- Mountaineering and Climbing
Mountaineering & Climbing Timeline
• David Douglas, a young Scottish botanical collector in the employ of the Horticultural Society of London, crosses Athabasca Pass, near present-day Jasper, in 1827. Douglas claims to have ascended one of the two peaks guarding the height of land – which he named "Mount Brown" and "Mount Hooker" – and produces perhaps the first written account of an ascent in the range.
• Arthur P. Coleman, a geology professor from the University of Toronto, makes the first of eight trips to the Canadian Rockies in 1884. He climbs a small mountain near Lake Louise and completes the first recorded ascent of Castle Mountain.
• Railway and government surveyors, who first mapped the lands adjacent to the rail line using phototopographical methods, are popularly considered to be "the first Canadian mountaineers." From this corps, J.J. McArthur, a Quebec-born Dominion Land Surveyor, is particularly active throughout the Bow Valley corridor and west into B.C., claiming the first ascents of Mount Stephen (1887), Mount Odaray (1887), Mount Rundle (1888) and Mount Aylmer (1889), among others.
• Railway hotels become the gathering place for wealthy mountaineers from around the world.
• Small outfits toil north of the CPR line in search of mounts Brown and Hooker, while most of the mountaineering activity in the Rockies focuses on the Lake Louise area.
• In 1890, the CPR constructs a one-story log cabin on the shores of Lake Louise as "a hotel for the outdoor adventurer and alpinist."
• Americans mountaineers Walter Wilcox and Samuel Allen visit the Lake Louise area in 1891 and 1893.
• Coleman casts doubt on the grand stature of mounts Brown and Hooker, when, in 1893, he finds Athabasca Pass and the surrounding peaks to be half their purported height.
• In 1894, Wilcox and Allen explore Paradise Valley and the Valley of Ten Peaks, and ascend mounts Aberdeen and Temple—the later is the first recorded ascent of a peak exceeding 11,000 feet in the range.
• Another group of Americans, led by Charles Fay, the President of the Appalachian Mountain Club, arrive in 1895 and ascend Mount Hector.
• Fay's group returns in 1896 and attempts Mount Lefroy. Tragedy strikes. Phillip Abbot falls to his death from high on the mountain. It is the first recorded climbing fatality in North America.
• Wilcox publishes Camping in the Canadian Rockies (1896).
• Charles Fay returns in 1897 for a "Memorial Climb" of Mount Lefroy and brings with him climbers who would ensure its success: among them was J. Norman Collie, one of Britain's finest amateur climbers, and the Swiss guide Peter Sarbach. The group makes easy work of Mount Lefroy and ascends the neighbouring unclimbed Mount Victoria, as well.
• Over two summer seasons (1897 and 1898), Collie and his outfit map much of the Wapta, Waputik, and Freshfield icefields, and claim numerous first ascents along the way.
• In 1898, Collie and Herman Woolley ascend Mount Athabasca. They gaze out across the Columbia Icefield and claim to "discover" it.
• Collie's map of the Rockies appears in the popular British Geographic Journal (1898).
• Near decade's end, the CPR imports and hires the first Swiss guides to work from their mountain hotels. Outfitting companies open in Banff.
• Wilcox's book undergoes a second printing with the new title The Rockies of Canada (1900).
• The English vicar James Outram arrives on the scene in 1900 and, over three summer seasons, claims thirty-two first ascents of some the highest peaks along the Divide, including mounts Assiniboine, Columbia, Forbes, and Bryce.
• Fuelling the race for first ascents, a CPR publicity campaign brings the famous British mountaineer Edward Whymper to the Rockies in 1901 to ceremoniously "give the new alpine playground his societal approval."
• Collie and Hugh Stutfield publish Climbs and Explorations in the Canadian Rockies (1903).
• Gertrude Benham, an English climber who had summited many of the major peaks of the European Alps, arrives at Lake Louise in 1904 and climbs many of the surrounding peaks.
• Outram publishes his own book of adventure, In the Heart of the Canadian Rockies (1905).
• In 1906, surveyor Arthur O. Wheeler, of Calgary, and Elizabeth Parker, a journalist for the Winnipeg Free Press, found the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). Four months later, the Club holds its first summer mountaineering camp, which becomes an annual tradition.
• With the annual publication of its Canadian Alpine Journal (CAJ), first printed in 1907, the ACC quickly becomes the preeminent self-styled authority on mountaineering in the Rocky Mountains.
