Arthur Oliver Wheeler


Arthur Oliver Wheeler
Canadian, 1860–1945

Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, 1917, printed 2013
Black-and-white photograph
14 x 20 in. (35.6 x 50.8 cm)
Courtesy of the National Archives of Canada

A comparison of Arthur Oliver Wheeler’s photograph with Gary Braasch’s view of Athabasca Glacier (2005)
dramatically confirms the scientific data that the glacier has lost half its volume and retreated almost a mile (1.5 km) since its discovery in 1898.* This dramatic comparison was published in Braasch’s book Earth under Fire: How Global Warming Is Changing the World (2007), which functions as an illustrated primer on climate change.

Wheeler, one of the most prominent land surveyors of western Canada, made photo-topographical surveys of the Selkirk Mountains and the Canadian Rockies along the Continental Divide. In 1906, he and Elizabeth Parker, a journalist, helped establish the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC).

An avid mountaineer, Wheeler was the father of Sir Edward Oliver Wheeler (Canadian, 1890–1962), who participated in the first topographical survey of Mount Everest in 1921. The younger Wheeler’s photograph of the West Rongbuk Glacier (1921) is included in the exhibition. (LINK TO WHEELER RONGBUK)

*”The Big Melt Down: Columbia Icefield, Canada,” at