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Charles P. Fay (Courtesy Whyte Museum, V14 ACOP-802)

Charles Fay


Professor Charles Fay, a president of the Appalachian Mountain Club and the founder and first president of the American Alpine Club, was one of the most distinguished mountaineers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A professor of Modern Languages, he first visited the Canadian Rockies in 1890. Fay was one of a party of four attempting Mount LefroyMount Lefroy and Mount Victoria.

It is said that Dr. Fay made an, ñimpassioned defence of mountaineering at the inquiry into AbbotÍs death that put an end to the grumbling in political circles that mountaineering ought to be banned in Canada.î [R.W. Sandford _ Introduction to ñEvery Other Dayî by O.J. Ostheimer; Alpine Club of Canada; 2002]

Charles Fay made a total of twenty-five trips from his home in the eastern United States to climb in the Canadian Rockies, the last in 1930 as an honoured guest at the Alpine Club Camp at Maligne Lake when he was eighty-four. On that occasion it is said he, "addressed the members assembled around the camp fire on 'Old Days in the Canadian Rockies,' and gave a most delightful and instructive retrospect of his early climbs."

Arthur Wheeler referred to him as, "a charming personality, an enthusiastic mountaineer, and an intense lover of nature." Mount FayJ.W.A. Hickson, Edward Feuz jr., and Rudolph Aemmer visited the hut in 1930 when Fay was 84 years old. Sadly it was destroyed in the extensive forest fires of the summer of 2003 that raged through much of Kootenay National Park.

A new Fay Hut was built during the summer of 2005 and opened in September.