• Contrary to Anglo alpine-club tradition, the Canadian club was enlightened in so far as it permitted women among its ranks. Women comprised one third of the membership in 1907.
• Philadelphian Mary Schaffer and New Yorker Mollie Adams become the first non-Natives to visit Maligne Lake in 1908.
• The ACC completes and opens their Clubhouse in Banff in 1909.
• Austrian mountain guide Conrad Kain arrives in Banff to work for the ACC at their summer mountaineering camp.
• Schaffer's Old Indian Trails of the Canadian Rockies and Coleman's The Canadian Rockies, New and Old Trails are published in 1911
• The ACC surveys Jasper Park, Yellowhead Park, and the Mount Robson area to the west of the divide in the summer of 1911.
• Railway companies now have a partner in promoting the Rockies as a destination for mountaineers: James Bernard Harkin, who, as the first commissioner of the newly created Dominion Parks Branch (1911), generously cites the writings of mountain climbers in park promotions.
• The First World War tempers much of the ACC's activities
• Conrad Kain guides the first ascent of Mount Louis in the summer of 1916.
• Mount Louis is ascended for a second time by Swiss guide Edward Feuz Jr. and Swiss amateur Val A. Fynn. Nevertheless, it remains a supreme challenge for local climbers for decades.
• In the years following the Great War, the Albertan Rockies become increasingly accessible to mountaineers.
• Arthur Wheeler's son, Edward O. Wheeler, participates in the British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition in 1921. He is credited with discovering the East Rongbuk Glacier, which would become the main route up Everest from the north.
• In 1921, the same year that a road was completed along the Bow Valley from Banff to Lake Louise, Americans J. Monroe Thorington and Howard Palmer issue A Climbers Guide to the Rocky Mountains of Canada (1921), the first guidebook to the range.
• One by one, the remaining unclimbed peaks in the range are ticked off. Summits remained the prime focus for most climbers, notwithstanding a daring ascent up Mount Victoria's northeast face in 1922 by Swiss guide Rudolph Aemmer and Val Fynn.
• That same summer, while in the employ of the CPR hotel at Lake Louise, Aemmer and Ed Feuz Jr. built a hut to shelter clients attempting to climb mounts Victoria and Lefroy. The Abbot Pass Hut, as it was called, was the first alpine hut in the Rockies and the highest permanently habitable structure in Canada.
• Not long after, a road was pushed over Vermillion Pass from Castle Junction.
• In 1923, the ACC forms a second organization, the National Parks Association. It was the country's first non-government watchdog for parks and an influential ally to conservation-minded Harkin in his decade-long fight against resource extraction in Rocky Mountains Park (later Banff National Park).
• The ACC busies itself planning a series of expeditions beyond the confines of the Rockies to Mount Logan, which, located in the southwest corner of the Yukon Territory, was the highest unclimbed peak in North America. At home, competition for first ascents heightened. The period of easy scrambles to impressive summits is nearly exhausted in the Rockies.
• Margaret Gold Brine, from Edmonton, becomes one of the first women to climb Mount Robson in 1924.
• In 1925, the Interprovincial Boundary Survey completes its work under Arthur Wheeler and Richard Cautley.
• A Japanese-Swiss team ascends the unclimbed Mount Alberta during the summer of 1925.
• Lawrence Grassi, an Italian miner living in the Bow Valley, solos Mount Assiniboine (on a weekend outing from Canmore!); a year later, in 1926, he climbs Eisenhower Tower on Castle Mountain.
• In 1926, Georgia Englehard spends her first season in the Canadian Rockies. She is a regular visitor in the Rockies for the next two decades, completing thirty-two first ascents.
• American Alfred J. Ostheimer III and his outfit climb sixty-three peaks in the regions of the Columbia and Clemenceau icefields. Twenty-seven are first ascents. It is perhaps the last great pack-train expedition in the range.
• A teahouse at the Plain of the Six Glaciers, near Lake Louise, is built to be used partly as a shelter for climbers in 1927.
• The Jasper-Edmonton road opens in 1928; a year later, the road from Banff to Lake Louise is extended over the Kickhorse Pass to Field, B.C., and beyond.
• With few unclimbed peaks remaining in the range, international climbers increasingly travel elsewhere.
• National Parks Act is passed in 1930 and the boundaries of the four Rocky Mountain national parks are finalized.
• The Edmonton Section of the ACC builds the Memorial Hut in the Eremite Valley of the newly named Jasper National Park in 1930. The cabin is named in memory of ACC members killed in the First World War and of F.H. Slark and F. Rutis, of Jasper, who perished in a climbing accident while descending from the first ascent of Mount Redoubt in 1927.
