Major Rogers’ Discovery of Rogers Pass through the
Selkirk Mountain Range
The Kicking Horse Pass provided a route from the east through the
Rocky Mountains to present-day Golden on the upper reaches of the
Likewise, the Eagle Pass provided a route from the west through the
Monashee Mountains to present-day Revelstoke, also on the Columbia
The portion of the Columbia River between Golden and Revelstoke was
known as the “Big Bend” and provided a potential route around the
However, William Cornelius Van Horne, who was in charge of planning
and construction for the Canadian Pacific Railway, was concerned with
the excessive length of construction around the Big Bend of the
Columbia River, a distance of over 200 miles (321 km).
He was also concerned about the additional time it would require to
travel such a circuitous route.
Major A. B. Rogers Discovery
Accordingly, he instructed his new engineer in charge of the Mountain
Division, Major A. B. Rogers, to find a more direct route between
present-day Golden and Revelstoke.
Major Rogers elected to heed the report of Walter Moberly who had
previously explored the valley of the Illecillewaet River east of
Revelstoke in the Selkirk Mountains.
He and his nephew Albert Rogers, undertook exploration of the south
fork of the Illecillewaet River in the spring of 1881.
The following year, 1882, Major Rogers ascended the Beaver River
valley and confirmed the existence of what became known as Rogers