubawnt in order to build his self-esteem by proving himself to himself or to anyone else. A pacifist who served for four years at the very front of the battles in Africa and Italy has no need to prove anything to anyone.
Rather, Moffatt set out to document the barrenlands by means of film, photos and journals. Perhaps he went also to experience the barrens, to immerse himself in it, to understand it at least in part, to appreciate it. Perhaps he had hoped to establish himself as a wilderness writer. Perhaps he already had the idea of protecting the barrens. Perhaps he took the trip in part out of respect for the wilderness.
Whatever his motivation, Moffatt was the very antithesis of the conquer-the-wilderness types, the ego-trippers, the self-promoters, the peak-baggers, the river-baggers, in short all those go into the wild with something to prove. He would never have said The real adventure pits man against nature, as alleged in the Sports Illustrated article [top of p 71]. In private correspondence, Pessl confirmed that such a comment is totally out of character for Moffatt; he referred me to the following passage from Grinnell’s book. How ridiculous to “assault a mountain”! How pretentious to plant a flag! How arrogant to stand on top for fifteen minutes and talk of “conquest!” [Grinnell book, p 19]. A similar remark was made in Grinnell’s article [lower left column, p 20]. In both instances, the context was a conversation about the then recent ascent of Everest.
Whatever his motivation, Moffatt was the very antithesis of Bob Thum, who provided the following motivation for his Dubawnt trip of 1966. Moffatt is precisely why we took the trip…I thought experienced trippers could cover Tyrrell’s route safely and skillfully, which we did. [Down a Dead Man’s River, Che-Mun. Outfit 122, Autumn 2005, starting on page 4. http://www.ottertooth.com/che-mun/122/chemun122.pdf
Response 1. And so the sole purpose of the Thum trip was to show up Moffatt.
Such courage, such grace, to bully a dead man.
Response 2. It certainly took considerable skill on Thum’s part and that of his companions to get safely through the many dangerous rapids above those where Moffatt died.
But such skill had been exhibited previously by the Moffatt party, whose first and only dumps occurred in the rapids where he died.
With respect to the fatal rapids, the only skill required of Thum was the ability to read the evidence regarding Moffatt’s death, namely that those rapids are dangerous in the extreme.
Opinions.
Arthur Moffatt deserves our respect.
He and his family did not deserve the redactions of exculpatory evidence, and the falsehoods, the fabrications and the deceits published over the 55 years of the defamatory literature.
Retractions are in order.

Comments.
Those wishing to learn more about the trip and the tragedy are suggested to start with Pessl’s book. Barren Grounds. The Story of the Tragic Moffatt Canoe Trip. Dartmouth College Press (2014).
With every primary accusation shown to have no basis in the evidence, the way is clear for a new chapter in the Moffatt literature, namely an extended appreciation of him. Such would be rather late in the game (he died sixty years ago), but perhaps someone will take on the job.

A little about Arthur Moffatt, the person.
First of all and above all, he was not the bungling, incompetent fool that so many defamers so successfully portrayed him to be for 55 years.
From the little that I know of him, he was a thoughtful, decent, responsible, indeed admirable, person.
Arthur Moffatt was born in 1919, the son of a stable worker on a Long Island estate. At 17, he’d paddled the Albany River in Northern Ontario alone, 500 miles from Sioux Lookout to Hudson’s Bay. He attended Dartmouth College—his father’s employer paid his tuition—and immediately after graduating in 1941, he joined the American Field Service, a volunteer ambulance corps attached to the British Eighth Army. A committed pacifist, Moffatt witnessed some of the bloodiest campaigns of World War II, but never carried a weapon. [Pessl, as reported in Kesselheim, Alan. Canoe & Kayak, May 2012, starting on p 46.]
He was a quietly principled man who from an early age lived as best he could, consistent with his principles. … He was a pacifist and volunteered for the American Field service as an ambulance driver, serving in Africa and Italy during World War II. [Pessl book, p 165]
Why did he choose the Dubawnt River?
He had …the grand concept of retracing J. B. Tyrrell’s epic 1893 journey down the Dubawnt River, creating a film documentary about the journey and sharing that experience in print with the wilderness adventure community. [Pessl, p 165]