• In 1931, work begins on the Banff-Jasper Highway as a relief project during the Great Depression.
• East Ridge of Mount Temple is ascended in 1931 by guide Hans Wittich and his client Otto Stegmaier.
• Ski mountaineering provides new opportunities for mountaineers during the cold winter months.
• Rex Gibson, a farmer from near Edmonton, pioneers numerous first ascents and new routes in the Tonquin Valley area of Jasper in the early 1930s.
• Cyril Wates and other members of the Edmonton Section of the ACC begin to restore the dilapidated stone hut at Disaster Point, near Roche Miette in Jasper, as a Section Hut in 1935. The Pocahontas/Disaster Point Hut is completed in 1939 and becomes the ACC's "little clubhouse in the north."
• Gibson and American Sterling Hendricks climb all four 12,000-foot mountains in the Canadian Rockies in 1936 and 1937.
• The Banff-Jasper Highway is opened in 1940.
• The Lovat Scouts receive mountain warfare training in Jasper National Park in 1944.
• In 1947, the Edmonton Section of the ACC builds the Wates-Memorial Hut on the shores of Outpost Lake in the Eremite Valley to replace the older and poorly constructed Memorial Hut.
• British mountaineer and writer Frank Smythe publishes his Rocky Mountains (1948)
• In 1948, Americans Ray Garner and Jack Lewis claim the first ascent of Brussels Peak, just south of Jasper. They use a tamp-in ring bolt and pitons, which were climbing technologies never before used in the Rockies. Their methods spark a heated debate among local climbers over the use of fixed protection.
• Frank Smythe publishes Climbs in the Canadian Rockies (1950).
• In 1950, Swiss guide Walter Perren comes to the Rockies in the employ of the CPR. In 1954, he joins the National Park Warden Service and develops search and rescue methods. He hires Hans Gmoser as an assistant.
• Climbing demographics dramatically shift as participation increases among youth and the working classes. Immigration to Canada following the Second World War, as well, alters the dominant style and form of climbing in the Rockies.
• A moderate use of pitons becomes increasingly common among climbers in the Rockies.
• Hans Gmoser, Leo Grillmair, and Isobel Spreat climb a prominent line of cracks and chimneys on the steep wall of Yamnuska's south face in 1952. The route is later called Grillmair Chimneys. Five years later, Gmoser and his friends climb a direct route up the face, a route they called Diretissima. Their activities usher in a new era of rock climbing in the range. Yamnuska continues to attract climbers and newer, harder routes.
• European climbing grades are increasingly used to describe and record the technical difficulty of new routes.
• In 1955, British climber Don Morrison and Calgarian Jim Tarrant put up a new route on the 1000-metre high northeast buttress of Mount Odaray. It is deemed "one of the most formidable climbs in the country."
• Brian Greenwood arrives in Calgary from Britain in 1956. He becomes a linchpin for a new generation of climbers, whose activities are more consistent with European trends than those in Canada. Greenwood's record of achievement over the next eighteen years is matched by few.
• In 1959, Hans Gmoser leads a team – which includes Ron Smylie, the owner of a sporting goods shop in Calgary – up Mount Logan's east ridge to claim the second ascent.
• The Calgary Mountain Club (CMC) forms in 1960.
• Americans Fred Beckey, Yvon Chouinard, and Dan Doodey climb the north face of Mount Edith Cavell in 1961.
• In 1959, the Edmonton Section of the ACC is refused permission to enlarge the Wates-Memorial Hut in the Eremite Valley because it was within thirty metres of Outpost Lake. They instead decide to dismantle it in 1961 and build a new, larger hut – the Wates-Gibson-Memorial Hut – on a small knoll only 140 metres away.
• Held on the shores of Maligne Lake in Jasper, the ACC's 1962 summer mountaineering camp has 250 attendees over a two-week period. It remains one of the largest camps held by the Club in the Rockies. Increasingly aware of the environmental impacts of the large camps, the club begins to scale back the operation.
• Brian Greenwood, Heinz Kahl, and Dick Lofthouse climb a route on Yamnuska they call Red Shirt in 1962. It is a departure from existing routes on the face, which all ascended obvious weaknesses, gullies and cracks. Instead, Red Shirt ventured out on to the steep face. It was the way of the future.
