THE Canadian Rocky
Mountains offer exceptional attractions to those who enjoy natural
scenery, sport, and camp life. Few regions of the world combining
mountain, lake, and forest scenery possess the additional advantage of a
delightful summer climate, such as obtains in the Canadian Rockies.
The extremely wild
character of this part of the Rocky Mountains, and the very short time
since it was opened up to travellers, are probably, in great part, the
reasons for the lack of literature and the absence of any thoroughly
illustrated publication concerning this region.
During a period of four
years, the author has made camping excursions into many of the wilder
parts of the mountains and effected a considerable number of ascents. An
excellent camera has been an almost inseparable companion in every
excursion, so that photographs of the typical scenery have been obtained
from every possible point of view. Moreover, throughout all the
processes of photographing, no expense of time or labor has been spared
in order to obtain true and artistic representations of nature. Nor have
these results been obtained without considerable sacrifice, for in many
cases the proper light effects on lakes and forests required hours of
delay, and frequently, on lofty mountain summits, high winds made it
necessary to anchor the camera with stones ; while the cold and exposure
of those high altitudes made the circumstances unfavorable for
A map is not included
in the volume, as, owing to the wildness of the country, there are no
detailed maps covering this region that are entirely satisfactory. 'The
best map, and, in fact, the only one available, is published in Dr.
Dawson’s Preliminary Report on this part of' the Rocky Mountains.
The author makes
grateful acknowledgment of the assistance received from many friends in
the preparation of this book. Special thanks are due to Prof. J. H.
Gore, of Columbian University, and to the Hon. Chas. D. Walcott,
Director of the United States Geological Survey, for the valuable aid
and information given by them ; to M. Guillaume La Mothe for an
interesting letter concerning the first exploration of the Fraser River
; and to Sir William Van Horne for the many courtesies extended.
W. D. W.
Washington, D.C., July, 1896.
Banff—Its Location—The Village—Tourists—Hotels—Topography of the
Region—Rundle and Cascade Mountains—The Devil's Lake—Sir George
Simpson's Journey to this Region—Peechee the Indian Guide— An Indian
Legend—The Missionary Rundle—Dr. Hector—The Climate of Banff—A Summer
Snow-Storm—The Mountains in Winter.
Lake Louise—First Impressions—An Abode of Perpetual Winter— The
Chalet—Visitors—Stirring Tales of Adventure—Primeval Forests— Forest
Fires—Mosquitoes and Bull-Dog Flies—Mortal Combats between Wasps and
Bull-dogs—The Old Chalet—Morning on the Lake—Approach of a
Storm—Sublimity of a Mountain Thunder-Storm—Cloud Effects— The Lake in
October—A Magnificent Avalanche from Mount Lefroy— A Warning of
Surroundings of the Lake—Position of Mountains and Valleys—The Spruce
and Balsam Firs—The Lyall's Larch—Alpine Flowers—The Trail among the
Cliffs—The Beehive, a Monument of the Past—Lake Agnes, a Lake of
Solitude—Summit of the Beehive—Lake Louise in the Distant Future.
Organizing a Party for the Mountains—Our Plans for the Summer— William
Twin and Tom Chiniquy—Nature, Habits, and Dress of the Stoney Indians—An
Excursion on the Glacier—The Surface Debris and its Origin—Snow
Line—Ascent of the Couloir—A Terrible Accident— Gating Down—An
Exhausting Return for Aid—Hasty Organization of a Rescue Party—Cold and
Miserable Wait on the Glacier—Unpleasant Surmises—“I Think You Die"—A
Castle Crags—Early Morning on the Mountain Side—View from the
Summit—Ascent of the Aiguille—An Avalanche of Rocks—A Glorious
Glissade—St. Piran—Its Alpine Flowers and Butterflies—Expedition to an
Unexplored Valley—A Thirsty Walk through the Forest—Discovery of a
Mountain Torrent—A Lake in the Forest—A Mountain Amphitheatre— The
Saddle—Impressive View of Mount Temple—Summit of Great Mountain—An
Ascent in Vain—A Sudden Storm in the High Mountains—Phenomenal Fall of
Temperature—Grand Cloud Effects.
