Avalanche Pass

Alberta-BC boundary. Pass
Fraser River and Smoky River drainages
Between Morkill River and Pauline Creek
53.6161 N 119.9108 W — Map 083E12 — GoogleGeoHack
Earliest known reference to this name is 1914 (Jobe)
Name officially adopted in 1925
Official in BCCanada
Alpland above Avalanche Pass, 1914.

Alpland above Avalanche Pass, 1914.
Bulletin of the American Geographical Society

The pass was named by members of the 1914 expedition to Mount Sir Alexander (then know as Mopunt Kitchi) led by Mary Lenore Jobe Akeley [1878–1966] and Donald “Curly” Phillips [1884–1938].

From Jones Pass we cut our way through dense woods down a steep declivity to broad open muskeg on the West Branch of the Jack Pine. After traveling about six miles through this meadow we came to a low pass, 5,300 feet, filled with beaver dams and houses. We named this pass Beaver Dam Pass. It separates Fraser and Peace waters. Another broad stretch of muskeg and we reached another pass, on which a huge avalanche of trees and rocks had descended. At Avalanche Pass our aneroid registered 5,300 feet. Our further progress was here checked by dense woods filled with an undergrowth of devils’ club and rhododendron of the British Columbia variety.

— Jobe 1914

“The reason for the name is unknown,” wrote boundary surveyor Arthur Oliver Wheeler [1860–1945] in 1924, “but may be due to a snow-slide that happened close by the summit of the pass many years ago and has left some rotting debris of the timber it swept down at the time. It is not a spectacular slide and but slight indication of it is left to tell the tale. There are no other indications of avalanches in the immediate vicinity.”

References:

  • Jobe Akeley, Mary Lenore [1878–1966]. “The expedition to ‘Mt. Kitchi:’ A new peak in the Canadian Rockies.” Canadian Alpine Journal, Vol. 6 (1914–1915):135-143. Alpine Club of Canada
  • Jobe Akeley, Mary Lenore [1878–1966]. “Mt. Kitchi: A New Peak in the Canadian Rockies.” Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Volume 47, No. 7 (1915):481-497. JSTOR
  • Wheeler, Arthur Oliver [1860–1945], and Cautley, Richard William [1873–1953]. Report of the Commission appointed to delimit the boundary between the Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Part II. 1917 to 1921. From Kicking Horse Pass to Yellowhead Pass.. Ottawa: Office of the Surveyor General, 1924. Whyte Museum
  • Wheeler, Arthur Oliver [1860–1945], and Cautley, Richard William [1873–1953]. Report of the Commission Appointed to Delimit the Boundary between the Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Part iii-a. topographical surveys of the watershed. 1922, 1923, 1924. Ottawa: Office of the Surveyor General, 1925. Whyte Museum
  • British Columbia Geographical Names. Avalanche Pass

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