• Throughout the early sixties, Hans Gmoser is leading major mountaineering expeditions within North America (the Wickersham Wall on Denali, for example) and takes with him members of the CMC. The climbing films Gmoser makes from these trips, pack auditoriums in both Calgary and Edmonton, and beyond.
• Winter mountaineering takes off after a traverse of Mount Rundle is completed by Greenwood and Glen Boles in 1961. First winter ascents of Mount Louis (1965), Mount Hungabee (1966), Mount Assiniboine (1967), Mount Victoria (1968), and Eisenhower Tower on Castle Mountain (1968) soon follow. Climbers from Calgary lead the way.
• From his basement, Greenwood supplies many Calgarians with the best climbing gear from around the world: Charlet ice axes, Himasport down gear and Galibier boots from France, and Chouinard chromoly pitons from California.
• The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) was formed in 1963, with the encouragement of Parks Canada, at a meeting at Lac Des Arcs. By 1966, a program for training and certifying guides is in place.
• In 1964, the CMC builds a bivouac hut above Moraine Lake at the head of the Three-Four Couloir. The Graham Cooper Hut is the first prefabricated high-altitude shelter in the Rockies.
• Climbers in Edmonton form the North West Mountaineering Club as a division of the Canadian Youth Hostel Association. The Mountain Shop at the Hostel Office near the University of Alberta becomes a hub for local climbers.
• In 1965, Calgary climbers Charlie Locke and Don Gardner make a six-and-a-half day traverse of twenty-two major summits around the head of Moraine Lake, Paradise Valley, and Lake Louise.
• The CMC builds a bivouac shelter on Castle Mountain in 1967.
• The Edmonton Section of the ACC builds a bivouac shelter in the Colin Range as a centennial project in 1967.
• The "Alberta team" – Klaus Hahn, Gerry Wright, Phil Dowling, and Wayne Smith – with the ACC's 1967 Yukon Alpine Centennial Expedition make the first ascent of the newly named Mount Alberta in the Centennial Range of the Yukon's St. Elias Mountains.
• By the mid 1960s, local climbers begin to explore large unclimbed alpine walls of the Rockies. Greenwood and Locke climb the north face of Mount Temple in 1966; Don Vockeroth, Lloyd MacKay, and Ken Baker climb the northeast buttress of Howse Peak in 1967; and Greenwood and Jim Jones climb another route up the north face of Mount Temple in 1969.
• Brian Greenwood and Urs Kallen produce the first modern guidebook in the Rocky Mountains with routes described in some detail. The book is titled Yamnuska (1970).
• With John Moss, Brian Greenwood climbs the east face of Mount Babel near Moraine Lake in 1970. The ascent is considered the high point of his climbing career.
• American cousins George and Jeff Lowe successfully complete a direct route up the centre of the north face of Mount Temple in 1970. It is one of several hard north-face routes established in the Rockies by Americans during this decade. Others include the north ridge on Mount Columbia (1970), the Grand Central Couloir and the Ramp Route on the north face of Mount Kitchener (1971), the north face of Mount Alberta (1972), the Supercouloir on the north face of Mount Deltaform (1973), and the north face of North Twin (1974).
• From 1907 to 1969, the Canadian Alpine Journal retained the format of the first issue. This radically changes in 1970. The pictures in the new, a larger format journal seems to leap out from the page. They are now bold, sharp, and striking. For the first time in decades, it shows where the sport of climbing was in Canada – and where it was going.
• The Sydney Vallance Hut is built in the Fryatt Valley of Jasper National Park in 1970.
• In 1971, members of the CMC rebuild an abandoned logging cabin – the Archie Simpson Hut – in the CMC Valley behind Yamnuska.
• In 1971, the first indoor climbing wall in North America is built at Mount Royal College in Calgary and designed by Murray Toft.
• Calgarian Billy Davidson astounds climbers in the Yosemite Valley by making an early ascent of North America Wall on El Capitan in 1970. Over the next four years, Davidson brings extreme aid climbing to the Rockies, creating such routes as CMC Wall (1972) and Yellow Edge (1974) on Yamnuska, Iron Suspender on Wakonda Buttress (1971), and the north face of Gibraltar Mountain (1971).
• The arrival of dozens of British climbers to Calgary in the early 1970s sets a new tone for the CMC. An emphasis on the style of ascent becomes as important as summit achievement.
• Canadian Chic Scott becomes the first Canadian to reach a Himalayan summit (Myagdi Matha) as a member of a British expedition to Dhaulagiri IV in 1973.
