|Photo: Maligne Valley from Maligne Pass (courtesy Steve Vachon)
Likely the first party through this pass was Mary Schaffer’s group who were searching for what is now known as Maligne Lake.
In 1908 Mary Schaffer, together with her companion Mollie Adams, a botanist friend, a cook, and two guides reached the shores of Maligne Lake after a long pack trip from Lake Louise. Her party was following a map drawn for them the previous year by a Stoney Indian which guided them to the lake from the southwest over what is now known as Maligne Pass. Upon reaching the lake, it became obvious to the group that the best way to continue their exploration was on the lake itself. A raft, which they christened "H.M.S. Chaba" after the Indian name for the lake, Chaba Imne, was assembled. The guides determined that, "we were to go in style regardless of our plea that we were willing to rough it for a few days; air-beds, tents, and food for three days were to be taken on that raft.” The group spent three idyllic days sailing their craft to the end of the lake and back. During the almost two weeks the group spent on and near the lake, they found no sign of man, "just masses of flowers, the lap-lap of the waters on the shore, the occasional reverberating roar of an avalanche and our own voices stilled by a nameless Presence."