Edward Feuz Jr. was still climbing at 90 years of age. Photo Courtesy of the Golden Museum

Turning back the pages: Swiss guides

The following history of the C.P.R. Swiss guides are written by Edward Feuz Jr. sometime after his retirement.

In the year 1899, my father Edward Feuz Sr., and Christian Haesler Sr., came to Canada, engaged as mountain guides by the C.P.R. company. They were accompanied by Charles Clark, an Englishman, but educated in Switzerland. He acted as interpreter for these first C.P.R. Swiss guides. In 1901 more guides were brought out; the two Kaufmans, F. Michel, Schlunegger and others and they were stationed at Lake Louise, Glacier and Field. The writer, Edward Feuz Jr., came out with the older guides in 1903. The Guides came to Canada every Spring, and returned to Switzerland in October. They did this until 1911. My cousin, Gottfried Feuz, who came to Canada in 1906, returned to Switzerland in 1912. Ernest, my brother, and Rudolf Aemmer, joined us in 1909, but we still went back to Switzerland every fall.

The C.P.R. then decided to build houses for the guides. These houses were completed in 1911, and were named Swiss Village “Edelweiss”. In June of 1912, Ernest, Rudolf, Christian, and myself, along with our families, moved from Switzerland to the C.P.R. Swiss Village, to stay. A younger brother of mine, Walter, came out with us, but did not do any guiding until years later, but he worked for the C.P.R. company.

The Swiss Village is situated one mile west of Golden. The Company then employed only four guides after 1912.

In the fall of 1925, Glacier House, in the Selkirks, was closed for good. Chris Jorrimann, who was stationed in Field, was discharged, when Mt. Stephen House in Field was turned over to the Y.M.C.A.

Ernest Feuz and Christain Haesler, formerly stationed in Glacier, joined us (Edward Feuz and Rudolf Aemmer) in Lake Louise, which at that time was headquarters for the guides. We four guides were kept very busy with tourists, so the company engaged Walter Feuz as a guide also, and he then acted in this capacity until ill health forced him to give up guiding; but he is still working for the C.P.R. company, acting as captain of the rowboats and canoes on Lake Louise.

All the Guides are retired now, and the climbing on the wane, no other guides have been engaged by the C.P.R. company.

Christian Haesler, Jr. died in 1940, after having been mauled by a grizzly bear; and Rudolf Aemmer returned to Switzerland in 1950, and is still living. Walter Perron, a Swiss guide, who came over from Switzerland in 1950 when Rudolf and I retired, stayed with the C.P.R. for five years. He later settled in Banff, and now works for the Parks department, and is also operating a climbing school.

All the guides who came out from Switzerland between 1899 and 1955, climbed the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies, many times going with pack-trains and camping for weeks at a time.

In 1906, Gottfried Feuz and I, went out with the Canadian Alpine Club, the camp at that time being at Summit Lake in the Yoho Park. We graduated the first members of the club, and today it consists of over 800 members.

We climbed with many distinguished people from all parts of the world. My father, Edward Feuz Sr., climbed Mt. Avalanche, in the Selkirks, with Lord Minto, in the year 1900. Lord Minto was at the that time Governor General of Canada. Many first ascents were made by us in those years, all of which are record. In many years of climbing and guiding people up the high mountains, we never had any accidents.

All the guides have greatly developed the adventurous side of their characters during their climbing in the Canadian Rockies.. Mostly all the first ascents have required one or more scouting trips to discover practical routes. At the end of a great ascent, the guide brings his patron down from the mountain in good condition and happy. Often in the evening, after a long hard day of climbing, they would sit around the camp fire, happy and content, talking over the satisfaction of having mastered a new ascent and conquest.

All told it was very interesting work, and to conclude my story, I might add, that much credit goes to the C.P.R. company.

history

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

With snow already on the ground, preparations are underway to welcome back guests at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for the winter season. (KHMR photo)
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort announces COVID procedures

The resort is set to open on Dec. 11.

Miri was adopted by owner Maria Scales sven months ago as she sought 
companionship during COVID. (Maria Scales photo)
‘Miri is going to be the last’; looking for answers to Golden’s vet shortage

It’s been four years since Golden had a vet of its own.

Brian Shiosaki helps his neighbours by shoveling the sidewalk near his home in Rutland during a large snowfall in Kelowna Tuesday. (Carli Berry/Capital News)
Special weather statement in effect for Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan could see up to 15 centimeters of snow on Friday

The house is located near two schools. Photo: Connor Trembley
Dog attack seriously injures young boy in Castlegar

Despite investigating the incident, city staff aren’t confirming if the dog has been put down

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)
Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

RCMP detachments across B.C. are now flying Pride flags. (Submitted photo)
Man who spent 4 days injured on floor rescued by Kamloops Mountie

The man is recovering in hospital after being rescued by a police officer conducting a well-being check

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

A fundraiser for the Falkland Community Church is underway. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 leaves Falkland Church in a lurch

Annual event/major fundraiser cancelled for first time in 34 years

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Five people with alleged ties to the Red Scorpion Gang are facing numerous charges. (Kelowna RCMP)
5 men linked to Red Scorpion gang charged with gun, drug offences in Kelowna

Police seized a machine gun as well as 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil

Most Read