• Climbing steep frozen waterfalls becomes a winter passion for Albertan climbers, especially after the arrival of the new drooped-nose "terrodactyl" ice tools. These tools were used on the first ascents of Rogan's Gully, Bow Falls, and Bourgeau Right-Hand in 1973. Newly arrived to Calgary from Scotland, Bugs McKeith becomes a leading proponent of the new variant of climbing.
• Late in 1973, McKeith and Rob Wood, another ex-pat Brit living in Calgary, climb a frozen waterfall curtain called The Weeping Wall with aid slings attached to their tools. The "stirrup technique," they call it, is key to the first ascents of many of the plum frozen waterfalls: Bourgeau Left-Hand (1974), Louise Falls (1974), The Professor Falls (1974), Nemesis (1974), and Polar Circus (1975).
• The ACC's Banff Clubhouse is demolished by Parks Canada in 1974 in an effort to eliminate private leaseholds outside the townsite boundaries. The ACC moves its national headquarters to Canmore.
• In 1975, with the first ascent of the south face of Phantom Tower, climbers discover The Ghost Valley
• Acting on an idea generated by Chic Scott at a meeting of the executive of the Banff Section of the ACC, John Amatt organizes the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Over the years, this festival will grow into the biggest of its kind in the world and will have many imitators.
• Calgarian John Lauchlan and his friends, known as the "Junior Boys Choir," take a leading role in the CMC by the late 1970s. Lauchlan's and his friends' routes set a new Canadian standard for difficulty and commitment in most disciplines: rock (The Maker in CMC Valley , for example), winter alpinism (the Ramp Route on the north face of Mount Kitchener ), and ice (Slipstream on Mount Snow Dome ). The hard waterfall ice routes of the early decade are now being free climbed (without the aid of stirrups).
• Expedition fever spreads throughout the Calgary climbing community in the late 1970s. In 1977, for example, Chic Scott leads an expedition to attempt Mount Logan's SSW Buttress; Judy Sterner and Kathy Calvert lead an all-women's attempt of Mount Logan's King Trench; Lauchlan and a group of CMC-ers ascend the west face of Mount Vancouver; and members of the Calgary Section of the ACC climb Mount Steele. Many who were left out of the St. Elias expeditions joined the Alaskan-bound C.L.O.D. expedition (Calgary Leftovers Outing to Denali), which was the brainchild of Bugs McKeith, and comprised of Jon Jones, Pat Morrow, Bernard Ehmann, Allan Derbyshire, Eckhard Grassman, Dave Reid, and Roger Marshall.
• Albertans lead the way as Canadians climb their first major Himalayan summit in 1977: Pumori, a satellite peak of Mount Everest.
• In 1977, Urs Kallen releases A Climbers Guide to Yamnuska.
• In 1978, the Grant MacEwan Mountaineering Club is formed in Edmonton. At the University of Calgary, Murray Toft builds a climbing wall in the basement of the Physical Education and Recreation complex.
• Chic Scott, Jon Jones, Trevor Jones, and Don Chandler climb Mount Logan's east ridge in "alpine style" in 1978.
• In 1979, Lauchlan, Jim Elzinga, Ray Jotterand, and Al Burgess ascend the SSW Buttress of Mount Logan. Many feel it was the hardest route of its kind in Canada.
• In 1979, at 59 years of age, Calgarian Don Forest becomes the first person to reach the summit of all fifty-six 11,000-foot (3353-metre) peaks in the Canadian Rockies.
• Phil Dowling publishes The Mountaineers: Famous Climbers in Canada (1979). It's the first book to include postwar mountaineering history.
• Albi Sole's Waterfall Ice Climbs in the Canadian Rockies is published in 1980. It is the first guidebook to waterfall ice climbing in the world. Murray Toft puts out Banff Rock (1981) a year later.
• In 1981, the ACC's lease for the Pocahontas/Disaster Point Hut expires. Rather than build a new climbing hut near the highway, the ACC uses the funds for smaller huts at higher altitudes.
• The CMC's "Wildboys" – led by Dave Cheesmond, who was new to Calgary from South Africa – establish a new standard in alpine routes with first ascents up the Emperor Face of Mount Robson (1981), the east face of Mount Assiniboine (1982), The Andromeda Strain on the northeast face of Mount Andromeda (1983), the north face of Mount Goodsir (1983), the east face of Mount Fay (1984), and the North Pillar of North Twin (1985).
• Many of the rock routes of the previous decade are now being climbed without aid techniques. Brian Wallace and Bill Stark, for example, in 1983, make the stunning first free ascent of CMC Wall on Yamnuska.
• Calgarians make the first Canadian ascent of an 8,000-metre peak – Dhaulagiri I – in 1981. A few kilometres away, that very same season, Lauchlan and friends (who were all employed at the new Yamnuska Mountain School in Canmore) ascended a new route up the south face of Gangapurna.
• Canadians climb Mount Everest in 1982. Laurie Skreslet, of Calgary, is the first Canadian to reach the summit.
• The first grade VII ice climb is established, when CMC Wildboys Kevin Doyle and Tim Friesen climb Gimme Shelter on Mount Quadra (1983).
• CMC-er Sharon Wood, with American Greg Cronn, climbs the Cassin Ridge on Denali in 1983.
• Above Moraine Lake, the Neil Colgan Hut replaces the Graham Cooper Hut in 1983, but is placed to discourage the approach via the couloir access route, where several deaths had resulted due to rock fall. The door from the Cooper Hut, some plywood, and a plaque were salvaged and installed at the new Mount Alberta Hut in 1984.
• Calgarian Barry Blanchard, Cheesmond, and Doyle climb the north face of Rakaposhi in alpine style in 1984. It is considered one of the finest alpine-style ascents in the world.
• The Lloyd MacKay/Mount Freshfield Hut is built by the ACC in 1984.
• The North West Mountaineering Club in Edmonton disbands.
• In Jasper, the ACC's Pocahontas Hut is bulldozed in 1985.
• Crag climbing develops in the mid 1980s in areas like Grotto Canyon, near Canmore, and at Lake Louise ("Back of the Lake").
• Sharon Wood becomes to first North American woman to summit Mount Everest in 1986.
• CMC-er Pat Morrow becomes the first to climb the seven highest summits on the world's seven continents in 1986.
• In 1986, Cheesmond opens a climbing equipment store in Calgary called Wildboys Sports.
• The University of Calgary builds an indoor climbing wall in 1986 as part of an expansion in advance of the 1988 Winter Olympics.
• Jeff Marshall, from Calgary, solo enchains Polar Circus and Weeping Pillar in a single day in 1986.
• The push to even-thinner ice begins in 1987, when Marshall and Larry Ostrander climb Riptide on Mount Patterson.
• Rock climbers begin to drill bolts off of sky hooks on walls like Yamnuska to avoid long "run outs," sections with no protection. In this fashion, Brian Gross, Jeff Marshall, and Steve DeMaio climb Astro Yam in 1986 and usher in a new era on Yamnuska.
• The Polar Circus: Journal of the Canadian Rockies is printed in 1986 and 1987 to better represent the high-end climbing achievements in the Rockies.
• Chic Scott privately publishes The History of The Calgary Mountain Club Its Members and Their Activities 1960-1986 (1987).
• Four rock-climbing guidebooks are released in the late 1980s: Bruce Howatt and Colin Zacharias's Back of the Lake (1987); Kelly Tobey's Barrier Bluffs (1988); Chris Perry, John Martin and Sean Dougherty's Bow Valley Rock (1988); and John Martin's Kananaskis Rock (1989)
• By the mid-to-late 1980s, the ACC, now under the leadership of guide Peter Fuhrmann, downsizes and rebuilds. The club builds the Canadian Alpine Centre at Lake Louise, takes over a number of huts from Parks Canada, and organizes a Mountain Guides Ball, which becomes an annual fundraising event.
• Barry Blanchard and friends establish two of the hardest winter climbs to date on the northeast faces of Mount Chephren (The Wild Thing, 1987) and Howse Peak (1988) along the Icefields Parkway.
• The Calgary Climbers Festival is held in 1988 and attracts some of the greatest climbers from around the world. It gave those running the Banff Mountain Film Festival, particularly its new director, Bernadette MacDonald, a vision of what could be done if you think big.
• The first Canadian National Sport Climbing Championship is held on stage in the Eric Harvey Theatre at the Banff Centre in 1988. Later, in 1989, a Canadian national team is formed.
• The University of Alberta in Edmonton, in partnership with the Edmonton Section of the ACC, builds a fifty-foot-high indoor climbing wall in their "Butterdome" in 1989.
• National indoor climbing competitions are held in Edmonton at the University of Alberta in 1990 and 1991. Will Gadd, from Jasper, is the highest ranked Canadian contender.
• Sport climbing gains increasing popularity in the Bow Valley at the Grotto Canyon, and also at Cougar Creek (which had eighty bolted routes by the early 1990s), Carrot Creek, Grassi Lakes, and Bataan. Todd Guyn, who was perhaps the finest climber of his generation, Shep Steiner, JD LeBlanc, Joe Buszowski, and friends lead the way. John Martin, Jon Jones, and Andy Genereux, among others, continue to open new routes, walls, and areas.
• Sean Dougherty's Selected Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies is published in 1991.
• Mixed climbing catches on in 1991 with two major breakthroughs: Mixed Master, near the Weeping Wall on the Icefields Parkway, was climbed by Joe Buszowski and Troy Kirwan; and Suffer Machine, on the Stanley Headwall, was climbed by Jeff Everett and Glenn Reisenhofer.
• Diny Harrison becomes the first North-American-born, fully certified female mountain guide in 1992.
• The Lloyd MacKay/Mount Freshfield Hut is removed in the early 1990s due to a change in Parks Canada's philosophy that made preserving the Freshfield Glacier as an area without human presence a priority. The ACC was very interested in retrofitting its hut system on the Wapta and Wapatik icefields. A deal was struck. In exchange for removing the MacKay Hut from the Freshfields, the new Balfour Hut was funded by Banff National Park. It was suggested that the new Balfour Hut bear Lloyd MacKay's name, but the idea was rejected because it did not fit the family's original request for a high-altitude shelter for mountaineers; the Balfour Hut is more of a skiing hut than a climbing hut. In 1993, the existing Mount Alberta Hut is thus renamed the Lloyd MacKay/Mount Alberta Hut.
• The limits of waterfall ice climbing are again pushed with the ascent of Sea of Vapors (1993) on the Trophy Wall of Mount Rundle by University of Calgary students Bruce Hendricks and Joe Josephson. It was considered as "possibly the most notable ice route of the decade" in the Rockies.
• The first sport-climbing guidebooks are published in the early-to-mid 1990s: John Martin and Jon Jones's Bow Valley Sport Climbs (1993) and David Robinson's Jasper Sport Climbing (1994)
• Raven Crag, Bataan, and Acephale, "the cliff of the future," are found and developed by sport climbers in the Bow Valley.
• The old Archie Simpson Hut in the CMC Valley had long fallen into disuse; it finally was torched in the mid-1990s.
• The Calgary Stronghold opens in 1995. Outside of the educational institutions, it's one of the first commercial indoor climbing gyms in the province.
• Marg Saul and Helen Sovdat from Canmore climb Cho Oyu, the eighth highest mountain in the world, in 1996.
• In 1997, now an outdoor educator at the University of Calgary, Bruce Hendricks solos three great ice climbs in one day: Sea of Vapors, The Terminator, and The Replicant, all on the Trophy Wall of Mount Rundle.
• Scott Milton's name becomes synonymous with high-end difficulty in Bow Valley sport climbing circles during the late 1990s. Milton's "crown jewel" was Acephale's Existence Mundane, which, bolted in 1994, was the Bow Valley's hardest sport climb.
• Anthony Nielson puts up the first bolted mixed route in Grotto Canyon, Mental Jewelry, in 1997.
• Dave Thompson, from Banff, and later Canmore, leads the way in developing mixed routes in the Rockies – both at the crags and on the big walls – during the winters in the late 1990s.
• The Canmore Ice Climbing Festival is first held in 1999 and becomes an annual event.
• In 1999, Barry Blanchard, with American companions Steve House and Scott Backes, climbs an extremely difficult winter route on the east face of Howse Peak called M16.
• Climbers are increasingly training in indoor climbing gyms, which are now found all across Alberta. Competition climbing catches on at the junior level. Parents, with little interest in climbing themselves, drive their children all across the province and beyond to compete.
• Chic Scott publishes Pushing the Limits: The Story of Canadian Mountaineering (2000). It's the most comprehensive summery of Canadian mountaineering achievement to date.
• Sport climbing continues to grow in popularity in the Rockies. New areas are developed. New "sport areas" for mixed climbers rapidly develop, as well, like Haffner Creek. Mixed standards and grades are adopted and pushed quickly. Will Gadd's Power to Burn at Waterfowl Gullies is the first of its grade in Canada. By the end of the 1999/2000 season, Sean Isaac makes the horizontal first ascent of the slightly harder Cave Man. Even harder was Ben Firth and Raphael Slawinski's Animal Farm.
• Sean Isaac's Mixed Climbs in the Canadian Rockies is published in 2000. Once a fringe activity reserved for hardcore alpinists, mixed climbing is increasingly popular because of the now wide-spread acceptance of bolts and sport-climbing ethics.
