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Towering over the Lower Waterfowl Lake, the steep, cliffs of Mount Chephren are most impressive as they rise 1600 metres above the valley floor. The lower part of the mountain is made of reddish and pinkish quartzites of Lower Cambrian age. The higher levels are made of younger, grey limestones. Mount Chephren is a landmark in the Mistaya Valley, not only because of its height and distinctive shape but also because it is positioned somewhat to the northeast of the other peaks that form the southwest side of the valley. This enables it to be seen for a considerable distance from both the upper and lower Mistaya Valley.
Mount Chephren was named Pyramid Mountain by J. Norman Collie in 1897. At the same time he named its neighbour, which was covered in snow, White Pyramid. Pyramid Mountain, in contrast, had very little snow.
The peak was a favourite of Mabel Williams who, in 1948, wrote a wonderful guidebook for what was then called, "The Banff-Jasper Highway." Of Mount Chephren she wrote, "Even in this region of magnificent peaks, Mount Chephren stands out with a supreme majesty and beauty all its own. Anong all mountain lovers it will always hold high place. Its dark frontal tower of purplish rock rounded to a beehive, its immense, deeply carved buttresses, the symmetrical bands of darker rock and dazzling snow which crown its summit give it an individuality which stamps itself at once on the memory. A luxurient forest throws its cloak of living green about its feet, but, above, the great walls rise in naked precipices for nearly a mile. Lying upon the main mass of the mountain is an immensely thick ice cap which sweeps down around the great tower in a pure white snow saddle like a white scarf flung over its shoulders."
In 1918 the Interprovincial Boundary Commission decided that Pyramid Mountain's name must be changed in order to avoid confusion with the Pyramid Mountain near Jasper. J. M. Thorington, a prominent mountaineer and author of the era, liked the association of the peak with the pyramids of Egypt and recommended the name Chephren. Chephren, or Khafre, was the fourth pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt and built the second of the three Great Pyramids. His reign began in 2565 BC and it is his likeness which is thought to have been the model for the Sphinx. White Pyramid's name was thought to be different enough from the Pyramid Mountain near Jasper and that name was retained.