Pass Finder

Duchesnay Pass

  • 2667 m (8750ft)
  • Naming History
  • Peaks and Rivers
51.3750N 116.4333W
Province: BC
Park: Yoho
Year Named:
Named by:
Named for: Duchesnay, Edward J. (The Assistant General Superintendent of the CPR's Western Division, Edward Duchesnay surveyed a line for the CPR to the Yukon. He was killed by a rockfall in a tunnel near Spuzzum, BC in 1901.)
Mountain (NW): Mount Stephen
Mountain (SE): Mount Duchesnay
Headwaters (NE): Duchesnay Creek
Headwaters (SW): Boulder Creek


During the early 1940's two brothers, Christopher and Joseph Daem set off for an extended ski trip in the Lake O'Hara area. They had been urged not to go because of dangerous avalanche conditions but had promised not to go beyond the lake. However they carried on to Duchesnay Pass where they were caught in a large slide. Their bodies were so well buried that rescuers were unable to recover them until the spring.

James Outram held Edward Duchesnay in the highest regard writing, "Field and he are inseparably connected in the minds of all who have witnessed or enjoyed the development of the beauties of the vicinity , and especially of those who had the immense privilege of meeting him there in 1900 - 1901. No book on the Rockies could be complete without a reference to him.

"To him are chiefly due not only the facilities for reaching the places of interest, but also the inestimable advantages that result from the fact that an artist's eye as well as a master's hand was at work in laying out the trails and selecting points of view and sites for chalets. His love of nature and genius for grasping in an instant the picturesque and practical advantages together, were only equalled by the enthusiasm that inspired him and with which he infected all with whom he came in contact, be he visitor or labourer; and his kindly geniality and courtly gentleness and readiness to help, advise, or serve were particularly attractive traits in his simple, noble character.

"Apart from his high merits as a civil engineer, apart from the heritage he left in the opportunities to enjoy the beauties of the neighbourhood, as a worker, keen, conscientious, full of energy, one could not but admire him; but, better still, as a man, a Christian, gentleman and friend he inspired a deep and lasting affection. His tragic death, occuring characteristically in the course of helping another, through a fall of rock in a burning tunnel, evoked a sympathy and caused a blank in the lives of hundreds such as few are able to induce."

The above is taken from the "Field and Mount Stephen" chapter of Outram's book, "In the Heart of the Canadian Rockies."