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Photo: Walter Wilcox (courtesy Whyte Archives)

Walter D. Wilcox


An American student from Yale University, Walter Wilcox was one of the first to visit Lake Louise, spending much of the summer of 1893 camped on its shore. Wilcox had met Samuel Allen in Banff and the two completed the first ascent of Fairview Mountain. The pair also attempted Mount Temple and explored the slopes of Mount Victoria.

In 1894 Wilcox, Samuel Allen, and three others paid $12 per week for accommodation, meals, and the use of horses and a boat at the first chalet at Lake Louise. Allen and Wilcox had visited the area before and had failed in attempts to climb Mount VictoriaMount TempleMount AberdeenMount LefroyMount AssiniboineRobert 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, ñthe tremendous grandeur of mountain scenery,î the group explored the area, Barrett even attempting to climb, ña beautiful, glacier-hung peakî which must have been Mount AthabascaMount WilcoxNorth Kananaskis Pass and Aster Lake. During their visit, Wilcox made the first ascent of Mount Indefatigable.

During 1940, Wilcox made his last visit to the Canadian Rockies at the age of 71. J.W.A. Hickson wrote that, "He was as enthusiastic over the trees and scenery of the mountains a he had been forty years before."

[Additional Information: Wilcox, Walter D. "Camping in the Canadian Rockies". New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1897]