Edward Feuz, Sr., 1859-1944

Publication Year: 1945.



In 1899 the Canadian Pacific Railroad brought out its first Swiss guides, Edward Feuz, Sr.,1 and Christian Häsler, Sr., and stationed them at Glacier House. As Charles E. Fay, soon to become first President of the American Alpine Club, said, “No pair of twin brothers were more nearly duplicates in raiment, no two guides ever more supplemented one the other in excellencies.”

It was customary for the Swiss guides to return home every winter, but they stayed in Canada more or less permanently after the village of Edelweiss, near Golden, was established in 1912. At this time, Edward Sr., and his wife decided to remain in Europe.

The chief Canadian climbs made by Edward Feuz, Sr., were on the peaks around Glacier House. He had the unique experience of being a centrist when scarcely any summits of the vicinity had been climbed; there was no need to camp out or explore far afield. His patrons included many of the most competent mountaineers of the day.

In 1899 he climbed Eagle Pk. with Bryant and Steele, repeating it, also by a new route, with Fay. He made the first traverse of Mt. Avalanche with Rudolfrich. Leading Cordes and Le Prince- Ringuet on Mt. Sir Donald, he accomplished their devious and unrepeated route from Green’s Pk. This mountain thereafter became his specialty. In this season also he ventured further to take Fay and Parker up Mt. Dawson, one summit of which now bears his name.

In 1900 he established the Vaux route on Mt. Sir Donald. Later in the summer he made the first ascent of Mt. Sifton with Michael, and a few days later took him and Spencer up Mt. Swanzy, the latter a solace to Spencer after bad luck on Collie’s Bush River expedition.

Feuz was with Wheeler’s survey in 1901, when stations were placed on Mt. Sir Donald, as well as on Swiss Pk., which was ascended by a new route from Rogers Glacier. In 1902 he made the first ascent of Mt. Macoun with Herdman; in 1903 they reached the summit of Mt. MacDonald, finding a rusty nail as evidence that they had been preceded during railroad construction days. 1903 was especially noteworthy for Feuz’s guidance of Tewes in the conquest of Mt. Sir Donald by the N. W. arete.

In 1904 he conducted Herdman to the top of Mt, Hermit, and Miss Benham to Fleming Pk., both new ascents. In 1906 the Kitchells went with him up Terminal Pk., while, in 1908, Feuz and Forde found the new way up Mt. Sir Donald which avoids the stonefalls of the Vaux chimney and became the usual route thereafter.

All of these pioneer ascents were interspersed with many repetitions of older climbs. Feuz naturally accomplished less in the Rockies, although he led Earle up Mt. Douglas in 1907 and Hickson to the higher Mt. St. Bride in 1910.

Edward Feuz, Sr., died at his home in Interlaken on June 12, 1944. Although 1911 was his last season in Canada, he was not forgotten, and younger members of the American Alpine Club sought his services in the Alps until he retired from climbing as his seventieth birthday approached. His sons, Edward, Jr., Ernest and Walter, have carried on the family tradition amid Canadian peaks.

J. M. T.

1For portraits see A. O. Wheeler, The Selkirk Range, vol. i, facing pp. 10, 326.