Few people know Canada’s western mountain ranges better than David P. Jones. For those that have hiked, skied, sport climbed or ascended a peak in Canada’s mountain west, there’s every chance it was because Jones had been there first.
The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has announced that David P. Jones is the 2016 recipient of the Summit of Excellence Award. For the first time, the award was extended to recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to mountain life in Canada (previously it was an Alberta-based award).
“For more than half a century, Dave P. Jones has been one of the great spirits of our country’s mountains,” says Geoff Powter, a member of the Summit of Excellence committee. “He’s dreamt, mapped, flagged and cut numerous trails, giving the rest of us access to ranges that we’d likely otherwise never have entered.”
David P. Jones is one of Canada’s most accomplished mountaineers. In an unparalleled record, Jones has made the first ascents of nearly 100 unclimbed peaks from the Coast Range to the Rockies to the great northern mountains of Kluane, many of them by notably hard routes, and he’s made more than 100 first ascents of new routes on previously ascended mountains. He’s been just as active a contributor to the world of rock climbing, pioneering some 250 sport routes across southern British Columbia (B.C.).
Jones’s commitment to exploration and discovery started young. Raised outside of Revelstoke B.C., Jones was surrounded by mountains, and itched to explore. “At twelve and half,” Jones says, “I really wanted to go to the Seattle World’s Fair, and I kept bugging my father. He got fed up and finally said, ‘Well, why don’t you goddamn walk?’” Jones took that as permission to go, and he and a friend rode three-speed bikes all the way from Revelstoke to Seattle, taking ten days to get there. That journey was prescient. Jones followed it with decades and decades of deep backcountry exploration with exactly the same flavour.
Jones has made four ascents of Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan, twice by new routes. His first ascent of Logan’s massive and complex Warbler Ridge was a 27-day epic that remains unrepeated after 40 years. He also blazed Canadian trails in the Himalaya: he was the first Canadian to climb above 8000-metres, first on the world’s fifth-highest peak, Makalu.
During his prolific career Jones has matched his prodigious exploration with meticulous cataloguing of peaks and their climbs – and this commitment naturally led to a role as an author of several climbing guidebooks, beginning with a series of guides to his beloved Selkirk Ranges, (Selkirk North Climbing Guide), and now expanded to the mammoth job of updating the long-out-of-print guides to the Rockies, in Rockies Central Guide.
“I am honoured to receive this award and in so doing, I wish to acknowledge and thank all those who have climbed with me for over five decades,” says David P. Jones. “I’m very appreciative of each and every climber who has shared the mountains with me and who has contributed to my guidebooks. In short, I am indebted to all my climbing companions.”
The 2016 Summit of Excellence Award is sponsored by Norseman Outdoor Specialist and Yamnuska Mountain Adventures. The award will be presented at the Best of the Festival awards night at this year’s Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival on Sun., Nov. 6.