Paradise Valley—The Mitre Glacier—Air Castles—Climbing to the Col—Dark
Ice Caverns—Mountain Sickness—Grandeur of the Rock-Precipices on Mount
Lefroy—Summit of the Col at Last—A Glorious Vision of a New and
Beautiful Valley—A Temple of Nature—Sudden Change of Weather—Temptation
to Explore the New Valley—A Precipitate Descent—Sudden Transition from
Arctic to Temperate Conditions— Delightful Surroundings—Weary
Followers—Overtaken by Night—A Bivouac in the Forest—Fire in the
The Wild Character of Paradise Valley—Difficulties with Pack-Horses—A
Remarkable Accident—Our Camp and Surroundings—Animal Friends—Midsummer
Flowers—Desolation Valley—Ascent of Hazel Peak —An Alpine Lake in a
Basin of Ice—First Attempt to Scale Mount Temple —Our Camp by a Small
Lake—A Wild and Stormy Night—An Impassable Barrier—A Scene of Utter
Desolation—All Nature Sleeps—Difficulties of Ascent—The Highest Point
yet Reached in Canada—Paradise Valley in Winter—Farewell to Lake Louise.
The Selkirks—Geographical Position of the Range—Good Cheer of the
Glacier House—Charming Situation—Comparison between the Selkirks and
Rockies—Early Mountain Ascents—Density of the Forest—Ascent of Eagle
Peak—A Magnificent Panorama—A Descent in the Darkness— Account of a
Terrible Experience on Eagle Peak—Trails through the Forest—Future
Popularity of the Selkirks—The Forest Primeval— An Epitome of Human
Life—Age of Trees—Forests Dependent on Humidity.
Mount Assiniboine—Preparations for Visiting it—Camp at Heelys Creek—
Crossing the Simpson Pass—Shoot a Pack-Horse—A Delightful Camp—A
Difficult Snow Pass—Burnt Timber—Nature Sounds—Discovery of a Beautiful
Lake — Inspiring View of Mount Assiniboine— Our Camp at the Base of the
Mountain—Summer Snow-Storms—Inaccessibility of Mount Assiniboine.
Evidence of Game—Discovery of a Mountain Goat—A Long Hunt— A Critical
Moment—A Terrible Fall—An Unpleasant Experience— Habitat of the Mountain
Goat—A Change of Weather—A Magnificent Panorama—Set out to Explore the
Mountain—Intense Heat of a Forest Fire—Struggling with Burnt Timber—A
Mountain Bivouac—Hope and Despair—Success at Last—Short Rations—
Topography of Mount Assiniboine— The Vermilion River—A Wonderful
Canyon—Fording the Bow River.
The Waputchk Range—Height of the Mountains—Vast Snow Fields and
Glaciers—Journey up the Bow—Home of a Prospector—Causes and Frequency of
Forest Fires—A Visit to the Lower Bow Lake—Muskegs — A Mountain Flooded
with Ice—Delightful Scenes at the Upper Bow Lake — Beauty of the Shores
— Lake Trout — The Great Bow Glacier.
Sources of the Bow— The Little Fork Pass—Magnificence of the
Scenery—Mount Murchison—Camp on the Divide—A High Mountain Ascent—Future
of the Bo?*.' Lakes—Return down the Bow—Search for a Pass—Remarkable
Agility of Pack-Horses—The “Bay ” and the “Pinto" —Mountain
Solitudes—Mount Hector—Difficult Nature of Johnston Creek — A Bfolding
Snow-Storm — Forty-Mile Creek—Mount Edith Pass.
Origin and Rise of the Fur Trade—the Coureurs des Bois arid the
Voyageurs—Perils of the Canoe Voyages—The Hudson Bay Company and the
Northwest Company—Intense Rivalry—Downfall of the Northwest Company—Sir
Alexander Mackenzie —His Character and Physical Endowments— Cook's
Explorations—Mackenzie Starts to Penetrate the Rockies—The Peace River—A
Marvellous Escape—The Pacific Reached by Land—Perils of the Sea and of
Captain Cook's Explorations—The American Fur Company—First Exploration
of the Fraser River—Expedition of Ross Cox—Cannibalism —Simplicity of a
Voyageur—Sir George Simpson's Journey—Discovery of Gold in 1858—The
Palliser Expedition—Dr. Hector s Adventures— Milton and Cheadle—Growth
of the Dominion—Railroad Surveys— Construction of the
Railroad—Historical Periods—Future Popularity of the Canadian Rockies.
The Pleasures of the Natural Sciences—Interior of the Earth— Thickness
of the Crust—Origin and Cause of Mountains—Their Age and Slow
Growth—System in Mountain Arrangement—The Cordilleran System— The
Canadian Rockies—Comparison with Other Mountain Regions— Climate—Cause
of Chi7iook Winds—Effect of High Latitude on Sun and Moon—Principal Game
Animals—Nature of the Forests—Mountain Lakes—Camp Experiences—Effect on