Wapiti Pass

Alberta-BC boundary. Pass: Smoky River drainage
Between Framstead Creek and Wapiti River
54.4331 N 120.8178 W — Map 93I/7 — GoogleGeoHack
Name officially adopted in 1965
Official in BCCanada

“Wapiti” is named after the Cree word for elk (wapiti).

On the south-west side, Wapiti Pass is at the headwaters of Framstead Creek, which flows via Herrick Creek and the McGregor River to the Fraser River. On the north-east side, Wapiti Pass is at the headwaters of the Wapiti River which flows into the Smoky River and thence to the Peace River.

Mary Lenore Jobe Akeley [1878–1966] visited the area with Donald “Curly” Phillips [1884–1938] and party in 1915:

From Mt. Alexander Mackenzie, we travelled north to Jarvis Pass, and crossed pass to the Wapiti. This was our “farthest north.” Returning via Jarvis Pass, the Porcupine, Providence Valley and Sheep-Creek, we crossed to the Muddy, which we followed to its mouth, rafted the Big Smoky below the mouth of the Sulphur and followed the old Indian trail to Grand Cache. From this point we travelled up the Sulphur, crossed Hardscrabble Pass to Rockslide Creek, and again struck the Big Smoky near the mouth of Short River (“Glacier Creek,” Collie and Mumm), and thence returned to Robson Station the 1st of September.

In October 1917 she returned with Phillips:

The early winter of 1917 my desire to make a winter trip through the northern Canadian Rockies was realized. I was I fortunate In being able to combine my trip with Mr. Donald Phillips’s business of taking in supplies for a scientific expedition to the Wapiti River, under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution….

Once across the Wapiti Pass we found ourselves in a veritable den of wolves. Their tracks were everywhere. They came near our camps and howled so dismally in the night-time, that we did not hesitate to burn fuel lavishly; in broad daylight the morning we were breaking our ten days’ camp on the Wapiti, they became so inquisitive and so vocal that they almost stampeded our outfit; and once, as we were moving our pack train at twilight along the Wapiti River, two black monsters crossed in front of us and stood in the timber a few yards away yelping and whining like hungry curs. They are vicious beasts and are afraid of nothing smaller than grizzly.

“Wapiti” is listed at the Indigenous Geographical Names dataset as a word of Cree language.


  • Jobe Akeley, Mary Lenore [1878–1966]. “Mt. Alexander Mackenzie.” Canadian Alpine Journal, Vol. 7 (1916):62–73
  • Jobe Akeley, Mary Lenore [1878–1966]. “A winter journey to Mt. Sir Alexander and the Wapiti.” Canadian Alpine Journal, Vol. 9 (1918):58-65

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *