Alpinist Barry Blanchard Wins
2002 Bill March Summit of Excellence Award
Barry Blanchard, one of
Canada's leading alpinists, is this year's recipient
of the Bill March Summit of Excellence Award.
Blanchard will be honoured during an award ceremony at
the 2002 Banff Mountain Film Festival. The 16th annual
award is sponsored by One Step Beyond WorldWide.
"Barry Blanchard has been a
respected member of a small group of very elite alpine
climbers for years. After three decades in the
climbing game, he is now considered a mentor for a
completely new generation of climbers while he
continues to set high standards in his own climbing,"
says Bernadette McDonald, Vice President, Mountain
Culture at The Banff Centre.
Barry Blanchard's name
commands respect throughout the climbing world. In the
past three decades, he has specialized in lightweight
alpine expeditions in the world's highest ranges. He
lists his proudest climbing achievements as "a six-day
ascent of the North Ridge of Rakaposhi [Pakistan] with
Kevin Doyle and the late David Cheesmond, the first
ascent of the North Pillar of North Twin [Canada] with
Cheesmond, and surviving an alpine-style attempt on
the Central Spur of the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat
[Pakistan] with Mark Twight, Ward Robinson, and
Blanchard is also a well-known
raconteur, writer and mentor. Explore magazine
describes him as "a mountaineer so revered that
aspiring alpinists pin his photo in their high-school
lockers". Despite the high-level adulation, Blanchard
maintains a down-to-earth sense of humour. "If it
wasn't for foreshortening," he says, "no one would go
up on anything."
Born in Calgary, Blanchard
lives in Canmore, Alberta, with his wife, climber
Catherine Mulvihill. An internationally certified
mountain guide, he has worked as a climbing advisor
and safety rigger on a number of Hollywood films
including Cliffhanger, K2, The Last of the Dogmen, The
Edge and Vertical Limit.
Blanchard describes himself as
a "proud Canadian half-breed". "I am Metis, and a
seventh-generation descendent of the leader of the
Metis at the battle of Seven Oaks in the early 1800s.
Two hundred years ago my people made their living
hunting buffalo from horseback - kinda predisposes me
to an adventurous life, don't you think?"
Blanchard will receive the
2002 Summit of Excellence Award at the closing night
of the Banff Mountain Film Festival on November 3. The
Summit of Excellence Award is sponsored by One Step
Beyond WorldWide in memory of Calgary climber Bill
March, an internationally respected mountaineer,
author and educator. Past recipients of the award
include: Bob Sandford (2001), Chic Scott (2000), Guy
Lacelle (1999), John Martin (1998), Sharon Wood
(1997), Tim Auger (1996), Brian Greenwood (1995), Kiwi
Gallagher (1994), Roger Vernon (1993), Jon Whyte
(1992), Don Forest (1991), Pat Morrow (1990), Hans
Gmoser (1989), Jim Davies (1988) and Bruno Engler