These premier visitors would set the trend for future journeys as the Canadian Rockies quickly became a world-class tourist destination for travellers who love to hike, explore, climb, fish, hunt, camp, and appreciate this beautiful and vast land.
Many of these first visitors were from Switzerland, mountaineers lured by the promise of fresh powder and unchartered slopes. The Rockies were a challenge for even the most experienced climbers and featured such diverse terrain that the Canadian Pacific Railways used the slogan “50 Switzerlands in one” in their advertising efforts.
These Swiss guides brought with them expertise, specialist equipment and a love for the sport. They became their own tourist draw and brought legitimacy to the Rockies as a mountain adventure destination, Banff being designated by the Canadian government as the country's first national park in 1885.
Their exploration of the area won them fame and honours, with many peaks still bearing the name of the Swiss guide who scaled them. An entire mountaineering industry was built on the work of these early European adventurers.