The Basin Record Newsletter Vol.6 Issue 3

Published by the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History CBIRH Newsletter : Vol. 6 No. 3 926 Baker St #3, Cranbrook, BC V1C 1A5 | Telephone: 1-844-550-9150 | E-mail: fter a deadly accident in August 1896 on Mount Lefoy, the American Appalachian Mountain Club hired the first Swiss guide to work in the Canadian Rockies, Peter Sarbach, in 1897. He would guide them on the first ascent of Mount Victoria. The first Swiss guides hired by the CPR were Chrisian Haesler Sr. and Eduard Feuz Sr. both from Interlaken in 1899. In 1900, Karl Schluneggar, Friedrich Michel and Jacob Mueller would be hired. By 1912 a second generation of guides had arrived with Eduard’s sons Ed jr., Ernst and Walter Feuz and Haesler’s son Christian jr. as well as Rudolf Aemmer and Christian Bohren. The first of the Swiss guides would work seasonally from May through September, most often based at Mount Stephen House in Field or at Glacier House in the Rogers Pass, and then return to their families in Switzerland. The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) was formed in Winnipeg in 1906 by Alfred O. Wheeler and Elizabeth Parker. The first general meeting was held March 1906 and the first camp in Yoho was planned for that summer. The CPR was very supportive of the ACC arranging transport and supplying two Swiss guides for the general camp. This would begin a twenty year relationship between the ACC and the CPR Swiss guides. In 1912, the CPR built six Swiss style chalets called the “Edelweiss village” for the guides and their families near Golden, BC. The original houses still stand at the western entrance to Golden. Many guides would live with their wives and families in Canada year round often working as winter caretakers for the CPR hotels and lodges. By 1925 the CPR Swiss guides had guided 250 first ascents in the Canadian Rockies with no fatal accidents. In fact, by the time Walter Perren, the last of the guides under contract with the CPR, was let go in 1954, there had never been a fatality involving guide led expeditions. However, in 1939 Nick Morant, a CPR photographer, and guide Christian Haesler jr. were badly mauled by a mother grizzly near Sherbrooke Lake. Haesler never really recovered and died just over a year later. The Swiss guides constructed the Abbot Pass hut in 1922 and 1923. The pass and the hut are named in honour of Philip Stanley Abbot who died during the 1896 ascent of Mount Lefoy. It is still operated by the Alpine Club of Canada and offers accommodation for hikers. Another important building with a Swiss guide connection is the Plain of the Six Glaciers Tea House near Lake Louise which was built by the CPR in 1924 under the recommendation of Ed Feuz. The Feuz family would run the Tea House for many years. It still serves refreshments during the summer months. 1901.0050