Mark Twight is returning to the Canadian Rockies this fall, a place where he made a number of epic ascents back in the 1980s. Twight will be part of the book program with his new book Refuge, a visual celebration of his decades-long climbing journey. Twight will also be on a panel talking about love and loss with Geoff Powter and Margo Talbot, which will be moderated by Ian Welsted.
In 1988, Twight made the first ascent of The Reality Bath on the White Pyramid with Randy Rackliff, which remains one of the most dangerous and unrepeated grade-six ice routes in the Rockies. The route has been described by Canadian Rockies guidebook author, Albi Sole as “so dangerous as to be of little value except to those suicidally inclined.”
And guidebook author Joe Josephson said, “The Reality Bath is undoubtedly the most dangerous ice route in the range,” in his book Waterfall Ice. That same year, Twight climbed the 925-metre Slipstream WI4+ in two hours and four minutes.
Twight also made first ascents near Chamonix, including Richard Cranium Memorial on the northwest face of Les Droites with Barry Blanchard in 1990. He also made the first ascent of Beyond Good And Evil on the north face of the Aiguille des Pelerins with Andy Parkin in 1992 and There Goes The Neighborhood on the northwest face of the Aiguille Sans Nom with Scott Backes in 1993.
In the Himalayas, he attempted a number of routes, including the South Pillar of Nuptse with Jeff Lowe (twice), and the Rupal Face on Nanga Parbat with Blanchard, Kevin Doyle and Ward Robinson). In Alaska, he and Scott Backes climbed Deprivation on Mount Hunter in 72 hours up and down, which halved the previous fastest ascent of the North Buttress. In 2000, he climbed the Slovak Direct with Backes and Steve House in 60 hours.
In 2017, Twight received the Robert and Miriam Underhill Award from the American Alpine Club, which is described as going “to a person who, in the opinion of the selection committee, has demonstrated the highest level of skill in the mountaineering arts and who, through the application of this skill, courage, and perseverance, has achieved outstanding success in the various fields of mountaineering endeavor.”
Watch Twight and Randy Rackliff solo classic ice climbs in the Canadian Rockies including Polar Circus WI5, Whiteman Falls WI6 and Professor Falls WI4 in the below vintage video. For more of this year’s Banff Mountain Festival program, visit here.