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The Esplanade Range

Zachary Moxley


Behind the Shot

In the 1870s, Canadian Pacific’s transcontinental route was plagued with troubles. The Canadian Rockies were unforgiving, and the Canadian Pacific Railroad’s bosses were convinced that a better route through the Selkirk Mountains could be found. In 1881, CP hired American surveyor A. B. Rogers to find that new route.

The new route wasn’t discovered as much as it was “rediscovered.” First Nations people had successfully crossed the Selkirks for centuries. Rogers smartly followed his Shuswap guides’ directions, and the rest is history. Rogers got his check and his name on the pass, and the Canadian Pacific Railroad crossed the summit in August of 1885.

Zachary and his team faced their own challenges on the Esplanade Mountain Range. “We were there on a feature film shoot, lugging thousands of pounds of camera gear via helicopter to a tiny lodge on the mountain. All our food and supplies and ground transportation had to be flown in. The crew shot on top of the mountain from 8 p.m. to about 4 a.m. every night for several nights, while temperatures dropped to lows of minus 30 Celsius.”

“But there was this amazing calm amid the chaos. Since we weren’t shooting during the day, I was able to take some time and appreciate the sunsets—the calm before the chaos. These brilliant colors at that altitude made it all worth it.”