Pass Finder

Photo: Looking north from Wilcox Pass (courtesy Robert Boyko)

Wilcox Pass

  • 2362 m (7750ft)
  • Naming History
  • Peaks and Rivers
52.2402N 117.2166W
Province: Alberta
Park: Banff
Year Named:
Named by:
Named for: Wilcox, Walter D. (Walter Wilcox participated in some of the earliest explorations in the Rockies.) (see biog.)
Mountain (NW): Mount Wilcox
Mountain (SE): Nigel Peak
Headwaters (NE): Sunwapta River
Headwaters (SW): Tangle Creek

In 1896 Walter Wilcox, Robert Barrett and guides Tom Lusk and Fred Stephens travelled north over Bow Pass, up the Saskatchewan River and became the first to reach Sunwapta Pass. They were on a sixty day expedition and searching for a pass through which to reach the Athabasca River. Impressed by, _the tremendous grandeur of mountain scenery,î the group explored the area, Barrett even attempting to climb, _a beautiful, glacier-hung peakî which must have been Mount Athabasca.

In order to determine if the party could continue over the newly discovered pass, Fred Stephens was able to pass between the toe of the Athabasca Glacier and the steep slopes of Mount Wilcox, but found that, _the route which first appeared most promising was blocked by a canyon.î The party then proceeded over a high grassy pass to the east of what is now known as Mount Wilcox descending into the Sunwapta Valley beyond Tangle Falls and the steep canyon to continue their explorations. The pass was later named in honour of Walter Wilcox.