John Lauchlan was arguably one of Canada’s best climbers during his short reign. The John Lauchlan Award is an annual grant given to a team of Canadian alpinists for a climbing trip which is required to be bold and innovative.
John was a pioneer in setting new standards both nationally and internationally. In 1978, he made the first winter ascent of the 1300-metre North Face of Mt Kitchener in Jasper National Park with Jim Elzinga. One year later, John and three others made a 16-day alpine-style ascent of the highly prized and unclimbed 3000-metre southwest buttress of Mt Logan, 6,050 m, Canada’s highest mountain.
Climbing was not just a sport for John, it was his way of living life to the fullest; it provided a sense of understanding and a coming to terms with himself. He was constantly testing himself, pushing a little harder on the fine edge that separates success from failure. Each time he came closer to realizing his full potential… John inspired everyone he met. He was a teacher, a climber and a leader of his generation. His death in an avalanche in the winter of 1982 left an incredible void in the Canadian climbing community. But in his lifetime he created a legend, and he gave every climber a fearless example of what they can become. This, perhaps, was his greatest gift of all.
On Saturday, November 2, Jen Olson announced the award to a packed house at the Eric Harvie Theatre at the Banff Film Festival. The winners of the 2013 John Lauchlan Award are Ian Welsted, Darren Vonk, Kris Irwin and Mark Taylor for their planned trip to the Revalations mountain range in Alaska. In the audience was David Roberts, who was on the first expedition into the Revelations and subsequently named them. Roberts wrote the famous 1968 book The Mountain of My Fear and the 2005 book On the Ridge Between Life and Death. He was on the 1965 first ascent of The Harvard Route on Mount Huntington. Roberts said he is excited about the award supporting a team going to the Revalations.