Whirlpool Pass

Pass. Alberta-BC boundary: Headwaters of Hugh Allan Creek and Whirlpool River
52°29’00” N 118°13’00” W — Map 83D/8 — Google
Earliest known reference to this name is 1871 (Trutch).
Name officially adopted in 1963. Official in BCCanada

“Whirlpool River” in Alberta appears on B.C. Surveyor General Joseph William Trutch’s 1871 “Map of British Columbia to the 56th Parallel North Latitude.”

“As far as is known by the boundary survey, Whirlpool Pass has no history,” wrote boundary commissioner Arthur Oliver Wheeler in 1924. “The approach from the Alberta side, is from the main Whirlpool River valley. With regard to the name, that of Whirlpool Pass may not be very appropriate, but it has been used for lack of a better one. Perhaps, more appropriately, Athabasca Pass summit should be known by the name of Whirlpool Pass, but the former name was given in the early days of the fur trade — probably due to the fact that the Athabasca River was then the outstanding feature of this main pass over the Great Divide. It has become historical and cannot now be changed. As a substitute the name Whirlpool Pass was given by the Survey, with reference to its approach up the Main and Middle Whirlpool Valleys.”


  • Trutch, Joseph William [1826–1904]. Map of British Columbia to the 56th Parallel North Latitude. Victoria, B.C.: Lands and Works Office, 1871. University of Victoria
  • Wheeler, Arthur O., and Cautley, R.W. 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, 1921

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.