Origin of Place Names
Allen: Mount (2911 m)
Samuel Allen was an alpine explorer and named many of the features in the Lake Louise area, most notably the mountains in the Valley of Ten Peaks. The names of the majority of the Ten Peaks, including this one, have been changed from the original Stoney Indian names. Allen identified this peak as 'Shappee'.
Ball: Mount (3311 m)
John Ball was Under Secretary of State for Colonies (British) and a supporter of the Palliser Expedition which is why James Hector honoured his name. Ball became a great British mountaineer and was the first president of the Alpine Club of Canada. He wrote the original guidebooks to the Swiss Alps.
Guide Edward Berland was sent from the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Colville to meet George Simpson with a relay of horses.
Captain Arthur Brisco joined the Palliser Expedition for its explorations during 1858-59. He had been a gentleman officer of the 11th Hussars and one of the heroes of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade.
Chimney: Peak (3000 m)
One route up this mountain entails the traverse of a chimney or vertical shaft in the rock.
Named after an early Kootenay National Park park warden, Leonard Cobb.
The Columbia is not actually in the park but it is certainly one of the most famous geological features nearby. Named after an American ship, Columbia Rediviva, that crossed the bar at the mouth of the river in Oregon in 1792. The ship's captain was Robert Gray who distinguished himself by being the first American to circumnavigate the world.
Crook: Mount; Crook's Meadow
One of the first homesteaders in the Kootenay River Valley was Charles Crook who claimed property in 1911. The Crook family ran an auto camp and lived on the property from 1935-1956 when the government finally acquired the land. Charles Crook is buried on the site - now a group campground.
Daer: Mount (2960 m), Creek
Another title pertinent to the Douglas family of which Thomas was the 5th Earl of Selkirk and an important figure in Canadian history. His son was the last Lord Daer ( see Selkirk ).
Deltaform: Mountain (3424 m)
The Aboriginal name, Saknowa, was changed to this by Walter Wilcox because the north face has a delta-shape. This is the highest mountain in Kootenay National Park.
Dolly Varden: Creek
Dolly Varden is a char (chars are fine-scaled members of the trout family) found on the Pacific Coast. A few years ago bull trout were also called Dolly Varden, but biologists now officially recognize two distinct species. So we have only bull trout in the park and no Dolly Varden.
Drysdale: Mount (2932 m)
Charles Wales Drysdale, Ph D., a member of the Geological Survey of Canada, died in the midst of his labours in British Columbia, the province to whose development he was so deeply devoted. He was drowned in the Kootenay River (along with his assistant, William J. Gray of Vancouver) while on a geological survey, July 10, 1917.
Fay: Mt. (3234 m) Glacier, Hut
As editor of the only well-known mountaineering journal in the 1800s, Appalachia, Charles Ernest Fay influenced climbers for over 30 years. He made frequent trips to the Rockies and served several terms as president of both the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the American Alpine Club.
Floe: Lake, Creek
Call them ice bergs elsewhere, but they are ice floes in Kootenay's lake of the same name. The floes come from the small glacier nestled at the base of the Rock Wall.
Foster: Peak (3204 m)
Named in 1913 for Colonel W. W. Foster, D.S.O., President of the Canadian Alpine Club from 1922-1924.
James Hector of the Palliser Expedition named this pass, as well as the highest mountain in Yoho National Park, in honor of the Goodsir brothers. John Goodsir was professor of anatomy at Edinburgh University where Hector studied medicine.
Lieutenant H. J. Haffner made the first survey for the Banff-Windermere Highway. He was killed in World War I.
Harkin: Mount (2980 m)
Without James ('Bunny') Harkin, Canada and the world would be a poorer place. During his term as the first Commissioner of the Dominion Parks Branch (1911-1936), Harkin established 11 new national parks. His far-reaching visions and ideals earned him the unofficial title of "Father of Canadian National Parks."
James Hector, surgeon and geologist on the Palliser Expedition, was one of the most energetic men in the group. He traveled widely throughout the Rockies, re-naming many of the geographical features.
Christian and Hans, members of an old Oberland guiding family, worked in the Rockies for several seasons around the turn of the century. During the summer of 1903, their father, Peter, also worked guiding for the CPR.
Named after Rufus Kimpton, a pioneer of the Columbia Valley who lived near Windermere.
Robert Kindersley was governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in the early 1920s.
Kootenay: National Park, River, Valley
The anglicized version of the name of the Ktunaxa people, which means 'people from beyond the hills.'
Named by Simpson in honor of his home near Montreal.
Little: Mount (3140 m)
One of Moraine Lake's Ten Peaks, named after George Little, Librarian of Bowdoin College in Maine, an active member of the American Alpine Club.
John McKay staked a homestead in the 1880s which included Radium Hot Springs.
Possibly named for an amiable horse thief named Red McLeod, but likely the name of local homesteaders.
Misko: Pass, Mountain (2902 m)
The Cree word for red.
Captain William Mitchell, a sportsman and traveling companion of Brisco's, temporarily attached himself to the Palliser Expedition during 1858-59.