An appreciation of Arthur Moffatt.
Even after these many years, I grieve Art Moffatt’s death. He was more than my mentor; he was perhaps a second father even though he was only fourteen years older than I. His pacifism, his principled lifestyle, and his view of the world, natural and international, opened my mind, challenged my thoughts, and gave me insight and courage to pursue my own dreams.
I wonder what would have been the future had he survived the Dubawnt and fully developed professionally as an outdoor writer and voice for wild spaces, indigenous peoples, habitat protection, and restraint in Arctic resources development. I believe his impact on our awareness and understanding of the Barrens would have been profound. How might we have better valued the vastness and uniqueness of that ecosystem? How different our understanding and vision of the far north might be today had our Dubawnt adventure ended in celebration instead of tragedy?
Certainly, we would be better informed, perhaps more compassionate in causes of peace, and probably more courageous in advocating to protect and conserve our northern heritage.
[Pessl, p 178].

Comments.
The Moffatt family lost a husband and a father.
The survivors lost their leader, their mentor, their companion, their friend.
The false, abusive accusations of the 55 years that followed likely inflicted much pain on both family and survivors, all of whom no doubt already suffered considerably from the loss.
And so I express one last time my thanks to Pessl, Lanouette and LeFavour for their assistance.

Opinions.
That of Stewart Coffin.
The Moffatt Expedition stands as the pioneering venture in modern recreational canoe travel through the subarctic tundra of northern Canada. [Appalachia Journal. 15 December, 1996.] Mentioned by Pessl on his page 162; thanks to him for providing a copy.
Mine.
The Moffatt story is the most shameful chapter in all the outdoor literature known to me. Even John Hornby (Thelon River, 1927) was treated gently in comparison.
A mob of a dozen or so set out to bully and defame a dead man.
Of such ability to distinguish assertion from evidence, such caution, such charity, such compassion, such courage, such diligence, such grace, such humanity, such integrity, such judgement, such scholarship, such thought, and above all such commitment to truth, was destroyed the reputation of a defenceless innocent, a fellow paddler to many defamers.

The last word.
George Luste and I were professional colleagues for forty years. I regarded him as a friend. He got me started with serious tripping and he provided much valuable advice. I helped him with the Wilderness and Canoeing Symposium for several years.
He expressed the following opinion of some of those who defamed Moffatt prior to 1996. Perhaps he would have written even more scathingly of those who joined the mob.
Let him have the last word.
It seems as if a liberal amount of imagination has been invoked by these writers to change the facts so they fit their preoccupations and desires for culpability. [Grinnell book, p 294]

URLs of the items at the blog.

Some are inactive at the moment.
Foreword and Forum.
Main text.
Appendix 1. Reality and Delusion.
Appendix 3. Equipment.
Appendix 4. Experience and Leadership.
Appendix 5. Pace and Weather.
Appendix 6. Food.
Appendix 7. Schedule.
Appendix 8. Rapids in general.
Appendix 9. The fatal rapids.
Ancillary 1. Accusations.
Ancillary 2. Lanouette evidence and the fatal rapids.
Ancillary 3. Tyrrell evidence and the fatal rapids.
Ancillary 4. Distances.
Ancillary 5. Loose ends and the future.
Ancillary 6. Addenda.
Ancillary 7. Moffatt’s Tyrrell sources.
Ancillary 8. Evidence regarding the tragedy.
Ancillary 10. My sources.
Ancillary 11. Canoe&Kayak manuscript.
Ancillary 12. Acknowledgements.
Ancillary 13. Timeline of the primary Moffatt literature.
Ancillary 14. Opinions.
Ancillary 15. Moffatt’s preparations.
Bibliography.

Notice.
With the exception of quoted material, copyright to the above belongs to Allan Jacobs.

Edition of 13 August 2018.