The following is a press release from the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival about the 2019 Summit of Excellence Award. The annual award has recognized an individual who has made a significant contribution to mountain life Canadian climbing. The 2019 award will be presented onstage on opening weekend of the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival on Oct. 26.

The award is presented in memory of Calgary climber Bill March, an internationally respected mountaineer, author, and educator, who led Canada’s first successful Everest climb in 1982.

David Smart was born in Etobicoke Ontario and started climbing in 1975 when he was 13 years old at nearby Rattlesnake Point. His early climbing partners included Yosemite regulars George Manson and Tom Gibson and soon he was travelling frequently to the Gunks in New York state. On his first trips to Yosemite Valley he climbed the Nose of El Capitan, the Northwest Face of Half Dome and other classic long routes.

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📢 We're excited to announce author, route developer & magazine editor David Smart as the winner of our 2019 Summit of Excellence Award! Congrats David 👏🏽👏🏿👏🏻 · Born in Etobicoke Ontario, David started climbing in 1975 when he was 13 years old and fell in love with climbing books at the local public library. “I have always seen writing about mountaineering and climbing as an important discipline within the sport."📚 · Moving to Calgary in the 80s developed his love for Yamnuska and the classic rock of the Canadian Rockies. He has also climbed in the Eastern and Western Alps and throughout the UK & Europe. · Smart published his first guidebook The Niagara Escarpment, in 1984. His most recent work, Paul Preuss, Lord of the Abyss, is a biography of the Austrian climber and has been longlisted for both the 2019 Banff Mountain Book Awards & the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature. · Huge thanks to the sponsors of our Summit of Excellence of Award @yamnuskamtnadv & @norsemanoutdoor . The award will be presented on stage during the opening weekend of the 2019 Festival.🏆 Link in profile for tickets. 📷: @david__smart12346

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He lived in Calgary in the early 80s where he developed a loved for Yamnuska and the classic rock of the Canadian Rockies. He has also climbed in the Eastern and Western Alps, and throughout the UK and Europe. Throughout his career, he has been a prolific new route developer, climbing over three hundred new routes in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. He continues to love discovering new climbing.

Smart fell in love with climbing books at the local public library. “I first came across the wider world of publishing through the medium of climbing literature, and I have always seen writing about mountaineering and climbing as an important discipline within the sport. As a kid, I always assumed that Chris Bonington, David Roberts, Gaston Rebuffat, Doug Scott and Royal Robbins and the rest were the best climbers because I could read their books.”

He published his first guidebook The Niagara Escarpment, in 1984 and it went into two more editions. He also published Ontario’s Finest Rock Climbs and a guidebook to Devil’s Rock in Northern Ontario. His memoir, A Youth Wasted Climbing, was shortlisted for the Mountain Literature Award in the 2016 Banff Mountain Book Competition. He has also published two historical novels on climbing, Above the Reich (2017) and Cinema Vertigo (2018). His new book, Paul Preuss, Lord of the Abyss, is a biography of the Austrian Climber and has been longlisted for both the 2019 Banff Mountain Book Awards and the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature.

Smart has loved magazines for his whole life. He has written for Climbing, Rock and Ice, Alpinist, and the Canadian Alpine Journal. In 1999, with fellow climber Sam Cohen, he founded Gripped; Canada’s Climbing Magazine. The company now owns four titles and Smart is the editorial director. Gripped’s print and digital properties still remain robust and growing after almost twenty years. “I was proud to be able to provide a magazine that offered a voice for the Canadian climbing scene in which I made my own life,” says Smart.

“I am honoured to receive this award from the Banff Mountain Festival, which has done so much for mountain culture. It is thrilling to think of being in the company of all of the great members of our community who have been awarded the Summit of Excellence in the past. I receive it with gratitude towards all those who I climbed with, everyone who supported my writing and especially my partner at Gripped, Sam Cohen, my publishers, Don Gorman and Jerry Auld and my readers.”

In Ontario, Smart established many now-classics back in the 1980s, including Coeur de Lion 5.13. This summer, Smart and Brandon Pullan established two routes in Banff: the eight-pitch MacLab Slab 5.6 and the 14-pitch Gold Rush 5.7, both fully bolted. Last year, they established Godzilla, a four-pitch 5.9 near Canmore.

David Smart on Kahl Wall on Yamnuska in Alberta Photo Brandon Pullan

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