Neptuak: Mountain (3237 m)
The ninth mountain designated by Samuel Allen in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. It is the only one that has retained its Stoney Indian name.
Nixon: Creek, Lake
Walter Nixon, a guide and packer took horseback parties into both the Rocky and Purcell mountains in the early 1900s. He once owned over 100 head of horses. Nixon is credited with opening up many of the trails in the area.
Numa: Mountain (2550 m), Pass (2350 m), Creek
A Cree word for thunder. The mountain was once called Roaring Mountain.
The name comes from the ochre beds - most notably the Paint Pots - in the vicinity. Ochre (also spelled ocher) is a mixture of hydrated oxides of iron with various earthy materials such as clay. The colour ranges from yellow to orangish-brown.
Oke: Mount (2920 m)
Named after William J. Oke who prospected in the area.
Ottertail: Pass, River
Translation of the Aboriginal name for the river.
Perren: Mount (3051 m)
For over 50 years, this mountain, one of the Ten Peaks, was called Sapta. The name was changed to honor Walter Perren. Perren was an exceptional Swiss mountaineer and guide who came to the area in 1950. He became Chief Warden in Banff National Park and founded the National Parks Rescue School.
Supposedly named by Walter D. Wilcox, an American writer and secretary of the American Alpine Club, after he discovered an abandoned prospectors' camp at the lower end of the valley. Miners did extract a small amount of lead and zinc from the area.
Quadra: Mount (3173 m)
This mountain derives its name from the fact that it has four distinct pinnacles.
Redstreak: Mountain, Fault, Campground
The reddish colour of the rock comes from hematite (oxidized iron). The fault goes down several kilometres into the ground, extends as far north as Edgewater (10 km) and south as Fairmont Hot Springs (32 km).
The name first appeared in the journal of Legardeue de St. Pierre as Montagnes de Roche in 1752. The Aboriginals referred to the range as the Shining or Glittering Mountains.
Selkirk: Mount (2938 m)
Thomas Douglas, Lord Daer was the 5th Earl of Selkirk (see Daer ).
Pinnacles of unstable ice found in glaciated terrain are called seracs.
Shanks: Mount (2844 m)
Thomas Shanks was assistant Director General of the Topographical Survey of Canada.
Sharp: Mountain (3049 m), Glacier
A descriptive name for the outline of the peak, seen from the south.
Simpson: River, Pass (2107 m)
George Simpson, governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, came through what is now Kootenay National Park in 1841. James Hector actually named the features (also a ridge and mountain).
Sinclair: Mount (2660 m), Pass (1630 m), Canyon
James Sinclair, a free trader hired by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1841, led a party of 23 families from Fort Garry (now Winnipeg) to settle near Walla Walla, Washington. Simpson traveled a short distance with the group before forging ahead.
Apparently named after its appearance, although how anyone could think the mountain looks like a pole is hard to understand.
Split: Peak (2929 m)
Take a look and you will see that it indeed looks as though it had been cleaved asunder.
The name probably came from Edward Stanford, a London map maker. Along with John Arrowsmith, he edited the Palliser Expedition's findings into a publishable map.
Stanley: Glacier, peak (3155 m)
Noted mountaineer Edward Whymper named these features in honour of Frederick Stanley, an English nobleman and Canada's 6th Governor General. Lord Stanley's name is better known as applied to the top prize in hockey.
Stoddart: Creek, Range
Named after James Stoddart, a pioneer of the Columbia Valley who lived near Windermere.
Storm: Mountain (3091 m)
Foul weather around this peak prevented famous geologist G. M. Dawson from determining its altitude. The name is appropriate as changeable weather conditions in the area are common.
Talc: Lake, Falls
At one time talc was mined at one end of the lake.
This is the Stoney Indian word for red fox. But why it's used in Kootenay is puzzling because foxes are rarely, if ever, seen in the park.
Tuzo: Mount (3245 m)
The first ascent of this mountain, one of the Ten Peaks, was by Henrietta Tuzo, a founding member of the Alpine Club of Canada.
Verendrye: Mount (3086 m), Creek
Dawson named this Matterhorn-like peak after Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, a great French-Canadian explorer who probably never set foot in the Rockies.
Vermilion: River, Pass (1651 m), Range
The name comes from ochre beds in the north end of the park with the most well known being the Paint Pots. The iron-rich clay was baked and used by various First Nations people for decoration, trade, and spiritual rituals.
Wardle: Mount (2810 m)
James Wardle helped design the Trans-Canada Highway. He was also the acting superintendent of Banff National Park from 1919-1921, as the Banff-Windermere Parkway (Highway 93) neared completion.
Washmawapta: Icefield, Glacier
Translated from the language of the Stoney Indians this name appropriately means ice river.
Whymper: Mount (2845 m)
Edward Whymper, gained notoriety for his first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. Whymper was brought to the Rockies by the CPR to do some climbing for publicity purposes, but his efforts fell far short of earlier achievements. However, he was the first to climb this namesake mountain.
Wolverine: Pass (2207 m)
Origin unknown. Presumably named for a wolverine sighted at the pass.