Summit Series

Biographies Of People Who Have Made A Difference In Canadian Mountaineering

Launched in 1999, the Summit Series was created with an aim to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional individuals who have, through their achievements as explorers, mountaineers, volunteers, outfitters and storytellers, helped define and shape Canada’s unique mountain community. With recognition paid also to the exceptionally unselfish actions of Canada’s elite public safety professionals and the members of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Summit Series booklets capture the soul of Canada’s mountain community as they strengthen the understanding and appreciation of Canada’s unique mountain heritage. The history recorded and the stories shared in these pages help to establish a uniquely Canadian sense of place by shaping how we view our very special and precious mountain landscapes.

The Alpine Club of Canada is pleased to share with you these incredible stories written by some of our country’s most knowledgeable mountain writers. 


No. 27 – Dan Verrall

Dan Verrall has been a great friend and supporter of The Alpine Club of Canada for almost fifty years now. He and his wife Val were custodians of the Canmore Clubhouse and for almost a decade, he and Val and their daughters Jasmine and Silene, welcomed members and guests and made the clubhouse a warm and special place.

No. 26 – Cyril Shokoples

There are few today active in the mountain community who haven’t learned something from this extraordinary guide and teacher. Whether it’s an ACC national mountain leadership course or a wilderness first aid course, a rope-rescue course or an avalanche course, a backcountry skiing course or a climbing course, Cyril teaches them all, and more. In this capacity, always with distinctive exuberance, he has helped and mentored along so many amateurs and guides alike.

No. 25 – John Baldwin

Known affectionately to his friends as the King of the Coast Range, John Baldwin has spent his life in a quest to experience the west coast wilderness. Since his teenage years he has explored the rugged Coast Mountain Range, climbing 700 peaks, many of them first ascents, and making perhaps one hundred multi-week, long distance forays across the icefields and along the ridges of what is one of the last true wilderness areas on earth.

No. 24 – Bernadette McDonald

From accomplished concert pianist to intrepid backcountry adventurer to world-respected mountain film festival director to award winning author (many times over), Bernadette McDonald has led a life marked by hard work, dedication, careful attention to detail and well-earned accolades

No. 23 – Peter Amann

To those who’ve looked up at Jasper National Park’s rock and ice culture in the past four decades, Peter Amann’s good natured promenade to the coronet of Canadian Rockies alpinism has not been a surprise. For more than 35 years, Amann has been a stalwart guide, teacher and mentor to hundreds of aspiring climbers, avalanche professionals and Alpine Club of Canada members.

No. 22 – Chic Scott

Chic Scott is a man of unconventional firsts. The first Canadian to summit a Himalayan peak, the first Canadian to guide in the European Alps, and he was part of the first team to climb Mount Assiniboine in winter. He is also a local mentor, historian and ski pioneer who has spent his whole life touching the lives of all those who call the Rockies home.

No. 21 – Helen Sovdat

Helen Sovdat is one of Canada’s finest mountain guides. Her accomplishments as a climber and skier are stunning. She has pioneered long traverses along the crest of the Coast Mountains. She has stood on nearly all of the peaks in the Canadian Rockies that exceed 11,000 feet (3,353m). She has climbed in the high ranges of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. In Asia, she has scaled some of the world’s highest mountains: Ama Dablam, Cho Oyu, and Manaslu. Many of these adventures were with members of her loyal legion of clients.

No. 20 – The Book of Mortimer

From different backgrounds but with the same spirit of adventure, Mike and Heather Mortimer found each other while travelling the world. Within three months of meeting they were married, eventually settling in Calgary where they dedicated their lives to volunteering. This is the story of Mike and Heather’s immense contribution to the mountain community as told by their long-time friend, Chic Scott.

No. 19 – Glen Boles

In the course of pursuing his passion for wild, remote places in western Canada’s mountains, Glen Boles stood on close to 600 summits, took tens of thousands of photographs, made numerous first ascents and even helped name a few peaks. Climber, volunteer, artist, steadfast companion and worthy recipient of numerous awards and honours, Glen Boles exemplifies a life lived in true alpine artistry.

No. 18 – Peter Fuhrmann

Whether you know it or not, if you have explored and loved the Rocky Mountains, then you have likely been influenced by Peter Fuhrmann’s vision and ability. If you have driven between Banff and Radium, hiked a trail in a western mountain national park or stayed in an Alpine Club of Canada hut then you have been touched directly by his hand.