• Late in 2001 at the Cineplex, a massive cave behind Panther Falls, Gadd ascends Musashi, which is perhaps the hardest mixed route in the world.
• The European trend of leashless mixed climbing comes to the Rockies. Mixed climbers in the crags quickly abandon their wrist straps as leashes become obsolete in the crags; they slowly disappear, too, from the longer, more serious routes.
• Mixed climbing skills are taken from the crag to the high alpine walls. They allow alpinists to climb faster and free longstanding problems. For example, mixed climbers Will Gadd, Scott Semple, and American Kevin Mahoney ascend Howse of Cards on the east face of Howse Peak in 2002. The 1100m route squashes all notions that mixed climbing is anything but beneficial to the longer alpine routes.
• Late in 2002, Eric Dumerac and Philippe Pellet climb Rites of Passage on the north face of Mount Kitchener. The overhanging ice climbing on the route is given a grade of difficulty never before attributed to an ice route in the Rockies. The two then join Barry Blanchard and put up a long-sought-after first ascent on the Emperor Face of Mount Robson – they call it Infinite Patience.
• In the early to mid 2000s, as in Europe, Rockies mixed climbers begin advocating "bareback" style and reject heel spurs and tool rests.
• Chris Fink, Marcus Norman, and Darren Tremaine release Bouldering in the Canadian Rockies (2003). It's the first bouldering guide to the range.
• In 2003, Nancy Hansen of Canmore becomes the first woman to reach the summit of all fifty-six 11,000-foot (3353-metre) peaks in the Canadian Rockies. Two years later, in 2005, Hansen becomes the first woman to climb all thirty-four routes in Urs Kallen's 1977 guidebook to Yamnuska.
• Several major first winter ascents are made in 2004: American Steve House and Slovenian Marko Prezelj make the second ascent of the Lowe-Jones Route (with some variations) on the north face of North Twin; Ben Firth and Raphael Slawinski climb the Greenwood-Locke Route on the north face of Mount Temple. Not long after, Slawinski returns to Mount Temple with Valeri Babanov, who had just moved to Calgary, and climb the mountain's Sphinx Face.
• In 2004, Ben Firth's climbs a route he called The Game, which is the hardest mixed route in the world. The Game traverses a huge roof at the Cineplex crag, just left of Gadd's older test piece Musashi.
• Slawinski and Babanov climb a new route on Denali - Infinity Direct – in 2006.
• Will Gadd completes and ascends Yamabushi on Yamnuska in 2006. The bolted route opens eyes to the potential long hard routes that lie on Yam's bigger walls.
• In September 2006, Chris Brazeau and Jon Walsh climb a new route up the north face of Mount Alberta. It's the first time the face is "freed" – which means to climb without using aid techniques – and climbed in a single push. Two years later, in 2008, Americans Steve House and Vince Anderson put another new route up the face, this time in winter.
• Canmore-based rock climber Sonnie Trotter climbs The Path at the Back of the Lake area at Lake Louise in 2007. The route ranks among the world's most difficult trad climbs (a route without fixed protection or bolts).
• Raphael Slawinski, Eamonn Walsh, and Ian Welsted make the first winter ascent of the Greenwood-Jones Route on the north face of Mount Temple in a three-day effort in March, 2008. Ten days later, the route sees its second winter ascent by Americans Steve House and Roger Strong in a 25.5-hour roundtrip from a camp below the face.
• In 2008, The Wild Thing on Mount Chephren's northeast face sees not only its fourth and fifth ascent, the route is freed (Jonny Simms and Jon Walsh), done in a single push, and its direct start was finished (Dana Ruddy, Eamonn Walsh, Raphael Slawinski).
• Sonnie Trotter frees The Mistress on Yamnuska in 2008. It is the hardest route on the wall.
- Trotter and American Dean Caldwell climb a new hard route up the Arrowhead Face on Mount Louis in 2011.
- The world's best competition climbers descend on Canmore in 2011 for the first ever World Cup bouldering competition on Canadian soil held at Millennium Park.
- Will Gadd from Jasper and Sarah Hueniken became the first climbers to legally ascend Niagara Falls. Calling the ice climb a grade 6 (second to highest in difficulty), Gadd states that the hardest part was not the climb, but rather the amount of paperwork that was necessary in order to legally ice climb the falls. It is illegal to climb both the United States and Canadian sides of the falls, meaning any climbs prior to Gadd and Hueniken were illegal and unrecorded by official record books.
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