ROGERS PASS is a high mountain pass in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains. At 1330 m above sea level, the Pass and surrounding area offer visitors stunning vistas of glaciers and mountain peaks, trails through alpine meadows and old growth forest, fantastic quartzite climbing high above tree-line and some of the best ski touring in the world. Rogers Pass is located in Glacier National Park and the Park’s well-maintained campgrounds and trails, established bivouac sites on major climbs, as well as several alpine huts maintained and operated by the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) make this area uniquely accessible to hikers, climbers and skiers.
The Pass itself is a narrow valley formed by the headwaters of the Illecillewaet River to the west and the Beaver River to the East. Both rivers are tributaries of the Columbia River which curls around the Selkirk Mountains in a great sweeping arc to the North, then heading South to the US. The area is known for its winter snowfall, which amounts to about 10 m per year.
HISTORY: Rogers Pass was named after Major Albert Bowman Rogers, a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Rogers was the first European to discover this route through the formidable Selkirk mountains. The discovery of this elusive route in 1881 and the subsequent construction of the railway through this rugged, avalanche prone area form an important episode in Canadian history and Rogers Pass is commemorated as a National Historic Site of Canada.
Recognizing the tremendous natural beauty of this area, the owners of the CPR built Glacier House, a hotel along the railway, in 1886. In 1899, they brought over Swiss Mountain Guides, highly trained European alpinists, to escort outdoor enthusiasts and adventurous tourists into the surrounding mountains. Many of the climbing routes popular today were established at this time. Classic peaks to climb in the area include Mount Sir Donald, Mount Tupper, Mt. Uto and Mt. Bonney. While Glacier House no longer stands today, the Swiss Guides left an enduring mark on mountaineering culture in Canada and their legacy continues through the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG), Canada’s own professional body.