No. 17 – ACMG

As the first non-European member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, the ACMG has evolved and matured to be a leader in professional guiding standards and client care, serving as mentor to other countries’ associations. This booklet is a celebration of a job exceptionally well done!

No. 16 – Syd Feuz

Truck driver, sailor, hotel proprietor, gas jockey, boat driver, horseman, trail builder and ski guide, Syd embraced every job that came his way with enthusiasm, gratitude and humility. Syd Feuz is not just the world’s first Canadian-Swiss guide, he’s a true gentleman of the mountains.

No. 15 – Ferdl Taxbock

Ferdl Taxbock is a man of many talents and several trades. A native of Austria, he became an agricultural technician, embracing the finer techniques of plowing fields, harvesting crops, raising livestock and planting trees. As a geologist he travelled to remote sites as far north as Ellesmere Island, and he’s a life-long member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta. But central to his core, Ferdl Taxbock has always been a climber.

No. 14 – The Guys

Do you think that you are over the hill? You have retired and you feel there is not much more to look forward to. Well think again! This book, about the inspirational lives of Richard and Louise Guy, will show you that there is a great deal of life beyond the set retirement age of 65 and beyond 75 and beyond 85.

No. 13 – Rudi Gertsch

As the son of a mountain guide born at the foot of the landmark Eiger in Wengen, Switzerland, some might say Rudi Gertsch’s destiny was written in stone and snow – and alpine farmland.

No. 12 – Pat Morrow

From the cloud brushing wonders of the Himalaya to the mysterious jungles of Irian Jaya to the mountain wilderness of his backyard Purcell Mountains, Pat Morrow’s career has defined adventure journalism for 35 years. As a climber he forged challenging new routes, while his natural curiosity and keen storytelling sense took him not only to the top of the world as a member of Canada’s first Mount Everest expedition in 1982, but also to become the first to climb the highest mountain on each continent.

No. 11 – Leo Grillmair

From poor and weary post-WWII Europe to the wild and free mountain wilderness of western Canada, Leo Grillmair’s life story is one of terrific adventure. Arriving in Canada from Austria in 1951, Grillmair and his life-long friend and business partner Hans Gmoser seized on the opportunities their newly-adopted country presented them and introduced Canadians to a whole new way of climbing rock faces.

No. 10 – The Harrisons

First held during the summer of 1906, the annual General Mountaineering Camp is a time-honoured tradition of the Alpine Club of Canada. While the number of participants, locations, and practices have all changed since the early days of the camp’s history, the mandate of the GMC—over one-hundred years later—remains nearly the same: it’s all about being in the mountains with new and old friends, and sharing in the exceptional experience mountaineering offers.

No. 9 – Lloyd Gallagher

Lloyd Gallagher has been climbing mountains for more than sixty years. During that time he has never ceased to encourage others to see and enjoy what he experienced in his remarkable life. Ever independent but completely reliable, Lloyd was one of the founding inspirations in the creation of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He was and continues to be one of the most positive and sustaining influences in the development of Canadian outbound mountaineering ambitions abroad especially in South America and the Himalayas.

No. 8 – The Wheelers

For a hundred years the history of the Alpine Club of Canada has been dominated by the vision and forceful character of the Club’s co-founder, Arthur Oliver Wheeler. In his shadow, however, are two generations of Wheeler descendents who made equally important contributions to the history of mountaineering and the appreciation of mountain landscapes in Canada and abroad.

No. 6 – Sharon Wood

In mountaineering Sharon Wood found a pursuit equal to her intensity and emotional courage. In coming to terms with the nature of peaks, Sharon discovered others who were not afraid to put their lives on the line in exchange for a glimpse of their deeper selves.

No. 7 – Don Vockeroth

The life of Don Vockeroth symbolizes the strength of body, persistence of character and great love of place that put Canadians at the leading edge of climbing and appreciating our own mountains. It is a great honour to have Don Vockeroth as the Patron of the 16th Annual Mountain Guides’ Ball.

No. 5 – The ACMG
No. 4 – Highest Calling
No. 3 – The Grizzly Group
No. 2 – Hans Schwarz
No. 1 – Don Forest
27 documents